Tag Archive | Autism Awareness Month

Hillcrest Goes Blue for Autism

AS LIUB

Hillcrest Educational Centers’ Administrative Offices on South Street, Hillcrest’s Housatonic Academy, and the City of Pittsfield’s Park Square illuminated with special blue lights on the evening of Friday, April 1 in support of Autism Speaks’ global annual Light It Up Blue (LIUB) campaign to celebrate World Autism Awareness Day and Autism Awareness Month.

The lights remained lit through the entire month of April in support of Autism Awareness. We thank Limelight Productions, Inc. for providing the lighting in Park Square.

This year we are excited to announce that Downtown Pittsfield Inc., College Internship Program, UCP of Berkshire County, and Community Resources for People with Autism partnered with us to host an Autism Resource Fair and Art Show during the First Friday Arts Walk at the Downtown Pittsfield, Inc. offices from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. on Friday, April 1 followed by the lighting ceremony in Park Square at 7:30 p.m.

Our Co-Sponsors for the event:

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Next year’s event promises to be even larger and draw more awareness to the cause.

Enjoy this video of the College Internship Program students showcasing their musical talents at the Autism Resource Fair!

Hillcrest Educational Centers and the City of Pittsfield’s Park Square to Participate in Autism Speaks Light it Up Blue Campaign

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                    

Hillcrest Educational Foundation, Inc.                                                          
788 South Street
Pittsfield, MA 01201

Hillcrest Educational Centers and the City of Pittsfield’s Park Square to Participate in Autism Speaks Light it Up Blue Campaign

Buildings and Landmarks will Light Up Blue as Part of a Global Initiative to Raise Awareness of Autism

PITTSFIELD, Mass. Mar. 25, 2016 – Hillcrest Educational Centers’ Administrative Offices on South Street, Hillcrest’s Housatonic Academy, and the City of Pittsfield’s Park Square will illuminate with special blue lights on the evening of Friday, April 1 in support of Autism Speaks global annual Light It Up Blue (LIUB) campaign to celebrate World Autism Awareness Day and Autism Awareness Month.

The lights will remain lit through the entire month of April in support of Autism Awareness. We thank Limelight Productions, Inc. for providing the lighting in Park Square.

Hillcrest Educational Centers is home to a residential Autism Program as well as a Therapeutic Day Program, Housatonic Academy, who also caters to a variety of populations, including students with Autism.

This year we are excited to announce that Downtown Pittsfield Inc., College Internship Program, UCP of Berkshire County, and Community Resources for People with Autism are partnering with us to host an Autism Resource Fair and Art Show during the First Friday Arts Walk at the Downtown Pittsfield, Inc. offices from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. on Friday, April 1 followed by a lighting ceremony in Park Square at 7:30 p.m.

Hillcrest and Park Square join a list of more than 10,000 iconic landmarks, businesses, communities and homes in 136 countries on all seven continents that will shine a bright light on autism. The Empire State Building in NYC, Niagara Falls in Canada, the Sydney Opera House in Australia, the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy, and even the International Space Station have all joined Autism Speaks along with Hillcrest’s Administrative Offices and Park Square in support of the millions of families affected by autism.

Throughout the month of April, Pittsfield residents can support their neighbors and friends by participating in Light It Up Blue. Visit www.autismspeaks.org/LIUB for fun and creative ways to shine a bright light on Autism.

 

DATE:            Friday, April 1, 2016
TIME: 7:30 p.m.
PLACE: Illuminated Landmarks include:
City of Pittsfield
Park Square
Pittsfield, MA 01201

 

Additional Buildings include:
Hillcrest Educational Centers
788 South Street
Pittsfield, MA 01201

Hillcrest’s Housatonic Academy
1450 West Housatonic Street
Pittsfield, MA 01201

 ###

About Hillcrest Educational Foundation

A top area employer, Hillcrest Educational Foundation is a private not-for-profit agency, serving students from across the country. Hillcrest was started as an organization that provided residential programs for students with complex psychiatric, behavioral and/or developmental disorders, including autism, and a variety of high-risk behaviors. While the agency still provides these residential services, today Hillcrest also offers nonresidential day programs and services for emotionally/behaviorally disturbed students at their Housatonic Academy, general family dentistry at Hillcrest Dental Care and outpatient mental health services for children, adolescents and adults through Hillcrest Community Support Services. Hillcrest’s Administrative Offices are located at 788 South Street, Pittsfield, MA 01201. More information is available at www.hillcrestec.org.

