ANKENY – With the cost of therapy for individuals with neurological disorders increasing and state education budgets being cut at historic rates, parents and teachers are hard-pressed to provide for children with autism and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. One central Iowa company is working to stem the tide of rising costs and provide real help to parents by coordinating a one-day conference in Des Moines on Dec. 5.
The conference, “Unlocking Autism: Peace Within the Noise,” is being organized by b-Calm, an Ankeny firm that manufactures noise control systems, in cooperation with Easter Seals Iowa. It will feature a variety of experts talking to parents about topics ranging from new therapies to defending their child’s civil rights. It will be at Hy-Vee Hall in Des Moines, Iowa from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The cost of the conference is $25 (Pre-Registration is $20). Lunch will be provided.
“Our goal for the conference is to raise awareness in Iowa to families, school districts, service providers, and local agencies on the need for early detection, evaluation, diagnosis and intervention strategies for children with autism and/or ADHD,” said Brent Carmichael, who leads b-Calm’s new non-profit organization called “Champions of Autism and ADHD.”
Carmichael, who also is the parent of an autistic son, added, “Even as a small company, we’re out to do some big things. It’s a real blessing to be able to give back and we’re excited to give back to community through a variety of different programs, beginning with a conference in Des Moines on December 5.”
In early 2008, Dr. Ken Budke, a Cedar Falls dentist, and a small group of engineers developed a system for calming fearful dental patients. The simple noise control system hid the disturbing noise of the dental office with an engineered mix of sounds from nature. Patients to Dr. Budke’s office enjoyed the escape from the typical dental experience. As Dr. Budke recalls, “A young boy with autism came to my office very frightened. His grandmother and I decided to try to relax him with our b-Calm system. We were amazed when he calmed down and I was able to work on his teeth. I knew right away we needed to look at what the b-Calm system could do to help autistic kids in other areas.”
Dr. Budke sent his engineering team back into the lab to develop a b-Calm system exclusively for autistic kids. “We immediately started working with a local elementary school to hear from the teachers if a system like ours would help in the classroom,” said Curtis Carroll, audio engineer for b-Calm. “We found that by blocking the distracting sounds of the classroom with a b-Calm system, student behavior and concentration improved. I have a stack of evaluations on my desk from teachers that were excited by how easy this was and how much it helped.” In late 2008, b-Calm launched their AudioSedation system for autistic and ADHD students. Its low cost and ease of use have made it a favorite among local teachers.
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