Request a Product Demo with Different Roads to Learning!

One of our favorite customers asked us to visit a group of special educators and speech and language pathologists at a school district in New Jersey. Natasha and I took the opportunity of a road trip to show some of our favorite products. We were both excited to do a “show-and-tell” demonstration to such a wonderful staff.

We have products that are invaluable BUT you have to see and touch it to understand how it could work to improve your students or the classroom.

Product Demo Collage

We showed our Function Wheels Behavior Kit and our ABA Curriculum for the Common Core books for Kindergarten and 1st Grade, as well as one of our bestsellers the MotivAider, the ALL PICS, and the new POWER-Solving curriculum. We passed our materials around to the teachers, and this engaged them with not only us but one another. The presentation facilitated and opened discussion amongst them as peers. It was a terrific morning.

We’re willing to travel by road two hours outside of the New York metropolitan area. Please let us know if you would like us to do a product demo for a group of your SLPs or autism specialists.

Looking forward,

Julie Azuma
Founder & CEO

“When This Mom Couldn’t Find What She Needed To Help Her Autistic Daughter, She Created A Site That Could”

We’re incredibly THRILLED to share this inspiring feature on our President and Founder Julie Azuma just published today on Huffington Post. Julie was recently featured in Marlo Thomas’ new book It Ain’t Over… Till It’s Overwhich reveals the stories of 60 different women who prove that it’s never too late to live out a dream. Brimming with anecdotes that will inspire smiles, tears, and—most of all—hope, Marlo Thomas’ book will speak to women of all ages.

Julie HuffPost Feature

We’re so proud of Julie and appreciate the invaluable help she’s given to so many. Congratulations, Julie!

 

Julie Azuma featured in the new Marlo Thomas book It Ain’t Over…Till It’s Over: Reinventing Your Life-and Realizing Your Dreams

Julie_Azuma_It_Aint_Over_PhotoWe are beyond excited to announce that our wonderful president and founder, Julie Azuma, is featured in the new Marlo Thomas book It Ain’t Over . . . Till It’s Over: Reinventing Your Life–and Realizing Your Dreams-Anytime, at Any Age.

It Ain’t Over . . . Till It’s Over introduces us to sixty amazing women who are proving that it’s never too late to live out a dream—to launch a business, travel the world, get a PhD, indulge a creative impulse, make a family recipe famous, escape danger, find love, or fill a void in life with a challenging new experience. Julie’s story of leaving her career in the fashion industry to start Different Roads to Learning after her daughter’s autism diagnosis is featured and will leave readers feeling uplifted and inspired.

Brimming with anecdotes that will inspire smiles, tears, and—most of all—hope, It Ain’t Over speaks to women of all ages with an empowering message: The best is yet to come! Congratulations to Julie on the well deserved recognition for her incredible  and inspiring efforts!

Meet Julie Azuma, President & CEO of Different Roads

Julie Azuma, Founder & CEO

Julie Azuma, Founder & CEO

We start our introduction to the Different Roads to Learning staff with no other than our President, founder and force extraordinaire, Julie Azuma. Julie is an incredible, tireless force, an advocate for families and an activist who never ceases to share her knowledge and expertise. Julie started Different Roads to Learning in 1995, a few years after her daughter Miranda was diagnosed with autism at the age of 6. Back then, autism was already rising with rates jumping from 1 in 2500 in 1985 to 1 in 500 in 1995, but well below the current estimates of 1 in 88 children, and 1 in 54 boys. In the maze of appointments, therapy sessions and doctors, she kept being told to find materials like 1-inch color cubes with no numbers or writing on them, or a specific non-distracting flashcard. As hard as she scoured the resources in New York City and on the web, she had an incredibly difficult time locating the materials that would help Miranda learn. With true entrepreneurial spirit and a fierce devotion to helping her daughter, Different Roads to Learning was launched in May of 1995 with about 30 products.

Julie started the company on the premise that parents who had home ABA programs needed help in finding the products for their children on the spectrum.  Since that time, schools across the country are now supporting Applied Behavior Analysis and Verbal Behavior teaching.  Tens of thousands of children have been mainstreamed by the age of five.  Our children are more capable in every way.

Today, Julie is proud that the mission of Different Roads has not changed. The goal remains to provide the most effective, affordable and appropriate materials out there to support students with Autism Spectrum Disorder in their social and academic growth.

Fun Fact:  Our URL is www.difflearn.com because back in the dark ages of the internet, you couldn’t string more than 9 digits together.

After 18 years, what do you look forward to every day?

Looking for new ways to connect with our kids. Whether it’s researching new products with Abigail at Toy Fair or looking for a way to create a new app….I love the idea of giving  our kids new opportunities to learn language and social skills.

What’s your hope for Different Roads in the next few years?

It’s my hope that Different Road endures in the years to come while giving kids the skills to mainstream.  We hope to help more children in Early Intervention and reach across the spectrum to support social skills for our students in school age programs.

