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John Paul II’s Annual Legacy Gala – A Huge Success

The 8th annual John Paul II Center for Special Learning’s Legacy Gala was held Saturday night in Reading.

650 people attended this year’s Gala, which took place at the DoubleTree by Hilton in downtown Reading. Last year’s Gala raised over $350,000 for the John Paul II Center. The final total for Saturday night has not been released, but the Center is hopeful they have topped last year’s total.

The Ehst family was honored at the Gala with the Center’s Halo Award. This award recognized the Ehst’s family’s $400,000 contribution to the John Paul II Center over the years.

On Saturday night, the John Paul II Center administration and students specifically requested help to obtain kitchen equipment, plates and utensils, and funding to expand the Center’s cafeteria. Attendees of the Gala did not hesitate to make donations to the amazing cause.

The John Paul II Center offers programs for school age children and adults. The school age program focuses on academics as well as life and social skills. The adult program offers support focusing on independence and life skills. Many students of the Center were present at the Gala. They helped to greet attendees, performed during dinner, produced a video to encourage donations, and created artwork that was auctioned off during the program. One student charmed guests by playing the piano during cocktail hour and the silent auction. Overall, the Gala was an absolute success, raising money for an amazing cause.

To learn more about the John Paul II Center for Special Learning, or to donate to the school, please click here.

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“The Silent Child” wins at the 2018 Oscars

“Deafness is a silent disability.”

Rachel Shenton used American Sign Language to give her acceptance speech at the 90th Annual Academy Awards on Sunday night. “The Silent Child,” a short film about a deaf 4-year-old, took home the Academy Award for Best Short Film (Live Action).

Shenton shared her excitement about the movie receiving such praise, and she thanked the Academy for bringing the film to the mainstream’s attention. Shenton described the movie as something that is happening all over the world, and she shed some light on the barriers that deaf children face in an educational and public setting. The movie is now gaining national attention, and awareness about “silent” disabilities is spreading to a larger audience. We hope that more movies like this one continue to make their way into the public eye!

The official trailer for “The Silent Child” can be seen here.

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Minneapolis is Breaking Ground on Police Interactions with the Special Needs Community

A new phone app has been launched, which is notifying police if they are pursuing someone with special needs.

When officers approach someone wearing a special beacon, they will be notified of the person’s name, disabilities, and best method to approach the special needs individual. The app can even provide the officer with de-escalation techniques, if needed. The app has been designed to make encounters between law enforcement and the special needs community safer and more comfortable for all of the parties involved.

We hope more counties get on board with using this ground breaking technology.

Read the full article here:

New App Helps Interactions Between Police and Those With Special Needs

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Social Skills and Autism

This month, Autism Speaks featured how to help children with Autism develop social skills in their monthly newsletter.

Visit the Autism Speaks website in order to sign up to receive the monthly newsletter.

The article gives some tips on helping to develop your child’s social skills, one of which is participating in Social Skills Groups. Our office offers various opportunities for your child to socialize with others. We host game nights, dance classes, hockey and baseball games, and basketball each month! These events can provide your child with an opportunity to meet other children that are the same age and to interact with others from the community.

Feel free to call our office, or visit our events page, to find out more about these Social Skills Group events.

The full article and tips can be found at:

Autism Speaks – Social Skills and Autism