Category: autism

Faith Equestrian Therapeutic Center Select Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society’s Joe Marchese and WSAV’s Ariella Scalese as Emcees for the 2018 Hearts for Healing Gala on Feb. 9

Faith Equestrian Therapeutic Center Select Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society’s Joe Marchese and WSAV’s Ariella Scalese as Emcees for the 2018 Hearts for Healing Gala on Feb. 9

(SAVANNAH, GA) Joe Marchese, immediate past president of the Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society (LDSS) in Savannah, and Ariella Scalese, forecaster for the WSAV Storm Team 3, have been chosen as the emcees for the Hearts for Healing Gala to benefit Faith Equestrian Therapeutic Center. The second annual event will be held on Friday, Feb. 9, at the Tybee Island Wedding Chapel.

Faith Equestrian is a non-profit organization founded to improve the quality of life for children with special needs through therapeutic interaction with horses at the center.

Joe Marchese

Joe Marchese

Marchese, who has years of experience in the differently abled community, will help guide the night’s activities, which include dinner, dancing, a silent auction and live music from the John Brackett Quartet.

“I am humbled and honored to be presented with this opportunity,” said Marchese. “As a founding board member of the Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society, and as a parent of a child with Down Syndrome I have been exposed to the emotional and cognitive challenges faced by children with different abilities and I love what a difference that Faith Equestrian makes in their lives.”

Ariella Scalese

Ariella Scalese

Scalese graduated from Lehigh University, where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Earth and Environmental Science and minored in Mass Communication before coming to Savannah to continue her career in broadcasting. Scalese volunteers for a number of organizations including Faith Equestrian.

“Since moving here in 2016, I made it a goal to find local organizations that I’m passionate about and donating my time to them,” said Scalese. “Faith Equestrian has given me so much more than I could ever give to it, and I’m honored to be named an emcee for their annual gala.”

Faith Equestrian serves children with all types of challenges, including autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, learning disabilities and behavioral disorders. Interaction with the horses allows the students to build strength, develop coordination skills and gain confidence in an outdoor and supportive setting.

Gala Logo

2018 Hearts for Healing Gala

The gala is the center’s largest fundraiser of the year and helps cover the costs for children to participate in the Faith Equestrian program.

Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. for the silent auction; the reception will begin at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $150 and may be purchased at http://www.faithetc.org/hearts-for-healing-gala/.

The 2018 Hearts for Healing Gala is sponsored by Savannah Special Events by Ranco, First City Events, Low Country Paper Co., Whitemarsh Beverage, J Thomas Catering, Savannah’s Hall of Cakes, South Magazine and Tybee Island Wedding Chapel. Sponsorship opportunities are still available.

MORE ABOUT THE LOWCOUNTRY DOWN SYNDROME SOCIETY
The Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society (LDSS) is a family support group to benefit people with Down syndrome and their families through local leadership, outreach, education and advocacy to champion and celebrate acceptance and inclusion. Meetings are held every fourth Tuesday of the month, typically with a guest speaker and social time for families to meet and interact. LDSS encourages people to bring their children to all of their meetings. LDSS is an affiliate of the National Down Syndrome Society. For more information about LDSS, visit http://www.ldssga.org/

ABOUT FAITH EQUESTRIAN THERAPEUTIC CENTER
Faith Equestrian Therapeutic Center, 243 Appaloosa Way in Guyton, GA. 31312, exists to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities through the power of the horse. The program serves children ages 4 to 18 with all types of challenges, including autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, learning disabilities and behavioral disorders. The center offers therapeutic riding courses and an equestrian program in partnership with local schools. For more information, visit https://faithetc.org

MEDIA CONTACT
Cynthia Wright
Carriage Trade PR
cynthia.wright@carriagetradepr.com
912.856.9075

Advertisements

The Matthew Reardon Center’s 2018 Autism Conference Announced for March 2

The Matthew Reardon Center’s 2018 Autism Conference Announced for March 2

(SAVANNAH, GA) The Matthew Reardon Center for Autism’s third annual autism conference will be held on Friday, March 2, 2018, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Coastal Georgia Center, located at 305 Fahm St. The conference provides learning opportunities for parents and caregivers, educators and individuals on the Autism Spectrum.

