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Fund raisers to benefit autism school, causes

By Staff | Nov 10, 2008

Peace by Piece Learning Center, a not-for-profit school in North Fort Myers specializing in children with Autism, will host a fund-raising event in November at Anthony’s On The Boulevard.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the school which employs a specialized curriculum to educate children with autism and other similar disorders.

The prevalence of autism is increasing across the world. Today, it is estimated that 1 in every 150 children will be diagnosed with the disorder. Reported cases of the disorder are also growing each year by more than 10 percent.

There are various explanations of the growth of autism from certain types of vaccinations containing mercury, genetic dispositions and the notion that in the past not much was known about the disorder.

The school is asking for sponsors to put forward donations of food, beverages and raffle prizes for the event.

“We are asking for the community’s assistance in making this event one to remember,” said Tracey Demarest, director of Development and Fundraising for Peace by Piece. “All proceeds will help offset the cost of our school year and help us raise the necessary funds in order to accommodate the growing demand for this specialized education opportunity.”

The school offers a curriculum that features a teacher-to-student ratio of 1:1, 2:1 and 3:1. Every student’s curriculum is individualized and places on emphasis on developing academics, socialization abilities and communication.

Specifically, they use ABA or a behavioral modification technique to help a child communicate verbally and non-verbally, according to Dr. Renee Terrasi, director of Peace by Piece. An errorless learning style helps children to learn a concept through a series of prompts.

Current research shows that earlier academic interventions for children with autism benefits them in the long run. Most children are diagnosed at 5 or 6, but the disorder can be discovered as young as 2 or 3.

Students can afford to attend the school through McKay scholarships, but the staff at Peace by Piece won’t discriminate on any child based on socioeconomic status.

“We want to be able to offer the most advanced curriculum and programs possible, but they come at an expense,” said Demarest.

Two other fund raisers will be held in November.

On Nov. 8 the Estero Community Park will host the Autism Speaks’ Walk Now For Autism from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event is sponsored by Southwest Florida’s Beasley Broadcast radio stations and benefits North America’s largest grassroots autism organization.

Participants will walk in teams with thousands of others to raise money for Autism Speaks and all of the proceeds will benefit research on the disorder.

Rhythm In Motion Dance Academy will present a Ballroom and Latin Dance Showcase to benefit children with autism Nov. 16. Doors will open at the La Venezia Ballroom at 6 p.m. with a cocktail reception, live music and open dancing.The showcase will start at 6:45 p.m. with performances by the students and staff of Rhythm In Motion Dance Academy. The evening includes a four-course dinner, live music, performances, and open dance until 10:30 pm. Jerry McBride of WINK TV, and Sharon Harrington, Lee County Supervisor of Elections, will be two of the performers that evening.

Tickets are available at Rhythm in Motion Dance Academy, 3333 Del Prado Blvd, Cape Coral FL 33904, or by phone, 542-3500. The tickets are $65 per person and are tax deductible.

Tickets also available at the door.