Humboldt County teachers receive tools to improve autism education

Mary Bullwinkel

Beacon Correspondent

This week more than a dozen educators, including several from the Eel River Valley, received technology contributions to assist in their classroom education of children with Autism.

Families Advocating Autism Now (FAAN) handed out new iPads, iTunes gift cards for the purchase of new applications for iPads, and monetary contributions to the educators at a ceremony on Monday at Humboldt Land Title in Eureka.

The following educators

received teaching assistance from the local nonprofit group: Barbara Kemp (Redway and Hydesville Schools), Jennifer Cooper (Scotia School), Jenna McFarland (Ambrosini School PAL class in Fortuna), Danielle Hinrichs (Lafayette Elementary School), Holly Matthews (McKinleyville Middle School), Cary Knudson (South Bay Elementary School), Vickie Storrar (Pine Hill Elementary), Santa Birnbaum (Pine Hill and South Bay Elementary Schools), Mary Meyer (Alice Birney Elementary), Becky Gibson (Arcata Elementary School), Jennifer Huffstetler (Washington Elementary School), Lisa Miller (Dows Prairie Elementary), Anita Reynolds (Jacoby Creek Elementary School), and JoAnn Mulderig (Cutten Ridgewood School).

Established by seven Humboldt County mothers of children with Autism in 2009, FAAN provides financial support and materials to the public education system, substitute teachers, and continuing education for both special and regular educators.

"FAAN is dedicated to improving the lives of children with Autism in Humboldt County and facilitating and promoting efforts that will enhance their learning experience and educational opportunities," said Board President Fatima Naylor.

"By raising the level of awareness and advocacy in our community, we can help people accept all children with this life-changing diagnosis," Naylor added.

Humboldt County educators needing assistance in the classroom are encouraged to fill out a grant application, available through the non-profit group's website

photo caption:

Photo by Mary Bullwinkel/Beacon

Back row, left to right: Families Advocating Autism Now treasurer Kristin Biernacki; Mary Meyers, speech pathologist at Alice Birney School; Vicki Storrar, special day teacher at Pine Hill Elementary; Santa Birnbaum, speech pathologist at Pine Hill and South Bay Elementary and FAAN board member Christina Cervantes. Middle row, left to right: FAAN board member Emily Lewis; FAAN Secretary Jessica Felse; Jennifer Cooper, resource teacher at Scotia Elementary; Jennifer Huffstetler, special day teacher at Washington Elementary; Anita Reynolds, speech pathologist at Jacoby Creek School; an unidentified guest; Becky Gibson, special day teacher at Arcata Elementary School and Barbara Kemp, speech pathologist at Redway and Hydesville Schools. Seated left to right: JoAnn Mulderig, speech pathologist Cutten Ridgewood School; Holly Matthews, resource teacher at McKinleyville Elementary School; Danielle Hinrichs, intensive intervention teacher at Lafayette Elementary and FAAN President Fatima Naylor. Not pictured: Jenna McFarland, PAL teacher (Partners in Autism & Learning) at Ambrosini School; Lisa Miller, special education coordinator at Dows Prairie School and Cary Knudson, special day resource teacher at South Bay Elementary.