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Back to School Common Core State Standards Help Students


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Acceptance begins with a Smile Copyright © 2011 Parenting Special Needs, LLC “All Rights Reserved”

Support our initiative to educate our communities about Different Disabilities & Abilities. You can start by becoming a friend; sharing this poster, a personal story, information on a disability,or read a children’s book that teaches about differences to your child or a class. Remember: Acceptance begins with a Smile : )

inside this issue... Sep t Oct 2013 Features

Moms Share 17 Real Janice Fialka Shares her thoughts on


a “Dance That Matters”

The Moon 25 Reach Common Core State Standards Help Students with Disabilities

Burn Out 32 Therapy Shifting Gears - When to Say When Success Tips 36 School From Parents and Professionals with Me: 56 Talk Enhancing Communication through Natural Family Routines




psn community news Did You Know that Procedural Safeguards notifies Parents of 10 Their Rights.



Team Long Brothers to serve as 2013 Ambassadors. Office Depot Foundation Launches Anti-Bullying Initiative Blendtec Supports Nationwide Healthy Kids Initiative

it out! 12 check Products You Can Use & Win!

12 Cover: Rickey Smith Main & Lindsay Hires

real life the Nurse 22 Ask Staying Healthy in School Relationship Rescue 24 Child Aging Out? Moments Sharing “I Can” Attitudes 62 Proud SEPT/OCT 2013

Ask the NURSE

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inside this issue... your life

28 29 30


Sharing Real Finds Back to School Help

Organization Tips Back to School Organization

Mommy Time Outs Fall at Foster Falls

special focus

50 52 48 4


in every issue

6 7 8 9 54

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psn contributors from the heart contest/giveaways facebook shares psn apps & more


34 40 43

Tiny Light: Dillan

Shares his shining lightah

App Tools for

Back to School Success

Schools & Education Services Special Resources

health & fitness to School 48 Back Meal Planning for Diabetics Fitness Fun 50 Five Fitness Facts for a Fitter Fall What to Pack 52 for School Lunches

fun & functional


ASL Tips Learn to sign plus a few


Power of Play


“Foodie” fun for kids:

Classroom Tips The upside of making your own educational toys Chicken Pot Pie Cupcakes

Get Noticed,Get Promoted in our...

Resource Directory Serving the Special Needs Community

psn contributors making a difference Founder/editorial director

Chantai Snellgrove Publisher/editor-in chieF

Tom Snellgrove design director

Chantai Meme Hieneman Ph.D. in Special Education

Susan Parziale

Eric Chessen

Barrie Silberberg

Organizing Consultant

M.S., YCS, Exercise Physiologist


graPhic designer

Michael Leisttein adVertising sales

Chantai/Judy Jaszcz Corporate Sponsors & Ad Sales Manager

Curt Mellott

MidWest & Lower Eastern Robin Newman

Douglas Haddad

Christina Bartlett

LCSW, PC Clinical Social worker, Adjunct Professor

Ph.D. (“Dr. Doug”) Author, Full-time Contributing Writer

Registered Dietitian

Chynna Tanara Laird Author, Psychology student, Freelance writer

Advertising Sales Person Needed

inquire at circulation & Pr

Bob Jaszcz Webmaster

Sean Thompson

Cynthia Falardeau Executive Director of the Education Foundation of IRC

Kami Evans Certified Special Needs Children’s Yoga Instructor

Ernst VanBergeijk Ph.D., M.S.W. NYIT/VIP

Barbara Sher

Pediatric Occupational Therapist & Author

“We only have what we give.” ~Isabel Allende

Parenting Special Needs Magazine is available bi-monthly and distributed digitally for free. www. Editorial Submission are welcome. We reserve the right to edit, reject, or comment editorially on all submitted material. We can not be held responsible for the return of any submitted materials. Articles and advertisements in Parenting Special Needs Magazine do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the publisher nor does the publisher assume responsibility for statements made by our advertisers or editorial contributors. Acceptance of advertising by Parenting Special Needs does not constitute an endorsement of products, services or information. Parenting Special Needs Magazine, is © 2013 Parenting Special Needs, LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without permission is prohibited.

Sarah Cook Photographer Cookwire photography

PubliShed by: Parenting Special Needs ,LLC 518 S. Valencia Circle S.W. Vero Beach, FL 32968

Tel: 772-532-4423 • Fax 772-299-4310


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SePT/OCT 2013

editorial director from the heart

Fall brings change... By now most of you are into a new (or renewed) routine. Even Mother Nature is into her Fall routine. Seems that no matter how hard we sometimes try, we are back into yet another routine. It could be the routine of school, therapy, work, life...this list goes on and on.....and for everyone, that routine means different things to each person. One of the biggest routines for parents of loved ones with special needs is the “back to school” routine. For many of us we might even be looking at the last year of school for our children. That brings up an entirely different (again) set of routines that have to be considered. No on gets out “unscathed”. The old expression ,“The one constant in life is change” somehow may not hold up for many of us. Change, while good in many cases, can also bring with it a new set of concerns. Our Real Mom Janice Filaka shares her thoughts on “ A Dance that Matters” with ever changing partners. Another change that is coming is the New Common Core State Standards, this new curriclum aims to help our children reach further. As it is with each of our issues, the information and inspriation is intended to help. I hope each of you gets off to a wonderful new “school year”. Happy reading...

Chantai Snellgrove Founder and Editorial Director

Coming Next Issue HOLIDAYS: Annual Gift Guide, Traditions & Celebrations, Holiday Activities

SePT/OCT 2013

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about our cover...

Great Giveaways Log on to parenting special click on CONTESTS and enter to WIN these great products.

Meet Lindsay Hires, 10, who is photographed with her ESE Teacher Assistant, Rickey Smith Main. Lindsay has Down Syndrome and loves to play many sports like soccer, tennis, swimming, and horseback riding. She also enjoys puzzles and going to the beach. She is learning to cook and is a big help for Mom baking cookies and bread. Her Mom and Dad are pretty sure Lindsay will want to “be their boss� when she grows up.

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Look for this symbol on pages then enter to WIN at PSN Contests

Tech Too Alphabet Tablet from Ableplay

Putty Elements from Fun and Function

Bananagrams from Ableplay

Magical Cushion by Fun and Function

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Q &A


ADVICE NEEDED: I’ve been having battles with my 12 yr old son over tooth brushing he will do anything to avoid it. Yes, it is a sensory issue - I thought it was just the tooth brush - but he just told me he does not like the minty/stinging taste of the tooth paste. Any suggestions for tooth paste that is not minty, but, will protect against cavities? I dread taking him to the dentist; cavities are becoming a frequent issue.


