Thursday, February 26, 2015

SC Autism Society: Mini Update

From The SC Autism Society President:

Autism Awareness & Acceptance Month may not arrive until April, but the staff at the South Carolina Autism Society is busy planning many opportunities for families and professionals to learn, advocate, and just have fun in the coming months.  

We are busy planning Disability Advocacy Day at the South Carolina Statehouse on Wednesday, March 4th.  Whether you can get to Columbia or not, please take a moment to contact your State Legislators to share your thoughts and needs regarding autism.  This is a great opportunity to talk to them about the need for the expansion of Ryan’s Law, thank them for maintaining funding for critical services and expanding ABA services through Medicaid, or simply sharing your own family story.

Our April events kick off with our annual Strides for Autism event in the Upstate on Saturday, April 11th.  Come out for a fun morning with other families affected by autism!  We will have a walk, music, and lots of fun family activities.  

On Friday, April 17th, we are excited to have one of the foremost presenters on autism and social skills, Jed Baker, PhD, at our Annual Conference.  Dr. Baker will talk to us about “Preparing for Life”, and how we can start preparing for transition now. 

We have been busy working with partner organizations to bring Wings for Autism to the Columbia Airport on Saturday, April 18th.  This is a chance for individuals with autism to “practice” getting through the airport, going through security, and boarding the plane.  We hope to partner with other airports to bring this event to different locations throughout the state.

Finally, we will extend our awareness and acceptance efforts in to May when we hold our Strides for Autism event in the Midlands on Saturday, May 2nd.  We are excited to be moving the event to Saluda Shoals Park in Irmo this year!

Please contact us if you have questions, need assistance, or would like to get further involved.  Our main number is 803-750-6988, or visit our website at

Kim Thomas, President & CEO
South Carolina Autism Society

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Wings for Autism is Coming to Columbia!

We all look forward to taking vacations and visiting family and friends. These experiences create lifelong memories and strengthen the important relationships in our lives.  However, for many people with autism and other intellectual/developmental disabilities, the experience of air travel can be overwhelming and difficult, making these trips seem impossible.

Wings for Autism® program is an airport rehearsal program specifically designed for individuals on the autism spectrum, people with intellectual/developmental disabilities and their families. The program gives families the chance to experience the process of taking a flight. Families arrive at the airport, check in at the ticket counter and receive their boarding pass, go through TSA security, and board a plane. 

The original program was designed for a family that had a negative experience while attempting to travel. Their story prompted the Charles River Center (CRC), a local Chapter of The Arc, to reach out to other families to understand their experiences with air travel. CRC learned that hundreds of individuals with autism and their families in the greater Boston area were interested in participating in an air travel training program, and as a result designed the Wings for Autism program with the Massachusetts Port Authority Boston Logan International Airport.

We are delighted to bring Wings for Autism to the Columbia Metropolitan Airport (CAE) on Saturday, April 18, 2015, and we would like to extend an invitation to you to join us. There is no registration cost but families are responsible for paying their own costs to travel to and from the airport. Space is limited.  The South Carolina Autism Society is partnering with several organizations to bring this exciting program to South Carolina.  We hope to schedule additional events at other South Carolina airports in the future.  

Click here for additional information and to register for this event!  

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

NEDAwareness Week 2015

Get Involved in NEDAwareness Week!

NEDAwareness Week 2015 kicked off on Sunday, February 22nd and there are so many ways to get involved! In addition to online events happening every day, there are many live events taking place in your area.
Check out these events in South Carolina:
However you decide to get involved, please take pictures and share them via social media, using the #NEDAwareness hashtag, so that we can keep up with all of the great stuff you're doing!
To access the CDR Library:

Monday, February 23, 2015

Brain Injury Association of SC Annual Golf Tournament

Golf FORE! Awareness!  *  Golf FORE! Support!  *  Golf FORE! a Better Future!

Register Today!

Support the Brain Injury Association of South Carolina and register your team for the 12th Annual Golf Tournament Fundraiser!

Date: Friday, April 17, 2015
Location: Indian River Golf Club, 200 Indian River Drive, West Columbia, SC 
Format: Captain's Choice
Tee Off Time: 11:00am Shotgun Start
How to Register: Register online here.

Lunch and dinner will be provided!

Contests include: 
-Top three teams
-Hole in one prizes- Kindle Fire, $500 Visa Giftcard, Nike Irons, $10,000 cash prize. 
-Men's and Women's longest drive
-Closest to the pin 
-$50,000 Putting Shot Chance*

*Purchase $10 tickets for a chance to putt for $50,000! Ten different names will be drawn at the end of the tournament. The ten individuals whose names are drawn will get a chance to putt 10 ft, 30 ft, and 50 ft away from hole. Those that make it in all three times will win $50,000! There is no limit to the number of tickets you can purchase. 

