Learning and Information for Families and Educators
A comprehensive, research based resource for families and educators of individuals with disabilities.
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The workshops are presented by our experienced consultants in the fields of education, mental and behavioral health, psychology and counseling. Click here to download a brochure.
Dan is currently Vice President of Investor Relations and Corporate Affairs at WESCO International, Inc. He joined WESCO in 1999 and has had a significant role in the enhancement of the organization’s capital structure and in building a robust investor relations program. Dan holds both a BS degree and MBA in Marketing and Management from West Virginia University.
Watson welcomes Mr. Brailer to the Board and we appreciate the talents and experience he brings to help serve the mission of The Watson Institute.
Todd is a Senior Manager in Deloitte Consulting’s Strategy & Operations practice with over 12 years of experience in the management consulting industry. He also spent 3 years in commercial banking with National City Bank Corp. Todd holds an MBA and a bachelor’s degree from Duquesne University and is a Chartered Financial Analyst and member of the CFA Society of Pittsburgh. Todd is also a member of the Board’s Development Committee.
Watson welcomes Mr. Jansma to the Board and we appreciate the talents and experience he brings to help serve the mission of The Watson Institute.
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Local artist Alison Zapata spent several weeks with students at The Watson Institute Friendship Academy creating a series of murals depicting Pittsburgh scenes and icons. The results of their efforts are six murals that will adorn the hallways of the school in Pittsburgh’s Friendship neighborhood for many years to come.
Alison brainstormed ideas with groups of students responsible for each mural. As the respective themes for each mural came together, Alison guided the students through the process to turn their visions into reality. Murals depicted famous musicians, sports figures and other dignitaries from Pittsburgh, as well as Pittsburgh’s famous skyline and rivers.
“The students came together with many ideas to form one collective voice through visual art” said Alison. “The process of immersion in the arts created an atmosphere in which the students were able to transform from the individual to a team. Their voice, success, and gift of sharing will be on display for years to come. I was moved by their enthusiasm and persistence to achieve.”
Comments solicited from students who helped to create the paintings were insightful, including:
These comments demonstrate that the students learned so much more than how to create art. Teamwork and togetherness were a common theme. Many comments also referenced the enjoyment of “splatter” painting, a method where the brush does not actually touch the canvas, but the paint is thrown at the canvas from the brush with a flick of the wrist.
Ms. Zapata’s participation with this project was made possible through the Arts in Education Partnership of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency. It is funded by the citizens of Pennsylvania through the annual legislative appropriation. This residency was administered locally by Gateway to the Arts. The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts’ Arts in Education Division provided administrative and financial support.
Lauri Kragness, Education Director at Friendship Academy, facilitated the application for the Artist in Residence program. “The Watson Institute Friendship Academy is dedicated to harnessing the potential in every child and nurturing the spirit of ‘curiosity seeker’ in each of them” said Ms. Kragness. “Friendship Academy recognizes the essential role the arts play in helping all students to succeed in school, life and work. With this purpose in mind, the Friendship Academy Mural Project, in partnership with Gateway to the Arts and the PA Council of the Arts fostered creativity, self-esteem, and teamwork. Gateway to the Arts provided our students the opportunity to work with an artist who brought her love of the creative world to our school. Our students benefitted from this experience and are proud of their collaborative murals.”
Pictured is Friendship Academy 2013 graduate Mary Farmer with one of the murals she helped to create.
Congrats also to Sue who will retire this year after 41 years at Watson!
BEST staff are trained by Watson to deal with particularly challenging students. Click here for more information.
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This webinar covers the definition of Autism Spectrum Disorder, characteristics and research. Explanations of Theory of Mind and Executive Functioning and the implications for the classroom are provided. Prevention and supportive interventions are presented with strategies to de-escalate 'meltdowns'. The webinar is approximately 50 minutes and offers 1 PA Act 48 continuing education credit.
Click here to register.
The groups use cognitive-behavioral interventions, making use of participants' strengths to teach them to compensate for weaker areas. Call 412-749-2883 for more information on groups forming in the Fall.
This Fellowship at The Watson Institute prepares individuals who intend to become experts in diagnostic practices and intervention services for children and adolescents with autism. Click here for more information.
Student's in Katie Patterson's classroom at The Education Center in Sewickley created and sold custom designed Christmas cards this past season, raising $200 to purchase toys and games for children staying at homeless shelters run by the Homeless Children's Education Fund (HCEF) of Pittsburgh. They personally visited the Center's offices to deliver the proceeds. Click here for a story on the HCEF website.
McKesson employees fundraise throughout the year to buy toys for each classroom at the Education Center. Teachers submit "wish lists" and employees visit with Santa to personally deliver the gifts. The annual event is much anticipated by staff and students alike. Watson is grateful to McKesson employees for their generosity to our students.
With their arms full of Pillow Pets for younger students and gift bags for older ones, Todd Kalis, President and Randy Grossman, Treasurer of the NFL Alumni Association's Pittsburgh Chapter, visited every classroom at The Education Center in Sewickley this week, presenting each student with a gift. In addition to supporting former players and coaches, the NFL Alumni Association supports youth through NFL Alumni Charities. We are grateful to the Pittsburgh Chapter for their generosity to our students. We are also grateful to Ed Bodine and OnDemand Energy Solutions for their support of this visit and gifts to the students.
During the visit Ms. Flake read excerpts from her book and answered questions from students. She also presented autographed copies of her books to students and to Friendship Academy's Library. The event was sponsored by Duquesne University School of Education's Department of Instruction and Leadership. Click here for more information on Duquesne's website.
Click here to read the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette story.
Watson is collaborating with Irish Autism Action (IAA), the umbrella body representing parent groups, support groups and schools for children on the Autism spectrum in Ireland to support transition from institutional to personalized models of care in disability and mental health services. IAA received a grant to ease the integration of children with Autism and Asperger's Syndrom into "third level education" - Ireland's equivalent of college in the USA. Watson personnel are training the Irish delegation in our ACCLAIM program this summer. Watson also has a delegation of personnel in County Mullingar, Ireland training their personnel on our WISP summer camp program. County Mullingar is reciprocating with an American flag at their camp.
In photo (l-r): Joseph McAllister, Marilyn Hoyson, Jennifer Sheridan, Nicola Kennedy, Geraldine Graydon, Mary Downey, Ailbne Dunne and Ray White.
Through grants from PNC Bank Foundation and FISA Foundation, Watson consultants have produced a series of DVDs on various topics related to autism. Using classrooms and programs as laboratory sites to film the training sessions, the DVDs are a key component in our plans to share our expertise with organizations and individuals anywhere in the world who face the same challenges of educating increasing numbers of individuals with autism spectrum disorders. Topics include:
The DVDs are available for $21.95 each or $187 for the set, a savings of 15%.
Click here to download an order form including detailed descriptions of each title or call Shari Bruce at 412-749-2851 for more information.