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Old March 5th, 2017, 07:18 AM   #671
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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.

...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.

...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...
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 29th, 2017 at 09:54 AM.
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Old March 29th, 2017, 10:06 AM   #673
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Post '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 McArdle Center for Early Autism Intervention, based in Stevensville, Maryland, strives to work with children and families with an Applied Behaviour Analysis therapy centered approach. By taking a therapeutic approach to education The McArdle Center teaches children with Autism Spectrum Disorders in a way that best suits them as individual learners...
Quote:
The ...County Library recently donated more than 150 used children's books to help establish a new library at the McArdle Center for Early Autism Intervention in Stevensville.

The McArdle Center has developed programming to work with children even before they become diagnosed on the autism spectrum, from early detection of signs of autism to providing therapy and education in a year round setting best prepares these children to live full and meaningful lives.

Books contributed by the Friends will be used by McArdle's students, aged 2-8 years.

The founder of the center, Emily McArdle, praised the Friends of the Library for the contribution:

"Thank you so much for this generous donation. We will put the books to wonderful use in our new library."
Here is a link to a video from the McArdle Center for Early Autism Intervention:


Last edited by Visionary7903; April 23rd, 2017 at 12:36 PM.
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Old March 31st, 2017, 11:49 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.

The Arc Baltimore is a Baltimore, Maryland-based nonprofit that is dedicated to providing advocacy and high quality, life-changing supports in Baltimore City and Baltimore County. The nonprofit has partnered with various organisations to give individuals with various challenges, including children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, a 'practice' opportunity to experience the sometimes challenging aspects of airline travel...
Quote:
Tomas Harp, 7, was ready to go to the head of the security line at [Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI).]

Not so fast. "Tomas -- that's part of the process, to wait your turn," his mother, Carolina Harp, reminded him.

Soon they handed over their boarding passes. Tomas and his brother, Mateo, 9, were ready to take Southwest flight 1234 from Baltimore at 1:45 p.m. -- a flight that was not actually budging an inch from the gate.

The Harps, from Gaithersburg, were one of 50 families participating on a recent Saturday afternoon in The Arc of Baltimore's Wings for Autism, which provides children with developmental disabilities with a dry run of the process of boarding a plane.

Traveling with children can be stressful for anyone. But for those dealing with children on the autism spectrum, it can be traumatic.

Everything about the process of flying -- from waiting in lines with hundreds of other people to [lots] of strange noises -- can overstimulate such children.

...Volunteers from BWI, Southwest, the Transportation Security Administration and Airmall shepherded families through a special security gate. They boarded the plane, got in their seats, heard the safety spiel and were served pretzels and a glass of water.

Within a half-hour, they were back off the plane.

The fastest little flight to nowhere.

Participating parents said that in general they avoid airports and drive. Harp said she logs a lot of miles when she needs to take her two sons on vacation. Tomas and Mateo have gone on trips to Georgia and Florida.

But this summer the family needs to go to California, and Harp doesn't plan to make that drive...
Here is a link to photos from the 'Wings for Autism' event at Baltimore-Washington International Airport from a couple of years ago: https://www.facebook.com/airmallbwi/...95522694000082


Last edited by Visionary7903; April 7th, 2017 at 01:16 PM.
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Old April 8th, 2017, 12:31 PM   #675
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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.

Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital (MWPH) is a Baltimore, Maryland-based nonprofit specialty children's hospital. MWPH's Autism services include testing and therapeutic services for children suspected of, or already diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders...
Quote:
"My son is in a place where the people understand and care about him." - Priscila Rodriguez, Mother


Ian, 4, ...was fearful and displayed repetitive behaviors.

His mother Priscila Rodriguez, desperate and confused, wanted answers. Her doctor recommended Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital (MWPH)'s Pediatric Psychology.

The Division of Pediatric Psychology at MWPH has a full complement of psychologists dedicated to improving the well being of children and adolescents. Each psychologist at MWPH has specialized training in providing a wide range of services to children having behavioral or emotional difficulties.

Staff treat children with conditions [including Autism Spectrum Disorders.] Recommendations are tailored to the specific needs of each child, and psychology providers work closely with the parents, pediatricians, educators, and other mental health practitioners to identify appropriate treatment services for each child.

Ian was diagnosed with moderate-severity autism in May 2015. Through individual and group therapies, plus occupational, physical and speech therapy, Ian is learning to shape his negative behaviors through different play techniques.

...Thanks to group therapy, he can tolerate the structure of school better. He can communicate and show affection to his family. He can sit still longer to complete tasks, and his social skills have improved, too.

Priscila credits his therapists, like Dr. Antonia Girard, for his progress. She says the entire psychology team really cares about Ian; when they come here for therapies, everyone is smiling and happy to see them. "My son is in a place where the people understand and care about him," she says. "I feel so grateful to be here."

