Study Released on Dreampad, a Certified Autism Resource

dreampadSarah Schoen, PhD, OTR of the SPD Foundation studied sleep and behavior in children with ASD using the Dreampad in a study that was published April 2017 in the peer reviewed Open Journal of Occupational Therapy. Dr. Schoen studied 15 children who used the Dreampad nightly for three weeks and analyzed the results of a pediatric sleep diary completed by parents. All 15 children showed improvements in sleep and every parent was interested in continuing use of the Dreampad. Parents reported reductions in bedtime resistance, sounder sleep and, importantly, better emotional, social and school functioning.

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Weathering the Storms of Life? Build a Stress Management Umbrella

By Elayne Pearson, C.A.S., Special-needs Preparedness Specialist, is an award-winning writer, poet, presenter, advocate, author, and actress.  website  instagram

Over the years, I’ve looked for available and affordable ways to help manage my stress and anxiety levels, especially when our darling fourth child, Heidi Ann, was born with Down syndrome, and then a few years later, became dual-diagnosed with autism. Life was crazy. With never-ending worries, constant physical fatigue, concern over finances, extra obligations, and emotional heart-aches for my family, we bravely smiled and faced the storms of life. Today, I’m very grateful we’re all alive, stable, healthy, and happily engaged in life. (Experts tell me, this successful scenario is rare.)

If you love someone with health problems, a syndrome, or special needs, you’ve probably already experienced some heavy storms.  Perhaps you’ve been drenched to the skin and don’t know how to protect your loved ones from this challenging, yet very rewarding realm.  

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The ABCs of Early Intervention

By Taveesha Guyton, Social Worker

As a young child, I remember being dropped off at grandmother’s house and sitting and watching black and white movies of The Three Stooges on a floor model television in the living room. I remember watching the Price is Right and clapping my hands because I saw the audience do this on TV. Now we have IPADS which help children with eye- hand coordination, Leap Frog which helps children read and other assistive technology.

As a Social Worker, I am always concerned with the growth and development of my children. I often, compare my kids’ growth to the milestone chart given by the pediatrician to see if my client is developing according to the benchmarks. The questions are, what happens if children are below where they need to be and are there anything parents can do to help? What is Early Intervention? How does it help families? And what happens if a child has a diagnosis as being developmentally delayed at a young age?  

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IBCCES Distinguishes Beaches Resorts as Certified Autism Centers

Personalized Autism Training and Certification Awarded To Caribbean-Based Hospitality Resort Chain

The International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) is proud to welcome Beaches Resorts – the Caribbean’s leading luxury-included ®resorts for everyone – to the family of internationally-recognized Certified Autism Centers (CAC) following staff-wide autism sensitivity and awareness training within each of their three Kids Camp facilities in Jamaica and Turks and Caicos. Additionally, each of Beaches Resorts’ Kids Camp team members have received an Autism Certificate (AC) having successfully completed a demanding training program that better equips them to welcome families with individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

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Announcing the First Advanced Certificated Autism Certificate in Nigeria

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IBCCES is happy to recognize the first Advanced Certified Autism Certificate holder in Nigeria! Ajimisogbe John Temidayo works at Nobelova Gradani and The Lagos Teaching hospital Nigeria as a neuro-developmental specialist and recently completely the IBCCES Advanced ABA Training Program to earn the AAC designation.

“There is no greater feeling than been able to work with children with neurodevelopmental disorders and to attain great and remarkable functional success,” said Temidayo. “These lovely children were misunderstood because of who they found themselves to be, but exceeding joy comes from giving them and their families and friends well wishes and hope, and enabling them to have and live a better quality of life. The AAC is makes me more than adequate to achieve anything.”

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Let’s Talk About Depression

By Guest Contributor Claudia Cortez

World Health Day is April 7 and this year the World Health Organization (WHO) is tackling depression. Per statistics from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 40 million adults suffer from depression in the United States alone. Globally, that number escalates to an astounding 350 million people. The prevalence among children and adolescents is much higher: 1 in every 4 teens will have a major depressive episode in high school. Depression also accounts for the second leading cause of death among 15 to 29 year olds–suicide. In an ongoing effort to raise awareness, reduce stigma, and mobilize the community to learn, recognize, and treat depression, WHO has implemented a year-long campaign with the slogan, “Depression: Let’s Talk.” The campaign began October 2016, but it’s not too late to take part in the conversation. 

