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November 2015

In this issue:

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iHEAL – iPads Helping Enrich Autistic Lives

Autism Angels Giving The Gift Of A Voice

Lori Regner surprising Taylor and mother Tanya Tsoutsos with a new iPad.
By Leslie Weed

Can you imagine how imprisoned you would feel if you had the words of language in your head, but your impaired motor system prohibits you from talking? I believed only a miracle could give my non-verbal daughter a voice. One day, that miracle appeared in the form of an iPad.
 
Utilizing the iPad, my daughter Lanier began to communicate. Her iPad was equipped with a special App dictating as she typed, in essence, giving her a “voice.” We were all astonished at how much Lanier knew and her level of intelligence.
 
I recently posted on Facebook that Lanier’s friend Taylor was in need of an iPad so she, too, could communicate. The outpouring was immediate. Donations came in the form of money, used and new iPads. My friend Lori Regner surprised Taylor with a new iPad. Taylor was so excited, she immediately typed Lori a heartfelt note:“Thank you this is the nicest gift i have hoped for everyday i say i personally thank god for you.” 
 
If you wish to donate a used or new iPad, hundreds of non-verbal children, teens and adults are in great need to find their voice. 
 
Be an Autism Angel and give the priceless gift of a voice. To donate, visit our website or send your tax deductible donation to HEAL, PO Box 140, Ponte Vedra, FL 32004. All previously used iPads will be professionally wiped clean of all your data and given to self-contained classrooms for children with special needs. 

Special Nation: A Special Needs Program at Redeemer Church

Special Nation enjoying their outdoor area.
By Ellen Gardner

It's biblical: beauty really can come from brokenness. Redeemer Church of Ponte Vedra Beach discovered just that with Special Nation, their special needs ministry. Head Pastor Sean Yost recognized a great need in the community after Redeemer was unable to accommodate some of their special needs families. In 2013, the leadership team scrambled to start something basic. The focus quickly shifted from simply "care-taking" to ministering to these beautiful minds.
 
After a handful of Special Nation kids began “Facilitative Communication” (typing with a facilitator) they realized that these mostly non-verbal kids were "in there" and intelligent. As behaviors diminished and the ministry grew, Special Nation applied for grants from HEAL. These grants paved the way for a calming space in the outdoor area and a 2015 summer Vacation Bible School (VBS). This enabled nine VBS participants to thrive in an inclusive experience that impacted the entire Redeemer VBS.
 
Today Special Nation, with help from HEAL, is comprised of a Wednesday night Friends Group; Sunday morning inclusion and self-contained environments; a monthly special needs worship service for the entire family - Special Praise; a parent support group - Beautifully Broken; community outings - Special Adventures; a summer VBS; and a way to give back to others - Special Projects.
 
Watch a video of the Children of Special Nation.

Visit Redeemer Church's website.

Check out Reedemer Church on Facebook.

Beautiful Pieces Photography – Special Needs Photography Sessions

By Sara Gomez
 
I am a mother of a special needs child with extensive experience photographing children of all abilities. My specialty in this area is capturing the true spirit of each child as an individual. Rather than giving instructions on what to do, I am in the moment with them. I take my time, I instinctively know when to back off and when to take advantage of capturing a great shot.
 
I understand that having a child with special needs can be costly. I try my best to keep my rates affordable for families. There is generally no time limit for these sessions. I understand that they may get over stimulated fast. I may be able to capture some great shots in 15-20 minutes. However, it could take up to an hour to get the job done, allowing them to warm up to the camera. Regardless of their needs, it is my pleasure to capture childhood memories for families who wish to have a stress free photo session at a great price with great results!
 
Contact Sara Gomez at SaraNCharles@aol.com.

Find Beautiful Pieces Photography on Facebook.

The Village of Supported Employment! Seagull Bakery Story Continues

Lara in her new commercial kitchen.
By Carol Lombardo
 
Seagull Bakery is entering its third year of business and it’s taken off! Thanks to our community’s overwhelming support, the bakery has moved to a large commercial kitchen in Jacksonville.
 
