Florida's First Choice for Autism Support

Posts tagged ‘CARD USF’

Pasco County Sheriff’s Office launches an Autism Identification Card Program

Pasco Sheriff’s Office has introduced an autism identification card program, otherwise being called Autism Assistance Cards. Assistant Program Director, Christine Rover, was interviewed and provided her thoughts on the launch of this new program.

“Pasco County Sheriff’s Office has really been a leader in their efforts to include residents with ASD for a long time, so it’s kind of no surprise that they’re adding to sort of the elements here, and we really appreciate that,” – Christine Rover, Assistant Program Director of CARD-USF

read full article here

No photo description available.

Survey: Parent’s Stress & Perceptions of Child Well-Being during COVID-19

stressOur colleagues at CARD-FAU are researching how COVID-19 is impacting parents’ levels of stress and perceptions of child well-being during COVID-19 by taking the following survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NQB2FLM

The goal is help understand how children with autism and their parents are now reacting and have reacted to the prolonged break. This is an unpredictable time and understanding how children with ASD are coping will allow us to better prepare for other life changes they may encounter. https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NQB2FLM

We thank you for the time to provide your input.

CARD-USF

All In for Inclusion

At CARD-USF we wanted to go beyond an autism awareness campaign. The reality is autism awareness and acceptance should be year round. True acceptance, in our eyes, is rooted in the action of inclusion.

Individuals with autism WANT to be included. Their families WANT them to be included as well. It is important to remember that individuals with autism, and varying disabilities, have needs and goals similar to you and me. However, to achieve success, they need their community and support system to include them.

So what does inclusion look like?

The beauty of inclusion is that it is objective and fluid throughout each person’s life. As people grow and change, their needs for inclusion will change too. For small or school age children, include them in play: birthday parties, organized sports, play dates and school activities that their neuro-typical peers would all experience. As children grow up and become more social they too will seek the social aspects of middle and high school. Make sure to include them in clubs, social outings, celebrations and rites of passage, like prom and graduation.

Adulthood, particularly, inclusion is vital! Everyone, regardless of ability, has the desire to live a life that brings them happiness and purpose. Finding a job that gives them confidence and builds upon skills that they already possess will foster positive self-esteem and allow them to be successful in the workforce. Some may take a bit longer to figure out what it is they want to do; but with guided expertise from resources such as, The Learning Academy Employment Services, they can certainly achieve their goals of employment.

So our question to you- the reader, the parents, the educators, and the community as a whole, what can YOU do to support inclusion?

Are you ALL IN?

If so, be sure to like and share our posts for this campaign to highlight the importance of inclusion.

 

Farewell Dr. Berkman

Mixed emotions are in abundance here at CARD-USF. We’ve all known this day would eventually arrive but we didn’t anticipate it coming so fast. It seems like it was yesterday she was whispering the words, “I’m going to retire next year”, yet here we are looking at her last week as Executive Director. To say Dr. Karen Berkman will be missed is a true understatement. Many of us, her included, are so busy preparing and planning that it keeps us from stopping and thinking about the sadness of it all. Which is good, keeps the tears at bay for a while longer. After 16 extraordinary years leading CARD-USF, Karen will set out on a new adventure; retirement. Although we as a group couldn’t be more excited for her, we are sad to see her go.

Karen is the true definition of a leader. She is determined, forthright, and has the ability to inspire those around her. She has pushed us to great heights and constantly nudges us to think bigger, smarter and beyond by asking “what’s next?”. However, at the same time, she is compassionate, understanding and willing to stop at nothing to make sure we have all we need for the overall success of our work.

She has had such an impact on families and individuals on the autism spectrum. Whether it was from creating The Learning Academy for young adults to learn employment skills, to creating the Autism Friendly Business initiative after seeing a need in the community; she has the keen sense of seeing a need and from that creating something amazing. She was instrumental in the development of the Autism Friendly Tampa Initiative along with the City of Tampa and former Mayor, Bob Buckhorn. She served on the Governor’s Autism Task Force to help implement changes to the state. She also brought CARD-USF and HIPPY together for a collaborative effort to assist children with autism with the reading curriculum provided through HIPPY.

