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parenting MAY 2018




FOSTER FAMILIES Changes for working moms at Granite State companies

What you need to know about IEPs


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Parenting New Hampshire Magazine® is published by McLean Communications, 150 Dow St., Manchester, NH 03101, (603) 624-1442. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without the written permission of the publisher is prohibited. The publisher assumes no responsibility for any mistakes in advertisements or editorial. Statements/opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect or represent those of this publication or its officers. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, McLean Communications, LLC.: Parenting New Hampshire Magazine disclaims all responsibility for omission and errors.

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• contents


Becoming a foster parent


16 26 Get ready for prom

What you need to know about IEPs



Support for working moms The Granite State’s best from NH companies picnic spots departments From the Editor’s Desk


The Short List

I Want That

Cook with Your Kids Dad on Board

Learning Curve

House Calls

Raising Teens & Tweens

Out and About

Five for Families

6 8 10 34 36 37 38 39 40 43

may 2018 5

from the editor’s desk IT MIGHT BE TIME FOR US TO CALL IT QUITS We have been attached for nine or so years but now I’m questioning our relationship. It’s not you, it’s me. Most of our daily interactions were positive up until last year. But even when our conversations about politics became contentious, I did not doubt we’d make it through. We were spending pretty much every day together. But lately I’m wondering if something is missing between the two of us. All this togetherness is starting to freak me out. When we first met, it was great. You were interested in everything I had to say, even if it was just about what I was eating or the weather. Through you I was able to talk with so many people from work and high school, from all over the country. You were there in good times — engagements, marriages and births and vacations — and in bad times — breakups, deaths, and medical issues. I knew I could turn to you 24/7, and you’d be there for me. Things changed though. I used to spend time with you at my leisure, but I am now compelled to or I feel like I’m missing out. You keep prompting me for my status and want me to check in wherever I am. All day you try to get my attention with notifications and you want me to like everything (or to be wowed or sad or angry) but that’s a lot to ask when I am trying to work and get things done. And what’s with wanting me to be friends with certain people, like my exes. Why is that? Why do you want to share me with everyone? I know you are just making friend suggestions, but like your daily reminders of how much you remember about my life, it sometimes makes me sad. Nothing like being reminded about stupid things I did a few years ago or the people I love who are no longer

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around. Maybe I shouldn’t have told you anything since you keep throwing it in my face. I know you are thinking that I’m re-evaluating us because you went around and told companies my private information. But really, it isn’t. I never expected you to keep all my secrets. I will admit that recently I’ve limited my contact with you for days at a time to try to remember what my life was like before we met. It’s been good, though people often ask if something is wrong because they haven’t seen us together in a while. At the moment I am keeping my options open to see how things go with us. I don’t want you completely out of my life because there are still things I like about you. But I need my space and to not feel I have to be with you all the time. For us being so connected, I feel so disconnected. There are so many things I want to do on my own, like talk to people in the real world so I can engage in substantive conversations and strengthen those real-life connections. Even if we can’t see each other and we text, it’ll be a step up. You know what, Facebook? Maybe it is you.

Melanie Hitchcock, Editor

It’s coming! Don’t miss our award-winning Family Summer Fun Guide. Coming in June, this full-color magazine is the ultimate resource for parents looking for things to do and places to go in New Hampshire. Whether planning a day trip or your family’s vacation, this guide will ensure blue skies ahead for all your summer adventures!



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This month on

Mom, Memorial Day and outdoor fun

May Day! May Day! May is on its way. These web-exclusive lists will help you plan out your month whether you are searching for that special Mother’s Day event or you are looking for a Memorial Day parade in your town. • Mother’s Day weekend events: • Memorial Day parades in New Hampshire: • A guide to gardening with your kids: • New Hampshire’s state parks: • For all things spring: And don’t forget to check out Parenting NH’s events calendar listing at for other fun things to do throughout the month.

Check out these giveaways – you can’t win if you don’t enter! Remick Country Doctor Museum & Farm in Tamworth is celebrating all things dandelion and they want you to join in the fun.. You can enter to win passes to the Dandelion Festival being held Saturday, May 19, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Taste dandelion jelly, dandelion fritters, dandelion flower honey and more. Check out cooking, canning, and preserving demonstrations. Explore the health benefits of the dandelion through new exhibits, and sample bitters, cordials, wine, root beer and tea. There will also be face-painting, yoga, and hands-on crafts. Go to remick to enter to win by May 13. For more event details, go to

Camp Birch Hill in New Durham is sure to be your child’s home away from home. Camp Birch Hill specializes in skill development and exploring new interests, with a focus on fun. With activities from horseback riding to ultimate Frisbee and volleyball to swimming, there’s something for everyone and kids are sure to create friendships and memories for a lifetime. Enter to win a two-week summer session for a boy or girl age 6-12 at Camp Birch Hill valued at $2,500. The winner can choose from Session I (June 24-July 7) or Session III (July 22-Aug. 4). Go to birchhill by May 15 to enter.

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Hooksett child care program will help children who have experienced trauma The Merrill Johnson Early Childhood Program has been selected to participate in a special project sponsored by the Preschool Technical Assistance Network (PTAN) with funding provided by The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, William H. Greenough Fund. This year-long project specifically addresses the mental health needs of preschool children and their parents who receive child care services at MJECP. This project expands upon those services PTAN offers to licensed child care programs statewide through their grant funding from the NH Department of Health and Human Services, Bureau of Child Development and Head Start Collaboration. MJECP staff, through a collaboration with PTAN and The Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester, will have access to targeted professional development, technical assistance and in-class coaching. Parents can participate in a series of meetings to discuss strategies that support their child’s social-emotional development and mental health needs. Parents will also receive information about how and where to access community resources and mental health supports. The Merrill Johnson Early Childhood Program is a licensed-plus child care center in Hooksett serving children from age 12 months through school age. For more information, contact Meriba Johnson, Director at 935-8260.


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Wearable art for mom Turn children’s artwork into jewelry to be treasured forever. Formia Design uses a photo or children’s drawing and produces the exact same design to create a precious metal keepsake you can wear anywhere you go. Each item is handmade. Choose from necklaces, rings, charm bracelets, bracelets, earrings, key chains, and more. Available at; prices vary

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The Petruzzis, from left to right, Dave, Nevaeh, Connie and Meghan during a hike. They also hope to adopt another child currently in their care. Courtesy photo

How becoming a foster parent changed the lives of 3 families By Pamme Boutselis

12 may 2018

Open heart,


e’re often drawn to stories in the media of families in circumstances that demand someone step in and provide care for their children. Yet, all around us, in situations that aren’t as public, there are kids quietly in peril. Perhaps their home life has become unstable due to violence, a parent’s inability to overcome a serious challenge or emotional issues or neglect. Whatever the reason, the need is there, for stable, caring homes, short-term and long, and foster parents provide much of that care. The problem is there aren’t enough to go around. When that happens, Katie Cassidy, foster care specialist and recruiter for Child and Family Services of New Hampshire (CFS), said, “Although the Division of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) finds a placement option for these children, often it takes quite a bit of work to do so, and unfortunately, at times, the children are forced to leave their own communities.” CFS provides services for the state of New Hampshire, which Cassidy said is “facing a crisis regarding the lack of foster homes to care for our children across the state.” When children leave their communities, they not only leave their home but their school and friends, too. Suddenly, everything is very different and life feels quite uncertain. “Our goal, in conjunction with DCYF, is for the permanency and overall well-being of foster children,” she said. “It is crucial to continue to recruit and license new homes so these children, who have already endured so much, can grow to be successful, contributing members of society.” There are many ways to aid this crisis and lessen the challenges, from providing full-time foster care to being available for respite care, emergency and crisis care or becoming a host home for runaway or homeless youth. There are also opportunities to offer mentorship or become a Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for children. Meeting with a licensed worker can help you decide if any of these much-needed roles might be right for you – along with hearing directly from these Granite State couples about their experiences in providing foster care.

