Butterfly Wonderland Becomes the First Butterfly Education Facility to Earn Certified Autism Center™ Designation

The International Board of Credentialing and Continued Education Standards (IBCCES) announced today Butterfly Wonderland is the second attraction in Arizona—and first butterfly education facility—to become a Certified Autism Center™ (CAC). Sister attraction OdySea Aquarium was the first to become certified in Arizona in 2019. Continue Reading →

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Brain Balance of Visalia Earns Board Certified Cognitive Center Designation

Brain Balance Achievement Center in Visalia, California, has earned the designation of Board Certified Cognitive Center (BCCC), granted by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES). The center recently completed the IBCCES program, which requires that at least 80% of student-facing staff at each location complete a training and certification program that focuses on working with individuals with a variety of needs, such as anxiety, dyslexia, autism and ADHD. Continue Reading →

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Arizona Goat Yoga is the First Yoga Company to Become a Certified Autism Center™

Arizona Goat Yoga is now a Certified Autism Center (CAC), designated by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES). The designation requires staff to complete an autism sensitivity and awareness program and complete updated training to qualify for renewal every 2 years. Arizona Goat Yoga joins almost 60 organizations in and around Mesa, AZ, who have completed or committed to the CAC process as part of a movement started by Visit Mesa. Mesa is now the first Autism Certified City. Continue Reading →

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The Success of using virtual reality and augmented reality with kids with Autism

For a long time, individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) had been misunderstood and stigmatized. This type of societal response didn’t provide any support or solutions for people with ASD and their families.

However, with developments in psychology, psychiatry, neuroscience, and related scientific fields, ASD came to be understood much better, and corresponding therapies have been introduced. With the emergence of technological innovations such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), individuals with ASD have a better chance of increasing their capacity for learning and developing the skills necessary to navigate the complexities of adult life. In this paper, we present an overview of the role of VR and AR technology in the development of cognitive, communication, and social skills among children with ASD.

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Featured Certified Cognitive Coach: Francesco Paladino

Francesco Paladino, Life Coach, Motivational Speaker, Certified Cognitive Coach (CCC)

“My training with IBCCES was the most layered and priceless education I received. My awareness of communication and client obstacles has been heightened. As a coach and a motivational speaker, I am better because of my training.”

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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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What it Means to be “Bad” – The Challenge of Special Needs and Criminal Arrest

By Carol S. Weinman, Esq., C.A.S., International Speaker and Author

“My son really is a good boy. And, now, he thinks he’s bad.” These were the words of a mom who recently witnessed her adult son – with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) – in handcuffs.  It got me thinking even more about the unspoken fallout of an ASD individual’s encounter with police. Boys with ASD experience “hits” to their self esteem at a very early age. They feel different, sometimes odd, and often ostracized and misunderstood. Highly vulnerable from a young age, they are more susceptible to the after effects of being arrested, handcuffed or fingerprinted. They transition to adulthood with a compromised sense of self-esteem and self-concept. The impact of being arrested and handcuffed cannot be minimized. It is traumatic for anyone at any age, but for an individual with ASD, it can be even more devastating.

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How Childhood Jobs Prepared me for Success as an Adult with Autism

By 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.

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Tips for Overcoming Challenges with Special Needs Hair Care

“Brush Up” with These Helpful Tips

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

In the late 1980s, individuals with disabilities were coming into the bright spotlight of media and society, and my husband, Rod, and I vowed we would never keep Heidi (our sweet little daughter with Down syndrome) “shielded” at home like families frequently did in the past. Her sisters were proud of her, too, despite frequent rude stares from others. One thing I always did to bolster our confidence before going out with my little chickadees was make sure their faces were clean and hair was brushed, with a bow, barrette, or headband added including little Heidi. Her munchkin-angel face looked even cuter with curls, ribbons, and bows.

Fast forward a few years. Heidi’s late-onset autism (unbeknownst to us) created an extreme sensitivity with anything around her face, such as lip balm, sunscreen, eyeglasses, and all hair accessories. First, her annoyance was baffling, then frustrating, then down-right aggravating. Heidi detested anything in her hair, and seemed oblivious to pain when she pulled out a barrette, curler, flower, elastic, or ribbon. It drove me crazy.

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Autism Training in Law Enforcement and the Call to Action

By Carol S. Weinman, Esq., C.A.S., National Speaker and Author

The willing desire to work together in unraveling the puzzle of autism is growing among law enforcement. The number of calls I receive to present on the topic of autism and police training increases every day. The reason: law enforcement officers want to better understand the complex mindset of those with autism spectrum disorder and more importantly, learn how to interact with them.

Hardly a month goes by anymore when the media isn’t reporting about someone with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) who is arrested or has an unfortunate police encounter. That’s because what appears to be suspicious or criminal activity is behavior characteristic of an individual with ASD. So, how can a police officer know the difference? Well, the first step in prevention of these traumatic incidents among police officers and the ASD community is education.

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