Monday, June 10, 2013

Harnessing the skills of autistic students

Last year I wrote about local mom Vicki Hill and how she one one of five people from across the world to win a Marigold Ideas for Good grant of $5,000 to help fund scholarships for nonPareil, the
nonprofit institute which trains her son, Ryan Riedel, and other young adults with autism spectrum disorders to create video games and apps.

The program, founded by two dads with sons on the spectrum, Gary Moore and Dan Selec, is meeting a growing need as Kim Horner wrote for the Dallas Morning News. People on the spectrum have difficulty with the social interactions required in most school environments. But at nonPareil, everyone understands the students’ weaknesses and builds on their strengths which are considerable.
With 1 out of 50 kids today diagnosed with autism and the future of these kids uncertain, nonPareil is a remarkable story of hope. And more people are starting to notice.

The school, located on the Plano campus of Southern Methodist University, is in the news again — the Nightly News with Brian Williams to be precise. Their segment aired at 5:30 p.m. Monday.
Their goals keep growing as they hope, one day, to offer a residential campus for their students.
In the meantime, they keep on working. They have three three student-generated apps in the iTunes store, and one in the Android store, as well as many free to play maps and campaigns for popular games. You can check out their apps at their online store.

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