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Mary Bullwinkel

Beacon Correspondent

Nine Humboldt County teachers have received iPads to assist with the education of students with autism. The Jan. 14 donations were made by the local non-profit group Families Advocating Autism Now.

”FAAN is dedicated to improving the lives of children with autism in our county, said Fatima Naylor, the group's president. The group provided iPads to Patty Houx, speech/language pathologist with Ferndale Elementary School, Bonnie Hilton, speech pathologist, Stanwood A. Murphy Elementary School in Scotia; Carrie Carlson, resource specialist teacher, Ridgewood School in Eureka; Jill Mohorovich, education specialist, Alice Birney School; Jill Duncan, special day teacher, Sunny Brae Middle School; Inga Townsend, resource specialist teacher, Sunny Brae Middle School; Carolyn Benson, resource specialist teacher, Arcata Elementary School; Sharon Pick, resource specialist teacher, Arcata Elementary School; and Gwen Roscoe, occupational therapist, Arcata School District.

This latest donation comes just two months after the group donated new iPads, iTunes gift cards and/or monetary contributions to purchase new applications for the iPads to 10 Humboldt County educators to assist with classroom education.

FAAN provides financial support to the public school education system, with materials, substitute teachers, and continuing education for both the special education, and regular-education teachers, Naylor said. “We are passionate about raising the level of awareness and advocacy in our community about autism,” she said.

The group is now also offering a swimming scholarship for children with autism in Humboldt County. “The Hannah Ross Scholarship is available to any child on the autism spectrum, who lives in Humboldt County,” Naylor said, “and can be used for swimming lessons.” Applications may be filled out online at the group's website (www.faanclub.org) and will be reviewed within 45 days after being submitted. All payments will be made directly to the swimming instructor/school.

FAAN was established in 2009 by eight mothers of children with autism. Several members have been speaking to large groups throughout northern California. Naylor said, “Our belief is that if FAAN can reach enough people within our community, we can help people accept all children with this life-changing diagnosis.”

photo caption:

Photo by Heather Nyberg-Schlotzhauer/Beacon

Pictured are the nine educators who received iPad donations from Families Advocating Autism Now. Top row (l-r): Gwen Roscoe, occupational therapist with Arcata School District; Carrie Carlson, resource specialist teacher with Ridgewood School, and Patty Houx, speech/language pathologist with Ferndale Elementary School. Bottom row (l- r): Jill Mohorovich, education specialist, Alice Birney Elementary School; Jill Duncan, special day teacher, Sunny Brae Middle School; Inga Townsend, resource specialist teacher, Sunny Brae Middle School; Carolyn Benson, resource teacher, Arcata Elementary School; Sharon Pick, resource specialist teacher with Arcata Elementary School; Bonnie Hilton, speech pathologist with Stanwood A. Murphy Elementary School.