Jason’s Connection http://www.jasonsconnection.org/

July 27, 2016  
Recently Jason’s Connection’s founder, Jason Harris, spoke with Dennis Debbaudt of Autism: Risk and Safety Management. Dennis Debbaudt was first to address the interactions between law enforcement and people with autism in his 1994 report Avoiding Unfortunate Situations. He has since authored a full length book, nearly 40 reports, book chapters and produced innovative and acclaimed training videos for law enforcement and first responders such as paramedics, fire rescue, police, and hospital staff who may respond to an autism emergency. Dennis has written for the FBI's Law Enforcement Bulletin, the International Association of Chiefs of Police and is a cited resource for the Department of Homeland Security. He has developed training and consulted to the NYPD and Chicago Police Department. Since 1995, he has presented his multi-media training at the invitation of the Illinois Attorney General, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children's Team ADAM, Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police conference, Fire Safety Educators of the Rockies Conference, Project Lifesaver International, Houston, Cincinnati, Toledo and New Hampshire training academies and in training rooms throughout North America and in Australia, New Zealand, Iceland and the United Kingdom.
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July 19, 2016  
June 21, 2016  
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Recently Jason's Connection's founder, Jason Harris, spoke with Jay O’Brien, co-founder and executive director of Exceptional Lives, an organization whose mission is to connect families of children with disabilities to information and resources they need to navigate life.

In this interview, O'Brien talks about the founding of the organization, and its mission and purpose. Exceptional Lives helps families navigate complex processes and issues, like IEPs, SSI Disability, special education, guardianship, and more.

For more information on Exceptional Lives, please visit: http://exceptionallives.org/

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June 7, 2016  
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Recently Jason’s Connection’s Content Director, Ericka McIntyre, spoke with Kilee Brookbank, student and author of a memoir with her mother, Lori Highlander, called Beautiful Scars. In 2014, Kilee was severely burned in a house explosion. The book tells the story of Kilee’s and Lori’s experiences and their family’s journey from crisis to healing.

In this inspiring interview, Kilee tells her story, and talks about the importance of family, acceptance, and the power of storytelling to help us heal.

Told together by Kilee and Lori, Beautiful Scars is a story of recovery, healing, and hope, reminding us all that we’re never powerless, never alone, and that each challenge we face helps make us the people we are meant to be. It’s what you do with each moment that defines you. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Shriners Hospitals for Children.

For more information on Kilee’s story and the book, please visit: http://kicamprojects.com/

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May 24, 2016  

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Recently our founder, Jason Harris, spoke with Kim Wagaman, co-founder of EPIC Revolution, an organization that seeks to help neurodiverse teens and young adults find friendship, support, and solidarity. The ever-evolving group is community oriented and sustained by friendships created through shared experience. Kim has specialized in coping, regulation, and social relationships with the neurodiverse community since 1995. She also teaches yoga. Epic Revolution’s unique developmental approach to therapy is youth-centered and based in trust and acceptance.

EPIC is a social club that offers a chance for neurodiverse* teens and young adults to connect with compatible peers and adult mentors in a positive and safe environment. EPIC is structured as a non-religious youth group founded on a doctrine of respect for self and for others. Their weekly evening meetups are memorable and fun and offer both physically active and quieter pursuits which foster social communication, increased self-awareness, and self-confidence. Their skilled professional adult mentors are wonderfully attuned to each club member and offer encouragement and support as well as space for personal exploration. EPIC is proud of its Leadership Team, established members who provide outreach to new, younger, and less-involved participants and plan and host games and activities.

(*Neurodiverse is defined here as including, but not limited to, persons who identify with High Functioning Autism, ADHD or other language or sensory processing differences. EPIC asserts that neurological variations are authentic forms of human diversity, self-expression and being.)

Kaary Ogard & Kim Wagaman founded EPIC in 2011 as a creative response to the need for friendship, support, and solidarity among neurodiverse teens and young adults. The ever-evolving group is community oriented and sustained by friendships created through shared experience.

Kaary is a speech pathologist specializing in autism and neurodiversity since 1998.

Kim has specialized in coping, regulation, and social relationships with the neurodiverse community since 1995. She also teaches yoga.Their unique developmental approach to therapy is youth-centered and based in trust and acceptance.

For more information on Epic Revolution, please visit: http://www.epic-revolution.com/

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May 10, 2016  
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Recently our founder, Jason Harris, spoke with Melissa Milinovich, who was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy at the age of 2. She is a career woman and a mom. She also serves on the National Board of Directors for Cure SMA, speaks at many events to advocate for the rights of people with disabilities, and is the board chairman of the Accommodations Committee for the 2017 ReelAbilities Film Festival.

