Director's note
 Pilot kids
 Athletic endeavors
 Training news

Title: PostCARD
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00087039/00019
 Material Information
Title: PostCARD
Series Title: PostCARD
Physical Description: Serial
Creator: Center for Autism & Related Disabilities, University of Florida
Publisher: Center for Autism & Related Disabilities
Publication Date: Fall 2008
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00087039
Volume ID: VID00019
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.


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Table of Contents
    Director's note
        Page 1
    Pilot kids
        Page 2
    Athletic endeavors
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
    Training news
        Page 6
Full Text

SA D center for autism &
C A R D related disabilities

Director's Note
Dear Families and Friends of CARD,
I hope you are well and that you have
found some vacation time this summer.
I know that summer can be a very diffi-
cult time for families with children who
are out of school and the CARD staff
at the University of Florida are work-
ing hard to keep up with the many calls
from families and schools that are com-
ing 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.
The biggest hurdle we are facing at
CARD this year is the budget cut that
we have been given by the Florida Leg-
islature. Unfortunately, our operating
budget has been reduced by 13% this
year so that will have implications on
what we are able to do for our constitu-
ents. I am happy to report that we have
been able to retain all of our person-
nel. In order to keep all of our staff
on board, we had to reduce our travel
budget significantly. As a result, we will
try to meet families and constituents
in our office when possible, to com-
bine trips so we can see more than one
family or school on a given day and to
meet families at the Psychiatry Clinic if
they have appointments there. We will
not be able to attend IEP meetings this
year. Instead, we will offer a training
workshop on how to fully participate as
a team member in your child's IEP. We
will also meet with families individually
to help them prepare for IEP meetings
whenever possible. We realize that this

will be a disappointment to some but
with the number of individuals with
autism and related disabilities who seek
help from CARD increasing and our
finances decreasing there is no way to
continue to do everything as before.
Now for the good news! Thanks to the
generous contributions of some kind
individuals and businesses, the budget
cuts will be offset to a degree. In Febru-
ary, many families came to Westside
Park in Gainesville for the first annual
Autism 5K Race/Walk to benefit CARD.
This event was entirely organized by the
STAR (Students Together for Autism
Research) club at Eastside High School
in Gainesville and over 300 participants
attended. In the final analysis, STAR
raised over $6,000 for CARD. More
recently, The 1st Annual Charity Car
Show sponsored by Palm Gainesville
Chevrolet in Gainesville was a huge suc-
cess. Thanks to the efforts of Mr. Mark
Wyant and his staff and volunteers, the
car show, auction and lunch donated by
Cowboys Barbecue raised $10,000 for
CARD. We have already used some of
these funds to provide scholarships for
families to attend the Autism Society of
America Conference in Orlando. We
have also received some contributions
from individual families that are greatly
appreciated. 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

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.

CARD Website
Go to www.card.ufl.edu for information
current news about autism &
related disabilities
support groups
professional development
fact sheets
past issues of the PostCARD
CARD conference information
and more!

send out email bulletins about CARD
workshops, and the events of other
organizations in our area about once
every two weeks. If you are not receiv-
ing our email notices and would like
to do so, please contact Carole Polefko
at cpolefko@ufl.edu.

Greg Valcante


Who/What: A program especially for children whose brother or sister has a disability
Where: Gainesville, Ocala, Brooksville, Palatka
Why: 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 experi-
ences and feelings in a supportive environment

For more information and to register please call 352 273-0581 or 800 754-5891 ext 0

Pilot Kids

This summer was an eventful one, and I'm not just saying that
because I got roped in to doing community service with kids living
with autism again. I'm an older sister to two brothers living with
it, so dealing with it every single day doesn't make dealing with it
on my off days something I look forward to. I worked directly with
kids one summer at my brothers' school as a sort of peer buddy, and
the kids I worked with (not my brothers) really taught me to appre-
ciate how much my own brothers have learned and how easy they
really are to live with. It also taught me that I never wanted to do
it again, but this summer was different. As a photography student
I had the chance to go from camp to camp with the "Pilot Kids"
and capture their first time experiences on film. Then I created a
presentation of what real happiness looks like and that presentation
is now being shared with our community.

The "Pilot Kids" summer program, a pilot program put together
by Sylvia Miller, made quite a stir amongst parents and guardians
of children living with autism and related disabilities in Ocala. For
one week twenty-five carefully picked students were admitted into
regular summer day camps at three different locations that were
separated by age group. The children had the opportunity to be
in a mixed environment where, in all honesty, no one could tell
kids with disabilities from kids without. Many children made new
friends and proudly told their parents all about their adventures.