Many great ideas were shared like: Tom’s all natural strawberry flavor. Or Crest has one that is bubble gum n sparkly. Also, follow with kids mouth wash that tastes like bubble gum with no burning or minty flavor. Don’t worry, a lot of kids go through this around that age ~Samantha F. Ask to include teeth brushing as part of his OT therapy at school & include it in an annual goal of his IEP. You can ask to add this at any time; not just at an annual meeting (might have to convene a meeting) - get note from your child’s dentist to support this. Also, Prevadent (prescribed by your child’s dentist) does a wonderful job and is not as minty ~Carol Carrie H. Try no toothpaste. It’s absolutely ok, the friction of the brush is the most important part of getting the plaque off the teeth. Also, try simply wiping the teeth with a washcloth. This also helps clean the surface of the tooth. ~Nancy O.

Wonderful “WACKY” Words or Phrases

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id you know that Procedural


Safeguards -- Notify’s Parents

of Their Rights. As the parent of a child who receives special education, you have certain rights that are guaranteed by federal law: the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). These rights are listed in this brochure and include your right to participate in meetings dealing

post your



Click here >>

with the identification, evaluation, and educational placement of your child and the provision of a free appropriate public education to your child. It also explains the IEP procedure, and how each step, from identification to IEP goals, plays out. Procedural Safeguards should be offered to parents at every meeting.

Source: Office of Public Instruction

Be social share!



news psn community World CP Challenge

Team Long Brothers to serve as 2013 Ambassadors

Launches Anti-Bullying Educational Initiative Office Depot, Inc., announced the next phase of its multifaceted anti-bullying partnership with music supergroup One Direction - a new Office Depot Foundation educational program intended to help stop bullying. The Office Depot Foundation has engaged nationally known speaker Brooks Gibbs to present its “Be The Difference. Speak Up Against Bullying!” program in middle schools across the U.S. during the upcoming school year. The campaign aims to give students the confidence and courage to report bullying as a strategy for reducing bullying. For more information, please visit:

United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) is thrilled to announce that the Team Long Brothers will serve as the 2013 World Cerebral Palsy (CP) Challenge Ambassadors. Connor, 10, and Cayden, 7, compete in triathlons and were named the 2012 Sports Illustrated SportsKids of the year. Cayden has spastic cerebral palsy, and cannot walk or speak. Connor pushes Cayden in a stroller, pulls him in a raft and tows him behind his bicycle in each race. To learn more, please visit: and

Blendtec Supports Nationwide Healthy Kids Initiative

Kids Cook with Heart

Blendtec is pleased to announce its partnership with the American Heart Association and Healthy Kids Concepts in teaching kids the benefits of healthy, locally‐grown foods through their Kids Cook with Heart program. Blendtec, a leading manufacturer of high‐end commercial and consumer blenders, donates blenders to Kids Cook with Heart. Blendtec provides schools with programs that teach children how to prepare healthy foods in a way that’s fast, fun and easy. Reed Beus, Blendtec Chairman/CEO, said.“We’re proud to join in these efforts to raise the next generation of strong, healthy kids.”


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check it out! special products

Some of these Special Products are available for Parenting Special Needs Contest Winners. To enter, click on CONTESTS on our site and register.

Products you can use and win!

Learning Not Limited to Classrooms


W in it!

s summer winds down, and the buzz in the air shifts from cicadas to grumbles about school, there are a few things to help get kids ready. Fun and games don’t have to end because school is around the bend.

check out the Tech Too Alphabet Tablet by Kidz delight. With games that teach numbers, shapes, colors, animals and more, the tablet can help kids brush up on focus and fundamental learning as they journey to school for the first time.

W in it!

Do you have a product you would like to share with our readers? Please send us an email describing your product. We are happy to review and test your product.

What’s “APP”ening? Helpful Apps Stories2Learn by MDR Stories2Learn is a parent approved app that promotes social messages to individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities. S2L offers parents and educators the ability to create personalized stories using photos, text, and audio messages and comes preloaded with 12 finely crafted social narratives used to teach social skills in several areas (six actual stories with two different ways to view the story depending on individual’s developmental level). Price $13.99

submit@ Please make sure to put Product Review in email subject line.


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Pick up a game of Bananagrams – a fun letter tiles game packed in a banana that is perfect to help young kids identify their names so they can find them on their lockers the first day of school. older kids can create individual crosswords to prepare and get a leg up for spelling class. Jumbo Bananagrams has the same game play, but is larger with rubber tiles. it’s great to play outside so you can soak up the last bit of summer sun while gaining the rays of learning. Plus, sunlight helps kids sleep better and boosts their immune system – both good benefits for back to school!


Rainy Day Indoor Playground

Give the gift of speech.

one more thing to think about when shifting your thoughts from summer to school is to prepare a place at home for quiet time reading. reading is fundamental and having a comfy place to curl up can encourage kids to pick up a good book. check out the rainy day indoor Playground by Playaway toys. the “playground� is a durable, metal bar that attaches in a doorway (tension and/or screws) with links to connect different types of swings. look in particular at the hammock swing and study board option. it cocoons a child to help create a study nook for focus. For more information on these products, go to AblePlay is a website sponsored by the nonprofit National Lekotek Center, an authority on products appropriate for children with special needs at . Find us on Facebook! Reviewed by Ellen Metrick, Director of Industry Relations & Partnerships, National Lekotek Center;

for Children with Special Needs Visual Routine! by Proteon Software. Visual Routine is a simple, easy to program visual schedule that helps your autistic or special needs child keep a routine. Routines can be tailored to their needs with audio feedback, and customizable pictures, audio, and text.Instead of carrying around pecs or a laminated schedule, this app will let you have routines preset and then run them to show the child in an easy way what they have to do. Price: $4.99

TalkRocket Go Build a bridge to communication with this award-winning app for kids with speech challenges.

check it out! special products

W in it!

Magical Cushion The best seat in the house is topped with a Magical Cushion to stimulate sensory awareness. Features up to 5” of extra height for greater comfort, with a 12” diameter that fits smaller chairs. Two-sided design is smooth on one side; flip it over for a comforting massage of tactile “fingers” about 1/4” apart. Price: $25.99

Amazing Peanut Ball The Amazing Peanut Ball challenges children to balance and strengthen their core for an “active” learning posture during school work or even while watching television! Sit or straddle the ball. Pretend it’s a horse and ride it like a cowboy. Toss it and watch it bounce. Shaped for forward and back rotation, and holds up to 750 lbs. Choose from 6 sizes. Age 3+. Starting at $33.99

Traveler Lite Hammock Swing Choose a calming or thrilling ride on the Traveler Lite Hammock Swing. Made of parachute-like nylon, weighs just ounces and folds in pouch for easy travel. Kids or adults can lay back or sit up and pump to swing high. Provides a refreshing and calming break, on the go. Adult supervision required. Ages 6 to Adult. Price: $23.99

W in it!

