ShareThis Page

Highlands plans autism event

| Saturday, March 29, 2014, 1:06 a.m.
Lori C. Padilla | For the Daily Courier
Students from Project Talent Theatre Workshops rehearse one of the numbers they will be performing at Highlands Hospital in honor of World Autism Awareness Day on Wednesday, April 2, 2014. Autumn Taylor (left), Donovan Taylor, Dayton Nicholson and Samantha Nicholson, along with Ethan Shultz (missing from photo) will be performing 'Can't Wait to be King' from 'The Lion King' for the children of Highlands Hospital Autism Center and others gathering in the Courtyard at Highlands Hospital from 2 to 4 p.m.

Highlands Hospital Regional Autism Center has been helping children with autism in this area for more than two years, and families in the region have been receiving state-of-the-art care.

Highlands follows the same model of diagnostic evaluation and treatment as the Cleveland Clinic uses with respect to its autism services division.

World Autism Awareness Day is being celebrated on Wednesday.

And Highlands Hospital Regional Autism Center is inviting people to help it celebrate.

This is the seventh year World Autism Awareness Day has been observed. Every year, autism organizations around the world celebrate the day in unique ways.

Locally, a program will be held at the Courtyard at Highlands Hospital on Murphy Avenue.

Students and staff of the autism center will be there with their families.

The public is invited from 2 to 4 p.m.

Froggy radio will be playing, and Liz Jones Art Studio will be face painting.

Caitlyn Cuneo will be performing. Project Talent Theatre Workshop members will be entertaining, and Lynn's Dairy Queen in Connellsville will be there with its mascot.

Also scheduled to appear is former Miss Teen Pittsburgh Kailey Verbickey.

“World Autism Awareness seems to be increasing in recent years. This has been so beneficial in recognizing and demystifying the disorder. Our event Wednesday will allow our students to socialize and celebrate their individual personalities that we all cherish about them,” said Amanda Freger, director of autism services at the Highlands Hospital Regional Autism Center.

“The excitement we have received from our families in supporting them and their children has been fantastic. Our staff is very good at making learning fun for the kids. We look forward to opportunities like today to help them generalize skills in settings that are less structured and that are much more environmentally stimulating,” said Liz Rosner, head coordinating teacher at the center.

A balloon release is also planned. Martin's will be providing the refreshments

“This is one of the first events of this scale that I will benefit from by being a part of here at Highlands. The students in our program love to experience new things. It continues to amaze me about when we don't set limitations as to what we expect our students to do, that they excel beyond what anyone would have ever expected,” said Jordan Morran, coordinating teacher at the center.

“Our students have such great spirits to achieve their goals and interact with others. This is a great worldwide day to celebrate, in addition to us having the opportunity to celebrate with them every day,” Freger said.

For more information call 724-603-3360.

Nancy Henry is a contributing writer.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.