Things I’ve Learned from a Child with Autism

April is Autism Awareness Month. Autism Spectrum Disorder, typically referred to as simply autism, is a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There are more than 10,000 Mississippi youth on the autism spectrum, affecting 1 in 68 children and 1 in 42 boys. While the challenges of a child with autism are often great, it is important to remember, so are their strengths.

Canopy Children’s Solutions offers a variety of therapeutic autism solutions including intensive Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy, specialized education autism classes, and targeted emotional and social skills therapy. While our staff are dedicated to nurturing and teaching children, they also find children teach them along the way. Staff from Canopy’s Early Intervention Autism Clinic, which specializes in intensive ABA therapy, share with us some things they have learned from working with children on the autism spectrum.

Things I’ve Learned from a Child with Autism

“Children are incredible teachers. A child with Autism has taught me to speak Spanish, to become culturally aware, how to praise myself for the hard work, and to self-correct when I know I can do better. Most importantly, a child with autism has taught me to laugh and smile unapologetically.”—BreAnna Newborne, BCBA (Senior Behavior Interventionist II)

“I’ve learned to celebrate EVERYTHING! It’s easy to get bogged down and miss what are truly special moments. Children with autism have taught me to cherish and celebrate small victories because small victories will lead to milestone moments.  It’s up to us to find joy in everyday success!”—Racheal Caldwell (Behavior interventionist)

“A child with autism has taught me to take nothing for granted. I have learned that golden moments like a smile, saying ‘hi,’ or telling mom or dad ‘I love you’ for the first time may seem small to some, but to our clinic families, it is an earth-shattering big deal.”—Jasmine Allen (Behavior Support Specialist II)

“I have learned children with autism are just that, children. Just like any child, they need us to believe in their potential to learn, perform, and to thrive alongside their peers and within their communities. They can do it with our support.”—Madeline Potter, BCBA (Behavior Support Specialist II)

“Children with autism have taught me more than I could ever imagine. I have learned just how unique each child is. By working with these kids each day, they have helped me grow personally and professionally.”—Robyn Brewer (Behavior Support Specialist I)

 “A child with autism taught me there is, in fact, a difference between Kylo Ren and Darth Vadar. Who knew!? There is so much about the world they take in, and in turn, can offer us a new perspective. Each session I grow as a therapist because they challenge me to be better and see the world through their eyes.”—Laura Barker (Behavior Support Specialist I)

“A child with autism taught me when someone says, ‘you can’t,’ I have the choice to say, ‘watch me.’ Each of us has the last say so in whether we give up or continue pushing through. I smile every day because I get to see these children transform.”—Alana Cole (Behavior Support Specialist I)

“Children with autism have taught me to take the time to learn how they communicate; how we deliver our ABA services to best benefit not only the child, but also their families. These children help me grow every day, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”—Hayden Rizer (Behavioral Support Specialist I)

I have learned that a child with autism is not defined by their disability or limitations because limitations can be overcome. Any progress made in learning or development is an accomplishment. The smiles, the laughs and even contact are huge conquering feats.”—Rebecca Taylor (Behavior Support Specialist I)

A child with autism taught me to leave expectations at the door, because with determination, anything is possible.”—Garrett Yaeger (Intern)

“A child with autism taught me to smile in the ‘bad moments’ because those moments are what teach us to truly appreciate the good.”—Karla Banks (Autism Clinic Coordinator)

I have learned many things from kids with autism. They’ve taught me greetings in different languages, facts about traveling the world, current weather reports, new and fun outside games to play, and many different ways to truly connect with others. There are many details they pay attention to that I would never have thought. Being with these kids is the best part of my day!”—Lindsay Rigby (Volunteer)

Individuals with autism have much to offer if we take the time to look past their diagnosis. Many companies, like Microsoft for example, have embraced their unique strengths and are actively pursuing individuals on the spectrum for employment. This offers hope to thousands of individuals on the spectrum and to their families who know the impact their loved ones can have on the world, given the opportunity. We should actively help to cultivate their strengths and individual uniqueness. Given half a chance, any child with autism would have a thing or two to teach us all.