open home Empty nest to full hearts Many parents worry about empty nest syndrome once their kids have flown the nest. In the case of Doug and Joan Shaw of Laconia, it was the youngest of their five children, Jess, who was heading to college that suggested they get involved with foster care. She was concerned their big house would feel empty after being so full of laughter and fun for so long, Joan Shaw said. “Shortly after, I noticed signs stuck in the ground encouraging new foster families. I wrote down the number and put it in my bag.” It would be a few months before she’d run into an old friend who fostered. The woman told Joan about Casey Family Services in N.H. “I made that first call and talked to the most wonderful person – I started the process of getting my license that day.” When the Casey agency closed, the Shaws perused a list of agencies that would pick up their license and chose CFS. “My first impression was amazing. CFS has been very supportive on every level of every need,” she said. “We are pretty seasoned foster parents so we don’t need a ton of support, but when we do it is always an email, text or call away.” Like many foster parents, Doug and Joan thought they knew what age range would work best. In their case, they thought fostering teenage girls would be their strong suit. “Casey specialized in teens…we thought, perfect fit!” she said. Their first experience in 2008 was respite care for two girls, age 4 and 5. They had a terrific time with the girls but then focused on respite care every weekend for teenage girls and one boy. (Editor’s note: Due to privacy laws related to children still in the foster system, some names have been withheld and photographs of them cannot be published.) Less than six months after caring for the preschoolers, they received an emergency call on Easter weekend in 2009 telling the Shaws that the little girls needed to be moved immediately. “We welcomed them back. We were asked to keep them for two weeks,” Joan said. The Shaws had said they’d never adopt and would be strictly a bridge home. Once the girls were returned to them, a search for two years ensued to find an appropriate home for them but there was little luck in keeping the girls together. “The kids would literally put their little hands together in prayer and say, ‘Please Mommy and Daddy, keep us, please don’t send us away.’ Jess, our daughter who started us on this journey told us we were overthinking the whole adoption thing. She said, ‘Just adopt them already.’” “Long, long story short, we ended up adopting them on June 24, 2011. We joke, long two weeks…we have a history of our own now with the girls. They love to hear stories about those first few days, weeks, months. Oh, how we laugh at all the memories of becoming a new family; the ups, the downs but most importantly, all the fun and giggles!” The couple still provides foster care and said while it’s tough to have children return to their homes or another residence they

WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE A FOSTER PARENT? Call the NH Division of Children, Youth, and Families at 271-4711, ext 4711 or Child and Family Services’ Katie Cassidy at 8014108 or email cassidyk@cfsnh. org.

remind themselves that there are other kids out there that also need their help. As for their adopted daughters, Sierra and Cheyenne, Joan said, “The girls are so welcoming to any foster child we have had. They understand they were given a second chance and it’s time to give back to other kids in need. The girls’ kindness warms our hearts.” The Shaws believe their work as foster parents is what they were meant to do and wish they had started earlier in life. “The kids that have cycled through our home have left an impact on us for a lifetime. Each child is unique,” Joan said. “If you listen with your heart, the kids will tell you what they need.”

‘The best thing we’ve done as a couple’ Basil Hills was the oldest of five boys, growing up in a family that always helped people who were struggling. He learned early

Basil and Sue Hills with adopted sons Steven and Dylan on Steven’s adoption day. They now have five children ranging from 12 to 30 years old and are expecting their seventh grandchild. Courtesy photo

may 2018 13

FOSTER CARE FAQ Do I have to have a license to be a foster parent? Yes. NH statutes require a license for all individuals who care for unrelated children. How long does it take to become a foster parent? All licensing requirements must be met before a license is issued. Because of the time necessary to meet all of the requirements, including various inspections, and the necessary training, it typically takes 60 days or more to become a licensed foster care provider. What kind of training is required to become a foster parent? DCYF provides a comprehensive 21-hour training course called FACES (Foster and Adoptive Care Essentials) for new foster parents. Ongoing in-service training is provided for licensed foster parents. I was trained as a foster parent in another state. Do I also have to be trained in NH? Credit may be allowed for previous trainings received in another state, but you must meet NH’s licensing requirements and training competencies. How old do I have to be to become a foster parent? At the time of initial placement of a child, at least one foster parent must be 21 years of age. Can I be a foster parent if I work? Yes, you may work outside your home. The child’s social worker will assist you in locating and arranging payment for a licensed childcare provider for a child in your care. Do I need to own my home? No, it is not necessary to own your own home, however, every residence must meet local town and city ordinances, including a fire and health inspection of the dwelling. Are foster parents paid to care for a child? Foster parents are reimbursed at a set rate for care and supervision of a child. The Internal Revenue Service does not consider foster care payments income for purposes of taxation. Rates are reviewed annually. Can I choose the gender and age of a child? You and the foster care worker will determine the best possible child match for your family which includes the gender and age of the child. — Courtesy of Child and Family Services

14 may 2018

on about the importance of community. His wife Sue’s parents did emergency foster care for teens when she was young. She had challenges as a young adult that left her homeless for a short period of time, yet her parents never gave up on her. She and Basil would meet on a blind date in the mid-1990s, after her difficult first marriage and becoming a mom to a son and daughter. But neither was interested in a relationship – Sue didn’t want to marry again and Basil liked kids but had no real desire to have a family. Yet before the decade ended, the two would move in together, get married and Basil would adopt Sue’s children. Eventually one of their son’s friends needed a place to stay, and the Hills became his guardians. “He lived with us until he graduated from high school,” Sue said. “We love him like a son and consider him our oldest. After the boys went into the military, we still had our 16-yearold daughter at home and felt the urge to open our home to other children.” They began researching foster care and became licensed 10 years ago. “We’ve had just about 30 kiddos come through our home over the last 10 years,” Sue said. “When we started, we only wanted to foster teens, but they always say to expect the unexpected, so we’ve fostered children from a year old up to a 21-year-old young man with disabilities and helped him transition to adulthood.” Basil said it’s been an eye-opening experience about the system as a whole and about the things we’re dealing with as a society. “I guess I never knew that much about foster care until I was in it full time,” he said. “My experience has been mostly

Doug and Joan Shaw with adopted daughters Cheyenne and Sierra, and daughter Jess who encouraged them to consider becoming foster parents. Courtesy photo

positive…there is a lot of support for us as foster parents if we reach out and ask.” For Sue, it’s been a roller coaster of emotions, situations and experiences. After becoming licensed, they didn’t have their first placement for three months. “Our house has had children in it ever since,” she said. “If there is ever an issue with the kids in our care or (we) have a question, we have 24-hour support through CFS as well as DCYF. CFS has therapeutic foster homes, which requires more training throughout the year as well as case management and in-home weekly support if a child may need it to become settled in the foster family. They also help with getting outside supports, therapies and attend school meetings.” The Hills were surprised by the emotional reactions they’ve had while fostering kids throughout the years. “I never thought of myself as an emotional person but foster care brings up those raw emotions that you sometimes didn’t know you had,” Basil said. Sue always thought of herself as a “mama bear” for her own children but was surprised to learn foster care intensified those feelings. “I became an advocate for the children in my care, but also became more aware of and wanted to help those parents who were trying to do their best,” she said. She found that some of the parents had also been in the system or had rough childhoods. Sue and Basil now have a

wonderful unexpected relationship with a mom and dad whose son lived with the Hills for three years as a teenager. They offer ongoing support and often connect via social media. “We both agree that educating the public is important because there are so many kids out there that need a safe place to call home,” Sue said. “The system is overwhelmed by the amount of cases coming in due to many reasons, including the drug crisis.” Like the Shaws, the Hills were firm when they became foster parents that they were only going to foster older teens to help them on their way to adulthood, Sue said. “We were not going to become too attached to allow ourselves to become too invested in the system. That changed about a month into our first case,” she said. “Once you’re given the story and learn about the child, you want to take them all. It then doesn’t matter what you wanted but about who needs you and how you can help.” The couple adopted two children, Steven and Dylan, and now have five children ranging from 12 to 30 years old. They’re also expecting their seventh grandchild in the fall. “I would encourage anyone who feels the pull on their heart or has a calling to help children to look into foster care,” Basil said. “We had no idea what we were really getting into but it’s been the best thing we’ve done as a couple.”

