A Sentence Can be a Labor of Love

One of the most exciting moments for me as well as a family I work with recently was a journal that included a picture and a sentence. What may you ask is so special about a sentence a first grade child wrote? Because this sentence, my friends, was composed completely independently and written quickly and fluently, with requests to spell a word when needed by a child who has written very few independent thoughts/sentences. So, this was a day we rejoiced!


“The whale is whooshing.”

News at Jackson Autism Center April 2016

During April, as it is autism awareness month, it is my goal for you guys, my readers, to bring something to you each day of April! This is a pretty big challenge as I am the executive director and only interventionist at Jackson Autism Center currently, mom, student pursuing my BCBA, and recently began my supervision towards my BCBA…as overwhelmed as I am with life right now, I know you are too. I know you are tired when you come in and your child is pitching a fit about the ipad or getting up early or didn’t sleep last night…or has tummy problems. I see it as you fake a smile and say things are going well or you sit down as your sweet little (or not so little) boy or girl walks towards me to start our session.

But, I also see you light up when I tell you the awesome thing your son or daughter just did…or how well they sat to work or listened to directions…or looked at me. We are here for every single thing your child does- from the tiny glance my way to the “Hi Beka” or explanation about Easter weekend. No matter what skills your child is working on, we are thrilled to be a part of it. Even on the tired days. Even on the hard days. We. Are. A. Team! That is what makes it worth doing.

So this April, we may not have as many events as usual. And I hate that. I want to provide those fun things, lots of them, but can’t always do it. But here are some pretty cool things going on at JAC in April. And I hope to see you there!

April 23- 9:30 am Grandview Malco Theatre, Madison MS Sensory Friendly Showing of The Jungle Book. Tickets available for purchase.

April 30- 10 am-12 pm Premier Tumble and Cheer, BOUNCE FOR AUTISM. This event is $10 per child with concessions for sale. Come bounce and watch your child light up. Open to the general public.

Our first ever fundraiser t shirts! T shirts to promote autism awareness will be available for purchase through April 8, 2016. Find out more.

We have a support group meeting open to families affected by autism which typically meets the first Sat. of the month at 10 am, with child care available if signing up by the Wednesday prior to the meeting. This is open to all families affected by autism in the Jackson and surrounding areas.

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.

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.

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!

Dr. Rebecca Mullican and Flat Stanley Visit California!

Hi Parents and Kids. Please enjoy my first story and trip with Flat Stanley. The blue words can be clicked on and will teach you new things while you read my story. Enjoy!

Recently, I took Flat Stanley to California! Flat Stanley rode on 2 airplanes to get there! It took a long time! He didn’t have a seat, so he had to sit with the magazines. He did not care because he likes to read. Because it was his first airplane trip, the friendly stewardess brought him a pin that looked like airplane wings- he is not a rookie anymore!

As soon as Stanley and I got to Los Angeles, we went to the Griffith Observatory. I was really excited because a friend had recommended it to me. You can see the whole city of Los Angeles from up there. We were surprised when they saw the Hollywood sign, too! The weather was so cool in California that we rode in the car with the windows down. Stanley was already liking California.

Flat Stanley and Hollywood

The next day, Stanley got to go surfing. He had to wear a wet suit because the water in San Diego is cold. Stanley enjoyed surfing and relaxing in the sun on the beach. Here are some pictures he took at Ocean Beach in San Diego, Ca.

Stanley was really excited on Sunday because he was going to the San Diego Zoo. He took lots of pictures of the animals. His favorite was the gorillas because the mama gorilla was playing with one of her babies. You can watch the animals too by clicking here.

Before Stanley and I came home, we had one more stop- Disneyland. Stanley was so excited because he got to visit Cars Land. Stanley rode lots of rides at Disneyland and California Adventure, but his favorite was the Radiator Springs Racers.

Thanks for stopping by! Come see us again soon and we’ll tell you about our latest adventure!

Dr. Rebecca and Flat Stanley