Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Brief Overview of START

Below: C1, the focus child for his school. : )

I've been on autism-information overload lately, which ironically is why I haven't blogged for awhile. Last week I participated in two-full days of a grant-funded autism-training program (based out of Grand Rapids, Michigan) called START (STatewide Autism Resources & Training).

The days run from 8:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. It's being held in Ithaca, Michigan which means a one-hour drive round trip. The two day per month program started in September and will end in March or April depending on if there will be cancellations due to severe winter weather here in Michigan.

Although the time investment is huge, I was delighted that my son, C1, was chosen as his school's focus child. The idea behind the program is that teams from the school system learn to apply the information provided to help the focus child and then adapt it to help other children on the spectrum in their schools. It is my belief that this program will have a long-lasting positive impact.

The trainings are based around teams from each school (two or three districts are represented). Teams are formed around one child with autism from each school. The sizes of the teams vary depending on age (high school students have huge teams) and needs of child (amount of therapists needed). Parents are highly encouraged to participate along with principals, special education and regular education teachers, school therapists, and sometimes paraprofessionals.

Anyway, the good news is that I have a lot of valuable information to share right now, and will also have a lot more as the training progresses. The drawback is that I have to find the time to sit down and share it. My family is facing a possible huge, but positive transition in life (more on that later), so I've been busy trying to prepare for that as well.

Please be patient with my blogging gaps. I'll try to sit down and type up several posts at a time. The idea will be to schedule one post at a time for publication. Hopefully, I'll be able to publish more than one a week.


Cassavaugh Family said...

Julie, this is great! There are so many topics from START to share. Some are so simple as well, just a different way at looking at things. I can't wait to see what you share. Maybe it can be my lazy way of trying to share with others what is swimming in my brain. I hope you are able t find the time to write as your blog is the perfect forum.

Casdok said...

Sounds really interesting and exciting that your son was chosen.
Look forward to hearing more.