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July/August 2008 Volume 2, Number 4


Photo by Jim Tracy

Galen 2008 graduates, from left, Tim Spring, Josh Markovich, Troy Miller and William Plumber prepare to receive their high school diplomas.

‘This is where you want to be’ Galen graduates receive diplomas, applause, cheers, hugs By Tim Pray “Farewell the neighing steed, the shrill trump, The spirit-stirring drum, the ear piercing fife, The royal banner and all quality, Pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war!” — William Shakespeare, Othello, Act III

Written in 1901 for the coronation of England’s Kind Edward VII by Sir Edward Elgar, “Pomp and Circumstance” has – even in the foundation of its title – been rooted in the concept of transition. “Today, you four make your transition into adulthood,” said Mike “Hogie” Hogart, who presented the


Note to staff and friends — Page 2

CFO honored for leadership — Page 3

commencement address to a standing room only crowd June 4 at the Galen gymnasium for the graduation of the Galen School Class of 2008 – Timothy Beird Spring, Troy Anthony Miller, Joshua Charles Markovich, and William Wade Plumber, all 18 – who sat in the front row amongst their fellow classmates, family, friends, faculty, and wellwishers to receive their diplomas. “By definition, a community is made up of a group of people working towards a common goal,” said Hogart in his address. With some of the graduates having studied at the Galen See Graduates on Page 16 Early Head Start reaps book bounty — Page 4

Dr. Ira Lourie’s Shrink wRap — Page 8

AWARE athletes bring home medals — Pages 10 & 11

AWARE is growing, changing, celebrating Dear Staff and Friends, This summer, Anaconda will hold its 125th anniversary celebration. As you may know, Anaconda was the center of the copper smelting world for almost 100 years, and until 1980, the 500foot smokestack on the edge of town belched smoke 24 hours a day. I worked there when I was younger, as a construction contractor, and Larry Noonan vividly remember the scores of people working under the shadow of that stack as if from a Tolkien novel. Much has changed in Anaconda since then, and it’s not every city that can lose its only industry and come out even mildly composed. So many companies, families, and efforts either left or fizzled out, but our organization – founded at a kitchen table – was able to weather the storm, formed in a city that has undergone remarkable changes over its first 125 years, and it’s impossible not to wonder whether our ability to adapt was born of that steadfastness. We are a part of Anaconda. Perhaps when a city or town has had the ebbs and flows such as Anaconda has, organizations whose very purpose is to be involved in the lives of families can truly understand what makes a community work. In Montana – as opposed to much of the country – it’s still easy to differentiate one community from another. Something that works in Glendive often won’t in Bozeman. Of course there are common denominators, some of them being the very concepts listed as our principles of unconditional care; families are the most important resource, it takes a team, lighten up and laugh, et al. By addressing the issues we do, we are working on concepts that aren’t bound

by any community, or state, for that matter. But in addressing them, we are careful to look at the unique ways in which a solitary community handles its ups and downs. In Bozeman, we’re holding two celebrations of community living and success. An open house on June 26 celebrated the Candlelight Community Living Initiative. This center of excellence, featured in previous issues of this newsletter, marks the first program for youth living with autism and other developmental disabilities in the state. Gov. Brian Schweitzer spoke at the event in recognition of the program’s importance. The other celebration, on July 3rd, honored Bozeman residents Lyle and Pam Whitmore. In the face of tremendous adversity, the Whitmores bought a new home with help from the Montana Home Choice Coalition. Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester were on hand for the event, which also coincided with the couple’s 15th wedding anniversary, underscoring the importance of partnership in facing challenges. Statewide, we have been working as a member group of Montana Shares – a collection of nonprofit organizations whose sole mission is to make life better for all Montanans. Tim Pray, our representative to Montana Shares, was named “Rookie of the Year” for his role with the organization. Montana Shares members represent diverse and dynamic interests throughout the state. By gathering the ideas and experiences of all these people, they can proceed with their work – knowing that they have the interest of the state’s communities at heart. On a more national note, we were thrilled with training provided by the Kennedy Krieger Institute’s Dr. SungWoo Kahng, whose column you’ll find in this issue of the Ink. There are always medical trends in this world. Some are of merit, but most are not. Applied Behavioral Analysis, though, has been around a long time, and is at the forefront of autism and behavioral


studies throughout the world. Dr. Kahng brought its foundation to us here in Anaconda, and the three days he was here will go a long way in our efforts to address the challenges of autism in proven ways in Montana. Things have a way of snowballing, for better or for worse. It’s interesting to think about a group of parents sitting around that kitchen table, discussing ways in which their children could become more deeply involved in their community of Anaconda. This meeting happened in the midst of tremendous change, and I wonder if they knew that they were on the cutting edge of a movement towards full community participation by all people who so desire. When we look at all the things we’re doing throughout the state, all the relationships we’ve built, all the people we fight for, it helps to keep in mind that it all started at a kitchen table with people who knew the best interests of their children, their families and their community were being taken seriously. Thanks to everyone for doing all you do and for understanding the communities in which you live and work.

Lawrence P. Noonan, CEO Geri L. Wyant, CFO Jeffrey Folsom, COO Mike Schulte, CHO Board of Directors John O’Donnell, President Al Smith, Vice President Teresa Marshall Cheryl Zobenica Keith Colbo John Haffey Editing and layout: Jim Tracy Staff writer: Tim Pray AWARE Ink is published bimonthly by AWARE, Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit organization at 205 E. Park Ave., Anaconda, MT 59711. Copyright ©2007, AWARE, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this newsletter may be used or reproduced in any form or by any means without prior written permission of the publisher. Please send correspondence to:

CFO nominated for Excellence in Leadership award Women honored for promoting ‘positive change’ Chief Financial Officer Geri Wyant was among the nominees for Excellence in Leadership awards presented by the Interagency Committee for Change by Women on May 21 at the state capitol in Helena. The Interagency Committee for Change by Women (ICCW) was established by executive order of the governor. It honors people who have created positive change for all state employees by promoting the full participation of women in state government. ICCW established the Excellence in Leadership awards in 1999 to honor individuals for exemplary leadership and achievements or for outstanding efforts to assist women to excel in the workplace. Wyant, a 1980 graduate of Anaconda High School, has a bachelor’s of arts in administration and a bachelor’s of arts in accounting from Carroll College. She has worked at AWARE since 1992. Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger and the ICCW hosted a reception in the Old Law Library Room 317 of the State Capitol Building to celebrate all the nominees. Nominees were honored for exhibiting “outstanding leadership qualities,” recognizing the value of women in the workplace, and actively encouraging women “to move forward and upward.” In addition to Wyant, nominees in the private sector included: • Barbara Burton, executive director, Florence Crittenton Home, Helena • Jan Martin, vice president of Valley Bank, governor of Northwest Region for Soroptimist International, Helena • Kathleen W. Sampson, office

Excellence in Leadership nominee Geri Wyant, AWARE’s chief financial officer, accepts a certificate for leadership excellence from Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger at a ceremony May 21 at the Montana Capitol in Helena. Photo courtesy of Interagency Committee for Change by Women

of the vice president-shareholder, Employee Benefit Resources, Helena Winners were Barbara Burton in the private sector; Susan Brigs, vice chancellor for administration and finance, UM-Western, in the public sector; and Randi M. Hood, chief public defender, Office of State

Public Defender in Butte, in the state government sector. To learn more about ICCW visit iccw/events/ ela.shtml. Wyant and her husband, Greg, live in Anaconda. She has two children, Abbey, 17, and Jon, 14.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, I don’t think you can measure life in terms of years. I think longevity doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with happiness. I mean happiness comes from facing challenges and going out on a limb and taking risks. If you’re not willing to take a risk for something you really care about, you might as well be dead. — Diane Frolov and Andrew Schneider, Northern Exposure, Northern Lights, 1993