The event will include a keynote address and five breakout sessions. Lunch will be provided at 12:30 pm with the keynote address being delivered at that time.

Keynote speaker, Lydia X.Z. Brown, will address the importance of neurodiversity, the concept that neurological differences, like autism and ADHD, are the result of normal, natural variations in the human genome.

Brown is an advocate, organizer and author focused on violence against disabled people in schools, institutions, prisons and law enforcement personnel. A visiting lecturer at Tufts University, Brown designed and teaches a course on disability and inter-sectional social movements. Brown is also a founding board member of the Alliance for Citizen-Directed Supports, which advocates for people with disabilities to have full community integration and control over their services.

“I can’t imagine having a better keynote speaker for the 2018 conference,” said Faye Montgomery, Advocacy Director of the Matthew Reardon Center for Autism. “Lydia is knowledgeable in such a diverse range of topics within the autistic community and will have truly invaluable information to share with our attendees.”

Breakout session speakers and their topics are listed below:

FOR EDUCATORS:

Jennifer Phillips, Director of Professional Learning at Mid-Valley Special Education Cooperative: “Ways to Structure Classroom Environments for Every Student’s Success”

Christy Calbos and Debbie Dobbs, lawyer/advocates: “Top 5 Reasons Parents Hire Educational Advocates and Attorneys and How Savvy Educators can Avoid Complaints”

Lydia X.Z. Brown, advocate, author and visiting lecturer at Tufts University: “Ableism and the Meaningful Inclusion of People with Autism in Educational Settings”

FOR PARENTS AND CAREGIVERS:

Suzette Rosario, BCBA and Director of the May Institute: “Supporting Individuals with Autism when Behavior Creates Challenges”

Rachel Seaman, post-doctoral fellow at the Emory Univ. Autism Center: “Formulating Plans to Support People with Autism in the Transition from High School to Post-Secondary Life”

INDIVIDUALS WITH AUTISM:

Daniel Wendler, author and doctoral candidate in clinical psychology at George Fox University: “Ways to Find a ‘Place of Belonging’ – Exploring Social Skills Development, Friendship and Development of a Personal Community”

Wendler himself was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome in high school and has authored two books, Improve Your Social Skills and its sequel, Level Up your Social Skills.

Early admission tickets to the 2018 Autism Conference are $100; after Jan. 21, tickets will be $125. Continuing education units are an additional $20.

For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit http://www.2018autismconference.com/ or contact Faye Montgomery at 912-355-9098 or fmontgomery@matthewreardon.org

Matthew Reardon Center for Autism Third Annual Autism Conference

Matthew Reardon Center for Autism’s Third Annual Autism Conference

ABOUT THE MATTHEW REARDON CENTER FOR AUTISM (MRCA):
MRCA operates southeast Georgia’s only accredited year-round day school for children with autism. They have provided advocacy and outreach services to more than 800 families across southeast Georgia and have hosted professional training and instructional opportunities for more than 4,000 family members, educators, health professionals and self-advocates. The organization was incorporated in 2000 and currently serves 22 students through ADVANCE Academy. They have 11 full-time employees and operate in a 6,000-square-foot suite at 6602 Abercorn St #200, Savannah, GA 31405. Website: http://www.matthewreardon.org/

CONTACT
Patti T. Victor, President and CEO
The Matthew Reardon Center for Autism, Inc, and Advance Academy
912-355-9098 (office)
912-352-2460 (fax)
pvictor@matthewreardon.org 
http://www.matthewreardon.org

MEDIA CONTACT
Cynthia Wright
Carriage Trade Public Relations
912-856-9075
cynthia.wright@carriagetradepr.com
www.carriagetradepr.com

Five Ways to Make Holidays Happier for Children with Different Abilities

Five Ways to Make Holidays Happier for Children with Different Abilities

By Dr. Ben Spitalnick, Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society, Board of Directors

Every parent wants the holiday season to be a special, joyous time for their child, and parents of children with different abilities or special needs usually have to take a couple of extra steps to ensure the holidays are just that.