The oldest children, ages eight through twelve, were at the Discov-
ery Science and Outdoor Center where they learned all about ani-
mals, their droppings and the nature cycle. These campers spent a
great deal of time working in groups, exploring and playing outside.
Children ages five to eleven camped out at the Tuscawilla Youth
Center and spent their summer days swimming, playing games, and
making friends with their peers. The five through nine year olds
spent their time at the Herbert Coleman Center in Jervey Gantt
Park and had a fun- filled trip to Easy Street where friendships were
obvious and fun was nonstop.

Since the "Pilot Kids" had never experienced summer camp before
Ms. Miller recruited a special education teacher who grew up with
a brother with autism and now works with children with autism,
six behavior paraprofessionals from Marion County Schools,
students studying communication disorders and special education
from UF and local high school students doing community service.
It was their job to "chaperone" each of the children and help them
learn how to fit in and make friends.

Ask any of the parents of "pilot kids" what they thought of the
program and they will all say that the "Pilot Kids" summer pro-
gram was a successful inclusion project. Sylvia Miller says that she
is definitely going to do it again next year, only bigger and better.
Many parents, who were too nervous to have their children become
"Pilot Kids", now can't wait for next year to sign them up. The best
news of all is that the regular camp staff enjoyed having the chil-
dren included so much that they also want to do it again next year,
saying that they now believe they can do it with more children and
less people to help. As for me, I learned that the way my family
lives (an inclusive and regular life where autism is just a label that
doesn't limit any of the typical things we do) can be done anywhere
and with anything. The "Pilot Kids" Summer Program was based
on that principle and the "pilot kids" were accepted and treated

just that way. And I am super proud of the program coordinator
because she's my mom. Naddie Miller

Note: The "Pilot Kids" Summer Program was a collaboration of
the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities and The City of
Ocala Recreation and Parks Department, both participating agen-
cies of the Autism and Other Disabilities Workgroup, and it was
sponsored by Kids Central, Inc. and Marion County Children's

The PostCARD 2

The PostCARD 3

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Athletic Endeavors
Like many kids around this time of year, Noah Voelker is a very
busy young man. He participates in activities like soccer, basketball,
baseball, and swimming. Also, Noah often goes to the Boys and
Girls Club in Gainesville where he enjoys playing with other kids.
Surprisingly, he still manages to find time to relax and paint.

With such an impressive list of pursuits, few people reading this
would have imagined that Noah is affected by cerebral palsy,
deaf-blindness, and epilepsy. In fact, he depends on the aid of his
parents, Will and Shelly Voelker, and a wheelchair for transporta-
tion. This does not stop him, however, from staying active and
involved. For many years now, Noah has enjoyed the same sports
that children without epilepsy do. His parents would have it no
other way.

Mr. and Mrs. Voelker both strongly feel that children's disabilities
should not prevent them from participating in whatever activ-
ity they choose. With patience and persistence, almost any child
regardless of their disability could be out on the baseball diamond
next to Noah.

If your child is a fan of soccer, the Gainesville Soccer Alliance
conducts a Top Kickers Adapted Soccer program. They also encour-
age children of all abilities to join their camps. These directors
have great experience working with children of all skill levels.
Though only available during the summer, another great program
is Adapted Aquatics hosted by the City of Gainesville Recreation &
Parks Department. This is a great way to get active and get out of
the heat.

If you think your child would be interested in participating do not
hesitate to give it a try. The most important part is giving them
time to adjust and learn a new skill. Also, keep in mind that for all
of these programs, siblings, friends, and parents are encouraged to
attend. Soon enough maybe your child will be just as busy as Noah!
Lauren Concepcion

The ABA Corner Using Plan A, B, C Thinking
There are times when individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders
and Related Disabilities request to access all sorts of items, activi-
ties, and events of interest. This discussion is focused on the types
of requests that become rigid obsessions where only one kind of
"thing" will satisfy the requester. A typical example involves a child
requesting to purchase or rent a particular movie or video game,
and being singularly focused on this outcome. Life is good if the
movie or video is available and obtained, but difficulties can surface
if something goes awry. This is just one small example of the larger
general difficulty that many people experience when their repeti-
tive and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests, and activities

The suggestion offered here involves teaching individuals to use
Plan A-B-C thinking to build problem-solving flexibility. This
requires having the learner go through the exercise of thinking
about and constructing alternatives to pursue IF their main choice
is not available. This would take the form of asking the individual
to answer the question If the video/game you want is not avail-
able, what other video/game would you want?" This becomes Plan
B. You can continue this until you have at least 3 alternatives;
some learners benefit from creating a set of visual alternatives that
illustrate Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C.