For more information on other ways to register or sponsor, please contact us at 803.731.9823/877.TBI.FACT or visit our website,

SC Autism Society Annual Conference 2015

Jed Baker, Ph.D. is the director of the Social Skills Training Project, a private organization, serving individuals with autism and social communication problems. He is on the professional advisory board of Autism Today, ASPEN, ANSWER, YAI, the Kelberman Center and several other autism organizations. In addition, he writes, lectures, and provides training internationally on the topic of social skills training and managing challenging behaviors. He is an award-winning author of five books.
His presentation is titled, “Preparing for Real Life: Harnessing Strengths, Overcoming Obstacles and Learning Relevant Skills” and reviews some of the key predictors of successful adult outcomes among students with special needs, including the awareness of strengths and challenges, perseverance, learning skills to accomplish realistic goals, and preventing disruptive behaviors. The second part of the presentation details effective social skill training strategies for all individuals and reviews some common skill needs for young adults, including the realm of sexuality and dating.

Limited Scholarships are available for parents and self-advocates.  Click here to apply.

Annual Conference, Friday, April 17, 2015Time: 8:00 am – 4:30 pm
Saluda Shoals
5605 Bush River Road, Irmo, SC  29212

Cost: $50 per person

For additional questions, please email, or call 803-750-6988.
Click here to Register for this Conference

Friday, February 20, 2015

Mapping Your Future

Hurry to reserve your spot for a FREE conference on transitioning to adulthood for parents and young adults with disabilities!

Furman University | February 28

Sessions Include:
  • Empowering Yourself for Independence (Student Session)
  • Empowering Your Child as a ‘Parent’ and an ‘Ally”
  • Student Led IEPs
  • Legal Rights
  • SCVRD Transition & Benefit Planning
  • Life after High School: College, Employment, and Community Life
  • Mapping Your Future

Guest Speakers:
  • Family Connection of South Carolina
  • Pro Parents
  • I’m Determined Project
  • And many more!
For more information please call 800-681-6805

To access the CDR Library: 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Assessment and Curriculum Integration Strategies for Students with Multiple Disabilities

DateThursday, March 5, 2015
Time9:00 am to 3:30 pm
Collaborative Training Center
Midlands Center
8301 Farrow Road
Columbia, SC

Description: Participants will explore assessment tools and strategies used to identify needs of students with complex communication and multiple access challenges. Strategies for integrating technology as a vehicle to access and succeed within the curriculum will be shared. Participants will also be introduced to AbleNet’s AT Support Service, a year-long program of virtual assistance to help educators meet the needs of identified students.
  • Morning Session (9:00 – 11:30)
    *Assessment 101: AT Solutions for Our Most Challenged Students 
    Participants will explore assessment tools and strategies used to identify possible solutions that students with complex communication and curriculum access needs require to be active participants in the school environment.
  • Afternoon Session (1:00 – 3:30)
    *Increasing the Potential for Success and Demonstrating Progress
    Participants will be introduced to research-based and common-core-aligned curriculum, appropriate for students with significant disabilities. Strategies that integrate technology as a vehicle to access and succeed within the curriculum will be noted.
  • *Additional Support Required? 
    An introduction to AbleNet’s AT Support Service, a year-long program of virtual assistance to help educators meet the needs of identified students will also be discussed, as applicable.
Cost: Free, but pre-registration is required.

To register for this workshop:
To access the CDR Library: 

SC NEDA Walk 2015

The Columbia, SC NEDA Walk is this Saturday, February 21st at 1:00PM! Join us in forming a community of those supporting friends and family in the fight against eating disorders!

NEDA Walks build a sense of community, hope and belonging. We think that’s pretty special and we’re looking forward to seeing you there.

If you haven't already, you can register online at , pre-registration closes at 3pm EST on Friday, February 20th so be sure to register online and form a team right away!

Walk InformationWalk: Columbia, SC NEDA WalkDate: Saturday, February 21st, 2015Location: Carolina Children's HomeWalk Coordinator: Karen McMullenContact Email:

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Assessment and Curriculum Integration Strategies for Students with Multiple Disabilities

Description: Participants will explore assessment tools and strategies used to identify needs of students with complex communication and multiple access challenges. Strategies for integrating technology as a vehicle to access and succeed within the curriculum will be shared. Participants will also be introduced to AbleNet’s AT Support Service, a year-long program of virtual assistance to help educators meet the needs of identified students.

DateThursday, March 5, 2015
Time9:00 am to 3:30 pm
Location:Collaborative Training CenterMidlands Center8301 Farrow RoadColumbia, SC
To register for this workshop: Complete the Assessment and Curriculum Integration Strategies online registration form.

For questions about registration, call Will McCain at (803) 935-5004 or Lydia Durham at (803) 935-5263 or 800-915-4522.

To access the CDR Library:

Monday, February 16, 2015

NEDA WALK: Save a life.

