For the first time, Chapel Haven hosted an Art Day on campus, giving students and community members the chance to participate in a day of creating artwork to celebrate Autism Awareness Day (April 2) on the campus of Yale.
Their creations will be displayed in Woolsey Hall at Yale University on April 2 in celebration of Autism Awareness Day.
Art Teacher Tina Menchetti said Yale graduate student Andrew Sotiriou, who has interned with Tina’s Out to Art classes, secured grant funds to help Chapel Haven purchase art supplies. Students from Yale and staff from the Yale Center for British Art were on hand Sunday to help the students with their creations. The group created paintings, drawings, collage, and sculptures.
The New Haven Register sent photographer Melanie Stengel to photograph. Click here to view her incredible slide show:
Chapel Haven is proud to be an inaugural winner of AFAA Applauds, a national initiative recognizing innovative, high-quality support programs for adults living with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Check out our video!
The transition from high school to college is tricky for most students, and for those on the Autism Spectrum, there are added and unique challenges.
But the college environment in many ways is also ideal for those on the spectrum, because of factors like scheduling flexibility, more choices and a diverse student population that may be more accepting of quirks.
It’s all about the right supports and preparation, said Ginny Hodge, Director of Chapel Haven’s Asperger Syndrome Adult Transition (ASAT) Program. “Students on the spectrum can soar,” she said.
Hodge recently addressed parents and educators at a Chapel Haven workshop focused on how a student on the spectrum can meet with success in the college or other post-secondary education setting. The room was packed with families nervously considering the transition to college.
Hodge, a certified speech-language pathologist who also is Chapel Haven’s Vice President of Autism Spectrum Programs, explored the differences between high school and college, presented a “Big Six” checklist of skills students face in a more challenging college environment and concluded on an up note: college can be just right for many adults.
“She nailed everything,” educational consultant Daria M. Rockholz said of Hodge’s presentation. “People who read of the triumphs don’t see all the blood, sweat and tears.”
First, Explore Expectations
Hodge said the first important step is for parents to talk to the student about expectations, asking them directly, “Do you want to go to college?” and “Why do you want to go to college?”
Hodge said don’t be shocked by answers like, “That’s what I’m supposed to do,” or even “I’ve heard there are a lot of parties.”
Everyone needs to be on the same page, Hodge said. Continue reading
Rabbi Hesch Sommer of Jewish Family Service stood at the white board in Chapel Haven’s library, posing a question to students and community members: “You just got back from break. Did your Jewishness go on vacation?” For student Andy Hausler, who led a Shabbat service on a cruise, and Liora Steinschriber, who led two shabbatons or celebrations, it was an obvious, “no.”
But for a couple of others in the meeting of Chapel Haven’s Jewish Students Organization, it took a little drawing out by Sommer to realize their Jewishness didn’t go on vacation either. “I played with my dog,” David Schleifer said, after telling the Rabbi he didn’t do anything Jewish.
To which Rabbi said, “Taking care of pets is a very Jewish thing to do. It’s a mitzvah (good deed)…We learn in the Torah that God gives us the responsibility to take care and responsibility.” Eric Kay said he went to “synagogue” over vacation, then changed it to, “Let’s say we went to Temple.” He also helped his grandmother put on her seatbelt. “You didn’t let your Jewishness go on vacation,” Sommer said. “The Jewish part to us isn’t a separate part, it’s within us.”
Sommer, Director of Jewish Wellness and Healing Center at Jewish Family Service, said the student group at Chapel Haven was begun about two years ago, an extension of work JFS was already doing with the Chapel Haven community. Continue reading
Kristina, a graduate of Chapel Haven’s REACH program who is currently enrolled in the SAIL program, makes her way in the kitchen confidently, slicing, dicing, measuring, and chatting under the expert guidance of Nicole Romano, her holistic health counselor, who also teaches nutrition and cooking classes at Chapel Haven.
Together each week Kristina and Nicole prepare a week’s worth of healthy, portioned breakfasts and lunches so that Kristina has good food options at her fingertips. Kristina picks the recipes the week before from one of Romano’s cookbooks, they order the ingredients and hit the kitchen. Spending three hours cooking may seem like drudgery to some, but not this pair – they have lots of conversation and laughter in the process.
Kristina loves to recall the time they were cooking in a group and the beans of the edamame she was peeling starting flying around. And the humor isn’t lost on either one of them when the sensitive smoke alarm goes off several times during cooking even though there’s no smoke in sight. Nicole waves a dish cloth in front of the alarm, joking,”This is my exercise for the week.” Does Kristina enjoy the time? “Oh yeah,” Kristina said. Continue reading