The UNC TEACCH Program – Charlotte Center has moved! The center is are now located at 8401 University Executive Park Drive, Suite #100. The team is excited to continue to offer both in-person and telehealth services. In fact, the team is starting another semester of the TEACCH School Transition to Employment and Postsecondary Education (T-STEP) program online through Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC). There are 18 students enrolled and going virtual has provided access to a program that some may not have been able to attend otherwise.
Ruth E. Thomson is the Resource & Referral Specialist for the Chapel Hill TEACCH Center. She holds a master’s degree in Health Services Administration with a focus on policy and planning. Before coming to TEACCH in 2008, Ruth was a Legislative Research Associate working specifically on the reauthorization of the Protection and Advocacy Act for Mentally Ill Individuals in Washington DC. Ruth moved to Chapel Hill in 1992 where she worked for UNC-CH in the Division of Student Affairs in the Departments of Housing and Residential Life and the FPG Student Union. Ruth attained her certifications in Early Childhood Education for both teaching and administration which she used to create and run the Chapel Hill Kehillah preschool from 2004 – 2007. At TEACCH Ruth enjoys being involved in many aspects of TEACCH services from providing support and resources for families, assisting clinicians with scoring diagnostic assessments, and being a part of TEACCH committees. When not working Ruth loves spending time with her three children, playing with her 2 rescue dogs, traveling, and baking.
Social connections are more important than ever right now. Did you know that there are a number of social options available for individuals with autism spectrum disorder? See some statewide resources below as well as options in the Charlotte region.
- Autism Society of North Carolina – Social Recreation Programs throughout the state. View Social Recreation programs available through the Autism Society of NC
- County Parks & Recreation – Special Needs/Inclusion Programs, check your county’s website for fun virtual social programs
- Easter Seals: View after school programs offered through Easter Seals
- Confident Solutions: Confident Solutions is based out of Harrisburg, NC. View current social groups or call 704-995-6896 for additional information on their upcoming groups.
- Child and Family Development Center has two locations in the Charlotte, NC area. View specialty services and social skills groups or call 704-332-4834 or 704-541-9080.
- Southeast Psych has two locations in the Charlotte, NC area and offers a variety of social skills groups. Go to the website for additional information or call 704-552-0116 or 704-970-4791.
Some individuals with autism often have difficulty engaging socially with other people. This can make it more difficult for them to learn from others by watching and listening. Adding in a few strategies to your everyday routines can help them learn that people are fun and worth paying attention to!
- Use their interests to your advantage! Take time to observe your child in play and find what is motivating, such as characters, colors, textures, or sounds that capture his/her attention. Use these motivating items as the center of your interactions. This way, you are working with items that can capture your child’s attention.
- Position yourself so that you are facing your child, with the object between you. This way, the child is already looking towards you and it will be easier for them to look up and smile at you! You can use the object in a playful manner to grab and keep their attention. For example, take a ball and place it on your head while making an excited expression, and then say, “Ahh choo” as it falls onto the floor. Continue to repeat the sequence, making sure to pause before and after saying, “Ahh choo” to give your child an opportunity to imitate you or join in on the fun. Read more tips about increasing engagement.
Caregiver/Client Corner Blog is brought to you by TEACCH’s Resource and Referral Specialists