To help along the way, the Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society offers five tips to help make the holiday season run smoothly and keep your kids happy.

1. Prepare Your Child
Your child wants to know the plans for the holiday season as much as you do. To reduce stress and prepare your child for upcoming activities, explain what you’ll be doing, who will be there and what the schedule is for the day. Write down the schedule for them and include pictures.

2. Prepare Your Family
Remind your family of the needs of your child. If there are other little ones, ask their parents to talk to them about your child’s differences. This can help reduce confusion and will foster a sense of understanding. It might help, a few days before everyone gets together, to send family members an informational email with 10 things to know about your child.

3. Bring Familiar Toys
The holidays are a chaotic time. Familiarity will help your child remain calm and feel comfortable. Bring his or her favorite toy, book or something that soothes your child at home. When things get a little too crazy, that may help your child feel comfortable.

4. Ask For Help
Don’t feel guilty for asking for help. Every parent needs help, and you do too. Explain the needs of your child to another family member or two and ask them to step in when you need a break. Explain to your child, too, that this person will be playing with them or watching them for a few minutes while you are busy.

5. Let Your Child Help
Preparing for the holidays can be stressful, but if you let your child help, you can create family traditions and keep everyone a little happier. Give your child a task such as greeting everyone at the door or stirring the sauce. This will keep your child focused, reduce his or her stress levels and give you an extra hand.

To create a happier time of celebration, we encourage all parents of children with different abilities to prepare their little ones a bit extra this holiday season. These small proactive measures can do a lot to help your child adjust to large crowds, new situations and days off-schedule. We hope this will make your holiday season a little jollier.

Dr. Ben Spitalnick is managing partner of Pediatric Associates of Savannah and currently serves as Representative for the Savannah area to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Spitalnick is from North Atlanta and is a graduate of the University of Georgia, received his medical degree from MCG, and did his Pediatric Residency at Memorial Health University here in Savannah. He serves on the board of directors for the Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society.

LDSS

Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society

Faith Equestrian To Hold 2018 Gala to Support Equine Therapy for Children on Feb. 9

Faith Equestrian To Hold 2018 Gala to Support Equine Therapy for Children on Feb. 9

(SAVANNAH, GA) Faith Equestrian Therapeutic Center will hold their second annual Hearts for Healing Gala on Friday, Feb. 9, at the Tybee Island Wedding Chapel. The evening will include dinner, dancing and live music from the John Brackett Quartet. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for the silent auction; the reception will begin at 7 p.m.

Faith Equestrian is a non-profit organization founded to improve the quality of life for children with special needs through the therapeutic nature of horses.

Gala Logo

2018 Hearts for Healing Gala

“Fundraisers and donations cover all the costs for a child to participate in our program,” said Bonnie Rachael, the program’s founder and executive director. “The Gala is our largest fundraiser and a great way for us to create awareness for our unique program.”

Rachael opened the center in 2006 with only two students, three horses and a $25,000 budget. Today, the program has expanded to serve more than 125 participants from Chatham, Effingham and surrounding counties. It has a $200,000 budget, eleven horses, two instructors and more than 60 volunteers.

The center is accredited by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH, Intl.), which reports some of the benefits of equine assisted activities and therapies on their website (www.pathintl.org).

Faith Equestrian serves children with all types of challenges, including autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, learning disabilities and behavioral disorders. Interaction with the horses allows the students to build strength, develop coordination skills, and gain confidence in an outdoor and supportive setting.

Michael, an autistic child whose real name is being withheld to protect the privacy of he and his family, began taking therapeutic riding lessons at Faith Equestrian in 2011 in an effort to improve his attention span, his ability to follow directions, keep calm in new situations, as well as to become able to speak.

Part of Michael’s lesson each week was to encourage speech as part of the therapeutic plan along with following directions of steering the horse. The instructor repeated phrases telling Michael to tell his horse to “walk on” and increased the speed of the horse from a walk to a trot.

“It took 8 months, patience and a horse, for Michael to begin to speak,” said Rachael. “During the normal routine of his riding lesson, he said ‘WALK ON’ himself in a loud voice. Everyone, volunteers and mom alike broke into tears of joy.”

