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Old March 5th, 2017, 07:18 AM   #671
Visionary7903 Male
Autism Awareness
  
 
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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 Maryland.

The Abilities Network is a Towson, Maryland-based nonprofit whose mission is to challenge the community to acknowledge the value and equality of people of all abilities. This includes children on the Autism Spectrum...
Quote:
Katy Marchman is like any other 10-year-old girl. She's a bright, bubbly blonde who squabbles with her 8-year-old sister, Alex, about clothes. Her mother, Kim, affectionately calls her a 'diva-in-training.'

There's just one difference -- Katy lacks the ability to verbally communicate, due to her diagnosis of Angelman's syndrome, a neuro-genetic disorder that falls on the autism spectrum.

But Kim is quick to point out that Katy's disability is secondary to who she is. "Some families will say, 'Oh the disability is part of the family," but Kate is just one of our three children,' she said. "She's so many other things."

One of the biggest characteristics that defines who Katy is as a person is her love for everything Ravens. "She is a humongous Baltimore Ravens fan," Kim said. "To the point where we're not allowed to say any criticism during the games."

The Marchmans, which includes Katy's father, Mark, and her older brother, Andrew, 17, first discovered Katy's love for football when they visited Ravens training camp 4 years ago. "Matt Stover saw us and Katy got to meet all the players," Kim said. "I had no idea she was going to love it."

Since that day, Katy has visited camp at least four times every summer. She watches every game. She carries around a scrapbook of pictures of her with players like Musa Smith, Mark Clayton, Ray Lewis and Todd Heap.

Katy communicates through hand gestures, body language and pictures of symbols. She often 'writes' letters and cards to her favorite players, and even made a 'Welcome to Baltimore' card for new head coach John Harbaugh.

As part of Katy's daily education, she receives services from [the Abilities Network.]

"With Katy, what they found, was that she responded to everything Ravens," said Lauren Dunn, Abilities Network Director of Development. ?When a child has Angelman's, it helps to work on something they enjoy. When Katy started going to training camp, she got excited, and she responded."

On Monday, the Abilities Network is hosting 'Time Out For Charity,' a benefit event in which the organization's employees, volunteers and consumers get to mingle with Ravens players. Katy is going along for the second year.

"She's knows it's coming, but we can't tell her what day it is, because she will stay up until 1 a.m. the night before," Kim laughed.
Here is a link to a video on an Abilities Network fundraiser from a couple of years ago:

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Old March 8th, 2017, 10:22 AM   #672
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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 Maryland.

The Carroll/Frederick Autism Support Group is a Marriottsville, Maryland-based autism support group with a focus on getting the kids out to play with each other. Middletown Primary School hosts one of Frederick county's 'Challenges' programs that serves the needs of students with Autism and related communication disorders...
Quote:
Parker Langston, 6, can't chat about his day when he arrives home from school.

But after more than a year in Middletown Primary School's 'Challenges' program, he is finally able to communicate his needs and wants instead of crying -- something his mother, Heather, feared he'd never manage.

"They've really taught him how to enjoy being around people," she said.

Challenges uses pictures, sign language, iPads and more to build communication and interpersonal skills in students such as Parker, who have been diagnosed with autism and other severe communication disorders.

The specialized program serves 65 students across six Frederick County public schools: Middletown Primary, Carroll Manor and Middletown elementary schools; Oakdale and Gov. Thomas Johnson middle schools; and Gov. Thomas Johnson High School.

More than 560 students are formally recognized by the school system as having autism, said Dan Martz, special education and psychological services director. Parents choose whether to enroll their child in Challenges based on recommendations by school and special education staff.

...After more than a decade in practice, the Challenges program has fostered greater inclusion and understanding of autism among even the littlest students, teachers said.

In support of Autism Awareness Month, Middletown Primary students on Wednesday formed a human puzzle piece -- a well-known symbol of the complexity and uniqueness of the autism spectrum -- outside the school. Similar celebrations will continue through April at schools countywide.

Educators said hosting Challenges in their buildings makes every day an autism awareness day.

"What we've seen is an incredible shift of tolerance and acceptance of people of varying abilities, backgrounds ... different lifestyles," said Cindy Pearl, a Challenges teacher at Middletown Primary. "Different, not less, is becoming a real important part to recognise."

...Unified classes such as peer physical education and art pair Challenges students with first- and second-grade general education buddies as a way to encourage communication to transition into a regular classroom setting.

That interaction builds skills used outside of school as well, Heather Langston said. She said she can now take her son to the park without worrying he may hurt others.

"Peer P.E. taught Parker how to play with other children," she said. "His partner last year was so patient with him and talked him through things as simple as catching a ball."

Budget constraints sometimes limit Challenges teachers from buying new classroom materials or programs, and they are grateful for the support of numerous instructional assistants and speech therapists.

Pearl said their help will become even more crucial as the number of autistic children and class sizes continue to grow.

Langston said the Challenges program's approach and staff-to-student ratio is still overwhelmingly positive. Her son keeps calm thanks to his rigid classroom routine and a daily schedule using pictures, a technique that she now uses at home.

Helping parents create functional lives and the joy of hearing autistic students speak is most rewarding for teachers. And when they can move a child completely out of the program and into a classroom with their peers, Pearl said, that's the biggest success of all.