‘Our kids are our world’ Meghan and Dave Petruzzi of Exeter came into foster care from different backgrounds and mindsets about parenting. Meghan was a surrogate mom for many of the kids in the inner city where she worked and took on a maternal role early on. Dave said he never really gave parenting a thought, let alone becoming a foster parent. Yet after his wife had him read the book, “Another Place at the Table,” a story of foster care, he began to see himself in the same role as the father in the book – “I’m in for the ride and support my wife and kids to the best of my abilities.” When the couple got into fostering, they thought they’d like to foster a boy. Meghan said the licensing agency had them view a profile of sibling girls and she fell in love with them immediately. “That first experience was eye-opening and we learned a lot. I did a lot of research into attachment disorders and strategies that work,” she said. “I pick my battles, offer choices where both are a win for me, reframe a lot and I try to use strength-based parenting.” Dave said that not coming from the same background as Meghan, a high school science teacher, he found it more difficult at times. “Attachment disorders in kids require a cool head and lots of patience – it’s a different parenting style.” Regardless of the challenges, Meghan said, “Honestly, all of the kids have been so amazing. Our girls play soccer, and sometimes, foster kids will come with us to the games. One day, a parent came up to me and said, ‘I always see you with different kids, and they all act as if you are their mom.’ To me, that was the biggest compliment and it speaks to these kids.” “We most often do respite foster care, which tends to be very short-term, and many of these kids want to be loved so bad that they immediately assume the role of son/daughter. The challenge is, as you can imagine, letting go of these kids. I try to hold the thought that if we have enriched these kids’ lives, for even a short bit, then it’s worth it and maybe by giving the foster parents a rest, we are giving them another chance.” The Petruzzis recalled their first meeting with their girls, Connie and Nevaeh, as foster kids in a group home. “The thing that

surprised us the most was how the kids kept coming up to us dying for attention,” Meghan said. “There were about 15 kids in the home trying to see if we would be the ones to take them home. One of the hardest moments at the home had been when one of the kids there had asked us why we didn’t pick him when he had been waiting longer.” Dave said the public should be more aware of fostering. “It’s like the situation with the homeless people where out of sight is out of mind or ‘it doesn’t happen in our community,’” he said. The truth is that there are lots of kids in need of a place to stay or a family. Fostering is not in the public’s face and maybe it needs to be.” When the couple went to learn more about their girls at the agency, they found that just prior to the meeting the goal of reunification had been changed and the girls were now considered pre-adoptive. They’re now a permanent part of the family – and they hope to adopt a child currently in their care as a foster child, who they met as a respite foster child, as well. “Our kids are our world,” Dave said, “and we couldn’t be more proud of them. Our girls having gone through fostering have the biggest hearts are truly the most compassionate children. When a new foster kid comes into the home, our girls are instrumental in making them feel at home and safe. For our little guy, the girls give him hope because he knows they were in his shoes around the same age and it allows him to think of his future with us.” Given that most of their foster kids are with them in respite situations, the Petruzzis know that many are returning to good situations with foster parents, who just needed a short break. “In these situations, the children may make a return stay and so it’s not really sad but just a ‘see you later’,” Meghan said. “When the children are returning to a situation that’s not ideal, again I try to remember that we made their lives better if even for a short time.”

Becoming a foster parent

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Interested in learning more about fostering? Cassidy said, “As a recruiter, I look for families that are open-minded, flexible, and loving. We always say that you do not have to be perfect to be a foster parent, and to be honest, if a potential foster parent has never experienced anything negative in their life, I would have to question the validity of that. Have you ever been sad? Have you ever lost a loved one? Any sort of experience with trauma and/or grief and loss is helpful when trying to connect with a child.” She said she’s heard that some people believe they must be married or with a partner for an extended period of time to be considered for foster care. It’s not true. “Also foster parents may be single or married, or may be an unmarried couple. Non-traditional families are encouraged to apply.” Pamme Boutselis is the mom of four now-grown kids, a serial volunteer and award-winning writer. Follow her on Twitter @PammeB.

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My child needs – When developing an education plan, you don’t have to get lost in the acronyms By Melanie Plenda

qualifies as special now what?


arents want their children to have a positive educational experience — to learn, make friends and have happy, healthy, productive lives. So when a child is struggling in school, whether it’s academically or socially, it can be difficult. And when the alphabet soup – IEPs, 504s, IDEA and FAPE — enters the conversation, it can be overwhelming, said Stephanie Landry, a learning disabilities specialist at McLaughlin Middle School in Manchester. But it doesn’t need to be.

For starters, a special needs diagnosis and implementation of an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) doesn’t have to be a forever thing, Landry said. In fact, going into the process, the goal is typically to get the child discharged from special education at some point, and that does happen. The IEP is meant to address the issues the child is having so they can be discharged. “The earlier you catch things, the better off you are,” Landry said, noting that most are given out in elementary school when a disability begins to show itself. “The earlier we can catch things, the quicker we can get them caught up, and the quicker we can get them off services. The goal is to not have them on an IEP.” That said, some children will have IEPs for their entire school careers

may 2018 17


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and that’s OK, Landry said. She shares that her own first-grader has an IEP and their goal is to have him off of it by second grade. “I don’t want this to be something that follows him forever,” she said. “But if that’s what he needs, I’m OK with that.”

What is an IEP? An IEP is a plan designed by a learner’s educational team to address the individual’s unique learning needs, said Kelly Ardita, a special education teacher and case manager at Bow Memorial School. Students who have an identified educational disability and need special education are eligible for IEPs. Landry said there are still misconceptions about what constitutes a special education student. She said most often people still think of kids in wheelchairs or those who need physical help feeding themselves, for example. “But there is so much more to special ed that people are completely not aware of,” Landry said. “There are special ed kids in almost every classroom.” She said that looking at her own son, one might not suspect he had a disability. “He talks, he walks, he eats, he’s a typical kid,” she said. “And people are surprised when I do tell them that [he has an IEP]. They’re like, ‘oh, what’s wrong with him?’ Well, nothing is really ‘wrong’ with him, but I get that that is people’s first instincts. He has a learning disability, he needs some extra supports in reading and in speech, you know, and it was those things that people don’t typically don’t think of as special ed.” The team that puts the plan together typically comprises a regular education teacher, a special education teacher, the parents, the student – depending on their age – and individuals who are working to provide the student’s services, such as a speech and language pathologist, occupational therapist, counselor, reading specialist etc., Ardita said. The team also usually includes a Local Education Agency. The LEA is a representative of the school district that the student attends and represents the district that is providing funding for the student and is often a school administrator. The plan itself includes a variety of information including: The student’s learning profile Consideration of special factors to be considered so the student can access their free and appropriate public education — also known as FAPE Specialized goals and objectives designed to address the student’s educational needs Accommodations and/or modifications that the student may need to best access the educational setting Special education and related services Accommodations for state and district-wide testing A determination of if a student needs extended school-year services based on their learning profile A determination of the school setting or placement of where the plan will be put in place The process includes meeting with the team to come up with a plan.

• • • • • • • • 18 may 2018

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MORE SPECIAL EDUCATION TERMS TO KNOW Accommodations: Changes in how material is taught or a test is administered but does not substantially alter what the test measures or the curriculum; includes changes in presentation format, test setting or test timing.

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Early intervening services: coordinated services that may be provided to students in kindergarten through grade 12, who are not currently identified as needing special education or related services but who need additional academic and behavior support, using up to 15 percent of IDEA funding. FAPE (Free Appropriate Public Education): Education for children with disabilities provided in the least restrictive environment, and at public expense, under public supervision, and without charge, through an IEP. IDEA: Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA), which is Public Law 108-446 (generally referred to as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act). IDEA is the Federal special education law that provides a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment to all eligible children with disabilities.

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Transition Plans: Must be included in the IEP beginning by the first IEP when the student turns 14. Transition plans describe how the school will help students prepare for life after high school, in college, employment and/or independent living. Students have a right under IDEA to be a part of this plan. — Courtesy of the NH Council on Developmental Disabilities Special Education Guide. Find it at

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When it comes to the accommodations included in the plan, they vary. But by way of example, Ardita said, they might include providing word banks on assessments to help a student who can’t recall vocabulary or allowing the use of a scribe on assignments to support a student with weak writing skills. An example of a modification in an IEP may include providing different spelling words from what is presented in the general curriculum or allowing a student access to content materials such as an audio recording or Braille to support a vision impairment.

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20 may 2018

504 plans These types of accommodations are different than classroom modifications offered with a 504 plan. Ardita said a 504 plan falls under the Section 504 Rehabilitative Act of 1973, a federal civil rights law originally aimed at stopping discrimination of individuals with disabilities. “A 504 is something that you and I can have,” she said. “It’s something we can have in the workplace, even an adult.” Ardita said 504s are minor accommodations to help the student, whereas an IEP is a plan that changes things completely. In reading, for example, a student with an IEP may read the same story as a regular ed student, but it’s at a lower reading level. In science and social studies, she said, when it comes to tests, she often will give IEP students tests that have the same core concepts as the regular ed class, but are modified to meet the needs of the special ed student. Same concepts, she said, different test. When it comes to a 504 plan, there are two things to consider, Ardita said. The first is that a learner must present with a disability, which can include a variety of learning and attention issues. Second, that disability must interfere with the student’s ability to learn in the general classroom setting. A 504 plan is a plan for accommodations, or if appropriate, supports and/or

services for the student, and is typically developed and monitored through regular education, Ardita said. Accommodations in 504 plans may include supports such as wheelchair ramps so a student can access all parts of the school building, the use of an FM amplification voice system to support students with hearing impairments or even adapting an environment to minimize distractions for a student with a ADHD diagnosis, Ardita said. “These often reflect a student’s disability and provide for access to the school environment and learning,” she adds.

