In this issue, I will report on some of the many educational resources available for teachers, parents and others interested in this information. Access to all of these resources and more are available on this blog under, "Education."
The Autism Education Network (http://www.autismeducation.net/):
This web site offers FREE information about special education rights as well as information about treatment options and education methods. Its primary mission is to provide information and training to families and professionals regarding best practices in autism treatment. This site also includes personal stories from families in dealing with autism.
Educate Autism (http://www.educateautism.com/):
Educate autism is dedicated to helping those with children with autism by providing FREE teaching materials, a variety of tutorials and more to help make your own teaching aids. This site also provides information on Applied Behavior Analysis and behavior principles.
Autism Inspiration (http://autisminspiration.com/):
This resource is dedicated to providing you with a wide variety of resources including lesson plans, games, group activities, sensory integration ideas, forums and other valuable tools and information.
Sample content includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Classroom Aids such as Social Thinking and its impact on academics.
- Family/Group Activities
- Math Skills
- Motor Skills
- Parent Corner
- Reading Skills
- and More.
Autism 4 Teachers (http://www.autism4teachers.com/):
Four elementary school teachers found this web site in 2004. They provide information in communication, inclusion, curriculum support, behavior support, parent support, visual supports and a host of additional supports.
Autism Buddy (http://autismbuddy.com/):
This website provides user-friendly, high quality printables and resources for teachers and parents. These include flash cards, puzzles, games, booklets, activities, social-skills activities, lessons and worksheets, information E-books and much more.
TinSnips is a special education resource that strives to share a variety of specialized teaching tools, techniques, worksheets and activities.
TinSnips also provides links to information, organizations, techniques and strategies especially for teaching students on the Autism Spectrum.
CONFERENCE & WORKSHOP NEWS:
2011 Autism Partnership Workshops. Sept.12, 2011. Boston, MA. Hilton Embassy Suites. Boston Logan Airport. Contact: http://www.autismpartnership.com/ for contact information. Workshops are also scheduled for several other major cities throughout the month of September. Costs of workshops from $85 to $100.00.
Asia Pacific 2011 Autism Conference. Sept. 8-10, 2011. Visit http://www.apac11.org/ for additional information.
4 YOUR BOOKSHELF:
Point to Happy: For Children on the Autism Spectrum by Miriam Smith and Afton Fraser.
Sensory Motor Issues in Autism by Johanna Anderson.
Autism Social Skills Picture Book by Jed Baker.
Autism in Schools: Crisis or Challenge by Judith Barnard, Steve Broach, David Potter and Aidan Prior.
Educating Children with Autism by Catherine Lord and James P. McGee, Editors.
Editorial Comment: A Few Words About Emergency Preparedness
Allow me to take a few moments to vent.
I have over 35 years of experience in serving individuals with autism and developmental disabilities. Over 15 of those years were on the executive director level. I bring this information to your attention because of what I observed with one major provider during this hurricane weekend.
I know someone who works in direct care in one of the group homes for this agency. The home supports several individuals with developmental disabilities. These individuals are also in wheelchairs. On the morning of this hurricane, it appears the group home---meaning the agency---did not appear to be prepared for the impending hurricane. When the employee arrived at the group home to begin the shift, this employee discovered a simple and basic preparation was not done---the home did not have any flashlights or working batteries. This staff immediately hustled out to the store to purchase flashlights and batteries but every store in the immediate area was out of those items. The employee then drove to the their own home and took several flashlights and batteries back to the group home. Fortunately, everything worked out well for the individuals living in that home, the employees and the home itself.
Nevertheless, the fact that this particular group home appeared to be unprepared for dangerous hurricane conditions was completely unacceptable and disturbing. In my opinion, while the manager of this particular home should be held responsible for apparently not having basic life-safety tools available for the staff, one is left to wonder if the provider took all necessary preparations for a major storm. For example, did the agency provide each home manager with a hurricane (disaster) preparedness checklist (this type of information is readily available from the Red Cross and other such organizations)? Just as important, does the agency have a disaster control plan? If it does, was it made available to all sites? If so, did the home managers or supervisors review it with their staff prior to the arrival of the hurricane? Of course, I don't know the answers to those questions. But if one group home did not have something as essential as flashlights and batteries, I have to wonder. This elementary oversight could have placed the staff and the the individuals living in the group home at great risk (for example, what if the employee had to evacuate the individuals---in wheelchairs---to another group home in the middle of the night when the effects of the hurricane were already being felt in the area)?
The lesson here is clear: if you are a provider of services and supports to individuals with developmental disabilities and/or autism, you must make absolutely certain all of your employees have the tools available in the event of emergencies and/or disasters. For example, If you're an agency that's fortunate to have a large maintenance and safety department, ensure they do a quality assurance audit of all of the sites prior to the major event. In addition, make sure an "after-incident review and report" is completed after the event occurs to ensure the agency is better prepared for the next potential emergency.
This editorial is not meant to lecture providers, but if your agency or organization does this already, congratulations---you're simply doing your job. If not, get your act together immediately. Lives may depend upon it.
My drill instructor in the Air Force in basic training used to remind us young recruits, if we don't do our job well---who will? The same can be said for those of us serving and supporting individuals with developmental disabilities and autism, if we don't do our job well---who will?
Thanks for your time and attention to this very important matter.