KATC News

Kentucky Autism Training Center Newsletter Articles

KATC Welcomes Mike Miller

KATC Welcomes Mike Miller

Mike Miller received a BS Degree from Murray State University in the areas of elementary and special education.   He received a Master’s Degree in Special Education and holds a Rank 1 Degree and certifications in gifted education, supervisor of instruction, exceptional child consultant, and director of special education.   Mike attend Eastern Kentucky University and Murray State University for his post graduate studies.   Mike worked in local school districts in the role of teacher of exceptional children and director of special education.

Mike was employed at the Kentucky Department of Education and served in numerous roles of programs for students with disabilities. November 2014, Mike joined Kentucky Autism Training Center, University of Louisville, College of Education and Human Development. Mike’s work at the center includes working with professionals, parents, and local school districts.

 

 

KY Autism Training Center Spring 2015 Newsletter (April 2015)

KATC Partners with the Commission for Children with Special Health Care Needs

By Michelle Antle, Ed.S

 

The Kentucky Autism Training Center is proud to announce a blossoming partnership with the Commission for Children with Special Health Care Needs.  The Commission for Children’s vision is to enhance the quality of life for Kentucky's children with special health care needs through quality service, leadership, advocacy, education and collaboration. They want to be a visible leader in supporting Kentucky’s children and their families through collaboration and creation of a more accessible community based system of support. The Commission offers a wide array of services to children and young adults (through age 21) as well as to their families.  Some of those services include Care Coordination, Lab Tests, X-rays, Medication, transition planning, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and hearing tests.

 

Many children who have been diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder see physicians and professionals within the Commission, but under the primary diagnosis of something else.  For example, they may see a neurologist for concerns with seizures or sleep apnea, but may also see speech and language pathologists for their receptive and expressive language delays.  The Commission recognized the similarities of these individuals and their need for multi-disciplinary treatment teams.  Therefore, an autism “pilot” program is being modeled at several location sites throughout the state.  The Commission decided to pilot this clinic by pulling individuals with a secondary diagnosis of Autism from the neurology clinic patient list to participate in a separate clinic in which a wide variety of professionals could see and assess them on the same day. The idea behind these pilot clinics is to provide more comprehensive treatment to patients closer to their homes.

 

The KATC became involved with this project during the planning stages of this pilot clinic to ensure that all Commission for Children staff are knowledgeable about the use of evidence based practices.  In addition, the staff could also model these strategies and thus, become a resource for parents of children with Autism.  The KATC has provided Commission staff with several trainings as well as additional resources and support services.  The KATC looks forward to future endeavors with this amazing community partner!

 

Michelle Antle, Ed.S. ia a School Field Training Coordinator for KATC.  She provides direct training and technical assistance to education staff, social and community personnel, counselors, job coaches and families.

 

KY Autism Training Center Spring 2015 Newsletter (April 2015)

Eight New Members to Join KATC's Advisory Board

Eight New Members to Join KATC's Advisory Board

By Larry Taylor

 

I am happy to announce that 8 new Board members will be nominated and have agreed to serve on the KATC Advisory Board.  A committee comprised of long serving KATC Advisory Board members, Nat McKay and Diane Zero, was appointed at the December 12, 2015 KATC Advisory Board meeting to identify individuals that would, meet the membership requirements as identified in KATC Legislation (see requirements below), provide regional representation to support KATC’s statewide mission, and be willing to serve on the KATC Advisory Board.  This committee lead by KATC Consultant, Mike Miller worked diligently to develop a list of outstanding nominees that will advise KATC in making a positive impact for individuals and their families challenged by autism.

 

The list of nominees was to be voted on by the KATC Advisory Board at the March 6, 2015 however; the meeting was canceled due to inclement weather.  This meeting will be rescheduled soon.  At the next Advisory Board meeting, the committee recommendations will be presented and Board will vote on the committee’s nomination.

