, Corbin, KY

Local News

July 22, 2013

First-ever SEKY autism conference held in Corbin


By Jeff Noble / Staff Writer

What options do families and caregivers of persons afflicted with autism have? Where can they get help, answers and solutions? And what can they do to pass that information on to others?

Those were some of the topics discussed during an autism conference and workshop, held Friday at the Corbin Center. Sponsored by the Corbin-based non-profit organization Autism Spectrum Solutions of Kentucky, the three-hour session featured three speakers who brought their knowledge and expertise on autism-related issues to the table.

Some 35-40 persons were on hand at the session. Whitney Durham, the organization’s President and CEO, said the autism conference and related workshop was the first to ever be held in southeastern Kentucky.

Durham also told the audience she understands first-hand the issues facing many of them.

“My son is six and has autism. He was diagnosed when he was two years old. You start researching and find ways to help your child. It seems like it’s an uphill battle if you’re a parent of an autistic child. Maybe I’m chosen to do this, but I want to help others,” she said at the start of the workshop.

Larry Taylor, the Executive Director of the Kentucky Autism Training Center (KATC) spoke first. Speaking about behavior and communication with autistic children, he told those attending how they can understand to contribute constructively to their student’s individual education program, how to recognize that knowledge and preparation can minimize conflicts, and learn how important communication skills for people with autism can be.

“Here’s what we know. Early intervention is the key to learning for an autistic child. Communication is vital to improving the quality of life for individuals with autism. When child-specific supports are in place, individuals achieve. All the programs need to be very specific, and individualized. And, collaborative relationships enhance services,” he stated.

Taylor, who has over 23 years of experience in education and holds two degrees from Cumberland College (now the University of the Cumberlands) in Williamsburg, noted that autism is a spectrum disorder, referring to the wide range of symptoms, skills and levels of disability or impairment that persons with autism can have.

“When you’re talking about your own child, it’s hard to be objective. … We’ve learned a whole lot how to address challenging behavior, and how adults need to learn about it too. …We know more about how to educate individuals with autism than any other time in history. We have a moral obligation,” he said.

Taylor added that Cumberland River Comprehensive Care will sponsor a forum in Corbin on September 6 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on information and communication for parents and caregivers of an autistic child. He encouraged those attending at the conference to attend next month’s forum.

Before ending his presentation, he asked the audience to check the KATC website at, other related websites, and information provided at the conference for more ways to stay connected.

KATC is the state’s leading resource on Autism Spectrum Disorders, and is located on the University of Louisville campus.

After a brief break for a light snack and refreshments, the audience heard from Whitley County Judge-Executive Pat White, Jr., who told them, “I think we’re here because we love our kids. I really appreciate that people are here on a Friday night to advocate for change.”

He was followed by Sarah Johnson, an Advocate with the independent state agency Protection and Advocacy in Frankfort. Telling the audience, “We advocate for the rights of all persons with disabilities,” Johnson discussed legal rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act.

The act is known as IDEA 04, which is a reauthorization of the original IDEA act, and guarantees all students between 3-21 years of age the right to a free, appropriate public education designed to meet each student’s individual needs.

She brought up the six principals of IDEA that guarantee the rights of children with disabilities and their families. “One is free appropriate public education, the second is an appropriate evaluation, and number three is an individualized education program. The fourth is least restrictive environment, the fifth parent and student participation in decision making, and the sixth one are procedural safeguards.”

In addition, Johnson discussed in more detail the Individualized Education Program, or IEP, a written document that specifically tells what special education services will be provided, and how they’ll be provided. Also brought up was the Independent Educational Evaluation, or IEE — defined by the website as “an evaluation of a child for the purposes of determining a special education program that is performed by personnel outside the school system.”

“Both parents and schools have a role,” she reminded those at the workshop.

Lexington attorney Robert McClelland later spoke to the group about estate trust planning, guardianship planning and special needs trusts. He explained that for parents of autistic children, estate planning matters are extremely complicated. To simplify the problem, third party trusts can be created, and need to be done before the parent or parents die.

McClelland — recognized in Kentucky for his expertise in elder law, which includes legal issues and topics facing older adults and their families — also discussed the benefits from Social Security Disability Income (SSDI), Medicaid, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

At the conference and workshop, Durham noted once her organization is prepared to financially help families and individuals affected by autism, they would post on their website that family grant applications would be accepted. She added who gets the applications would be determined by votes from the organization’s board of directors. If the family becomes eligible, they could receive treatments for AIT (Auditory Integration Training), hyperbaric oxygen, biomedicine, lab testing, equine therapy, chiropractic care, and from a doctor specializing in autism.

“Our goal is to help with treatments, information, hope and encouragement. I hope people leave here not feeling alone, but inspired and enriched,” she said.

Text Only
Local News
  • 18 arrested in drug roundup

    An 11-month long investigation into illegal drug activity resulted in 18 arrests Tuesday, according to Kentucky State Police Trooper Lloyd Cochran.

    July 30, 2014

  • Suspect wanted for assault

    Whitley County Sheriff’s deputies continue their search for a suspect wanted for first-degree assault after he allegedly intentionally struck a woman with his vehicle while she was walking Tuesday — and then simply drove away.

    July 30, 2014

  • Laurel service station robbed

    A Laurel County service station was robbed Tuesday and a station employee is the suspected robber, according to Laurel County Sheriff John Root.

    July 30, 2014

  • Arrest warrant issued for 1 of 2 charged in I-75 multi-vehicle crashes

    An arrest warrant has been issued for one of two defendants charged in several 2012 multi-vehicle crashes on I-75, which caused multiple injuries.

    July 30, 2014

  • Corbin Board of Education approves improvement plan for St. Camillus site

    A big step was taken Tuesday by the Corbin Board of Education, in purchasing property and making improvements to the former Saint Camillus Academy site.

    July 30, 2014

  • TODAY'S HEADLINES — July 30, 2014

    18 arrested in drug roundup

    Suspect wanted for assault

    Laurel service station robbed

    Arrest warrant issued for 1 of 2 charged in I-75 multi-vehicle crashes

    Corbin Board of Education approves improvement plan for St. Camillus site

    July 30, 2014

  • I-75 lane closures Wednesday

    A reminder if you’ll be traveling on I-75 in Laurel County Wednesday — the state Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) plans to restrict northbound and southbound traffic to one lane just north of exit 29.

    July 30, 2014

  • 0729 John Waite for web.jpg John Waite to perform at NIBROC

    Grammy nominated singer John Waite has joined the 2014 NIBROC musical lineup.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0729 gray crash for web.jpg U.S. 25E intersection site of Monday crash

    A woman was transported to Baptist Health Corbin Monday following a crash at the U.S. 25E and KY-233 intersection, according to Kentucky State Police Post 10 Public Information Officer Shane Jacobs.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Laurel School nurses to stay

    The Laurel County School System will keep its school nurses for the 2014-2015 school year.

    July 29, 2014

Front page
Featured Ads
AP Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter