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Last updated: 10/29/14


 

Welcome Friends!

This just in...There are still a few spots remaining in class that begins on Nov. 15. Theatre Horizons in Norristown, PA.  
The fall session of Storytelling & the Art of Playwriting runs November 15-December 20, 2014.
Class is 11:30 AM-1:00 PM on Saturdays.  
 

A partnership between Theatre Horizon and Philadelphia Young Playwrights, this class is for anyone who loves to tell a good story! Participants learn the fundamentals of storytelling as they develop the skills necessary to communicate their thoughts and feelings. Through improv games and writing exercises, participants learn to create strong characters, rich dialogue, and engaging story lines. Class culminates in a final showcase of participants’ work.  Leigh MalloneeEducation Director | Theatre Horizon610.283.2230 | www.theatrehorizon.org

We parents must help our young adults tap into their talents and hidden potential by exploring opportunities, expanding possibilities, and focusing on high expectations while setting and meeting Realistic Goals." Tara Horwitz. With so many new opportunities happening around Montgomery County and conferences and Octoberfest. I get so excited over the fact that real conversations about improving services and funding are happening around here, so when I can't attend something, I may send an email, just to be included in the conversation.  I may even write an actual letter!  Here is a good read on this very subject:  Untapped Potential: Autistic Adults

Kyle needs your help! PLEASE make a DONATION in any amount. Even $1 helps, and if every one of my Facebook Friends made a $1 pledge, Kyle would raise well over $100 (your donation can be made anonymously.) TIA!!! We are supporting the Autism Cares Foundation because they do special events for teens and adults locally and constantly.   Kyle has had the pleasure on joining in on the fun, over and over again. The ACF Foundation has expanded its reach from Langhorne, Richboro, and Horsham into the Ambler and North Whales area locations! They are doing Adult Programming, NOW!!! (Something that really does not exist after 18 and 21 for most adults living with ASD. Kyle and I will be walking November 8th for their 5th annual Race For Resources. Click the link below to donate to my page. Please SHARE this message far and wide. Thanks for your support! Please Click: 
http://www.raceforresources.org/faf/donorReg/donorPledge.asp?ievent=1098280&lis=0&kntae1098280=48D5F765C13B4512B90265431CD0AF81&supid=413213828



Kyle is very excited to be back at PWHS!  He is taking art studio classes for the first time at the highschool and we can't wait to see what he will create. He will also continue job cruising and working in different environments in and outside of school.  After the wirlwind of summer activities Kyle had, we are happy that school will add more of a steady routine.  This was truly "the summer of Kyle". (Seinfeld Reference) The more activities Kyle joined, the better everything! He will continue to go to mental health counseling, music therapy, the YMCA, bowling, walking around the park, library, pet store, book store, local eateries.The bet news of all is that with the help of a peer mentor through TrailGuides peer mentoring program, Kyle will continue to be apart of the community more independently.  Kyle's dedicated, friendly, and mature mentor is able to help him complete travel training, encourage the use of social skills, and guide Kyle with purchasing, shopping, and running daily errands! Kyle is truly making great progress in all areas of his adult life. Couldn't be prouder!
  • Trail Guides  267-507-3490 www.mhasp.org Trail Guides is a mentoring program for young adults between the ages of 18-26 who experience mental health challenges. Our mentors provide encouragement and support to young people on their journey through recovery. 
 

Kyle, 18 yrs.old, had his first week of overnight summer camp and had a wonderful time! On the thrid day of camp, Kyle's camp counselor, Mr. Myers: Kyle did really well today. He went on the zip line, shoot bow in arrows and played basketball. He's watching shrek 2 movie on his dvd player tonite. He's eating well and is making friends in the cabin. By the end of camp Kyle had been very adventurous in doing the zipline, archery, horseback riding, and caneoing.  Summer L.I.F.E. offers experiential learning and social skills development in the context of summer fun. Designed especially to support students, ages 8-21, with high functioning autism and Asperger’s Syndrome, the programs – specialty camps, traditional day camp/overnight camp, and travel excursions – also support students who have social anxiety or difficulty connecting with their peers. Summer L.I.F.E. offers low camper-to-staff ratio, experienced camp staff, ongoing behavior support, structured daily programming, engaging, multisensory activities and “Real World” learning.  
To learn more information about this speciality camp ran by Valley Forge Educational Services; the folks that also run the Vanguard School, an approved private school, which offers post-secondary education, career development and social and life skills development to young adults ages 18–21 who have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, mild emotional disturbance and/or neurological impairment. Contact:Holly Zipperer Phone: 610.296.6725 x115Email: info@summermatters.orgWebsite: http://www.summermatters.org/
 