 

The names that will be presented are:

  • Maureen Schell-Jefferson County (Parent)
  • Meagan Brannon-Bracken County (Parent)
  • Mindy Pfau-Carter County (Parent)
  • Jennifer Ouderkirk-Fleming County (Parent)
  • Melissa Young (Council for Postsecondary Education/Professional)
  • Ally Brooks-Christian County (Parent)
  • Dr. Nancy Lovett-Murray (Director of Calloway County Regional Training Center)
  • Dr. Elizabeth Sternberg, Bowling Green (Pediatrician, EPS Pediatric Services, LLC.)

 

I want to welcome the new members and thank them in advance for their commitment to serve.

 

Advisory Board Requirements:

Pursuant to KRS 164.9817, KATC shall have an Advisory Board that consist of 50% parents or guardians of individuals with autism; 40% persons from professional fields related to autism; and 10% knowledgeable lay persons.  As the director of KATC, I am an exofficio nonvoting member of the advisory board.

 

R. Larry Taylor, M.Ed. is the KY Autism Training Center Executive Director

KY Autism Training Center Spring 2015 Newsletter (April 2015)

Spotlight on Model Site Schools

During the 2008-2009 school year, the training site project began in Jefferson County Schools under the guidance and partnership with the National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum.  The following year the KATC began to expand the project into other areas of the state.  Last year the KATC worked in all of the special education cooperatives throughout the state. Again, this year we have continued to work in counties throughout the entire state. Our work in the classroom involves monthly visits to support the local educational team in planning, implementing, and evaluating instruction. We work with the school team to select objectives and instructional plans for specified students as well as classrooms. Through the project our goal is to increase the school’s capacity for serving children with autism spectrum disorders by supporting their implementation of research-based strategies.

 

Laura Ferguson, M.Ed., BCBA

One classroom that has demonstrated exemplary practices is Ms. Joyanna Phelps class at Lakewood Elementary School in Hardin County. I started working with Ms. Phelps classroom in August 2014. During the initial observation you felt the devotion and passion for teaching among the entire staff. During our observation the use of evidence-based practices was evident. The staff consistently implemented evidence-based practices in the areas of visual supports, systematic instruction, and behavior analytic practices. With great support from the district staff; Denise Emberton and Jessica Purchis, we were able to work collaboratively with the classroom staff to improve on already evident practices. Ms. Phelps and the staff were always willing to listen and implement suggestions and practices that were discussed and modeled. During the monthly visits the staff consistently implemented practices and materials that were discussed and continued to make improvements based on analysis of data. I look forward to continuing to work with the staff at Lakewood for the remainder of the school year and to continue further collaboration with Hardin County Schools.

 

Michelle Antle, Ed.S.

Lone Oak Middle School in McCracken County has been one of the participants in the KATC’s Training Site project this school year.  Mrs. Elaine Farris is the collaborating teacher with an awesome autism cadre and support team working closely with her students and behind the scenes.  Mrs. Farris is an exemplary teacher who puts her students first in every aspect.  This school year one of the areas she has focused on is improving her students’ social skills as well as their independent functioning skills both in and out of her classroom.  One amazing intervention strategy she has implemented is creating a "Super Skills” curriculum of her own. She polled the teachers she collaborates with and they decided upon a core group of skills that they felt the students needed assistance with. They decided to address personal space and appropriate peer physical interaction as well as transitions within the school day and following routines.   Many of her students had difficulty understanding these concepts so they used story boarding activities to think out and problem solve possible solutions.  Mrs. Farris is reinforcing these skills by using video modeling, social narratives, role playing, and the use of a punch system for reinforcement when they are “caught” using their positive, new skills.

The team recognizes that the generalization of these skills to other environments are crucial which is why the team has made such as effort to include regular education staff, administration, and peers.  Mrs. Farris is also fortunate to have a flourishing peer tutoring program.  She has spent lots of time and effort teaching these peer tutors how to provide academic and social support to her students while strengthening their independent functioning across all school settings.  The friendships that have developed between the peer tutors and her students will no doubt be remembered for the rest of their lives!   Hats off to a great team at Lone Oak Middle School!

