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Posts tagged ‘Autism’

Guest Blog: The Backstory Of My Magnum Opus: Breakthrough

As I made it clear in my past blogs, my readers, I love to write! Okay, I say I have a love/hate relationship with it. What can you do? That’s enough weird talk about my “relationship”, I’m not here to write a blog with a misleading title, I’m here to tell you the story  about how I decided to write “Breakthrough”.

Now before I do, I’ll make this quick and clear. I can already hear you guys saying, “There’s already a book with that same title!” and “Wasn’t there a movie adaption of the latter?” To that before you start wigging out(I watched too much The Iron Giant, I’d watch it if you’re able, and if you have, watch it again.), I found out sometime after I finished my first collection of Markings by C.R. Gibson journals. I saw the movie in a bargain bin at Walmart.

Okay, now that I cleared that up, let me dive right into the backstory before you get bored from my rambling, I moved back to Albany, Georgia and I’m still not exactly thrilled about it. I had finished my first ten journals, all fictional. I tried to finish my other oodles of journals, but then I got the worst thing imaginable(well, for a writer anyway), a writer’s block!

I was like “Jesus, take the wheel! I can’t bare this pain!” After I got my act together, I went on my phone and checked websites that claimed to have cures for a writer’s block. The first one I checked out had 7 suggestions. Lucky number seven, maybe this’ll help me! I thought. Was it a right? Uh…no. No, my readers I wasn’t.

They listed to go for a walk, I looked outside and then heard my grandma say to grandpa(back when he was still around), “Goin’ to check the mail, Leon!” I decided to slip on my shoes and put on my Poké Ball Plus.  “Wait up!” I would call. Then, I walked with her outside. When we got back, she gave me a small box. “It’s from yer mama, Erica!” She announced, “Phew, it’s pretty heavy too!”

I took it from her and it wasn’t that heavy, I shook my head and tore that sucker open. Inside were ten black leather Markings by C.R. Gibson journals, I hoped that the first suggestion on that list worked, and big shock(not really) it didn’t work! I looked at the other suggestions and they were: “Try finishing your unfinished work, Meditate, sleep, write random sentences.” I did all of these on a regular basis and nada!

I was on the verge of giving up then suddenly on the third website I checked out, there was oodles of posts of writers making their own suggestions. The third one caught my attention almost instantly. It read: “Write a story about a character who is going through the same thing you are going through.” I pondered and wrote a page of this idea so I wouldn’t forget.

Then I went to Tampa, Florida to visit my friends and my CARD family. On my almost last day, I walked with Christine Rover to her car to get my bag of empty journals, and said out of the norm, “I bet there’s a dimension out there, with a male me and a male you.” We cracked some jokes and that’s how the main protagonist Eric Queen came to be, then eventually the story. I hope you enjoyed this blog! Sorry it’s so long!

Ciao for now!


Guest Blog: What Will Your Talent Be?

What will your talent be? It isn’t up to me, be whoever you want to be. If you don’t know what your talent is, don’t be distraught. I used to not know my own talent even when it was staring at me right in the face.

If it were a bee, it would’ve stung me that day. When I was very young; no not three, that’s far too young for me to remember. I was in first grade, where I wrote essays and when I was done, I’d write and draw my own stories without a prompt.

I did this until about grade three, then kind of stopped my doodles. Still I thought I’d be a cartoonist, not knowing all that went in making those cartoons move and talk. Years later, I found out how much work had to be done and decided to pursue a different talent.

I still drew; I couldn’t just say I was through. I didn’t find drawing my passion anymore, but for an assignment or fun, I will draw. I would rather do that then play in the sun or chewing on my plastic straw.

The following year, I ended up in a class I never knew excited; a creative writing class. I couldn’t bear to think of what would my teacher would say if I shared what I wrote. When she liked it a lot, I felt something in my gut.

I found out my talent was indeed writing, I began writing more and more, nobody ever thought they were a bore, especially my riddles that sure were a chore for them to solve. Then one day, my teacher, Ms. Kraft wanted me to do something with them.

She wanted me to write a new riddle every Monday for someone to solve, the riddle’s answer would be revealed Friday unless it was a holiday. I enjoyed going to school ever since that day.

Then during an awards ceremony on May 15, 2015,  I was given a future author award.That was the day that I found out what my true talent and passion was. I stuck by it and I still do.

