Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Durand Academy & Community Services Employees of the Month - March & April 2014

Congratulations to our newly named Employees of the Month!

March 2014: Eric Hall -  Hawk Lane Group Home

March 2014: Tanya Carmickel - Mt. Laurel ATS Program



April 2014: Monique Hawkins- Fox Chase Group Home

April 2014: Kim Troy - Woodbury ATS Program

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Sleepless in New Jersey

By Irisa Leverette, Contributing BloggerWe are happy to introduce our new guest blogger and “Warrior Mom” Irisa Leverette! Irisa resides in NJ and has an 8 year old son Darius. At 3 years old, Darius was diagnosed with Autism. In the monthly blog series, Irisa will be sharing what life is like as she and her husband raise Darius.

As I was preparing to write this second blog post, I was wondering, what from my “Autism World” should I write about?  My mind was deluged with so many ideas; I thought my head was going to explode. When Darius was diagnosed as a toddler, I did not understand Autism. I ruminated about this disorder that had taken me to an unfamiliar place. I had to get answers. So, I grabbed my mouse and began surfing the web. The internet was an emporium for articles and real life stories about Autism. These articles were helpful; however, experience has been my real teacher.

One of the most exhausting things that I have experienced is sleep deprivation. It came as a package deal with Autism. I thought my sleep deprived days were over when Darius was no longer an infant. For years, sleep deprivation completely debilitated me. I never knew what time we were going to bed. My internal clock was in constant conflict with my external clock. I ran on Darius’ time. We had an unofficial midnight routine in place. Either we were waking after midnight or going to bed after midnight. For some reason, I was able to handle going to bed late but being woken up in the middle of the night was a nightmare. I had this kid that was full of steam, blasting music, dancing and singing. If you were to peek in our window, you would think it was 12PM instead of 12AM. There were times I almost dozed off. It is very easy to do when you are not the one partying. To keep from falling asleep, I would do housework, grade papers, and prepare his lunch for school.

I had to do something to solve our sleep problem. Sleep is very important for a growing child. Plus, I needed adequate sleep to take care of him. I decided to develop a pre-bedtime routine. Each night at 9pm, I give him a bath. He loves water. He splashes water everywhere and I am usually soaked and wet when it is over. After his bath, we brush his teeth. By the time we are finished, toothpaste is all over the sink and half of his teeth are cleaned. Finally, he lies in bed listening to music or watching a video on his tablet. He falls asleep about 30 to 40 minutes later.

This routine has been a lifesaver for us. It has cut our sleepless nights down to about three a month. As a write this, it is close to midnight. I am waiting for Darius to fall asleep. Tonight, after his bath, he was chugging around like Thomas the Tank Engine. You would think that he had skittles for dinner. He still wanted to party like a rock star. Now, he is watching Barney on Youtube and not dancing around the room. Once in awhile, Autism wins. No matter how challenging it is, I don’t deter from his bedtime routine not even on weekends or holidays. Routines are hard to get started but easily broken.

Hopefully, Darius will fall asleep soon.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Durand Academy and Community Services, Inc.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Two of Durand’s Newest Board-Members Receive Honors

We are delighted to announce the achievements of two of Durand’s newest board members.  Dr. Jacqueline Kaari (A&CS Board), has been selected as one a “Top Children’s Physician” in 2014 and Eleanor Kubacki (Foundation Board) has been selected as one of the “Best 50 Women in Business” 2014. Please see the links below:

Eleanor Kubacki, “Best 50 Women in Business” 2014


http://www.njbiz.com/article/20140213/AWARDS/140219841/Eleanor-Kubacki---Best-50-Women-in-Business


Dr. Jacqueline Kaari - Top Children’s Physician













http://www.southjersey.com/articles/?articleID=29124&pageid=0&categoryid=175

Friday, March 7, 2014

Durand welcomes children of the late Dr. Simone Durand-Schulmann

The Durand Academy and Community Services Board and Durand Foundation Board welcomed son and daughter of our agency’s founder, the late Dr. Simone Durand-Schulmann. After words of reflection, the brother and sister presented a picture of their mother. The picture of Dr. Durand- Schulmann will be hung in the Durand Academy, where her vision for our agency began.
Pictured from left to right: 
Richard Hoffman
Chair - Durand Academy and Community Services Board