StoryMakers puts books in kids’ hands Early learning initiative focuses on literacy By Jim Tracy


ids in AWARE’s Early Head Start in Butte and Dillon have opened a new chapter in their education. Actually they’ve opened many new chapters. In May, Bozeman-based Hopa Mountain StoryMakers selected AWARE’s Early Head Start as a program site and provided parent education resources and free books to young children and their families. “We are an early learning initiative that offers parents and primary caregivers information and tools to create fun and engaging home learning environments for their babies, toddlers and preschoolers,” said Linda Clark, StoryMakers program director. “A growing body of research confirms that a strong early-learning home environment leads to children’s success in school,” Clark said. “Success in school strongly predicts success in life.” AWARE has joined 12 other StoryMakers communities across Montana, including communities on all seven of the state’s American Indian reservations, in implementing the program.

start reading to children and teaching them the value of literacy,” Rivenes said. “When children are exposed to the world of books and literacy, it opens up a whole new exciting world to them. The research proves that reading to children early is one of the very best things that can be done to foster development. Here, at AWARE, our goal is to help families and children reach their maximum potential. Hopa Mountain’s StoryMakers program is a perfect way to do just that.” Barto has distributed StoryMakers books to every child in Early Head Start in Butte and Dillon. Books were specifically chosen for each age range: infants, 1 year old, 2 years old, 3 years old, and 4 and 5 years old. “Books and materials provided by StoryMakers are the program tools, carefully selected to build early language and literacy skills as well as for their fun and interactive qualities,” said Clark, a former college English teacher who is dedicated to helping

It’s never too early “This program is invaluable,” said Teresa Rivenes, Family Support Services administrator who teamed with Early Head Start assistant director Christina Barto to apply to participate In Hopa Mountain’s StoryMakers program. “It is never too early to

parents help their children get ready for school at kindergarten age. Clark said every StoryMakers group enjoys community ownership of the program. Each StoryMakers site organizes a community team that works with parents. These community teams range from sponsoring organizations, like AWARE, to interested individuals. “The teams determine the structure of the local programs,” Clark said, noting that each community is different, so a single approach doesn’t necessarily work. “What parents do at home can significantly impact the story of their children’s lives,” Clark said. “We focus particularly on children’s early language and math development, which have emerged as the strongest predictors of children’s reading readiness and success in school.” A rich language environment AWARE’s Early Head Start already uses many of the principles of StoryMakers every day, according to Director Tom Richards. “We are pretty well versed in early literacy,” Richards said. “It’s one of our major focuses in everything we do. We create a rich language environment. We talk at the kids’ level and expose them to a variety of different books.” “StoryMakers is an augment,” he added. “It gives us more resources to continue doing the things we are already doing inside the classroom.” Because parent education is focus of the program, parents received brochures and a presentation on literacy from Barto, who is also a child development specialist. Continued on next page


“It’s just another way for us to get more literacy into the homes of our families,” she said “It helps us build their literacy library at home.” She described the StoryMakers collection as “good, quality children’s books — what’s popular on the market.” “They are books we’ve used in the classroom with our children,” she said, “so we know they are books the kids like.” (See StoryMakers book list on Page 6.) Each local StoryMakers team is required to report on its interaction with parents and how they are distributing the materials. Local teams also are responsible for keeping track of who has benefited from the program. This information will go into a database to track the use of each book. In addition to an annual team training event and e-mail and phone contact with her teams, Clark travels across Montana to personally visit each StoryMakers community. She’s scheduled to visit AWARE in July. “Once we’ve been established a little longer, we would also like to get some parents to do random evaluations of the program as well,” she said. Network of partnerships Hopa Mountain’s StoryMakers program benefits from a network of partnerships through additional grants that help measure outcomes. Grants from the U.S. Department of Education through Women’s Opportunity and Resource Development (WORD) of Missoula, the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation, the O.P. and W.E. Edwards Foundation, the Jerry Metcalf Foundation, the Montana Office of Public Instruction, and Hopa Mountain members support StoryMakers, including the costs of StoryMakers materials for parents,

doing and what we are doing are not the same. To address what children need in those early years, we have to think of the home environment as a naturally fun learning environment. Parents are caregivers, but they are also, importantly, their children’s first teachers.” Missing factor

travel, training, staff support and the purchase of more than 6,000 books for the Spring 2008 Gift Round. “Achievement gaps open long before children enter kindergarten or first grade,” Clark said. “Catching up is difficult, at best, and very costly to families, to communities, and to society at large. The biggest bang for every dollar and unit of effort in education today is in the preschool years.” StoryMakers deliberately focuses on helping preschoolers by creating an environment that is conducive to fun interaction with adults in the home, Clark said. “We align ourselves with the best research,” she said, “and the research overwhelmingly points to the importance of early-learned skills, especially language and preliteracy skills. But our system is not currently set up to take advantage of that research. What we should be


hat happens very early to children impacts their future success ... or non-success ... in school and in life. — Linda Clark, StoryMakers director 5

“The truth is we’re missing a key factor when we focus almost all of our collective time and money on K-12,” she added. “What happens very early in life — before children enter school — impacts their chances for future success in school and in life. There is a cascading of cause and effect, beginning at the beginning of children’s lives.” Clark sees universal potential in the program. Her vision includes one day giving every child born in the state a “birth year book” with a gentle reminder to parents about the importance of their role in their children’s learning in the early years. The organization is also exploring how to improve the holdings of rural and tribal libraries so children in those areas will have an ongoing resource for reading. She sums up the mission with a powerful message: “Our tag line for the StoryMakers program is, ‘Words are gifts for life,’ and we want parents and children to know that is so true, especially in these early years.” Hopa Mountain is a Bozemanbased organization “investing in rural and tribal citizen leaders who are working to improve education, ecological health, and economic development in their hometowns.” “In a time of turbulence and change, it is more true than ever that knowledge is power” — John Fitzgerald Kennedy (American 35th US President (1961-63), 1917-1963)

SPRING 2008 BOOKS Here are the five books chosen for the spring round of the Hopa Mountain StoryMakers grant to AWARE’s Early Head Start in Butte.

drama on most of the pages, but no one can save the poor foolish sheep in a jeep. Ages 3–5, language option Do Like a Duck Does! By Judy Hindley/Ivan Bates

Prenatal – Birth year Babies on the Go By Linda Ashman/Jane Dyer

A strong, triumphant rhythm accompanies the story of a fox outfoxed by a smart, protective mama duck. Pretending to be just another “big brown duck,” the sly fox joins the five baby ducks, obviously thinking “dinner.” But mama duck, fully in control of the situation, requires him to prove he’s a duck by doing all the things ducks do – from waddling in mud to eating bugs. Humorous illustrations of the animal/bird characters, including appropriate facial expressions, invite knowing giggles from adult readers and preschoolers alike. This book offers a number of fun possibilities for addressing pre-literacy skills.

Gentle rhythm and rhyme characterize the simple lines of Babies on the Go, making it a perfect baby-toddlerpreschooler “cuddle-time” book. Unlike some animals, most of the creatures we meet on these pages “need more time to grow.” They are carried in pouches, on backs, even in mothers’ mouths. Lovely illustrations of how babies travel suggest the final four pages’ message: “It doesn’t matter how they go./ Inside . . . outside . . . fast . . . or slow./ On the ground or high above,/ babies always ride with love.” A chart at the end gives the names of the animals.

