LFCC students on the autism spectrum or with sensory processing issues now have a special place on the Middletown Campus where they can get some respite.
A sensory break room opened this past semester in Fairfax Hall. The small space is stocked with a rocking chair, bean bag chairs, weighted blankets, a stability cushion, noise-canceling headphones, a white noise machine, a cushioned mat, and numerous tactile manipulatives. The soft lighting in the room can be further dimmed.
Input for what the room needed came from Anatomy and Physiology Professor Ramon Selove, who is on the autism spectrum, and the student club he advises – the Bureau of Neuro-Diversity (BOND), which nurtures and supports students who are neuro-diverse, which can be anything from autism, to attention-deficit disorder, to obsessive-compulsive disorder, to post-traumatic stress disorder.
“Most of it was like what sort of sensory toys would we need, what sort of environment are we looking for, and how is it going to operate, is a big room better or a small room,” BOND member Daniel Rioux says.
“I think the size is good,” he adds. “Sometimes a big room can have kind of an opposite effect to providing a break. Smaller spaces help to sort of cocoon you and make you feel a little bit more grounded.”
Professor Selove says the weighted blankets and white noise machine have proven especially popular.
“For me, a weighted blanket feels really good,” he says. “I talked about it so much that my wife went out and got me one for my birthday.”
The tactile manipulatives include fidget spinners, and objects that can be squished, pulled, twisted and rubbed.
“People can use these sensory objects to kind of stim with,” Rioux says.
Stim is short for self-stimulation, according to Selove, and is something people with autism do to try to control the often-overwhelming level of sensory input they receive. The conscious part of the brain often has difficulty filtering out this input and focusing on what needs attention.
Examples of stimming include hand flapping, finger snapping, rocking and vocalizing.
“I consider it a neuro-technology, a way of controlling your own ability to focus,” Selove says.
Someone with autism might have a service dog that can be petted as a form of stimming that is more socially-acceptable, he says.
Rioux sometimes stims by leg shaking, but also carries a bracelet with beads he can move back and forth, which is less distracting to others.
“Most people exist in their body without being aware of it,” he explains. “When you’re aware of every little itch, or muscle discomfort, it can be overbearing.”
Selove, who has taught at LFCC for 28 years, passes out cards with the break room’s number and door code to students he thinks can benefit from it.
LFCC disability services coordinator Viviane Meder has shared the sensory room information with dozens of students she serves.
“The room is visited every day,” she says. “We have some students who use it every time they come to campus. I think it is a wonderful resource, and I’m so pleased that LFCC was open to the idea of making such a space available for our students.
“We are ordering additional items to make the room even more inviting and innovative – some of our students are using these items for the first time in their academic careers.”
The feedback from students has been positive, according to Meder, who adds the college is moving towards making both the testing and tutoring centers more sensory-friendly by adding tactile manipulators and stability cushions.
The MORE Program presents a video in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.
On Wednesdays, the MORE Program students work on their video and photography skills. Some students have shown natural talent in the director position, some as a manager organizing behind the scenes. There are students who love to ask interview questions and prompt thoughts, and others who love to be on camera.
This week our project was to organize and present a video on Martin Luther King, Jr. Grab a cup of tea, sit back, and enjoy this 6 minute presentation on MLK. The students organized, directed, and filmed it all!
Some famous MLK quotes the students included:
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”
The MORE Program provides afternoon care to middle school students in Warren County. We provide healthy snacks, reinforce skills required for academic success, and provide hands-on enrichment activities that teach important lessons about future employment, health, and wellness. We provide all of this at no cost to parents, thanks to state and federal grants, the Warren Coalition, and Warren County Public Schools.
Jennifer Avery, Jenspiration LLC
540-683-0790 | www.jenspirations.com
1. Behind the scenes as the MORE Program students gather to film the next portion of their MLK video.
2. Jennifer Avery, Jenspiration LLC helps students edit video footage on Movie Maker to prepare for the final product.
Skyline High School’s Environmental Science, Ecology, and Green Team is taking on another Action Project
We are learning to be compassionate, global-minded, Earth stewards in Environmental Science, Ecology, and Green Team at Skyline High School. That means, taking what we learn about in class and using it to better the world. One of our Action Projects is to help clean up our waterways… from narrow streams that flow into the Shenandoah River, to the Potomac River, to the Chesapeake Bay, and on into the Atlantic Ocean. We have been horrified to see pictures of aquatic organisms suffering and dying after consuming and becoming entangled in plastics. How sad it is to learn that soon our oceans will have more plastic particles in them than fish!