 

Kim Howard, M.Ed.

Great things are happening for students with disabilities at Straub Elementary School in Mason County! This school year I have had the pleasure of working with Amanda Truesdell, teacher of the classroom for students with significant disabilities.  Amanda has taught the FMD unit at Straub since 1999! When we started out the school year Amanda’s Classroom already had many evidence based practices in place.

She and her staff work hard to maximize student’s outcomes to help them reach their full potential.   This school year I have been in many classrooms throughout Eastern Kentucky and have seen numerous classrooms actively engaged in teaching but Amanda’s classroom stands out among the crowd. Amanda’s lunchtime calendar lesson is what I think of when I reflect on her dedication to making every minute count for her students. Lunch time is a hard time of the day for most FMD classrooms with different staff members trying to take their lunches as well as going with students out to the lunch room to assist them. This is a time of day that many FMD units turn to watching movies or various non-instructional activities. But not Amanda Truesdell’s classroom!  During this time of day in her classroom she does not take the easy way out. Instead she uses this time to teach a small group calendar by herself with several students whom all have different needs and abilities. She has worked hard to modify calendar activities for all of her students taking their specific needs into consideration when she develops her lessons.   This is why she wins a Gold Star in my opinion!

 

Laura Ferguson, Michelle Antle and Kim Howard are School Field Training Coordinators for KATC.  They provide direct training and technical assistance to education staff, social and community personnel, counselors, job coaches and families.

KY Autism Training Center Spring 2015 Newsletter (April 2015)

Kentucky Peer Support Network Project

Building friendships and expanding inclusive activities for students with significant disabilities in Kentucky

By Patti Parsons

Research tell us that making friends can be especially hard for students with significant disabilities. Peer supports and peer networkscan help foster relationships by bringing students together! The University of Kentucky Human Development Institute, through funding from the Commonwealth Council on Developmental Disabilities, is training schools throughout the state to set up Peer Support and Peer Network Programs.

Peer Support and Peer Network programs involve identifying and equipping a group of peers to provide ongoing support to individual students with significant disabilities in or outside of the classroom. Within inclusive classrooms, Peer Supportprograms train peers (usually 2-3) to provide academic and social support during ongoing learning activities.

Beyond the classroom, a group of peers (usually 3-6) form a Peer Network around a student with a significant disability to help foster social connections and friendships between classes, at lunch, in extracurricular activities, or beyond the school day. School staff facilitate these groups to ensure their success. Note that these programs are a step beyond traditional peer tutoring/peer buddy models that many schools use, in that they include multiple peers to support students and, most importantly, they facilitate learning and friendship outside the special education classroom.

There are clear benefits for students with Peer Support and Peer Network programs. The structured face-to-face time allows students to get to know each other well, a necessary component for friendship. Participation in enjoyable social events, like sport events and afterschool activities, allow students to have fun and to grow as they are getting to know each other. Peer Supports and Peer Networks can help students become more efficient communicators and increase participation in the classroom. Academic engagement is enhanced, and students’ self-confidence and self-determination are increased by the support they receive from their peers.

Typical peers gain benefits through Peer Support and Peer Network programs as well. Students without significant disabilities learn about individuals with disabilities and, in turn, learn a great deal about themselves. They are given an opportunity to build friendships they otherwise may have never had. They may become involved in extracurricular activities they had never considered. Academics are also enhanced—previous research shows that students who themselves were just getting by or even struggling in a class raised their grades by over a full letter grade in classes where they supported a peer with a significant disability!

The Kentucky Peer Support Network Project staff from the Human Development Institute include Dr. Harold Kleinert, Principal Investigator, Patti Parsons, Project Coordinator, and Katie Hastings, Research Assistant. Our regional and school trainings are led by Dr. Erik Carter of Vanderbilt University. His work focuses on evidence-based strategies for supporting access to the general curriculum and promoting valued roles in school, work, and community settings for youth and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Regional Trainings are being conducted at nine locations throughout the state in 2014. Encourage your school to attend the Regional Training in your area to learn more about this exciting project. School teams (including a regular education teacher, special educator, administrator and parent) are being recruited. While one school in each Special Education Cooperative will be selected as a Pilot Site, all teams who attend a Regional Training will receive follow-up through the project.

