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Archived News: Across Virginia
April 2013

Don’t Miss the 11th Annual Connections Family Resource Fair in Richmond!

For over 10 years, representatives of organizations and agencies invested in the lives of children and youth with disabilities have come together to plan an annual Connections Family Resource Fair in Richmond. Join VCU-ACE this year on April 20th from 9:30am-12:30pm at the Children’s Museum of Richmond, Central location for this family fun and educational event!

Connections provides an opportunity to visit with and gather information from over 50 exhibitors. Admission to the Children’s Museum is FREE for the first 500 participants, and special features this year include Magician Jonathan Austin, dental screenings, arts and crafts, and pet therapy dogs. For more information on Connections 2013, click here. We hope to see you there!


2013 CoLA Summer Institute Planned!

The Virginia Department of Education’s Training and Technical Assistance Centers (TTACs) and VCU-ACE are pleased to announce the dates for the 2013 Summer Communities of Learning in Autism (CoLA) Institute. Autism specialists and state leaders in autism will gather on June 26-27, 2013 in Richmond for 2 full days of networking and learning opportunities. CoLAs are uniquely designed for division specialists who are working in a leadership capacity in autism. Each school division is encouraged to designate two representatives to attend and participate in regional CoLA meetings and the Summer Institute. These individuals are able to share information gathered at the meetings within their divisions and in turn share division work in autism with other CoLA participants. Contact Becky Boswell, VCU-ACE Outreach Coordinator, at for more information.


RPS Initiates Networking Efforts to Better Educate Parents!

Richmond Public Schools (RPS), one of the ACE Technical Assistance Divisions, embarked last year on a goal to improve how parents receive information about autism and school supports for students on the spectrum. RPS recognized that many parents within Richmond were not aware of the division-wide supports for students with ASD and that many parents and students themselves lacked basic and vital information about autism. RPS realized that without this knowledge, families might miss opportunities or be unable to advocate effectively for the needs of their sons or daughters. In an effort to reach all families, the RPS Autism Support Team created a process by which any and all parents could come together via a forum that would encourage sharing of experiences, networking, and gaining new information about autism.

Anita Swan, Director of the RPS Parent Resource Center, and the Autism Services Team decided to host an open house type event in February. Careful and diligent preparation for this event was the key to its success. Ms. Swan and committee members, in conjunction with administrators within all of the RPS elementary schools, distributed flyers, posted notices, and made numerous phone calls to spread the word about this exciting opportunity. Classroom teachers were also asked to share the event with parents. This first Parent Networking Open House attracted over 25 family members! The participants were able to meet and share with other parents from across the division. The agenda included various “Autism” related topics, such as initial diagnosis, IEP process, and how the Parent Resource Center can assist families.

The second Autism Parent Networking Workshop is planned to coincide with Autism Awareness Month in April. Similar events will be offered two to three times per year to elementary school parents, and this committee plans to eventually offer such gatherings to parents of students at the secondary level. Congratulations to the RPS Team for recognizing the need and helping educate families about available resources!


ABA Consortium Applications are Due May 1st!!

The Virginia ABA Consortium is currently accepting applications for the next cohort starting in June 2013! The Virginia ABA Consortium is a collaborative effort between four colleges/universities; George Mason University, Virginia Commonwealth University, Lynchburg College, and Old Dominion University. This Consortium offers courses in Applied Behavior Analysis, as well as an optional supervised internship, designed to prepare participants to sit for the BCBA examination.

You must apply and be admitted to the Consortium. The online application can be found on the Consortium website. If you are accepted to the Consortium, you will be instructed on how to apply to your chosen university. Applications for the consortium must be received no later than May 1, 2013 for admission to the new cohort. Please visit the Virginia ABA Consortium page of the VCU-ACE website for more information.


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