She has achieved much success during her time at USF. Her impact here at USF, CARD and throughout our 14 counties reaches far and wide; she has so much to be proud of.

Dr. Berkman, if you’re reading this (which I’m sure you are) I along with the CARD and TLA team will miss you so very much. We will do our very best to continue on with your great work and we will strive to make you proud. Enjoy your retirement and the crisp air of the mountains. You deserve it!

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”

Sincerely,

Adrian & the CARD/TLA team

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

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…

Summer & Water Safety

water safety Header.png

It’s that time of year again, where the temperature and humidity rise so high you can’t go outside without sweating. And what better way to cool off than to take a nice dip in the water! Swimming is the go-to activity for Floridians in the summer, and whether at a pool or at the beach, it’s always a good time. But for children with autism, it can certainly present challenges that the parents may need to consider. We’ve got you covered here at CARD, with our most important tips for water safety.

Drowning is a serious concern for those with ASD and those concerns don’t seem to stop as the person gets older. Drowning can happen in an instant and in water as little as 2 inches deep. Parents, caregivers and anyone should be vigilant with children around water. If your family has a swimming pool, we suggest maintaining barriers around the perimeter of the pool, so that your child won’t be able to wander into it. Also, knowing CPR is always a positive in case of emergency.

It’s also important that children learn how to swim. If you’re an adult and you never learned, please consider doing so. There are many sites throughout CARD-USF’s 14 county service area that provide swimming lessons to individuals with special needs. That list can be found here. I’d also like to direct you to CARD-USF’s wonderful Water Safety brochure, which lays out many of the things I’ve discussed and so much more. If that’s not enough, the brochure has a long list of external resources you can check out on this topic.

Happy summer everyone! Stay cool and stay safe.

  • G. Sosso
Pool safety infographic

A great infographic from American Academy of Pediatrics

Tampa International Airport’s Autism Training & TPA 360 Program

In May, CARD provided an autism awareness training to many of the Guest Services staff and Airport Traffic and Police at Tampa International Airport as part of their effort to meet the needs of people with ASD. We were thrilled to learn about their TPA 360 Traveler Education Program.

Airline travel is often a break from the typical routine and can spark anxiety and stress in most families; especially those with individuals affected by autism. The friendly and supportive TPA 360 staff understand this and offer a “pre-travel” experience that invites families and individuals to visit the airport, take a tour of the areas they will be using during their actual flight, and practice going through the whole process from check-in, to security screening, to actually getting onto the aircraft!  This is like a “living social story” that provides a real experience and sets the expectations of all the travelers in a family.

If you travel or plan to take a flight out of Tampa, we encourage you to contact Tampa International Airport Guest Services  (813) 870-8759 Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. to book a TPA 360 tour.  For more information and a view of their webpage.

For more information on tips and resources for air travel and autism CARD-USF has created the Airports, Airplanes & Autism booklet. Access it here.

AIRPORT COVER

Mental Health Awareness Month

Happy May! May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Did you know, according to research (Ghaziuddin and Zafar, 2008) up to 80 percent of individuals with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum disorder have at least one co-occurring mental health disorder. Common co-occurring mental health disorders include ADHD, anxiety disorders, depression, mood disorders, and eating disorders.

For Parents:

It is important to make the point that there are other medical issues that need to be ruled out before a mental health diagnosis. However, if you have a child on the Autism Spectrum and suspect a mental health concern here are some signs and symptoms to be aware of: impulsivity, attention challenges, hyperactivity, aggression, irritability, crying, avoiding school, restricted or rigid rules with food, resistance to change, low frustration tolerance, bullying, unusual fears or worries. If you feel that you child may be having mental health concerns please contact your primary doctor for a referral for an mental health evaluation.

For Mental Health Practitioners:

Take a look at our mental health guide book to support you while working with individuals on the autism spectrum who have a co-occurring mental health disorder.

Guidebook

As always if you need assistance with resources please contact CARD-USF for assistance. We can be reached at (813) 974-2532 or Card-usf@usf.edu.

 

Written by Charisse Dawkins, LCSW

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