Putty Elements Putty Elements combines science, education and sensory integration! Enables you to work on hand strengthening, fine motor coordination, stress reduction and sensory integration in a fun, engaging and educational setting. Each putty color provides a different resistance but also can help you engage children in the world around them. Choose from Sun (yellow), Desert (red), Earth (green) or Sky (blue) putty. Shape the putty to resemble the elements,such as the sun, leaves, stars and volcanos. Gluten, casein, latex and soy free. Choose from 2 oz. or 4 oz. cans Age 3+ Starting at $3.99


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Enter to WIN at PSN Contests

Š 2011 Fox Broadcasting Company

Lauren Potter - American Actress As an actress, Lauren has appeared on the hit show, Glee, but she is also an advisor to the White House for People with Intellectual Disabilities and appointed by President Obama. Lauren was born with Down Syndrome.

no limits! Support Different-Ability Awareness

Janice Fialka



share Life’s lessons

Shares about her thoughts on a “Dance That Matters”


anice Fialka is a well reknown author and speaker who contributed to this issue’s “Real Moms Share” section. We asked her to give us an insight into herself, as well as into her life raising her son, Micah, who has a cognitive impairment. We asked her a series of questions; some serious and some “just for fun”. See what she said....

Photos Courtesy Janice Fialka


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PARENTING SPECIAL NEEDS: Tell us a little bit about yourself and family. JANICE FIALKA: My husband and I have 2 children; our son, Micah, is 29 years old and has an intellectual disability. Our other child, Emma, is 25 years old. We have been a family that has taken on the opportunity to, in some ways, really rediscover what it means to be human. PSN: Tell us a little bit more about MIcha’s diagnosis and personality. JF: Micah was full a term delivery; very colicky, crying a lot, no one believed how much he cried until they stayed at our house. He was not a very happy baby. Now, however, he is very social. Folks who follow him on Facebook know he is “so happy in life right now”. He is very outgoing and emotionally attune with himself. In terms of his diagnosis, he is what used to be called “neurologically impaired/mentally retarded”. Now, we say he has an “intellectual disability”. Micah requires support in order to read, write, and do math. He does this through the use of modifications and accomodations such as: Screen Reader, Power Point, and a voice-totext program called Dragon Point and Speak which enhance his independence to learn and communicate. Micah even has a poem listing all of the disabilities he has. Micah was “fully included” in elementary, middle and high school. Initially, he was segregated in elementary school until he told me that he wanted to go “through the same door as all of my other friends”…..which started our movement into getting Micah fully included. PSN: * It should be noted to our readers that “Through the same Door: Inclusion includes College” is also the title of an award winning short film that documents the new movement of fully inclusive education by exploring Micah’s desire for a life without boundaries. Essentially, this is a film about a young adult with cognitive disabilities going to college. PSN: Share with us something YOU, personally, had to overcome by being a mother to a special needs child? JF: In the early years, I was pretty terrified and to be honest, angry. I think the anger had a lot


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to do about being scared. It’s not what I wanted or expected, but, with time and support, I gained a sense of tolerance, and taught myself that we have to reimagine our life in a story. Initially, my story was “Oh my, my son has a disability. Life is gonna be really tough and I imagine my new life isn’t gonna be so good”. With time and with meeting other parents (and hearing other stories), you begin to retell your story and say, “our family has this opportunity to enter into a new world with new people and really rethink how we imagine what will happen for Micah, and our family as well”. I don’t know if the issue is really about “overcoming”. I learned a lot about that term in the disability world. I learned that overcoming isn’t necessarily what we do…it’s learning to integrate what his difference can do to transform us. It really is about “owning” our child for who he/she is. This is really the journey we take….a journey where you never really “arrive”. I had to find people who would allow me to have the range of feelings that I had so that I could not bury them and move on and realize that I needed time to deal with the grief, the loss, the anger and the tears. As I did that, and as I learned to build a new community, I then fell in love with my child and my life.

PSN: What kind of life do you envision for your child’s future? JF: The life Micah is currently living is the life I envisioned for him. He goes to college; he is currently a teacher’s aid at a college, he is involved in an internship, and continues to amaze us by all the hard work he is doing. Micah is living what some might very well say is “an enviable life”. He lives, with support, in a completely different city, in another state. He has created circles of friends and circles of support. He lives with Interdependency…he is very happy…they “get him” there. PSN: What was your impetus/catalyst/spark/ motivation with regards to writing your book (what was the moment that made you decide to take action)? JF: Very early on (partly because I was a social worker) before Micah was born, I had some understanding of the importance of connecting partnerships between parents and professionals as well as clients and professionals. But, then when I was on the other side of that dance (as I like to refer to it), I didn’t always feel understood and, in some ways, valued by the professional. So, I knew

Micah Fialka -Feldman Self-Advocate and Speaker

that having a child with a disability was going to be challenging, but, I didn’t know quite how challenging. I also didn’t know how challenging it would be with the professionals either. Sometimes it is even more challenging than having a child with a disability. So I really had this quest to understand why it was that when people come together at a big table for a meeting…and basically are good folks who care about making the world a better place…why, then, is it that often times they end up “slamming on each others toes”. That was what most bothered and baffled me about being a mother and a social worker. That happened very early when Micah was young. A lot of people didn’t allow me my feelings….that motivated me. It made me want to share my story. Drop the “parent to professional” labels…we are all people. Otherwise, we won’t be as effective in our collaborations. PSN: How did you come up with the title for the book: Parents and Professionals Partnering for Children with Disabilities: A Dance That Matters JF: The original title of this book was “Do you Hear what I Hear?”. it came out in 1999. I think that title really said it all, but in 2012 a Revised Edition was coming out and after I met with the publisher he said that when you typed it into the search engines, it was too vague and wouldn’t come up. Also, the parents and professionals wouldn’t get it. So they wanted it to be more specific. So that’s why we have a longer (and now more specific) title. PSN:There is a strong metaphor of Dance used throughout the book, what is your connection to dance and why did you choose it? JF: Many years ago, in Michigan, I was asked to be a keynote speaker at a Part C (Early Intervention) Ball and was asked to speak about the Parent/Professional Partnership. I was very nervous about this, so, before the speech I searched the word “partner” and the third

