By Nicholas Hill
CCC Journalism Program
BLACKWOOD – On Monday, Nov. 19, Camden County College presented an Autism Resource Fair in Media and Print in Civic Hall and the Atrium.
At the beginning of the fair, which started at 6:30 p.m., approximately 38 people were greeted by Mark Mautone, the president of the Integrated Technology for Person with Autism and Developmental Disabilities. Of the approximately 38 attendees, most were teachers, there to listen and learn from Mautone to use the iPad, as well as its applications, to help with autistic children. Mautone used a Power Point, titled “iPad Integration for Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder,” to convey his message to the listeners.Mautone went over many things that apply to the iPad, the applications and the effects they have on the autistic child. The development of the iPad has allowed for the expansion of the scope of employment opportunities, as well as active participation at home, class and/or community with the autistic child, as explained in one of the slides. The new technology has allowed teachers to teach schedule-following, communication, self-care, academics and fine motor skills to the children. However, “it is important to evaluate the child,” Mautone said, before downloading an application for a child to play with, as each autistic child is different.
After the slideshow presentation, around 7:30 p.m., the attendees were directed to the book fair, presented by Jessica Kingsley Publishers, as well as a book sale by author Victoria Lees. Both events had started at the same time as the slideshow, 6:30 p.m. This gave a chance for those at the event to read and/or buy methods of how to deal with an autistic child, as well as children with Asperger’s syndrome. Also, attendees were told they could participate in a roundtable, which was a sharing of iPad applications that have been useful in their homes and classrooms to help their autistic children. It, too, started at 7:30 p.m. and lasted until 8 p.m. Finally, a second presentation of “iPad Integration for Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder” by Mautone was available at 7:45 p.m. for those who missed the first presentation.
For those who attended the event, it was a valuable learning experience. Kirsten Connor, a student who aspires to be a teacher, said, “It is important, as a teacher, to learn about these advances in technology to help the students. Although I might not be teaching children who are autistic, it is good to know about different aspects in the teaching world, especially those with special needs.”