Since that day, Michael has improved cognitively, behaviorally, and physically. He has begun using sign language he has learned, is now beginning to steer his horse and follow the instructor’s directions.

“These are the types of stories that help us know we are changing people’s lives,” said Rachael. “And we need the community to support this powerful program.”

Tickets for the Gala are $150 and may be purchased at http://www.faithetc.org/hearts-for-healing-gala/.

The 2018 Hearts for Healing Gala is sponsored by Savannah Special Events by Ranco, First City Events, Low Country Paper Co., Whitemarsh Beverage, J Thomas Catering, Savannah’s Hall of Cakes, South Magazine and Tybee Island Wedding Chapel. Sponsorship opportunities are still available.

For more information on sponsoring the gala or any aspect of the equestrian program, call 912.728.3728 or visit https://faithetc.org

ABOUT FAITH EQUESTRIAN THERAPEUTIC CENTER
Faith Equestrian Therapeutic Center, located at 243 Appaloosa Way in Guyton, GA. 31312, exists to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities through the power of the horse. The program serves children ages 4 to 18 with all types of challenges including autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, learning disabilities and behavioral disorders. The center offers therapeutic riding courses and an equestrian program in partnership with local schools. For more information, visit https://faithetc.org

MEDIA CONTACT
Cynthia Wright
Carriage Trade Public Relations®
cynthia.wright@carriagetradepr.com
912.856.9075

Fox & Weeks presents $1000 Matthews Children’s Foundation Grant to Matthew Reardon Center for Autism

Fox & Weeks presents $1000 Matthews Children’s Foundation Grant to Matthew Reardon Center for Autism

SAVANNAH – Fox & Weeks Funeral Directors presented a Matthews Children’s Foundation grant in the amount of $1000 to the Matthew Reardon Center for Autism to help the facility purchase additional computer equipment for its students.

Fox & Weeks has now awarded nearly $40,000 in Matthew’s Children’s Foundation grants since 2012. Each time a family purchases a casket at Fox & Weeks, a portion of the cost is donated to the Matthews Children’s Foundation in the name of the deceased and the accumulated funds are distributed quarterly through an application process to area non-profits benefitting children and children’s causes.

The Matthew Reardon Center for Autism is the only organization in southeast Georgia that operates an accredited, year-round education program for students with autism and one of only a handful of such programs in the entire state. Through its programs, intakes and consultations, MRCA provides assistance to children and families dealing with ASD and other developmental disorders in the immediate Coastal Empire and throughout southeast Georgia.

The Matthews Children’s Foundation is affiliated with the Mathews International Corporation casket division and has delivered millions of dollars in grants throughout the country since its introduction in the early 1990s. Fox & Weeks is the only funeral home in the area actively participating in the Matthews Children’s Foundation program supporting non-profit organizations dedicated to children.

To qualify for a Matthews Children’s Foundation grant through Fox & Weeks, an application must be submitted and an organization’s activities must be primarily directed towards the welfare and benefit of children. Any organization in the Coastal Empire with the primary purpose of providing for children’s needs is eligible to apply for a Matthews Children’s Foundation grant.

Please call Fox & Weeks at 352-7200 for more information or visit www.foxandweeks.com and click on Helpful Information to learn more about the Matthews Children’s Foundation application process.

ABOUT THE MATTHEW REARDON CENTER FOR AUTISM (MRCA):
MRCA operates southeast Georgia’s only accredited year-round day school for children with autism. They have provided advocacy and outreach services to more than 800 families across southeast Georgia and have hosted professional training and instructional opportunities for more than 4,000 family members, educators, health professionals and self-advocates. The organization was incorporated in 2000 and currently serves 22 students through ADVANCE Academy. They have 11 full-time employees and operate in a 6000 sq foot suite located at 6602 Abercorn St #200, Savannah, GA 31405. Website: http://www.matthewreardon.org/

CONTACT
Patti T. Victor, President and CEO
The Matthew Reardon Center for Autism, Inc, and Advance Academy
912-355-9098 (office) 
912-352-2460 (fax)
pvictor@matthewreardon.org 
www.matthewreardon.org

MEDIA CONTACT
Cynthia Wright
Carriage Trade Public Relations
912-856-9075
cynthia.wright@carriagetradepr.com

Ten Things Parents Should Know about Autism

Ten Things Parents Should Know about Autism

Matthew Reardon Center for Autism Open House Nov 15

With 1 in 68 children, 1 in 44 boys, and 1% of USA population having an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), the below list will help parents identify signs and symptoms of autism.

