CA R D center for autism &
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA/GAINESVILLE
Dear Families and Friends of CARD,
I hope you are well and that parents of
school-age children are enjoying sum-
mer break. I know that summer can be
a very difficult time for families with
children who are out of school and the
CARD staff at the University of Florida
are working hard to keep up with the
many calls from families and schools
that are coming in each day. We have
not had an opportunity to put together a
newsletter for some time and are excited
to finally get this out to you.
Once again, the biggest hurdle we are
facing at CARD this year is the bud-
get cut that we have been given by the
Florida Legislature. Unfortunately, our
operating budget has been reduced by
another 9% this year so that will have
implications on what we are able to do
for our constituents. I am happy to re-
port that we have not had to lay off any
of our personnel but have lost Michelle
Hite (moved to South Florida) and 3
student assistants (graduated) that we do
not have funds to replace.
Again, the good news is the support
we have received from our community.
Thanks to the generous contributions of
some kind individuals and businesses,
the budget cuts will be offset to a degree.
In February, March, and April, CARD
was the beneficiary of fund raising
events put on by the STAR (Students
Together for Autism Research club) at
Eastside High School in Gainesville, by
Palm Gainesville Chevrolet and by the
UF students and community Stomp the
Swamp event. It means so much to us
to be able to continue to work with all of
you. There is no way we can adequately
express our gratitude.
Please be sure to monitor our website
calendar for events of interest. We also
send out email bulletins about CARD
workshops, and the events of other or-
ganizations in our area about once every
two weeks. If you are not receiving our
email notices and would like to do so,
please contact Carole Polefko at
Tips for Supporting People with
Autism Spectrum Disorders in the
USF CARD has created downloadable
brochures we thought you might find
* Airports, Airplanes, & Autism
* Autism & The Hospital ER
* Autism & The Faith Community
* Autism Fits: Your Piece of the Puzzle
* Tips for Emergency Responders
CARD Office Hours
The CARD office located at 1405 NW
13th Street in Gainesville is "closed" until
12 PM on Mondays for staff meetings.
Computers for making visual supports are
available during normal business hours
on Tuesday to Friday and after noon on
Monday. For an appointment please call
Kathy Robinson at 352 392-4171 or 800
754-5891 ext. 9.
Go to www.card.ufl.edu for information
current news about autism &
past issues of the PostCARD
CARD conference information
Want to stay informed about workshops
in our area and receive other useful
information? Subscribe to our bi-monthly
eCARD by sending your name and email
address to email@example.com.
10 New Additions to Our Library
1 Autism through a Sister's Eyes by Emily Hecht and Eve B. Band
2 Changed by a Child by Barbara Gill
3 The Myth of Laziness by Mel Levine
4 A Certain Kind of Love by E. Deborah Wright
5 The ADHD-Autism Connection by Diane Kennedy, Rebecca Banks, and Temple Grandin
6 My Baby Can Dance: Stories of Autism, Asperger's, and Success Through the RDI Program by Steven E. Gutstein
7 Friends at School by Rochelle Bunnett
8 Families, Professionals and Exceptionality: Positive Outcomes Through Partnership and Trust (5th Edition) by Ann P. Turnbull, et al
9 Arnie and His School Tools: Simple Sensory Solutions That Build Success by Jennifer Veenendall
10 Does Your Baby Have Autism?: Detecting the Earliest Signs of Autism by Philip Teitelbaum, et al
SP e vt o ce or cl u iter n s g e e bo fm h l r r r.
The Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon
The Speed of Dark is a novel. It's not a "how to" book or a biog-
raphy or a non-fictional account of any kind. However, it is one
of the most insightful books on autism that I have ever read. In
The Speed of Dark, author Elizabeth Moon who is the mother of a
young man with autism, has given us a story and a character, Lou
Arrendale, that teaches the reader more about autism than most
text books do.
The Speed of Dark takes place in the near future when a "cure" for
young children with autism has been developed by medical science
but Lou and his friends are the last generation of individuals with
autism who have not received that cure. They were born too early.
However, there is now an "experimental treatment" available that
may "cure" adults with autism also. Lou and his friends are faced
with the dilemma of whether or not they want to take the treat-
ment and wonder about how they might change (and will they still
be themselves) if they do. To complicate the situation, Lou's super-
visor at work is trying to force him and his co-workers with autism
to take the experimental treatment or face losing their jobs.