Regional Trainings have been scheduled for the following Special Education Cooperatives:

Northern Kentucky Cooperative for Education Services– held Wednesday, March 26

Central Kentucky Special Education Cooperative– held Monday, May 5

Ohio Valley Educational Cooperativeheld Tuesday, May 6

Jefferson County Exceptional Child Education Services (Louisville) –Friday, August 8

Green River Regional Education Cooperative (Bowling Green) – Wednesday, August 20

West Kentucky Educational Cooperative – (Eddyville) Thursday, August 21

Southeast/Southcentral Education Cooperative (London) Wednesday, September 3

Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative(Hazard) Thursday, September 4

Kentucky Educational Development Corporation (Big East) (Ashland)– Friday, September 5

For more information, check our website at www.kypeersupport.org, and like us on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/kypeersupportnetwork)! If you have questions, please contact Patti Parsons (ppa245@uky.edu, 859 218-1338) or Katie Hastings (kaha222@uky.edu, 859 257-4460). We look forward to meeting you!

KY Autism Training Center Summer 2014 Newsletter August 2014

Life goes on, even after the school bus stops coming!

By Heidi Cooley-Cook

 

As individuals with autism get older, focus shifts and parents/caregivers begin a new journey with their loved one as they transition out of school and into adulthood.

 

This path may go in a variety of directions, but the ultimate goal is for independence. Independence will look different for each individual, but with the proper supports, adults with autism can be active and engaged members of their communities!

 

This Fall/Winter, the KATC will host a webinar series devoted to this transition. We will discuss housing options, services and supports available through the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and will explore what Supported Employment should look like. I also invite you to view the archived webinar by KATC’s Program Coordinator, Diandre Glover -Thomas, entitled “Supporting Students with ASD at Postsecondary Institutions” as a large group of students exiting high school will head off to college!

 

I hope that this series is helpful to you as you begin this journey and that with the provided information, you encounter fewer roadblocks and detours along the way!

 

Heidi Cooley-Cook

Family Field Training Coordinator

Kentucky Autism Training Center

502-852-6401

heidi.cooleycook@louisville.edu

 

Heidi Cooley-Cook is a Family Field Training Coordinator for the KY Autism Training Center where she provides direct training and technical assistance to families.

 

KY Autism Training Center Summer 2014 Newsletter August 2014

Structured Work Systems in the Classroom and at Home

By Kim Howard, M.Ed.

As we swing into a new school year let’s take a look at one way we can provide children with autism the visual supports they need to learn new information. A research based strategy that is proven effective is Structured Work System. Structured Work Systems stem out of the TEACCH program in Chapel Hill, NC. Structured work systems provide learners with autism a much needed way to understand what is being asked of them. I find structured work systems to be useful because they are effective from preschool age through adulthood and can be used in a variety of settings from home to school to work environments.

What is a Structured Work System?

A structured works system is a visually organized space that answers the following questions for learners:

1. What am I supposed to do?

2. How much am I supposed to do?

3. How will I know I am finished?

4. What do I next?

Join me on Sept 16 for a webinar that will look more in depth at what is a work system and how you can create a work system appropriate to specific learner needs.

Kim Howard is a Field Training Coordinator for the KY Autism Training Center. She provides direct training and technical assistance to education staff, social and community personnel, counselors, job coaches and families.