Before Ian's therapies, Priscila felt confused because she didn't understand why Ian behaved the way he did. "They've helped me to understand him, to manage him, and learn about his condition, about his behaviors, his fears. He can feel that I can understand him, so that makes him feel better and not as frustrated as before."

"He can feel what I'm feeling. If I get mad, he gets mad. If I feel frustrated, he's going to be worse. So if I can control myself, he's going to be better. And therapies have helped me to be like that."

"As a mother, it has been difficult to accept Ian's condition, but with MWPH it has been easier. I know he's getting better. I know he's in the perfect place for a better life and future."
Here is a link to a video from the Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital's Autism program from a few years ago: https://www.facebook.com/MtWashingto...1581442577760/


Last edited by Visionary7903; April 10th, 2017 at 02:49 PM.
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Old April 10th, 2017, 03:01 PM   #676
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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 Autism Spectrum Support Group (ASSG) of Southern Maryland, Inc., is a California, Maryland-based nonprofit that offers support to families and caregivers of people with Autism Spectrum Disorders. The private forum offers 175 families in Southern Maryland the opportunity to help each other...
Quote:
...According to Autism Speaks, [Autism Spectrum Disorder] refers to a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication, as well as by unique strengths and differences. The term 'spectrum' reflects the wide variation in challenges and strengths possessed by each person with autism.

Autism's most obvious signs tend to appear between two and three years of age. In some cases, it can be diagnosed as early as 18 months. Some developmental delays associated with autism can be identified and addressed even earlier. Parents are urged to seek evaluation if they have concerns because early intervention can improve outcomes.

Learning that your child has [Autism Spectrum Disorder] can be devastating to parents. They feel upset, scared, concerned and alone. Autism isn't the same for any two children. Some children have high-functioning autism--others suffer from a more severe form of the neurobehavioral condition. There is not one autism but many types, caused by different combinations of genetic and environmental influences. No matter the level of autism your child is dealing with, it can be a lonely place for parents. But it doesn't have to be.

...There are four main goals of ASSG:
1. To support families directly impacted by [Autism Spectrum Disorders]
2. To educate families and the community on issues related to [Autism Spectrum Disorders]
3. To raise public and professional awareness and acceptance of [Autism Spectrum Disorders]
4. To work in partnership with other organizations to inform and educate families and the community about issues related to [Autism Spectrum Disorders]

ASSG wants parents to know, they're not alone in their struggles. "We try to eliminate the feelings of isolation families may have when raising a child with [Autism Spectrum Disorders.] We offer a judgment-free environment for families to discuss issues and ask questions. We also encourage families to help other families by sharing information and support, and to stay focused on supporting families on a local level," [Terri Griest, president of ASSG, said.]

Autism is often a very misunderstood disorder. People with [Autism Spectrum Disorders] are affected in every aspect of their life. Griest explained, "[Autism Spectrum Disorders] may cause behaviors that the uninitiated may find perplexing, disrespectful, scary, bizarre or incomprehensible. People's responses often lead them to withdraw, to judge, to become angry, or to offer unsolicited 'advice' on parenting." But with those struggles comes great gifts. The ASSG works to eliminate the stigma associated with people with [Autism Spectrum Disorders]. "Knowledge is key," Griest noted.

ASSG always encourages new members to join. The group meets the third Wednesday of the month from 6:30 p.m.-8:00 p.m. ...There are 'sister' groups in Charles and Calvert counties.

...During Autism Awareness Month, ASSG is participating in and promoting several activities around Southern Maryland to bring more awareness to this community--

World Autism Awareness Day is April 2. Autism Speaks promotes "Light It Up Blue" on that day. People around the world light up buildings with blue lights, and everyone is encouraged to wear blue in support of autism awareness.

Personalized Therapy's 10th Annual Autism Awareness Day. April 8 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m...
...All funds raised go to local organizations that help people with autism, including the Autism Spectrum Support Group of Southern Maryland...
Here is a link to photos: https://m.facebook.com/pg/AutismSupp...ernal&mt_nav=1

(source: - Page Not Found)

Last edited by Visionary7903; April 24th, 2017 at 12:58 PM.
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Old April 12th, 2017, 12:50 PM   #677
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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 'Cumberland Tri-State Autism Walk', is an annual Autism awareness event and fundraiser located in Cumberland, Maryland. The walk has has grown beyond what the founder of the event could have ever hoped for...
Quote:
On a cold, blustery day in Cumberland, Maryland, 1,200 people looped the track at Allegany College for the ninth annual Cumberland Tri-State Walk Now for Autism Speaks event on Saturday, April 9, 2011. Walk Chairperson, Marcy Hardinger led the opening ceremonies with special thanks to all Walk participants who came far and wide to enjoy the festivities of the day and support the urgent mission of Autism Speaks...