The Speed of Dark is a mystery, a science fiction story and a char-
acter study all rolled up into one hard-to-put-down novel. Told
almost entirely through Lou's eyes, we learn not only about how
he faces the difficult decision about the experimental treatment
but also about his struggles and successes with everyday life events
like going to the grocery store and laundromat, falling in love, and
coping with vandalism and law enforcement. Lou's observations on
life and the way people talk and interact are the most revealing. He
says things that strike me as brilliant. "I do not know how other
people learn things but the way I learn them works for me."
At one point Lou wonders "What would a normal person feel?
I remember a science experiment from middle school when we
planted seeds in pots at angles. The plants grew upward to the
light, no matter which way their stems had to turn. I remember
wondering if someone had planted me in a sideways pot, but my
teacher said it wasn't the same thing at all. It still feels the same. I
am sideways to the world, feeling happy when other people think I
should feel devastated."
The Speed of Dark gets my highest recommendation. It was the
most enjoyable learning experience I have had in a long time. And
what can be better than learning so many new things while reading
a great story. It is available for loan from the CARD library (hope-
fully in your local public library) and for purchase on-line and in
The Reading Corner
Daniel Isn't Talking by Marti Leimbach Fiction
This inspiring novel follows a mother coming to terms with her
son's autism diagnosis and her amazing spirit and devotion as she
fights to do what is best for her child. Leimbach based this
novel on her own personal experiences with her son. The result is
a highly moving, passionate, and informative novel.
Rules by Cynthia Lord Juvenile Fiction
A lovely story narrated by Cynthia, a 12-year-old girl coming to
terms with her conflicting feelings (love, jealousy,
embarrassment) regarding her brother David, who has Autism. A
heartwarming, excellent read for both parents and siblings.
Born on a Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of An
Autistic Savant by Daniel Tammet Autobiography
Tammet's autobiography is a fascinating account that offers
readers a glimpse into the mind of a high functioning autistic
savant with Asperger Syndrome. Tammet writes, with honesty and
insight, a story that is both intriguing and engaging.
Louder Than Words: A Mother's Journey in Healing Autism by
Jenny McCarthy Non-Fiction
In an honest and open voice, McCarthy shares her journey
through the diagnosis and treatment of her son, Evan.
The PostCARD 2
The PostCARD 3
Parent Partner News
Coulmbia County News...
I am very excited to tell you about the "goings-on" in Columbia
County. I recently started a Autism Support Group in Lake City.
We meet the 2nd Monday of every month at the public library
from 6:30-8:00pm. We had 13 attend the first meeting, and look
forward to even more in the future.
On June 6th the support group held a yard sale at Atlantic Coast
Bank. We were able to hand out information on CARD and raise
some money. Thank you to all involved for a great event. All proceeds
will benefit CARD.
In the past month I was invited to speak at the local Women in
Business luncheon and the Early Learning Coalition-Advocacy in
Autism-presentation. Both events were well received and I have
been asked to speak again.
In July I will be speaking to the local Rotary Club. With commu-
nity awareness on the rise, we are sure to reach more children and
families in need of our services. Jaime Bracken
Who are Parent Partners?
Parent Partners are parents of children with ASD who are em-
ployed by CARD through the Maren Foundation Endowment
to assist staff in responding to requests from families. They share
their experiences and can relate to the needs of new CARD families
looking for help Their knowledge is especially helpful because
they are paired up with families in their counties and are familiar
with services in their area.
Current Parent Partners:
Kristin Mercer, Ed.S.
Sylvia James Miller
Websites in the Spotlight
This month our focus is on free downloads and games for learning.
A free text-to-speech for Microsoft Word: WordTalk
"For people with reading and writing difficulties, having text
reinforced by hearing it read aloud can be very useful. Specialised
programs have existed to do this for a long time, and in many cases
are extremely helpful and highly appropriate and should be seri-
ously considered, perhaps in consultation with professional advice
WordTalk is a free text-to-speech plugin developed for use with all
versions of Microsoft Word (from Word 97 upwards). It will speak
the text of the document and will highlight it as it goes. It contains
a talking dictionary to help decide which word spelling is most
Sitting neatly in your toolbar it is highly configurable, allowing you
to: *Adjust the highlight colors *Change the voice and the speed of
the speech *Convert text to speech and save as a .wav or .mp3 file
so that it can be played back on an iPod or mp3 player."
