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Old February 11th, 2017, 10:50 AM   #661
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Default 'Agricultural specialisterne': rural employment revolution for those with Autism

The subject of recent posts has mainly been on Autism-related events and organisations in eastern Pennsylvania.

The SCAS is a Orwigsburg/Frackville, Pennsylvania-based nonprofit that has helped make life a little easier for those dealing with Autism Spectrum Disorders in the county for the past decade. The nonprofit's goal is to provide information, support and resources to individuals with autism and autism spectrum disorders, their families, professionals and community awareness activities, education and research...
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Several parents gathered Sunday to "compare scores," but everyone was a winner at the sixth annual Sensory Picnic hosted by the [SCAS].

"When parents of autistic kids get together, there's often a lot of sharing stories like someone learned how to ask for something or quoted something correctly or wash up on their own," Sasha Eidinov, Pottsville, said. "These are like our baseball scores. It may not seem like much, but it's the little accomplishments."

Eidinov was one of about 70 people - parents and children - who attended the picnic...

Judy Barket, society president and picnic organizer, said the event was held to allow children to meet some of their peers, socialize and experience new things.

"There were several interactive stations that allowed the children to get to do things that they might not otherwise do on their own," Barket said.

Jessica Mennig, Pottsville, a society board member, was responsible for a tie-dying station that she called an educational opportunity mixed with fun.

"It's stimulating and allows for color recognition and honing of fine motor skills," Mennig said.

Barket said the picnic, like other events and meetings the society holds, helps to foster a community.

"This allows parents to network and talk about common daily hurdles that we have," Barket said.

Jim ...Pfeiffenberger [and his wife] ...said that was one of the most important parts of the day for their family.

"It helps us to get ideas and exchange ideas, learn what might have worked for someone that may work for our child," [Mrs.] Pfeiffenberger said.

Mennig also said the more relaxed and informal atmosphere of the picnics, compared to society meetings, was helpful.

"They can relax, they can meet others and just socialize a little more naturally," Mennig said.

Eidinov ...thinks events like this help parents come together and celebrate their children.

"Everybody loves their kids," Eidinov said. "It's a great day for all of us to know we're not alone. We're not the only ones."

The society meets monthly...
Here is a link to photos of the SCAS' annual sensory picnic from over six years ago: republicanherald.mycapture.com/mycapture/folder.asp?iframe=1&event=1085068&CategoryID=52561/


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Old February 16th, 2017, 11:11 AM   #662
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Default 'Agricultural specialisterne': rural employment revolution for those with Autism

The subject of recent posts has mainly been on Autism-related events and organisations in eastern Pennsylvania.

The Arc of Lehigh and Northampton Counties, based in the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania, is a nonprofit whose mission is to advocate, educate, and provide services and support for people with various challenges, including children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. The Arc of Lehigh and Northampton Counties has hosted a 'Wings for Autism' event for the past couple of years...
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Families of autistic children will have an opportunity next month to practice air travel without ever leaving the ground.

The Arc of Northampton and Lehigh counties partnered with Lehigh Valley International Airport and Allegiant Air to organize "Wings for Autism." It's geared toward autistic children...

The event is based on a pilot program developed by the Arc of the United States and completed at large hubs across the country, including Logan International Airport in Boston, according to Bruce Seidel, development director for Arc of Lehigh and Northampton counties.

In planning since last November, Wings for Austism will be held May 9, and the program was at capacity within a day or two after registration opened, Seidel said. The event was limited to about 240 participants because it involves boarding a jet, he said.

Airline travel, particularly the lengthy security check process, is something that those with [various challenges including Autism Spectrum Disorders] can find very challenging, often preventing families from traveling, Seidel said. The Wings for Autism event will allow families to simulate the process of air travel, he said.

Families are scheduled to arrive at the Allegiant ticketing desk at 9 a.m. to begin the process. From there, they will go through a regular security screening process and make their way through the terminal.

Passengers will board an airplane that will taxi down a runway, offering as complete an experience as possible, Seidel said.

The event will include more than 40 volunteers to assist families along the way, offering information on how to handle certain situations. It could be something simple a family never considered, such as bringing along headphones to combat the noise associated with takeoff, Seidel said.

"In the event they plan to travel, this gives them real-life experience about where their family member, who has a disability, has trouble along the trail," he said.

There are many "moving parts" in organizing an event like this, and organizers are just trying to get through the first one, Seidel said. But based on the tremendous interest in this event, Arc is already considering a second program, he said.