About Downtown Pittsfield, Inc.

Downtown Pittsfield, Inc. fosters the on-going growth and vitality of downtown through vision, leadership and advocacy and to position downtown as the creative and business hub of the Berkshires for the benefit of all. Visit us at http://www.downtownpittsfield.com.

About Limelight Productions, Inc.

Limelight® has served the production and technical needs of the entertainment industry for well over 40 years. They have served national clients such as ABC News, HBO, Discover Channel, E Center, Sony Films, DreamWorks, Magic School Bus Tour and Pilobolus Dance Theatre. Our client list also includes the Williamstown Theatre Festival, Tanglewood, Berkshire Choral Festival, Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, among many other well-known organizations.

About College Internship Program

The College Internship Program (CIP), is a national postsecondary transition program for teens and young adults with autism and other learning differences, offering year-round and summer programs at six locations nationwide. For more information about CIP and their comprehensive services, visit www.cipworldwide.org.

About UCP of Berkshire County

United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) Association of Berkshire County — an affiliate of United Cerebral Palsy Association — was established in 1961. UCP of Berkshire County offers support and advocacy for any individual, regardless of disability, to pursue a fulfilling, self-determined, high-quality community life — a life without limits.  The UCP mission is to advance the independence, productivity and full citizenship of people with disabilities. 

About Community Resources for People with Autism

Community Resources for People with Autism provides support, information, educational advocacy and practical help for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders and their families living in western Massachusetts.

We help families build on their strengths, work together to create a positive vision and reality for the future, and help children grow and be welcomed as fully included members of their community. For more information about Community Resources for People with Autism, please contact our Easthampton office at 413.529.2428, our Pittsfield office at 413.443.4780 x 19, or link to our website: http://www.theassociationinc.org.

 About Autism

Autism is a general term used to describe a group of complex developmental brain disorders – autism spectrum disorders – caused by a combination of genes and environmental influences. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by communication difficulties, social and behavioral challenges, and repetitive behaviors. An estimated 1 in 68 children in the U.S. is on the autism spectrum.

About Autism Speaks

Autism Speaks is the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization. It is dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. Autism Speaks was founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright, the grandparents of a child with autism. Mr. Wright is the former vice chairman of General Electric and chief executive officer of NBC and NBC Universal. Since its inception, Autism Speaks has committed more than $525 million to its mission, the majority in science and medical research. Each year Walk Now for Autism Speaks events are held in more than 100 cities across

North America. On the global front, Autism Speaks has established partnerships in more than 60 countries on five continents to foster international research, services and awareness. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit AutismSpeaks.org.

Media Contact:
Hillcrest Educational Centers, Inc.
Katrina Cardillo
Director of Communications
413-499-7924 ext. 114
kcardillo@hillcrestec.org

 

“Light It Up Blue” – Autism Awareness Month – Event Recap

What an amazing day we had last Thursday, April 2nd!

As you may know, April is Autism Awareness Month.  But, on April 2nd, it’s the launch of Autism Speaks “Light It Up Blue” campaign.

Hillcrest took part in the City of Pittsfield’s proclamation in honor of Corey Carlotto, a Pittsfield resident, who is on the Autism Spectrum.   Hillcrest also supplied blue lights to shine on City Hall for the month of April.

Hillcrest had it’s own ceremony on the evening of April 2nd, at dusk, in Park Square to support Autism Awareness Month.  Light up LED bracelets were worn by participants and blue t-shirts supporting the cause.  Ahead of the ceremony, Hillcrest’s Housatonic Academy and Autism unit had their Family Strong event with some families and students of those in the programs at Patrick’s Pub.