Please help us change this! We want to raise awareness in a meaningful and ethical way through a “Buy One, Give One” fundraiser. We are selling cotton, organic, fair trade, reusable grocery bags along with an autographed copy of one of Ellie Jackson’s storybooks, “Duffy’s Lucky Escape!,” “Nelson’s Dangerous Dive,” or “Marli’s Tangled Tale.” Each story is based on the true story of a sea animal who has suffered because of human waste. Our goal is to not only bring awareness through the selling of the products, but also to educate our Warren County Kindergartners (almost 400) by “giving” one bag/book combo to each of them at an educational assembly that SHS students will present. We want to educate the children about the benefits to people and the Earth of using “organic,” “fair trade,” and “reusable” products. We hope the gifts and education will help motivate them and their families to carry it forward.
“Buy One, Give One”
Pick 1 Bag & Pick 1 Book = $35.00
CLICK HERE to download and fill out the order form. Drop off or mail the form to Kara Lewallen at Skyline High School. You can also contact Kara with any questions you may have by emailing email@example.com or calling (540) 631-0366.
If you do not feel you can buy a bag and book, there are other ways to help…
- Reduce your plastic use.
- Recycle the recyclable plastics.
- Vote at the grocery store by choosing biodegradable packaging when possible.
- Educate others for the good of our Earth.
A tremendous THANK YOU to Rappahannock Electric Cooperative ($500), Walmart ($1,000), Gallant International, and Ellie Jackson for helping us make a positive difference!
With love for Earth and Organisms,
SHS Environmental Science, Ecology, & Green Team
Iwo Jima, the iconic battle and legacy
On Wednesday, January 16th at 2:15 pm, Randolph-Macon Academy hosted a free presentation entitled, “Iwo Jima, the iconic battle and legacy,” presented by Shayne Jarosz.
In addition to serving as the Director of Special Events for the Iwo Jima Association of America, Inc., Jarosz is a Marine Corps veteran and taught history for 28 years in Fairfax County. In his current position, he provides military historical tours to battlefield sites around the world, including Guadalcanal, Guam, Saipan, Tinian and Iwo Jima, Korea and Vietnam. Jarosz’s presentation on Iwo Jima took place in Melton Memorial Gymnasium on the R-MA campus.
For more information, visit the Iwo Jima Association of America’s website.
Why is my electric bill so high?
Front Royal Town Manager Joe Waltz spoke today (January 17th) with Mike McCool, Publisher of the Royal Examiner about the very question.
The Department of Energy Services provides electrical services for almost 8,000 customers in the Town of Front Royal and Warren County. The Town has been providing this service for over 123 years while providing the best reliable service in the Shenandoah Valley.
The Town of Front Royal is one of sixteen municipal electric systems in Virginia and is one of over 2,000 municipal-owned systems in the United States. The Energy Resource Department is a self supported enterprise fund, with their total costs for operation derived through the electric rate structure.
The Town is also actively participating in both Federal and State legislation to maintain the safest, most reliable and economical cost available for our customers to keep rates low. They are active members in the following organizations:
Municipal Electric Power Association of Virginia (MEPAV). http://www.mepav.org/
American Municipal Power – Ohio (AMP-Ohio). http://www.amppartners.org/home
American Public Power Association (APPA). https://www.publicpower.org/
International Municipal Signal Association (IMSA). https://www.imsasafety.org/
The operation of an electrical system is a twenty-four hour, 365 day a year job. The Town of Front Royal Electric Department strives to keep your lights on and your power outages to a minimum. Even during the worst conditions be assured that your friends and neighbors at the Energy Services Department will be working hard to restore your power.
Their mission is to provide the best quality power and customer service while keeping the price low and service interruptions to a minimum. If you have suggestions or questions, please do not hesitate to contact them.
Front Royal, VA 22630
7 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Citizens speak out about high electric bills
On January 14, 2019, Front Royal Town Council held a public hearing to amend Front Royal Municipal Town Code Chapter 70 pertaining to Electricity to bring it up-to-date and consistent with other areas of the Town Code, as presented. Several citizen spoke to the the Council about their utility bills and why their electric bills are so high.
Pedestrian struck near Rural King in Front Royal
FRONT ROYAL – A pedestrian was struck by a pickup truck Tuesday afternoon in front of Rural King Front Royal Police say.
According to a press release from the office of Chief Kahle Magalis, a call came in around 3 p.m. regarding a pedestrian struck in front of the retail store, located at 465 South Street in the Royal Plaza Shopping Center.
Responding officers found the pedestrian, Jeffrey Richardson, 40, of Reliance, lying in the parking lot. The release states that “it was determined that Richardson was struck by a 2011 Ford F-150 operated by Thomas Clark, 83, of Front Royal.”
Clark stated to officers that his foot had slipped off the brake while going over a speed bump and his foot made contact with the accelerator, which caused him to accidentally strike Richardson.
Richardson was transported to Warren Memorial Hospital and then transferred to Winchester Medical Centers Trauma Unit for observation.
No charges have been placed against the driver at this time.