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Old May 23rd, 2017, 12:31 PM   #691
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 the state of Virginia.

The Blue Ridge Autism and Achievement Center (BRAAC), a program of SVH Services, is a Roanoke, Virginia-based nonprofit center that provides education and services for individuals affected by various challenges. This includes children with Autism Spectrum Disorders...
Quote:
Smith wants the best education for her seven-year-old son, Liam.

"This is a child who stands at the front door, waiting and asking for the bus," Smith said. "He loves school so much."

..."People don't understand that these children have value," Smith said. "They basically think that they're not going to amount to anything. It makes it hard for them to want to spend money on them."

Liam attends the Blue Ridge Autism and Achievement Center (BRAAC) in Lynchburg. BRAAC is a nonprofit private education system licensed by the Virginia Department of Education that offers a highly structured program for students with learning disabilities and autism. Private schools for children with special needs, such as BRAAC, have received state funding under the Children's Services Act (CSA) since 1993.

BRAAC serves 100 students [from the age of 2]...

The CSA does not define a specific spending limit for the amount of money the state should use toward funding private special education. If a student is placed in a private special-education school, the state and local governments are responsible for the student's tuition if the parents cannot afford to pay on their own.

...Tuition at BRAAC can cost $3,500 to $62,000 a year. Giuliano said the cost depends on the level of expertise and staff support each student requires -- from the preschool program to specialized, one-on-one instruction.

An individual work station used by students at BRAAC Lexington.
"We work with some amazing school systems," Giuliano said. "However, there is a certain point where we're able to offer an individualized education that can rarely be done in a public school setting -- simply due to staffing."

BRAAC Lexington currently serves 10 students from Buena Vista, Rockbridge County and Augusta County. The center has four classrooms, where two to three students are placed at individual work stations for one-on-one instruction with a behavior technician. Each student follows an individualized plan -- whether life skills, such as eating and brushing teeth, or communication skills.

Giuliano said BRAAC does its best to cover costs on its own -- with fundraising events and grant writing -- but is still reliant on CSA-mandated funding.

...Andrea Smith, however, is still fearful of possible state budget cuts. She knows firsthand what can happen if a child with autism does not receive the proper education and care that private schools such as BRAAC offer.

In 2014, Smith and her family briefly moved to Howard County, Maryland.

...Two years later, Smith moved her family back to Lynchburg just so Liam could return to BRAAC.

"We're so happy to be back," she said. "He can function. He can be a person. BRAAC has been life-changing."

The General Assembly's work group is to submit a report to the chairmen of the House Appropriations and Senate Finance committees by Nov. 1, in advance of the next regular General Assembly session. Meanwhile, educators and parents alike are contacting state representatives and sharing their stories.

"I am grateful that [the amendments] did not pass, but our work is not done," Smith said. "These kids' lives are very much on the line."
Here is a link to a video from the BRAAC preschool from last year: https://www.facebook.com/braacva/vid...4652185744381/


Last edited by Visionary7903; May 24th, 2017 at 12:52 PM.
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Old May 24th, 2017, 01:11 PM   #692
Visionary7903 Male
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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 Virginia.

STEPS is a National Institute of Health-funded research study based in Blacksburg, Virginia. Utilising a participatory process approach to program development, STEPS seeks to meet the self-identified needs of all central stakeholders including the student with Autism Spectrum Disorders facing transition, the student?s parents or guardians, and the student?s secondary and post-secondary school...
Quote:
With a growing number of people being diagnosed with Autism, the Virginia Tech Center for Autism Research, affiliated with the College of Science, is breaking new ground in helping those who have the condition succeed in what is for anyone, a new, challenging, and often difficult environment -- college.

With a $666,000 grant from the National Institutes of Mental Health, a division of the National Institutes of Health, Susan White, associate professor of psychology and co-director of the Virginia Tech Autism Clinic, has been working many years to make Virginia Tech the most Autism friendly campus in America.

"Members of the Department of Psychology and the staff of the Services for Students with Disabilities office have been working for about six years now providing free support groups for students, staff and faculty," she said. "We're getting closer and it needs to include more than just the students with ...(Autism Spectrum Disorder), it needs to include everyone and permeate the institutional climate to go beyond tolerance and toward embracing differences and building strengths so all students can meet their potential."

White says the neurodiversity initiative won't be easy as it will require working with families, providers, and students to tap into the capacity of Virginia Tech to attract highly talented students.

"Autism isn't like other disabilities in that there isn't an easily identifiable instrument, such as a wheelchair ramp, that triggers people to think about access for those with disabilities," White said. "Autistic people are often thought of as just shy, or introverted, so it's easy to overlook there are real challenges."

Emotional regulation and poor time management skills are just two of the issues White helps [Autism Spectrum Disorder] students work with, but in some ways it's not the most limiting.

"Many [Autism Spectrum Disorder] patients have not developed the self-advocacy skills necessary for voicing their needs and standing up for accommodations to help them succeed," she said. "We're helping provide that voice."

To give volume to that voice, White's research is creating a formalized, repeatable transition program for students coming from secondary school to the university level.

"There are a handful of programs to bring [Autism Spectrum Disorder] students into the college life," White says, "but there is limited or no empirical basis for what really works to help these students. We're hoping to not only develop a good program, but also determine what really works in this regard."

White and her team are looking at a three year project with phase one, which began this month, involving data collection, focus groups and an advisory panel to inform critical elements of the program.

The second phase, which will take up the majority of the time will involve implementation with participants receiving help as offered currently, or the Stepped Transition in Education Program for Students with [Autism Spectrum Disorder], or STEPS, which was piloted in 2013. A paper on the outcome is currently in review.

Enrollment will start in March 2015 and White hopes to eventually have 60 students in the program.

"This is a three-pronged program where we're supporting the students, their parents, and educators at the secondary and post-secondary levels with on-site training, web-based training, and on campus immersion experiences for students and parents," White said.
Here is a link to a video: 400 Bad Request

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