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Free Autism and Neurodiversity Educational Opportunities Offered to Community Through ASU Beginning October 14th

By Sherrie Norris 

The ASU Institute for Health and Human Services is pleased to host several free education opportunities developed by the Hub for Autism and Neurodiversity for those families, individuals and organizations with an interest in developmental disabilities.

The online series begins in October and will continue through spring 2022 with a variety of engaging topics that include: Autism 101, How to Help with Daily Transitions, Making Visual Supports, ABA- Is it Right for You?, and Summer Fun- Tips for Understanding Kids on the Spectrum for Camp Counselors, Coaches and others. 

An overview of the sessions, with dates and times, include the following:

Session 1:   Daily Transitions and Change: Why it’s hard, What makes It Easier – October 14, 3:30-4:30

Find out what creates transition challenges and ways to support those on the Autism Spectrum as they go through day-to-day and bigger life transitions, both expected and unexpected. This presentation draws heavily from the lived experiences of those on the spectrum.

Session presenter, Rebekah Cummings, has a Ph.D. in Child Development and a graduate certificate in Autism Spectrum Disorders. She has supported both children and adults on the spectrum in handling transitions while providing training to parents and professionals on this topic.

Session 2:  Autism 101 — Autism 101 – Mon. Oct. 18, 5-6pm

This interactive session provides general information about autism including core characteristics and individual differences. Participants will view and discuss video examples and learn about related supports and resources.

Session 3: Essential Visual Supports for Your Child On the Spectrum- October 28, 3:30-4:30pm

Visual supports can be a very effective way for children and adults with autism to communicate.  This workshop will provide an introduction to visual supports and the ways that parents, caregivers and teachers can begin using them.

The workshop will include types of visual supports and examples of how to begin incorporating visual supports into daily routines.  Participants will be given actual visual supports to print, cut out and use.   Links to resources will also be provided.

About the presenter:  Jana Duke is a retired Special Education Teacher.  She has used and created visual supports for children and their families for many years.  Jana is a member of the HANd Committee at Appalachian State University and works as a volunteer in various activities related to Autism.

Session 4: Open House at the HUB — come see where it is and what it has to offer!- Date TBD

Session 5: After the Diagnosis: Get Answers, Get Started, Get Going- January 5, 2022, 11:00-12:30

This is an informative workshop for parents and caregivers of children ages 8 years or younger who were recently diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Learn how autism may affect your child.

Learn options and strategies that may help your child.

This workshop will be presented by Juliette Heim who is an Autism Resource Specialist working with The Autism Society of North Carolina.

Juliette is also a parent of a young adult who is on the autism spectrum, so the parent perspective will also be incorporated into this presentation.

Session 6: ABA — Is it Right for Your Child?- Date TBD Spring 2022

Session 7: Summer Fun- Tips for Understanding Kids on the Spectrum for Camp Counselors, Coaches and others- April 2022

These sessions are free and have been designed to provide avenues for answering questions and fostering collaboration and family connection.  Some sessions will be held online while others are offered in-person.  Registration is required through the group’s website: ihhs.appstate.edu/hand 

Hub for Autism and Neurodiversity, (HANd) is an innovative hub that provides community-wide education, connects families and individuals to services and resources, and advocates for acceptance and understanding of autism and neurodiversity. 

For more information, contact Mary Sheryl Horine,

Director of Outreach, BCBS of NC Institute for Health and Human Services at the Beaver College of Health Sciences, Appalachian State University in Boone, phone 828-262-7557.