"We've changed the quality and the outcomes of their life forever."
Here is a link to a video from the Carroll/Frederick Autism Support Group: https://www.facebook.com/anna.curtis...type=2&theater


Last edited by Visionary7903; March 11th, 2017 at 10:39 AM.
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Old March 22nd, 2017, 11:52 AM   #673
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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 Maryland.

RISE is a Severna Park, Maryland-based nonprofit whose mission is to provide community and professional awareness, family support and resources, financial assistance, and a continuum of therapeutic services to promote confident, competent individuals with Autism Spectrum and Related Disorders. RISE stands for Resources Interventions Support Education...
Quote:
After her son was diagnosed with Autism in 2003, Severna Park mom Cheryl Antlitz began attending seminars and gathering as much information as she could about the disorder affecting her son.

Now she is leading the fight to help other individuals with autism and their families.

Antlitz launched RISE for Autism in Severna Park in December 2011, after the Anne Arundel County Autism Society closed.

"After our county chapter closed, so did a lot of community outreach," Antlitz said. "So that was a huge thing for Autism in Anne Arundel County that was just gone. There was no other true local organization that came out and did community outreach."

RISE aims to spread awareness as well as provide community support and resources for local individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders ...and their families.

...[Antlitz] said as the mother of a child with autism, her goal for RISE is to help kids now, to better their futures.

"I would like it to offer opportunities for growth and independence, and opportunities for individuals with autism to experience the same life experiences that typically developing kids are having," Antlitz said.

...Antlitz said. "I feel more awareness about autism would increase the level of education among the community..."

Last year, $13,000 in funding for the grants came from a golf tournament in Davidsonville. This year, RISE will be hosting the same golf tournament fundraiser on September 13, at Renditions Golf Course in Davidsonville.

Antlitz said all of the funds raised during the tournament help local families in need.

...Through raising awareness and support, Antlitz said she hopes RISE continues to make a difference for children like her son and their families...
Here is a link to a video from the Foundation of some bicycle riding kids involved in the 'Bike to the Beach' fundraiser: https://www.facebook.com/RISEforAuti...6402919484845/


Last edited by Visionary7903; March 25th, 2017 at 11:13 AM.
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Old March 25th, 2017, 11:20 AM   #674
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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 Maryland.

Sports Plus is a Gaithersburg, Maryland-based nonprofit organization that provides innovative sports, swim, camp, social and employment training programs to individuals with various challenges, including children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. All the nonprofit's programs, including the EXTRA program, are designed for children whose capabilities fit between existing mainstream sports programs and adaptive sports programs designed for children with developmental and/or physical disabilities...
Quote:
Blue skies, green grass, laughter and high fives surrounded dozens of children that jumped, ran and played without hesitation.

Children went through sprints, obstacle courses and other track and field mainstays on the first day of the Sports Plus track and field practice at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds this month.

Sports Plus is geared toward children with autism, a developmental disability that often excludes them from group interactions.

The nonprofit's founders, Natalie and Tom Liniak of Gaithersburg, started Sports Plus ...when they could not find sports programs for their autistic son, Jonathan.

"We felt Jonathan, then almost 7, needed and wanted to play sports, his younger brother was playing sports and he had to go and just watch. I looked for programs that would be beneficial for Jonathan; there just weren't any," Natalie Liniak said.

So the Liniaks united with five families and started a soccer program for autistic children.

"I think all these kids need social opportunities and physical fitness, particularly those I call the tweeners, those with a mild to moderate disability," Natalie Liniak said.

Autism is the fastest growing developmental disability according to Marguerite Colston, vice president of constituent relations for the Autism Society in Silver Spring.

...From the original handful of families, the group has grown to more than 200 families and Sports Plus has added track and field and swimming. This fall, 100 children are registered in programs in Montgomery and Howard counties.

"It's gone beyond anything we thought," Natalie Liniak said. "People don't feel so isolated, they are connecting and [the kids] are doing something really good for themselves. I find the kids' self esteem and confidence goes sky-high when they see they can do it. Sports is a bridge to socialization. They make friends from this program. There are play dates and birthday parties."

Tom Liniak helped the children, along with parents, siblings, volunteers and coaches, warm up and stretch at the first session Sept. 19. Then the group split to run hurdles, weave in and out of cones or just run and jump.

Alex Sanchez of Bethesda encouraged his son, Francisco, 6, to pay attention and try hard. Alex did just that but also came back to his father frequently to tell him what he was doing and receive a high five and "great job."

Francisco even took the time to show his dad how to get set for a standing long jump and then do it, jumping about three feet.

"I've always wanted to put Francisco in sports. This is a place you feel welcome; it's a safe environment," Sanchez said.

The classes are open to children ages 5 to 14 and cost $145 per session, except for private swim lessons, which are $195. Parents are asked to stay at the activity although they do not have to participate. There are paid coaches and a number of volunteers that help keep the ratio of children to adults about two to one.

T.J. Brockway, 17, a student at Our Lady of Good Counsel High School in Olney, volunteers with many of his peers at Sports Plus.

"I've learned how to work with autistic kids and it's a lot of fun. You have to take things slowly and demonstrate. That's a good quality to have. You have to be more patient," T.J. said.

The Liniaks are hoping to extend Sports Plus programs to northern Virginia, Tom Liniak said, noting that some families already come from there to participate.
Here is a link to a video from Sports Plus:

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