Guest Author - Bonnie Sayers
As I mentioned in my Overview of the Resource Fair at the Los Angeles CAN Walk Now event, this article will spotlight the vendors at the Resource Fair that have services and/or products that I wanted to pursue further.
Some of them had promotional giveaways that were nice and materials that listed something that might be useful for one or both of my children on the Autism Spectrum. Tables with helpful people, fun items for the family and literature that explains their services with websites for more data will be organizations that families turn to for therapies in the future.
These are the ones that appealed to me as the parent to two children on opposite ends of the Autism Spectrum. I was not able to spend more time at the tables with my children present, but luckily I can peruse their sites at my leisure and learn more about each of them.
Autism Behavior Intervention - This is where I got the white hand clapper that compelled my son Nicholas to look up the word "intervention" in the dictionary. I only wish I had a better definition than that to explain the term. They are located in Encino, California and use DTT with NET. Discrete Trial Training and Natural Environment Training.
Their behavioral support program is for children of all ages and includes Academic Skills Training - which I would like to learn about. Their training includes classroom integration, something I might need in the years ahead. They also offer consultation services to those that live 30 miles or more away, spending 2-3 days with the family on their first visit.
Reach Publications - They are located in Santa Barbara, California and the one vendor that I wish I could have visited with to make a purchase. They sell a system that is called, Recipe Handbook of Easy to use Activities for Teaching Autistic Children. It is touted as being a non-technical approach to teaching skills and is suitable for parents and professionals.
This three-ring binder has 142 pages and sells for $29.95 - they take paypal too! There are 87 activities, ideas and methods. This handbook will simplify daily planning and includes a progress chart. I plan on getting this for use in my home and looks like it will be perfect for summer vacation.
Linking Our Hearts - Is located in Torrance and sells tagless children's apparel in original designs, seamless socks and art reproductions from someone on the Spectrum. I wanted to spend time at this table, but it was busy and my son Matthew was not willing to wait.
Available in September 2006 they will have weighted vests. They sell infant rompers and shirts. A t-shirt will cost $18, which is about the same as other sites I have made purchases. Boys crew socks are under $4.00, organic cotton infant bodysuits sell from $12-18 for boys and girls. The majority of their clothing is for younger children. They will gift wrap items for $7.00.
Autism Spectrum Therapies - has offices in Culver City and Costa Mesa, serving both Los Angeles and Orange Counties. At their table they had bags that contained their information and included a frisbee. Their website lists parent testimonials. Part of their services covers Academic Readiness and Motivation and teaching verbal and non-verbal skills.
The positive behavior support covers elementary to adulthood plus they provide after-school programs including sibling education, play dates and community activities. This is a resource I will be looing into as they have something that would benefit each of my children on the Spectrum.
Pacific Child - They have offices in Northern and Southern California. This is a psychology corporation that is also a state certified CA Nonpublic Agency (NPA). As with other exhibitors listed they are vendors with the Regional Center. I really liked their handout - a simple yet effective communication tool for parents to utilize. This is a laminated card that measures 8 1/2 x 4 inches and resembles a sign a child would put on their door saying kids room. Instead this is a colorful listing of 101 ways to praise kids. The back has a sticker to peel off where you could post it on the refrigerator or in a notebook.
Some of these include - what a great listener, the time you put in really shows! and you've made progress. Pacific Child also has deaf services for their clients. All services start with a review of previous assessments. They also provide shadow aides in the classroom setting. There is consultation services in regard to inclusion and toileting.
Academy for the Advancement of Children with Autism (AACA) - They are located in Northridge, have a preschool program and serve elementary aged students. I liked this statement on their site - WE PRIDE OURSELVES FOR BEING A LATEX SAFE / PEANUT FREE SCHOOL. The red flyer I have from their table states they have equine assisted therapy, bio-feedback, floortime, ABA, DTT, adaptive PE, speech and language, as well as therapy services for groups and families. Some of these are done in classroom and in the home setting. Their classes have no more than twelve children with a ratio of 4:1.
Groupworks West - provides group therapy to teenagers (13-17) who are living with depression and anxiety as a result of a primary diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome or High Functioning Autism. Members may have a history of suicidal ideation and/or self-injurious behavior.
