2022 Milestones National Autism Conference
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Warrensville Heights, OH 44128

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A Local Helping Hand for Those Dealing with Autism

Posted June 05, 2015 in Articles

Ilana Hoffer Skoff, left, and Mia Buchwald Gelles founded Milestones Autism Resources, 23880 Commerce Park. Those dealing with autism can attend, on June 18-19, Milestone's 13th Annual Autism Conference to discuss lifelong strategies for success.

(Jeff Piorkowski, special to Sun News)

BEACHWOOD, Ohio -- The city has a lot of businesses and organizations within its boundaries of which many residents are unfamiliar. Or, some may be familiar with the names, but don't know they are located in Beachwood.

One such valuable organization that is in its 13th year of existence (and sixth in the city) is Milestones Autism Resources, 23380 Commerce Park. Since its inception, the organization, formed by Ilana Hoffer Skoff, of Beachwood, and Cleveland Heights' Mia Buchwald Gelles, has been doing the good work of aiding those with autism and their families.

Both of the founders are parents of children with autism, so they came at their mission with first-hand knowledge of the subject. Begun in a home setting, Milestones has grown to the point where its annual conference, this year to be held June 18-19 at the Cleveland I-X Center, attracts some heavy hitters.

Speaking will be Ohio Governor and possible presidential hopeful John Kasich, Cuyahoga County Commissioner Armond Budish, and special guest Maria Town, disability liaison for the White House Office of Public Engagement.

The conference, to be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, will feature more than 80 workshops. It is ideal for parents, educators, therapists, medical professionals, and self-advocates (meaning people with autism).

Working with community partners, the conference will include three tailored tracks upon which attendees can learn plenty: An adult services track, sponsored by the Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities; a medical track, sponsored by Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital and University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital; and a visual supports and technology track, sponsored by Monarch Center for Autism.

One in 68 children are diagnosed with autism, a developmental disorder that causes problems in forming relationships and communicating with others.

"Our core programs are our annual conference; coaching and consulting, which is personalized; teen and adult services; and the online resources we offer," Skoff said. "We guide people and help them through the challenges at each (life) transition."

Those transitions, Skoff said, range from the diagnoses of autism, to starting school, to living an adult life, and other steps in between.

"We're her to link people to resources, and to educate people about the possibilities and services available to them. Our focus is on helping people reach their full potential. We do that through evidence-based, practical strategies."

If you, a family member or friend is dealing with autism, it's good to know that help isn't far away.

Those who'd like to attend the conference, which attracted more than 1,000 people last year, can do so by registering through June 12. Just visit http://milestones.org/.

Conference walk-ins are welcome at an additional fee. Scholarships for those wishing to attend the conference are also available through June 12. Again, visit the above listed web site.

All things Indian: Every other year the Beachwood Arts Council celebrates diversity through its DiversityFEST. Two years ago, it was the local Hungarian community that was celebrated.

This year, from 2-5 p.m. June 14 at the Beachwood Community Center, 25225 Fairmount Blvd., the BAC is holding Indian DiversityFEST. Featured will be Indian musicians, dancers and food.

In addition, from June 7 to July 8, the community center will host the Indian DiversityFEST art exhibit. The festival and art exhibit are both free. To learn more, visit http://www.beachwoodarts.org/.

Standing water: Do you consider yourself a victim of a soggy yard? I'll have to feel around my lawn to see if I am, but I guess if I were, I'd know it.

If you have had, or have, standing water for lengthy periods of time in your yard, the Home Repair Resource Center, 2520 Noble Road in Cleveland Heights, can help.

Homeowners can learn about "Yard Drainage Options" from J. Meiring Borcherds, watershed coordinator for the Sustainable Environments Program of the Cuyahoga County Board of Health, at 7 p.m. June 30 at the HRRC.

Attendees will learn of the common causes (other than rain, of course) of soggy

yards, the pros and cons of possible remedies, and which projects are easy for homeowners to do -- and which are better left to a professional.

The presentation is free, but a reservation is necessary. To reserve a spot, call 216-381-6100, ext. 16, or email to pwetherill@hrcc-ch.org.

Get those entries in: July 1 is the deadline for the Artists Archives of the Western Reserve's "Photo Now" photography competition.

The AAWR invites photographers to submit images using any photographic technique for the contest, which was formerly known as Western Reserve Open Photography Competition.

All entries must be professionally framed and wired for hanging, and must be submitted online via Smarter Entry at client.smarterentry.com/aawr.

The competition's photos will be exhibited from Sept. 8 to Oct. 13 in Gallery East of the eastern campus of Cuyahoga Community College, 4250 Richmond Road in Highland Hills. Entry fee is $30 for the first three images, while additional images can be submitted for $10 apiece.

A $400 prize will be awarded for Best in Show, while $200 prizes will be given for Best Black & White photo, Best Color, and People's Choice.

Volunteer of the year: Congratulations to Audrey Kursman, 89, who was selected the Medical Mutual 2015 Outstanding Statewide Senior Volunteer for her work at Menorah Park Center for Senior Living, 27100 Cedar Road.

Audrey Kursman. Photo courtesy of Menorah Park.

Kursman has volunteered more than 10,000 hours of her time and effort at Menorah Park, helping seniors eat their breakfasts and serving in the facility's snack shop, among other things. As we understand, those other things include spreading good cheer and humanity to some folks in real need of those commodities.

A Menorah Park release states that, "Audrey exemplifies a commitment to service and social responsibility. She is the epitome of a model board member, volunteer and community ambassador. Her goal in life is to help others and she does it exquisitely."

Original Article: https://www.cleveland.com/beachwood/2015/06/all_around_beachwood_29.html

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