Different Roads meets President Clinton! The UBS/CEO Mentorship Program Leads to the Creation of Different Roads to Learning App Tell Me About It!

It’s been a really exciting few months here at Different Roads to Learning and we wanted to share some of the highlights with you. Different Roads to Learning was one of ten small businesses selected for the CEO-UBS Small Business Advisory Program, a philanthropic partnership between UBS Wealth Management Americas and the William J. Clinton Foundation. Our App – Tell Me About It! – was developed by the incredible and innovative talent at inFusion, and is a product of this program.

The entire process was really exhilirating for all of us here. As a small business, we gained so much incredible knowledge and had the opportunity to work with a team of gifted individuals. And to top it all off, our App was unveiled at a dinner where we had the privilege of meeting President Clinton! That was a truly exciting night for all of us.

Julie and Abigail meet President Clinton along with our mentors Amy Butte and Sharon Sager

At the dinner, they even showed a short video about the making of Tell Me About It! which we wanted to share with you here. Along with interviews and demos, you’ll learn about how and why we created this App for children with Autism and a bit more about Different Roads in general. You can also read the full press release for Tell Me About it here. We hope you enjoy it!

 
 

We also wanted to share the absolutely wonderful reviews of Tell Me About It! that we’ve received thus far from trusted sites devoted to reviewing Apps for children and those with special needs:

Best Apps for Kids: http://bestappsforkids.com/2012/02/tell-me-about-it-learning-language-by-receptive-funtion-feature-category/

I Heart This App: http://iheartthisapp.com/tell-me-about-it-an-app-to-teach-labelling-to-a-child/

Special Apps, Special Kids: http://specialappsspecialkids.blogspot.com/2012/02/app-review-tell-me-about-it-different.html

 

Tell Me About It! App Press Release, Page 1

Tell Me About It! App Press Release, Page 2

Miranda and her Handbags

Everyone knows Julie, the president extraordinaire of Different Roads to Learning! For more than 16 years, she’s been sourcing new product, providing guidance and support on the phone, and helping families and organizations in the autism community. For those of you who haven’t had the privilege of talking to Julie, she’s an amazing storyteller. Every Monday morning, she has all of us in the office bent over with laughter or tears as she regales us with the stories of her weekned. As many of you know, Julie’s daughter Miranda has autism. The adventures that Julie and her family go through, the incredible highs and lows, are what inspire all of us every day. We’ve been encouraging Julie to share some of her stories as they’re what link us all together. So, here’s last weekend’s adventure….

Our daughter, Miranda, loves handbags.  She has a ton of them.  Some boys on the spectrum love trains and cars, she loves handbags and hairbands. We have actually had to build storage for her handbag collection.  I recently had to hide my handbags in the office closet to keep them out of her collection. 

 If we go to Kohl’s or to Target, she knows she gets another handbag.  She goes directly to that department. No matter how hard we try to say no, she always finds a way to get that handbag.  We go in for other things but come out with a handbag.  

The last time we went to Kohl’s, she needed a winter coat. Before we left, over and over again, I said “What are we going to get at Kohl’s?” and she said “handbag”.  I said “No, coat.”  She replied “coat”.   “What are we going to get, Miranda?”…the correct response came: “Coat.”  And we did that routine over and over again. Once in a while she would mutter “handbag” but I was on point!  “What are we going to get?”  “Coat!”

 Just before we went into the store, I reminded her of the other issue.  No screaming!

When we get inside, ”no screaming!”

 We walked into the front door of Kohl’s and Miranda is so excited and delighted to get there, she lets out a loud shriek of happiness!  The entire store goes quiet….and then a voice from Check Out #2 says “NO HANDBAGS for you today!”

“It’s not me, it’s the Timer.”

The timer is one of everyone’s favorite tools for structuring time and activities for children with autism. It can be incorporated into all parts of daily living.

It was once explained to me that a parent could blame the timer for everything that has to do with transitions.


“It’s not me, it’s the Timer.”

“I know you want to stay in the playground but the timer said it’s time to go home.” Or perhaps, “The timer thinks you might have to go to the potty again.” My favorite at Christmas is, “The timer will tell you when you can open another present.” At our house, the timer was the higher authority. The timer is a fair arbitrator. It didn’t respond to whining or behaviors and it very coolly and serenely had to be obeyed.

It works! You just have to remember to put it in place and use it before you enter the big struggle of wills.

It’s just a simple kitchen timer….BUT we needed one that could count down and count up, it had to have a magnet so it could be easily found on the refrigerator and a clip/stand so one of us could wear it or place it close to us at the table if we were working.

Along the way, we found the Time Timer, invented by a mom of mainstream kids who needed a visual for transitions to stop her kids from asking, “Are we there yet?” The Time Timer is a visual depiction of time elapsing. Kids on the spectrum have a tangible way to see time passing as the red dial disappears.

There are all kinds of timers, and implementing them into any aspect of the day can significantly help in cutting back problem behaviors and anxiety over what is happening next.
– Julie Azuma