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Magic Display and Superhero Appearance At February’s Support Meeting

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On Monday, February 16th, 2015, The Tommy Foundation hosted Dave and Angela Kot, creators of Face Value Comics and founders of Autism at Face Value, a non-profit that uses facial feature recognition to reinforce emotional expression. The organizations mission states: “We believe all children have the right to feel safe, wanted, and successful in their homes, schools, and communities. Understanding their own and others’ emotions boosts confidences needed for improved social behaviors. FVC reinforces these beliefs by telling a social story using a comic book for children.”

Dave Kot, who is on the Autism Spectrum himself, was there to perform for a magic show for our families who were in attendance at our monthly support group. The kids were in awe and many were chosen to participate as assistants in some of the magic tricks. After the show, the Zephyr, the world’s first autistic comic hero, was in attendance to pose for pictures with the kids.

Dave gave families a bit more insight into their comic books as well and had copies of both the first and second issue. In the comics, children see characters’ faces drawn on the page to learn about a universal emotion. Speech bubbles give language and vocabulary to match the expressed feelings. Captions and the story help place the emotion in context. Then, we weave an interesting science fiction story appropriate for middle-school aged children and their families. This work literally changes the FACE of Autism. We believe heroes do the right thing because of who they are, not because they have any unique powers. We believe people’s ABILITIES, not (dis)abilities, make them heroes!

To order comics direct, Email: Angie@facevalue.us or wherever comics are sold. Digital copies can be found here.

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Tommy Foundation Support in 2014

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The following organizations received TTF support for families to attend their programs this year:

Training was provided free of charge to 90 students from LINK of Elizabethtown College, a student organization that buddies college students with children on the spectrum from the community.

Training and direct support is continually provided to Students for Autism, a Franklin and Marshall College club that partners children with autism with a college buddy. This organization additionally provides childcare for our families for our support meetings and engages with the families in bowling outings as well as events of their own.

Autism mom, Greta Smith, who is also a certified Dance Therapist received a scholarship to attend The Expressive Therapies Summit in NYC in order to better provide programs for our community. The Autism Movement Therapy Program at Encore Dance Center was set up thanks to these efforts.

Two families received direct assistance to get equipment for their homes to help with wandering prevention with their children who have elopement issues.

13 families received assistance right before the Thanksgiving Holiday in the form of Pajamas and books from our partner Alyssa’s Bedtime Stories and/or food that TTF provided to them for the Holidays.

132 children enjoyed Sensitive Santa this Holiday in either Lancaster County or NYC Chapters. All of the children received presents. Lancaster Presents were provided by Toys for Tots.

Families of children and individuals with autism received numerous respite events, including bowling, monthly support meetings, special events, craft days, mom and dad day outings, Lancaster Public Library art show, and more.

Tommy Foundation Provides LINK Training at Elizabethtown College

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On Saturday, Oct. 11th, 2014 TTF President, Sugey Cruz-Everts and Director of Autism Support Services, Kimberly Shank, who is also an occupational therapist, trained 90 students at Elizabethtown College’s LINK Program. Link is a student-run club at Elizabethtown College dedicated to creating a community between college students and children with autism. Their programs include: The Explorers Club (Age 5-12): Each year Link matches college students with children in the community. Each college student spends a few hours each month with his or her buddy in or out of the child’s home. These one-on-one matches create strong bonds between the children and students. The Social Skills Group (Ages 12-18): This group plans one event per month in a group setting. Events range from movies to bowling trips and provide an opportunity for participants to get out and have a great time with their peers. Club Events: Each year Link holds club-wide events that bring all of the college students and community participants together. Events can be on-campus or off-campus. These events are a great way to build friendships and just have fun!

For more information about the programs provided by LINK please email: link@etown.edu. To request a training for your organization or club please contact contact us.