Education

Photograph Erika Heyliger holding a certificate in front of her with both hands
Thu, March 22, 2018
A wise man once said, “A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” For Erika Heyliger, this quote embodies her experience working at YAI. While being a DSP is challenging, she also thinks it's one of the most rewarding fields she's ever been in. She loves knowing she's having a positive impact on the lives of other people. In fact, the people she supports motivated Erika to go back to school and pursue an M.S.W. at Adelphi University's School of Social...
Photograph of Dorian Chandler (L) and Sonja Williams (R)
Wed, November 29, 2017
Broomfield, CO: YAI Director of Training Sonja Williams was a featured speaker at the 2017 Coleman Institute Conference on Cognitive Disability and Technology in Colorado. Almost 500 people attended the event on November 2nd from all parts of the US, Canada and Great Britain. The annual conference, now in its 17th year, is uniquely focused on cognitive disabilities and technology.
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Mon, January 04, 2016
Bonnie Schinagle, a special education attorney, shares her advice to parents of children with disabilities. Learn more by attending our upcoming Autism Family Support Series on Jan. 14, 2016.
Mon, April 02, 2012
When trees begin to blossom and warm weather rolls in I start to get really excited for summer. Not for the beach or extravagant vacations. This means that summer camp is near and for years and years that meant packing a trunk crammed with nalgene bottles, as many socks as it could hold, crazy costumes and lots of sunblock and heading to the woods. As a child, this was usually for 2 or 3 weeks at a time, as a teenager a month, and as a counselor and group leader for 10 glorious weeks during...
Wed, August 22, 2012
Vacationing is not for the faint of heart. Under any circumstances. With YAI it's long hours, hard work, and requires creativity, empathy, organization and a whole long list of other things but it's also the best experiences of my life. But when YAI travels, I feel as if it's almost magical. This is ridiculous sounding, I know. But something unexplainable happens to staff and travelers alike. Sing a silly song in front of others knowing I have a terrible voice? Sure why not! Try something...
Fri, February 17, 2012
A recent post by Sarah Baier, titled, “Never an Acceptable Use of the R Word,” brought back memories. I recall my everyday struggles I went through in school. I remember being told I was "a retard" when I couldn’t do something right! “You can’t play with us because you don’t know how to play or being called a loser! Whenever I wanted to be down with the crew, I remember being called on in class to participate by the teacher and not saying much, not doing well on examinations. People wondered '...
Tue, February 07, 2012
A camp friend shared this link with me and it got me thinking about the 'R' word. I grew up at a camp where YAI ran their summer camp and where this word just wasn't used, along with any other slurs for that matter. No one would even think of using it. And working at YAI it certainly isn't used. And then there are moments when I'm reminded that this isn't always the world. Such as my student teaching experience in college where my "role model" teacher, would ask for help because she was "so...
Tue, February 21, 2012
I worked in residential/service coordination in Virginia, my home state, for about five years. So when I read that Virginia will close four state institutions for people with developmental disabilities and move thousands of people to their own homes, their family's houses or group homes as part of a settlement announced recently with the U.S. Justice Department, I thought this is great news about a move in direction that is long overdue. The agreement came after a scathing federal report of the...
Thu, February 23, 2012
I recently picked up and am in the middle of reading "The Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man's Quest to be a Better Husband" by David Finch. While I have mixed feelings about it so far it is witty, insightful and an interesting read. The author discovers that he is an 'aspie' (a person with Asperger's syndrome) in his 30s. But the main take away I have is that this is a man who is trying to understand himself, his world and how to navigate it better...
Sun, January 15, 2012
"A right delayed is a right denied." Today I am thinking about my grandfather and father gathered around a radio listening to Dr. King saying these words as he fought for the inclusion of people like my family. How odd that 50 years later I am in Amman, Jordan with a group of people who hold the same belief and are working to ensure that people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (I/DD) are included in society. I am here with my colleagues Perry Samowitz and Fawzi Abu Hassish as...

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