Mission: Optimal Rhythms is committed to supporting individuals to achieve their maximum potential, while building confidence and independence for living.
Our goals are simple:
To increase access to new and innovative autism services, improve the understanding of autism spectrum disorder, and create learning success stories - one student at a time.
Results: Since our start in April 2014, Optimal Rhythms has provided autism training to over 1000 people related to the movement and sensory differences of autism that are causing us to #rethinkautism and develop new supports and accommodations that allow non-speaking students to successfully access general education curriculum, develop reliable communication, improve behavioral outcomes, and gain improved family relationships and a hope for their future.
We have developed a following on social media and are a part of a greater community that is disseminating information that is supportive of our diligent work to change the way people understand and support individuals on the spectrum - especially those with no voice to speak for themselves.
We are beginning an expansion project that will require a new location and increased funding to develop early childhood programs and adult education programs to expand our reach.
We are working with government and legislative entities to seek support for research funding that will lead to improved access to services and supports that are truly making a difference for children and adults with autism who are trapped in bodies that don't work for them. We have the answer, but we need to be able to get our services to those who need them.
Target demographics: create access to educational opportunities and supports for non-speaking students on the autism spectrum
Direct beneficiaries per year: 150 conference attendees, 160 clients, 25+students, and over 250 local police officers
Geographic areas served: Southwest Indiana and beyond
Programs: a therapeutic day school program; annual Rethinking Autism Conferences; continuing education opportunities for teachers, administrators, physicians, therapists, direct care providers; family and caregiver trainings; clinical research in partnership with Colorado State University and others.
This is a fantastic group of people. They are changing the way we think about Austim by helping amazing kids find their voices. Because of this, we are finding that these kids have a lot to say and we have A LOT to learn.
My son(now 19) has been a music therapy client since he was 7 with Casey Depriest and continued with her when she created both Integrative Music Therapy and Optimal Rhythms and is also a student at ACCESS Academy. I have done most anything you can think of over the years to try and help my son communicate as he has been what we call severely autistic and non verbal. We were taught to approach him from a behavioral standpoint for years. I listened to the experts. I now, because of the willingness of Optimal Rhythms and their staff, look at autism In a completely different way. I now have communication through typing with my son. He has been an advocate in his education, medical issues , and every other area. He struggles with his body tremendously and so much right now is due to medical issues,which we would have assumed were behaviors before. He has access to a general education program now and peers that he can communicate, encourage and receive support from also. He has a staff that gives the supports he needs for his body and emotions. For example, when a medical issues landed him in the hospital for 3 days almost the entire staff came to visit. We are so thankful for Optimal Rhythms and ACCESS Academy. The entire staff goes above and beyond and everyone works together. Josh also won the self advocacy award from the Autism Society of Indiana, which of course is something we had never would have imagined. I know his goals are to be a missionary, an advocate, and get his diploma and attend college. These are not goals in had ever imagined for him and I am ashamed to say that now. We must presumed competence!!!
I really love the people at ACCESS Academy because now I have promise of a future . I can type my thoughts now. You have no idea what it is like to be trapped in silence for years. Over time I suspect normal people fully will understand but I need typing now not later. Be politically correct Stand up for your future . I am 19 years old and my name is Josh Berkau. My blog is joshandhisprayingheartonautism.com. It can tell you some of my experiences at ACCESS Academy.