What makes this such a special achievement is that the bakery employs, teaches, and mentors those on the Autism spectrum! There’s a huge deficit in adult employment opportunities for those with Autism, which inspired the parents of head pastry chef Lara, a young adult on the spectrum, to start a small bakery business for her to learn professional baking skills. Lara’s a talented chef, but needed a more supported work environment in order to achieve her impressive career goals. Many thanks to the Master Chefs from all over Jacksonville who shared their time, recipes and expertise!
 
Seagull Bakery is paying it forward by providing opportunities for those on the spectrum to experience working in a commercial bakery. This phenomenal success is a testament to the abilities those on the spectrum, and a willing community that wants to help people on the spectrum realize a full life for themselves.
 
Check out Seagull Bakery’s Sampler Menu - perfect for the holidays!

Upcoming Events in Northeast Florida

 
DATE EVENT
Ongoing Social Skills and Support Groups - Dr. Maria Tapia, Licensed Psychologist with the UF/Jacksonville's CARD Program, runs several support groups for adolescents and adults with Asperger's syndrome, as well as for the siblings and mothers. If you are interested in joining any of these groups or gathering additional information, such as date, time and ages, please contact Dr. Tapia at maria.tapia@jax.ufl.edu or 904-633-4330.
November 13 Arc Jacksonville’s 50th Anniversary “Dinner with Bill” - Save the date to join, celebrate and support Arc Jacksonville and their mission. Event will be held at Jacksonville Marriott at 6:30 PM. Visit arcjacksonville.org for more information.
November 13 Art Aviators “Piloting the Autism Spectrum” at MOCA - One-Day Family Workshop at MOCA Jacksonville. Participants take part in staff-led art making activities in the studio, visit the Art Explorium Loft, and attend gallery tours. Space is limited $20 per student, and from 10:00 to 11:30 AM. Fee includes accompanying adults and supplies. Click here to register.
November 14 2015 First Coast Walk for Apraxia - Registration begins at 9:00 AM, Walk begins at 10:00 AM at the Bolles School, 7400 San Jose Boulevard, Jacksonville. For more information contact apraxiajax@gmail.com.
November 14 Bowling Buddies - Join Inclusion Solution at Beach Bowl on Beach Boulevard for 4 lanes of fun! Educators and therapists are on hand to facilitate social interaction. This is a great activity for children and teens with Autism, and the parents enjoy connecting with other families. Meet Mary and her team at 12:30 PM. Register in advance by emailing inclusionsolution@gmail.com.
November 14 Sensory Friendly Films: The Peanuts Movie - AMC & ASA are bringing families an opportunity to go to the movies in a safe accepting environment on a monthly basis. Lights are brought up, sound is turned down, and families may bring their own snacks. Movies are shown at the AMC Regency 24 at the Regency Center Square. All viewings are held at 10 AM. Click here for more information.
November 21 Project Chance Autism Service Dog Outing - See Autism Service Dogs in Action! Trainer BJ Szwedzinski will bring Autism service dogs in training to University of North Florida. There will be dog training and a walk in the woods. Meet at 3:00 PM at the parking lot by the UNF Hiking Trails. Email Project Chance at dog904@aol.com for information.
December 1 Visual Supports Make & Take Plus Holiday Party! - Join First Coast Autism Support for their monthly meeting at Greenland Pines Elementary, 5050 Greenland Road, Jacksonville. Their mission is to connect families raising a child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder so they can share resources, discuss ideas, and support each other. There is also a Sibling Support Group for siblings 7-13 years old running at the same time run by professionals with an understanding of the impact a special needs child can have on a family. For more information, contact Angela.mann@unf.edu.
December 5 Angelwood Holiday Kids Camp - Register now for this 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM camp for school-age children with disabilities and their siblings. The children will do arts and crafts, and watch holiday movies. A meal and snack will be served. The event will be at the Angelwood Career Development Center located at 11251 Philips Parkway Drive East, Jacksonville. A non-refundable deposit of $10 is due to save your children’s space. Once your children’s spots have been secured, you will receive a registration packet. Call 904-288-7259 or visit angelwoodjax.org for more information.