Check out some photos of Hillcrest’s event in Park Square and a video of the speeches by Shaun Cusson, Executive Director at Hillcrest, and Hillcrest parent Samantha Tyer whose son attends Hillcrest’s Housatonic Academy.

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A HUGE thank you to Michael Supranowicz, Business Development Director, and Katrina Cardillo, Director of Communications at Hillcrest, for coordinating the Park Square efforts.  Another thank you goes out to Limelight Productions in Lee, MA, for providing the blue lights in Park Square and Greylock Marketing Group’s Bob Maxwell, for taking photos at the event.

A copy of Hillcrest parent, Samantha’s inspiring speech is below:

You are going to see statements this month such as, “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 1 in 68 children has been identified with Autism Spectrum Disorder.” Be aware, it is not a disease. It is not contagious. It doesn’t need a cure. It is a developmental disability. The brain develops differently. Autistic is a neuro-type. Autistic is the way the brain developed. This is so complex that it becomes a diverse spectrum. Be aware, families do not suffer because their family member is Autistic. If anything, they are suffering because of a lack of resources. We need to focus more on support and acceptance of this Neuro-diversity.

First, I asked Gus what he wanted people to know about Autism Awareness. He told me he wants people to be aware of where he lives so they can find him when they come to visit. He is autistic and wants an awareness of his physical self. He can be very black and white. I couldn’t go further than our address with that, so I would like to speak about Triggers and Stimming at this time of Easter.

Don’t ever take anything for granted or assume. Things that some of us think are silly or benign can produce intense reactions in someone that is Autistic. Personally my Gus hates Humpty Dumpty. He was in 6th grade public school and was given something to write about. He went, what they thought was, totally berserk because he didn’t want to write. Part of this was true, but not all of it. I asked what the subject was and they told me he had to first read about an egg. I dropped my head and said, “Not an egg.” There is no behavior that Gus has that isn’t started without a trigger. And I wouldn’t have thought to tell the school, no eggs, no egg dying, no egg books, no writing about eggs and absolutely no mention of Humpty Dumpty. Gus has a severe aversion to Humpty Dumpty because it is abstract and Humpty gets hurt. Gus can’t dye Easter eggs because they become beautiful to him and he thinks it’s his egg friend and he knows it will have to be thrown away. If we hollow out the eggs, they are too fragile and crack. We go right back to Humpty Dumpty. So, no dying Easter eggs for Gus.

If a child is having significant behavioral difficulties, including aggression and trying to injure themselves or others, start looking for triggers. You can try different diets, meds, etc., but try looking inside or around the person. Look at all of the senses. Do they have an earache, stomachache and can’t express it? Has there been an unusual noise or movement? Was something said? You’d be surprised.

One of the most obvious responses to these triggers is called stimming- the common jumping and hand flapping. This is a need to get rid of stress and to feel safe. Don’t stop people when they do this. Don’t try to teach them something or make a point in these moments. It is a natural method of expression. Not an embarrassment. It is a unique and beautiful dance. Imagine how much better we might all feel if it was an accepted practice.

We need more schools like Housatonic Academy. Gus has hated school since preschool. It has taken going to HA to turn this around. It’s not 100%, but he has actually stated, “I love school. I found where I belong.” Not every Autistic person has Gus’ level of ability. Not everyone is verbal or reactive and that’s o.k. Hillcrest offers other environments to be in at Housatonic or at the Residential Autism Spectrum program for people to be safe and successful.

And for all of the H.A.-ers that know my jokester. “What does a laughing deer use for money? HA-Bucks.”

The Autism Society States: “Let’s create a world where all people, regardless of diagnosis, are treated with respect and dignity and are appreciated for who they are.”

In closing, for all of our Autistic friends: Be different. Accept your neurodiversity. Be patient. Don’t be silent. Don’t normalize. Don’t vary from your special interest. Stim with determination. And above all love, love, love your individuality.

