Help us to become makers for autism, donate for a 3d printer and supplies.

We are trying to use technology like 3d printers to become makers for autism!

We are trying to raise the money to buy a 3d printer or 2 and supplies.

Our plan is to the use the printer for autism educational projects and fundraising events.

We are also trying to become a non-profit foundation for tech and the arts too!

Please help us get the funds to make a difference!

 

Robo3d.1

MORE 3D PRINT




RESEARCHERS LINK GENE TO INCREASED DENDRITIC SPINES – A SIGNPOST OF AUTISM The Autism News

By MedicalXpress

Scientists at the UNC School of Medicine have discovered that knocking out the gene NrCAM leads to an increase of dendritic spines on excitatory pyramidal cells in the brains of mammals. Other studies have confirmed that the overabundance of dendritic spines on this type of brain cell allows for too many synaptic connections to form between neurons – a phenomenon strongly linked to autism.The finding, published in The Journal of Neuroscience, adds evidence that NrCAM is a major player in neurological disorders. Previous UNC studies showed that knocking out the NrCAM gene caused mice to exhibit the same sorts of social behaviors associated with autism in humans.

“There are many genes involved in autism, but we’re now finding out exactly which ones and how they’re involved,” said Patricia Maness, PhD, professor of biochemistry and biophysics and senior author of the Journal of Neuroscience paper. “Knowing that NrCAM has this effect on dendrites allows us to test potential drugs, not only to observe a change in behaviors linked to autism but to see if we can improve dendritic spine abnormalities, which may underlie autism.

Maness’s finding comes on the heels of a report from Columbia University researchers who found an overabundance of the protein MTOR in mice bred to develop a rare form of autism. By using a drug to limit MTOR in mice, the Columbia researchers were able to decrease the number of dendritic spines and thus prune the overabundance of synaptic connections during adolescence. As a result, the social behaviors associated with autism were decreased. However, the drug used to limit MTOR can cause serious side effects, and it is located inside cells, making it a potentially difficult protein to target.

 

For the full article click here Article..

If you have Autistic or Special Needs Kids take a look at a free program offered by the Torino Foundation!!

 

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JUNE 20-23, 2013
MISSION Our focus is on alleviating the strain that an Autism diagnosis takes not only on the affected child but the child’s family. Our primary goals are to help campers build self-esteem, develop better social skills and self-expression, make and maintain friendships, improve fine motor skills, gross motor skills and sensory integration.
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ABOUT Camp I AM is our second co-ed residential summer camp program designed specifically for children ages 6 – 17 with a primary diagnosis of Autism. Camp I AM’s emphasis is ‘personal growth’.  The program is designed for children who would benefit from structure, small group dynamics and individual attention all in a private setting where the campers enjoy typical outdoor camp activities.   All campers participate in a daily rotation of non-competitive camp activities with their cabin groups.  We encourage camper participation and inspire them to reach their full potential by realizing their best is ‘the best’.  Our curriculum focuses on improving physical health, problem solving, teambuilding, starting and finishing tasks as well as many other objectives including having fun!
Free quality services are provided at Camp I AM including accommodations and meals, onsite medical support, and recreational facilities. A tasty, healthy and hearty breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served each day and snacks and beverages are provided throughout the entire program.  We also provide for the campers with special dietary needs.ELIGIBILITY Camp I AM welcomes children ages 6 – 17 with a primary diagnosis of Autism.  Camp I AM does not offer a clinical setting and therefore, cannot accept children who have a history of aggressive, abusive or violent behaviors.