Photo Courtesy Janice Fialka


Parenting SPecial


definition that came up was “one or two people dancing together”. So, I thought “this is like a dance; we’re with different partners and how they dance together”. That’s where I realized this is like a dance; we are doing this together and we’re stepping on people’s toes, we don’t often hear the same music, or we’re afraid of how we will be judged while we are dancing and so on and so forth. Also, the fact that my mom and dad are beautiful dancers inspired me. Whenever they heard a song they liked, they would stop what they were doing and just start dancing. So, naturally, there was also a deep association for me with dancing being like love. In addition, nowadays, the dancing metaphor is more in the public perspective with shows like Dancing With The Stars. PSN: What is the takeaway you want readers to get from reading your book? JF: The importance of reflection; taking time to step back and think about what you’re doing and your own “dance”. Reflecting on that as well as what the people sitting at the table would be going through as well. This is also what other people would call The Power of Pause. Often times, as the parent of a child, you have all of this emotional energy and you want to make it “all right for your child” so the importance of reflection is so crucial. Secondly, the book is about kindness. We need to be kind to ourselves as well as to others. Lastly, You can’t always dance with everyone gracefully. But, if you can find one person who you can partner with each year that values you, isn’t afraid of your strong emotions, asks you for more ideas and who “gets you”, then it allows you to then focus your energy on that relationship. It can change how you support your child. PSN: Do you have a proud moment you would like to share with us? JF: I can remember when Micah first learned how to suck out of a straw! That’s not what you’re talking about really. But, one of our proudest moments is when Micah wanted to live in the dorms at the college he was at. He had to go to the board and had to self-advocate for himself… he actually had to file a suit for his rights. It was


Parenting SPecial


hard and they said “no”, but, he kept pushing for his rights. It was very humbling for us to see. They interviewed/deposed Micah for five hours; they gave hypothetical situations that made Micah appear to be incompetent to live in a dorm; they put a video camera in front of him for 5 hours; they put the Vice President of Student Affairs in front of him for five hours. Here comes the Proud Moment: at the end, when it was all over, I picked him up in my car and asked how it went? He said to me, “I was good mom, I did good”. He told me the last question he answered was “do you think the vice president discriminated against you” and Micah said “yes”. Then he turned to me and said “do you think I hurt her feelings?” I was SO MOVED that he could have that emotional connection that he didn’t really want to hurt her feelings but he knew that he had to fight. It was stunning. I have a more simple Proud Moment I would like to also share; Micah was speaking at a conference and he called home and said “mom, this mother came up to me and said that I gave her hope and that now she is going to go back to her home and fight for her 8 year old daughter that has Down Syndrome”. It was a beautiful gift that this mother gave to Micah. w PSN: Janice, thank you so much for your book and for sharing with us your experiences and the lessons you have learned raising Micah.

Parents and Professionals Partnering for Children with Disabilities: A Dance That Matters Nominated for the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Association of Educational Publishers! Written from both the parent’s and the professional’s points-of-view, this book is rich with stories, examples, and practical suggestions. Using dance as a metaphor, the authors provide a developmental approach to understanding and forging positive adult relationships while showing concrete ways to advocate for and with children. Visit:

Just for

fun about Janice

What do you do to find time for you? I make sure that I hike, bike, and read poetry. Mommy timeout: Dream vacation? We just went hiking in Mass. We like the outdoors a lot, we are planning a trip right now to Vietnam that we are excited about. Favorite treat? Ice Cream Your one makeup essential? I’m a “natural lady” haha. I always have my wrinkles with me Do you drink Coffee or Tea? Coffee in the morning and tea at night Are you a dog or cat person? Neither Favorite wacky word or phrase from Micah? Who is “Mark Tardy”? One time, when Micah was little and in school, I was trying to get him to hurry up in the morning so that he wouldn’t be late. I told him if he was late, he would be “marked tardy”. Micah said mom “Who is ‘Mark Tardy’”?

real life advice

Staying Healthy In School

Ask the

The start of a new school year exposes children to many things -- new friends, teachers, and lots of germs. According to the National Institutes of Health, families with school-age children have a higher rate of illness than other families and the number of illnesses per child can be as high as 12 per year. The most common illnesses that plague schools are strep throat, colds, influenza and chicken pox. Head lice is also a familiar problem (especially among elementary school children), and school nurses rarely have a year without seeing cases of pink eye and Fifth Disease. Since it’s virtually impossible to escape germs in school, the key is to by learn how to be proactive in preventing these illnesses. Staying healthy is not hard. Follow these simple tips for a healthy school year.


Use Good Hand washing techniques: Frequent hand-washing is one of the simplest — and most effective — ways to stay healthy in school. Remind your child to wash his or her hands before eating . In addition, wash after using the toilet, blowing his or her nose, or playing outside. Suggest soaping up for as long as it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice. Use hand sanitizer. Give your child alcohol-based hand sanitizer to keep in their desk. Remind your child to use the sanitizer before eating snacks or lunch and after using a shared computer mouse, pencil sharpener, water fountain or other community objects. If appropriate, you might also give your child disinfecting wipes for general use. Cover mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. Give your child a package of tissues to keep in their desk as well. Encourage your child to cough or sneeze into a tissue — then put the tissue in the trash and wash his or her hands or use hand sanitizer. If it isn’t possible to reach a tissue in time, remind your child to cough or sneeze into the crook of their elbow. Remember to keep hands away from your eyes and out of your mouth. Remind your child that hands are often covered in germs. Don’t share water bottles, food or other personal items. Offer your child this simple rule — if you put the item in your mouth, keep it to yourself. Of course, it’s also important for your child to eat a healthy diet, get plenty of sleep, and stay current on their vaccinations — including a yearly flu vaccine. To prevent spreading illness at home, use the same tips for the entire family. w DISCLAIMER: The contents of the Ask the Nurse column (“Column”) such as text, medical information, graphics, images and any and all other material contained in the column (“Content”) are for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your (or your child’s) physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. NEVER DISREGARD PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE OR DELAY IN SEEKING CARE BECAUSE OF SOMETHING YOU (OR YOUR CHILD) HAVE READ IN ANY MEDICAL LITERATURE!


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Since it’s virtually impossible to escape germs in school, the key is to learn how to be proactive in preventing these illnesses.

Have a question for “Ask the Nurse”?

Send an email to: Please make sure to put “Ask the Nurse” in email subject line.