...As the Lehigh Valley continues to evolve and become more diverse, programs like next month's Wings for Autism can lend to that growth, Seidel said. As large employers, for instance, recruit to the area, that may include families of children with a developmental disability, he said.

"In the consideration process for accepting a job here, a big factor is what kind of community am I moving to," Seidel said. "What services and programs are available?"...
Here is a link to photos on the nonprofit's 'Wings for Autism' event, held at Lehigh Valley International Airport (ABE), from a couple of years ago: https://www.flickr.com/photos/thearc...7650414468394/


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Old February 18th, 2017, 10:26 AM   #663
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Default 'Agricultural specialisterne': rural employment revolution for those with Autism

The subject of recent posts has mainly been on Autism-related events and organisations in eastern Pennsylvania.

Dragonfly Forest is a Conshohocken, Pennsylvania-based nonprofit that provides overnight camping experiences for children with various challenges, including Autism Spectrum Disorders. The nonprofit provides a full Autism Summer Program for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders...
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Last summer, 8-year-old Scott Jones was nervous about going to sleep away camp for the first time--especially about being away from his mom. But after a week filled with swimming, boating, hiking, ...games, and arts and crafts at Dragonfly Forest camp in West Chester, Pennsylvania, Scott had such a great time that he wanted to go back the next week--and the one after that.

This type of experience is just what the camp aims to give: one where kids with disabilities, including those with autism, like Scott, can enjoy an unforgettable week. "Generally speaking, when you ask people about their most favorite memories, they're not in therapy, or school, or in the classroom," says Sylvia van Meerten, the camp's program director. "Their favorite memories are when they were intentionally pulled away from life to have fun. We're here to do just that--give them a week based on fun."

Founded in 2001, Dragonfly Forest offers free summer sessions ...and in TK year expanded to provide a session for children on the autism spectrum as well...

Now, the yearly session attracts nearly 200 campers, on all ranges of the spectrum, from Pennsylvania and neighboring states. (And the program is quickly expanding to include after-school sessions...)

The staff takes pride when visitors say it looks like a 'regular camp,'...

The camp includes facilities you would find at many traditional camps: dorm-style housing, a 14-acre lake, a rope elements course, a zip line, tennis courts, hiking trails, a gym, and an arts and theater center.
But the staff does take measures to make sure Dragonfly Forest is well suited to kids on the spectrum. The key: to relieve their anxiety in social situations, says van Meerten. Kids with autism have a hard time picking up social cues and predicting what will happen next, which can make them anxious and nervous, she explains. "A typical person would feel anxious in a different culture where things don't make sense," van Meerten explains. "Kids with autism feel like that all the time in everyday life."
To alleviate this stress, the staff provides information booklets before camp starts, sticks to schedules, and offers detailed explanations before every activity and meals so campers know what to expect. (Van Meerten even gave out her personal email to answer last-minute questions before the start of the session.)
Counselors, who are trained each summer for four to seven days, are assigned to an individual camper for the session, with a counselor/camper ratio of 2:1...

And it's not just the kids' stress that Dragonfly hopes to relieve--the program is free in an effort to ease the financial burden for families.

...And possibly the biggest plus of all: Once camp is over, the kids head home with a newfound sense of confidence and independence...

Case in point: Scott wouldn't try the zip line at a friend's house before Dragonfly. After conquering the zip line over the summer, the family added a mini-zip line to the backyard. "[Scott] is the kind of kid that hangs back and assesses the situation," his mother Rebecca says. "His hang-back time is a little bit shorter now."
Here is a link to a video from Dragonfly Forest from last year:


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Old May 14th, 2017, 07:33 PM   #664
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Default Re: 'Agricultural specialisterne': rural employment revolution for those with Autism

After a 6 year thread length and no other member replying, what has this to do with pheromones?
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Old May 14th, 2017, 07:44 PM   #665
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Default Re: 'Agricultural specialisterne': rural employment revolution for those with Autism

Hi Wotan. In the lounge section, off-topic threads are tolerated. This thread has an important number of views, I guess it's interesting for many people.
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Old May 14th, 2017, 08:18 PM   #666
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Default Re: 'Agricultural specialisterne': rural employment revolution for those with Autism

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Originally Posted by Conjurator View Post
Hi Wotan. In the lounge section, off-topic threads are tolerated. This thread has an important number of views, I guess it's interesting for many people.
Ah. Okay. I read through a few pages expecting something about using pheromones as a treatment for autism.
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Old September 23rd, 2017, 02:26 PM   #667
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Default 'Agricultural specialisterne': rural employment revolution for those with Autism

The subject of recent posts has mainly been on Autism-related events and organisations in eastern Pennsylvania.

