On Sunday, Oct. 28, families from around Arizona came together to celebrate the 2018 Autism Speaks Walk in partnership with SARRC. The event drew nearly 15,000 participants comprising 530 walk teams who came together to celebrate autism awareness in our community. The 13th annual event raised more than $650,000 to support critical autism research and resources.
Nationally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 1 in 59 children has been identified with autism. Many children are not identified until after the age of 6, which is why Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC) is collaborating with Great Hearts Academies on an autism screening initiative.
SARRC and Great Hearts are taking an innovative approach through the “Screening in Schools” project that aims to screen students—who may have been misdiagnosed or undiagnosed—by identifying social challenges to then prompt a formal autism evaluation.
Behavior Imaging®, a Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center partner, recently completed a National Institutes of Health-funded research study to compare current in-person autism assessment practices with the Naturalistic Observation Diagnostic Assessment™ (NODA), an evidence-supported autism diagnostic assessment that uses smartphone technology.
Most people have many misconceptions about autism. Four years ago, I was no different than most people. Whenever I thought of autism, I would immediately think of either my best friend’s younger brother who was nearly nonverbal, or jokes I had heard pertaining to it. Thankfully, I had an opportunity to learn how wrong my perceptions of those with autism really were.
At age 4, Jackson Thorne was very specific about the foods he would eat. On his rotation were chicken nuggets, tostadas, beans and chips, and a specific pasta dish that his mom made. Plus, his food needed to be hot or he wouldn’t eat it.
For his parents, Michele and Matthew, it was extremely stressful.
“At the time, he only went to preschool for a half-day, so I was able to bring him home and heat up a lunch for him. But, kindergarten was approaching and it would be all day. I didn’t know how we’d be able to get him to eat or what I could send for him,” Michele says.
The team at SARRC put together five bite-sized tips for parents of children who face challenges during mealtimes. Our top five tips may help create a better bond and reduce stress surrounding breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Provide choices. Whether it’s what chair to sit in, the color of the plate, the food they will eat, or the reward they receive for eating a new food, it helps your child feel like they are a part of mealtime.
Start a mealtime routine. Set meal times and a location for meals. Routines help provide clear expectations.
Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center (SARRC) is pleased to announce that Andrea Levy has joined the organization as its CFO. Levy will oversee the financial leadership and management of SARRC, including the planning and directing of accounting, financial controls, budgets, treasury and financial reporting.
Levy comes to SARRC with a wealth of experience. Most recently, Levy was the Vice President of Finance and Administration for Planned Parenthood Arizona—a role which ignited her passion for not-for-profit work.
Together, we can lower the age of diagnosis by continuing to expand Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center’s (SARRC) early screening projects within our community. Our research emphasizes the importance and effectiveness of early screening, diagnosis and intervention for autism spectrum disorder.
Starting a new school year can be a time of excitement for your child. However, returning to school after a long summer break can be a challenging adjustment. Start the year off right by using these SARRC teacher-approved back-to-school tips:
Start a special school time schedule. Go to bed and wake up on a designated “school time.” If you wait until day one to switch you or your child’s schedule, everyone will be groggy and out of practice.
When Euan Campbell was 2-years-old, his parents, Chad and Elana, began to notice some red flags and delays with his development. They began early intervention services — speech therapy and occupational therapy for him — “but I constantly felt like there was something missing and that we weren’t doing everything that we could do,” Elana shares.
Then in 2015 the family moved from Chicago to Chad’s hometown of Phoenix. Euan was turning 5, which made him eligible for kindergarten.