KY Autism Training Center Summer 2014 Newsletter August 2014

ASD Support Groups Making Strides in Kentucky

Owensboro Autism Network, Family Safety Awareness Day

By Sandra Hammers and Whitney Logsdon

 

Family Safety Awareness DayOwensboro Autism Network, Inc. is a newly founded support group based in Owensboro, Ky. Monthly support meetings and family events are held throughout the year. More recently, OAN hosted a Family Safety Awareness Day on July 12. At this event, all local emergency responders, Smart 911, CPR, bike helmet safety, car seat checks, Child Safety Kit, Owensboro Balloon Twisters and Owensboro Inflatable all came to support and share information with the families. This event was a huge success as our first public event, raising $143.00 to go towards the application fee for filing for our non-profit status. Please visit the new website at owensboroautismnetwork.org and like us on Facebook, www.facebook.com/OwensboroAutismNetwork!

 

 

 

 

 

Autism & Asperger Support Group of Bowling Green, AASBG

By Shelley Shepherd

 

AASBG Support GroupBowling Green is like a lot of small cities with a good amount of services for families living with autism, but no central avenue for families to navigate those resources. Bowling Green has a population of about 65,000 people. Our educational co-op (GRECC) is located here, and we also have Lifeskills which facilitates many services including Michelle P. waiver and First Steps for a 10 county area. We are also a college town with Western Kentucky University up on the hill. We have additional programs available through WKU as well.

While we have a number of amazing resources, most agencies have functioned in isolation over the years. While schools and providers work with many of the same children, there has been little collaboration to help kids reach their goals.

Last fall, under the leadership of Amy Cooper-Puckett, the state asked for an Autism Task Force to be formed, and Bowling Green was chosen as a site for one of the groups to meet and assess local resources.

I help to provide leadership to our local parent support group (the Autism & Asperger Support Group of Bowling Green, AASBG) along with Dr. Elizabeth Sternberg, a pediatrician who is also an ADOS Evaluator connected to Graves Gilbert Clinic. We were both asked to join the task force, and we were delighted to see folks from Lifeskills, GRECC, CLiK, First Steps and WKU’s Clinical Education Complex willing to collaborate and eager to help problem solve for the growing number of children with autism in our community.

As we researched, like others across the state, we found gaps in services. A glaring problem we found was a lack of screening services. Most pediatricians are not doing autism specific screenings at well-child visits. Despite many other issues that came up, we felt that as a task force, we could plan a screener event where kids could come and get screened by professionals. This event was our attempt to bridge one of the many gaps we saw in local resources.

At that point, we brought in Lisa Murphy, Vicki Beach and Ericka Orndorff from WKU’s Renshaw Early Childhood Center, who had more experience doing this type of event. Our local Chick-fil-A was willing to let us take over one of their family nights in April during Autism Awareness Month. Several WKU students planned crafts and activities for kids who came, similar to those done on other family nights, and we had some local businesses donate door prizes for a drawing that parents who completed a screener could enter. Between WKU’s ECC and Sandy Hackbarth from Lifeskills, the screeners were made available. We used the PDDST-I and had a few MCHAT’s available for older children who came. We advertised we would screen children age 12 mths to five years old. Representatives from First Steps were on hand to answer questions for children in the birth to three age range.

We called the event “Autism Family Night” and we were delighted with the turn-out. Our professionals completed 27 screeners, and 23 of those children were referred for further testing. As families came in the door, they were looking for us. Many of them said they knew something was going on with their child, and hoped completing a screener would help them know if an autism spectrum disorder could be a factor. Our five professional screeners were busy screening and talking with families throughout the duration of the event.

While it is sad to see families go through the process of discovering their child has an ASD, it is also a relief to know that many of these kids would go on to get much needed help and support that they otherwise would not have gotten. Getting the kids and families connected allows them to navigate the still confusing and sometimes disconnected resources available. We can honestly say that in Bowling Green, we are a bit more connected now than we were a year ago, and we are so thankful.

 

KY Autism Training Center Summer 2014 Newsletter August 2014

The Training Site Initiative continues

By Laura Ferguson, M.Ed., BCBA, LBA

 

During the 2008-2009 school year, the training site project began in Jefferson County Schools under the guidance and partnership with the National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum. The following year the KATC began to expand the project into other areas of the state. Last year the KATC worked in all of the special education cooperatives throughout the state. Again, this year the work will continue throughout the entire state. Our work in the classroom involves monthly visits to support the local educational team in planning, implementing, and evaluating instruction. We work with the school team to select objectives and instructional plans for specified students as well as classrooms. Through the project our goal is to increase the school’s capacity for serving children with autism spectrum disorders by supporting their implementation of research-based strategies.

