BU’s Jones Center hosts institute on autism

For immediate release: June 13, 2008

BLOOMSBURG — “Building Partnerships for Individuals with Autism” is the theme of the first institute sponsored by Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania’s new Jones Center for Special Education Excellence. The institute, for community service providers, educators and medical professionals, as well as individuals with exceptionalities and their parents, family members and caregivers, will be held in BU’s Kehr Union Ballroom Thursday, July 10, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. and Friday, July 11, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The Jones Center for Special Education Excellence was established by the family of Bill and Joan Jones, in association with BU’s Department of Exceptionality Programs, to help individuals with exceptionalities and their families. The center sponsors professional development programs, educational institutes, family support and scholarships, said Sheila Dove Jones, professor of exceptionality programs at BU.

Bill Jones came to BU in 1964 as the first chairperson of the special education department. Four of Bill and Joan Joneses’ six children, two of their daughters-in-law and their granddaughter, Kimberly Jones, majored in special education at BU. “We truly are a family of teachers in the field of special education,” Sheila Jones said.

For the Jones Center’s first institute, Frank Williams, director of special education and early childhood for the Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit, will deliver the keynote address, “Influence Makes a Difference.” Other highlights include a report on the state task force on autism, an overview of the Jones Center and breakout sessions on collaboration, advocacy, medical aspects of autism and teaming to meet the needs of students with autism.

In addition to Bill and Joan Jones and other members of their family, presenters include Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network representatives Anne Katona-Linn, education consultant, and Amiris Dipuglia, parent consultant; Ricki Boyle, director of student support services, Danville Area School District; and Dr. Scott Myers, pediatric neurodevelopmentalist, Geisinger Medical Center.

“The dream of the Jones Center is to ensure that all individuals with exceptionalities receive appropriate education and support services that are derived from their unique abilities and talents. And that they are provided by professionals willing and equipped to use educational methods that produce meaningful, measurable and successful outcomes,” Sheila Jones said.

Bloomsburg University is one of 14 universities in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. The university serves approximately 8,000 students, offering comprehensive programs of study in the colleges of Professional Studies, Business, Liberal Arts and Science and Technology.