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December 6, 2012

Holiday Tips for Navigating the Busy Season

As the holidays approach, VCU-ACE hopes the following weblinks to tip sheets and ideas for navigating the busy season will be helpful to you and your family!

Autism Spectrum Therapies -- “Stress-Free Holiday Tips and Toy Recommendations for Families of Children with Autism” by William Frea, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Autism Spectrum Therapies - Parent Tip Sheets - including one on Reducing Holiday Stress among many others

Autism Speaks – Holiday Tips – “Helping Parents of Kids with Autism Handle the Unique Challenges of the Holiday Season”

Autism Society“Twelve Tips for Helping Individuals with Autism Have a Happy Holiday Season” 


Happy Holidays from VCU-ACE!! 

Survey Launched for Paraprofessionals and Special Education Teachers!

 A doctoral student in Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Education is conducting a research study about the professional development of paraprofessionals supporting students with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs).  Earlier this year the Virginia legislature passed a law requiring all paraprofessionals supporting students with ASD to be trained by September 2014.  If you are a paraprofessional or a Special Education teacher, your participation in this survey is requested and will be valuable in providing input towards future paraprofessional training.

The survey is web-based and each job position has its own link.  Please select the link that best describes your position. 

Click here if you are a PARAPROFESSIONAL.

Click here if you are a SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHER

The survey should take approximately 15 minutes to complete.  Your input is very important and your time and effort in completing the survey is greatly appreciated.  To thank you for your time, everyone who completes the survey may enter a drawing to receive one of 100 $10 Walmart gift cards.  Should you have questions, please feel free to contact Kira Austin, Ph. D. Candidate, (804) 827-1403 or

VCU-ACE Offers Paraprofessional Training in the Northern Neck

In November, VCU-ACE provided live training to 30 paraprofessionals who work in the Northern Neck region. Paraprofessionals from Lancaster, Northumberland, Westmoreland, West Point, and other localities attended the 3 day event. The training was a collaboration between VCU-ACE and Rappahannock Community College. Training targeted the characteristics of ASD, roles and responsibilities of the paraprofessional, instructional strategies, providing positive behavior supports, and strategies to enhance social and communication skills. VCU-ACE is currently developing its live training schedule for 2013 and will be providing additional training throughout the state.  If you have questions about live training opportunities for paraprofessionals, please contact Selena Layden at

VCU-ACE Participates at OCALI Conference

Dawn Hendricks, VCU-ACE Training Director, and Carol Schall, Technical Assistance Director, presented at the Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence (OCALI) Conference in November 2012.  Several presentations highlighting the work of VCU-ACE were on the conference agenda, including:  The Paraprofessionals in Autism Resource and Achievement Project; Building Capacity: Statewide Professional Development; Project SEARCH: Successful Transition to Competitive Employment for Young Adults with ASD; and Thinking about Transitions: The 3 T’s.

In addition, OCALI held an Autism Summit which provided leaders from many states across the country the opportunity to work together to share and discuss training and Technical Assistance activities. As a part of the Autism Summit, Dr. Hendricks and Dr. Schall participated in a national panel providing information about efforts in training and technical assistance transpiring throughout VA.

Arlington Public Schools Receives Award of Excellence!

Congratulations to Arlington Public Schools for receiving an Award of Excellence from the Chesapeake Chapter of National Public School Public Relations Association (CHESPRA) for their new Parent Resource Binder.  The online version of the Arlington Public Schools Special Education Family Resource and Information Binder is now available on the division’s website.  It was developed in collaboration with VCU-ACE and will be a useful tool for all families of children with disabilities.  This collection of resources will assist family members in becoming active members of their child's educational team; working collaboratively with schools; accessing resources that are available to support parents and students; and making the best possible decisions on their child’s behalf.  Well done Arlington!


Register Now for Upcoming VCU-ACE Webcasts!

Don’t miss the January and February, 2013 VCU-ACE Webcasts!  Kathy Morris, founder of igivuWings, a consulting company for autism spectrum and behavior disorders, will be sharing resources for management strategies for after the meltdown.  In Prevention, Intervention, Post-Vention: What to do After the Meltdown - Part 1 (January 8, 2013) and Part 2 (February 12, 2013) Kathy will discuss practical strategies to use throughout the meltdown cycle. She will also explain preventative techniques and intervention strategies to teach coping skills to the student with ASD prior to the meltdown.  You won't want to miss these informative presentations!

And remember all VCU-ACE webcasts are archived for viewing at your convenience.  Click here to access the list of current archived webcasts by year! 


Save the Date for Connections 2013!!

VCU-ACE is proud to be a member of the planning committee for Connections 2013!!  This free family resource fair will take place on April 20, 2013 from 9:30am to 12:30am at the Children’s Museum of Richmond Central location, 2626 W. Broad Street, Richmond, VA  23220.  This is the 11th year of this special event, which is open to parents, family members, caregivers, and any member of the community interested in making a difference in the lives of children and youth with special needs.  Again this year, we expect over 60 agencies and organizations to exhibit and share resources and information about their services and supports.  Special features will include free admission to the Children’s Museum for the first 400 guests, juggling and magic tricks by Jonathan Austin, dental screenings by the VA Department of Health, and More!!  Special accommodations, including sign language and Spanish interpretation, will also be available.  For more information check out the Connections website page, email us at, or visit Connections Resource Fair on facebook!