logoTinyContact: Danielle Lamson
Communications Manager
610 Campus Drive
Abingdon, VA 24210

February 13, 2012

ABINGDON, VA (February 13, 2012) — According to data from the Virginia Department of Education, approximately one out of every 150 eight-year-olds enrolled in Virginia public schools in 2007 had been classified with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and received special education services for those disorders.  According to Rebecca Holmes, Director of Outpatient Services for Highlands Community Services, agency wide autism-related admissions increased 106% from 2009 to 2010 and continue to rise.

It is with this prevalence in mind that Highlands Community Services announces its 2nd Annual World of Autism Conference scheduled for April 26, 2012.  Registration is currently open at www.hcsevents.com. Specific topics for educators, clinicians, and families are the foundation of the conference.  The full lifespan is addressed with breakout sessions applicable to four separate age ranges.  The conference also includes keynote speaker David Hamrick who has been featured on Good Morning America and in Glamour magazine.  Mr. Hamrick has high-functioning autism, is a meteorologist, and frequently speaks around the country on issues regarding autism and adult relationships.

Highlands Community Services has worked to set the standard for the development of services specific to those on the autism spectrum.  Sensory issues, communication deficits, language acquisition, social development, and parent education are all elements of services that are available at HCS.

Through play therapy and play therapy group services, children who are diagnosed on the autism spectrum, are provided an opportunity to interact and “play” (the “work” of children) with peers in an environment where they learn to set and respect personal boundaries, engage in play with others, and manage their own emotional, social, physical, and sensory needs.  These cutting-edge services are not duplicated anywhere else in our region and have proven to make a significant impact in the lives of the recipients and families.  Parent education and support services are also provided for those dealing with new diagnoses, as well as through collaboration with the Southwest Virginia Autism Action Group, a partnership service with Commonwealth Autism Association.

Registration for the April 26, 2012 World of Autism Conference is available at www.hcsevents.com.

If you or someone you know could benefit from autism services, contact HCS today at 276.525.1550.

Highlands Community Services is a multi-faceted, community focused agency providing Mental Health, Substance Use, and Intellectual Disability services to the residents of Bristol and Washington County, VA.  To learn more log onto www.highlandscsb.org.


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