Are you ready for the 3rd Annual Columbia, SC NEDA Walk? It’s less than two weeks away on Saturday, February 21st, 2015!
It’s going to be a day of action, community and recovery. It’s going to be a celebration of life! We’ll be making friends, taking a stand and showing the world that eating disorders are no match for us!
There is still plenty of time to send those fundraising emails and utilize your social media to ask for donations!
Not registered for the walk yet? Join today and form your own team and fundraise! If you are unable to attend the walk be sure to visit our website to make a donation.
We look forward to seeing you in Columbia on Saturday, February 21st at 9:30AM for our NEDA Walk!
P.S There is a Special Pre-Walk Event!
Kickoff NEDAwareness Week with this special event before the walk at 11:30 AM for a Lunch and Learn! The event will feature a panel presentation moderated by Timothy Brewerton, MD, Executive Medical Director at the Hearth Center for Eating Disorders.

To access the CDR Library:

Friday, February 13, 2015

Able South Carolina: Developing Healthy Relationships

Join us to learn how to improve and grow healthy, satisfying connections with your peers!

Free Training Class for Individuals with Disabilities
Developing Relationships and Sexual Intimacy
  • Do you want to meet some new friends or start a new relationship, but aren't sure where to start?
  • Do you know how to tell if your relationship is a healthy one?
  • Would you like some tips on using social media to make connections in a safe way?

Wednesday February 18, 2015
2:00PM - 4:00PM

Able South Carolina
136 Stonemark Lane, Suite 100
Columbia, SC 29210

Please contact Able SC to register for the training:
(803) 779-5121, ext 126
TTY: (803) 779-0949

To access the CDR Library:

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Stress & Anxiety Following TBI Webinar

The Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and TBI (DCoE) will host a webinar on February 12th as part of its monthly webinar series. 

Stress and Anxiety Following TBI
When: Thurs., Feb. 12, 2015
Time: 1:00-2:30 p.m. EST

At the conclusion of this webinar, participants will be able to: 
Describe the complex interaction between the effects of stress and anxiety during the recovery course of TBI.
Examine and select strategies for treating co-morbid symptoms with the core symptoms of TBI.
Discuss the integration of evidence-based practices into the assessment of stress and anxiety following TBI.

Current research notes when injury or stress occurs, behavior reinforces the optimal biological conditions of survival. Similarly, when a brain injury occurs on the battlefield, the injured service member may experience both a TBI and a stress or fear response. If the threat or anxiety becomes overwhelming, the service member may revert to protective modes, including exacerbation of posttraumatic stress disorder, family conflict, alcohol or substance abuse, or other maladaptive reactions. The discussion will include a variety of evidence-based assessments and treatment strategies related to stress and anxiety following TBI.

For more information about DCoE’s monthly webinar series, please visit

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Save The Date!

Save The Date for the 2015 Advocacy Day for Access & Independence. The day’s events will feature disability advocate speakers, a rally, and the opportunity for community members to meet with lawmakers.  This year marks the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disability Act, so it’s more important than ever to come together to promote change in South Carolina!
Registration will open March 1st.
To access the CDR Library:

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Hearing Help for Public Places Program

"What Everyone Who Serves the Public Should Know About Hearing Loss and Hearing Loops"

When: February 23rd and repeated February 24th
Time: Begins at 9:00 AM and concludes after lunch at 1:30 PM
Where: 311 West Main Street, Lexington, SC at the Greater Lexington Chamber & Visitor Center 
Speaker: Dr. JuliĆ«tte Sterkens, an audiologist and spokesperson for HLAA relating to hearing loops 
Cost: $12 to cover the cost of lunch and refreshments

Each workshop is limited to 35 participants

Dr. Juliƫtte Sterkens, the HLAA National Loop Advocate will be in your "neck of the woods" as the featured speaker at a special half-day symposium on Feb. 23 with an encore performance on Feb. 24. For those of you who have seen Dr, Sterkens speak, this event offers you a rare treat and opportunity to gain new invaluable insights on how the hearing loop is changing our lives and how to promote it in your community.

This program is sponsored by the Lexington Sertoma Club and other organizations (including HLAA).

All details are available on the following website:

To access the CDR Library:

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Exciting Assistive Technology Webinars!

