Home-Based Therapeutic Services Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention www.PerspectivesCorporation.com

Monday, December 16, 2013

Lighting Up the Season With the Spirit of Giving

Christmas-themed light displays have become a part of many families' Holiday traditions. And If you're from the Rhode Island area, chances are you've been to - or at least have heard about - the Christmas lights display at La Salette Shrine, just over the Massachusetts border, in Attleboro.

But did you know there are some truly impressive Christmas light shows right here at home?

One of the most dazzling displays of Christmas lights you may have never heard of takes place at "The Crazy Christmas House," located in Coventry, Rhode Island. For eight years running, Tyler Horrocks has been decking out his Coventry home with Christmas lights in impressive Holiday style. What began in 2005 as a 5,000-light display has grown with each passing year, and now boasts over 63,000 lights in 64 different computerized sections. And yes, it's all set to music, which you can hear from the warmth and comfort of your car thanks to Horrocks' creative technical innovation.

Every year, the "Crazy Christmas House" raises money for charity. In 2012 Horrocks raised $8,000 for the Make a Wish foundation; and this year, he's hoping to raise $13,000 to fulfill the Christmas wish of one local boy, 11-year-old Jacob Matarese.

Jacob, who has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, has himself done some extraordinary work for his community, raising money for multiple charities such as the Special Olympics and the American Heart Association. This Christmas, Horrocks is hoping to give Jacob the recognition he deserves, with your help, by raisings funds to provide him with an autism service dog through 4 Paws for Ability.

4 Paws for Ability is a non-profit organization whose mission is to enrich the lives of children with disabilities by training and placing task-trained service dogs, providing increased independence for children, and assistance to their families.

So whether you're looking for a way to get into the spirit of giving this Holiday season, or establishing a new Christmastime tradition for your family, don't miss this amazing spectacle for a good cause at the Crazy Christmas House this year.

The Crazy Christmas House is located at 9 Blue Spruce Drive in Coventry, Rhode Island, in the Wood Estates neighborhood. The light show runs every day, Monday through Saturday, now through January, including Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Donations to this year's charity can be given on site.

For operating hours and more information, visit www.crazychristmashouse.webs.com

Monday, December 2, 2013

Using the iPad as a Learning Tool for Children with Autism

According to a new study at the Vanderbilt Peabody College of education and human development, minimally verbal children with autism can learn to speak later than previously thought.

The study, completed in 2013, worked with 61 children with autism, ages 5 to 8, using speech-generating software on computer tablets to communicate. Researchers found that in addition to touching symbols on the tablets to generate speech, the children were encouraged to audibly verbalize the words themselves.

“For some parents, it was the first time they’d been able to converse with their children,” said the study's lead investigator, Ann Kaiser.

For years, Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) devices have been used to enhance, expand and develop communication skills for people with autism; from picture card exchange systems to portable word processors and speech-generating talk boxes.

Now with the increasing ubiquity of portable information technology, modern hand-held devices such as the iPad may offer a more accessible and affordable way to help minimally verbal children with autism to communicate.

The study at Vanderbilt Peabody College was funded by Autism Speaks, and conducted in cooperation with the University of California–Los Angeles and Johns Hopkins University. It will be published in 2014.