Guest speaker Charlotte E. Exner, Ph.D OT/L Executive Director of The Hussman Center for Adults with Autism, Towson University, Maryland.
Ms. Exner spoke about Towson University’s program that serves young adults (18 and over) who have autism and need further guidance after they leave high school.
The Towson website describes their program as follows:
Young adults transitioning from school are faced with a number of challenges, including less structured environments and fewer opportunities for socialization. There are few resources available to support young adults as they make this transition. The Center for Adults with Autism is focused on becoming an effective, integrated, interdisciplinary resource center that supports education for professionals, and links academic and community resources for young adults on the autism spectrum and their families.
The Village Angels have made a donation of $500 to Towson, which will be given out in scholarship form to two students.
Guest speakers: Special education teachers Heather Nieves and Jennifer Bourque
The teachers discussed the challenges and rewards of teaching autistic children in grades K-5.
Heather works with low functioning children. She stressed the importance of structure not only in the classroom but at home as well. Jennifer works with higher functioning children who are within 1-2 years of their academic level. Though they still have sensory and visual difficulties, learning socialization skills can be an even bigger challenge.
The teachers also discussed the fact that funds are not always available to purchase items that could improve the school experience for these children. They offered suggestions of things we could make or purchase for donation.
Guest speaker: James M. Creed, Learning Disabilities Specialist of Beacon College, Leesburg
Mr. Creed spoke about specific learning disabilities associated with Autism, communication with schools regarding such disabilities, and the difficulty of testing children with autism.