Bridging the Gap Between Autism & Healthcare Providers

By Anita Lesko, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, Autism Advocate, Author

I am a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist for the past 27 years.  I’ve been working full time ever since graduating from Columbia University in 1988 with my Master’s in Nurse Anesthesia. I specialize in anesthesia for neurosurgery, organ transplants, and orthopedic joint replacements.

Oh, yes, there’s something else I’d like you to know!

I’m autistic, and I didn’t even know this until I was fifty, yes, 50, when I “accidentally” discovered it. 
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Using Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Presume Competence for ALL Individuals

By: Sheryl Rosin Ph.D.,CCC-SLP, Owner/Director of Palm Beach Speech-Language Specialists, CAS and Trainer for IBCCES, Adjunct Professor, Nova Southeastern University

domMeet Dominik

I have been working with individuals with autism for 20 years and have met many interesting and exciting people along the way. In this blog, I have someone that I would like to introduce to you that I believe is an extraordinary person. His name is Dominik and he is 14-years-old. Dominik has diagnoses of autism and apraxia and is essentially non-verbal with his spoken language, but is definitely NOT non-verbal when using other means to communicate aside from the spoken word. Upon meeting Dominik, you may assume that he has limited communication skills, but since we presume competence when working with our clients, I learned that the opposite it true. Dominik has a passion for writing and using language to communicate his vast interests. One of the ways he has learned to do this is through an augmentative communication application called “Speak for Yourself (SFY).” SFY runs as a communication device on the iPad and uses synthetic speech to aid individuals with their expressive language output. It is based on core vocabulary and allows the person to communicate using generative language. Dominik has learned to use the augmentative communication system to express his wants and needs, feelings, hold conversations with others, and to communicate his expansive knowledge and interests in a variety of topics. Our conversations using AAC have ranged from the etiology of autism to future careers. Dominik thinks that vaccines “are the culprit of autism” and wants to be “a neurologist” when he is older. When Dominik communicates using AAC, he let us into his amazing world of thought. Not only does he use SFY; he can type on a computer keyboard, write with facilitated assistance, and is now starting to use verbal speech as AAC has been a bridge to developing spoken language for him.

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Featured Autism Specialist: Thelma Atha

Thelma Atha, M.Ed, CAS; Director of Counseling Department & Learning Support Specialist at Lincoln International Academy in Managua, Nicaragua; Private practice in Managua, Nicaragua focused on Sensory Integration Therapy, TEACCH, and Behavior Modification Therapy.

Country: Managua, Nicaragua

School/ Organizations/Center: Lincoln International Academy, Managua, Nicaragua

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Is Your “Back to School” Budget Stretched? 18 Ways to Keep it UP!

elayne photoBy Elayne Pearson, Special Needs Safety/Preparedness Specialist, CAS

More than one mother recently confided that getting her children ready to enter school with its fees, clothes, and required items was a real financial burden—and those students weren’t even in high school yet.  I recalled those same September concerns years ago, knowing taxes were also due in November, and Christmas was just around the corner.  With four amazing daughters, including Heidi (our beautiful daughter with Down syndrome and late-onset autism) my husband Rod and I felt so blessed, but our budget and stress levels were very stretched. With Heidi’s special needs for good quality vitamins/food, calming craniosacral therapy appointments each week, and educational toys and more – my motto, “keep it up!” served us well. Today’s parents can live this way, too, with some of our common sense advice.

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Reputation Matters: Personal Branding for Autism Professionals

LidaBy Lida Citroen, IBCCES Board Member, LIDA360

Everyone has a personal brand – whether you are a politician, celebrity, physical therapist, or teacher  — that forms their reputation, in person and online. Right or wrong, other people’s perception of us determines whether they want to work with us, hire us, partner with us, or interact with us.

In the 20+ years I’ve worked as a personal branding and reputation management specialist, I’ve helped define, design and re-direct the perceptions of my clients in industries across education, technology, healthcare, finance, coaching, and many more. I can say with all certainty that your personal brand is directly related to the opportunities you attract and the credibility you hold in your field.

As an Autism professional, you interact with educators, students, parents, administrators and other colleagues, who form perceptions of you that directly influences whether they see you as valuable and relevant to them.

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New School Year Resolutions

By Brigid Rankowski

brigid

Once again, we are at the time of year that brings about so many mixed emotions for professionals in the education field; The beginning of a new school year. The smell of fresh markers, the sight of a completely clean classroom, a desk without piles of paperwork are all soon to be fleeting things as the momentum of the school year kicks things into high gear. For some educators who are taking on new positions or responsibilities this year, there may we waves of apprehension wondering how everything will manage to get done on time. Others who have been in the field for a while may wonder how they can incorporate new ideas into their lesson plans to keep students interested. There are so many different situations going on and everyone is different.

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I Can’t Read Without My Glasses (an analogy)

By Lois Jean Brady, Author of Apps for Autism – www.itherapyllc.com

 

If you take my glasses away – I can’t read

If you encourage me – I still can’t read

If you give me a verbal model, I know what to say – but I still can’t read

If you give me cues or prompts, I have an idea of what to say – but I still can’t read

If you offer chips and skittles (reinforcers), I still won’t be able to read

If you test me, I will fail and be labeled illiterate or, worse, cognitively delayed

I may referred to resource or special education

If you give me my glasses

I can read!

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Tips for Attending a Successful & Affordable Autism Conference

By: Taveesha Guyton, Social Worker, Future CAS

In July, I was an attendee of the Autism Society National Conference held in the beautiful city of New Orleans, Louisiana. I am a social worker who specializes in working with the intellectually disabled and autism community. When the opportunity arose for me to not only go to New Orleans, a city I have admired for many years, but also attend a conference I professionally attached too, I became Super Man, “Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound”!

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Meet IBCCES: Alison Williams

Alison (1)IBCCES is excited to introduce Director of International Development, Alison Williams. In her role at IBCCES, Alison organizes international conferences, including the upcoming conference in September on teaching students with autism with our partner St. Andrew’s Autism Centre in Singapore.  She additionally handles all international sales for global educators, international schools, and healthcare groups, working with the rest of the team at IBCCES and our partners around the world.

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Problems with Parades and your Special Needs Child? Keep it “UP”!

By Elayne Pearson, Special Needs Preparedness Specialist, Author, and National Speaker

July is great for recalling our amazing heritage in this choice land. I adore the patriotic music, programs, and parades. However, there were many years when even attending a local July 4th parade with Miss Heidi, our cute daughter with Down syndrome and autism, was very stressful. Personally, I loved the spirit of patriotism, the scalloped star-spangled bunting, and creating parade floats. Our four daughters in their crisp red, white, and blue outfits (and matching hair bows) undoubtedly felt the excitement in the air too, but our youngest, Heidi (who craved peace, quiet, and predictability) probably felt like she was entering a war zone, with random firecrackers, flashing police lights directing the excited mobs, smoke and BBQ odors from vendors, and bands playing with true vigor.  More than once, Heidi darted off in a “parade panic” and our family (also in a panic) thankfully always found her.

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