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Annual review If a learner is found by their educational team to qualify for an IEP it must be reviewed at least on a yearly basis, or at any time any member of the team would like to do so. Students who are receiving special education must also have a re-evaluation completed at least every three years. A test is administered at that point and is used for the team to determine if the student still qualifies for a disability identification, and still requires special education. As the student progresses, the team can decide to discharge the student from special education and dispense with the IEP. When that happens, Ardita said, “It is typically because the goals have been met through the prescriptive education the IEP provided for and the student is achieving on grade level, no longer needing special education.” Landry recognizes that the whole process can be overwhelming to navigate. That is why it helps to go into an initial referral meeting armed with seven questions. Ardita suggests coming into that meeting with a written list to ensure all questions and concerns are answered. Some questions she suggests asking include: Do you have a handout or resource that I could have to better understand the steps of this process and my rights as a parent? What are the names, e-mails and roles of the individuals working with my student? What is the best way to contact you? What are the best ways to support my child at home with what you are working on here at school? Are there outside resources I can access to further support what I’m working on at home? How will you measure my student’s progress and how will you be informing me? How might my learner’s day look different from their peers? Landry said parents should also feel comfortable asking for a list of the child’s strengths and where he or she is succeeding. “When parents are sitting at the meeting and teachers are spitting out all kinds of perceived negative things, if you feel overwhelmed and upset, stop the meeting and just say, I know my kid is a good kid and they have good qualities, please tell me one good thing,” Landry said. “I think sometimes we get so focused on what we’re worried about so that the parents know we’re worried about this and it sometimes gets hammered too hard, especially if it’s the first time it’s coming up. Parents can feel completely blindsided. “It’s hard to sit there and hear that your child is different. Because every parent just wants their kid to be like everybody else. You know even as adults, we just want to fit in. It’s scary thinking that your kid might be doing something different.”

• • • • • • •

Melanie Plenda is an award-winning writer and longtime contributor to Parenting NH.

FOR MORE INFORMATION NH Council on Developmental Disabilities: The Parent Information Center on Special Education: NH Department of Education: The New Hampshire Center for Effective Behavioral Interventions and Supports:

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Grab a blanket and head to the Granite State’s outdoor dining spots By Jacqueline Tourville


ay is a great month to reacquaint yourselves and your family with the outdoors. Pack up your family, a lunch, and give your backyard a break. These picturesque picnicking areas are some of the best the state has to offer

Merrimack Valley Grab the burgers and dogs and head over to Nashua’s Greeley Park on Concord Street. The picnic area rings the north side of this luscious urban green space, with an ample number of tables and grills ready and waiting. Bonuses here include restroom facilities, room to set up volleyball or badminton nets, a playground for kids, a wooded walking loop, and the Greeley Park bandstand right across the street. Concerts, plays, and other events take place here all season long.

Ellacoya State Park is located in Gilford on the southwest shore of Lake Winnipesaukee. Courtesy photo

If you’re planning a picnic lunch of sandwiches, head to Livingston Park in Manchester. There are no grills here, but the picnic tables are plentiful and two playgrounds (one designed for older kids, the other for toddlers) will keep the kids busy while you set up. After you eat, a nature trail leads in a pleasant loop around Dorr’s Pond for the perfect post-picnic stroll. Contoocook’s Elm Brook Park, located along Elm Brook Pool, is a day-use area that’s also a favorite fishing spot for walleye, brook trout, sunfish and

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A U G U S T 12 TO





pickerel. If you have an angler on your picnic guest list, you just may need to add fresh fish to your picnic menu. Amenities at Elm Brook include picnic tables and grills, covered picnic shelter (available for an extra fee), swimming beach, a nature trail, boat ramp, and even horseshoe pits to add a little friendly competition to this year’s festivities. Opens Memorial Day weekend.

Monadnock Region Take your picnic to new heights, literally, by packing up for a scenic picnic atop the 2,290foot summit of Pack Monadnock in Peterborough. Located in Miller State Park, New Hampshire’s oldest state park, a winding 1.3-mile paved toll road leads to the summit – or you can park at the base, strap your picnic goodies to your back, and climb to the top. Miller State Park opens for the season on May 20. Greenfield State Park is tucked away in the 400-acre natural area, about eight miles north of Peterborough, and features ponds, bogs and a forest that extends to the scenic shore of Otter Lake. Picnic grounds are well-maintained and walking paths easily link up the park’s many points of interest. Expect to pay a small fee for day-use picnicking. Forget the drinks? The park store will have you covered. In Keene, Otter Brook Recreation Area, maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers, offers a river-fed beach, ball field, restrooms, as well as 90 picnic sites that stretch out along the river, and 55 fireplace grills. Forecast calling for rain? Groups can rent out one of two picnic shelters for an additional fee; electrical hookups are also available.


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Portsmouth’s Four Tree Island jutting out into the mouth of the Piscataqua River offers panoramic 360-degree views of the Kittery Shipyard and Portsmouth’s historic red brick skyline. The island’s picnic area, including covered tables, grill areas and restrooms, may be one of the Seacoast’s best-kept secrets, probably because you can’t directly access the island by car. To reach it, cross the bridge onto Peirce Island and take the first left into the parking lot. Park near the iron gate and take the footpath causeway to the island. At Kingston State Park, the picnic area includes rustic fireplaces for grilling as well as a nearby playground, softball field and pond swimming beach. Stratham Hill Farm Park is a pastoral 100-acre site that’s just perfect for a picnic. The well-maintained grounds provide picnic tables with small grills, running water, and restrooms. Basketball courts, a ball field, a playground, and walking trails will keep everyone busy until the hot dogs are cooked. The park is also home to three pavilions that may be reserved for larger picnic groups and other private functions.




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With views toward the White Mountains’ Presidential Range, including Mounts Adams, Jefferson, and Washington, the Dolly Copp picnic area on Route 16, just south of Gorham, will have you picnicking with the presidents this Memorial Day Weekend. Part of the National Forest Service’s string of day-use areas throughout the White Mountains, this pleasant picnic spot offers tables, grills, water fountain, covered picnic pavilion and porta-potties. Give your picnic some rustic charm at Long Pond Picnic and Fishing Area, a White Mountains National Forest site located near the base of hulking Mount Moosilauke. The well-maintained day-use area offers opportunities for fishing, boating and picnicking on a gravel-surfaced, wheelchair-accessible setting. Grills are available on-site or bring your own. For lakeside picnicking, it’s hard to beat the scenic splendor and convenience of Ellacoya State Park. Located in Gilford on the southwest shore of Lake Winnipesaukee, picnic tables can be found along the park’s 600-foot long stretch of sandy beach, with fabulous views across the lake to the Sandwich and Ossipee mountains. Bring your own tabletop grill or get there early to grab a table near one of the park grills. Jacqueline Tourville is a freelance writer and longtime contributor to Parenting NH.

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Get ready for prom What teens need to know for a great experience on this special night WATCH YOUR BUDGET If cost is an issue for you, look for alternatives to spending a lot of money on a prom dress, transportation, etc. Expensive doesn't necessarily mean better.


PLAN AHEAD FOR SAFETY Tell family members or a trusted adult what your plans are ahead of time. Make an agreement with friends to check on one another during the evening. Be sure someone you trust is available for you to call or text if your plans change or you need help.

YOU DON'T NEED A DATE TO HAVE FUN Whether you plan to go with a date, with friends, or on your own, the point is to have a good time. Going with a group or meeting friends at the event can be just as fun as going with one special person. Whether you're going solo or with a group, make sure you don't drink and drive, or ride with someone who has been drinking.

26 may 2018

Some people feel pressured to drink, smoke, use drugs, or have sex on prom night. However, drinking is responsible for over 4,500 deaths among young people each year and is associated with other problems like sexually transmitted diseases and unintended pregnancy. Alcohol and drugs hurt your judgment and may result in you being harmed or harming others. Just because others do something doesn’t make it a good idea or right for you. It’s OK to say no.

TRAVEL SAFELY Teen drivers are four times more likely than older drivers to crash. Always wear a safety belt — no matter how short the trip. Don’t drink and drive, and don’t get in a car with a driver who has been drinking.

PLAN FOR AFTERPROM PARTIES If you plan to go to an after-prom party, be sure it is adult-supervised. Be aware of your surroundings. And it’s always good to go with a “buddy.” Avoid using alcohol and drugs. Make sure parents know where you are at all times in case of emergency. Call a parent, guardian, or someone you trust in case plans change or you need help.