Many individuals known to us at CARD have used this approach
to teaching flexible thinking with success. Please provide feedback
to share any experiences you have had with this sort of teaching,
and good luck to anyone who can apply this to their learner's situa-
tion. Art Wallen

Yes! later


1 -9


Staff Update

The PostCARD 4

Michelle Hite came to us in November, 2007 from the Tampa Bay area. Michelle is a certified Speech Language
Pathologist and a graduate of the University of South Florida. She received her Bachelor's degree in Communica-
tion Sciences and Disorders and her Master's degree in Speech Language Pathology. Her career experiences include
working for All Children's Hospital, in an ESE preschool classroom in Pinellas County Schools, and in an elemen-
tary and middle school in Hillsborough County Schools. Michelle's areas of interest include communication de-
velopment, literacy, social skills, and Asperger's Syndrome/High-Functioning Autism. Michelle brings experience
in the area of social skills instruction, including running social skills groups for children ages 7 14 years, as well
as assessment and treatment of literacy difficulties associated with Asperger's Syndrome/High-Functioning Autism.

Support Groups
Autism Spectrum Disorder Focus Group
Palatka, FL
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. Meetings begin at 6PM.
William D. Mosely Elementary School Media Center
1001 Husson Avenue, Palatka, FL (Park in rear of school)
Helping Hands Parent Support Group
Ocala, FL
Contact: Sylvia Miller 352 624-1360
A support group for parents of children with Autism Spectrum
Disorders that welcomes parents of all special needs children.
Meets last Wednesday of each month from 6PM-8PM.
Ocala Public Library Conference room A
2720 East Silver Springs Boulevard, Ocala, FL
Special Parents of Exceptional Children Support Group (SPEC)
Gainesville, FL
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.
CARD Offices, 1405 NW 13th Street, Gainesville, FL 32601-4058
Support Group for Adults on the Spectrum
Gainesville, FL
Contact: Robin Byrd 352 846-3700 or byrd@mbi.ufl.edu
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!

CARD Offices, 1405 NW 13th Street, Gainesville, FL 32601-4058
Citrus Autism Society (CASS)
Inverness, FL
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.
Key Training Center (located off HW 441)
130 Heights Avenue, Inverness, FL
Scheduled Meeting Dates (6:30 PM): 8/29, 9/29, 10/24, 11/21,
Caleb's Club: An Asperger's Friendship Social Skills Group
Dunnellon, FL
Contact: Jennifer 352 489-3906 or 352 572-3282 or Tim at 352
572-3282 or xlsguru@bellsouth.net
Social skills networking for your children with high functioning
autism or Asperger's Syndrome age 10-16.
Location: Locations Vary

Kellam Bartley (middle), winner of the first annual Autism 5K Race/Walk
to benefit CARD poses wih event organizer, Lauren Rowe, from STAR
(Students Together for Autism Research) club at Eastside High School in
Gainesville, and CARD Director, Greg Valcante.
There were 300 participants and over $6,000 raised.

The PostCARD 5

Tech Tip Screen Captures
A screen capture is a digital image of your computer screen at a moment in time. The capture can be the entire screen, a portion, or just the ac-
tive window. This can be useful in many situations.
In XP, press the PrtScn key on the keyboard. Open Paint (or any image editor), click Edit-Paste. The screen capture appears in your image edi-
tor and you can then save it as a gif, jpg, etc. Hold Alt when pressing PrtScn to capture the active window only.
In Vista, click on Start and type "snipping" into the search box. You should see the Snipping Tool listed above. Open that and click and drag the
mouse to select an area to copy, release the mouse the area you selected appears in the Snipping Tool for you to save.
In Mac OS X, for the entire desktop, press Command-Shift-3, the image will be on your desktop; to get just a portion of the desktop, press
Command-Shift-4, select the desired area, when you release the mouse it saves to your desktop. Better yet try the Grab utility for more options
including a timed screen! Tohn Polefko

Websites in the Spotlight

Ideal Lives can help! IdealLives.com is designed specifically for you
- a parent raising a child with special physical, emotional, or educa-
tional needs. This website wants to be your one-stop destination for
practical information, success strategies, and moral support all from
the comfort and convenience of your home computer.
This is a page from the Ideal Lives website about Autism Aware-
ness month, articles and links to items like a free Autism Awareness
Thousands of royalty free photos for websites, PowerPoint presenta-
tions, newsletters, forums, blogs, schools and homework are also
www.lu nlii, l-.... ... .n I-.r i- l, I, .. "..2' 1 oI.. 20use.html
Bracelets sold on this website are a constant visual aid that say I need
help@ on one side and on the other side they have universal icons for
the bracelet wearer to be independent by pointing to and expressing
their feelings, needs, school schedules. Because the bracelets are worn
and accessible they become an efficient, easy and understandable way
to communicate.
The Autism Speaks 100 Day Kit is created specifically for newly
diagnosed families, to make the best possible use of the 100 days
following the diagnosis of autism. The kit contains information and
advice collected from trusted and respected experts on autism as well
as from parents of children with autism. There is a week by week
plan for the next 100 days, as well organizational suggestions and
forms that parents/caregivers can use to help with the paperwork and
phone calls, as they begin to find services for their child.