Jim Adair
Former Chair - Durand’s Foundation Board

George Schulmann
Son of Dr. Durand- Schulmann, Founder of Durand Academy and Community Services., Inc.
President of Motorcar Colors

Diana Glendinning, Ph.D
Daughter of Dr. Durand- Schulmann, Founder of Durand Academy and Community Services., Inc.
Rutgers University Associate Professor, Course Director: Neuron, Brain and Behavior

Dennis Rivell
Chairman – Durand’s Foundation Board

Ray Cristofoletti
CEO- Durand Academy and Community Services

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Career Day at Durand

Durand will be conducting ON SITE interviews during Career Day.
Details can be found by clicking on the PDF below or on the Career Day page of our website: http://www.durandac.org/career-day/

In order to interview, candidates must be on site and registered by 10 am.  No walk ins will be accepted after that time:

Wednesday, March 12, 2014 10am – 1pm
Durand Academy and Community Services, Inc.
111 Gaither Drive,  Suite 101
Mount laurel, NJ 08054

For the following positions:

Instructors (AM and PM shifts)
Substitute Instructors

Durand provides services to the developmentally disabled & behaviorally challenged individuals. Positions provide direct care and support in life skills, transportation and integration into the community for residents.

REQUIREMENTS:

  • Candidates must be at least 18 year old.
  • Must have a minimum of a High School Diploma or GED.
  • Must hold a valid driver’s license.
  • Must have a clean criminal record and driving record.
  • Experience working with special needs individuals preferred.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Durand Academy & Community Services Employees of the Month - February 2014

Congratulations to our newly named Employees of the Month!

Peter Jorgenson: Woodbury ATS Program
Lisa Buck:             Cherry Hill Group Home

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

I Am Just An Ordinary Mom With An Extraordinary Son

By Irisa Leverette, Contributing Blogger

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Durand Academy and Community Services, Inc.

I have played many roles in my life: a child, teenager, sister, friend, student, tutor, professor, wife and mother. Unbeknownst to me, my biggest part began when I had my son Darius. Like most couples, my husband and I were excited having our first child together. However, the role of being parents was not new to us.

In September of 2001, seven days after the terrorists attack on the World Trade Center, I was mourning the loss of my mother, Lillis. After her death, I had to step in and become the caregiver of my dying sister, Veronica and her two children. My sister succumbed to her illness on September 28. It was exactly ten days after my mother. After her passing, we were granted full custody of my nephew Kharey and niece Asia. In all honesty, I thought my mother was going to outlive my sister. I never imagined life without my mother. It is silly to say, but at that time, I thought my mother was going to live forever. I never felt so much pain as when she passed.

On a snowy day in December of 2004, we welcomed our little guy. He was actually a whopper
instead, weighing in at 8 pounds and 11 ounces. He was on time with all his developmental milestones. Darius even started walking at ten months. Then at eighteen months, we noticed that our little guy was different. He was not responding to his name and started talking less. By the time he was three years old, he was diagnosed with Autism.

Today, Autism is my life. It is always on my mind. It is always with me in some shape or form. I want to spread Autism Awareness and Acceptance. I am a Warrior Mom on the battlefield every day. Autism is not a curse; it is just a different world. It is the world that Darius lives in. It is where 1 in 49 children in New Jersey live.

Autism is like a rollercoaster ride: ups and downs and twists and turns. It is the same way that most people view life in general. You have to take it day by day. I used to get stuck in my own negative thoughts. I spent hours crying and feeling hopeless.

I have learned, if you try to couple the present and the future, you will be a walking time bomb. It is okay to shed some tears. I know that it’s healthy and not a sign of weakness. In trying times, you can’t quit trying. God chose me to be Darius’ mother. I have to wrap my mind around HOPE: Having Only Positive Expectations. The Little things are my BIG things.

Autism has taught me to worry about the future less and enjoy the little things in life. You can have a happy Autism Life.

I am not an expert in Autism. Everything I learned about Autism, I learned from Darius. He has taught me how to think outside the box. With this knowledge, it is my responsibility to prepare my son for the world as much as it is to prepare the world for my son.

I am just an Ordinary Mom with an Extraordinary Son.

We are happy to introduce our new guest blogger and “Warrior Mom” Irisa Leverette! Irisa resides in NJ and has an 8 year old son Darius. At 3 years old, Darius was diagnosed with Autism. In the monthly blog series, Irisa will be sharing what life is like as she and her husband raise Darius.