PROGRAM FEATURES A unique feature of Camp I AM is the Camper Passport.  The majority of our parents are most interested in helping their child improve their social skills, learn new activities, develop a better sense of self, and to take greater responsibility for themselves.   The Camper Passport is a tool that Counselors use while at camp, to keep written record in a non-intrusive way, of each camper’s personal experience while staying with us at camp.  It’s nice to know that your quiet, softly spoken child was front and center on the stage during the camp talent show singing their heart out.  The Camper Passport is gifted to each camper’s parents after camp allowing the parents to benefit from and enjoy their child’s personal journey through Camp I AM.  Although the campers learn many new “camp” skills from participating in activities, it’s the skills that are less visible that are the most recognized when returning home.  The campers feel very empowered to share new things with their family.
Our one-to-one adult counselor to camper ratio, plus activity instructors and safety staff, allows us to work closely with each camper to provide individualized attention to their special needs. Our counselors are adults who are experienced in working with children with Autism or are pursuing a degree in special education or a related field. Each child is also assigned a non-disabled Peer Buddy. Camp I AM is run by a group of highly skilled, experienced and caring professionals who work in collaboration with our community affiliates to provide the highest quality of service to each camper.
Campers attend two – three activities in the morning and two – three activities in the afternoon. Evening activities serve as opportunities for the entire camp to come together for structured entertainment such as campfires, dances, movies, and music. Picture schedules are used throughout the day to support communication between campers and staff if needed.

OUR STAFF Torino Foundation’s camp program staff consists of dozens of individuals who are experienced with our programs and facility, many of which have been working with Torino Foundation for over ten years.
Our Volunteer counselors and Activity staff undergo intensive training to ensure they are fully equipped to meet our campers’ needs and provide them with the most enriching experiences possible.
Medical Staff stay at camp during the entire duration of the program to ensure each camper has consistency in a supportive environment.

A BIT ABOUT TORINO RANCH Nestled in the Spring Valley Mountains west of Las Vegas, Torino ranch offers a supportive environment for campers of all ages to meet other peers with critical illnesses, disabilities, or life altering situations.  The ranch is a pristine oasis with spring-fed streams, crystal clear lakes and waterfalls, and hundreds of organic fruit trees and organic gardens.  The ranch is a sparkling jewel of natural beauty complete with camper villages, lodge, amphitheater, and many other amenities.  The ranch is a playground and a sanctuary – a place of peace.  Campers have the opportunity to make friends, enjoy nature, gain self-confidence, create wonderful camp memories and develop skills for increased independence.  They can leave their worries behind while laughing, playing and enjoying life.

Here is a link to their Facebbook page–>
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Torino-Foundation/203601819672853?ref=hl

Our 3 kids are going to attend one of their autism camps and since I have not been rich lately they really wanted to go to camp at least once!!

Please help them in their efforts.

We also need help getting with our autism efforts as well, please donate instruments tablets, and services to help us to help autism!!

A thanks to Jeff Mosier from the Las Vegas Review Journal View News Paper an Article on our organization!!!

Autism Awareness
http://www.lvrj.com/view/area-resident-hoping-to-start-nonprofit-for-kids-with-autism-180951051.html

I would like to thank Mr. Jeff Mosier from the Las Vegas Review Journal’s View Newspaper for doing an article on us on their website and in their newspaper to hopefully help to find support, sponsors, and donors!!!

Here is a summary to the article–>

A Southern Highlands resident has started a nonprofit organization to put iPads and other tools in the hands of valley students in need.

Dave Berkowitz, 43, said he dreams of becoming a national arts and technology foundation for the autism community. Technology such as iPads can help some students with autism better communicate with their teachers, peers and families.

The nonprofit, unofficially called Arts 4 Autism, also would supply students with musical instruments, art supplies, concert tickets and scholarships. It is unofficial because Berkowitz has not applied for the organization’s tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status, yet. Berkowitz has been unemployed since October and said he cannot afford the application fee and an attorney to help with the process. He said he knows that people will hesitate to donate until the organization gains its tax-exempt status, but he is hoping someone in the community can help with that process.

For the rest of the story click here–>http://www.lvrj.com/view/area-resident-hoping-to-start-nonprofit-for-kids-with-autism-180951051.html

We also have an online campaign for fundraising as well–>http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/240108?a=1433442

I am you an awesome poem by the truly exceptional Mari Nosal(M.Ed., CECE)!!!

