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Redwood Falls Gazette: Autism Speaks

Inspirational Public Speakers on Autism
Listen, Learn, Laugh and you'll love Stefan and Barb Kavan


While in eighth grade, Stefan Kavan had a goal on his individual education plan (IEP) addressing self-advocacy. Stefan put a short power point slide presentation together and delivered his message in front of 120 of his peers in the media center at his school. Stefan shared his interests, passions, and struggles. His peers discovered that though his interests were primarily roads and trains, he also liked to swim, bike and jump on a trampoline. He also drove a 4-wheeler like some of the other guys. He shared that he "liked" his autism, and though he was different, he was comfortable with who he was.

Shortly after that, Stefan and Barb Kavan began presenting as a mother-son tag-team. So began, "Educating Trainman," a story on autism and how it impacts us on a daily basis. We have presented to parent groups, general and special education service providers, and school administrators. Our message is one of hope and promise!

The message and story resulted in our coauthored book called, TRAINMAN. Stefan's personal elementary experiences, published by the Autism Asperger's Publishing Company, focuses on acceptance and developing friendships through special interests. TRAINMAN'S vibrant illustrations by artist-illustrator Michaelin Otis draw the reader into Stefan's world.
Included in the book are examples and teaching tools provided by Kari Dunn Buron, author of "The 5-pt. Scale". These visual examples are terrific resources and point to the evidence base underlying the importance of working with children's special interests.

Trainman: Gaining Acceptance... and Friends ... Through Special Interests Awards
2012 Winner of the 8th Annual Teacher's Choice Award for the Family
2010 Honorable Mention at New England Book Festival

For more information, please contact us at: barb@trainmanandmom.com



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