Ages 3-5 math and science option Anno’s Counting Book By Mitsumasa Anno

Age 1 — Eyes, Nose, Fingers and Toes A First Book All About You By Judy Hindley/Brita Granstrom

This is an unusual book about – well, lots of things! A wordless picture book, it is about the seasons of the year, the times of the day, and a town that grows up. Each twopage spread – as well as the book as a whole – encourages storytelling. It is also about numbers and number order, and about “adding to,” and with a little imagination, “taking away.” Starting with a blank landscape and a zero, we move to one each of about eight additions to the landscape, then to two each of these additions, then three each – on to 12 each, and a bustling town. Possibilities abound for having fun with early math and science concepts.

A lively invitation to fun adult-child movement and interaction, this book explores the marvelous parts of little bodies – eyes, arms, legs, toes, nose – and what they are or can do: “A nose is to blow./ A nose is to sniff./ A nose has holes/ for sniffing with.” The font size and word placement enhance the sense of movement and joy. Playful multicultural children – plus their toys and pets romp through the pages, trying out body parts, with a review at the end: “So here we are!/ And I’ll tell you again -/ Kisses are little,/ smiles are wide -/ A hug is a bundle with YOU inside.”

Please visit ƒƒ for suggestions about how to enjoy specific StoryMakers books with your child ƒƒ for downloadable StoryMakers pamphlets and individual pamphlet pages ƒƒ for lists of quality children’s books for children 0-5 ƒƒ for information about requesting children’s books through interlibrary loans ƒƒ for a short guide to understanding how your child is progressing with language ƒƒ for information about StoryMakers, including research summaries and updates about how you can help your child become successful in school and in life.

Age 2 Sheep in a Jeep By Nancy Shaw/Margot Apple Most toddlers and preschoolers love silliness, and very silly sheep who attempt a road trip together is what this tale is all about. Of course, not one of them can actually drive, and the silly sheep end up creating a “jeep in a heap.” This book is full of language playfulness. Rhyme, rhythm and repetition – all of which encourage sharper phonological awareness in little listeners - propel the story forward at increasing speed – just like the jeep careening down a “hill that is steep.” Pigs try to help, and a little bird watches the 6

Practice ergonomic safety at your computer • Adjust the lumbar support • Person-keyboard-monitor usually should be in

Keeping fit at the office doesn’t mean you have to work up a sweat doing calisthenics in your cubicle or twist yourself into a pretzel doing yoga postures. For a lot of office workers who spend hours a day working with computers, the best advice is the simplest: sit upright in the chair in contact with the backrest. Courtesy of Herb Byers, a safety consultant with the Montana State Fund who visited AWARE’s administration offices, here are some other computer ergonomic safety tips for preventing dreaded “CTD’s,” or cumulative trauma disorders:

line • The top of the screen should be at or slightly below eye level • Documents should be placed close to the monitor • Don’t cradle the phone between the head and shoulder • Avoid excessive reaching Avoid compression on surfaces • Don’t rest the wrists on the desk surface or edge, or anything hard • Avoid planting the point of the elbow on the armrest • Watch the forearms on the desk edge • The chair shouldn’t compress in back of your knees • Cushioning wrist rests for the keyboard and mouse are usually a good idea Take ergonomic “microbreaks” • Don’t work longer than 1/2 hour without a microbreak • Take a minute to stretch and/or stand up

Keep it in neutral • Joints should be used in their mid-range of motion, or neutral • Upper arms should hang naturally at your side • Elbows should be at about 90 degrees • Forearms should be about parallel to the floor • Wrists should be straight, not bent up or down • The mouse should be right next to the keyboard, on the same level • Sit upright in the chair in contact with the backrest • The thighs and torso should form about a 90 degree angle (sitting height)

If you use the phone a lot, use a headset to avoid cradling the phone on your shoulder.

Place terminal screen directly in front of operator. Viewing angle should be 15-35 degrees below eye.

Eye-to-screen distance should be 18-30 inches.

Anti-glare screen covers may help reduce eye strain and improve screen image.

Adjust chair back and tension for lumbar support.

Place screen and document holder at the same viewing distance from the eye to avoid constant changes of focus.

Adjust VDT angle and/or light to reduce neck/eye strain. Adjust screen intensity for clear, sharp images.

Adjust keyboard height to allow upper arms to hang straight down from shoulders and for forearms to be horizontal to the floor.

Adjust chair back and height so that thighs rest horizontally, calves are positioned vertically and feet rest squarely on floor or footrest.

5-point base


Shrink wRap

Extraordinary Kids

families with the greatest needs. Our goal is to achieve a state in which we can truly provide services that are No Reject (taking any child and family referred to us regardless of the severity of their problems) and No Eject (vowing not to punitively discharge any child or family regardless of what behaviors they may have experienced). We want to live up to one of our AWARE Unconditional Care Principles, “We take and stick with the most difficult cases.”

By Dr. Ira Lourie


n a trip to Helena last May, I had the privilege to meet with the state’s director of Child Mental Health Services, Bonnie Adee. During this visit we talked about the need for specialized services for children and youth with extraordinary needs. This was a new term to me, but one that made a lot of sense. These are the kids who fall through This level of unconditional care the cracks in our service system, also requires us come up with what especially those whose mental health might be seen as unique answers for problems complicate their underlying each child and family. Another way developmental disabilities and autistic of talking about these extraordinary Dr. Ira Lourie spectrum disorders. In the past, many children with extraordinary needs, is to of these children and youth have ended up see them as being unique and having unique needs. We in highly intensive out-of-state residential programs far think if we can develop unique approaches for each from their families, homes and communities. individual with unique needs, those approaches don’t need to be extraordinary. Rather, some of the most The focus of this discussion turned to the possibility unique approaches are relatively simple and ordinary. of developing placement possibilities for those kids This brings us to another one of the most important of with this level of need in Montana. Of course being AWARE’s Unconditional Care Principles: Building On AWARE, we were able to discuss how our intensive Strengths Is The Key To Success. group home services at our Galen campus have already been able to meet this level of extraordinary need for At AWARE, we take a truly individualistic approach many such youth. In addition we were able to talk about to each child and family we serve. To do this we must our new AWARE Candlelight Community Living Home take a strength-based approach in which we look toward in Bozeman which was just opening at the time. This the strengths of each person in a family and their support program, geared specifically for youth who are suffering system and build an intervention approach based around from both autistic spectrum and mental health disorders, those strengths. We don’t just list people’s strengths, is funded with developmental disability monies. we base our plan on them, using them to overcome the deficits they bring to us. We believe when the primary focus is on a child or family’s deficits, we do nothing but accentuate those deficits and encourage problematic behaviors and patterns of the past.

This brings up the question of how come AWARE is able to create in-state and community-based programming for these extraordinary children and youth that other folks feel need to be shipped out-of-state, often to Texas. I truly believe that we at AWARE can do this because of our commitment to unconditional care. Over the last decade we have been engaged in a process of internal system change aimed at making our services better able to meet the needs of those kids and

We feel that if an individual or family can learn to better exercise their strengths, the influence their deficits exert on their lives will be minimized. Of course, as we help build strengths, we do have to focus on protecting Continued on next page9 Continued on Page 8

Shrink wRap...

factory nearby where we could get him a job he could excel in.”

folks and the community they live in from the dangerous aspects of their deficits. Most programs are organized around extinguishing problematic behaviors and don’t provide the flexibility that allows them to individualize services built on strengths in the way AWARE does.

“How about an apprenticeship with a fishing guide?” The ideas were flowing. Then a really smart person said, “Why don’t we ask him what kind of fishing experience he would like.”