December 5 Sensory Friendly Films: The Good Dinosaur - AMC & ASA are bringing families an opportunity to go to the movies in a safe accepting environment on a monthly basis. Lights are brought up, sound is turned down, and families may bring their own snacks. Movies are shown at the AMC Regency 24 at the Regency Center Square. All viewings are held at 10 AM. Click here for more information.
December 12 Bowling Buddies - Join Inclusion Solution at Beach Bowl on Beach Boulevard for 4 lanes of fun! Educators and therapists are on hand to facilitate social interaction. This is a great activity for children and teens with Autism, and the parents enjoy connecting with other families. Meet Mary and her team at 12:30 PM. Register in advance by emailing inclusionsolution@gmail.com.
December 14 CARD FDLRS Satellite Clinic – Clay County - The UF Jacksonville Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD) offers clinics to outlying counties in order to more effectively serve their constituents. Sign up for a consultative appointment with clinicians who specialize in child psychology, behavior therapy, academic interventions, Autism Screeners, Transition, and more. Appointments are at no cost to the family. Location: The Fleming Island Library, 1895 Town Center Blvd, Orange Park. To schedule an appointment please contact Chanel.Baldwin@jax.ufl.edu or 904-633-0816.
December 17 Two Feet Forward: Social Security - What Parents Need to Know - Parents will receive an introduction and gain an understanding of government benefits, which include: Social Security, Medicare, Supplemental Security and Medicaid. Registration required - Click here.
Jan. 5, 2016 Dr. Stephanie Holmes: “Reducing Anxiety” - Join First Coast Autism Support for their monthly meeting at Greenland Pines Elementary, 5050 Greenland Road, Jacksonville. Their mission is to connect families raising a child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder so they can share resources, discuss ideas, and support each other. There is also a Sibling Support Group for siblings 7-13 years old running at the same time run by professionals with an understanding of the impact a special needs child can have on a family. For more information, contact Angela.mann@unf.edu.
Jan. 7, 2016 CARD / FDLRS Satellite Clinic – Nassau County - 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM. The Jacksonville CARD Center with FLDRS-MDC offers clinic in outlying counties in order to more effectively serve their constituents. Sign up for a consultative appointment with clinicians who specialize in child psychology, behavior therapy, academic interventions, Autism Screeners, Transition, and more. Appointments are at no cost to the family. This clinic is offered in collaboration with the Nassau County School Board. Location: the Family Education Center/Full Service School, 86207 Felmor Road, Yulee, FL 32097. To schedule an appointment, please contact Chanel.Baldwin@jax.ufl.edu or 904-633-0816.
Jan. 9, 2016 Bowling Buddies - Join Inclusion Solution at Beach Bowl on Beach Boulevard for 4 lanes of fun! Educators and therapists are on hand to facilitate social interaction. This is a great activity for children and teens with Autism, and the parents enjoy connecting with other families. Meet Mary and her team at 12:30 PM. Register in advance by emailing beachestutoring@gmail.com.
Jan. 11, 2016 CARD/FDLRS Satellite Clinic – Flager County - CARD and the FLDRS-MDC offer clinics to outlying counties in order to more effectively serve their constituents. Sign up for a consultative appointment with clinicians who specialize in child psychology, behavior therapy, academic interventions, Autism Screeners, Transition, and more. Appointments are at no cost to the family and the clinic is open from 9:00 AM until 3:00 PM. Location: the Flagler County Public Library, 2500 Palm Coast Parkway NW. To schedule an appointment, please contact Chanel.Baldwin@jax.ufl.edu or 904-633-0816.
Jan. 11, 2016 CARD/FDLRS Satellite Clinic – St Johns County - CARD and FLDRS-MDC offer clinics to outlying counties in order to more effectively serve their constituents. Sign up for a consultative appointment with clinicians who specialize in child psychology, behavior therapy, academic interventions, Autism Screeners, Transition, and more. Appointments are at no cost to the family and available from 7:30 AM – 3:00 PM. Location: the Auditorium at the Fullerwood Training Center, 10 Hildreth Drive. To schedule an appointment, please contact Chanel.Baldwin@jax.ufl.edu or 904-633-0816.
