milestones autism resources

Response to School Shooting in Parkland, Florida

The entire team at Milestones Autism Resources mourns the loss of the 17 victims in Parkland, Florida. We are deeply saddened by such a tragic event. In light of speculation that the assailant may have autism, we support the following statement from the Autism Society of America: “No reliable research has found that a person who is autistic is more likely to commit violence than a person without an autism diagnosis.”

We ask that those reporting on this matter avoid suggesting a linkage between senseless violence and autism. Suggesting such a correlation between the two misrepresents the millions of individuals in America affected by autism. In fact, research has shown that individuals with autism are more likely to be victims of violence than those without autism.

Again, our thoughts are with those affected by this tragic event. We hope effective solutions are developed to prevent such devastating loss in the future.

If you have any concerns or questions, please call Milestones at 216.464.7600 for local information and support during this time.

My Milestones – Harnessing the Power of Transition Planning by Sandy Petrovic

About fifteen years ago, with a young son in the midst of therapies for then-called “high functioning autism,” a special-education friend of mine invited me to accompany her to a conference. There, I learned about Social Stories™ and various autism topics, and I found numerous resources that I never realized existed. Rather than feeling overwhelmed by the barrage of information, I was euphoric and motivated…there were assists to augment my efforts, and there were supportive people who really understood my challenges—because they shared them! Milestones…how aptly named! I returned over and over.

In time, I advanced to the other side of the podium, having co-authored a book with my now-adult son, David. My conference participation has evolved from attendee, to speaker, to committee member, to co-chair. Through motherhood and my tutoring position at a college academic support center for students with learning differences, I have gleaned several perspectives that I seek to pass on. Here is a vital one:

There is one thing about CHANGE that never changes: the need for transition.

Preparing for EVERY novel experience has made all the difference in David’s quality of life and confidence. And beyond competence in cognitive matters and personal skills, the increasing interactions and complexities of the academic and professional worlds require additional planning and transitioning to result in optimal functioning.

When David transitioned from a special needs school to mainstreamed education in the eighth grade, I met with faculty to discuss his strengths, needs, and helpful accommodations. I also tutored Dave in several classes to help him learn in a way that he could comprehend. He weathered social and academic challenges, and consequently became more worldly, skilled, and independent.
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Sensory-Friendly Attractions to Get You Through the Winter

While Northeast Ohio has many family-fun places to visit in the winter, some families still face the challenge of finding sensory-friendly venues to visit with their loved ones who have autism. Luckily, many popular attractions in the area are now considering the ways in which they can be more inclusive to all visitors. Below are a few larger attractions now providing fantastic accommodations for individuals with sensory processing issues.

Not only is Quicken Loans Arena home of our NBA Champions, but it also houses “The Quiet Space,” a sensory room used to accommodate guests with sensory processing needs. A sensory room is available at all events that take place at the Q. Guests can also check out (at no cost by leaving an ID) weighted lap pads and sensory bags, which contain fidget toys, noise-cancelling headphones and other helpful items at the Guest Services Booths. Use this social story to prepare your loved one for an exciting visit to the arena. And for more information on their sensory sensitivity accommodations, contact Jenn Franz at JFranz@cavs.com. (Source –The Quicken Loans Arena)

 

The Children’s Museum of Cleveland (CMC) and Monarch Center for Autism’s Welcoming Spaces Program have joined together to develop customized visual, social, communicative, sensory, and behavioral supports that can be found throughout the museum. Some resources that the museum offers include call-ahead accommodations, social narratives, visual schedules, visual/sensory maps, tool kits and video models.  The museum also has a sensory-friendly room equipped with special lighting, classical music, liquid tile mats, a tactile wall and more! (Source –The Children’s Museum of Cleveland)
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Helpdesk Q&A: Staying on Track in 2018

As families look to the year ahead, it is natural to ask yourself how you can better ensure a more productive and positive year for your loved one on the spectrum. Teen and Adult Coordinator Haley Dunn knows the feeling, and has answered some common questions she gets this time of year as parents assess their goals for the new year.

1) How do I write a new goal?
Think about goals for yourself or your loved one in multiple settings- home, school, career and personal. Pick a few things you would like to work on in each setting. Set goals that are short and long-term to help you feel accomplished as you progress through your list.

If you are a student writing academic goals or social goals, it can be helpful for you to focus on something personal. Goals that you really want to accomplish are more likely to come to fruition versus a goal someone sets for you.

Academic goal examples:
– Improving math test scores by studying an extra hour per week
– Improving spelling ability by writing the word an extra 3 times more than the homework states

Social goal examples:
– I will sit with a new person this month and ask them a question about their interests
– I will go out to a school social event this year.

2) Why is it important to write down my goals?
If you are seeing your goals on a regular basis you are more likely to continue to work towards them. So write them down and put them somewhere where you can see them! Type out the goals and post them in common areas of your home. Use a journal that you carry with you. Make a dream board that you put in your room with pictures and quotes that inspire you as you work toward your goal.

How you write the goal is equally important in setting an encouraging tone and putting yourself in the right mind set to start working.  Use phrases such as, “I will improve” versus “Stop making mistakes.”

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My Milestones: Donna Yanowitz

As long as Donna Yanowitz can remember, her family was always involved in organizations that worked to better the lives of those in need.

Throughout her adult life, Donna has continued living by these family values, devoting herself to philanthropy and mentoring others in the Cleveland Jewish community.

Upon discovering her personal connection to autism, Donna knew she wanted to become a part of the Milestones mission.

“When I became aware of and familiar with autism, I realized that at least half a dozen members of my family are on the autism spectrum,” Donna said. “Because of the work the founders of Milestones have done and continue to do, I knew it was something in which I would like to become involved.”

In 2016, Donna found a particularly meaningful way to do just that. She began funding the Milestones Internship Program, a program wherein individuals on the spectrum can gain valuable work experience with the Milestones staff.

As an internship that can be completely customized to meet the goals and abilities of each individual, the program has since served as a great social and educational experience for multiple high school students in the past few years.

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