What is Social Skills Today (SST)?
Our Purpose is to provide respite opportunities for families of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Asperger's Syndrome and other social, communication, sensory, and behavioral needs through the avenues of: Summer Camp Programs, Monthly Social Skills Groups, and Overnight Weekend Retreats. It is our goal to provide social skills training, behavioral accommodations, and language-building activities in a safe and enriching environment for individuals functioning at all levels ages four to young adults.
Mary J. O’Connell worked in the Gwinnett County Public Schools for over seventeen years teaching children with Autism, before retiring in May 2012. She has experience working with children affected by all levels of Autism. She holds a Masters Degree from Georgia State and is a Highly Qualified Certified teacher in the state of Georgia.
Mary is the director of Social Skills Today. Social Skills Today (SST) manages several programs and events in Gwinnett and Roswell including Spectrum Camps and Clubs ’ and Roswell Adaptive Friendship Camp.
Over the past ten years SST has expanded its programs to include Social Skills groups, summer camps, and overnight respite for children with Autism and their siblings. As the director, she provides high quality instructional leadership guiding the teachers and staff toward developing meaningful and measurable outcomes for individuals with social interaction and behavioral needs. Her vision for Social Skills Today is to continue to expand into other counties within Georgia and provide more activities for children with Autism.
Mary is also the founder, and a board member of New Directions Georgia, a day program she started for adults with moderate or severe Autism. In addition to directing Social Skills Today, Mary enjoys educating adults and teachers at educational conferences. Mary has presented at the Autism 101 Conference sponsored by the Georgia Chapter of the Autism Society of America, and several Autism Conferences in Georgia and North Carolina. In the school system, Mary designed and provided many training courses on a variety of educational issues, and instructional strategies. She is an instructor for the Spectrum Kommunity Inclusion Program (SKIP), a program, which provides trainings on Autism to community organizations wanting to include children and adults with Autism.
Mary is on the board of the Swansong Foundation and has cooperatively written an introductory sailing curriculum for families of child affected by Autism.
She looks at each day as a chance to change the lives of persons affected by Autism. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her children, grandchildren, traveling and reading.
Adrian Trotter has a passion for working with individuals with autism and loves every minute she is with them. Over the past eight years, she’s taught a Self-Contained Level 2 ASD classroom in Gwinnett County Public Schools. She graduated from The University of Georgia in 2001 with a Bachelors of Science in Child and Family Development. In 2011, she earned a Masters in Early Childhood Special Education with a concentration in multiple and severe disabilities from Georgia State University. During the summers she has worked various camps, which include Special Needs Schools of Gwinnett Summer Enrichment Program, Spectrum- Summer Day Camp, and Camp Journey overnight camp.
She is very excited to be working with Socials Skills Today in order to be able to touch the lives of children and adults who have autism. Adrian is presently the site supervisor for Spectrum Summer Day Camp in Lawrenceville and the Assistant Director for Camp Journey.