They can also stop by The Open House for The Matthew Reardon Center for Autism, taking place Wednesday, Nov. 15, 5:30-7:00 pm.

The Center for Autism operates southeast Georgia’s only accredited year-round day school for children with autism as part of the ADVANCE Academy. For more information visit http://www.matthewreardon.org/

The following is a modified excerpt from Ron Sandison’s blog, 10 Things Teachers should know about Autism.

1.Every child with autism is unique. Some children are nonverbal and may never be able to speak. Many children with autism are highly intelligent and learn to read and write at an early age. Some children with an autism diagnosis can have an unbelievable gift for math, music, or art. Parents should know that autism is a spectrum, and each child is distinct and should not be labeled based on his or her place on the bell-shaped curve. A high-support child may not be a low-functioning child.

2.Every child with autism has his or her own strengths and weaknesses. Parents must use learning styles that fit the child’s strengths.

3.Children with autism usually have a special interest. We should use the child’s passion as a motivational tool for learning new subjects. Julie Ann Reed, whose son has Asperger’s, said, “If your son or daughter has an obsession, use it to help him or her to learn new material. My son Paul is obsessed with computers; so I use computers as a reward system.”

4. Children with autism usually have repetitive behavioral patterns. Parents should understand a child’s routine and help him to follow his patterns to prevent a tantrum or meltdown. Disruptions in schedule can result in extreme anxiety and anger.

5.Children with autism usually have sensory issues. Most of us pay little attention to our senses. When you feel cold, you put on a sweater. When music is too loud, you turn down the volume. For some children with autism, senses provide unreliable information causing great discomfort and anxiety. These children may experience sensory issues with touch, sound, taste, smell, or sight. Parents need to be aware of sensory issues a child may experience in his environment.

6.Children with autism may display stimming behavior. When you bite your nails, tap your pencil, or twirl your hair, you are engaging in the behavior pattern called stimming. This behavior with children of autism can include flapping their hands up-and-down, pacing in circles, rocking back-and-forth, or spinning their whole body. Autistic stimming can be a hindrance by prohibiting the child from interacting with peers.

7. Children with autism tend to experience difficulty with understanding verbal instructions. Parents should relay their instructions in easy-to-follow steps and also use visual aids to ensure your child understands your instructions.

8. Children with autism may have difficultly decoding social cues. Inability to interpret nonverbal communication will cause a child to feel awkward in social settings. Parents should teach students with autism to model their peers through deliberate and specific observation and instruction.

9.Children with autism who lack social skills may make inappropriate and mean comments. Parents need to be prepared for a child with autism to say hurtful words and not to take those comments personally. Teach the child by your own example to say words of praise and thanksgiving.

10. Like all children, children with autism need your love and encouragement. Many children with autism may feel isolated due to having been bullied. Your love and support will encourage your students.

MRCA also offers regular instructional and training opportunities to parents and family members, educators, health professionals, college interns and self-advocates.

Ron Sandison works full-time in the medical field and is a professor of theology at Destiny School of Ministry. He is a task force member for the Autism Society’s Faith Initiative and is on the autism spectrum. (http://www.autism-society.org/10-things-every-teacher-know-autism/)

Matthew Rearden Center for Autism Open House

ABOUT THE MATTHEW REARDON CENTER FOR AUTISM (MRCA):
MRCA operates southeast Georgia’s only accredited year-round day school for children with autism. They have provided advocacy and outreach services to more than 800 families across southeast Georgia and have hosted professional training and instructional opportunities for more than 4,000 family members, educators, health professionals and self-advocates. The organization was incorporated in 2000 and currently serves 22 students through ADVANCE Academy. They have 11 full-time employees and operate in a 6000 sq foot suite located at 6602 Abercorn St #200, Savannah, GA 31405. Website: http://www.matthewreardon.org/

DIRECTIONS TO MRCA:
The center is located off the Northeast corner where Abercorn St. intersects with Jackson Blvd. (just north of Chucky Cheese), 2nd floor.