Press coverage:

Berkshire Eagle
iBerkshires

Hillcrest Educational Centers and the City of Pittsfield’s Park Square to Participate in Autism Speaks Light it Up Blue Campaign

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Hillcrest Educational Foundation, Inc.                                                          
788 South Street
Pittsfield, MA 01201

Hillcrest Educational Centers and the City of Pittsfield’s Park Square to Participate in Autism Speaks
Light it Up Blue Campaign
Buildings and Landmarks will Light Up Blue on April 2 as Part of a Global Initiative to
Raise Awareness of Autism

PITTSFIELD, Mass. Mar. 26, 2015 – Hillcrest Educational Centers’ Administrative Offices on South Street, Hillcrest’s Housatonic Academy, and the City of Pittsfield’s Park Square will illuminate with special blue lights on the evening of Thursday, April 2 in support of Autism Speaks global annual Light It Up Blue (LIUB) campaign to celebrate World Autism Awareness Day and Autism Awareness Month.

The lights will remain lit through the entire month of April in support of Autism Awareness.

Hillcrest Educational Centers is home to a residential Autism Program as well as a Therapeutic Day Program, Housatonic Academy, who also caters to a variety of populations, including students with Autism. The increasing need for Autism awareness is extremely important and we are thrilled to be taking part in this awareness initiative.

Hillcrest and Park Square join a list of more than 10,000 iconic landmarks, businesses, communities and homes in 136 countries on all seven continents that will shine a bright light on autism. The Empire State Building in NYC, Niagara Falls in Canada, the Sydney Opera House in Australia, the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy, and even the International Space Station have all joined Autism Speaks along with Hillcrest’s Administrative Offices and Park Square in support of the millions of families affected by autism.

Throughout the month of April, Pittsfield residents can support their neighbors and friends by participating in Light It Up Blue. Visit www.autismspeaks.org/LIUB for fun and creative ways to shine a bright light on Autism.

DATE:            Thursday, April 2, 2015
TIME:             Beginning at dusk
PLACE:          Illuminated Landmarks include:
City of Pittsfield
Park Square
Pittsfield, MA 01201

Additional Buildings include:

Hillcrest Educational Centers
788 South Street
Pittsfield, MA 01201

Hillcrest’s Housatonic Academy
1450 West Housatonic Street
Pittsfield, MA 01201

###

About Hillcrest Educational Foundation
A top area employer, Hillcrest Educational Foundation is a private not-for-profit agency, serving students from across the country. Hillcrest was started as an organization that provided residential programs for students with complex psychiatric, behavioral and/or developmental disorders, including autism, and a variety of high-risk behaviors. While the agency still provides these residential services, today Hillcrest also offers nonresidential day programs and services for emotionally/behaviorally disturbed students at their Housatonic Academy, general family dentistry at Hillcrest Dental Care and outpatient mental health services for children, adolescents and adults through Hillcrest Community Support Services. Hillcrest’s Administrative Offices are located at 788 South Street, Pittsfield, MA 01201. More information is available at www.hillcrestec.org.

About Autism
Autism is a general term used to describe a group of complex developmental brain disorders – autism spectrum disorders – caused by a combination of genes and environmental influences. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by communication difficulties, social and behavioral challenges, and repetitive behaviors. An estimated 1 in 68 children in the U.S. is on the autism spectrum.

About Autism Speaks
Autism Speaks is the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization. It is dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. Autism Speaks was founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright, the grandparents of a child with autism. Mr. Wright is the former vice chairman of General Electric and chief executive officer of NBC and NBC Universal. Since its inception, Autism Speaks has committed more than $525 million to its mission, the majority in science and medical research. Each year Walk Now for Autism Speaks events are held in more than 100 cities across North America. On the global front, Autism Speaks has established partnerships in more than 60 countries on five continents to foster international research, services and awareness. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit AutismSpeaks.org.

Media Contact:
Hillcrest Educational Centers, Inc.
Katrina Cardillo
Director of Communications
413-499-7924 ext. 114
kcardillo@hillcrestec.org