Walkers enjoyed the 10 Toys that Speak to Autism from Walk Now for Autism Speaks National Sponsors--Toys'R'Us and Babies'R'Us, ...face painting, autism race car and balloons galore! The Cumberland Times-News and radio sponsors WTBO and GO106FM were on hand to capture the events of the day. Special thanks to DJ Express for energizing the crowd...

It was a record-breaking year for Cumberland with $64,000 raised to date with the total expected to exceed $70,000! This tremendous success is due to the hard work and dedication of each volunteer, walker, team member, team captain, sponsor and in-kind donor. Many, many thanks to Walk planning committee for all of their efforts year after year to organize and implement the Walk in Western Maryland.

A very sincere and heartfelt thank you to Marcy Hardinger. [Hardinger's determination] to better the life of [those] affected by autism in the Cumberland community is truly inspiring.

THANK YOU CUMBERLAND for your continued commitment to changing the future for all who struggle with autism spectrum disorders. Autism Speaks and Cumberland is listening!!!...
Here is a link to a video from the 'Cumberland Tri-State Autism Walk' from three years ago:


Last edited by Visionary7903; April 23rd, 2017 at 12:30 PM.
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Old April 15th, 2017, 09:27 AM   #678
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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 Kinera Foundation is a Stevensville, Maryland-based nonprofit that seeks to enhance the quality of life for those affected affected by various challenges, including children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. The Kinera Foundation does this by providing social activities, access to various therapies and treatments, while continuing to support inclusive programs...
Quote:
When the Allender family drives along Ritchie Highway, 7-year- old Kellen motions to a Severna Park carnival.
"He always points at this like he wants to come," his mother Becky says. "We never wanted to come because of the crowds. He has problems standing in line."
Kellen has been diagnosed with autism, which limits where the family can enjoy some entertainment. Before Wednesday, the Millersville family had never been to a carnival.
But during an hour-long session minus the crowds and noise, Kellen got a chance to take a twirl on the [swings] at the Earleigh Heights Carnival.
Parents of special-needs children and their siblings enjoyed the sensory-sensitive version of the event thanks to the Kinera Foundation.
There was no loud music, and a limited number of flashing lights. About a dozen children took turns on the teacups, the tilt-a-whirl ...as parents cheered them on.
[Ms.] Russell, of Kent Island, started the foundation, which provides support to parents of children with special needs. Russell launched Kinera to help her autistic 4-year-old-son and to give other families a chance to have fun and be part of the community.
She said kids with special needs often balk at such events.
It's "too much, the light, the noise - it's overstimulating," Russell said. This event gives "these families an opportunity to see if their child can handle it."
Another parent testing out the waters was Beth Jensen, of Annapolis, whose 7-year-old son James also is autistic.
Jensen said while the family has tried trips to Sesame Place in Pennsylvania, they've had to leave movies and ball games because of the large crowds.
Still, Jensen said the family wants to go to an amusement park on a larger scale...
"Something like this gives us an idea if that could be something we could do down the line," Jensen said as James took two trips down the Surfin' Slide.
Here is a link to a video from the Kinera Foundation: https://www.facebook.com/KineraFound...7102719017878/


Last edited by Visionary7903; April 23rd, 2017 at 12:29 PM.
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Old April 25th, 2017, 09:17 AM   #679
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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 the state of Maryland.

To the northeast, Adelbrook, is a central Connecticut-based nonprofit that offers services for various challenges, including Autism Spectrum Disorders. Its services range include preschool, with programs for individuals from the age of 3...
Quote:
Evan is screaming. Keening, really, because there seems to be anguish there.

"Noooooooeeeeeeeeeeeeahhhhhhhh!"

He is a ...lithe 11-year-old, the spitting image of his mother, Carol Marcantonio. He's all elbows and knees and long, straight hair, his eyes liquid pools, with a half-smile that can melt hearts. But now he's on the floor of the time-out room here at Adelbrook, a school for children with autism...

His mother had known for several years that he needed to be at a specialty school. After [some setbacks,] Carol felt that she and her boy had reached a kind of milestone -- joining the fifth grade at Adelbrook in May of last year.

It was a journey that many Connecticut parents of children with autism would recognize.

And those parents would understand this: Even with more supports around them, life for Evan and those who love him is never easy.

Their lives mirror the experiences of thousands of Connecticut families who are navigating the highs and the searing lows of a treatment system that is still in the early stages of development.

These parents see firsthand the fragmentation of services, the variation in quality from school district to school district and the difficulties in accessing the system.