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Spreading Acceptance: How to Create & Share Your Own Story

donnaBy Donna Sigurðardóttir, founder of I am UNIK

My daughter’s future is bright.  She is thriving at school because they are meeting her every need with an admirable flexibility, thoughtfulness and respect.  All of which has been achieved with close cooperation between home and school, something that I believe are key factors in improving a child’s quality of life.  Why? Because, on one hand we have the child’s parents, who are experts in the child and on the other hand we have the teacher, which is an expert in teaching methods and goal setting. When these two respect each others roles and take the time to listen and work together, magic happens!

Our teacher’s mentality is priceless.  They have so much respect for my daughter and they put every effort in customizing her curriculum and learning environment to her needs. As an example I could mention that she always arrives late for school. Is that okay? Imagine this; she arrives into an empty school building and is exposed to minimum sensory input, which means that her stress levels are low and she gets a good start of the day. Otherwise it would take her teachers about an hour to unwind her after a chaotic school start and a maximum sensory input. That kind of a solution requires flexible thinking and caring.

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Why Dr. Stephen Shore is One of My Favorite Autism Advocates

kerryBy Kerry Magro, Self-Advocate, National Speaker, and Author

I’ve written many articles about how the lack of having a peer role model growing up on the spectrum affected me. I didn’t know about Dr. Temple Grandin and others who had autism that I could look upon to show me how far I could go. As I reached adulthood though I learned about advocates such as Dr. Grandin, Carly Fleischmann, Alexis Wineman, John Elder Robison, Amy Gravino, Jesse Saperstein, the list goes on and on.

One person though who I particularly look up to is none other than international speaker Dr. Stephen Shore. Stephen Shore is not only a dear friend but also one of the biggest role models I currently have in my life.

Stephen Shore Kerry Magro PhotoWhen I first met Stephen it was at an Autism Society of America conference. He immediately befriended me and wanted to get to know me better. After our first meeting I’d go on to read several of his books and later would be able to contribute a chapter to a book he co-authored called College for Students with Disabilities: We Do Belong. I to this day use his quote “if you’ve met one individual with autism, you’ve met one individual with autism” in a majority of my presentations. It shows how wide and unique our spectrum truly is.

Another quote which I enjoy from Stephen is on his website where he mentions the “unlimited potential for people on the autism spectrum.” What a wonderful message. I think that’s something our entire community wants to see for our loved ones.

Now even years later it’s been astonishing to see how many times our paths have crossed. Although we are only a trade ride away from each other, me being from New Jersey and Stephen teaching in New York at Adelphi University, we still end up running into each other around the world speaking at different events. Most recently, our paths even crossed at ISCRD 2017 hosted by IBCCES in St. Augustine, Florida.

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How Childhood Jobs Prepared Me for Success as an Autistic Adult

Anita outsideBy Anita Lesko, BSN, RN, MS, CRNA 

I have the good fortune to be a friend of Dr. Temple Grandin. We have a lot in common. We are both autistic, and we share a very similar youth that played a big factor in our adult life. We both started having jobs at a very early age. Temple often talks about her early days, when her job was to greet guests at the door for her mom’s dinner party, and take their coats to hang up. Yes, it was a job. She was given a responsibility to carry out.

Among her numerous other childhood jobs was the one I, too, did for many years — mucking out horse stalls. In conversations with Temple on the phone, we’ve talked about those days of our teenage years spent shoveling out one stall after another. We both love horses and being around them. It was peaceful and it was also a form of therapy. In essence, it was our occupational therapy.

All the childhood jobs we did prepared us for the day when we’d start our careers. We were used to working, showing up on time, following orders from a boss, figuring out how to get a job done. It was just a regular part of our life. So, when the day came to embark into our careers, we really didn’t have to transition into anything. We were already there.

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