Category: special needs

The Matthew Reardon Center for Autism Holds 2018 Autism Conference

The Matthew Reardon Center for Autism Holds 2018 Autism Conference

(SAVANNAH, GA) The Matthew Reardon Center for Autism held the third annual autism conference at the Coastal Georgia Center, located at 305 Fahm St. The conference provided learning opportunities for parents and caregivers, educators and individuals on the Autism Spectrum.

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

Keynote speaker, Lydia X.Z. Brown, addressed 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 had 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.

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

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/

Erin Roma, Faye Montgomery Lydia Brown & Patti Victor of Matthew Reardon Center for Autism

Erin Roma, Faye Montgomery, Lydia Brown & Patti Victor

Patti Victor, Erin Roma, & Faye Montgomery of the Matthew Reardon Center for Autism

Patti Victor, Erin Roma, & Faye Montgomery

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

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The Matthew Reardon Center for Autism Holds 2018 Autism Conference

The Matthew Reardon Center for Autism Holds 2018 Autism Conference

(SAVANNAH, GA) The Matthew Reardon Center for Autism held the third annual autism conference at the Coastal Georgia Center, located at 305 Fahm St. The conference provided learning opportunities for parents and caregivers, educators and individuals on the Autism Spectrum.

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

Keynote speaker, Lydia X.Z. Brown, addressed 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 had 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.

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

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/

Erin Roma, Faye Montgomery Lydia Brown & Patti Victor of Matthew Reardon Center for Autism

Erin Roma, Faye Montgomery, Lydia Brown & Patti Victor

Patti Victor, Erin Roma, & Faye Montgomery of the Matthew Reardon Center for Autism

Patti Victor, Erin Roma, & Faye Montgomery

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

LDSS Calls for Nominations for the 9th Annual Night of Champions

LDSS Calls for Nominations for the 9th Annual Night of Champions

(SAVANNAH, GA) The Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society (LDSS) is requesting nominations for its 9th Annual Night of Champions to be held this May. The event seeks to recognize Savannah area employees who are differently-abled and excel in their workplace, with an additional acknowledgment of the employers who have given them the opportunity to work.

“Night of Champions celebrates employees and their employers whose dedication and leadership shines a light on the possibilities and benefits of inclusive communities and workspaces,” said Night of Champions Chairperson, Tom Kenkel.

Employee nominations can be submitted online at nightofchampions.org until Friday, April 13.

The selected employees and their employers will be invited as special guests to the Night of Champions dinner, which will take place at the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center on Thursday, May 10, at 6 p.m.

In addition to dinner, the evening will include a recognition ceremony, a silent auction and a cash bar, with Jamie Deen and Allyson Harvin serving as the night’s emcees. Business professional attire is requested.

Individual tickets are $50, and tables of ten can be reserved for 
$500 at nightofchampions.org.

Jamie Deen will co-emcee Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society's 9th annual Night of Champions

Jamie Deen will co-emcee Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society’s 9th annual Night of Champions

ABOUT THE LOWCOUNTRY DOWN SYNDROME SOCIETY
The Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society (LDSS) is a support group to benefit people with Down syndrome and their families through local leadership, support, outreach, education and advocacy. 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 the whole family to attend; children of all ages are welcome. LDSS is an affiliate of the National Down Syndrome Society. For more information about LDSS, visit ldssga.org

CONTACT
Tom Kenkel
tkenkel@ldssga.org
912-373-6377

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

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

Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society Held 12th Annual Buddy Walk

Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society Held 12th Annual Buddy Walk
National Down Syndrome Society President Honored as Grand Marshal

(SAVANNAH, GA) The Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society (LDSS) held their 12th annual Buddy Walk in Forsyth Park. The event was open to all ages and abilities; LDSS encouraged those in wheelchairs, carriages and strollers to attend.

This year’s event welcomed thousands of participants raising awareness and support local programs that benefit people with Down syndrome and their families. The president and CEO of the National Down Syndrome Society, Sara Hart Weir, made a special visit to Savannah for the event and served as the Grand Marshal.

Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society Buddy Walk in Savannah

(LEFT TO RIGHT) John Bogardus, LDSS Board Member; Micah Allen, Performer; Candy Bogardus, LDSS President; Sara Hart Weir, National Down Syndrome Society President and CEO; Fr. Jason Adams, St. James the Less Catholic Church; and Brian Hussey, LDSS Board Member.

Immediately following the walk, there was a family-fun festival with activities such as face painting, pumpkin painting, princess and pirate booths, bounce houses, games, music and refreshments.

“October is National Down Syndrome Awareness month,” said Candy Bogardus, President of LDSS. “Each year we celebrate by promoting acceptance and inclusion. Our mission with this walk is to positively influence local and national policies and practices towards people with Down syndrome.”

Proceeds from Savannah’s Buddy Walk help sponsor LDSS events such as the Night of Champions, Camp Buddy and many other services.

Families of Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society under the arch during the Buddy Walk in Savannah

Families of Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society under the arch during the Buddy Walk in Savannah.

For more information, contact John or Candy Bogardus at 912-728-8505, jcbogardus@gmail.com or visit www.ldssga.org.

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 4th Tuesday of the month, typically with a guest speaker and social time for families to meet and interact with one another. LDSS encourages people to bring their children. LDSS is an affiliate of the National Down Syndrome Society. For more information about LDSS, visit http://www.ldssga.org/

CONTACT
Candy Bogardus
jcbogardus@gmail.com
912-728-8505

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

Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society Announces Annual Buddy Walk To Be Held On October 7

Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society Announces Annual Buddy Walk To Be Held On October 7

(SAVANNAH, GA) The Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society (LDSS) will hold their 12th annual Buddy Walk in Forsyth Park. The event is open to all ages and abilities; LDSS encourages those in wheelchairs, carriages and strollers to attend. Pets are welcome too.

LDSS

Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society

Last year’s event welcomed over 5,000 participants. This year, LDSS hopes to have even more of the community come out to raise awareness and support local programs that benefit people with Down syndrome and their families.

Tickets for the walk will be $15.00 per person or $50.00 for a family of four. Registration includes a T-shirt, lunch and admission to the family-fun festival.

The family-fun festival will take place in the park immediately following the walk. Participants can expect activities such as face painting, pumpkin painting, princess and pirate booths, bounce houses, games, music and refreshments.

“October is National Down Syndrome Awareness month,” said Candy Bogardus, President of LDSS. “Each year we celebrate by promoting acceptance and inclusion. Our mission with this walk is to positively influence local and national policies and practices towards people with Down syndrome.”

Proceeds from Savannah’s Buddy Walk help sponsor LDSS events such as the Night of Champions, Camp Buddy and many other services.

For more information, contact John or Candy Bogardus at 912-728-8505, jcbogardus@gmail.com or visit www.ldssga.org to register online.

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 4th Tuesday of the month, typically with a guest speaker and social time for families to meet and interact with one another. LDSS encourages people to bring their children. LDSS is an affiliate of the National Down Syndrome Society. For more information about LDSS, visit http://www.ldssga.org/

CONTACT
Candy Bogardus
jcbogardus@gmail.com
912-728-8505

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