NEW HORIZON CENTER FOR AUTISM
Pamela and Thomas Goines, Directors of New Horizon Center for Autism
We are the proud parents of a 16 year old son with Autism. Our son like many children with Autism was developing normally until 18 months when he went silent. With much intervention therapy, prayer, and support, our son regained his language at age 5.
After gaining words the next challenge became developing a peer group with whom he could practice putting those words together to communicate a thought. The speech and social skills groups that we were able to find were scattered from one end of the city to the other. Hence, we spent most of our evenings in the car going to therapy sessions. The summer time for him was spent in isolation because we couldn't find any summer camp options designed with him in mind.
Our son, is a fully included 10th grader, swims on school and community swim teams. He is still naturally quiet but he is able to carry on a conversation with two to three exchanges. He has an affinity for animals and videotaping. He volunteers at the zoo and the community media to tap into those natural interest. Like many people with Autism he gets confused when words are used with a hidden meaning, jokes have to be explained, and he gets nervous with meeting and interacting with others. However with practice, and scripts/explanations he is able to navigate his world well.
He has two best friends who are also on the Autism Spectrum, so you can imagine their conversation topics. When they are together they thoroughly enjoy each other and seem contented. This is our goal for him and other students that come to New Horizon. We want them to have a place to come to enjoy themselves, feel accepted, and be contented without pressure to be like anyone else.
As our son has progressed we have met many families of children with Autism and discovered that they too faced these same challenge. So several families got together and decided to develop New Horizon Center for Autism.
New Horizon Center for Autism was developed to provide a seamless one-stop therapeutic center offering speech and occupational therapy, social & life skills training, tutoring, and summer camps for students ages 9-22. We also act as a referral point to other programs if the student has needs that are different from those provided at New Horizon.
As our life has changed, my husband and I transitioned from our careers in finance and restaurant ownership to educators. Today, we teach, tutor, and provide social skills training to persons with Autism Spectrum and other differences. We speak about Autism at conferences, schools, and community events.
As we transitioned to the occupation of educators, we sought to to understand and to equip ourselves to provide excellence in our instruction and programming. To do so, I gained:
Masters in Special Education in 2005
Curriculum Specialist License in 2009,
Summer Autism Institute(2007-2009)
Intensive Autism TEACCH Training Program(Univ Cinci 2008-09).
Crisis Prevention Intervention(2009, 2011)
All other staff that provides direct teaching support and instruction has a Bachelors Degree at minimum and at least 3 years of experience interacting with students on the Autism Spectrum. Thomas is pursuing a Masters in Education/History.
Even with all of the formal education, we realize that we have just began to learn the intricacies of Autism. Each day our son, our students, our colleagues, and research help to expand our knowledge of this vast area of Autism. We are definitely enjoying the journey and invite you too to enjoy the journey, no matter the challenge, choose to enjoy the journey!
Pamela & Thomas Goines
Expanding Possibilities for Students with Autism