Dance anyone? There is a new local dance opportunity available for kids with disabilities ages 3-14! Lindsey Claire Muse is offering dance classes for kids with disabilities in the fall. Classes are open for boys and girls and will focus on simple patterns and repetition as well as the basics of rhythm and fundamentals of ballet. Students will have the chance to improve flexibility, coordination, muscular strength, and social skills. Parents have the option of attending the classes with their child. Students will also be a part of the spring dance recital. The owner, Ms. Muse, expressed her excitement in being able to offer the class. She also said she would love to have classes for preschool and adults if there is an interest. This is a wonderful opportunity to get your child moving!
Dr. Rebecca Mullican was honored to talk about Autism Awareness month during the early morning news on WJTV Channel 12 Monday, April 22. Beth Alexander interviewed Dr. Mullican on first signs of autism, how to help during autism awareness month, and what services Jackson Autism Center is providing to the greater Jackson, MS area.
Autism is diagnosed behaviorally. Some of the first signs to look for are atypical eye contact. This does not mean the child does not make eye contact; it just means the eye contact may be unique from typical eye contact. The child may have fleeting eye contact, look through the sides of eyes at people, or avoid gazing into another person’s eyes. Another sign is speech and language development. Children typically are babbling by 12 months, speaking their first words by 16 months (“mama, dada, dog”), and putting 2 unique words together by 2 years of age (“me eat, no touch, mama go”). Another thing that is looked for when diagnosing children with an autism spectrum disorder is the way they interact with others and their surroundings. They may line toys up, carry items of no significance around with them, or seem to not respond to their name being called. Children with autism do not typically point to communicate with their parents or caregivers to share something they see or want.
There are many ways you can help out during autism awareness month and throughout the year. The Autism Society of America not only accepts monetary gifts; you can also donate your car. It is a great way to donate if you have an old car that runs or doesn’t run. Several national chains are raising money for autism awareness, including Toys R Us, Babies R Us, Dollar General, and TJ Maxx.
There are several local opportunities to volunteer and donate during autism awareness month. Maurices in Northpark Mall is collecting books for Jackson Autism Center. We are so excited about this book drive and how much it can help our clients learn to read, learn language, and enjoy literacy. Besides donating books, you can also donate your time! There are some great programs in the area that serve children with autism such as Hope Hollow Camp and Ridgeland Parks and Recreation programs like Challenger League and TOPSoccer.
Jackson Autism Center continues to grow and provide more services to the Jackson area. Currently, one on one intervention is available for kids with disabilities, focusing on academics, communication, and/or social/behavioral goals. Another service available is small group sessions that prepare preschool aged or homeschool children for structured school programs. Social skills groups began this spring for adults and children grades 2-6 along with toilet training classes. JAC also provides individualized program planning, academic evaluations, and consultation to families who homeschool a child with disabilities. School districts and organizations can also hire Jackson Autism Center to assist with teacher training, program planning, and specific needs of children with disabilities.
It was a great experience to share about autism awareness month on WJTV. Please wear blue and give back to the community to honor individuals with autism and their families during April. Jackson Autism Center looks forward to collecting the books from the book drive Maurices had in honor of individuals in the Jackson area with autism.
In case you missed WJTV’s Autism Awareness segments, you can watch them here:
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.
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.
Families, teachers, therapists, and other individuals who are interested in the well being of persons with autism spectrum disorder should come to this public hearing on Tuesday, November 27 6-7:30 pm at the Eudora Welty Library in downtown Jackson, MS. This is an opportunity given by the Mississippi Autism Advisory Committee to be heard on topics that you believe are important to persons with ASD. I want to encourage you to take time out of your busy schedules to share your experiences with individuals who have autism as well as strengths and weaknesses and areas Mississippi needs to address to better assist these individuals. Every voice should be heard!