May – Special Needs Briefs
Seminar highlights computer-assisted reading program
The Stepping Up Resource Centre, a company offering tutoring services and high school exam preparation, is sponsoring a free seminar about its newest service, a computer-assisted reading program called Cellfield. The seminar will be held May 7 from 9 a.m. to noon and will address the effects that reading has on children’s self-esteem. There will also be information about the Cellfield program, which is designed for people ages 8 and up, who struggle to read because of learning difficulties, dyslexia or autism spectrum disorders. The seminar will be held at the Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton, 1900 TransCanada Highway, Dorval. The Stepping Up Resource Centre offers a 12-week Cellfield program in Cote St. Luc for people of all ages. For more information, call (438) 380-3635 or visit www.steppingup.net.
Communication through artistic expression
After struggling for years to communicate with his son who has autism, Montreal father Jason Goldsmith discovered that drawing and sharing pictures allowed the boy to express his ideas, needs and feelings. Goldsmith, who has a background in design, realized that other families could benefit from learning to use drawing as a communication tool, so he began offering workshops. On May 16, he will be hosting Drawing as an Innovative Communication Tool to introduce parents, educators and professionals to the concept of talking with pictures as a way of helping children of any age who have autism spectrum disorders or language delays.
In the workshop, Goldsmith will explain how drawing affects the brain and will then have participants do drawing exercises. No drawing or previous artistic experience is necessary. Goldsmith explains that the emphasis will be on using drawing to open channels of communication to help children express themselves better. The workshop will be held from 9:45 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. at TAV College, 6333 Decarie Blvd., Montreal. Tickets are $175 for professionals and $125 for parents and students. For more information, call (514) 342-3331 or go to www.thebigbluehug.com.
Software that helps kids communicate
On June 5, families whose children have difficulty communicating can learn about Proloquo2Go, an application designed to help children with limited language skills. Representatives from Invo8, a local company that helps families use these assistive communication devices and applications, will be giving a demonstration at the Apple store downtown from 10 a.m. to noon. The application, which works on iPads and iPods, allows users to put together a series of images (for example, a sign saying ‘want’ and a picture of an apple) and then the program says the words out loud (“I want an apple.”) The workshop is free and will take place at 1321 Ste. Catherine St. W. Advanced registration is required at www.Inov8-ed.com.
New camp for children with autism
Coco’s Place, a non-profit foundation working with children who have autism spectrum disorders, will be offering a new summer day camp program in Montreal West for kids ages 2 1/2 to 6. The camp will focus on building social skills, making friends and boosting independence through a curriculum designed by Special Olympics Canada. In addition to physical activities like soccer and swimming, the camp will teach children arts & crafts, music, drama and speech therapy. They also work on soft skills, such as adapting to transitions and self-control. The camp will run Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. There will be private or small group sessions available from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The camp offers two-week sessions from June 27 and ending Aug. 19 and will take place at 263 Percival St., Montreal West. For cost and information, call (514) 994-5018 or visit www.cocosplace.ca.