Wheeling Jesuit University

Psychology Club Service Project Offers Treat for Special Learners

The university's psychology club invited students from the Augusta Levy Learning Center to campus for October fun as the college students treated the youngsters to Halloween goodies along with other learning activities.

Senior Tim Wright and Dr. Debra Hull organized the afternoon party with lots of help from psychology majors.

WJU students Kayla Lewellen and Danielle Longerbeam helped the children make pumpkin faces and Sallie Minor read stories while others painted faces. Cailtin Beam, Amanda Stover, and Julianna Arner made special treats, and Lexa Hamilton-Cotter and Andi Davis provided candy.

Interns Tim DeFilippis, Laura Collins, Megan Keenan, and Melissa Kahriman, who work at the center, helped the children trick-or-treat to offices on campus. The Career Development Office provided treat bags and coloring books.

The children, aged 3-7, came dressed in costume and were greeted by a college student mouse, angel, cowboy on his horse, butterfly, soccer player, and soldier.

The Augusta Levy Learning Center was established in June 2005 as the only intensive autism treatment program in the Ohio Valley. (Sallie Minor reads to the children and guests at the Halloween festivities in Ignatius Hall.)

The psychology club is open to any interested WJU student and it promotes interest in psychology, while providing service to the community and providing networking opportunities for the Wheeling Jesuit students. Dr. Bryan Raudenbush is the faculty mentor.

Utilizing methods pioneered and proven by Dr. Lovaas of UCLA, and under the guidance of the Lovaas Institute For Early Intervention (LIFE), the Levy Center aims to transform the lives of children afflicted with autism while enhancing their language, social, academic, and independent living skills of its students through a year-round, intensive, one-on-one therapeutic program.

Through the use of these research-based methods, the center achieves progress for its students, while serving as a resource for area school districts in West Virginia and Ohio.

"The goal of the Levy Center is to enable its students to return to more typical classroom settings in their home school districts and currently, nearly 40 percent of its students are in the process of transitioning to typical schools," according to Kathy Shapell, executive director of the center, located now in North Wheeling.

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