Bonnie Kimpling-Kelly, director of P.A.T.H. Academy for Autism in Bryan, was guest speaker at CHWC-Montpelier Hospital Auxiliary’s spring soup and salad luncheon held Monday, March 13th at 12 noon in the hospital conference room. She was introduced by Auxiliary President Armeda Sawmiller who called the luncheon meeting to order and lead the auxiliary prayer. Tables were decorated in a St. Patrick’s Day theme.
P.A.T.H. ( Parents And Teachers Hand-in-Hand) Academy is funded by the state of Ohio Department of Education, budgeting a smaller portion than public schools. Classes are held year-round for accepted autistic students ages 3-22 who need additional learning attention.
Currently there are eight students attending the academy in Bryan from Williams, Henry and Paulding Counties and Toledo. A high staff to student ratio is normal with two students per staff member. During the summer a one-week break is given each month, with a 10-day break at Christmas. Classes are held 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. No bus transportation is available.
Objective for the program is to help the autistic student prepare to live in the world as it is with emphasis on reading and comprehension skills. Goal is to complete academy classes and enter public school. Many autistic youth respond to specialized learning classes and graduate not only from high school, but also attend college. In 1990, one in 10,000 children had autism which changed dramatically over the years and currently one in 68 are diagnosed with autism.
Symptoms of autism are found in areas of social interaction, communication (10% never speak), unusual and repetitive behavior including tantrums, sensory integration (over-reaction to sights, sounds, tastes, textures), and cognitive-literal thinking, learning disabilities and narrow or focused attention span. Classes incorporate students’ special interests to encourage learning. Staff members work with students exhibiting maladaptive behavior, considering cause and effect and steps to stop or modify this behavior. The science of applied behavior analysis is used along with the program’s development of a conducive environment for multi-sensory learning.
All staff members are trained and certified in First Aid, C.P.R., C.P.I., non-violent crisis intervention and child abuse and neglect prevention. Community outings and vocational programs are planned including the annual T-ball program. More information about P.A.T.H. Academy for Autism is available by calling 419-633-0068.
Following the guest speaker, President Armeda conducted the business portion of the meeting. Roll call was answered to “If you met an Irish leprechaun, what would you ask him to give you?”. Reports were given by Secretary Connie Dunseth, Treasurer Barb Dietsch, Assistant Gift Shop Manager Ruth Cooley and committees.
Special flyers recognizing Doctors’ Day March 30th have been posted by the auxiliary. The Red Cross blood drive is scheduled Friday, March 31st 10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. at Montpelier Hospital with auxiliary members assisting with registration and canteen. Volunteers were scheduled in different shifts.
Volunteers to work different shifts were also requested for the spring Book & Gift Fair on Tuesday, April 4th at Montpelier Hospital in the conference room from 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
President Armeda distributed fresh carnations as patient favors for March and Deloris Dennis and Cheryle Gallagher have charge of patient favors for April. Jan Follett and Ruth Cooley assisted as hostesses for the day.
The next regular meeting of the auxiliary is planned Monday, April 10th at 1:00 p.m. with guest speaker Tracy Valentine on child abuse. Roll call will be “What flavor is your favorite jelly bean?”.