Teaching Children with Autism Categories, Free Card Games
This web-site/blog has a very nice set of picture cards that can be
printed and used for playing several different games to teach catego-
ries. There are instructions for playing the games as well as links to
other fun activities for teaching children with Autism.
The site that swims with learning fun! There is too much
here to explain it all. Visit the site and see for yourself all the great
links to learning games. This site was recommended to me by the
reading resource teacher at my daughter's school.
If you have questions or would like information about other web-
sites for learning games, please feel free to contact me at
352-372-4171. Kathy Robinson
Noah Adam Voelker
July 11, 1989 February 2, 2009
Autism Spectrum Disorder Focus Group Palatka
Contact: Cheryl Brenner 386 467-3820
A support group for parents to network with one another, share
stories and give each other ideas on helping their children succeed.
Occasional training are provided to help parents learn how to help
their children. Childcare is provided. Meeting Location: William
D. Mosely Elementary School Media Center 1001 Husson Avenue
(Park in rear of school)
Helping Hands Parent Support Group Ocala
A support group for parents of children with Autism Spectrum
Disorders that welcomes parents of all special needs children.
Meeting Location: Ocala Public Library, 2720 East Silver Springs
Special Parents of Exceptional Children (SPEC) Gainesville
Contact: Pam Kissoondyal 352 318-3155
A local parent-formed support group SPEC (Special Parents of
Exceptional Children) meets at the CARD office each month.
The informal meetings are from 7PM-9PM, but newcomers are
welcome to show up at 6PM to meet and discuss their concerns.
Parents of children with any disability are welcome.
Meeting Location: CARD Offices, 1405 NW 13th Street
Meetings will resume in the fall. Please call Pam for details.
Support Group for Adults on the Spectrum Gainesville
Contact: Robin Byrd 352 846-3700 or firstname.lastname@example.org
This is a discussion group for adults with ASD. Meetings are the
last Thursday of every month at 12:00 noon. Please feel free to
bring your lunch!
Location: CARD Offices, 1405 NW 13th Street
Citrus Autism Society (CASS) Inverness
Contact: Marianne Bryant 352 726-9242 or mbryant34450@
This is a social group for families and especially children to get to
know each other and make friends. Meeting Location:Key Training
Center (off HW 441), 130 Heights Avenue
Please call Marianne for upcoming meeting dates.
Noah's Endeavor: Adapted Athletics & Recreation Gainesville
Contact Will & Shelly to receive emails about fun events for chil-
dren with various physical and mental disabilities in the Gainesville
area. Current and past events have included swimming, bowling,
soccer, baseball, basketball, and painting.
Location: Locations Vary
Special Students of Hernando Hernando County
A community resource and support group for any parents, guard-
ians, caregivers, providers, or educators that have or interact with
children who have ANY disability. We are not a disability specific
Kids Abilities Network of North Central Florida Online Group
This is a local group where families with special needs can com-
municate and share information. All parents, caregivers, associates,
and other loved ones who have interests in activities for children
and young adults with special needs (and their siblings) are invited
to join and share.
Autism Support Group Meetings Lake City
Contact: Jaime Bracken at 386-397-1882 or email@example.com
All interested persons welcome. Meetings are held the 2nd Monday
of every month from 6:30 8:00PM.
Location: Columbia Co. Public Library, 490 NW Columbia Ave
Autism Community Support Group Brooksville
Contact: 352 346-1677 or 352 584-1263
Meetings are held the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of every month from
Location: Baycare Behavioral Health, 7074 Grove Road,
If you have a support group in your area or know of one
that is not listed here please send an email with the meeting
details and contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
The PostCARD 4
Who: For children 7 to 12 years old whose brother or sister has a disability
What: Sibshops are a series of games and fun activities that allow kids to meet others
who experience some of the same family issues and to communicate about
their experiences and feelings in a supportive environment
When: Sessions will take place on Saturday or Sunday afternoons. Specific dates to be
Where: Two different groups (one in Gainesville and one in Ocala) will meet in
various fun locations.