...Parents of autistic children would recognize the drop-offs in clinical services (Carol calls them cliffs and gaps) that Evan encountered as he went through the 'birth-to-three' developmental program, preschool, elementary schools and some failed outplacements at specialty schools before Adelbrook.

Some Connecticut parents who are financially able have arranged for in-home behavioral and psychological treatment to supplement the services their children receive in school -- at a cost of thousands of dollars a month.

Other parents, like Carol, become tireless advocates for their children and must employ everything at their disposal to try to make the system work.
Here is a link to a video from Adelbrook:


Last edited by Visionary7903; April 26th, 2017 at 12:21 PM.
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Old April 26th, 2017, 12:32 PM   #680
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Default 'Agricultural specialisterne': rural employment revolution for those with Autism

The subject of the last post was Adelbrook, a central Connecticut-based nonprofit that offers services for various challenges, including Autism Spectrum Disorders. Its services range include preschool, with programs for individuals from the age of 3.

Ability Beyond Disability is a Bethel, Connecticut-based nonprofit that is dedicated to empowering every person, no matter their ability, to have the opportunity to live, work and thrive as an integral part of their community.
Roses for Autism is a Guilford, Connecticut-based nonprofit that is a partnership between Guilford's Pinchbeck Farms and Ability Beyond Disability...
Quote:
Snow is piled up against the sides of Tom Pinchbeck's greenhouses, but inside it's a tropical rainforest. It's always summer where the roses bloom.

In this steamy heat Pinchbeck is pushing the rose bushes to flush before Valentine's Day, Feb. 14, the biggest day of the year for rose growers. Flushing is grower's parlance for blooming.

"Red roses are the big deal for Valentine's Day," says Pinchbeck. "If I had a brush, I'd paint them all red."

For the past eight years, Pinchbeck Farms -- once the largest grower of cut roses in New England -- has been the setting for a unique program known as "Roses for Autism," conceived to give meaningful employment to those with autism.

"Folks on the autism spectrum just need a little step up," says Lori Gregan, retail operations manager for the non-profit Roses for Autism, a partnership between Guilford's Pinchbeck Farms and Ability Beyond Disability of Bethel. "Here they learn the skills to enable them to move into the workplace. This is a stepping stone."

Pinchbeck, whose family wholesale rose business shut down in 2008, likes to say that Roses for Autism is his "second bloom." His roses are special not only for the joy they brings to others, but for the happiness they bestow upon those who care for them.

"This has been a great renewal of our business," says Pinchbeck, whose great grandfather, William Pinchbeck, started rose business in Guilford in 1929.

Roses for Autism, which began in a corner of a single greenhouse, now employees 25 full-time and part-time staff, a third of which are on the Autism spectrum. The non-profit has recently launched an internship program, with hundreds of students cycling through during the year.

Pinchbeck says Roses for Autism now sells about 1 million roses annually, in addition to other cut flowers. That's about a third of Pinchbeck's peak production of three million rose annually in the 1990s.

"We have people employed throughout the farm," Gregan says. "They might be at the cash register or in the shipping department, which is really busy right now because of Valentine's Day. Others are working in the greenhouse, which is very peaceful and somewhat magical. The important thing is you are part of a team. I think our employees really like that -- to be a part of a team."

Pinchbeck Farm ...is famous for its colossal greenhouses, one the length of four football fields, the glass structures seen by aircraft cruising over Long Island Sound. For decades, the Pinchbeck name was synonymous with the finest roses, lush fragrant blooms known for their longevity.

However, by the 1990s Pinchbeck's roses more and more had to compete more with South American varieties that have no scent at all. To improve their shipping qualities, the heady fragrance has been largely bred out of roses, and most long stem roses sold in the U.S. today come from South America, principally Ecuador and Columbia, where labor costs are significantly lower.

New England farms like Pinchbeck's could not compete. In 2008, 79 years after William Pinchbeck started his wholesale rose farm, Tom Pinchbeck was forced to close down. "[South American roses] were really taking a bite out of our business," Pinchbeck says. "We can't compete with their climate and labor costs. So we decided to pull the plug."

It was then that a college friend, Jim Lyman, of the Lyman Orchards dynasty, approached Pinchbeck with an idea. "Jim has a son with autism. He said, 'You know, I think your rose farm would be a great venue for a vocational program for kids on the autism spectrum.' So Jim went around and starting pitching the idea. Ability Beyond Disability in Bethel really liked it, so here we are."

Pinchbeck says while Roses for Autism is a new "incarnation," of the family rose business, a sense of continuity is maintained in the blooms themselves, which all derive from the original 12 rose varieties first cultivated 80 years ago. The classic red Valentine's Day's rose is known as "Forever Yours."...
Here is a link to a video from Roses for Autism from last year: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_c...&v=yTvKgTJJ8Uk

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