CAN4GCA Coaches Newsletter

START RCN - May 2016

START Conference Highlights

START celebrated their 15 year anniversary at the May 2016 Conference by welcoming in Stephen Shore, Dan Habib and Alyson Beytien.

Dr. Stephen Shore is an individual on the spectrum who shared his experiences and perspectives. He encouraged us to switch our perspective from thinking in terms of deficits and instead, think in terms of characteristics and differences and figure out how to turn them into strengths.

Alyson Beytien is a mother of three adult sons on the spectrum. She shared Five Keys to Supporting a Child with Autism in the Community. Some advice she shared included "If at first you don't succeed, make more visuals!" And don't ask "can" we do this?, but "HOW can we make this happen?" Alyson has an amazing sense of humor and you can read more of her experiences and suggestions in her book Autism Everyday.

Dan Habib is a film maker with a son with cerebral palsy. He has made several documentaries regarding inclusion - Including Samuel and Who Cares about Kelsey? He also recently produced Thasya, which tells the story of a young girl with ASD who found her voice through augmentative communication. Habib shared that research and his own experience shows that Included kids are more likely to have better communication skills, higher academic achievement, wider social networks, fewer behavior problems, more opportunities for higher education, and meaningful employment as adults. You can view Thasya on Habib's website at

Notes and resources from the START conference can be found here.

RCN Leadership Award

START recognized each Regional Collaborative Network (RCN) for their successes. CAN4GCA received a Leadership Award for Training Innovations with Mini Intensive training and County-wide trainings, an extensive coaching model, a coaching newsletter and significant Peer 2 Peer expansion in the county. This Leadership award will stay with our RCN and allow us to recognize RCN members each semster for their hard work and commitment.

Our Leadership Award was hand painted by a young 2nd grade student with Autism Spectrum Disorder from Wyoming, MI. Taylor loves cats and was inspired to draw one of her interpretations of a cat on her plate.

Build Your Future - Transition

Two local school districts used START's Build Your Future process to develop customized employment opportunities for four students with ASD. Clio High School and Atherton High School have each supported two students who have demonstrated success in attaining a work based experience in the community.

One Clio student has been working at Goodwill while the other student has been working at Computer Junkies in Burton. Both student are benefiting from the WIOA program and are getting paid for their work experience and will continue through August 2016. One Atherton student has been interning at Family Video while their other student is gaining employment skills alongside custodial and maintenance staff at the school.
We are looking forward to expanding BYF programs in 2016-2017 to better meet the needs of Transition aged students in Genesee County.

Special Olympics Project Unify

We are seeing great things around the county with Peer 2 Peer support programs and Special Olympics. Special Olympics Project UNIFY is a youth-centered, school-focused initiative that brings students with and without intellectual disabilities together through education, sports and youth leadership to provide them with the knowledge, attitudes and skill necessary to create and sustain communities that promote acceptance, respect and human dignity.

Special Olympics Michigan has collaborated with START and spoke to educators at the RCN Leadership day that there is a great deal of resources (MONEY!) available to new Project UNIFY schools. If you are looking for new opportunities (and money!) for your Peer support program, consider Special Olympics Project UNIFY. More information and an application for involvement can be found at

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Coming Soon! New ASD Evaluation Guidelines

Your ASD Teacher Consultants are currently in the review process with local evaluation teams to help us get feedback regarding the proposed ASD evaluation guidelines. Our goal is to make a recommendation for county-wide adoption of the new guidelines to promote high quality evaluations for Autism Spectrum Disorder and consistency in practice. Thank you to those of you who have been part of this process.

Highlights from Autism Awareness Month

Summer Camp Opportunities

P.O.W.E.R. Camp - Peer Outreach with Extraordinary Results Day Camp program with optional overnight on the last night for individuals with ASD. Partnership camp with the Autism Support & Resource Center located at YMCA Camp Copneconic in Fenton. Ages 7-18. July 18-22 or August 1-4

Camp C.A.R.E. - Children with Autism Recreation Enrichment,

Grand Blanc Parks & Recreation. Ages 6-20

June 21-23, June 28-30, July 12-14

This program includes structured activities including: crafts, art, music, games, sports and one weekly field trip. Participants will be supervised in a 1:4 ratio environment. All fees are included in the $100 cost!

Adapted Bike Camp

Ann Arbor, MI,

June 27-July 1

ForMar Nature Preserve & Arboretum hosts monthly programs for children and adults with cognitive disabilities called Nature Discovery that are held on the first Saturday of every month. They also will have a Nature Discovery Camp on July 19-21 from 9:30am-2:30pm. They ask families to register by July 13 to be sure there is availability. Cost is $10.00 per day or $25 for all three days. Families are asked to bring a sack lunch and water bottle for each day. Registration can be done over the phone at 1-800-648-PARK, ext. 6.


Thank you to all of our building coaches and RCN members! We greatly appreciate all the work you do to support students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. We will continue to work strategically to support students, staff and families. Watch for training dates in the fall and have a fantastic summer!

Please contact your ASD TC if you have any questions or need additional support:

Amy Chorley -

Angie Chinevere -

Barb Olszewski -

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