Adapted from It's Your Prom! Make it Safe, Healthy, and Fun from the Centers for Disease Control (

Dating violence is a very real issue for many people. This type of violence can occur among heterosexual or same-sex couples. It can occur in couples who have been together a long time and between people who just met. Many teens do not report it because they are afraid to tell friends and family. The abuse can be verbal, emotional, physical or sexual. Know beforehand what your sexual boundaries are, and communicate those to your partner. Respect yourself and others, avoid alcohol and drugs, and tell family or call 911 if you or someone you know is being abused or is in danger.

may 2018 27

Not your mom’s workplace

28 may 2018

NH companies are changing their policies to support working moms and keep them on the job By Liisa Rajala, Special to Parenting NH


iana Duggan was pregnant with her second child when her employer, Fidelity Investments, announced it would be expanding its paid maternity and parental leave policies. Maternity leave was extended from 12 weeks to 16 weeks, while other parental leave was extended from two weeks to six weeks. The policy change made it much easier for Duggan to return to work after giving birth. “By the time my maternity [leave] was up, I was much more confident coming back to work,” said Duggan, whose husband, Mark, also works at Fidelity in Merrimack and was able to take advantage of the longer parental leave option. “It seemed the second time on maternity leave was much more enjoyable. It wasn’t just me running around and doing everything – my husband was there as well,” said Duggan. “Having him home that extra time, we were able to get in a very good routine, especially having two at home now.” When Duggan did return to work, Fidelity also allowed her to shift her schedule earlier, from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. “It allows me to [experience] a lot of the day, coming in earlier, but I also get to leave early and spend time with my family. My girls are so young, they go to bed early, so now I don’t feel like I’m rushing around to put them to bed,” said Duggan. Flexible hours also allow Duggan and her husband to balance work and family. “He takes care of drop-off in the morning so I can come into the office, and if he needs to stay later, I already have it planned that I’m leaving early to get the girls,” she said. “It works for our family and both of our careers.”

schedule,” said Gregg. “We tell them, ‘don’t come back until you’re ready to come back and don’t create a schedule where you’re afraid of letting us down’.” This flexibility also helps parents balance work and family. Especially as children get older and involved in sports, both parents will take off time to assist with coaching. If a worker wants to regularly pick up their children from child care at 3 p.m. and not make up the hours in the evening, they have the option of recalculating their salary to match the amount of time they want to work. A $70,000 salary at 40 hours per week becomes a $50,000 salary for 28 hours a week. “As long as that expectation is clear and everyone’s OK with it, it’s completely freeing for the employee to realize ‘Wow, I can do both,’” said Gregg. Generally, though, Vital employees have worked for the company a few years and developed a trustworthy relationship that allows them to manage their flexible schedules. Diana Duggan and her husband, Mark, enjoy time with their two daughters.

Returning on her terms “There’s no one more loyal than a mom who went through pregnancy with you and returned on her terms,” said Zachary Gregg, founder and managing partner of marketing agency Vital Design in Portsmouth. Over the past few years, Vital has more than doubled its workforce, mainly through hiring millennials. “We know that comes with the territory, whether a man or a woman, if you hire somebody in their mid-20s to mid-30s, they’re going to [have a baby],” said Gregg. Usually pregnant workers will visit Gregg’s office to share the news. “In some ways, they’re nervous to tell us because they don’t know what the reaction will be,” said Gregg. “It starts with a conversation. ‘We’re super excited for you and no matter what you tell me, whether it’s “I’m definitely coming back to work; I want to work the rest of my life” or “I don’t know if I’m coming back to work,” I don’t expect you to know now,’” Gregg will say to expectant mothers. Gregg tells them to keep their plans fluid and open-ended, so as to not put pressure on new mothers to stick to strict schedules. “I think the first thing is not creating hard-and-fast expectations that they have to be here during a certain period of time, letting them know they may need to make changes to their

“Quite honestly, our best employees are moms. Moms and dads are efficient with their time. They tend to get more done in their day than others would, and they tend to understand their schedule very well,” said Gregg. “It follows our culture of being transparent and authentic. We’re going to be supportive, what we get out of that is committed employees that want to work here.”

Model employers Katie Schwerin, chief operating officer of organic personal care manufacturer W.S. Badger Company in Gilsum, has been at the center of some progressive family-friendly policies. When an employee asked if she could bring her baby to work, Schwerin did some research and discovered the Parenting in the Workplace Institute, a Utah-based nonprofit whose founder helped Badger create a Babies-at-Work program. Over 15 babies, ages three to six months, have participated in the program. (Badger offers three months of paid maternity leave.) “I think, in general, children and families need support,” said Schwerin. “We want to help businesses connect the dots and understand that the future depends on the upbringing of our children, and that children need more time with their parents.”

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The policy has also helped Badger with employee retention. “The benefit to the company is huge. The parents are forever grateful. And almost across the board people are happier when babies are around, so it helps the other employees as well. It’s a warm experience,” she said. Badger also built a child care center just down the road that accepts children ages six months to three years old. These types of policies are what led Schwerin to serve for some time as the co-chair of Impact Monadnock Business Ambassadors, the business arm of the Monadnock United Way’s initiative dedicated to supporting the region’s young children and families. This effort runs in tandem with Healthy Monadnock 2020, an initiative founded and developed by the Cheshire Medical Center / Dartmouth Hitchcock-and guided by the Council for a Healthier Community, a group of over 30 individuals representing businesses, schools, organizations and coalitions. “We really want to be a model company,” said Schwerin. “We’ve been working to make companies in the region more family friendly.” Currently serving as the co-chair of the Business Ambassadors, Peter Hansel, president of Filtrine Manufacturing Company in Keene, has established new family-friendly policies at his company. They include restructuring paid time off to make it more available to new hires, extending its parental leave to four weeks and adopting a Babies-at-Work policy, though no babies have been born since the change. “I’m going to step forward in things that make sense for

Vital Design employees had fun guessing whether Amanda Gamester, Vital Design's director of Creative Services, was going to have a boy or a girl. Turns out she had a boy, Remy.

our company as well as setting an example for others in the region,” said Hansel. Keene Housing, the City’s housing authority, has had one baby participate sporadically in its Babies-at-Work program. “For the type of work a great many of our employees do, it’s not particularly disruptive and we think it’s one of the ways we can show appreciation for our staff,” said Josh Meehan, executive director of Keene Housing. “There’s not


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a huge pool of property managers that have experience with income restrictions; there’s a whole set of requirements around that. We hope our family friendly policies make us competitive.” Bensonwood, a Walpole-based custom home builder, has seen a demographic shift in its workers, increasing female employees by 20 percent in recent years. As a few workers were out on maternity leave, Human Resources Associate Ana Gonzalez put the final touches on a newly constructed, discreet room for mothers to privately pump breast milk. “I remember when I had my daughter it was a very personal thing. There’s space for them to leave their equipment in the room so they’re not transporting it back and forth and attracting attention,” said Gonzalez. “You can look at it as a benefit, but at a certain point, it really just is the right thing to do.” Bensonwood has also been flexible in easing mothers back to work. “One of our staffers coming back from maternity leave wasn’t ready to come back full time so we staggered her reentry. As things progressed, she decided she didn’t want to work full time and wanted to work part time, so we just adjusted her schedule,” said Gonzalez. “We absolutely work with them as best we can to accommodate as much as possible.” Liisa Rajala is the associate editor at NH Business Review, a publication of McLean Communications. Parenting New Hampshire is also a McLean Communications publication.

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MEDIATION AN ADVANTAGE FOR FAMILY LAW CHALLEN ment, the custody schedule for the kids, child support or a number of other disputes impacting the family. The mediator’s job is to be neutral and help the couple problem-solve to come up with workable solutions to their unique situation.” Is Mediation Voluntary? Mary Sargent: “While one of the principles of mediation is that participation is voluntary, virtually every parenting and divorce matter involving minor children in New Hampshire is ordered to participate in mediation when a petition is filed in family court. Often referred to as ‘private mediation,’ parties may opt to work with a mediator prior to filing a petition. This option usually offers more flexibility, expedites the process and reduces trips to the courthouse.”

Quite often, disagreements about parental rights and responsibilities can necessitate outside help or the advice of an expert to solve. Quick, confidential and cost-effective, a mediator can be the answer. Family law-related issues need not be an adversarial process. And even if situations present seemingly difficult challenges, mediation can be a worthwhile way to bring a mutually beneficial resolution to a dispute. There are times when mediation can make more sense than litigation – and it helps to know when and why. We reached out to two mediators with decades of experience in family support services to explore when someone should engage a mediator, why it makes sense, and how it can be a constructive, practical experience. OUR EXPERTS: Mary Sargent, of Mary Sargent Mediation, is a Mediator in the New Hampshire Office for Mediation and Arbitration, specializing in family services and small claims. Her 20-year background includes varied aspects of family support services, including protective services social work and guardian ad litem.

