Colgate University women’s hockey plays for autism awareness

The Colgate women’s hockey team has created an autism project in support of Kati Williams, a local teenager from Norwich, N.Y., who has been an avid fan of the women’s hockey program for several years and now serves at the team’s manager. Kati has Asperger’s Syndrome, which is an autism spectrum disorder that is characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction, along with restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests.

“When I first started looking into what we could do to raise awareness for autism I was floored at some of the facts,” stated head coach Scott Wiley. “It was hard for me to think about autism affecting so many people. A new case is diagnosed almost every 15 minutes. More children will be diagnosed with autism this year than with AIDS, diabetes & cancer combined.

Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the U.S. in which there is no cure or medical detection. It is our goal to make as many people aware as possible and have a positive impact on those families affected by autism.”

The project will kick off with Light Up Starr Rink Blue for the Rensselaer game on Friday, Jan. 28 at 7 p.m. that will be televised on Time Warner Cable Sports. For that game the team will be wearing special edition puzzle piece jerseys, which will be auctioned online after the game and is looking to have at least 1000 fans attend the game. Free t-shirts, provided by Price Chopper will be given to the first 250 fans.

The team has also created online puzzle pieces through Autism Speaks, which are digital puzzles to send to family, friends and supporters of Colgate Women’s Hockey so we can help put the pieces together and raise money for Autism research.

via Colgate University Athletics – Women’s Hockey Creates Autism Awareness Project.

Program helps developmentally disabled succeed in college

As a child, Megan McCormick of Lexington was told by her parents that her Down syndrome meant she would “have to work much harder” than those without disabilities to achieve what she wanted.

Her parents, James and Malkanthie McCormick, both physicians, never treated her any differently than her five older brothers and sisters though, a fact she credits with helping her graduate high school in 2007 with a 3.75 grade point average, and give her the confidence to enroll in Bluegrass Community and Technical College in Lexington.

“It’s hard, but I’m pushing on,” said the 22-year-old, who so far is earning As and Bs, and is focused on becoming a certified occupational therapy assistant.

McCormick said her success is due in part to a program run by the University of Kentucky’s Human Development Institute called the Postsecondary Inclusion Partnership. The program provides support for individuals with intellectual and related developmental disabilities to attend regular college classes at postsecondary institutions around the state. Those disabilities can range from Down syndrome to autism, and also can include individuals who have experienced brain injuries.

via Program helps developmentally disabled succeed in college | courier-journal.com | The Courier-Journal.

Opportunities grow for students with autism, Down syndrome

Like many of his peers, Ben Majewski had a lifelong goal of going to college. Now, the 20-year-old who has Down syndrome and hearing problems is living out his dream despite his disability.

Majewski, a graduate of Newton North High School, is in his first semester at Massachusetts Bay Community College’s Wellesley Hills campus, taking a psychology class in career and life planning, getting tutoring, going to the gym, and making new friends.

“I got a buddy here, he has Down syndrome, he’s a veteran around here,’’ Majewski said. “He’s showing me the ropes, teaching me where everything is, and helping me meet new people.’’

Higher education used to be out of the question for students with intellectual disabilities such as Down syndrome or autism spectrum disorders, but now, there are increasing opportunities for such students to go to college in part because of a recent infusion of state and federal funds. In Massachusetts, the Inclusive Current Enrollment Initiative, a partnership between public high schools and seven community colleges that started in 2007, is helping students ages 18 to 22 with intellectual disabilities pursue higher education.

via Opportunities grow for students with disabilities – The Boston Globe.

Alley-Oop for Autism recruits Illinois basketball team

We love when university athletes and teen-age volunteers make time to share their passion for sports with autistic children. Our bet is that Coach Bruce Weber,  his Fighting Illini, and the other volunteers got as much out of this Alley-Oop for Autism basketball clinic as the younger kids! Follow the link to the photos.

The University of Illinois championship basketball team partnered with the Urbana-Champaign campus’ Chabad Center for Jewish Student Life and the Stuart I. Raskas Friendship Circle of Illinois, a Chabad-Lubavitch program that pairs teenage volunteers with children with special needs, for the annual “Alley-oop for Autism” day of fun at the arena.

via Annual Alley-oop for Autism Enlists Illinois Basketball Team – Photos.

Texas autism dads start non-profit to train students with autism for good employment

PLANO — What began with two men worried about the futures of their young autistic children has blossomed into a nonprofit that wants to train high-functioning young adults for high-paying work in fields such as video gaming and computer graphics.

The nonPareil Institute — nonPareil meaning unparalleled — has secured an anonymous $200,000 donation from the parent of a child with autism and used part of that money to open a small training center at Southern Methodist University’s Plano campus last month.

