Advocacy for Autism, A Personal Appeal our post thanks to EDA Cafe

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I would like to thank EDA Cafe for the article that they published about our intent to help autism:


AUTISM ADVOCACY AND TECHNOLOGY NEWS ZONE
By David Joseph Berkowitz

As an individual with high functioning Asperger syndrome, a kind of autism, and the father of three kids who are also on the spectrum for this disorder, I have always felt a need to make a difference for the people with autism. I dream of establishing a national organization like the American Heart Association or American Cancer Society to make living on the spectrum better for those with autism related disorders. Utilizing my knowledge and passion for technology with my personal experience and interest in autism, I launched http://technewszone.com, on January 11, 2011 .

We are a tech-focused state nonprofit. As we get funded we intend to help those on the autism spectrum by using technology-tablets and related computer technology plus the gift of music and the arts, to make the lives of people with autism better, and to support their families and the educational facilities that serve them.

We have a unique approach, view point and ideas.

Our Plan:

Our intent is to give the gift of technology through donated tablets and along with proper training to children and young adults with autism, their families, and the educational programs and schools that could make use of them. We also plan to fund applications to use with the technology.

Tablets are a very kinesthetic device which seems to make learning easier for many people with autism. Tablets like Apple iPads aid in education and improve the level of involvement in many aspects of their lives. However, a decent tablet runs $400-$800 which is very expensive for most families of people with autism.

Our second intent is to give the gift of music and the arts. Schools are very short on funding especially for the arts and music. Most parents of kids with autism cannot afford instruments, band trips, choir events and other arts materials. We want to help.

We will donate musical instruments to people with autism and education to improve quality of life. In addition, we will give the resources to provide help to theatre programs in both private and in public schools, as well as other arts that accept people with autism in their programs. We strive to promote inclusion and acceptance.

In order to further the quality of life for people with autism we want to expose them to cultural events. We will donate tickets, to musical events, theater, and other arts to enrich their lives.

I feel that many people with autism are talented in the arts and music. Even if not talented in the arts, I feel they can definitely benefit from the exposure to arts, music and technology.

A version of this article was originally published on The Autism Spot, an excellent resource for autism related topics.

http://www.autismspot.com/blog/Guest-Piece-%E2%80%93-Autism-Advocacy-and-Technology-News-Zone

Please help us help others for the holidays!!

We need your help to donate of tech, music and the arts for the upcoming holidays. We want to give tablets to people with autism, as well as gift cards and tickets to concerts to make their holidays happier. Please go to our website now and make a donation today to help us make a difference for people with autism and their families. Even a $ 5.00 gift card or a donation on our website will make a huge difference in the quality of life for people on the autism spectrum.

We are also seeking corporate sponsors who can help us in 2012 as well.

In addition we need media exposure so please put a link to this article on your website as well.

Our tech and autism blog is http://technewszone.com, and we will soon have our autism nonprofit site up as well at http://www.autismhelpusa.com as well soon.

To make a donation–> http://technewszone.com/tech-news-zone-and-paying-it-forward-for-autism-zone/donate-today-autism-technology-music-arts/

I am smart, different, and am going about it on my own; I am not rich and need support so that I can help other people with autism. If you are interested in helping our organization, Autism Advocacy and Technology News Zone, Please do not hesitate to contact me.

David Berkowitz, President and Executive Director

Autism Advocacy andTechnology News Zone, Inc. A Nevada Nonprofit Corporation

www.technewszone.com
Twitter: itechnewszone

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Autism-Advocacy-and-Technology-News-Zone-Inc

Email: davidb@technewszone.com

Please click here to go to Edacafe to see the article–>http://www10.edacafe.com/nbc/articles/1/1035325/Advocacy-Autism-Personal-Appeal

About the Author

David Berkowitz, Editor in Chief.
I am the aspie dad of 3 with autism, in industrial sales by day, and a run tech and autism news media organization as well. I am trying to be like Engadget.com and help autism too via the arts and tech. I am also on twitter, itechnewszone, facebook/technewszone, youtube/technewszone, linkedin.com too.

1 Comment on "Advocacy for Autism, A Personal Appeal our post thanks to EDA Cafe"

  1. Autism and the Role of Music

    If you have a child with autism who enjoys music, should you do anything about it? Although many people would like to use music as therapy, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, there is no data to support music as a treatment; however, music can be used as a great mainstreaming venue (and, in a few cases, a possible career choice).

    If you have a child who appears to be musical, I would suggest that you teach him or her an instrument. The beauty of music is that it can be very reinforcing, repetitive and predictable. Our kids with autism can often outperform their typically developing peers if they have a modicum of talent.

    How to teach music? It is simple if you use behavioral techniques. If your child is in an intensive behavioral treatment program, learning the instrument becomes another program. Here are some techniques that I’ve observed (these techniques are all rooted in the literature on ABA, but applied to music). I would suggest that for a child with autism, the easiest instrument with which to begin is piano primarily because it is easy to create a pleasing sound from the instrument. Piano is relatively easy to teach through imitation exercises. In addition, reading music can be taught in much the same way as one would teach a child with autism to learn the alphabet; in this case, the flash cards have notes (and time signatures etc.) on them instead of letters. Discrete trial training and discrimination training are significantly relied upon in the beginning. In addition, backwards chaining is a good way to teach piano pieces, since many children with autism are taught to finish in order to earn the reinforcement. I recently learned that many musicians teach typically developing children using a backward chaining technique as well.

    The key to successfully teaching the child is finding a very open-minded piano teacher who is happy to work alongside an ABA therapist. Once the teacher gets over the fact that using abstract analogies does not work as a teaching tool for children with autism, the learning can begin! A flexible piano teacher will soon internalize the behavioral techniques applied to learning piano and the therapist will no longer need to attend lessons. At the beginning, the child may have difficulty following instructions. For example, a talented child with autism may have very firm ideas about how a given piece should end; however, the child will have to learn and accept that one must play the piece as it is written e.g., Bach’s Minuet in G Major must end on G below middle C, rather than an octave above because that’s how Bach wrote the piece! Over time, the structure of music will help the child excel and the ability to play one instrument may often be generalized to other instruments. In addition to personal enjoyment, music also creates a socially acceptable, group leisure activity. From playing an instrument, to playing and modifying music tracks on a computer using an attached piano keyboard, ‘MIDI’ interface and composition software, the potential for leisure activities is high. In addition, through music the child can participate in structured activities with other children including school bands and orchestras.

    I’d like to suggest that working on an innate strength, as well as all the autism related deficits, is a very good idea. Music not only establishes the child’s competence amongst his or her peers, it also can provide much happiness to the child with autism. In the rare case where the child has perfect pitch, this ability may, additionally, have employment potential (in terms of musical transcription). Some thoughts about when to start: make sure the child has mastered simple imitation skills, is somewhat compliant and seems to enjoy music. In addition, some would argue that it is not a good idea to teach the child to read music until the child has mastered reading (decoding) his/her mother tongue.

    Good luck on this project, and enjoy the music!

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