Autism understanding conveyed through workshop

For Discovery Center staff member Lisa Sulich, teaching and mentoring youngsters diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder for the majority of her 20 years spent at the Bellefontaine area preschool has been a most rewarding profession.

Autism workshop copy

Chris Filler of Lifespan Transitions Center, left, and Carly McVey, program codirector for the Autism Certification Center, OCALI, speak to participants Friday at the “Understanding and Supporting Individuals with Autism” program at the Bellefontaine First Church of God hosted by the Logan County Board of Developmental Disabilities and the Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence. (EXAMINER PHOTO | MANDY LOEHR)


“There’s no other job I’d rather do,” the preschool teacher said. “I just love these kids.”

She and fellow Discovery Center teacher Hayley Nease, both of whom lead the center’s two classrooms specifically tailored to students with ASD or with ASD characteristics, have attended various Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incident trainings together, traveling to different areas of the state.

Friday, they were able to attend a local seminar “Understanding and Supporting Individuals with Autism” at the Bellefontaine First Church of God hosted by OCALI and the Logan County Board of Developmental Disabilities.

The day-long seminar was free to county residents and also was open to residents of other counties. Attendees included fellow educators from local school districts, therapists, providers, parents and families from Logan County, along with Champaign, Shelby and Licking counties, LCBDD officials said.

Currently, Logan County serves 11 children diagnosed with autism in the preschool and three early intervention pupils for home-based services. In addition, county services also are provided to 19 adults diagnosed with autism, along with 12 teens and 20 school-age children, LCBDD officials said.

Presenters for the seminar included Chris Filler of Lifespan Transitions Center in Columbus; Lara Maddox, program director for Center for the Young Child at OCALI; and Carly McVey, program co-director Autism Certification Center, OCALI.

Morning sessions provided an introduction to ASD, including common characteristics for autistic individuals related to social communication, sensory processing, restricted interests and patterns of behavior, cognition and information processing and emotional regulation.

Related to information processing for those with ASD, McVey related the great importance of breaking down various tasks into small steps and explaining the steps in clear and simple terms.

“It’s not that someone with autism can’t get it; they are very capable of completing various tasks and sometimes just need a little extra time and explanation. Then they can really excel at a variety of activities and can accomplish many things.”

Read complete story in Monday's Examiner
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