In this insightful interview, Ms. Milinovich discusses how she has overcome challenges, and the importance of inclusion.

Melissa Milinovich is from Amelia, Ohio and was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy at the age of 2 (strong type I / weak type II) after several misdiagnoses; however, she has never let that stop her.  She graduated with honors from Wright State University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Business in 2000 and graduated this year from University of Phoenix with Master's of Information Systems.  From being a career woman with Hewlett Packard Enterprises as an Asset Manager in the USPS Division to a single mother of her daughter, Claudia, Melissa strives to reach the high goals she has set for herself. She never allows anyone to tell her she “can’t” do something; she figures out how to achieve it.  Despite using a wheelchair for full-time for mobility, she lives a very fulfilling life and encourages others to do the same.  In her free time, she serves on the National Board of Directors for Cure SMA, assists her daughter's school with administrative and fundraising tasks, assists her MDA office with Summer Camp, speaks at many events to advocate for the rights of people with disabilities, and is the board chairman of the Accommodations Committee for the 2017 ReelAbilities Film Festival.

For more information on SMA, please visit: http://www.curesma.org/

For more information on the ReelAbilities Film Festival, please visit: http://reelabilities.org/

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March 29, 2016  
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Recently Jason's Connection's founder, Jason Harris, talked with Alyssa Huber, a film student and documentary filmmaker who has Asperger’s Syndrome.

In this eye-opening interview, Ms. Huber talks about her experiences making films about what life is like for those on the autism spectrum.

For more information about Alyssa Huber and her films: http://alyssahuberfilms.blogspot.com/

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March 22, 2016  
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Recently our founder, Jason Harris, spoke with Candace Grafton, director of development for Portrait of a Soul, an organization whose mission is to help heal these emotional wounds of children suffering with craniofacial conditions by commissioning world-class portrait artists to create stunning works of art that reflect the great worth, beauty, and inner vision of these brave children.

In this fascinating interview, Ms. Grafton discusses the mission of this group, and what these portraits mean to their subjects.

Portrait of a Soul was founded by Cincinnati philanthropists Lee and Susan Schaefer, who modeled it after the highly praised “Face to Face Portrait Project” started in Philadelphia by Nelson Shanks, founder and artistic director of Studio Incamminati School for Contemporary and Realist Art and Linton Walker, MD, founder of the Craniofacial Program at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Both men believed in the power of art and medicine to nourish the soul and health the body.

Portrait of a Soulis teaming up with the world-class craniofacial specialists at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center to help identify children who would receive the most emotional benefit from having a commissioned portrait. Before recommending a patient, a variety of criteria including the emotional needs and physical readiness of a patient is considered. Specialists from Cincinnati Children’s also stay in contact with the children throughout their sittings to make sure it’s a comfortable, positive experience.

For more information, please visit: http://portraitofasoul.org/

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February 15, 2016  

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Recently Jason's Connection's founder, Jason Harris, spoke with Colleen Hegge, an attorney who is very active in her community. She also has myasthenia gravis, an autoimmune disease.

In this fascinating interview, Ms. Hegge talks about her work, her life, and her struggle with MG.

"MG is a challenge...I try not to let it limit my life. Just because you have a chronic illness..you can't let it stop you from living."

For more information about myasthenia gravis, please visit: http://www.myasthenia.org/

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December 22, 2015  
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Recently Ericka McIntyre, Jason’s Connection’s Content Director, talked with Lloyd Woodcock, Director of Education for the Wheelock Family Theatre, Boston's professional, Equity theatre for families and children that is affordable, accessible, educational.... and fun!

In this insightful interview, Mr. Woodcock explains theatre education, and what the Wheelock Family Theatre does to make sure live theatre remains affordable and accessible.

Wheelock Family Theatre is committed to: Quality – They work with top professional actors, directors, and designers from around New England to produce shows of the highest quality. Family – Their productions are designed to be a shared experience for intergenerational audiences—children, teens, parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles. Engagement – They enrich the theatre experience for young people by offering a free workshop or other activity before or after every performance. Inclusiveness –  They are a national leader in service to audiences who are historically under-served: people with disabilities, people of color, and low-income families. Education – They offer a wide range of theatre classes and workshops, and work extensively with schools and community organizations. Their connection to Wheelock College informs and strengthens their educational programs.

For more information, please visit: http://www.wheelockfamilytheatre.org/

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