32 may 2018

Diane Gaspar, of Gaspar Mediation, draws on her more than 30 years of legal experience to identify the areas that mediating parties should address in order to reach a complete and thorough final resolution. Diane is a certified family law mediator through the New Hampshire Family Law Mediation Board. What is a Certified Family Mediator? Mary Sargent: “A Certified Family Mediator is a neutral third party trained in facilitating communication so parties can make decisions and resolve disputes. By creating a safe, confidential opportunity for families to communicate effectively, mediators can help keep relationships intact, identify priorities, explore options, keep on track and stay future focused. Mediators support parties in saying what they need to say and hearing what they need to hear to gain clarity and understanding so they can move on from the issue(s) at hand. The four principles of mediation are: It is voluntary; It is confidential; It is self-determinative; It is neutral.” Diane Gaspar: “A trained and experienced family law mediator works with a couple to discuss and reach agreements on the legal issues impacting the couple, whether the problem is about how to end a marriage and work out a divorce agree-

What issues can be (or are best) resolved by family mediation? Mary Sargent: “Divorce, elder decisions, lifestyle choices, unplanned/teenage pregnancy, parents needing their adult children to ‘leave the nest’ or become more independent, estrangement, difficult apologies, probate issues, grandparent issues, adoption and blending families are just some of the issues that can be successfully mediated.” Diane Gaspar: “Any matter or problem that can be litigated can be mediated, quickly, confidentially and cost-effectively.” What are the benefits of choosing mediation over litigation? Mary Sargent: “Mediation is a self-determinative process. That means parties come to their own agreement, rather than having a judge decide for them. Mediation is more casual and less adversarial than litigation and is usually quicker and much less expensive. Many Mediators offer evening and Saturday appointments while litigation occurs 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.” Diane Gaspar: “As most folks know, going to court is expensive and confusing. A judge ends up making the decisions for the family, not the couple who knows their own situation best. Sometimes the couple has to wait for weeks or months for the court to make orders. And then they are


OUS SOLUTION GES stuck with the decision. More importantly, courtrooms are public places; anyone in the courtroom can hear the couple’s personal business. None of that happens in mediation. It is a private process. The couple controls how fast or slowly they wish to proceed. It is far less expensive than litigation. The couple works together to hammer out an agreement they can live with and is individually suited to their family situation.” What are the differences between custody and parental rights? Mary Sargent: “’Custody’ is an outdated term replaced by ‘parental rights and responsibilities’ which refer to parenting time, major decision making and child support, all of which are usually shared by both parents.”

Should I include the services of an attorney in mediation? Mary Sargent: “As mediators cannot represent the interests of either party, participants are strongly encouraged to have an attorney review agreements before signing or even have them attend the mediation if they would like. Attorneys can be very helpful in mediation by offering legal advice and identifying a party’s best alternative to a negotiated agreement.” Diane Gaspar: “An experienced family law mediator will or should know family law where he or she practices. However it is not the mediator’s role to give legal advice. That’s the job of a licensed family law lawyer. A potential mediation client should consult with an experienced lawyer before calling the mediator. But be aware, not all lawyers have the mindset of trying to work out problems outside of

court. If the goal is to stay out of court, the client needs to ask the lawyer how the lawyer feels about mediation. If the lawyer is ‘settlement minded,’ he or she will be positive about the process. Hearing from the lawyer will give the client an idea of whether having the lawyer in mediation will help or hinder the process.”

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A Better Way to a Better Outcome! may 2018 33

cook•with•your• kids H HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY

By Susan Nye

ey mom – After you finish reading this, tear out the pages from the magazine and leave them for your husband, partner or skilled teen as a hint to prepare this meal for you on your special day. You deserve time away from the kitchen. Happy Mother’s Day!

y Dinner a D ’s r e Moth es Red Potato & n o lm Grilled Sa eens with Mixed Gr paragus, Grilled As do r & Avoca e b m u c u C t gar Yogur u S n w o r Frozen B Berries with Fresh

Susan Nye writes for magazines throughout New England. She shares her favorite recipes and stories about food, family and friendship on her award-winning blog, Around the Table, at


• Olive oil • 1 1/2 lbs. salmon fillet, skin-on • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste • Juice of 1/2 lemon Preheat grill to high heat. Drizzle salmon with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place salmon skin side up on the grill. Depending on the thickness of the fish, grill for 5-6 minutes. Carefully turn salmon with a wide spatula and grill for 3-5 minutes more or until cooked through, but not dry. Transfer fish to a cutting board skin side down. Drizzle with lemon juice and let fish rest for 5 minutes before cutting into thick slices. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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• 1 1/2 -2 lbs. small to medium red potatoes, cut in half • Olive oil

Preheat half of the grill to hot and the other half to medium. Brush or toss potatoes with enough olive oil to lightly coat and season with salt and pepper. Put potatoes cut side down on hot side of the grill and cook for about 5 minutes or until potatoes are

• Sea salt and freshly ground pepper • Juice of 1/2 lemon • 1-2 T. extra virgin olive oil or melted butte

golden and have nice grill marks. Turn potatoes and transfer to the cooler part of the grill. Continue to cook for 10-15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Transfer potatoes to a shallow bowl, drizzle with lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil or melted butter and toss to coat.


• • • • • •

1 qt. nonfat plain yogurt 1/2 – 3/4 c. (to taste) brown sugar 1/2 tsp. salt 1 T. pure vanilla extract 1 1/2 -2 c. half & half 1 pint strawberries, blueberries, raspberries or a mix Put yogurt in a colander lined with a clean dishtowel or coffee filter; let drain for several hours or overnight. You should end up with about 2 cups of yogurt cheese.


• Citrus Vinaigrette (recipe follows) • 1 lb. asparagus, tough ends trimmed • 2-3 scallions

Make vinaigrette (recipe follows). Preheat charcoal or gas grill to mediumhigh. Put asparagus and scallions in a large dish, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Arrange asparagus and scallions on the

• Olive oil • Juice of 1/2 lemon • About 5 oz. mixed baby greens

grill and cook for 1-2 minutes. Do not overcook; the asparagus should be tendercrisp. Remove from grill, drizzle with lemon juice and cool to room temperature. If you like, chop up the asparagus and scallions. Put greens in a bowl, add enough vinaigrette to lightly coat and toss to combine.

• 1 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and chopped • 1/2 of a European cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped

Transfer greens to platter or individual plates. Put cucumber in bowl, add enough vinaigrette to lightly coat and toss to combine. Arrange asparagus, avocado, cucumber and scallions on top of greens and serve.

Put yogurt, brown sugar, salt, vanilla and about 1/2 cup half & half in a large measuring cup. Whisk to combine. Slowly add remaining half & half and whisk until smooth. Add enough half & half to make 1 quart of gelato mix. Transfer mixture into ice cream machine and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. Transfer to a plastic container and freeze for up to one month. If the gelato comes out of the freezer rock hard, put it in the refrigerator for 30-45 minutes. It will soften a little and be easier to scoop. Garnish with fresh berries and serve..

CITRUS VINAIGRETTE • 3 T. white wine vinegar • 2 T. fresh orange juice • 1 T. fresh lemon juice

Put vinegar, citrus juices, mustard, onion and garlic in a clean glass jar, season with salt and pepper and shake to combine.

• 1 T. Dijon mustard • 1-2 T. minced red onion • 2 cloves garlic, minced

Add olive oil and shake vigorously until well combined. Let vinaigrette sit for 30 minutes at room

• Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste • 1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil

temperature or longer in the refrigerator before serving. Give vinaigrette a good shake before serving.

may 2018 35

dad on board ACT I CAMP ACT II CAMP July 9 - July 21 SHOWCASE PERFORMANCE on Saturday, July 21

July 23 - Aug 4 SHOWCASE PERFORMANCE on Saturday, Aug 4

 Mondays - Fridays (9am - 5pm) Before & After Camp Care available!