                 Check out these exciting Assistive Technology Webinars from the ATCoalition:

Going Google! - Chrome Apps & Extensions from CTD
February 9, 2015 at 11am Pacific, 2pm Eastern 

Switch Assessment, Part 1: for clients with muscle weakness from AbleNet
February 10, 2015 at 9am Pacific, Noon Eastern 

Accessible Educational Materials in 2015: The Basics from AEM
Tuesday, February 10, 2015 at 11am Pacific, 2pm Eastern 

Google Apps and Extensions for Assistive Technology from GA Tools for Life
Thursday February 12 2015, Noon Pacific, 3pm Eastern

Overview of Switch Control on iOS Devices from AbleNet
February 17, 2015 12:00pm CST - 60 minutes

Communication Technology for Toddlers fron Ability Tools
Wednesday, February 18th • 10AM Pacific. 1PM Eastern

Fine Motor and Sensory Apps for the iPad: Inexpensive and Free! GA Tools for Life
Thursday February 19 2015, Noon Pacific, 3pm Eastern

AEM in the IEP: Who Needs Accessible Materials and Where Do They Fit? 
Tuesday, February 24, 2015 at Noon Pacific, 3pm Eastern 

Fun Activities using Basic Switch Technology from AbleNet
February 26, 2015 at 1pm Pacific, 4pm Eastern  - 30 minutes

K-12 Teachers may also want to look at the 13 other webinars from the Special Ed. Technology Center in WA, mainly held at 3:30 PM Pacific, 6:30 PM Eastern. Topics include joystick access to an iPad, low tech, Geometer’s Sketchpad, and AAC.

To access the CDR Library:

Monday, February 02, 2015

Spinal Cord Injuries: Diabetes and Exercise Study

New Study Explores How Lifestyle Interventions Can Help Curb Diabetes Risk After Spinal Cord Injury

People with spinal cord injury (SCI) are at greater risk of developing diabetes and other problems because of limited activity levels, slower metabolism related to the injury and associated weight gain. Researchers leading a new study at Shepherd Center hope to change this.

The study, titled “Obesity/Overweight in Persons with Early and Chronic SCI: A Randomized Multi-Center Lifestyle Intervention,” aims to determine whether exercise alone, or in combination with nutritional counseling and specific dietary changes, can help participants lose weight, thereby, lowering their risk for diabetes and heart disease.

“We are trying to prevent diabetes, and though we are early in the study, some of our participants are already losing weight,” said Elizabeth Gonzalez, study coordinator. “You can see the happiness they feel as a result. It’s very fulfilling.”

Laura Hawkins, an exercise therapist at Shepherd Center, added that protecting against diabetes is just one benefit.

“Participants can also more easily propel themselves, move around and do wheelchair transfers. They report a better quality of life overall,” she said.
Lamont McLeod, 35, of Sugar Hill, Ga., has already noticed a big difference. He sustained a C-5 to -6 SCI in a car accident in 2010 on his way to see the last ultrasound of his expected youngest child. Now, he is in month four of the yearlong exercise program.

“I’m gaining much more strength and range of motion,” he said. “My arms used to get so tired and sore so quickly, but I can now hold my utensils and even playfully wrestle a bit with my 3-year-old.”

Study participants are randomly assigned to one of two groups – the exercise program or the exercise program plus diet changes, which involves meeting with a dietitian, learning about portions and calories, and keeping a food log. During the initial three-month assessment period, participants maintain their usual eating and exercise habits. Over the next six months, all study participants will undergo exercise conditioning with a trainer, and half will also attend 16 education sessions about how to control body weight and adopt what is known as the Mediterranean diet – a diet that focuses on fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and fish, and olive oil. This diet has been shown to lower the risk of diabetes and heart disease in other populations. In the final six months, participants will keep up with the same routine on their own either at Shepherd Center or at home.

Researchers assess participants’ strength monthly and periodically conduct fitness testing. They also collect dietary and clinical information, including cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure levels.
So far, Hawkins said Lamont has improved dramatically. He was only able to lift a single pound weight with his right (more impaired) hand at the start, and now he is already up to seven pounds. She, Gonzalez and the research team hope participants will continue to use the skills and healthful behaviors they are learning well beyond the study period.
“Just like the rest of us, it’s hard to find the time,” Hawkins said. “But when they can see the tangible benefits, it’s a real motivator. For example, being able to go up the ramp of the parking deck without getting out of breath and being in better shape generally makes life easier.”
“A lot of people in my situation get diabetes, high cholesterol or blood pressure because we aren’t as active as we used to be, and it’s important to try to prevent these heath issues,” explained Lamont, who recently returned to work as a real estate broker. “I’m learning there are a lot of activities I can do from the wheelchair.”

The 15-month study is funded by the United States Department of Defense, a grant awarded to principal investigator Mark Nash, Ph.D., at the University of Miami. Shepherd Center is collaborating with Nash and will enroll 12 participants. Deborah Backus, P.T., Ph.D. is principal investigator at Shepherd.

For more information or to learn about eligibility for this study, contact Elizabeth Gonzalez at sends e-mail) or 404-350-3116.

The 45-minute program – done three times a week – includes hand cycling and a complete circuit of exercises including:
Military/overhead press
Horizontal rows
Chest flies
Bicep curls
Lateral pull downs
Tricep dips
By Amanda Crowe, MA, MPH
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