ACHIEVA is a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based nonprofit that supports and empowers individuals with various challenges, including children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. ACHIEVA envisions a community where disabilities are a distinction that makes no difference...
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Tejus Sharathchandra stands in front of the room, a ?Happy 21st Birthday? balloon tied to his jeans, wearing a bright orange ?21 years of being awesome!? T-shirt.

Dozens of his peers at the UPMC Vocational Training Center on the South Side are singing 'Happy Birthday' to him, while two large sheet cakes, one chocolate and one vanilla, will soon be cut and served.

Today could have been a dark day for Tejus and his family. Instead, it is full of singing, cake, pizza with his classmates at CITY Connections East, more cake, kickball and swimming with his teen and young-adult group ...and a special family dinner at Taco Bell -- a treat he had been anticipating for weeks.

For months, Tejus' family had been uncertain if his 21st birthday would mark the end of the intensive services and supports he receives for his intellectual disability and autism.

For families in Pennsylvania who have a child with an intellectual or developmental disability, a 21st birthday can be an unhappy milestone -- an end to the vital services their children receive.

Until age 21, the care they receive, such as behavior and occupational therapy, is considered a federal entitlement -- that is, Medicaid has to pay for it. At 21, that entitlement ends, which can lead to ...a sudden cutoff of services and being put on a waiting list until additional funding is available.

...So Tejus' birthday isn't just a birthday celebration -- it's also celebrating that he?ll be receiving what is know as a 'consolidated waiver' -- meaning the state's Medicaid program, using a combination of state and federal dollars, will cover all the costs of his care.

"It's the rest of his life. It's his future. I feel like, we've solidified that. He has so many options now," said Kristen Capp, Tejus' supports coordinator.

Receiving -- or not receiving -- waiver funding is often life-altering for families on the waiting list.

Parents of these children must sometimes leave paid employment to care for their children at home, as Tejus' mother, Chitra Sharathchandra, did. Now that she knows Tejus will be receiving waiver funding, she is looking to return to the workplace in her field of computer science.

Waiver funding will allow her son to continue doing data entry and mailing work at the UPMC Vocational Center; cover his habilitation aide assisting him with tasks around the house, accompanying him to ...community outings 25 hours a week; and it will cover the cost for him eventually to live outside his parents? home, in a small-group residential setting with other disabled adults.

Mrs. Sharathchandra said it also has brought her peace of mind: "Can I now stop worrying, that if I?m not here tomorrow, there's going to be somebody else who can do what needs to be done with Tejus?"

But not every family is as lucky as the Sharathchandras.

"I am definitely pleased that Tejus will finally be receiving the home and community waiver services that he and his family so desperately need. However, [the Governor] and his administration need to understand that there are 15,000 Pennsylvania families who are also desperately waiting," said Nancy Murray, president of The Arc of Greater Pittsburgh at ACHIEVA, who has worked for many years with The PA Waiting List Campaign to push for additional funding for families waiting for services. "Some of these families are headed by single caregivers, some by elderly caregivers in their 70s and 80s, and some who have had to give up their jobs to stay home and care for their adult child with a disability."

Advocates have pushed for years for the governor and state Legislature to fully fund services and have succeeded in driving down the number of families on the waiting list. However, at a state Capitol hearing in September, Pennsylvania Department of Human Services officials said they will not be able to fund additional spots to take individuals off the waiting list this year.

Several state legislators said they believed $6.5 million from the state budget they passed in July specifically was appropriated to move 250 people off the waiting list, in addition to 700 graduates from special education programs.

Ted Dallas, state Department of Human Services secretary, said the cost of providing care to people currently receiving services has increased, and that last fiscal year's budget left him with a $21.6 million shortfall for services that had already been provided.

These are services like the aide that enables Tejus to attend the teen and young-adult program at the JCC, where Tejus spent time later on his birthday, playing kickball and getting another treat -- cupcakes. Tejus and the other participants in the program, headed by Lynne Carvell, go on excursions to the library, play games, make art projects, generally learn social skills and have a community of peers.

"They deserve everything that other people have," she said.
Here is a link to photos of ACHIEVA's Early Intervention Preschool Readiness: https://www.achieva.info/ACHIEVA-Ear...hool-Readiness

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