Let me give you (with some poetic license) an example of how we plan using these principles. I was in the AWARE Bozeman office about a year ago where I was doing some case consultations. The first youth we discussed was a boy who was having very little success in every aspect of his life — an exceptional child. Nothing that had been tried worked and the team was at their wit’s end. As we began to talk about this young boy one really positive thing emerged. He was a great fisherman and loved to do it. “What have we done to use this strength?” I asked.

Then the realist spoke up, “If we could find him such a place to work, we would probably have to give him and the business or both some support in working with him.” Another team member then added, “You know, when kids, even the most troubled kids, get into a positive situation which builds on their strength, they can operate at their highest potential in that setting, and he may not even need a lot of support.”

The response I got back was in the right direction as the case manager said, “I go fishing with him now and then.”

I thought to myself, this is a team performing strength-based treatment planning at its best! From this kind of start, the team was able to begin formulating an initial plan for this youth. In addition they knew that these ideas were just the beginning of a process that would enable this youth to have some positive and productive life experiences that would, over time, act to minimize his disabilities. They also knew that, like all plans, they had to expect to change it when needed. More importantly, they needed to expect that he would crash occasionally and that the plan needed to prepare them for what they would do when that occurred.

I said, “Great, let’s make fishing the basis for his plan.” The response by the team was a little disappointing. “But, there aren’t any fishing programs around here that we know of.” After it was pointed out that he really had never done well in programs, I said, “We should just find a volunteer who can fish with him regularly, and maybe even be a good enough fisherman so that they can discuss trade secrets.”

So this brings us back to how we at AWARE deal with Extraordinary Kids. First we force ourselves to think outside of the box. Then we center our planning efforts around the strengths of the kids and families involved. We create innovative, flexible and changeable plans that include an understanding that crises will occur and we will be ready at those times to intervene. I guess what this means is that for Extraordinary Kids we must prepare and execute Extraordinarily Unique Interventions.

Then the case manager added, “But he’s a real pain in the neck, because he doesn’t want anybody else to catch any fish and gets upset when they do.” “That’s alright,” I replied, “We’ll help the volunteer understand that, and maybe over time, things will get better.” Now most places would not have gotten past the “...there aren’t any fishing programs...” remark, and if they had they would have been satisfied with the idea of finding a regular fishing buddy. But this team was energized and realized that a fishing buddy now and then would not offer a particularly comprehensive plan, so someone piped up, “You know, this is a big fishing community and I bet there is a fly tying shop or even

Dr. Ira Lourie serves as Medical Director to AWARE, Inc. He is the author of Everything is Normal Until Proven Otherwise. He lives in Hagerstown, Maryland.


2008 Special Olympics State Summer Games

Aimee Roberson

Dean Rollins

Jay Arensmeyer

Heather Arnaud

Brian Lester

Russell Carstens

Judy Armbruster

Steve Addington

Dan Bowen

Vyeron Foote and Deborah Battleson of Billings

AWA R E M e da l ists Name







Stephen Addington Swimming

1st 50M freestyle 1st 25M freestyle

Brian Lester Bowling

1st singles 3rd doubles

Jay Arensmeyer Bowling

1st mixed doubles 1st singles

Aimee Roberson Bowling

1st doubles 4th singles

Judy Armbruster Bowling

1st mixed doubles 3rd singles

Dean Rollins Bowling

1st singles 3rd doubles

Heather Arnaud Bowling

1st doubles 3rd singles

Deborah Battleson Billings

Softball throw


Dan Bowen Bowling

3rd doubles 5th singles

Vyeron Foote Billings

Softball throw


Russell Carstens Cycling

1st 1K time trial 02:28.00 1st 5K time trial00:12.39 (best time any division)


Olympics Snapshots Long-distance runner Anton Veverka of Richie, below, holds the Special Olympics torch aloft at the Summer Games in Great Falls. Veverka lit the Special Olympics Flame of Hope Cauldron at the opening ceremonies on May 14. At right, AWARE Recycling athletes march into the Four Seasons Arena. Below, cyclist Russ Carstens of Anaconda (left), and Charlie Rickard and Scott Olverson, both of Kalispell, line up for the start of the 5K time trial. Carstens took the gold with a time of 12.39. Rickard finished second and Oliverson, third. Jim Tracy photos


Applied Behavior Analysis: What is it and how does it help? on behavior (i.e., reinforcement always increases a behavior and punishment always decreases a behavior). There is an abundance of scientific research suggesting that ABA is an effective intervention for addressing behavioral deficits (e.g., communication, social skills, and academic performance) and decreasing behavioral excesses (e.g., self-injurious behavior or SIB, aggression, and property destruction) among individuals with developmental disabilities. For example, Kahng, Iwata, and Lewin (2002) conducted a review here is an of approximately 400 research studies abundance on the behavioral of scientific research treatment of SIB exhibited by individuals suggesting that ABA is with developmental disabilities. Their review an effective intervention found that on average, for addressing behavioral behavioral interventions deficits. — Dr. SungWoo resulted in a greater than 80 percent reduction in Kahng SIB as compared to no treatment. The positive findings of ABA research have lead to the endorsement of ABA as a treatment for individuals with developmental disabilities by many governmental agencies and private organizations. For example, the report of the U.S. Surgeon General on Mental Health stated, “Thirty years of research demonstrated the efficacy of applied behavioral methods in reducing inappropriate behavior and increasing communication, learning, and appropriate social behavior” (U.S. Public Health Service, n.d.). Other agencies and organizations endorsing ABA include the National Institutes of Health, National Academy of Sciences, American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Furthermore, the states of New York, Maine, California, Florida, and Indiana, to name a few, have also endorsed ABA as an evidenced-based treatment for individuals with developmental disabilities. This wide-scale adoption of ABA is based in large part on the benefits of ABA to individuals with developmental disabilities. ABA has lead to the development of behavioral assessments that identify the most effective reinforcers (preference assessments) as well as functional (behavioral) assessments, which are assessments designed to identify the variables (i.e., reinforcers) maintaining problem behavior. This functional assessment technology has

Editor’s note: Dr. Sung-Woo Kahng, Ph.D., BCBA of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine’s Kennedy Krieger Institute delivered a series of talks to AWARE staff in May. He discussed the principles of Applied Behavioral Analysis, including details on data collection, summarizing data, the functions and causes of behavior problems, treatments for behavior problems, best practice/ethical issues, and case examples. Dr. Kahng agreed to write a short article on ABA for AWARE Ink. By Dr. SungWoo Kahng, Ph.D., BCBA Kennedy Krieger Institute and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine



he field of applied behavior analysis (ABA) has a long history of using basic behavioral principles to provide scientifically-validated treatment for a variety of problems related to such areas as health, education, business, and developmental disabilities. ABA has been around for over 40 years; but, most recently it has become popular as a method of treating children with autism. One of the earliest demonstrations of the efficacy of ABA was a study conducted by Ayllon and Michael (1959) in which they treated hoarding of magazines by patients in a psychiatric unit. In 1968, Baer, Wolf, and Risley formally defined ABA as “…the process of applying sometimes Dr. SungWoo Kahng tentative principles of behavior to the improvement of specific behaviors, and simultaneously evaluating whether or not any changes noted are indeed attributable to the process of application – and if so, to what part of the process” (p. 91). In essence, Baer, Wolf, and Risley defined ABA as the application of basic principles of behavior, which involves objective measurement of behavior as well as the analysis of functional relations (i.e., cause and effect). ABA is based in large part on three basic principles of behavior – reinforcement, extinction, and punishment. Reinforcement is the presentation (i.e., positive reinforcement) or removal (i.e., negative reinforcement) of a stimulus that leads to an increase in behavior. Extinction is the termination of reinforcement that results in a decrease in behavior. Finally, punishment is the presentation (i.e., positive punishment) or removal (i.e., negative punishment) of a stimulus that leads to a decrease in behavior. It is important to keep in mind that reinforcement and punishment are not defined by whether or not they are good or bad. Rather, they are defined only by their effects

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Continued from Page 12 proven to be a powerful tool for clinicians who are responsible for treatment development. This technology allows clinicians to identify and alter events that may precede, and thus, influence the behavior. Additionally, once identified, the reinforcers maintaining the problem behavior can be eliminated (i.e., extinction). Finally, clinicians can use these same reinforcers to teach the individual more appropriate and adaptive behaviors. These behavioral assessments have resulted in the development of powerful behavioral interventions over the last 30 years. Needless to say, ABA has improved the lives of individuals with developmental disabilities as well as their caregivers.

