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Inconsistent Early Intervention Service Adoption in States

Resources are available for children under the age of 3 to attain services for developmental disabilities in each of the United States. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA) created a federal mandate designed to ensure that children with disabilities will have access to publicly funded and appropriate educational services up to the age of 21. The IDEIA is national in scope, however the implementation is left to the states, which has created a discrepancy in how the services are made available to the people in each state. A recent article in Science Daily, Enrollment in early intervention services may be influenced by administering agency, highlighted the findings of a study published in the Journal of Early Intervention, concerning research from the University of Oregon. Erica Twardzik, Megan MacDonald, and Alicia Dixon-Ibarra found that many children…

Contemporary Context Comes Calling

Everywhere you look on social media, there seems to be a spark that boils over into a raging argument, igniting comment threads across the web with repugnant manifestos of mockery and depraved attitudes. Behind the veil of anonymity, the internet can quickly become like a digitized bathroom stall, scribbled over with trash talk that renders any attempt at conversation or healthy, constructive debate impossible. By our very nature, we’re a social species. As such, our communication quickly falls apart when we extract vital tools from the process. In a digital environment, we’re not physically present with one another. When so much of how we communicate depends upon our facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice, problems of miscommunication can, and will, arise. For individuals with Autistic Spectrum Disorder, or ASD, communication is an even bigger challenge. Fortunately,…

The Building Blocks of Better Autism Programs in Public Schools

There is no single way to teach children with autism. But regardless of the methods a school may choose, it is no mystery what helps these children thrive in the classroom. Calm, not chaos. Lessons tailored to the individual’s needs, and opportunities to work on language development. Unfortunately, programs that include all of these elements are rare. While these efforts are beneficial to the development of children with autism, John McLaughlin, the Director of research and analytics at ChanceLight Behavioral Health, Therapy and Education Solutions, is shocked by the rarity of established programs that include the aforementioned elements for children. According to McLaughlin, U.S. federal law states the requirement of public schools to educate children from all backgrounds, regardless of their physical or intellectual capabilities. Unfortunately, the law isn’t quite specific as far as…

RoboKind in the running for the Technology Inventor Award at Tech Titan 2017

Tech Titan is a yearly gala in North Texas held to help recognize applicants who have contributed greatly to the technology field in the past year. This year, Robokind’s founder and Chief Technology Officer, Richard Margolin is a finalist in the Technology Inventor category. Previous winners in this category have ranged from Texas Instruments to The University of Texas at Arlington. Posting on Twitter Mr. Margolin stated, “I’m honored to be a finalist for technology inventor.” If he is chosen as the winner a profile will be featured in the Dallas Business Journal and he will be recognized as one of the top contributors for technology in the North Texas area.  Part of what makes Robokind and their founder so inspirational and unique is their Robots4Autism program. This program uses a robot, Milo, to help educate children with autism. There are several unique hurdles that…

Tooele County School District Welcomes Milo to their Teaching Line Up

The School District of Tooele County is introducing a new member among its faculty. Dr. Scott Rogers, Tooele County’s superintendent, was delighted to share the arrival of Milo, a humanoid robot developed by RoboKind as a part of their Robots4Autism program, whose efforts are fast becoming crucial in the field of education for persons with Autistic Spectrum Disorder, or ASD. Robots4Autism and Milo are part of a cost-avoidance education platform designed by RoboKind as a means of providing educational opportunities for children and adults with ASD. As a socially advanced robot, Milo doesn’t have the capacity for fatigue or frustration. The curriculum Milo employs, developed by Dr. Pamela Rollins, Dr. Carolyn Garver, and speech language pathologist Michelle McFarlin, is built upon techniques of consistency and repetition. And Milo’s patience and supportive attitude go a long way to…

Brewing employment opportunities for those with disabilities

CNN checks in at Bitty & Beau’s Coffee in Wilmington, North Carolina to learn more about what makes the coffee shop special. The local fixture’s popularity is due to its workforce. The shop mostly employs people with mental or developmental disability, ranging from Down syndrome and autism to cerebral palsy. It’s the first chance at employment for many, and their sense of accomplishment and joy is definitely present in each cup they serve. The shop is the vision of Amy Wright, a Wilmington resident who was inspired by her two children, Bitty and Beau, who live with Down syndrome. For Wright, it’s not just about supporting others like her children by integrating them into the workforce, but to raise awareness with their customers about the mental and developmental disability community.  “People are scared of what they don’t know,” Wright told CNN. “So that’s why…

Expansion of Neurodiversity in the Workplace

Everyone has special gifts and talents, and companies in England and the United States are recognizing that intentionally seeking ‘neurodiversity’ in their recruiting has it’s benefits. These companies have learned that there are advantages to having people who’s brains are “wired” differently, and that people with autism, Asperger’s, dyspraxia, and dyslexia can have other strengths that are quite valuable. In Autism in the wokplace – an opportunity not a drawback, such talents as phenomenal logic, math skills, a photographic memory, and even “tunnel vision” in problem solving are identified as valuable in the workplace. As technology continues to grow and play a larger role in virtually every business, the unique talents of many are finding a new avenue for the employees, as well as the employers. Silicon Valley is the epicenter of technology startups globally, and employs much…

A Twenty Eight Year Road of Employment Opportunities for Learners with Autism

Independent, an online publication, covers the story of Shun Condon, a 54-year-old man with autism as he prepares to retire from a job many said he “wouldn’t last” at. Condon spent nearly three decades working as a cleaner for the Newport Transport, tending to the cleanliness and presentation of bus stations across Newport. Looking back on his time employed by the company, Mr. Condon expressed a combination of reflection and optimism when he spoke with South Wales Argus, a news outlet in Wales. “I’m going to miss the people,” Condon said. But he is looking forward to retirement, saying:  “I’m looking forward to spending time with my mum.” Daphne Condon, his mother, contacted South Wales Argus back in 1991, three years after Shaun started work. The story was to raise awareness of opportunities for individuals with learning disabilities to find and prosper through work. Now…

Artist with autism illustrates ‘invisible disability’

Art is a means of self-expression, allowing one an outlet through which to project their personal perspective of the world. Whether through prose and poetry, dance or music, it is a means of making tangible the intangible; our beliefs, observations, thoughts, and desires. And through art, we cast a net into the world, both to cope with our place in it and in the hope of establishing connection and assure ourselves that we are, in fact, not alone in our feelings. For children and adults with autism, the ability to observe, process, and even inhabit the world surrounding them can seem daunting. Stimulation is necessary for life to blossom, but in some situations can become overwhelming for those on the spectrum, and sensory over-stimulation can drive and shape autistic behavior. So it only seems natural to seek out a means for interpreting the world in a way which can not only suppress…

Adults With Autism: Finding A Job Coach

Upon aging out of the school system and many assistance programs, several challenges await young adults and learners with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). One of the most pertinent is the desire and need to enter the work force. Without proper guidance and resources, gaining employment can be an overwhelming hurdle to clear. Fortunately, adults with autism can find guides to support them in searching for work through the assistance of job coaches. “Aging out is a difficult thing because they’ve had services in school, then all of a sudden they have no services.” says Tara Potter, Director of Trio Employment Network. A job coach specifically for adults with autism, Potter now works out of the PURE Empowerment Center, located at the Marcus Pointe Baptist Church in Pensacola. According to Potter, it can be difficult for adults with autism trying to find suitable services…

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