The institute, started a year ago in the breakfast nook of co-founder Dan Selec’s Plano home, has 20 students learning fundamental computer language at the college.

Students have produced two games — TicTacToe! and Space Paranoids! — that are available on nonPareil’s website, www.npitx.org. They are also working on two iPhone applications. One will be available for $1 in the Apple iTunes store this month, and the second in December or January, said Selec, nonPareil’s CEO, and Gary Moore, co-founder and president. For competitive reasons, details of the apps have not been disclosed.

Both men, who spent their careers in information technology, have a teenage son with autism.

via NonPareil Institute gets $200,000 donation | Business | Dallas Business, Texas Business,….

Lessons on college life and living with autism

LIKE MOST college students, the kids at the College Internship Program have spent the last few weeks gearing up for classes, meeting roommates, readying for life away from home. But on this tiny campus in the Berkshires, they’ve been getting extra help.

For instance, they take courses in “executive functioning’’ — not business techniques, but the cognitive work of decision-making and self-control. In their classroom, posters offer tips for talking to acquaintances. “Smile and say ‘hello’ to initiate a dialogue. Ask them how they are to build rapport.’’

For people with high-functioning autism and Asperger’s disorder, this is hardly intuitive stuff. And if the number of autism diagnoses has risen dramatically, so too will the number of teenagers who reach this tentative place: ready to leave the cocoon, but not quite ready for the world.

via Lessons on living with autism – The Boston Globe.

College students with Asperger’s; Teach independence in high school

Education of autistic students and preparing them for life after school were the big topics at the National Autism Conference at Penn State last week. More than 2,000 teachers, people with autism, parents of autistic children and others attended the five-day Pennsylvania conference. One researcher told attendees that high school is the time to start teaching the independence needed for college and beyond.

Dr. Janet Graetz, assistant professor of human development and child studies at Oakland University in Michigan, presented a session on her study that followed 19 college students with Asperger’s syndrome.

Graetz found that students living with Asperger’s exercised less, had high anxiety levels and failed to take advantage of campus disability resources as the school year went on.

She stressed the importance of teaching independence in high school to students with disorders like Asperger’s syndrome.

“Students in high school must be taught self-advocacy,” Graetz said. “The best thing you can do for your student who is younger is to teach them about self-advocacy.”

via Autism Conference Held at Penn Stater

Autism Back-to-School: Autism at college

Some colleges have set up programs to assist autistic students.

Here are three universities that have set up three campus programs to assist students with autism:

At the University of Arizona, students with autism can register with The SALT Center, or The Strategic Alternative Learning Techniques Center. There, they receive monitoring and help with everything from planning and assistive technology to coursework.

Farleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey has a support program for students with Asperger’s syndrome.

The University of Alabama also offers a college transition program for autistic students.

via SALT Center.

Philadelphia: Drexel basketball visits The Timothy School

Drexel men’s and women’s basketball players took time from their summer schedules to pay a visit to in Berwyn, Pa. on Friday, July 30. The Timothy School is dedicated to educating children with Autism. For the third year in a row, students welcomed the Dragons to school as part of Sibling Day for a basketball clinic and played against the school’s team, “The Tornadoes.”

The Sibling Day event at Timothy School is a day on which all the students diagnosed autism spectrum disorders invited their siblings for a day of bonding and fun.

via Drexel University Athletics – Drexel Basketball Visits The Timothy School.

Autistic adults, advocates, visit Washington

The  Advancing Futures for Adults with Autism recent Congressional briefing brought together policymakers and advocates, including this young man with autism who described his goals and college dream.

Joey Rosenbloom, 22, uses a “life writer” to communicate. Sharen Rosenbloom assists her son in every task, from tying his shoes to combing his hair. But the reality Joey faces is what will happen when his mother is gone – an issue that 500,000 autistic children growing into adulthood must figure out. Autism spectrum disorder ranges from mild to severe developmental disabilities. ASD affects people in social and behavioral ways. Some are unable to develop life skills because they cannot speak and are unable to interact with people, while others cannot control their actions. Autism is not just a childhood disease – it never goes away. The Advancing Futures for Adults with Autism consortium met in Washington on Thursday to urge policymakers, advocates and others to make numerous changes. Those include training service providers how to interact with autistic people, new funding to meet individual needs and expanding incentives for housing. Joey and five other autistic people, ages 22 to 54, told the audience of 250 people what they face now and what’s ahead.”My goal is to find a university longing to house and educate individuals living with autism,” Joey said, using his device. “I dream of living on a campus and learning from professors and not just special educators.” via Autistic adults face insecure future.