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real life advice

Child Aging Out?: Know the Laws in your Area


What to do as your child is aging out of high school?

by Robin Newman, LCSW


This month I have chosen to discuss,” what to do as your child is aging out of high school”? First and foremost, you need to empower yourself by understanding the bylaws that are in place for special needs teens who are about to age out. It is against NYS law to discharge an adult prior to age 21 unless there are special circumstances that require an early group home setting, or an institutional setting. Know and understand the laws in your area because they differ from state to state. All treatment plans endorsed by the school system have to be in writing in the form of an IEP. If it’s not, then you have to fight for it. It is also customary for the district to pay for testing to be done by specialists in the field. This is another thing you have to fight for as the parent. There is no reason that any parent should be in a bind because the school district ousted their child. In NY, for example, we have trade schools that are an adjunct to BOCES which focus on daily living skills and some kind of training for a small job. You are entitled to this as well. I have assisted many families with special needs children to advocate for themselves and their children. You have to be willing to do the research because there are child advocates that exist who are paid by the state to help you. I will never forget the time when we had an outside neuropsychologist do testing on both of our special needs children. Insurance paid for half and we asked the school district to pay for the other half. They balked and said “no”. One thing that school boards don’t want are law suits on their hands. I am not a litigious person, however, when it comes to my children “watch out”. My husband and I told them that we had a legal advocate who would sue the district for the money. They jumped and we came to an agreement. You, as the parent, cannot trust the system entirely. Be empowered by having the knowledge. Go into the meeting with well thought out questions.

God Bless, Robin Newman LCSW PC

Parenting SPecial

Have a question for “Relationship Rescue”.

Send an email to Please make sure to put “Ask Robin” in email subject line.

Be prepared!!!!!


First and foremost, you need to empower yourself. Be empowered by having the knowledge.


Common Core State Standards (CCSS) Help Students with Disabilities (SWD)

Reach the

Moon! by Rachelle Kistler and Randall Hunt

“I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to Earth.� President John F. Kennedy in his speech to Congress on May 25, 1961

SEP/OCT 2013

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oonshot Moment

Just as in 1961, when President John F. Kennedy challenged our nation to reach beyond what we knew at that time about space travel, forty-five states, the District of Columbia, four territories, and the Department of Defense Education Activity, have committed themselves to reach beyond what we have known about state standards in the past. They are committed to implementing common core state standards which will provide an opportunity for all students to experience our nation’s next “Moonshot Moment.” These common standards provide clear, consistent, and meaningful grade level expectations for student learning which will bring about changes in the ways in which children are taught, how they learn, and how they will be assessed. Common language and expectations across states will allow for parents and educators to engage in meaningful conversation and provide experiences for students that are “common” across states and territories. When students move from one state or territory to another, or pursue a college, career, or community experience outside their home state or territory, these clear, consistent expectations will provide for a common educational framework to allow students to land or reconnect safely in their new environment.

The goal of the common core state standards initiative is to prepare students for successful transition to post-high school opportunities that include college, career, and within the community. Classroom communities from pre-kindergarten up to high school will evolve to reflect a culture of high expectations for all students. Students with disabilities will be thought of as general education students first, who, with supports and accommodations, can be expected to move forward in the general curriculum with mastery of grade-level standards as the goal. Students with significant disabilities will work toward core content connectors that are aligned with common core standards for instruction and assessment. As a result, teachers will design lessons that are based on the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL). UDL provides a blueprint for Photos Courtesy Henrik Abelsson via Wikimedia Commons

creating instructional goals, methods, materials, and assessments that work for everyone--not a single, one-size-fits-all solution but rather flexible approaches that can be customized and adjusted for individual needs. Parents will observe students with disabilities receiving necessary supports within the general education setting. Students with significant disabilities will receive instruction in an alternate curriculum and will participate in assessment that is reflective of their instruction. This will require school staff to work collaboratively to plan, instruct, and make accommodations for students with disabilities across school settings.

Full Integration Florida’s schools will be

fully integrated with common core state standards by school year 2014-2015. During school year 20132014 the School District of Indian River County, Fl., will be fully implementing common core in grades kindergarten (K)-2 with blended implementation of CCSS/Next Generation Sunshine State Standards in grades 3 – 12 and transition to full implementation of common core state standards grades K-12 during 2014-2015. The SDIRC Exceptional Student Education Department, in collaboration with the Florida Department of Education and discretionary

projects, including Florida Diagnostic Learning Resource Services (FDLRS), Florida Inclusion Network (FIN) and Project 10: Transition Education Network (TEN) provides professional development, modeling, and teacher coaching in the area of common core implementation. District initiatives that will ensure access for SWD include instruction in self-advocacy and self-determination; implementation of evidenced-based curricula and strategies; UDL instructional supports; student-data-driven flexible scheduling; collaborative teaching and planning; transition assessment, planning, and instructional application within the community. School-based teams will receive professional development in writing individualized education plans that reflect common core and core content connectors to make sure that all programming is in line with what students should know and be able to do by the end of a given grade level. w

Success for all students is the underlying principle of this national effort to provide learning opportunities that are relevant, rigorous, and meaningful in the 21st century. In 2013, common core state standards provides the framework and supports for students with disabilities to make this our generation’s Moonshot Moment!

Rachelle Kistler and Randall Hunt, Exceptional Student Education Program Specialists, School District of Indian River County, FL.


! W E

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your life help



Scan Me Kidz: Just in case

YUM! Peace of Mind

visit site for recipes

Jessica’s Granola Jessica’s Natural Foods line of granola is made with love in small batches in a dedicated gluten-free facility in Michigan. These are the perfect treat for lunch boxes or after school. There are 6 delicious flavors to choose from. Our family’s favorites were “Cherry and Berry” and “Motor City Crunch”. The products are sold for $6.99 - $7.49 per bag in Whole Foods Market stores in Michigan, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut, or can be purchased in bulk online at Jessica’s Natural Foods website,

It is not always a given that parents can be with their kids 24/7. They might be at school, in the neighborhood, at the relatives, etc… Heaven forbid something happens. Scan Me Kidz offers a QR enabled bracelet, shoe tag, or backpack tag so that someone finding the child or someone responding to a medical emergency can quickly access important medical information and emergency contact information for parents or designated caregivers.

Short Hot-Cold Food Container They have redesigned their classic hot-cold food container to be as easy to eat from as a regular bowl. Perfect for soups or mac and cheese. Fits in a lunchbox perfectly and doesn’t take up too much space. We found it at Pottery Barn Kids. Features include: 4.5” diameter, 3” high; Stainless steel containers with plastic lid and base are BPA-free; Specially designed to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold; Easy to clean, easy to store. Image courtesy Pottery Barn Kids


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Reuse it! Available at

organized your life Photo Courtesy of Erin at The Sunny Side Up Blog

l o o h c S o T k c a B


by Susan Parziale


ack to school ads; they start early in the season and then slowly the school gear starts popping up in stores in June, but, come August, we are assaulted by notebooks, pencils and pens. Plan early and picking up the supplies is easy. The back to school morning routine is not so easy. I am a firm believer of a schedule to get everyone out the door on time – including mom and dad! To make things run smoothly in the morning, some work must be done the night before. Prepare school lunches, including filling up water bottles. Put the whole lunch bag in the fridge so it’s ready to go. I pick up snack containers in the bargain bins for $1 to fill with snacks. Baths and showers should also be taken in the evening; all clothes that they want to wear the next day should be out on the dresser, including shoes. I highly recommend setting the breakfast table with bowls, spoons and cups. These little changes will make a huge difference in the morning. I wake up about 5:30 each morning to have my cup of coffee and get myself ready. I then wake up my daughter at 7:00. This wake time gives her