CONTACT
Patti T. Victor, President and CEO
The Matthew Reardon Center for Autism, Inc, and Advance Academy
912-355-9098 (office)
912-352-2460 (fax)
pvictor@matthewreardon.org
www.matthewreardon.org

Matthew Reardon Center for Autism to Host Open House in Savannah on Nov 15

Matthew Reardon Center for Autism to Host Open House in Savannah on Nov 15

WHO: Matthew Reardon Center for Autism, Inc. (MRCA)

WHAT: Open House and Tour of Expanded School

WHEN: Wednesday, November 15, 2017, 5:30 PM – 7 PM

WHERE: 6602 Abercorn Street, Suite #200

CONTACT: Patti Victor Phone: (912) 355-9098

NOTES:
MRCA has recently expanded their existing 5,000 square foot facility by 1,000 square feet, allowing the organization to increase enrollment to 22 students. The Matthew Reardon Center for Autism operates southeast Georgia’s only accredited year-round day school for children with autism, ages 5 to 18-years-old, ADVANCE Academy (AA).

MRCA offers a multi-therapeutic, communication-based approach to academics, and social and life skills education using Applied Behavior Analysis methodology. Additionally, all students receive Speech, Occupational, Physical and Music therapy as part of their curriculum.

Accredited by the Georgia Accreditation Commission, ADVANCE Academy’s teachers communicate with parents daily. Student progress can be monitored by parents through their online system. Parent training workshops are held four times a year in addition to quarterly parent conference and annual IEP conferences. MRCA advocates work with families, both at AA and throughout the community, to ensure they obtain needed support services needed, such as IEP planning and development, SSI, Medicaid and extra-curricular activities.

Student to teacher ratio is 2:1 in elementary and 3:1 in the middle and upper school classrooms. Teachers and staff members have special certifications, including Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) and GA Professional Standards Commission Certification. All staff members are Safety-Care Certified and CPR Certified. A master’s degree is required for all lead teachers, and a bachelor’s degree required for all teaching assistants.

Teachers will be available for questions at the open house. Refreshments will be available for guests.

Annual tuition is $9,350 for the 12-month school term. Students at MRCA participate in the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Program, with limited additional tuition assistance available through the GA Tax Credit Scholarship Program.

QUOTE:
“Decades of research data clearly demonstrate that the earlier intervention support begins, the better the outcome for the child and for the entire family,” said Patti Victor, President and CEO of MRCA.

AUTISM STATISTICS:
The CDC estimates that 1 in 66 children in Georgia will be diagnosed with autism. This equates to more than 38,000 school-aged children in Georgia, more than 2,000 of whom live in the Coastal Empire community. One percent of the population of the USA has autism.

ABOUT THE MATTHEW REARDON CENTER FOR AUTISM (MRCA):
MRCA operates southeast Georgia’s only accredited year-round day school for children with autism. They have provided advocacy and outreach services to more than 800 families across southeast Georgia and have hosted professional training and instructional opportunities for more than 4,000 family members, educators, health professionals and self-advocates. The organization was incorporated in 2000 and currently serves 22 students through ADVANCE Academy. They have 11 full-time employees and operate in a 6000 sq foot suite located at 6602 Abercorn St #200, Savannah, GA 31405. Website: http://www.matthewreardon.org/

DIRECTIONS TO MRCA:
The center is located off the Northeast corner where Abercorn St. intersects with Jackson Blvd. (just north of Chucky Cheese), 2nd floor.

Matthew Rearden Center for Autism Open House

CONTACT
Patti T. Victor, President and CEO
The Matthew Reardon Center for Autism, Inc, and Advance Academy
912-355-9098 (office)
912-352-2460 (fax)
pvictor@matthewreardon.org
www.matthewreardon.org

MEDIA CONTACT
Cynthia Wright
Carriage Trade Public Relations
912-856-9075
cynthia.wright@carriagetradepr.com
www.carriagetradepr.com