Dr. SungWoo Kahng, Ph.D., BCBA of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine’s Kennedy Krieger Institute explains the principles of Applied Behavioral Analysis to AWARE staff. Photo by Jim Tracy

References Ayllon, T., & Michael, J. (1959). The psychiatric nurse as a behavioral engineer. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 2, 323-334. Baer, D. M., Wolf, M. M., & Risley, T. R. (1968). Some current dimensions of applied behavior analysis. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 1, 91-97. Kahng, S., Iwata, B. A., & Lewin, A. (2002). The impact of functional assessment on the treatment of selfinjurious behavior. In S. Schroeder, M. L., Oster-Granite, & T. Thompson (Eds.), Self-injurious behavior: Genebrain-behavior relationships (pp. 119-131). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. U.S. Public Health Service (n.d.). Mental health: A report of the surgeon general. Retrieved June 17, 2008, from chapter3/sec6.html#autism.

More information on ABA can be found at the following websites: Association for Behavior Analysis International http:// Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies http://www.

Grand opening, generous payout draw crowd to AWARE recycling Sunshine, grilled burgers, music and a deal on aluminum cans brought a steady stream of visitors to AWARE Recycling’s grand opening May 17 at 200 North Polk St. in Anaconda. “Community participation was fabulous,” said Knute Oaas, AWARE’s behavioral services coordinator. “We were overwhelmed by the number of people who came to tour the building, listen to the music and drop off recyclables. It was non-stop all day.” Part of the draw was a pay-out of 53 cents per pound for aluminum cans, about a dime more than normal. Visitors also were treated to hamburgers, hotdogs and refreshments along with music by guitarist and singer Jack Hatch of Anaconda. See Grand Opening on page 24

Operating the forklift was part of habilitation technician Henry Huot’s job during AWARE Recycling’s grand opening. Photo by Jim Tracy


Book BookMarks Marks Any novel by James Michener is a favorite of mine. I selected Chesapeake to review, but all are worthwhile reads.

Each issue of AWARE Ink includes a collection of books, articles, documents, texts, and even movies recommended by staff, covering a range of topics related to the work we do. This issue features titles suggested by AWARE Service Administrator Mike Kelly of Kalispell.

The Stand By Stephen King

It’s difficult to choose my six favorite books to review; I can definitely say these are six of my favorites. And most of my favorites are long reads.

There are many people who believe that The Stand is the greatest book King has written. It contains little symbolism that isn’t obvious, a primary strength of the book. The stage is set for courage, action, greed, and good and evil. The apocalyptic tone is also one of hope and optimism. The characters in this book are “toilers in the vinyl vineyards,” just plain folks who drink Gatorade and V8 but who also may happen to have jobs on top secret government installations in Nevada. The general plot is simple. An accident occurs in an Army lab durng some research on biological warfare. A virus breaks through the isolation barrier and rapidly causes the death of nearly everyone working in the plant. There is one survivor, however, who walks past the failed security apparatus, races home to his wife and child, bundles them into a car and speeds toward the Texas border. By the time they reach a gas station in Texas, he is very ill and the wife and daughter have died a horrible death that leaves their bodies bloated, blackened and stinking. The handful of people at the gas station are, of course, contaminated. They, in turn, pass on the virus to others from Maine to California. The Stand is a very good read and can be used to convince those who do not typically like Stephen King because they think horror stories are a waste of time to try one. Forget Carrie and read The Stand.

Trinity By Leon Uris From the beginning, I loved this book. It’s a page turner to say the least. It does a great deal to explain the issues related to the Irish problem, especially the history. To the outsider, the conflict in Northern Ireland seems strange, what with it being viewed as a battle between two Christian faiths. The source of conflict and current issues seem hard to comprehend. This problem is further compounded by the fact that in the present, in Northern Ireland, the Protestant population is in a majority, and the Catholics are in a minority, an exact reversal of the population mix in Ireland, which is where the root of the problem originates. A conflict that seems so small to outsiders is actually many centuries old, reaching a peak with the conquest of the Catholic Irish king by the Protestant English kingdom in the 17 century, and the bitter conflicts after that. The novel is focused on a time period between the 1850’s and the Irish uprising in 1916. It is extremely gripping and almost forces you to try and read as much as you can in one sitting. Trinity is a story of the intertwining lives of the Larkins (Catholic farmers in County Donegal), the Macleods (Protestant shipbuilders from Belfast), and the Hubbles (representatives of three centuries of AngloIrish aristocracy).

The Kite Runner By Khaled Hosseini Kite Runner is an excellent novel by a first time author. The narrative flows and the book hooks you. It transports you to Afghanistan and gives you a view of the political upheavals in the country over three decades, from the first coup of the nation, to the Soviet invasion, to the Taliban. It shows the race and class conflicts between the Pushtons and the Hazaras. It also tells of the culture and traditions of Afghanistan. Political and personal conflicts run parallel to each other in the novel, and Hosseini shows how they affect one another. The plot is mesmerizing and amazing. It is full of human emotion, and tears you up inside at times. The book looks at how the main character, Amir,

Chesapeake By James Michener To say James Michener writes with a formula is probably an understatement. His historical novels are all completely absorbing. In Chesapeake, Michener uses his famed timeline formula to give an exciting history of the area and the people who lived there. It is structured around fourteen voyages from 1583 to 1978, with most of the action centering on two families, the Steeds of Devon who are Roman Catholic and the Paxmores of Patamoke who are Quakers. Michener packs a lot of characters, history, geology, marine biology and seafaring lore into his novels.

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deals with a secret in his past and how that secret shaped who he became. It tells of his friendship with Hassan, his relationship with his father and growing up in a privileged place in society. The characters become very real and it is difficult to put the book down. You talk about it when you’re finished.

amazing with his story line. Readers will also gravitate toward the much more complex sequel, The Lord of the Rings trilogy. I couldn’t wait to read it. Watership Down By Richard Adams Hazel, Fiver, Bigwig and their fellow rabbits live in peace and prosperity in their warren somewhere in the hilly countryside. But Fiver, the smallest of his litter, sees visions of a terrible disaster awaiting their little community. He is not capable of understanding it but knows that everyone who stays is doomed. Thus the great and dangerous adventure begins for the small band of rabbits who encounter predators, automobiles, running water and other rabbit communities.

The Hobbit By J.R.R. Tolkien From the book’s slow start to its breathtaking finish, readers will marvel at the unrelenting inventiveness of this brilliantly written tale. Bilbo Baggins has the most room to grow into a hero which allows for terrific fantasy. The wise wizard Gandalf appeals to the adventurer in Bilbo, but the hobbit is soon up to his ears in peril. At first he is a hindrance to the grim band of dwarves, but even before he acquires the magic ring he is demonstrating a spirit.