My son, Kyle, is an adult living with Autism.  He has made me very proud and taught me more than I ever imagined.  Do you have a teenager or an adult living with Autism?  I do!  Actually, as I meet up with more and more parents of children with any special need, I am realizing that we aren't much different from one another.  We all want our children to thrive and live out happy lives.  I started this site to keep track of resources for developmentally delayed/neurologically impaired pre-teens and teens, because I am concerned about transitioning, especially from highschool to "the real world".
  •  I encourage every parent of a special needs child to make your own play date. Call ahead. Explain ahead. Be the change you want to see!!!!                                                                                                    (I started out small, just one girl called Kyle and asked for him to hang out...that expanded to half his class...and now extended friends of passionate parents like myself.
  •  It is not easy, but it can get easier. 
  • Throw some parties! Meet up! Awareness is happening-------ACTIONS are happening!  People are accepting.  :)
  •  It also helps if you include all exceptionalities and differences beyond Autism.....we all have challenges, but together we can have ENORMOUS SUCCESS!!!
This is a parent and guardian resource/networking group, facilitating educational information and recreational resources for adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Autism Guards is a localized web-site for neighbors of Montgomery County (Conshohocken, Lafayette Hill, Norristown, East Noriton, North Whales, Blue Bell, Plymouth Meeting, Chestnut Hill, Flourtown, Springfield, etc...) and beyond.  We are currently using social media to continue dialogue and spread valuable information and resources. 

We do not have monthly meetings at this time, however, we do provide information on local area meetings that may be of interest to those in the Autism community.  

You are encouraged to check out easily updated information via our Facebook page: Autismguards.  
 

(Pictured above Kyle and his Mom, Tara)

All the Best,                                  
Tara Thompson-Horwitz

P.S.  Don't know where to start?  * Autismspeaks.org 
  
This site is listed there, along with many other great resources to help us all!  
*NEWEST=Community-based Skills Assessment (CSA): Developing a Personalized Transition Plan!
http://www.autismspeaks.org/family-services/community-based-skills-assessment

There are several valuable guidelines and outlines for the best ways to get started on advocating for your child or loved one.  
The tool kit that I have found most helpful for my own son is the Transition Tool Kit!   
They have an Employment Tool Kit and many others.  
They hold the market on research and many other things...   
Keep a binder and good luck on your journey!     


 

(picture below is of Kyle "rocking out" at Music Works, a music therapy class in Haverford,PA
2050 West Chester Pike, Suite 115 Havertown, PA 19083-2742http://musicworkswonders.org/adults.)


Check out the FUN! page for many ideas and resources for  activities.

Kyle has joined a local YMCA that offers specialized classes for Kyle and teens like him.  Kyle has music therapy at Music Works and acting social classes with Theater Horizon.  He is enjoying being around his peers and is even going to a few dances and bowling.  
 

 

(picture of spring session final showcase at Theater Horizon 2014)

Two very dedicated father's, Tom Reinke and Jim Wurster, both with older adult children, that are dedicated to doing meaningful opportunities for our young adults with special needs. Their group is called New Avenue Foundations (located in Chester County/Media/Haverford, PA) They will be at the Media Farmer's Market again this year, starting May 8th. They have a partnered with others at their vendor table, including crafts and such made by people with disabilities. They hold monthly meetings at St. John Chrysostom's in Wallingford, PA to keep our families up-to-date on what we're doing. They are working on setting up some activities for our young adults (including music, drop-in center and cooking/nutrition class). They also have some awesome out-of-the box ideas on some housing for adults with different needs. (Wayne PA, Royersford PA and Narberth PA).


 Rattlebox Nature Center to provide a nature outing to learn about and handle animals for people with disabilities. Rattlebox’s goal is to provide individuals of all ages and capabilities with hands-on experience that will better their understanding of the critical role that animals play in the health and welfare of our world and to dispel false stereotypes and myths regarding their behavior and characteristics. This outing will be a learning experience as well as a hands-on experience where you’ll be able to hold and pet animals.

 

(Kyle looking fondly at the miniature horses @ Rattlebox Farm) 

 Rattlebox Nature Center220 Wawa Road, Media, PA 19063, 610-358-4813.

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I hosted a resource table locally, at the Annual Whitemarsh Township Day located at Miles Park, on Saturday April 26th. Thank you to all the parents that came out and found me that day.  I believe that it is vital to build relationships with community establishments, especially one that embraces my special needs child, his friends, and all children. Community connections are extremely important for a variety of reasons, especially when they create real life opportunities for our growing adult population of special needs individuals.  My personal interest with my networking group: www.Autismguards.org is to create real time activities, job cruising opportunities, employment, higher education, and independent living opportunities. 
 

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My son, Kyle, and his entire class have built a positive relationship by volunteering at our local library thanks to a dedicated paraprofessional/classroom aide that happens to be a big part of the library. Through this individual, Kyle's life skills teacher was able to make direct contact with library staff and begin a volunteer program, where the teens from PW life skills class go over and label books, re-shelve books, and do many other important tasks.
 


May 5th starts National Teacher appreciation week. Did you remember to THANK your child's teacher/teachers? This is the look of pride on a young adults face.  Kyle has made progress both at school and at home.  We have enrolled him in fun activities, like music therapy and drama classes.  We are especially grateful to his Life Skills lead teacher, Mrs. Emily Prager.  She listens to our concerns and Kyle's desires.  She has chosen electives for Kyle like music, tech Ed, cooking, and most recently art class, because she is invested in seeing that Kyle, and all of her students excel.  She has done a nice job scheduling different job options for Kyle to explore.  Mrs. Prager has helped  Kyle to be educated, social, productive, and challenged.  We feel that our family is soooo blessed to have her as Kyle's lead teacher!  She is one of a kind and Colonial School District should be proud of having hired Mrs. Prager as it's PWHS Life Skills Teacher.  Thank you Mrs. Prager! 
 

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