If you know a child in need of autism solutions, please contact Karla with Care Coordination at 800.388.6247. You can also learn more about Canopy Autism Solutions here.

2018 Children’s Mental Health Summit

The Fifth Annual Children’s Mental Health Summit, hosted by Canopy Children’s Solutions (Canopy), will take place Thursday and Friday, May 10-11, at the Jackson Hilton Hotel in Jackson, Miss.

The theme for this year’s event is Every Child Can Be a Success: Creating Positive Outcomes. This two-day event will feature a half-day pre-conference on Thursday, May 10, with breakout sessions on varied topics that affect Mississippi families and children. The main conference will follow on Friday beginning at 8:00 a.m. featuring Scott D. Miller, Ph.D., of the International Center for Clinic Excellence as keynote speaker. In addition to the keynote, Canopy is pleased to welcome speakers Teresa R. Mosely, M.Ed, and Nick Hughes, M. Div., who will share their personal testaments of triumph over tragedy. A complete list of speakers and topics can be found on the event website.

“It is important that we provide tools to those who work with children so they can better support the intricate needs of the children they serve,” said Canopy CEO John Damon, Ph.D. “We have been very successful in bringing in speakers for the Children’s Mental Health Summit who challenge conventional thinking and broaden our skills as clinicians, teachers, social workers, child advocates and parents. I’m very excited about the opportunities that we will have again this year.”

Registration for the pre-conference is $50 per participant and $100 per participant for the main conference on Friday. Participants may choose to attend one or both days. These fees include the cost of materials, breaks, lunch (Friday only) and Continuing Education Units (CEUs). Licensed counselors and social workers can receive up to 9.5 CEUs for attending both days of the summit. Licensed educators may also receive up to 1 CEU credit for participation.

For complete information on the Children’s Mental Health Summit, including registration and information on overnight accommodations, please visit www.helpkidsthrive.org or contact Kym Williams at 601.352.7784.

Training for Adoption Competency (TAC) Being Offered by Canopy

Mississippi is in dire need of mental health professionals who are competent in adoption-related issues. Canopy Children’s Solutions is offering the only Training for Adoption Competency (TAC) program in or around the state in partnership with the Center for Adoption Support and Education (C.A.S.E.).

TAC is a nationally recognized evidence-informed, Post-Master’s training program for professionals in social work, mental health, and child welfare. This prestigious training program provides significant benefits for the professionals completing the program and their employers. TAC students will master knowledge, values and skills in 18 domains critical to adoption-competent mental health services and helps to enhance knowledge of assessments, therapeutic practices, and adoption-sensitive workplace practices. Students who complete the training are eligible for up to 66 continuing education hours and access to six months of case consultation and technical assistance from adoption competent mental health experts. Those who complete the course and consultation will be listed on the C.A.S.E. national TAC adoption professional registry.  Click HERE to learn more about this upcoming training.

The TAC program is scheduled to begin in May 2018; however, space is limited so applicants are encouraged to register early. Classroom training sessions will be held at Canopy’s Gertrude C. Ford Training Center at 1465 Lakeland Drive in Jackson, Miss.

Training in Adoption Competency Dates 2018

Interested applicants will need to complete the Student Registration and Application to be accepted into the course. Deadline to register is Monday, April 30, 2018. The cost is $600 and covers all training materials, continuing education hours and meals. For more information, please contact Beth McNamee, Director of Organizational Development and Training.

Canopy Children’s Solutions is an approved Continuing Education Provider for the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC), ACEP No. 6857. Licensed Professional Counselors may receive up to 66 CE clock hours for completion of the TAC Course.

Canopy Children’s Solutions is an Approved Continuing Education Provider for the Mississippi Board of Examiners for Social Work & Marriage and Family Therapist: DP#SWB14002 Renewal Date 3-6-2020. Social Workers may receive up to 66 CE clock hours including 6.0 Cultural Diversity and 6.0 Ethics CE clock hours for completion of the entire TAC Course.

For more information about the Center for Adoption Support and Education, please visit their website at adoptionsupport.org.