Jan. 12, 2016 CARD/FDLRS Satellite Clinic – Baker County - CARD and FLDRS-MDC offer clinics to outlying counties in order to more effectively serve their constituents. Sign up for a consultative appointment with clinicians who specialize in child psychology, behavior therapy, academic interventions, Autism Screeners, Transition, and more. Appointments are at no cost to the family and the Clinic is open from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Location: Family Services Center, 418 S. 8th St., Maclenny, FL 32063. To schedule an appointment, please contact Chanel.Baldwin@jax.ufl.edu or 904-633-0816.
Jan. 13, 2016 Girls Circle Support Group with CARD - Girls Circle is a support group and informational session facilitated by Anne Wilson and Audrey Bringman designed to engage young girls ages 14-19 with Autism Spectrum Disorders who are CARD Constituents. The sessions will include discussions of topics such as personal care and hygiene, self-esteem, healthy friendships, social media safety, setting boundaries, personal and community safety, and more. All sessions take place at the UF Developmental Pediatric Center. Space is limited. Girls must commit to all 5 sessions. Registration is required. Walk-ins will not be accommodated. For more information please contact audrey.bringman@jax.ufl.edu.
Jan. 29-31, 2016 Save the Date for CARD's Annual Autism Conference The conference will be held at the Florida Hotel & Conference Center in Orlando.
Jan. 30, 2016 Jacksonville Beach Polar Bear Plunge & Run 5K - Join Special Olympics Duval at the Jacksonville Beach location for a statewide fundraiser during which individuals and teams raise money alongside Special Olympic Athletes. Start building your team now!
Feb. 2, 2016 Kris D’Esterhazy: “Guardianship & Estate Planning” - Join First Coast Autism Support for their monthly meeting at Greenland Pines Elementary, 5050 Greenland Road, Jacksonville. Their mission is to connect families raising a child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder so they can share resources, discuss ideas, and support each other. There is also a Sibling Support Group for siblings 7-13 years old running at the same time run by professionals with an understanding of the impact a special needs child can have on a family. For more information, contact Angela.mann@unf.edu.
Feb. 12, 2016 Angelwood Parents Night Out - Register now for this 5:30 PM to 9:00 PM camp for school-age children with disabilities and their siblings. The children will do crafts and and have a meal and a snack. The event will be at the Angelwood Career Development Center located at 11251 Philips Parkway Drive East, Jacksonville. A non-refundable deposit of $10 is due to save your children’s space. Once your children’s spots have been secured, you will receive a registration packet. Call 904-288-7259 or visit angelwoodjax.org for more information.
Feb. 18-19, 2016 HEAL Valley of Dreams Gala and Charity Golf Classic Save the date for HEAL's annual fundraiser. Join HEAL at the TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra for cocktails on Thursday, February 18! We will be back in the morning for golf on Dye's Valley Course! Find your favorite foursome and join us for a round of golf!
Feb. 22, 2016 CARD FDLRS Satellite Clinic – Clay County - The UF Jacksonville Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD) offers clinics to outlying counties in order to more effectively serve their constituents. Sign up for a consultative appointment with clinicians who specialize in child psychology, behavior therapy, academic interventions, Autism Screeners, Transition, and more. Appointments are at no cost to the family and are offered from 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM. Location: The Fleming Island Library, 1895 Town Center Blvd, Orange Park (conference door to the left of the main library door). To schedule an appointment please contact Chanel.Baldwin@jax.ufl.edu or 904-633-0816.
Apr. 24, 2016 HEAL Zoo Walk for Autism! Save the date now! Stay in town that weekend! Start telling your friends and family! See you at the Zoo for another beautiful walk, after-party, and day of Walking on the Wild Side!
Copyright © 2015 HEAL Foundation, All rights reserved.


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