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Posts Tagged ‘New Jersey’

This year, I will be shifting the focus of my company,  SpeakerSelect Inc.  to serve the needs of the  autism community. Instead of producing business conferences as I  have for the past 15 years, I will use proven research and  production strategies to develop programs to serve educators,  parents and others with an interest in autism.

The first program, Augcomm New Jersey, is scheduled for September 26, 2011 at the Holiday Inn in Somerset, NJ.   As the parent of non-verbal 9-year old,  I am surprised and  disappointed to see that there are many non-verbal children who  are not making use of tools that are available to facilitate  communication. It has become clear to me that this situation is a  direct result of a scarcity of information on available options.

I am thankful to the speech language pathologists, assistive technology experts, AAC advocates, special education law experts, AAC equipment vendors, parents and others who have offered advice on topic matter for this important forum.   Augcomm New Jersey will offer a process-oriented overview of the steps necessary to create a person-first strategy for the use of AAC tools.  Speakers and panelists will provide participants with practical advice and perspectives on:
 
-The effective use of AAC in the provision of a free and appropriate education
-The elements of a thorough, professionally-conducted AAC evaluation and the importance of an evaluation in making informed decisions
-The increasing availability of mobile AAC applications and its effect on our ability to select and implement effective AAC solutions
-How parents and professionals can collaborate to enhance a child’s communication ability in the short- and long-term

I’ll post additional information on the agenda and speakers, so check back for updates or visit our Facebook events page.

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Autism New Jersey, the state’s largest non-profit serving individuals with autism, just released the results of a series of over 500 interviews to determine the best ways to meet the needs of the autism community in New Jersey on an on-going basis.  Information on the survey and results can be found here.

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Well, it didn’t take long. 

As part of an executive order cutting a total of $2 billion on 375 line items, Governor Christie slashed $155,000 in funding to be provided to Autism New Jersey under an existing agreement with the State’s Division of Developmental Disabilities.  While the $155K is a tiny fraction of the bloated state budget, it is a very significant amount for a lean non-profit which does some really important work.

Linda Meyer, Executive Director of Autism New Jersey, sent an alert to members which included these words from her response to the Governor:

Let there be no doubt.  There will be a direct and substantial impact on families in need of support as a result of this cut.  1 in 94 individuals in New Jersey are diagnosed with autism.  The services we offer are available to as many as 80,000 children and adults with autism spectrum disorders in New Jersey.   We have planned more than twenty workshops for parents and professionals with close to 1,000 people expected to attend. And the funds allow us to offer a timely response to 4,500 individuals who reach us via telephone, and 2,000 individuals who receive printed support and guidance materials.  Those are all in jeopardy today. 

Autism New Jersey has posted a petition asking for restoration of these necessary funds.  I just signed it.

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