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Learning Financial Literacy Empowers Young Adults with Autism

The world of adulthood can quickly become an intimidating notion for anyone, let alone children and young adults with autism. While several services dedicated to development and nurturing are provided during childhood, the more than three million Americans estimated to be diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) ultimately age out of such programs, often becoming anxious when faced with newfound responsibilities, particularly concerning finances. From paying bills to filing taxes, the importance of integrating financial management into the early education of learners with ASD becomes abundantly clear as a means of empowerment for these young men and women preparing to set foot into a larger world. Nancy Cheak-Zamora concurs with the idea based on the research she conducted as assistant professor in the School of Health Professions. After interviewing individuals with autism…

Superheroes pitch in to make 5k for autism a success

Superheroes are often presented as larger than life figures who give of their time and power to pull us up with helping hands. We, ever thankful, repay their generosity by striving to emulate their example, becoming even better than we ever thought we could be. That was precisely the idea for the Live Learn & Play’s Superhero 5K for Autism 2017 run and 1-mile walk, recently held at Lehigh Parkway in Allentown. That Sunday morning was populated with some 600 participants of all ages; those with autism, those without, family and friends, proving that anyone can truly be a hero. Runners and walkers alike dawned capes and shirts with the iconic Batman and Superman emblems while other characters were equally represented, including Wonder Woman, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Mighty Thor, and one 9 year old Captain America. Organized by Live Learn & Play, a nonprofit…

A Golden Plan for Golden Years

Children with autism have a number of resources and programs at their disposal, both in and out of the classroom. However, many of these children can find access to such assistance harder to come by once they get older. Fortunately, one program located in Pensacola is striving to provide assistance specifically for older people with developmental disabilities. Intended for seniors ages 55 and older, the ARC Gateway Senior Adult Program caters to the various needs of men and women who, according to Program Manager Janet McIndewar, live with “hearing impairment, speech impairment, autism” and a number of unspecified diagnoses, because “at the time they were growing up there were no screenings.” The ARC Gateway Program began at the Bayview Senior Center in Pensacola, which still acts as a “home base” for most people who are a part of the program. The criterion for being at the Bayview…

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Joins Milo at Shady Lane Elementary

At Shady Lane Elementary in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel joined Logan Lucas, a student in the Robots4Autism program who has shown remarkable improvement since Milo joined Karen Richie’s special education class. Logan struggled to express his needs and was often frustrated. He would have several incidents a day for hitting and biting others. “I had staff people that wanted to wear long sleeves,” Richie told the Journal Sentinel. “He was just so difficult to work with, initially.” Menomonee Falls Superintendent Patricia Fagan Greco was introduced to Milo and Robots4Autism, a program that helps children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) develop social and emotional skills, during a workshop. Working with RoboKind, the creators of Milo, the district was able to bring Milo into two schools on a pilot program. Both schools, Shady Lane…

Sensory sensitive conditions in the digital age

Sesame Street, which has brought to life many issues throughout the years has recently done it again.  In April they introduced Julia, the first Muppet with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).  Even before debuting on screen, Julia made an impact, by  helping to show findings from a Georgetown University study that showed the positive impact of digital videos and eBooks in empowering ASD kids and parents. With a lot of misconceptions in the world about autism and those affected by it, researchers and developers have taken on a new level of responsibility to help educate the public, and find ways to positively impact those who have it. According to Sherrie Westin, EVP of global impact and philanthropy at Sesame Workshop, “The original strategy for Julia was to create her as a digital Muppet with online videos and eBooks (through their See Amazing in All Children website), because we knew…

A farm in Iowa is setting up adults with autism for long-term success

Finding employment isn’t easy, and it can be even harder for those with disabilities. Those that suffer from autism-related symptoms are among a large group that struggles to find meaningful or gainful employment. In Iowa, The Homestead, an organization that focuses on building inclusive communities for people with autism, created a farm program to tackle the job issue by training people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in how to manage a farm. “On this farm, what really matters is how a person grows — not what they grow,” Angela Book-Glynn a director at the Homestead told The Des Moines Register, an Iowa publication. The farm currently has four autistic men working in the program. Their day-to-day responsibilities include planting, harvesting produce, and boxing them up for Homestead’s CSA pickup locations. The goal of the program is to give people with ASD an opportunity to join…

Closing The Gap runs a featured piece on Milo and the Robots4Autism program

Closing The Gap, an online publication showcasing the latest in assistive technology, recently ran a featured piece on Milo and the Robots4Autism program. The article highlighted many of the benefits that RoboKind’s incredible product provides for children who have autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The Robots4Autism program targets the known challenges that people with ASD face with social interaction, emotional understanding, and self-regulation. The curriculum targets these areas with the help of Milo, a socially advanced robot, whose expressive face helps ASD students learn facial expression. Through a series of interactive tablet lessons and Milo’s 20% slower speech, ASD learners can practice communication, develop techniques to help keep control of their emotional responses, and learn how to react properly in different situations. The program has seen great success with schools that…

Early intervention positions students with autism for academic success

Wood County Hospital in Bowling Green, Ohio has created an early intervention program that helps young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) between 3 to 5 years-old transition into elementary. Aptly named the Ready Program, Wood County Hospital helps early-diagnosed children develop communication techniques and social awareness that will help with their academic success. “Just sitting at a table is a challenge for some of our students,” Brittany Beightler, an instructor for the Ready Program told Sentinel-Tribune. Students with ASD may have issues maintaining attention during long lessons, or may be easily distracted by outside stimuli. If overwhelmed with information, a child with autism will have a meltdown, as their brain doesn’t know how to sort the information correctly. “We also work with parents on how to be successful at home as well as school, and…

Chuck E. Cheese adds Sensory Sensitivity days to its family menu

Chuck E. Cheese has upped their service game by adding Sensory Sensitivity days at their restaurants. Amanda Moniz, an advocate for autism inclusion, contacted her local Chuck E. Cheese manager Nicole Martel with the idea of hosting a day for children with sensory sensitivity. The idea started at the South Attleboro location, and was quickly adopted by the company. Some 355 establishments are set to add a special day starting this year. “I had approached some other businesses, but they weren’t sure it was a good idea,” Moniz, an outreach coordinator for the Rhode Island office of the Center for Autism and Related Disorders told The Sun Chronicle. “But Nicole said yes right away, as soon as she could get permission from her bosses.” On the first Sunday of every month, the Attleboro Chuck E. Cheese closes its doors to the public, dims the lights, turns off the music, and invites families…

The partnership between Chinese factories and startup companies

It seems that on the bottom of every toy and souvenir there is the classic, “made in china,” tag. For decades China has been the go-to country for mass production of the latest high tech gadgetry, but working with large corporations isn’t cutting it anymore. Instead, factories like Jetta Company Ltd. in Guangzhou, a city in southern China, is stepping away from big companies and lending a helping hand to the little man, entrepreneurs. Bloomberg Technology’s Lulu Yelun Chen looks into why Chinese plants are working with the Startup community, who are going so far as to help fund production costs.  She also interviewed several startup companies to learn about what they look for when deciding which factory to go with. Richard Margolin, co-founder and CTO of RoboKind, gave Chen an inside look into what he considers when partnering with a plant. “There are a lot of fly-by-night factories…

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