The PostCARD 5
Tech Tip Best Web Browsers
Most folks on the web today are still using Internet Explorer by Microsoft (version 6 or 7), but there are other browsers that may work
better for you. According to http://www.consumersearch.com/web-browser-reviews, "Firefox remains the most-recommended web browser
for Windows, Mac OSX and Linux users, and I agree with that recommendation. ConsumerSearch compiled browser reviews from many
notable tech sources and listed the top browsers in specific areas. One recommendation: do NOT upgrade to Internet Explorer 8 if you
have an older computer. Happy browsing! John Polefko
Internet Explorer 8 Excellent tab features Slow installation and operation
Best IE revision Minimizes crash problems Uses a lot of CPU and memory
Firefox 3 Fast So many options can be confusing
Best browser overall Very customizable Crash on one tab crashes all
Uses fewer system resources than Many other features require add-ins
Google Chrome Fast and simple No ad blocking
Fast Browsing and Search Stable Minimal options
Private browsing option Skimpy bookmarking
Enables offline use of Internet Uses a lot of system resources
Opera 9.5 Doesn't bog down older com- No ad blocking
Best for older computers puters Not the fastest
Excellent history of searching No private browsing
Synchronizes across computers _
Pragmatic Language Study The goal of this study is to evaluate the
relationship between social language skills and emotional outcomes
for children with ASD.
Who's eligible: Children with ASD between the ages of 7 and 17
who have adequate verbal abilities (expressive language greater than
or equal to the 48-month level) and average intellectual abilities
(IQ greater than or equal to 70).
How long will it take: One visit for 2 to 3 hours.
What'll be done: Comprehensive assessment of language ability,
nonverbal IQ, and direct observation of the child using ADOS.
Compensation: None, but parents will receive summary report.
Mail Survey The goal of this study is to determine genetic factors
associated with ASD related behaviors.
Who's eligible: Children between ages of 6 and 18 with diagnosis
What'll be done: Rating scales will be sent to the parents via mail.
Upon completion of questionnaire, saliva collection kit will be sent
to the child to collect saliva sample for future genetic study.
Compensation: $10 gift card plus a brief report summarizing the
rating scale results.
Contact information for either study:
email@example.com or 352 392-7045
U CR-FGievl Staff Paen
Robbin Byrd, B.S. CARD Consultant
Liz Duda Student Assistant
Susan Hill, A.R.N.P. CARD Consultant
Mark Lewis, Ph.D. Executive Director
Leannis Maxwell Program Assistant
Melinda Morrison, RN, BSN
Ann-Marie Orlando, M.S. CCC-SP/AATT
Carole Polefko Public Education Coordinator
John Polefko, M.Ed. CARD Consultant
Krestin Radonovich, Ph.D. Assistant Professor
Kathy Robinson Visual Supports Specialist
Greg Valcante, Ph.D. Director
Art Wallen, M.S. Associate Director
Cathy Zenko, M.S., CCC-SLP
Jaime Bracken Columbia County
Cheryl Brenner Putnam County
Margie Garlin Hernando County
Kristin Mercer Alachua County
Sylvia Miller Marion County
Amparo Perales Marion County
Cover Photo Greg Valcante
FREE Special Education Law and Advocacy Training!
The Florida Developmental Disabilities Council is offering one-
day Wrightslaw Special Education Law and Advocacy Trainings
presented by Peter Wright, Esq. The workshop is designed to
inform parents and guardians of their children's educational rights
under the law and how to advocate on behalf of their children.
Subjects covered will include:
* Special education law, rights and responsibilities
* Tests and measurements to determine progress or regression
* SMART IEPs
* Introduction to tactics & strategies for effective advocacy
Participants will receive a copy of Wrightslaw: Special Education
Law and From Emotions to Advocacy: The Special Education
August 5 Weston, August 7 Tampa
August 10 Gainesville, August 12 Chipley
For more information please visit www.fddc.org
or call 850 224-6222
There is NO CHARGE to workshop participants for attendance
or materials. Parking charges apply at the Tampa location. Parents,
families and guardians of Florida students will be given priority
registration. Couples share one set of books.
Sponsored by United States Department of Health and Human
Services Administration on Developmental Disabilities, and The
Florida Developmental Disabilities Council, Inc.
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