Ho­gans open new McAr­dle Cen­ter for Early Autism In­ter­ven­tion

Record Observer - - Community - By DOUG BISHOP dbishop@kibay­times.com

STEVENSVILLE — On Sun­day af­ter­noon, April 24, Gov. Larry Ho­gan and his wife, Yumi, cut the rib­bon to open to the new McAr­dle Cen­ter for Early Autism In­ter­ven­tion, lat 210 Pier One Road, Stevensville. The cen­ter is the first of its kind in the Mid-Shore area, pro­vid­ing ser­vices for chil­dren ages of 2 through 8 di­ag­nosed with autism spec­trum dis­or­der, which in­cludes a wide range of symp­toms, skills and lev­els of dis­abil­ity. Symp­toms may in­clude dif­fi­culty com­mu­ni­cat­ing and in­ter­act­ing with oth­ers, repet­i­tive be­hav­iors and trou­ble func­tion­ing so­cially. Chil­dren are eval­u­ated as mild, mod­er­ate, or se­vere. The rat­ing pro­vides a guide for how much as­sis­tance each child needs to be func­tional.

There is no cure for autism, and no one know what causes it. How­ever, it has been found that early in­ter­ven­tion with in­tense weekly ther­apy ses­sions can re­duce the af­fects of autism tremen­dously, cen­ter founders said.

Autism is di­ag­nosed in one out of ev­ery 68 a chil­dren in the U.S., which Ho­gan de­scribed as an “in­cred­i­bly dis­turb­ing statis­tic” as he spoke briefly at the rib­bon cut­ting, which was at­tended by nearly 100 peo­ple.

Ho­gan added, “Autism doesn’t dis­crim­i­nate. All the re­sources are here at the McAr­dle Cen­ter to help autisitc chil­dren at the most early ages.”

The cen­ter was founded com­pletely with pri­vate funds.

Be­fore Ho­gan spoke, Sa­jid Tarar, CEO of the Cen­ter for So­cial Change, ad­dressed the gath­er­ing. He praised the work Ho­gan has done for the state, say­ing, “He (Ho­gan) has lib­er­ated the state of Mary­land, and we’re all in good hands.” The com­pli­ment brought a rous­ing cheer and thun­der­ous ap­plause from the crowd.

“This cen­ter is God’s work (at the McAr­dle Cen­ter). These are God’s peo­ple be­ing worked with here,” Tarar said.

Gary Mangum of Stevensville fol­lowed Tarar, speak­ing be­fore in­tro­duc­ing Ho­gan. He praised the cre­ation of the cen­ter, and then added praise for Queen Anne’s County Pub­lic Schools for their work with chil­dren with spe­cial needs.

Mangum has a 20-year-old son who grad­u­ated from Kent Is­land High School who was eval­u­ated as hav­ing very low IQ at an early age. In a pri­vate con­ver­sa­tion af­ter the cer­e­mony, Mangum said, “The teach­ers and guid­ance coun­selors, par­tic­u­larly at the high school, worked with my son, help­ing him tremen­dously while he was there. In gen­eral, I think teach­ers are gen­er­ally un­der­val­ued for the work they do for our chil­dren. Most teach­ers go way be­yond the call of duty to serve our chil­dren. I don’t think they get enough credit.”

Mangum also praised Ho­gan, say­ing, I’ve learned that he (Ho­gan) is a very good lis­tener, and uses that skill to help him make in­formed de­ci­sions in best gov­ern­ing the state. He genuially cares about peo­ple.”

The McAr­dle Cen­ter was orig­i­nally cre­ated for the McAr­dle fam­ily’s iden­ti­cal twin daugh­ters, Cait­lyn and Ri­ley, now 5 years old. Both are autis­tic, one more se­vere than the other. Their par­ents, Terry and Emily McAr­dle, moved to Kent Is­land from An­napo­lis four years ago, be­fore the girls were di­ag­noised with autism.

“They moved here be­cause of the pos­i­tive rep­u­ta­tion of the pub­lic schools in Queen Anne’s County,” said Amelia Foxwell, a vol­un­teer at the McAr­dle Cen­ter, who has more than a decade of train­ing work­ing with autis­tic chil­dren. She works with the McAr­dle girls.

Foxwell added, “This area des­per­ately needs the ser­vices of this cen­ter. The ser­vices needed are not pro­vided at any pub­lic schools. Chil­dren are born with a pre-dis­pos­tion for sutism and may never show it.”

Costs for at­tend­ing the cen­ter is $20,000 a year, far more af­ford­able than places on the western shore.

Emily McAr­dle said, “We looked at many schools in the area. The costs for autism ser­vices range from the least ex­pen­sive at $35,000 a year up to over $60,000. One thing we’ve learned is autis­tic chil­dren need con­sis­tent and con­stant ser­vices, year-round. If they have a two-week va­ca­tion, their skills regress. They need con­sis­tency.” April was Autism Aware­ness Month. McAr­dle can be reached at 410-5886583. The web­site for the cen­ter is: www.mcardleschool.com.


From left, McAr­dle Cen­ter Di­rec­tor Amelia Foxwell, founders Terry and Emily McAr­dle and Mary­land Gov. Larry Ho­gan hold­ing a procla­ma­tion and a ci­ta­tion Ho­gan at the open­ing cer­e­mony of cen­ter Sun­day af­ter­noon, April 24. Foxwell worked with the McAr­dle’s to open the school in Stevensville with pri­vate funds.

Sa­jid Tarar, CEO of the Cen­ter for So­cial Change, speaks at the open­ing cer­e­mony for The McAr­dle Cen­ter for Early Autism In­ter­ven­tion, Sun­day af­ter­noon, April 24, in Stevensville.

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