I am You

I am you and you are me
For God created us all
The grass is greener on your side, but I shall climb the wall
I have many talents as you’ll see
Even though you view me differently
You laugh and sneer when I join your game
You ignore me when I ask your name
You think emotions I do lack
You talk about me behind my back
I shed many tears because of vengeful peers
I painfully endure the constant leers
But I am smart, make no mistake
I am here to say, a great friend I would make
Take the time, just be my friend
And misunderstandings, with time we’ll mend
It may take me longer to climb the wall
And along the way I may fall
But I will climb again until I get it right
And when I do you will see my plight
For I am you and you are me
We can be friends as you will see
I hope, I dream, and want to grow
We are not so different you will know
Some call me learning disabled
But I am handicapable
With a zest for life, and humor to match
That if you spend enough time with me you will catch
Just be my friend, and help me grow
In return, my talents to you I’ll show
For I am you and you are me
God doesn’t make junk as you will see.

 

Curriculum ideas for the inclusive classroom and parents too by Mari Nosal!!!

I am a huge fan of Mari Nosal and her writing. Here stories are very informative and inspirational and I really enjoy them.

 

 

Have you ever wondered how to encourage empathy, increase fine and gross motor skills, social awareness, independent thinking, teamwork, independent play, or anything in-between within a classroom or at home? I have compiled quite an array of activities throughout my years. The majority of my activities were used and intended for a multi-age classroom. The children I’ve taught range in age between five and twelve years and include those with emotional, physical, behavioral, gifted, neurotypical, and learning disabled circumstances. The activities are therefore acceptable for a mixed range of abilities and ages. I have pondered what I have learned through many years of trial and error. My goal is to share these activities with parents and educators to enhance the lives of other children who could benefit from my ideas.

1) Musical Paper Plates: This game is an adaptation of musical chairs. Musical paper plates is especially suitable for children who present gross motor skill issues. The chance of injury is diminished as children cannot fall on a chair when children are vying for the last coveted spot. Plates are strategically spread out in a circle. When the music stops, a plate is removed. For children who present with socialization issues and struggle with the concept of being “out”, leave all paper plates in the game. Thus, no one wins or loses. An adaptation I made for letter and number recognition is to write numbers or letters on the plates and keep everyone in the game. i.e. If a child lands on the letter A etc., I differentiate my question according to each child’s ability and ask questions such as, What is the name of your letter? What sound does your letter make? Can you name a word that begins with your letter? Can you spell the word ? My goal is to provide a game here that includes all children, no matter what their ability is, at their level, and without singling children out. I make the same adaptations with numbers. If the child steps on number five, I may ask them to stomp their feet five times, give them a math problem to solve, ask what number they are standing on, and more. The options within this game are limitless. The game then continues with no one left out of the game. This game has proved to be extremely popular with the children.

2) Enhance Thinking Skills: One child sits in the middle of a circle and mimes emotions. The child who guesses the emotion goes in the middle and the game continues. This game is an awesome springboard for discussing feelings and reinforcing social awareness. An adaptation is to pick moral oriented situations out of a bowl, and having children act them out.

3) Share a Book: This is a voluntary activity that proved popular with the children. Rather than reading for the children, ask for volunteers who would like to read during circle time. This enhances reading skills, positive self efficacy, and teamwork. I adapt this activity so all children can participate no matter what their abilities or age. If a child volunteers to read to the class, but is an early or none reader, they are allowed to choose another child to assist them. I wish to emphasize that no child should ever be forced to read if they do not wish to. Forcing a child with a developmental challenge, reading issues, speech problems, etc. to participate can backfire. The child will lose self esteem, become embarrassed in front of peers, and withdraw. I still recall being an advanced reader in elementary school. I also suffered from “watery S’s.” My second grade teacher would force me to display my reading skills in-front of the class. It was humiliating and still resides in my memory today. After the fact, I recall pretending I struggled in reading so the teacher would stop choosing me.  Some children will participate in the future if they are not forced and are allowed time to feel safe within the group.

