SIX-YEAR-OLD Jacob Wenger Smith knows more about structure than most children his age, having spent the past two years in home-based therapy for autism.
For 40 hours a week, he participates in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), a one-on-one therapy. He is also on a restricted diet that does not allow dairy, gluten, beef or additives.
Jacob was 3 when his autism was diagnosed. After visits to specialists and a variety of tests, his parents, Steve and Doris Smith, decided that ABA might give Jacob the best chance for an independent future. A 1978 study demonstrated that of the children who began the program before age 5, almost half were functioning normally after two years.
In the nearly two years since Jacob began the program, his grandmother, Doris Wenger, has seen remarkable results.
"He's more focused," she said, speaking for the Glen Burnie family. "He dresses himself. He plays games. He responds to people."
But the intensive therapy comes at a price, costing the family about $30,000 annually.
The community has reached out to help through fund raising.
Muriel Carter, a longtime member of the Glen Burnie Improvement Association, is helping coordinate the next event - an art auction planned for Jan. 12 at Michael's Eighth Avenue.
The doors open at 7 p.m. for a preview, and bidding begins at 8 p.m. The auction, which will be presented by the Heisman Fine Arts Gallery of Ardmore, Pa., will include oils, prints, etchings and sculptures. At least 24 artists will be represented.
Admission is $10 and includes hors d'oeuvres, beverages and gourmet desserts. A cash bar will be open. Tickets are available in advance, or at the door.
Information: 410-761-8340 or 410-766-7723.
The Glen Burnie chapter of the National Association of Retired Federal Employees will meet at 1 p.m. Tuesday at Holy Trinity Church Hall, 7434 Baltimore-Annapolis Blvd.
Officer Joseph A. Hatcher, who runs the county Police Department's Senior Liaison Program, will discuss theft prevention.
Retired federal employees, their spouses and guests are invited to attend.
Information: Stan Jacobs at 410-969-5980.
The area chapter of AARP will meet Monday at the Glen Burnie Improvement Association Building, 19 Crain Highway. A board meeting at 11 a.m. will be followed by a social hour at noon with refreshments and a general meeting at 1 p.m.
Those attending are asked to bring nonperishable food items for donation to the North County Emergency Outreach Network.
Timing is everything. After a nonstop eating season that begins at Halloween, kicks into high gear at Thanksgiving and reaches its peak through the end-of-year holidays, it's no wonder that weight loss is an oft-heard New Year's resolution.
North Arundel Hospital hopes to ease the pain of dieting with a free weight-loss support group. The sessions begin at 6 p.m. Tuesday and continue monthly in the hospital's third-floor conference center.
The topic of the first session is "Weight Loss Strategies for 2001."
Registered dietitian Kristen Healy will lead the support group.