Watership Down has been said to be Richard Adams best novel (his first as well). The heroes and villains are all rabbits, and not like the cute ones in children’s tales. They face deadly serious issues of life and death in the book, and not all of them survive. Their adventures are compelling and very exciting, and reflect fates that can befall a society. Anyone who looks for political metaphors in a story will find plenty here. What’s really remarkable is that because the narrative is so good at delivering a terrific adventure story, these metaphors are almost invisible. An adventure novel yes but one for thinking readers. Definitely one of my favorites.

Once he tricks the ring’s current but not rightful owner, the slinky creature Gollum, and stumbles upon its power, the dwarves find themselves even more in his debt as he boldly uses the ring to his and their advantage. He doesn’t tell them how he is able to sneak around and rescue them from under the noses of their captors, whether it is giant spiders or elves. But after the dragon is out of the way, Bilbo is forced to make a difficult decision. When the dwarves refuse to share the treasure with the elves and men, who have valid claim to at least a portion, Bilbo betrays the dwarves for a higher good. I felt like I was part of Bilbo’s world. Tolkien is simply

What can you make with recyclables? Dan Bowen mans an information table at AWARE Recycling’s Open House May 17. The table is filled with items that are made from or contain recycled material, on loan from the Montana Department of Environmental Quality, courtesy of Dusti Johnson, recycling and market development specialist. The items included paper, carpet, motor oil and detergent bottles, pipes, pails, trash bag coatings, fiberfill, plastic lumber, clothing, and sponges. To learn more about Montana products made with recycled material, visit: RecyclingGuide_07.pdf.


Graduates... School for over five years, the day represented the realization of that goal, and Hogart stressed its importance to the undergraduates in attendance: “this, guys, is the goal…this is where you want to be.” Handing out diplomas and handshakes in the front of the gymnasium were the graduates’ teaching staff, including Dan Sletton, Karen Johnson, Kari Hoscheid, and Mary Spehar. Also greeting the graduates was Darren Novak, a program manager on campus. As each graduate’s full name was called, he walked across the stage in traditional fashion, receiving his diploma from each of the faculty while the cap’s tassle was shifted from the right to the left side. Loud cheers and camera flashes erupted from the audience as each name was called, the loudest coming from the graduates’ former fellow students, yelling in unison “WAY TO GO!” After the ceremony, the graduates and guests moved to the rear of the room for cake, refreshments, and countless photos. A card, signed by everyone on campus and addressed to all four graduates read “May you meet with success in all you endeavor…we are proud of you.” Each of the graduates is eager to begin their new lives amidst the communities of their choosing. Tim Spring said simply that he is “ready to get to work,” and that he wishes his undergraduate friends at Galen good luck and that he wants to see them do the same thing he has done. Troy Miller who had studied With a tug here and a pull there, Mary Spehar makes a few last-minute adjustments to Tim Spring’s at Galen for two years plans to gown before a graduation ceremony at the Galen School. Photo by Jim Tracy


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keep the job that he recently began at the AWARE Recycling operation in Anaconda. He said that graduation was everything he thought it would be, and he encouraged his friends at Galen to keep up the hard work. Josh Markovich, who studied at Galen since he was 11 years old, plans to continue his work on the AWARE maintenance crew with Greg Wyant and Steve Francisco. He reminds his colleagues at the Galen School that graduating “feels good,” and that the only way to get that feeling is to “stick to your goal.” Billy Plumber, after having attended the Galen School program for one year, said that he’s looking towards the military or college for the future. For now, though, he said that it “feels really good” to finally graduate, and that he hopes those who remain also have a great graduation. The impact of the event was not lost on Terry Galle, service administrator at the Galen Campus. “I’ve watched these guys grow up, and I’m so tremendously proud of them,” he said. “Almost every possible obstacle has been placed in their path,

Beaming with pride, Troy Miller gives his mother, Debbie of Billings, a squeeze on graduation day at the Galen School. Photo by Jim Tracy.

they’ve crossed each one, and here they are today as adults.” In the final phrase of the commencement address, Hogart directed his message solely to Spring, Miller, Markovich, and Plumber.

“You will never forget the importance of this day, and from here on out, everywhere you go, you are graduates.”

Renovated AWARE Inc. web site now online AWARE has a new look on the Internet. Six months in the making, the corporation’s new web site went on line Thursday, July 10. “We tried to create a businesslike but friendly attitude with the site,” said AWARE CEO Larry Noonan. “ We hope the new web site will improve communications within AWARE and make it easier for consumers, potential employees, donors and others to learn about the corporation and access our services.” Web site designer Jane Devon of Anaconda went to work on the site overhaul in January after surveying managers about what they wanted on it and how they wanted it to look. The results are now online. “A big part of it was the organization of the site,” Devon said. “We wanted to make it really easy for people to use. The colors and shapes convey a friendliness and openness, which makes the site more inviting.” The site includes rotating stories and photos on the home page highlighting corporation news and illustrating AWARE services and 10 Principles of Unconditional Care. Besides a fresh look, the 38-page site also has a more logical organization with descriptions of AWARE services

The home page for the new AWARE web site is newsy and navigable.

and contact information, a staff directory, including brief biographies of the management and psychiatry teams, a history of AWARE and a separate history of See Web site Page 19 17

Environmental toxins may lead to disabilities, national DD group says

Nice catch!

Photo by Jim Tracy

Wally New Robe admires a rainbow trout he hooked June 13 at a pond near Warm Springs. New Robe and a dozen or so other anglers from AWARE group homes in Anaconda reeled in a mess of trout and a lot of fun thanks to folks from the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks. Angela Smith, a fish culturist at the Washoe Park Trout Hatchery in Anaconda and wife of AWARE database administrator Wendall Smith, coordinated the event. FW&P supplied the rods, reels, bobbers, hooks and worms. “And the fish,” Angela Smith added. In late May, the department stocked the pond with hundreds of 12-inch rainbow trout and a dozen or so six-pound-and-up brood fish raised at the Jocko River Trout Hatchery in Arlee. Smith said FW&P has been sponsoring the fishing day at the ponds for people with disabilities for more than 12 years. The Anaconda Kiwanis Club, meanwhile, supplied supper for the anglers: hot dogs, chips and juice. “I thought the evening went really well,” Smith said. “The weather was nice and people caught a lot of fish. There’s just something about fishing that just gets people really excited – something about having that fish on the line.” Just ask Wally New Robe. – Jim Tracy 18

Scientific evidence indicates environmental contaminants may significantly contribute to learning and developmental disabilities, according to the National Association for the Dually Diagnosed. Toxic agents in the environment, such as lead, mercury, pesticides, carbon monoxide, radon, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), brominated flame retardants, and solvents can affect brain development and function, NADD says in a statement published on its web site: In addition, the association says, “emerging science also suggests that a number of other environmental factors, such as nutrition and socioeconomic status, interact with neurotoxins in ways that may further undermine neurological development. “The role of the environment in the etiology of mental illness is also becoming clearer.” In line with its mission to advance mental wellness for persons with developmental disabilities through the promotion of excellence in mental health care, NADD says it is committed to: 1) working to reduce and eliminate neurotoxic exposures and other environmental factors that may lead to intellectual and developmental disabilities and mental health problems; and 2) preventing secondary disability or unnecessary harm due to environmental factors by educating members, clinicians, clients, the broader developmental disabilities and mental health communities, as well as the public about the effects toxic agents and other environmental factors may have in contributing to developmental, neurological and mental health problems.