The moral of this blog is to find your true calling. Sometimes life will throw curve balls, but it’s up to you to be pelted by them or dodge them.

Ciao for now!

Erica King

Guest Blog: What Writing is to Me

Hello, it’s your girl Erica again, did you miss me? I’m sure you did! I wanted to write a blog about what writing is to me. The next blog may be about Merry Acres middle school, and it may not be! It will happen though I promise! Look at me rambling and I’m not even at the meat of the blog yet!

Okay all big words and joking aside, I am here to talk about what writing is to me. Writing to me is a lot of thing: It’s fun, it’s relaxing, and it’s my escape when I’m overwhelmed. I’d be crazy if I said it was all fun and games, heck I’d be crazier if I said that it was all pros and no cons!

Well, my readers let me tell you something…IT IS NOT ALL PROS! You see, writing to me is also: torture, stressful and my prison! Let me explain, writing is fun, sure, but it can be torture when you set yourself a deadline or when you are given a deadline, and let me tell you, those things don’t come with pretty red bows!

Writing is relaxing sure, but when you are trying to catch some z’s and you’re as forgettable and creative as me, it’s stressful hearing those words and sentences repeat in your head like a song on repeat until you write them down whether on your phone or on scrap paper!

Writing is an escape sure, but it can also be a prison! You won’t be free until you finish your sentence! Ha, ha, ha! Seriously though, writing is no laughing matter, I love it, sure, but sometimes I don’t. It’s fine though, because no matter what writing is my favorite thing to do. I loved since first grade and I still love it today!

In conclusion, writing despite its cons, is my calling. I know it is, with as many journals as I have and as many pens that lost their ink, I know I’m doing something worth while and someday I’ll be published. When that day comes, I’ll be on book tours and enjoy it very much. Ciao for now!



Guest Blog: Everyone, Meet Erica!

Hi! I’m Erica J. King, a young adult with autism who once lived in Tampa, Florida and my favorite thing to do is write original stories. When I’m not writing, I’m playing video games or thinking about writing. I once owned two hedgehogs named Rosabel and Quilliam Shakespeare. Alas, they both passed away, but they haven’t left my heart.

Melancholy aside, I have attended many different schools and academies. I’ve attended:  Radium Springs Elementary School, Oaktree Elementary School, Merry Acres Middle School, Benito Middle School, Wharton High School, Focus Academy, and lastly the Learning Academy. I moved back to Albany, Georgia to help out with my grandparents. One of which is gone, my grandfather. I’m not going to make my first blog super sad so let’s move on!

I have been working on a story called “Breakthrough”, and no it doesn’t involve some guy falling through thin ice! It’ll be my magnum opus is all you’ll need to know. I will just say one thing about it, it’s about a male writer. I have written fifteen journals for the first book, fifteen journals equal fifteen chapters, and as I’m writing this blog I’m working on the second book and that one will have ten chapters therefore it’ll have ten journals.

Now I’ll talk more about my school experiences, more on the lines of Focus Academy and The Learning Academy. I’ll talk about Merry Acres in a future blog, because that in itself deserves its own blog! Focus Academy was certainly an experience, I met my best friend Francesca Rosa there during summer school. We are still friends today. I learned a lot there about developing characters and layering them.

After doing the high school part, I did a transition program where I did puppy training and volunteer work at a food pantry. I also learned about filling out applications, self-advocacy, and writing checks. Then after I graduated from that, I attended The Learning Academy. I made a lot of friends there and even had an old friend of mine attend too! There I learned a lot about furthering my skills, learning styles, more self-advocacy and attending job fairs. I even learned how to properly act during job interviews.

In conclusion, I hope you readers out there enjoyed this introduction blog and I truly hope that you want to hear more from me, I’ll even share some of my original writings if y’all want! Just let me know below, and enjoy the rest of your day! Thank you so much again for taking the time out of your busy schedule to read this! I truly appreciate it 100%, really I do! Ciao for now!


Past blogs regarding Erica:  TLA Graduate Spotlight on Erica King


CARD-USF Announces New Executive Director

Dr. Boone

The Center for Autism and Related Disabilities at USF is pleased to announce that Dr. Beth Boone has been appointed Executive Director starting November 1st, 2019. She is set to assume the role following Dr. Karen Berkman’s retirement in December.

