Ridgeland Challenger Baseball League Now Accepting New Players for 2013

One of my favorite times of the year is coming soon- springtime. Along with spring, comes one of my favorite activities: baseball. The Ridgeland Challenger League allows all individuals with disabilities to participate in the baseball season. It has been my joy and honor to play alongside these guys for several years now. Kids can begin at age 5 and play into adulthood. The kids have a genuine baseball experience- down to the heat and sweat that comes with Mississippi summers. However, the League prides itself in allowing children, youth, and adults participate in ways that they are comfortable. On the youngest field, it sometimes looks more like practice in order to keep kids engaged in the game. You may see a dad and his son throwing the ball in the outfield or playing chase. A season of Challenger League baseball always comes with “firsts” – I have seen children hit their first baseball, run the bases independently, and slide into home. It never ceases to amaze me to see the difference between the first game and the last one.

To register your child, click on RCL reg form. Don’t forget to turn it in before February 15, 2013 to ensure your child’s place on a team!


Special Needs Symposium in Ridgeland, MS

I found out some exciting news yesterday afternoon. Parents and Kids Magazine is hosting a special needs symposium AT NO COST to families of young children with special needs (birth-twelve years) at Covenant Presbyterian Church Thursday, January 31! This is a great way to meet other families who may be at similar stages as your family, find out about different services available, and receive support from professionals and families alike. Jackson Autism Center will have a booth, so please stop by and visit. The flyer below includes all of the information you need. Registration is required, so act fast.

Flyer – Special Needs Symposium 2013


Autism Public Meeting in Hattiesburg, MS

If you live in the Hattiesburg, MS area and have a child with autism or work with children with autism, you will not want to miss this opportunity to share your thoughts and feelings about what is needed for individuals with autism in the state of Mississippi! The meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, January 22. 2013 from 6:00-7:30 pm at the Trent Lott Center in Hattiesburg. The Mississippi Autism Advisory Committee is seeking feedback from parents and professionals about what Mississippi can do to improve services in the area of autism.

If you are not in the Hattiesburg area, there will be additional Autism Hearings in the following areas soon: Starkville (T.K. Martin Center) and Meridian.

MS CEC February Conference to include Dr. Rebecca Mullican of Jackson Autism Center

The fast approaching MS CEC conference will be held at the Golden Moon Casino and Resort in Philadelphia, MS on February 6-8, 2013. Dr. Rebecca Mullican will have two presentations that you will not want to miss during this conference! One will discuss her dissertation topic of children with autism who use speech generating devices to communicate and the other focuses on the connection between behavior and communication. You can review the schedule here and the session topics here. If you would like general information about Mississippi’s Council for Exceptional Children, you can visit here.

Dr. Mullican’s first presentation, Linking Communication and Behavior, will focus on the need for all individuals to have a consistent way to communicate. Individuals are misunderstood because of challenging behavior and a lack of communication. Through a better understanding of the connection between behavior and communication, professionals and parents can assist individuals with special needs in creating a communication system that works.

Dr. Mullican’s second MS CEC presentation, “It Is His Voice” Daily Device Use with Children who Have Autism, will share information from Dr. Mullican’s dissertation which focused on families of children who have autism and use a Speech Generating Device (SGD) to communicate. Six families across the United States participated in two interviews to share their experiences with their child who has autism and communicates with a SGD. Dr. Rebecca Mullican will be presenting with Dr. John Bishop, a CISE professor at the University of Southern Mississippi.

These and many more presentations will make the MS CEC conference one you will not want to miss. A variety of information will be presented, from the DORE program to positive behavior support, Mississippi Alternate Assessment, Common Core for individuals with moderate and severe disabilities, and twice-exceptional children. Hope to see you there.

~I was unable to attend CEC as scheduled for personal reasons. However, I will be participating in other speaking events so stay tuned…

Hopes and Dreams with Autism in 2013

Happy New Year! A new year brings lots of remembering and reviewing a previous year and making resolutions for the year to come. For teachers, therapists, and parents working with kids with autism, the resolutions we make look a lot different than they look for typically developing children. Instead of making a resolution to start a dance class, make all A’s, or win the soccer tournament, we may be considering the following goals- complete toilet training, eat five new foods, make a friend, or complete the state testing without any huge meltdowns. Opposite ends of the spectrum? I think so…

As we look to this wonderful gift of 2013, we should open our minds and hearts to all that “our” children can become. Maybe my fatal flaw is optimism, but I always dream big and hope high for the kids I work with- and it hasn’t served me wrong. I have seen kids accomplish monumental tasks due in part (I feel) to  the hope and faith I place in them. Dream big as we start this year and watch our kids impress and surpass our goals!

As for Jackson Autism Center, I am going to make my own list of hopes and dreams for JAC as we welcome 2013. Not only will I be continuing one-on-one intervention, but small social skills groups will be starting soon for kids and teenagers/adults. I can’t wait to see what this year will bring!