Montana mental health system survey available on line Stakeholders in Montana’s mental health system can add their comments to a legislative study through an online survey. “The survey is designed to collect input on Montanans’ perceptions of the strengths and gaps in the public mental health system,” said Sue O’Connell, a research analyst with the state’s Legislative Services Division. Earlier this year the Legislature hired DMA Health Strategies based in Lexington, Mass., to conduct a comprehensive assessment of Montana’s mental health system. “DMA is also interviewing key informants and analyzing data on need for and use of mental health services,” O’Connell said. The firm will report its findings to the Legislature in October. This survey has 12 pages and should take about 10 or 15 minutes to complete. Survey respondents do not need to give their names or any identifying information. “Surveys must be completed by July 11 to be included in our results,” O’Connell said. To complete the survey on the web, go to: http://www. g_3d_3d. Put the cursor on the web address and click, or copy the web address and paste it into the address section of

your browser. This will bring you to the first page of the survey. You can complete and submit it on line. The survey will be accessible through midnight July 11. To complete the survey on paper, contact O’Connell at 406-444-3597 or at the Legislative Services Division. Paper copies must be mailed or faxed to DMA at the address or fax number indicated on the survey cover page no later than July 11th. If you have questions, e-mail or Sue O’Connell at If you do not have access to email, you can call Diane Salley at 1-800-8147802.

Web site... the administration offices in Anaconda in the renovated MacIntyre clothing store, a media center, links to partners and other useful resources, and a new-look jobs section. Devon, whose clients include big companies like Mazda Corp. and Pottery Barn and smaller enterprises close to home like Fairmont Hot Springs Resort and now AWARE, worked with Span Strategies of Mountain View, Calif., to do the programming. The company’s AWARE contact was Wendall Smith, database administrator. – Jim Tracy

‘Expertise and enthusiasm’

Montana Shares names Pray ‘Rookie of the Year’ Montana Shares, a federation of Montana-based nonprofit organizations that promote the state’s “human, cultural and natural resources” has chosen AWARE Media Relations Officer Tim Pray as its Rookie of the Year. Montana Shares Director Joy McGrath said the organization selected Pray “for his willingness to jump into projects, share his expertise and enthusiasm, and raise the visibility of the Shares partnership statewide.” “As a representative for AWARE Inc., Tim has generously volunteered Tim Pray his skills and talents to benefit Montana Shares members,” McGrath wrote in a letter to Jeff Folsom, director of community development support. “His work and enthusiasm support and promote the Shares’ mission for our member organizations and in workplaces across Montana. Tim’s new role as co-chair of the Media and PR Committee and Council member greatly 19

enhances the mission of Montana Shares and the work of all our members.” McGrath also thanked AWARE “for the important work you do in Montana, providing quality, communitybased services to persons with mental, emotional and physical challenges.” Montana Shares members “are working on issues concerning women and families, the environment, health and hunger, community arts and culture, animal welfare, social and economic justice and human rights,” according to the organization’s web site. “By focusing beyond symptoms and addressing the root causes of problems through education, prevention efforts, direct services and advocacy, our member agencies address issues which affect our state as a whole and our individual communities.” “The rule which forbids ending a sentence with a preposition is the kind of nonsense up with which I will not put.” — Winston Churchill (British Orator, Author and Prime Minister during World War II. 1874-1965)

Early Head Start wins coveted NAEYC rating Academy praises curriculum

The report commented in detail on these program standards:

Relationships The Academy commended the WARE’s program “for Early promoting positive Head Start program relationships among has received high all children and marks — and even adults to encourage a few off-the-chart each child’s sense of marks — from a individual worth and national group that belonging as part of promotes excellence a community and to in early childhood foster each child’s education. ability to contribute In May, Early as a responsible Head Start Assistant community Director Christina member.” Barto was notified “Positive that AWARE was AWARE uses a curriculum “that draws on research and assists teachers in identifying relationships among the first important concepts and skills as well as effective methods for fostering children’s learning and development,” according to the National Association for the Education are essential for agencies in the developing personal of Young Children. AWARE photo nation to earn the responsibility and mark of quality represented by the National Association the capacity for self-regulation, for enabling constructive for the Education of Young Children and its Academy for interactions with others, and for fostering academic Early Childhood Program Accreditation. functioning and mastery,” the report said. “Warm, The accreditation is good through May 30, 2013. sensitive, and responsive interactions help children develop “Being accredited through NAEYC gives AWARE a secure, positive sense of self and encourage them to national and state recognition,” said Barto, who is also a cooperate with and respect others. Positive relationships child development specialist. also help children gain the benefits of instructional “We are the only infant-toddler program in Butte that has received accreditation through NAEYC that I am aware experiences and resources. Children who see themselves as highly valued are more likely to feel secure, thrive of. It also allows us another system of checks and balances physically, get along with others, learn well, and feel part to ensure we are providing the highest quality services to of a community.” the families we enroll.” By Jim Tracy


AWARE got top marks in both categories the NAEYC rates: program standards and classroom observation. Under program standards, AWARE earned a100percent rating in relationships, assessment of child progress, teachers and physical environment. Now for the off-the-chart ratings: the program also received 100-plus percent marks in health, families, community relationships, and leadership and management. At the same time, NAEYC classroom observers gave the program a 91 percent rating for infants and a 90 percent rating for toddlers. According to the tally sheet accompanying the letter, AWARE met all of NAEYC’s requirements for licenses and qualifications for administrators and teachers.

Curriculum The Academy reported that AWARE’s curriculum is consistent with its goals for children and promotes learning and development in each of the following areas: social, emotional, physical, language and cognition. It said AWARE’s curriculum “draws on research that assists teachers in identifying important concepts and skills as well as effective methods for fostering children’s learning and development.” “When informed by teachers’ knowledge of individual children, a well-articulated curriculum guides teachers so they can plan learning experiences that foster children’s Continued on next Page 20

effective instructional approaches,” it said. “Whether one teacher works alone or whether a team works together, the instructional approach creates a teaching environment that supports children’s positive learning and development across all areas.”

growth across a broad range of developmental and content areas. A curriculum also helps ensure that the teacher is intentional in planning a daily schedule that (a) maximizes children’s acquisition of desired knowledge and skills through the effective use of time and materials and (b) offers opportunities for children to learn through play and structured activities individually and in groups according to their developmental needs and interests.

Assessment of child progress The Academy commended the program for using ongoing, systematic, formal and informal assessment approaches to provide information on children’s learning and development. “These assessments occur within the context of reciprocal communications with families and with sensitivity to the cultural contexts in which children develop,” the report said. “Assessment results are used to benefit children by informing sound decisions about children, teaching, and program improvement. “Teachers’ knowledge of each child helps them to plan appropriately challenging curricula and to tailor instruction that responds to each child’s strengths and needs. Further, systematic assessment is essential for identifying children who may benefit from more intensive instruction or intervention or who may need additional developmental evaluation.” This information ensures that the program meets its goals for children’s learning and developmental progress and also informs program improvement efforts, the report said. See Accreditation on Page 22

Teaching AWARE received a commendation for using “developmentally, culturally and linguistically appropriate and effective teaching approaches that enhance each child’s learning and development in the context of the program’s curriculum goals.” “Teaching staff who purposefully use multiple instructional approaches optimize children’s opportunities for learning,” the report said. “These approaches include strategies that range from structured to unstructured and from adult-directed to child-directed. “Children bring to learning environments different backgrounds, interests, experiences, learning styles, needs and capacities. Teachers’ consideration of these differences when selecting and implementing instructional approaches helps all children succeed.” Instructional approaches also differ in their effectiveness for teaching different elements of curriculum and learning, the report said. “For a program to address the complexity inherent in any teaching-learning situation, it must use a variety of