For more information and registration, please visit our website or contact our Summer Theatre Camp Staff at (603) 816-2695 or

Tickets - (603) 886-7000 or online


(May 11th - 20th)


y daughter and I spend a lot of time talking. I’m just not sure she hears what I’m saying. Apparently, I send her a lot of mixed messages. I often just assume she understands the subtext of what I’m trying to communicate, but I recently discovered that’s not always (or ever) the case. It’s entirely my fault. I’m at the point in my life where if I can’t think of the word I want to say, I just open my mouth and let sounds fall out, assuming my brain will catch up to form those sounds into coherent sentences. That never happens though, so she’s fairly wary of my paternal soliloquies. As a service, I’ve decided to create an app that translates “weird dad” into the common tongue of “confused teen.” I’ve collected a few examples of actual recent conversations to illustrate how this will work. What I say: “You’ll always have a place to live here.” What she hears: “Don’t ever leave or I will jump in front of a bus.” Translation: “I want you to follow your dreams, even if it means you have to move

away so I probably will jump in front of a bus but that’s OK, just go.” I can be a little smothering, and the app hasn’t been debugged yet. What I say: “I don’t like this song.” What she hears: “I hate all music.” Translation: “I have strong opinions about music, so my standards are high. Also, I


2018 THEM

Summer STEM Programs

r? Go t le go fe ve e cu re ! We ’v e go t th

hate the Eagles and Bon Jovi and most dance music.” Maybe I do hate all music that isn’t Rush, Jason Isbell or Iron Maiden. All I know is Queen is one of her favorite bands so I’m doing something right. What I say: “What are you doing in there?” What she hears: “Get off your phone.” Translation: “Come in here with your mom and me and watch ‘Jeopardy.’ Also, get

off your phone.” Like most parents, I got my kid a smartphone with the hope she wouldn’t actually ever use it. It’s probably not a fair expectation, but enough with the phone. What I say: “Yes, you can get an iced tea.” What she hears: “You can only get tea-flavored tea.” Translation: “I’m going to take a sip of your iced tea, so that perfumed, strawberry/

Lego Engineering, Robotic Programming, Stop Motion Animation, Minecraft

Amherst, Bedford, Concord, Dover, Durham Gilford, Hampstead, Hopkinton, Londonderry Manchester, Milford, Nashua, New London, Salem

36 may 2018

kiwi/cherry/cough syrup-flavored junk isn’t going to fly.” Every Wednesday I drive her to her bass lesson in Derry. And every week we stop at a gas station on the way so she can get a snack and a drink – which I will help her consume. Therefore, I shall choose the flavor. What I say: “Get up, we’re going to the diner.” What she hears: “Get up, we’re doing to the diner.” Translation: “Get up, we’re going to the diner.”

There are occasions when I say exactly what I mean, specifically far too early every Saturday morning when she and I go to a nearby diner for breakfast where we laugh and take selfies with the phone I don’t want her to use and sup upon breakfast foodstuffs and talk – even if she doesn’t quite understand what I’m trying to say. Bill Burke is a writer who lives in southern New Hampshire with his wife and daughter. He gets his kid up much too early on the weekends and he uses air quotes when he talks about the Eagles “Greatest” Hits. He is also the managing editor of custom publications for McLean Communications.



n April’s column, I wrote about what might happen if you are told that your child’s educational team wants to refer your child for an evaluation. After you sign an agreement to have the evaluation done, the team will have 60 days to complete that initial comprehensive evaluation. It is a reasonable amount of time for it to be completed, but a number of things can happen during the school year to affect the timeline. Your child could be out of school sick for a number of days, or there could be field trips or assemblies that interrupt the daily schedule. Also, at this time of year, the school could be involved in yearly district-wide testing or state testing. If that’s going on, it would be difficult for your child to also be engaged in a comprehensive evaluation. Once the “legal clock” starts ticking on these evaluations, it can not be interrupted, so thought and care need to go into the timing. What should you and your child expect when testing begins? There will be a various people involved in the testing, including the school psychologist, speech pathologist, school nurse, special educator and classroom teacher. It can be stressful for your child to meet and work with many new people, so it is good for you to have conversations about who your child will be meeting and working with prior to the start of the testing. It’s a good idea to let the team know of any specific fears or anxieties your child may be having about the testing, so they can help manage them. The team will coordinate so that they are not vying for your child’s time on the same days. There will be a lot of planning within the 60 days so everyone’s schedules can be accommodated, but more importantly, so that the team gets the best test performance out of your child. Remember that the team must also have the reports written within the 60 days, so that has to be considered when planning the schedule as well. Once the evaluation is completed and the reports have been sent to you for your review, you will meet with the team to go over the results. Each member of the team will present his or her evaluation to the team based on their specialty. The classroom observation will be reviewed, which is usually done by the special educator on the team. Any information the team requested from your child’s physician would be reviewed at this time, too. Once everyone has presented the results, the team will discuss what the results mean in terms of your child’s educational strengths and areas of need. The team will review eligibility considerations and will make recommendations. Team members will then be asked to sign an agreement of the final eligibility decision. If any member of the team does not agree, they may sign in disagreement and submit a dissenting opinion. Elizabeth Feingold retired from Kearsarge Regional School District, where she worked for over 30 years as a special education teacher and coordinator at the elementary, middle and high school levels.


6:30–9p.m. at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium Sample the BEST FOOD & DRINK from more than 50 winners Enter to win our GRAND PRIZE An all-inclusive week’s vacation for 4 at Squam Lake provided by RDC Resort. Enjoy great ENTERTAINMENT and our FIREWORKS finale!

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may 2018 37





38 may 2018


hether you are young or old, everyone gets excited about a new toy. The newest toy we have in our outpatient pediatric offices at Dartmouth Hitchcock in Bedford, Manchester and Nashua is the PlusOptix S12C vision screener. Our pediatric ophthalmology colleagues and our local Lion’s Club introduced us to this new tool. The Lion’s Club purchased a similar machine to provide free screenings at schools and parents would bring results to our offices for further management. Ophthalmology offices have used larger and fixed versions of this technology for years, but now pediatric providers have the ability to use this machine right in our offices and can provide vision screenings for children much younger than we used to be able to. The Plus Optix S12C vision screener uses infrared light to take a series of images and measurements of both eyes. It takes less than a second at a distance of a little more than three feet. Because the test is completed so quickly we can get great data on kids as young as six months of age, which gives us the ability to detect vision problems much younger than we would have been able to in the past. We could test for eye tracking early on, but visual acuity couldn’t be reliably tested until four to five years of age. Because of this limitation, we know that we missed some kids we would have liked to have helped sooner. The American Academy of Pediatrics has now recommended that pediatric providers test vision at some point between ages one and three, and this new machine gives us that ability. We can even test older kids who either aren’t able to participate in our traditional shape- or letter-based vision charts. The test looks for nearsightedness (where you can see near but struggle with far), farsightedness (where you can see far but struggle with near) as well as eye shape, eye tracking and pupil size. If a concern is found the pediatrician can provide the information to the patient and family and connect them to an appropriate pediatric ophthalmology provider. Dr. Shessler graduated from the McGill University Faculty of Medicine, Montreal, Canada in 2005. He specializes in Pediatrics and Pediatric Endocrinology and works in the Manchester office. House Calls is sponsored by Dartmouth-Hitchcock. For more information, go to

raising teens and tweens Struggling for perfection NOBODY’S PERFECT BUT SOME TEENS THINK THEY SHOULD BE





erfection – having all of the desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; to be as good as it is possible to be. Many of the kids we are seeing in mental health practices live and breathe these words. For some, the desire for perfection is self-induced, driven by a temperament that seeks constant betterment. For others, striving to be perfect is externally produced, coming from parents, teachers, peers or social media. Subtle and not-so-subtle messages are introduced to our children from a young age. Parents face the drive to be perfect the minute they find out they’re pregnant – what to eat, what to buy and what they can do to create a happy, intelligent human. It is not surprising then that the minute our children are born, they are receiving messages about how to be better, healthier, smarter or more successful. Academic rigor, extracurricular activities, regulated screen time, scheduled play dates. Be a good student. Be a good friend. Be a good athlete. Be a star! The pressure we feel to be the Best. Parents. Ever. has trickled down to our kids. Some children start exhibiting anxious behavior as early as elementary school. By the time many of the kids reach my office, the idea of perfection is ingrained in their identity. And anyone that expects perfection will struggle when this ideal cannot be met. It is this juncture of life, the time when the perfection paradigm meets imperfect life that the crisis begins. For some, this crisis can be life-changing. And what could be worse for a child that expects to be perfect than to fall apart. This issue has resulted in higher rates of anxiety, depression, social isolation and suicides. From the first day of freshman year students are told that they need to do well to get into a good college to be successful. Competition is pressed upon them, setting up a schedule of AP and honors classes to not only increase GPA and class rank, but also to impress colleges. The messages they are getting are filled with words that promote expectations to be their best and nothing less. There is no room for down time, boredom, creative and organic exploration or failure. No social or emotional intelligence is imparted, as all time is assessed by a letter grade, a medal or some form of recognition of being the best. So how do we give kids the space to fail, learn and grow socially and emotionally and give our kids support to just be? It starts with us. It starts with the expectations we have for ourselves and our kids, as well as our own definition of perfection and failure. It starts with us as parents recognizing our mistakes and talking with our children about them. It starts with us nurturing and supporting our children through their mistakes and challenges and allowing them to fail. If you are a parent of a child struggling with the need for perfection, communicate, check in and keep an eye on them. Many of these kids will weather the storm well, but some will not. Given that they feel they need to be perfect, many of these adolescents will not show their struggles, as showing stress is failure. Connect your child with a mentor or a professional who can talk through their thoughts and stressors in a healthy manner and monitor your thoughts and messages as a parent. And seek support of professionals or other parents to help normalize your parenting journey.

presented by:

May 12th Downtown, Manchester 100 vendors | Free workshops | Tons of giveaways! 