4) Don’t Squish the Bug: This game can be played in a group, modified for two individuals, played one on one, or done just plain solo according to the child’s skills and social development. This game is great for increasing hand-eye coordination. The children fill balloons with jello and enjoy a game of catch, or adapted catch as mentioned above. It is suggested that this game be played outdoors. It is fun. However, when the balloon inevitably breaks – jello, jello everywhere. :-0)

I hope you enjoy my ideas. I would love feedback. If there is enough interest I will continue with weekly or bi – weekly curriculum ideas. Happy teaching and parenting.

Mari Nosal M.Ed.

 

What makes a good educator by the Stellar Mari Nosal!!

Mari Nosal Best Teacher
Mari Nosal Best Teacher

I really like this article, its references to ancient literature. I believe a community does need to work together, and support one another. They do not seem to, can not get the funding to get our autism arts foundation rolling, but it in a perfect world it is the right thing to do.
I find Mari’s writing to be very interesting, and compelling.

“To live with Apathy is to live with evil men”. Plato described the essential ingredient of human survival when he coined this powerful statement. If mankind does not function as an interdependent group, humanity as we know it would die. Humanity does not reside in a bubble. Society consists of people from different walks of life. Situations may vary amongst the human race. One commonality is shared amongst our society. That commonality is the need for assistance from fellow human beings.

Human design leaves all humans with fleeting moments of failure and despair in their lives. In order for those moments to be fleeting, and not long-term, emotional support from others is nonnegotiable. This is self – evident in the field of education. Team work and a positive educational system result in a fluid symmetry that benefits the student, parent, child, and society alike. A positive educational experience is dependent on a network of people that work cohesively as a unit. As Uri Bronfenbrenner believed, social, emotional, familial, and environmental issues are all part of the educational process.

A teacher cannot be expected to perform all of the above functions alone. A supportive team for the teacher is imperative when difficulties arise. Cohesiveness is the strongest ingredient in terms of a positive classroom climate. Teachers, educators, administrators, and the community must work together for a mutual goal. That goal is the successful assimilation of children into our society; the end result is children who are empowered with the skill set needed to be future productive adult members of society. As educators, one gets one opportunity to assist children in developing to their fullest capacity. Children are not commodities. If mistakes are made, they are irreparable. The deleterious out come will be a child who carries negative self efficacy into adulthood.

Educators have the monumental responsibility of mapping the successful or negative outcome of a child’s life. It is an awesome responsibility. Fluid symmetry between all people responsible for a child’s positive outcome must be supportive of each other. A teacher that lacks support will inevitably harbor feelings of futility. Futility will breed an apathetic demeanor. The end result will be a teacher who loses their zest for teaching, and a child who loses their zest for learning. My personal goal is to equip myself with the knowledge to help people within the community. I dream of a utopian world. All human beings will be assisted in gaining the tools necessary for a self productive life. Everyone in society would be equipped with the skills needed for self empowerment and positive self efficacy. The aforementioned skills are the building blocks to travel the road to success. May no one in the educational community be unsupported. May No Child Be Left Behind.

Mari Nosal M.Ed

Fox5vegas.com Our TV Interview–>Using technology and music to help fight Autism

Today my daughter and I were on Las Vegas’s Fox 5 television. We did an interview with Monica Jackson, whom we really like on the show as well as Jason Feinberg, of whom my daughter is a huge fan. Pictured are Monica Jackson, Jason Feinberg, Michele Berkowitz, Rachel Berkowitz, and David Berkowitz. (Adam and Aaron our twin 15 year old twins were at home)

We would like to thank FOX 5, Mich Thomas, Kevin Bowlinger, Monica Jackson and Jason Feinberg for the opportunity to be on the show.

Free Ipads and a chance to win one for helping with the fundraiser!!!

We are doing a fundraiser with www.thepuzzlingpiece.com whereby for every ipad that we earn we will donate it to an autistic person that needs one or their families and special ed classrooms locally as well at feat events here locally.

We will give 2 of the participants of a free ipad.

Alternative if you want to make a donation on our website then for every $ 25 that is donated you will earn an entry to win an Ipad as well.

If you participate at www.thepuzzlingpiece.com, let them know we referred you.

Please see the following video–>