AWARE Inc. Early Head Start, based in Butte, is the only nationally accredited infant/ toddler training site in Montana. AWARE photo


Accreditation... Health The report praised AWARE for promoting nutrition and health and for protecting children and staff from illness and injury. “To benefit from education and maintain quality of life, children need to be as healthy as possible,” the report said. “Health is a state of complete physical, oral, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Children depend on adults to make healthy choices for them and to teach them to make healthy choices for themselves. Although some degree of risk taking is desirable for learning, a quality program prevents hazardous practices and environments that are likely to result in adverse consequences for children, staff, families or communities.” Teachers The Academy commended AWARE “for employing and supporting a teaching staff that has the educational qualifications, knowledge, and professional commitment necessary to promote children’s learning and development and to support families’ diverse needs and interests.” “The NAEYC Academy commends your teachers and assistants who fully meet the criteria related to educational qualifications,” the report said. “For those staff members who do not now fully meet the criteria, please encourage and provide support for staff to pursue ongoing training and education in the field of early childhood education and/ or child development. “Children benefit most when their teachers have high levels of formal education and specialized early childhood professional preparation. Opportunities for teaching staff to receive supportive supervision and to participate in ongoing professional development ensure that their knowledge and skills reflect the profession's ever-changing knowledge base.”

Community relationships AWARE’s work with communities paid off with a commendation “for effectively establishing and maintaining reciprocal relationships with agencies and institutions that can support it in achieving its goals for the curriculum, health promotion, children’s transitions, inclusion and diversity.” “As part of the fabric of children’s communities, an effective program establishes and maintains reciprocal relationships with agencies and institutions that can support it in achieving its goals for the curriculum, health promotion, children’s transitions, inclusion, and diversity,” the report said. “By helping to connect families with needed resources, the program furthers children’s healthy development and learning.” Physical environment The Academy said AWARE created an environment, both indoors and outdoors, that fosters the growth and development of the children. “The program’s design and maintenance of its physical environment support high-quality program activities and services as well as allow for optimal use and operation,” the report said. “Well-organized, equipped, and maintained environments support program quality by fostering the learning, comfort, health, and safety of those who use the program. Program quality is enhanced by also creating a welcoming and accessible setting for children, families, and staff.” Leadership and management The Academy praised AWARE “for administering a program efficiently and effectively, ensuring that all staff, children, and families are included. “The way in which a program is administered will affect all of the interactions within the program. Excellent programming requires effective governance structures, competent and knowledgeable leadership, as well as comprehensive and well-functioning administrative policies, procedures, and systems. Effective administration includes good communication among all involved persons, positive community relations, fiscal stability, and attention to the needs and working conditions of staff members. The program should be efficiently and effectively administered with attention to the needs and desires of children, families and staff.”

Families The Academy also noted that AWARE Early Head Start promotes “a reciprocal relationship between families and programs.” Such relationships are essential to ensure that programs meet the needs of the children and families they serve. “Young children’s learning and development are integrally connected to their families,” the report said. “Consequently, to support and promote children’s optimal learning and development, programs need to recognize the primacy of children’s families; establish relationships with families based on mutual trust and respect, support and involve families in their children’s educational growth; and invite families to fully participate in the program.”

About the National Association for the Education of Young Children Founded in 1926, NAEYC is the world’s largest organization “working on behalf of young children with nearly 100,000 members, a national network of over 300 local, state, and regional affiliates, and a growing global alliance of like-minded organizations.” 22

Jeremy Shields and Brad Evans, each owns his own home in Red Lodge because of the collaboration of partners and colleagues of NeighborWorks Montana. Photo courtesy of Montana Home Choice Coalition.

Extending a hand to all who need it Editor’s note: NeighborWorks Montana, a homeownership network, featured new homeowners Jeremy Shields and Brad Evans of Red Lodge in a recent publication titled “10 Years — Creating Homeownership Opportunities for Hardworking Montana Families.” The publication, produced by Fannie Mae, highlights a decade’s worth of success stories. Shields and Evans both purchased their own homes with help from AWARE Inc.’s Montana Home Choice Coalition.


wo young men in Red Lodge, Jeremy Shields and Brad Evans, are homeowners because of the collaboration of partners and colleagues of NeighborWorks Montana. Jeremy, a Crow tribal member, is a longtime Red Lodge resident and employee at Beartooth Industries. Brad moved to Red Lodge about 11 years ago from Billings, where his family still lives. Brad, who became a homeowner a year before Jeremy did, holds down several part-time jobs in Red Lodge. He told Jeremy how much he enjoyed owning a home and then said to him, “You should buy a home, too.” Brad had become a homeowner through the Homeownership Demonstration Project of the Montana Home Choice Coalition and the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services Developmental

Disabilities Program (DDP) in partnership with NeighborWorks Montana. The Montana Home Choice Coalition, led by AWARE Inc., works to create better housing choices for those with disabilities. Both Jeremy and Brad have developmental disabilities and both are served through the DDP program. Brad is 36 and Jeremy is 34. NeighborWorks Montana partners who worked together to make homeownership dreams come true for Brad and Jeremy included: The Developmental Disabilities Program; the Montana Home Choice Coalition, which provided homebuyer counseling, down-payment assistance, and coordinated the home buying process; Rural Development Housing Services-Bozeman office staff; Beartooth Industries’ support staff; AWARE Inc.; Beartooth RC&D (homebuyer education) and Red Lodge Realtors. Jeremy and Brad were both able to secure Rural Development Housing Services low-interest first mortgages. Additional financing from the NeighborWorks Montana in the form of a deferred mortgage at no interest allowed Jeremy to purchase a small condo in downtown Red Lodge, not far from the small, cottage-style home that Brad owns. Both Brad and Jeremy benefited from the See NeighborWorks on Page 24 23

NeighborWorks... affordability gap filler loan assistance of the DDP Home Choice Coalition Homeownership Initiative. Michael O’Neil, director of the Montana Home Choice Coalition and AWARE Program Officer, facilitated the process helping both men become homeowners. “They have all the things we look for in a homeowner,” O’Neil said, such as “a record of paying bills on time, good credit and a history of being hard workers.” The Home Choice Coalition credits NeighborWorks Montana for sharing its resources and supporting Coalition efforts statewide especially homeownership dreams of persons with disabilities. O’Neil says, “NeighborWorks Montana defines partnership — without their consistent support, the Coalition’s work to create homeownership opportunities would not be nearly as successful.” Brad’s real estate agent summed up the feeling of partnership throughout Red Lodge. She said that when Brad bought his house, “Everyone pulled for him. It was just the coolest thing.”

Grand opening... AWARE timed the grand opening to coincide with the annual community spring cleaning, which had a recycling theme this year. “The emphasis on recycling education was a perfect match for what we’re doing,” said Wendy Dyer, work services coordinator for the recycling center and Hope Thrift Store. To get ready for the event Corporate Facilities Manager Steve Francisco had to replace several hundred feet of

Brad Evans bought this home in Red Lodge with help from the Montana Home Choice Coalition and NeighborWorks.

a vinyl fence that blew down in a fierce windstorm last September. He also installed new signs. The center has placed bins inside the fence that make it easy for people to separate recyclable material. The center has also expanded its hours. Operating hours are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Drop-off hours are Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Hope Thrift Store is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

AWARE, Incorporated 205 East Park Avenue Anaconda, Montana 59711 1-800-432-6145

Printed on recycled paper



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