We are excited to welcome Dr. Boone to the CARD-USF team and look forward to our center’s new and exciting future under her leadership.


 Dr. Beth Boone is a professional dedicated to working with individuals with autism and related disabilities and their families. Dr. Boone received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Florida in 2001, completing a dissertation on the training and support needs of medical foster families. She completed pre-doctoral and postdoctoral fellowships at the A.I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, DE, and a second postdoctoral year as a Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) fellow at the Westchester Institute for Human Development, a University Center of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD), where she also served as faculty at the New York Medical College. In 2008, Dr. Boone went on to direct the Positive Behavior Support (PBS) Training Project at Partners for Inclusive Communities, Arkansas’ UCEDD, providing statewide training on positive behavior support for waiver coordinators, direct support staff, and families across the state. She subsequently provided training, assessment and development of PBS plans for individuals supported by United Cerebral Palsy of Arkansas, and served as the Clinical Director for Arkansas START (Systemic, Therapeutic Assessment, Resources and Treatment), a statewide crisis prevention and intervention program for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and complex behavioral health needs. In 2014, Dr. Boone assumed the role of Executive Director of the Institute for Disability Studies (IDS) at The University of Southern Mississippi (USM), Mississippi’s UCEDD. In this role, Dr. Boone was responsible for oversight of all programmatic, personnel, fiscal, and budgetary activities for the agency, as well as facilitating disability-related research, teaching, and service collaborations between IDS and USM, and other local, state, and federal partners, also serving as Adjunct Professor of Psychology and Coordinator for the Disability Concentration through the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies. Upon relocating to Tampa, FL in 2017, Dr. Boone completed an 18-credit graduate certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis while working as a Behavior Analyst with the Florida Mentor Network, and most recently has taught in and chaired the Psychology department for Keiser New Port Richey. She now brings her wealth of experience to CARD at USF.

Autism & Back to School

It’s that time of year once again, every kid’s favorite: back to school! We hope everyone’s successfully readjusted to their school schedule and aren’t still stuck in summer mode. It can be a stressful time for parents as well, not knowing how their kids are going to be treated by the other students, their teacher, and the administration. Will they make friends? Will they have to sit alone in the cafeteria? Is getting them to do homework going to be a daily stress? My parents can attest to all those feelings, and I know personally just how scary the whole experience can be; the first day of school was my worst nightmare when I was younger. But it really doesn’t need to be. School can be a wonderful and fulfilling part of your life, a time you’ll look back on with nostalgia when the realities of adult life hit you.

I’d like to outline some general advice I have for the back to school period that can be beneficial for both the student and parents. This is assuming you’ll be in a general education classroom which, as I’ve previously discussed, is becoming more common for kids on the spectrum. First is to keep a constant line of communication between student, parent, and teacher. As someone who’s going into the teaching profession, I can’t understate the importance of this. Teachers have to balance the needs of an entire classroom, and it can be difficult to properly identify one student’s troubles if they don’t know what’s going on in that student’s mind. Not only is a good relationship with the teacher positive academically, but I’ve seen firsthand teachers who are willing to help integrate their special needs students with the rest of the class. New friendships are formed that never would have been otherwise.

Another important thing, and it’s one that in hindsight I’m glad my family forced on me, is to get involved. Boy/Girl Scouts, sports, clubs, any extracurricular activities. When I was much younger I did these things (reluctantly at first), and ended up making many of my friends through them. It also allowed my mom to form relationships with the other parents so they could set up play dates for all of us. Even for older students, it’s never a bad idea to stay active, learn some valuable life skills, and have fun instead of wasting away doing nothing like many high schoolers are prone to do. I know that for many with ASD, putting yourself out there in social situations can be a daunting task, but facing your fears and anxieties is the only way to overcome them. Building a rapport with your teacher and getting involved with the school are what I consider to be the most important methods of feeling comfortable in school from the very beginning of the year.


G. Sosso

Hurricane Safety


With the uncertainty of Hurricane Dorian’s impact on Florida, now is a good time to prepare. CARD-USF has Hurricane Safety brochures in English and Spanish as well as a Hurricane Social Narrative. Also, be sure to register with the Special Needs Registry in your county at FLGetAPlan.com

Hurricane Safety (English):https://www.dropbox.com/…/CARD_2018HurricaneGuide_FINAL_dig…

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