Want a FREE ticket? Visit our website to learn more!

Tracey Tucker is Executive Director of New Heights: Adventures for Teens and a licensed mental health counselor at Tradeport Counseling Associates in Portsmouth.

may 2018 39

out about



DOVER – Henry Law Park.

After the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire’s annual 5k Road Race, kids through age 12 looking for a shorter (and sillier) challenge can step up to the starting line of the Kid-venture Course. This quirky course will be filled with silly challenges and provide a fun time for all. New this year, kids can dress up in

a “Think Spring” theme: wear bright colors, add some fairy or butterfly wings, throw on some antennae or animal ears – use your imaginations! After all age groups have conquered the course, they can take the Mega Challenge, a race around the park and back through the course. All Kid-venture participants can join in the activities at this yearly fundraising event held outside, rain or shine. Entry fee: $8 in advance, $10 on race day. 9:50 to 11 a.m. www.

20 SUNDAY HAMPTON BEACH – Oceanfront Pavilion. The sky above Hampton Beach will fill with kites of all colors as friends and neighbors honor and remember loved ones affected by cancer. This uplifting family event kicks off with Zumba followed by kite-flying and decorating, face painting, raffles, refreshments, music and more. Participants are encouraged to decorate or personalize their kites in memory or in honor of a loved one. Proceeds benefit programs at Exeter Hospital’s Center for Cancer Care. Unable to attend? Show your support with a $10 donation toward a virtual kite. A long-standing tradition, Kites Against Cancer demonstrates Exeter Hospital’s United in Wellness commitment to patients, their families and our community. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.


CONCORD -- McAuliffe-

Shepard Discovery Center, 2 Institute Drive. Engage in a variety of hands-on science and engineering activities, see the Discovery Center’s newest planetarium show and meet an astronaut, New Hampshire’s own Dr. Jay C. Buckey, Jr. at Aerospacefest. This year’s festival is filled with science and engineering adventures. STEM activity stations will be hosted by science center educators

40 may 2018

and scientists, aerospace specialists, pilots, and engineers. Admission: $10 to $15; free to members. 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. 271-7827;


FREMONT – Brookvale Pines

Farm, 80 Martin Road. The NH Renaissance Faire is a familyfriendly, educational, visual, theatrical and fantastical event. From historical knights to fantastical fairies, NHRF brings together education and fun for the whole family. Merchants are primarily local artisans with an emphasis on handmade items

including costumes, jewelry, pottery, herbals, weaponry, and more. Some will even demonstrate their craft live. Money raised will go to help NH Food Bank, Rockingham Meals on Wheels and local food banks. Admission: adults, $15; veterans and seniors and age 5-12, $10; 4 and younger get in free. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Event also held May 19 and 20.


Manchester Downtown Hotel, 700 Elm St. The biggest and best baby expo in northern New England. Meet more than 100 vendors from New Hampshire, New England and beyond. Check out workshops led by pregnancy, birth and parenting experts where you'll learn all about labor and birth, breastfeeding, natural family planning, baby wearing and more. Lots of swag will be given away – every year companies in the baby industry donate the top baby products of the year. Parenting NH is an event sponsor. Tickets: $8 to $35 (VIP). 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. www.



Theatre, 80 Hanover St. Dimensions in Dance presents its 22nd annual production of Sleeping Beauty. This classic fairy tale of a young princess cursed at birth to prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and sleep until awoken with true love's kiss is told through beautiful dance choreography in multiple disciplines. Two shows: 1 and 4:30 p.m. Tickets: $18. 668-5588; www.


MANCHESTER – Veteran’s

Park, downtown Manchester. Join New Horizons for the 28th annual Walk Against Hunger to benefit the hungry and homeless of Manchester. Food, entertainment and fun for all. Teams, individuals, and their socialized dogs are welcome. Registration begins at 11 a.m.; 5K walk begins at noon. Rain or shine. Donors receive free T-shirt with $10 minimum donation. New Horizons operates a soup kitchen, food pantry and provides emergency shelter at 199 Manchester St. and at Angie's Shelter for Women. More information and registration at www.


26 SATURDAY LACONIA – Prescott Farm,

928 White Oaks Road. Spring is in full swing and the pond is alive with all kinds of critters. There are the big ones you'd expect — turtles, frogs, ducks — but there is also a whole hidden world of tiny creatures, including baby dragonflies, that live in the water. We'll bring our pond exploring gear and see what we can find. Please wear mud boots! The program is part of Prescott Farm’s Our Big Backyard Series. For ages 7-10 with an adult. Admission: $12 for an adult-child pair ($10 for members) and $4 each additional child. 1 to 2:30 p.m.


12 SATURDAY AUBURN – Auburn Historical

Association, 102 Hooksett Road. Locally grown annuals, perennials, hanging baskets and herbs will be available for sale. Event proceeds benefit the Auburn Historical Association and Friends of the Griffin Free Public Library. Free to attend. 9 a.m. to noon. www.


CONCORD – Capitol Center for the Arts, 44 South Main St. Join

Mouse on a daring adventure through the deep, dark wood. Searching for hazelnuts, Mouse meets the cunning Fox, the eccentric old Owl and the party mad Snake. Will the story of the terrifying Gruffalo save Mouse from ending up as dinner for these hungry woodland creatures? After all, there’s no such thing as a Gruffalo – is there? Produced by Tall Stories from London. For pre-kindergarten to third grade. Tickets: $7. 10 a.m. 225-1111;

may 2018 41

42 may 2018

five•for families

COMPILED BY JACQUELINE TOURVILLE Children’s Day Festival: On Sunday, May 6, Portsmouth’s annual Children’s Day Festival offers an afternoon of free family fun with music, games, crafts, face painting and more, including photo ops with your child’s favorite friends from Character Island. Head to Market Square from noon to 4 p.m. for this block party-style event and pick up a map for other festival locations in and around downtown. Event takes place rain or shine. www.

May is New Hampshire’s summer preview, with outdoor fun, festive events and kid-friendly things to do everywhere you look. Here are five pre-summer activities your family won’t want to miss.

Live Animals at Lost River Gorge: On Saturday, May 26, Lost River Gorge will host naturalists from Squam Lakes Natural Science Center, whoooo will tell you everything you need to know about owls. Learn the facts about these amazing nocturnal birds and get to see three of these mighty hunting birds up close. After getting your fill of owl fun, begin your trek through the exciting and mysterious caverns of this natural wonder of New Hampshire.

Heifer Parade: At Canterbury Shaker Village, cheer on the cows as they frolic and dance their way to the village’s spring grazing grounds. This year’s heifer parade takes place Sunday, May 6, beginning at 10 a.m. Stay for other family-friendly activities planned throughout the day. www.

Lil’ Iguana Family Fun Day: The annual fundraiser for the Lil' Iguana's Children's Safety Foundation features live entertainment, appearances by costume characters and team mascots, bounce houses, an obstacle course, pitching station, face painting, balloon art, and more. Enter the coloring contest for prizes including new bikes with helmets; every entrant wins a free book. The Fun Day takes place at Nashua High School South; entrance fee is $1 per

Color Run: Get active for a good cause this Memorial Day weekend at the Race for Reading Color 5K on Saturday, May 26. Taking place in the 100 Acre Wood in Intervale, the fun run and 5K is a fundraiser to benefit Believe in Books, a nonprofit organization that helps children in northern New Hampshire and western Maine become stronger readers. Prepared to get doused with colorful powder along the way for a true photo finish. Race and fun run divisions for all ages.

Jacqueline Tourville is a freelance writer and longtime contributor to Parenting NH.

may 2018 43

“Thank you for giving me the ride of my life. I only hope someday I can fly the DHART helicopter and help people like I was helped.” - Camden

There are moments in life that change everything. For Camden, it was realizing that he wants to help others the way Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s Advanced Response Team helped him. As a national leader in patient-centered care, with locations throughout New Hampshire and Vermont, we’re proud to be there for your life moments.

Lebanon | Manchester - Bedford | Concord | Nashua | Keene New London | Bennington, VT | Windsor, VT

Parenting NH May 2018  
Parenting NH May 2018