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Autism education expert helps local teachers address autism in creative ways

By KATRINA SMITH

HERKIMER, N.Y. (WKTV) - The Herkimer ARC welcomed an autism education expert Tuesday and Wednesday to help teachers with how to address autism in a more creative way.

Joanne Lara, president of Autism Movement Therapy, Inc, got some local teachers moving to the music.

"The individuals who are participating in the workshop today are hoping to be able to build strategy," Lara said.

Lara is serving as a technical advisor on a new network television show starring Kiefer Sutherland called "Touch." In it, Sutherland stars as the father of an autistic child.

Parents, professors, caregivers, dancers, and individuals attending Wednesday's event developed skills and strategies for instruction of Autism Movement Therapy movement and music class.

The classes focus on connecting the left and right hemispheres of the brain to help keep students on-task with the activities at hand.

"What we're wanting to do here is make sure our kids, individuals have access to the arts and that's music, the arts, dance, yoga, fitness, theatre, visual arts," Lara said. "All the arts stimulate the brain areas that don't normally get stimulated."

Lara says during her years of teaching, she realized she always had music playing, and saw that when she presented academic information to them, it was easier for the students to process the information.

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