If you have questions about these websites or need further informa-
tion please feel free to contact me, Kathy Robinson, at
kkebrob@ufl.edu or 392-4171. Kathy Robinson

Book Review

1001 Great Ideas for Teaching & Raising Children with Autism
Spectrum Disorders
by Ellen Notbohm and Veronica Zysk


Ellen Notbohm is a parent of a son with
autism, a columnist for major publications on
autism related subjects, and a communications
consultant. Veronica Zysk has been an autism
professional for many years, the head of a Na-
tional Autism Organization, an administrative
VP for Future Horizons, and managing editor
of the Autism Asperger's Digest.

This book was very easy and fast paced to read. Not only does
it give you an overview of autism spectrum disorders, it offers
countless common sense and immediate strategies to deal with the
challenges of a person with autism, as well as resourceful internet
websites. It also provides an index, making it useful as a quick

One simple and fun idea for increasing vocabulary is by playing
a game in a semi-dark room and giving the child a flashlight to
illuminate the objects that you call out. Other ideas in this book
include everything from hair cuts to Special Education Law. The
book also explains the purpose of the ideas and why they work.

As a parent of an 18 year-old daughter and CARD Parent Partner,
this is the first book that I recommend to new families or teachers
to read. However, I would also recommend it to families that have
been working with someone on the autism spectrum disorder as
a refresher course because as our children get older we may need a
little reminder of what worked with them and also you'll pick up
some new and helpful strategies and resources. Cheryl Brenner

Urn C D Sf P n P

Robbin Byrd, B.S. CARD Consultant
Margie Garlin Program Assistant
Jordan Ginsburg Student Assistant
Brittany Gudaitis Student Assistant
Susan Hill, A.R.N.P CARD Consultant
Michelle Hite, M.S., CCC-SLP
CARD Consultant
Mark Lewis, Ph.D. Executive Director
Margaret Maddox Student Assistant
Leannis Maxwell Program Assistant
Melinda Morrison, RN, BSN
Sibshop Coordinator

Training News

For the new school year we are introducing a
new family information workshop on IEP's.
This training will be available in several loca-
tions around our 14 counties and eventually
on our website for families and caregivers to
understand the nuts and bolts of their child's
IEP and how to participate in the IEP meet-
ing. We expect this training will give you
the tools you need to have a successful IEP
meeting and to work collaboratively as a part
of the IEP team.
In the spring, we had another productive
meeting with several of the Exceptional
Student Education (ESE) directors from our
region and will continue to expand profes-

Ann-Marie Orlando, M.S. CCC-SP/AATT
CARD Consultant
Carole Polefko Public Education Coordinator
John Polefko, M.Ed. CARD Consultant
Kathy Robinson Visual Supports Specialist
Liz Duda Student Assistant
Greg Valcante, Ph.D. Director
Art Wallen, M.S. Associate Director
Cathy Zenko, M.S., CCC-SLP
CARD Consultant

sional development for educators in the
2008 2009 school year.
This fall, we will also introduce a new
training series on Literacy that will bring
awareness and support to educators and par-
ents who want to learn more about literacy
learning for their students. There will be
two separate series; one for younger children
focusing on early literacy skills and one for
older children focusing on more advanced
literacy skills, including reading comprehen-
In addition to our face-to-face meetings and
workshops, we are diligently exploring alter-
native technologies for providing training to

Cheryl Brenner Putnam County
Pam Kissoondyal Alachua County
Kristin Mercer Alachua County
Sylvia Miller Marion County
Amparo Perales Marion County

Cover Photo of Nicholas Mercer at the 1st
Annual Charity Car Show sponsored by Palm
Gainesville Chevrolet Greg Valcante

all our constituents. We are not able to travel
as much as in previous years because of our
budget, but this does not diminish our desire
to provide our families and providers with as
much training and assistance as we have in
the past. We just have to get more creative
in our delivery options. Therefore, we will
be offering training that you can watch on
our website as well as interactive web sessions
where you will be able to have your ques-
tions posed to the actual presenter. Please be
patient with our new efforts to provide you
with the best support we have to offer during
this time of budgetary restraints.
Leannis Maxwell

@@@Save the Date! 16th Annual CARD ConferenceOJanuary 16 -18, 20090Hilton Palm Beach AirportOWest Palm Beach, FL@@@

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