This group is designed to provide members with a safe and supportive environment in which to share their experience of living with the mood and/or anxiety regulation problems that accompany a diagnosis of an ASD.
The group will meet for 1.5 hours for a period of 24 weeks. Each session is $90 and limited to eight members. Contact Christopher Mulligan at 310-260-9484. Mr. Mulligan utilizes both cognitive-behavioral and psychodynamic techniques. The flyer has a statement that caught my eye - Get Proactive: Break the Isolation and Silence.
This is a resource I may need in the coming years. They are located at 1453 14th Street, Unit F, Santa Monica, CA 90404. The site mentions being an authorized Westside Regional Center vendor.
Group members will develop skills in these areas - communication/assertiveness; conflict regulation and resolution; emotional and interpersonal awareness; social problem-solving, mood management, and; strategies for controlling self-destructive patterns of behavior.
Woodsmall Law Group - They are located in Pasadena and represent children with special needs against school districts. Their busines card is also a refrigerator magnet. The handouts at this table were articles found on their website. Preparing for an IEP, Technology and the Special Needs child and Report Writing.
The site states - Seminars are provided free to groups of 10 or more persons free of charge as part our on-going pro-bono program. Visitors to the site can read through the Legislative updates and get phone numbers and addresses for the Assembly Education Committee. Parent organizations utilize their services for seminars.
Moonstruck Records - Can Be Heard is a Music CD that benefits Cure Autism Now with 100% of the proceeds. It was produced by a father of a boy with autism. This is a collection of tunes on love and hope as the website states, " a label that celebrates the excitement of musical discovery while striving to improve the lives of others".
Their targeted audience is baby boomers who crave satisfying music. This comes from a variety of well-known artists bringing musical discovery to the listeners. The songs are not about autism, but inspirational for the families who care for children on the spectrum. The CD is $13.99 and can be purchased at their website. Moonstruck Records will be at future Walk Now events - so look for their booth and listen to the CD while at their table. I could not stop and listen to the headphone sample as my son Matthew was agitated most of the time.
A2Z Educational Advocates - They are located in Pacific Palisades. I received a nice scenic laminated mouse pad from their table. I was already familiar with this law firm from a google search a year ago. I printed out a page of their recent SELPA cases and use it to give me ideas for my son Matthew. Their goal is to assist parents in obtaining special education services for their children.
I was able to ask how much a consultation is while at the table, and believe she told me $300. You can read through their recent cases for Los Angeles, Orange and Ventura Counties. The site has sample letters and IEP agendas, as well as helpful tips on finding a respite worker and an aide plus training them.
Shane's Inspiration - There are Universally Accessible Playgrounds throughout Southern California. The flyer describes field trips for schools on a year-round basis. The staff will come to the school and give a brief presentation about misconceptions toward people with disabilities. The students will be paired with a peer who has a disability during the field trip and spend the day playing and getting to know their buddy.
Upon return to the classroom the staff will hold a follow-up discussion on what was learned and how perceptions were changed. This school-based disability awareness program has the phrase, "Together, We are able". They will also work with the school to secure transportation as needed. This seems like a great idea for a school field trip, Teachers and Principals take note. There is also Shane's club, which meets once a month at the various locations of playgrounds. The site shows what these playgrounds look like and there is one located within Griffith Park.
Ability First - They are located in Pasadena and service both children and adults with disabilities. There is an after school program for ages 5-22, a saturday program for the same age group and aquatics during the summer months plus a Friday night adult program for socialization starting at age 17. Vocational Services are offered to adults with disabilities - they employ adults to improve their work skills.
Acing Workshops with Actors for Autism these are held in Burbank for winter, spring, summer and fall sessions that meet for two hours a week for a total of 12 weeks. This is geared to teens ages 14-22 who have special needs. They are vendored with the Regional Center and something I may pursue with my son Nicholas in three or more years.
There were about six rows of tables at the Los Angeles event with this covering some of the highlights of the offerings available.
Educational Autism Tips for Families 71 page resourceful ebook for families entering the school system with a recent autism diagnosis. Find out what issues take place over the course of a school day and meet these challenges head on.