New Intervention Service Being Offered through Jackson Autism Center

I am very excited to share a new opportunity that is in the works for 2013! It is geared towards children who are 3-6 years old and are being homeschooled, are not yet in a preschool program, or thrive with small group intervention for learning. Other children may be considered if deemed appropriate. This program, “Stay and Play,” is two days a week for two hours and consists of typical school activities such as circle time, one-on-one work, small group work, social play skills, and snack. It is developed for a small group learning environment, with a maximum of 2-3 children per group. Children participating will be learning new academic, social/personal, and fine motor skills through thematic units. “Stay and Play” meets the sensory needs of children with special needs as well as academic and social/personal needs. This program is offered on a first-come, first-serve basis so please inquire if you are interested. Children participating will be required to complete an academic evaluation through Jackson Autism Center.

More information is available here: Jackson Autism Center Stay and Play March to May 2013.

Find My Friends App Assists Children with Autism

APWow. I came across this article this morning about my sweet friend Addison. The Find My Friends app was developed after a very scary night for Addy and her family when she was able to escape her bedroom and go for a neighborhood walk alone with her ipod. Her parents wrote Steve Jobs to share their story and believe Addy was part of the reason the app was created. I remember that night like it was yesterday as Addy’s mom called me in horror to share what had happened to her baby. We were very thankful for her safe return home and hope this app will help others return home safely too.

For people unfamiliar with autism, elopement is when a person wanders or runs off without permission. The Interactive Autism Network conducted a study that said elopement occurs with about half of the children with ASD. Elopement is a major issue that parents and professionals deal with. There have been a variety of tools marketed to assist with eloping, such as the big red safety box, Project Lifesaver, and  items like the “Mommy, I’m Here”  child locator. The Find My Friends app  is an application that helps locate friends with a street address so that situations like Addy’s can hopefully be avoided.

Elopement can happen anywhere. I have had students elope from the playground, classroom, and any other place at school. It is a horrible feeling the moment that you realize he/she has escaped yet again. There is nothing that explains the fear that you feel when you don’t know where he/she has gone. Understanding why the behavior is occurring can assist in trying to prevent further elopements, but does not always fix everything. It is important to do everything we can to prevent reoccurrances, but to also be prepared in case it happens again.

It is important for not only parents and professionals working with autism to understand about elopement, but  community members and safety professionals as well. Too many times, parents are receiving blame for elopement when they are doing all they can to stop their child from running away. Educating others about elopement and letting neighbors know about children that pose a risk of elopement are great starts to further protecting our children.

The following item was helpful to me within a school setting when the child is going to be fairly closeby:

Building Partnerships…Working Together Conference Jackson, MS

After I signed up for this conference, I wanted to make sure everyone knows about it! Dr. Emily Rubin will be here as the keynote speaker which is super exciting along with many other speakers. Dr. Emily Rubin is a coauthor of the SCERTS model, which I am a big fan of- SCERTS combines teaching social communication and behavioral skills with child-centered activities while also focusing on how parents and professionals can better meet the needs of individuals with an autism spectrum disorder.

The conference will be held in Jackson, MS March 4-5, 2013 at the Jackson Convention Center. The fee is only $25 and there are stipends available for parents through the MSPTI. Encourage your teachers to attend also! This is a great opportunity for parents, teachers, school districts, etc. to learn more in order to facilitate the best opportunities for individuals with disabilities. Jackson Autism Center will have a table, so please stop by and visit.

disABILITY Awareness Day Jackson, MS February 13, 2013

In just a few days, on Wednesday, February 13, professionals and families alike will gather at the MS Capitol Building to raise disability awareness, speak with our representatives and senators regarding current laws, and network together to find services for individuals with disabilities. To register, click here.

Jackson Autism Center will be attending this event that is hosted by the Mississippi Coalition for Citizens with Disabilities. Please stop by the table and introduce yourselves. JAC is interested in serving your needs.