Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Autism "Fun-draising" Coming Up in Jacksonville, Florida (2013)

Little Star Center presents "Fire & Ice" a benefit Night to Support Autism Awareness, Jacksonville, FL - April 12 from 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm at Suite Jacksonville at the St. Johns Town Center.

HEAL Zoo Walk - Sunday April 21, Registration opens 7:30 walk starts 8:30 am Rain or Shine! At the Jacksonville Zoological Gardens

Jacksonville School for Autism's 9th Annual JSA Charity Golf Classic - Monday, April 22, Registration time is 7:30 with shotgun start at 9:00 at Deerwood Country Club.

Jericho School Charity Golf Tournament - Monday, April 29 Registration time is 8:00 with shotgun start at 8:30 at Deercreek Country Club.

Walk Now for Autism Speaks - Jacksonville - Saturday, September 28, 2013 at the Jacksonville Landing

Jacksonville School for Autism's 2013 Flounder Pounder Charity Fishing Tournament - TBA

Please send me an email at basorem@gmail.com for any Autism related special events in the Northeast Florida area.

Legacies For Our Autistic Children

Last summer, our family was greatly impacted by a layoff that lasted nine months. Yes, many of my fellow Americans have had a dry spell of unemployment for much longer than we have had. But frankly, nine months is way long enough. So what have we done about it?

First, like many, signed up for unemployment benefits. Then, started the job search. Then, the wait for unemployment benefits to kick-in. Finally, they kicked-in. Just enough for groceries and gas. Eventually, we tapped our savings.

What happened next? We saw homes in our neighborhood and surrounding neighborhoods, and then throughout our city, sitting abandoned and neglected and falling apart. We were sad. Sad because we were unemployed and because our city was a reflection of the aftermath of unemployment. The physical condition of these properties was a reminder of our own economic despair.

Then what? In looking around and seeing these properties, we decided to start a business to help clean up these properties. I had some internet savvy so I created a free website through Intuit, ordered really nice business cards, rack cards, and t-shirts through Vista Print. I also listed our business on online sites such as Hot Frog and Manta. Within days we received a call from a company who wanted us to be a contractor for them and we received three work orders immediately! We continue our partnership with the first company that gave us our first opportunity and we have since have been added as vendors with other companies. The work is on and off, and it is hard. But it has helped us keep up with the bills.

Our family learned many things together through this experience. We became closer and it taught our children, including our youngest child (with Autism) business, technical and survival skills and built in them a stronger work ethic. We have told our boys that this is the groundwork for future survival because in their lifetimes, it is likely they will live through at least a couple more economic recessions or depressions after this current one. Though we have since been hired by traditional employers, we want to keep our family business going. It is our legacy for our children's future.

Do you have a similar story?
Have you started a business because of your Autistic child?
Please share!

Social Skills Group Training for High-Functioning Autism

S.S.GRIN (Social Skills Group Intervention) HFA:

S.S.GRIN HFA is a small group intervention program designed to build the social skills and social relationships of children with high functioning autism spectrum disorders (HFASD).

The program is suitable for children ages 7 to 12 and is divided into three modules: (a) Communication Skills, (b) Working with Others, and (c) Friendship Skills. Introductory, process, and review sessions are also integrated into the curriculum for a total of 15 weekly group sessions (see Table 1 on the next page). The sessions are structured and scripted for ease of use, including scripts complete with instructions and specific activities. Video and graphical (social comic scripts) elements are integrated with written materials (e.g., child workbook).

S.S.GRIN HFA sessions are written for a 60-minute timeframe and for groups comprised of 5 to 7 participants. Parent involvement in S.S.GRIN HFA is an integral part of the curriculum. Parents and children participate together in four of the group sessions: an introductory session (orienting families to the intervention goals and procedures) and at the conclusion of each of the three modules (to discuss experiences with community exercises and intervention progress).

During community exercises, children have the opportunity to practice new skills in a naturalistic setting with the help of their parents as coaches (e.g., children are asked to order a meal at a restaurant) to increase generalization of learned skills beyond the intervention setting. In addition, parents have access to relevant web-based resources (e.g., reading lists, tip sheets) to use at home and share with teachers.

Please visit http://www.selmediainc.com/ssgrin/hfa for more information and to order.


David Debs