 

This year, KATC added two new field trainers to work in schools. Michelle Antle will be working in the western part of the state. She will work with the schools in the Greater River Region Educational Cooperative, as well as schools in the Western KY Educational Cooperative. Kim Howard will be working in the eastern part of the state. She will work with schools in the Big East Educational Cooperative, along with schools in the Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative. I will be covering the Central part of the state working in schools in Ohio Valley Educational Cooperative, Central Kentucky Educational Cooperative, Southeast/Southcentral Educational Cooperative, and Northern Kentucky Educational Cooperative.

 

This year we are excited to work in the following counties: Bardstown, Barren, Beechwood, Breathitt, Breckinridge, Calloway, Campbell, Carter, Casey, Christian, Fleming, Floyd, Hardin, Hart, Letcher, Lincoln, Mason, McCracken, Oldham, Pendleton, Pike, Pulaski, Russell, Scott, Somerset, and Warren. Each of the sites took part in a one day training this summer. The training informed them of their responsibilities in the training site initiative, data collection procedures, and a refresher on autism spectrum disorders. We are looking forward to working with new school teams and students, as well as new areas of the state. Our hope is that the initiative continues to build capacity in districts throughout Kentucky.

 

 

Laura Ferguson is a certified behavior analyst and a Field Training Coordinator for the KY Autism Training Center. She provides direct training and technical assistance to education staff, social and community personnel, counselors, job coaches and families.

KY Autism Training Center Summer 2014 Newsletter August 2014

Follow-Up to the Safety Webinar Series

By Heidi Cooley-Cook

 

Fire Prevention Month is October and I encourage each of you to reach out to your local fire departments to acquaint yourselves with them and provide an opportunity for your loved one affected by autism to meet a firefighter and review the Safety Webinar Series. Below is some additional information that you may find helpful with regards to safety!

 

Major Gosper, Lexington Fire Department, shared a great video for First Responders - created for Montgomery County Pennsylvania. Take a moment to view it and share with First Responders in your community. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mnua3jeek30

 

Please remember to contact your local police, fire, and EMS departments and provide them with information about your loved one affected by autism. Be sure to update this information annually or sooner if you move, change phone numbers, new or different medical condition(s), or a significant change in loved one’s physical appearance.

 

Many communities participate in Smart 911 - go to their website www.smart911.com and input your zip code to see if Smart 911 is in your town. Smart 911 allows you to provide details on your family and home. When a call is made from a phone tied to your Safety Profile, the information you have provided is shared with emergency responders.

 

The KATC has awareness brochures available for First Responders - Law Enforcement, Firefighters, and EMS Personnel. Print from the KATC website: http://louisville.edu/education/kyautismtraining/about/katc-publications.html or contact us and we will send you a set of brochures to share in your community.

 

In the webinar series, many safety devices were discussed. I have since learned of Buddy Tag - www.mybuddytag.com The BuddyTag is a child safety device that alerts you when your child is out of your proximity using Bluetooth technology. Buddy Tag does not utilize GPS, so may not be right for all situations/environments. The water safety feature alerts you when the Buddy Tag is submerged in water for more than 5 seconds.

 

What is your community doing to proactively keep its residents with autism safe? Does your community have a Fire Prevention or Safety Day planned? Let us know how we can help!

 

Heidi Cooley-Cook

Family Field Training Coordinator

Kentucky Autism Training Center

502-852-6401

heidi.cooleycook@louisville.edu

 

 

Heidi Cooley-Cook is a Family Field Training Coordinator for the KY Autism Training Center where she provides direct training and technical assistance to families.

KY Autism Training Center Summer 2014 Newsletter August 2014