1 hour to get dressed, eat, brush her teeth and leave the house on time. Waking up your child 30 minutes before the bus honks is not enough time. I am also a huge fan of the digital time to give my daughter a heads up of “five minutes and then we are leaving”. Works like a charm! When your children return from school, they should unpack their backpacks and hang them up. Put their lunch box on the counter and their school folder on the table for your review. You most likely will have to remind them each day but they will get the hang of it if you are consistent. I review my daughter’s school folder each night, sign permission slips and read other notices that might come in. It only takes a few minutes and in the morning it will be chaotic to read all of the paperwork. Lastly, you all know by now that I am a huge calendar fan. I love the big family calendars that are hung on the wall and clearly show what is going on for each member. One step further is to assign each person their own colored pencil for the calendar so when you want to know what Jack is doing for the week, just look at all the red entries. Voila! No need to stress about the morning or afternoon routines if you plan ahead. Wishing you all a great school year! w Susan Parziale is a certified Professional Organizer. She is also a mother to 8 year old daughter with Autism. Visit SEP/OCT 2013

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Mommy’s Timeout : T ake a time out and use V isualization Meditation to relax. Picture yourself here amongst the Fall Foilage. Hear the waterfall. Take a couple of deep breaths and begin to let go of any stress. Fall at Foster Falls Marion County, Tennessee, US Photos courtesy of Š somegeekintn /

breathing space your life


BURN OUT Shifting Gears When to Say When

by Cynthia & Jim Falardeau


same thing, over and over, and expecting different can still see myself sitting there with the other results”? parents in the waiting room of the therapy Please understand that we believe passionately provider. Each week we would gather to wait in early intervention. However, as our child neared while our children were in session. It had almost becoming a tween, we suddenly found that our become like a comfortable chat room of nontherapy goals were changing. Our son was also judgment. It was cozy and warm. asking why and when he could Despite the fellowship of kind and understanding parents, I started Sometimes you know participate in other after school programs and activities. The therapies to question if our son was really when it’s time to make were conflicting with offerings that getting anything out of this weekly were free and provided social skill grind. Were we just coasting? Was I a change in your building. avoiding my gut instinct? In my heart, child’s therapy regimen I suppose to some it sounds like a I felt like I was putting off making a change. – are you afraid to no brainer: free vs. fee based. Yes, “free,” is my favorite word. However, I I am not really sure how it make an alteration? felt conflicted about pulling the plug happened. One day we were coasting along, and then the next thing we Don’t get comfortable on relationships that had been long established. knew we were asking ourselves – make a change! So what did we do? We dropped out. “where are going and what are we We took a break. We decided, as a doing”? family, that we needed to try some of We had been taking our son to the opportunities that were being offered to our son. therapy, religiously, five days a week from the time We also needed to identify, with the support of our he was 18 months old until he was 10. Despite our team, what our child needed most. advocacy, and the tremendous gains our child made, To be clear: I want to explain my definition of the we found ourselves asking, “Why are we doing the

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team. Long ago when our son was a baby, I created a support team. I named it after him, “Team Wyatt.” I recruited friends, family, church parishioners, teachers, therapists and our family physician to be on our consulting team. They knew us, and our son, in a variety of settings. You see, at this point, we needed to move from a clinical to an intuitive social strategy. It was clear that we needed to develop his life skills in settings that engaged his interests. By putting his passions first, we believed, the outcomes we had previously strived to meet in a quantifiable setting would come through more successfully. At this point, I think it is important to add a disclaimer. My husband and I are just parents. We are merely sharing what we have lived and learned. I would not recommend making drastic changes to your child’s therapy regimen without consulting your team. The key point to this essay is that you need to follow your heart and honestly re-evaluate what is being accomplished. Is it time to move on? My husband felt like the last six months of daily, after school therapy sessions had lost their efficacy. His comment to me was, “We are just sleep walking”. He felt strongly that the therapists that we were seeing had taken us as far as they could. He also keenly identified that our son was developing interests and passions that had the potential to deliver opportunities to develop the skills we had been working on in a clinical settings. What we are proposing is merely to step back and take a look at your therapy plans from time to time.

So here is what we did and what we recommend: 1. Try something new to achieve the same goals: • Support School Partnerships: Our son loves the theater. He wanted to be in a play. Our school district’s exceptional education team

partnered with the local children’s theater to bring professionals in to work with children who were on the spectrum of Autism Related Disabilities. The theater teams came into our school and worked with our son and his classmates. This built relationships and understanding. It also opened the door for him to participate in their afterschool offerings. Suddenly, we found he was working to develop his speech skills to annunciate, project, read and memorize lines. 2. Ask your team to help gain entrance into programs: • It helps to engage teachers and community members who know your child in the process of advocating for your kid. We had heard about a spring break camp at a local church. I started asking around. I found out that several of our son’s therapists and teachers were parishioners of the church. They went and met with the program instructors to share and explain our son’s needs. It paved a path for understanding and gained him a pass to participate. Now I have to add, that we also agreed that if it was not working at any point, we would pull out our child. It gave them an “out” and allowed us a chance to try something new. 3. Network-network-network: • You need not be a social extrovert to benefit from this tactic. There are numerous parenting networking groups on Facebook, Twitter and other social systems. Use these groups to chat about local resources and contact people. We laughed that once we got our son into a program – other parents of children with special needs would remark, “Well if they took him, they will take our child!” We joked that we were the pioneers. I am not sure that we paved a trail. However, it was more about finding people who were willing to be flexible and agreeable to accommodate our children. One of the most interesting outcomes of this process is that we became reconnected with the families I reference in the beginning of this essay. They too found it was time for a change. We crossed paths at other camps and afterschool programming. We still continue to share and encourage. We just do it now in other settings and in new ways. w

