Findings recently published in the Harvard Review of Psychology reveal that there has been a significant upsurge of people with Autism Spectrum Disorder applying to and arriving on college campuses. Studying this particular increase is difficult, however, because “for every student … Continue reading
The University of Utah and Columbus Community Center are testing a pilot program that hopes to help people on the autism spectrum gain work skills and become an important part of the workforce. The program was started by NeuroVersity, a … Continue reading
Occupational therapist Alexander Lopez created a “Hole in One” program: golfing for children with autism! The town of Islip is in partnership with Lopez, teaching children with high functioning autism from the ages 6 to 11 how to golf. The kids have the opportunity to enjoy the sport, while simultaneously learning coordination, fine and gross motor skills, and social skills.
The 10-week program is held in the town’s golfing facilities (at no cost to the town’s taxpayers” and at Give It Your All Sports, located in Ronkonkoma. Other therapists from the area participate as volunteers, as well as students from Stony Brook University and Touro College. This wonderful opportunity costs $30 per 90-minute session, which helps Lopez pay for the facilities and a yoga instructor.
The parents of children partaking in this opportunity are thrilled with the idea, including Stephanie and Bill MacIntosh, whose son struggles “socially, playing with other kids. He’s doing great now. He has healthy outlets.”[i]
Lopez began this program for troubled teenagers, but was more than happy to expand it to children with high functioning autism. As he puts it,
“Sports after a certain grade level gets very complicated, very cliquish. These kids, they just need attention. They’re not getting the resources anymore and they become sedentary. This is designed to help them strengthen their bodies.”
The second session is now in place, and members of the community are hopeful it will continue.
[i] “Newsday” Islip offers golf to kids with autism. 03 Nov 2013. Web. < http://www.newsday.com/long-island/towns/islip-offers-golf-to-kids-with-autism-1.6369893?print=true>
Picture this: you’re in your high school cafeteria when you step on a ketchup packet. It explodes and you pick it up to throw it away, but are left with the residue all over your hand. You look around for a napkin or a place to clean it off, and the closest thing you find is a jacket. So you use the jacket and the next thing you know… you’re getting punched in the face.
That’s exactly what happened to 17 year old Joseph Galloway, but he did not know his actions were inappropriate, as he is diagnosed with autism and has a lot of social anxiety. Extremely gifted, Joseph is now part of theMarshallUniversityAutismTrainingCenter, which started in 2002 from a donation from Larry Austin, whose son was diagnosed as well. The center is funded by the state, and serves as a great aid for its students. Each student has a graduate student serving as a mentor, making sure they are keeping up with their class work, and improving their social skills. The University’sAutismTrainingCenteris the oldest program in the country to award college degrees to people with high functioning autism.MarshallUniversityhas been serving those with disabilities for years, starting with physical disabilities.
For parents like Joseph’s mother, Laura Beth Galloway, the center truly is a safe haven,
“You have to surround your child with people who see his value and see his strengths and weaknesses. He’s always going to have to have a go-to person who will understand his disability, but I really feel like the sky’s the limit for Joseph if he has the right employer and the right supports.”[i]
Students receive tools such as pictorial schedules to help them plan their days, and the chance to socialize with other students to improve their social skills. Marshall University’s Autism Training Center serves as a tool to help those with high functioning autism receive a proper college education.
[i] “Pittsburgh Post-Gazette” At Marshall University, students with autism can find a haven. 09 Oct 2013. Web. < http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/news/health/marshall1009roth39-706805/>