SEP/OCT 2013

Parenting SPecial




Tiny Light

Hirschsprung’s Disease Story written by Angela Funk Images Captured by Eye for it Photography

w w w. t h e t i n y l i g h t . c o m


iny Light Dillan is a brave little four year old who has a fighting spirit. He loves to race, dance and play with his cars and trains and laugh with his family. He is quick to smile, even after feeling pain, and he likes to be silly, even when he is at his sickest. Dillan loves superheroes and is an ardent protector of his little sister, Sophie. Dillan was diagnosed with Hirschsprung’s disease at three weeks old, even though the illness was evident from the day he was born. This condition affects the large intestine - the nerve cells necessary to enable a normal bowel movement have not developed. Over the course of three surgeries, Dillan’s disabled colon was bypassed and he received an ileostomy which releases his waste and allows time for the nerve cells in his colon to develop. Hopefully, in the near future, he will have surgery to reconnect his intestines and ideally continue life as a normal little boy. Now in preschool, Tiny Light Dillan struggles to understand why he has an ostomy, but, is otherwise doing well. His parents await his next surgery and hope that this procedure will be his “last surgery ever”. Unfortunately, some children with the disease often suffer residual health problems. His mother says,“My dreams are that he understands what has happened and helps spread awareness and knowledge, and that he keeps loving the way he does”.

specialfocus “Children are likely to live up to what you believe of them.” ~Lady Bird Johnson

Shining a light on Tiny Light Dillan School Success Tips App Tools for: Back to School Schools & Tutoring Resources SEPT/OCT 2013

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School Success Tips From Parents & Professionals




would recommend is to make a schedule and stick to it; whether it is for your morning routine, getting ready for school or after school activities and snack! My daughter had sensory issues, so dressing can be a battle. Make sure your morning schedule allots time for any other parts of getting ready that may be a struggle.


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Share with others. When

my son, who has Down syndrome, began day care, we wrote a letter to all the school’s parents about our energetic, curious little guy and how our hopes and dreams for our child were the same ones they had. Our expectation was that Evan be treated the same as the other kids and be subject to the same requirements and demands. I also encouraged peoplefirst-language along with links to DS organizations and encouraged parents to reach out to us if they had questions (we included our contact info).

} }

it out: The biggest tip I

~ Michelle Nicole Levreault

Have the kids pick out their clothes the night


before. This saves A LOT of headaches in the morning!

~Julie M. Gerhart Rothholz

~ Lisa Birkholz Santee



Get a luggage tag to put on your child’s backpack. It makes it harder to lose. Choose a cool color or design to distinguish the child’s backpack, and try putting a luggage tag on the bike lock too.

Create a large monthly calendar

that shows football games, after school activities, sports games, choir and band concerts, etc. It calms them down to know that their upcoming event is on the calendar. ~Laura LeMond Tips 3 & 4



Open communication


with all who are going to work with your child. Remember that as parents we are teachers ourselves and have the responsibility to teach the staff about what our children need. Have a meeting with everyone, if possible, and write down everything before the meeting and hand out copies.

~Heather Dean Rudow Clemmer


Memorizing Lock Combination My daughter had trouble memorizing her locker number and combination. We bought some rubber wristbands (like charities give away) and wrote the info on the underside with a Sharpie. She was trendy and had the numbers handy! When she also got a gym locker, we just used different colors for each locker. ~J. Logaz



Get a list of your child’s classmates for both the special education class as well as

for any inclusion classes. My daughter has a speech disorder and cannot always pronounce names correctly. We went over the names together so I could understand how she pronounced the names. It proved very valuable when any conflicts arose and she was able to tell me who it was. ~ Robin Denmark




Good Stuff Write a list of all the new things your child accomplished over the summer; the changes in likes and dislikes. This helps the teacher become current with the child right away. Write a narrative to the teachers/ staff, or anyone who will encounter the child, explaining what your child has, any signs of a problem, contact information, etc. Teachers will have a visual that they can refer to, and you have proof you shared this information. Everyone your child meets will be better able to help/ educate them. ~Michele Gianetti, I Believe In You

I always make sure that every teacher has a copy of the accommodation page. I have them sign it and return it back to the case manager as well as kept in the IEP file. Also, make sure you spend a few minutes with each teacher to explain any particular needs of your student. ~Robin Williams


Homework Routine Establish a

personalized routine for your child to do homework at the same time every day. The general rule of thumb to follow is that children should do 10 minutes of homework a night for each grade level. ~Dr. Doug


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}} 12} Know the law

A great source for parents and guardians is


teachers about the power of inclusion. Remind them that their job is not only to be his teacher, but also to welcome him into their class so that they can learn from their peers... and they will. ~ Diane Linder, teacher and parent


~Amy Worthy

Always try to include child or photo of child during any meetings. This way

~Shannon Kay, Ph.D., BCBA-D

they can give feedback if they are able about how their plan is going. My mother brought me to talk about how I prefered physical therapy in the same area as PE class, with the option to participate in PE as I was able. I liked having a classmate go with me to lunch or back to class early instead of just a PA. I wanted to help pass out work in class, which got me walking on crutches more, or rolling wheelchair independently.


Island of Competence. Help

your child find his or her “islands of competence” through these channels: school electives; after school activities sponsored by the school, community based activities such as acting, singing, art, and music; volunteer experiences, or mentoring younger children or seniors or part time jobs in areas of interest ~Dr. Kari Miller PhD, BCET, Educational Therapist & Director


Calling All Troops! You have

a right to bring who you want to the IEP meeting. Don’t be afraid to invite therapists, family, and friends. The more input, the better! Participation from everyone makes the IEP more successful. ~ Cynthia Falardeau


~Monica J. Foster - The Life Beyond Coach® & Inclusionista, Founder of BUTTERFLYWHEEL® Parenting SPecial

Bullying prevention Tips

Parents may want to help their children with disabilities by making age-appropriate clothing and toy selections. For example, a teenager with autism may enjoy wearing a pumpkin hat at Halloween, but, that choice may make it more likely that they will be a target of bullies in a middle school.



The Power of Inclusion: Remind



Prepare an IEP Notebook

prevent loss of any important papers. ~Cathy Allore, FAU CARD



Transition Tip. The importance of preparing your


child for the time when they will be released from the school district cannot be stressed enough. This preparation is called “transitioning”, and should start when your child reaches fourteen years of age. By the age of twenty-one, your child will be removed from the school district, either through graduation or discharge. Therefore, it is critical that during your child’s annual IEP, you discuss and review with the school the transitioning process. This transitioning process includes the progress your child has made during the past school year with their self help skills, intellectual skills, social skills as well as their ability to manage whatever physical impediments they may have. During the IEP, these topics, among others, should be discussed, as they will affect the opportunities and options your child will have at age twenty-one. Failure to review the transitioning progress during your IEP meetings may find you “blind sighted” with little or no options for your child when they are released from the school district. Remember, transitioning should be an intricate part of the annual IEP from the child’s age of fourteen to twenty-one. ~Tony Mancuso



is often necessary. Email is convenient, but feelings are often misconstrued and things can be easily taken out of context. When emails were not successful, I wrote a letter to the school and mailed it. I also asked to receive a written response from the school within ten business days.

You can help ensure your child’s success by being involved at school throughout the year. Consider joining the PTA or Building Accountability Committee, volunteering in the classroom, helping in the lunchroom/library, or assisting with special events. The more active you are, the more impact you can have on your child’s education.

Written communication

~Emily Reynolds

Stay Involved.

~www.Florida Inclusion Network

22} It’s all About Your Child!

The most important piece of your child’s education is YOU. You need to be their voice, their advocate, and their cheerleader. It is essential that you continue your own education to develop the skills to help your child create a rich and meaningful life. You must be the one to lead the effort. After all, they can’t do it without YOU.w


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Photo Courtesy Kristen R. Walton via Facebook PSN Wordless Wednesday

by Sami Rahman & Cristen Reat


s the school year gets under way, parents of children with special needs are overwhelmed with information, IEP goals, and transition challenges. Here are some app ideas for supporting learning by making it less daunting, and more accessible and enjoyable! This is a list of apps for the iPad, and in some cases the Android platform, that we find particularly useful when it comes to supporting our children with academic tasks. A common feature of nearly all of them is the ability to customize information and create your own content for your child.


Abilipad A

by PalaSoftware Inc. TThis is a useful app for helping students learn, manage and have fun with spelling words. You have the ability to categorize words according to grade level 1-12, record audio pronunciation of the word, and record sentences using the word. Included in the app are fun activities for practicing -- Word Scramble, Word Search, and Missing Letter game. Each of these games has “hints” built in, so for those who can get frustrated easily. Price: $4.99 IOS:

b Cheryl Bregman by Created by an OT, Abilipad is a versatile app C tthat can be used as a customizable keyboard, w word processor as well as a communication ttool. It has text-to-speech, word prediction and spell check built into the word processing function. The language and voice can also be changed to English, Spanish, German or French with a choice of 20 voices. Keyboards can be edited and fully customized where each key can be assigned a letter, word, sentence or picture with color options. Price: $19.99 IOS:


Full review:


Full review:

Write My Name W b NCSOFT by TThis is a well designed tracing app that is vversatile for practicing writing letters and w words, in both upper case and lower case. It ccan be customized to work on tracing any name or word by using stock pictures or adding your own. Audio can be added so the child traces the letters and then the word is read aloud to them. Price: $3.99 IOS: id500623496?mt=8&uo=4

Full review:

American Wordspeller A b i.m. Press by FFor students who need spelling support, this aapp is specifically designed for those who spell w words “how they sound” or, phonetically. It is particularly helpful for ESL students or those who have Dyslexia. It includes 4 tools in 1: brief definition, cross-reference words that sound the same but are spelled differently (ex. petal/ pedal/ peddle) suffix speller, and prefix listed with definition. Price: $4.99 IOS:

Full review:

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Inspiration Maps by Inspiration Software, Inc. This is a great organizational tool for students who need a visual of what they are studying, students who need help with sequencing events, creating outlines and note taking tasks. Students build their knowledge by creating diagrams, maps and organizers that help them brainstorm, plan, and build thinking skills. It comes with helpful templates and documents can be exported and shared. Price: $9.99 IOS: id510173686?mt=8&uo=4

Full review:

BrainPOP Featured Movie by BrainPOP® Watch a different animated movie every day, then test your new knowledge with an interactive quiz – free! For more access to BrainPOP’s award-winning content, choose an optional in-app subscription and enable students to explore more than 750 Science, Math, Social Studies, English, Engineering & Tech, Arts & Music, and Health subjects. All movies are closed captioned.. Price: FREE IOS: Android: details?id=com.brainpop.brainpopfeaturedmovieandroid

Full review:

100s Board HC by Matthew Thomas This is a digital 100s board that can show and/or hide all of the numbers to 100. Developed by a classroom teacher to use with his students, it was designed to be “high contrast,” making it particularly useful with those who have visual impairments or visual-perceptual challenges. Uses for a 100s board are endless in the classroom and for helping teach number recognition, one to one correspondence, skip counting, number patterns, practice, place value, money, addition, subtraction, etc. Price: $2.99 IOS: id507031877?mt=8&uo=4

Full review:

SymbolSupport by Attainment Company SymbolSupport allows you type any text, and it adds symbols to each word as you type. This is a tool that a caregiver or teacher could use to create documents with symbols for someone who cannot read words or needs symbols to help them comprehend what they are reading. You can make your document as simple or complex as you want, so it can be used for students of all levels and abilities. It comes with a User’s Guide that is easy to access at anytime while creating documents. Price at time of review: $59.99 IOS: id571654488?mt=8&uo=4

Full review:

Special Words by Special iApps Special Words teaches students to recognize written and spoken words, and encourages their speech development, using pictures and sounds. It is interactive, allowing children to learn at their own pace with increasing levels of difficulty. The words and pictures are the same as those in the See and Learn Language Reading resources from Down Syndrome Education International. This app has 4 different levels and has a customizable feature, so it is a useful app for children with varied abilities and skills. Price: FREE IOS: id451723454?mt=8&uo=4

Android: details?id=com.specialiapps.specialwords

Full review:

For complete review of each of the apps listed here, visit Bridging Apps: If you are interested in searching for more apps, creating your own list of apps and sharing them, please go to BridgingApps, a program of Easter Seals Greater Houston, is a community of parents, therapists, doctors, and teachers who share information about using mobile devices (iPad, iPhone, and Android) with people who have special needs. w Sami Rahman and Cristen Reat are co-founders of Both are parents who found success when using a mobile device with their child with special needs.

SEP/OCT 2013

Parenting SPecial


Temple Grandin, PhD Doctor of Animal Science


Image Courtesy Eustacia Cutler

As a doctor of Animal Science, Temple has been instrumental in the way we treat animals. She is a Professor, Inventor, Author, and Consultant. She is the basis for the eponymous, award-winning HBO movie. Temple was diagnosed with Autism in 1950 at age 2.

no limits! Support Different-Ability Awareness


new Frontiers in Learning Open House and Networking Event Thursday, September 26, 2013 from 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM/ New York

neW FRontieRS in LeaRning 10280 Broad Street Suite 1702 New York, NY 10004 TEL: 646-558-0085 FAX: 646-558-0011 WEB:

1931 19th Place Vero Beach, FL 32960 TEL: 772.231-9998

The mission of New Frontiers in Learning is to provide the highest quality education and social support services to students with learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, and related learning differences through ongoing personalized programming designed to meet the needs of every student.

FDLRS-FLoRiDa DiagnoStic anD LeaRning ReSouRceS SyStem, chiLD FinD Tallahassee, FL 32399 TEL:(850) 245-0478

make youR maRk in LiFe tutoRing centeR

Make Your Mark in Life is a unique tutoring center offering every student the opportunity to learn how to do their academic best by focusing on their unique strengths and needs. Goals and lessons are highly individualized and delivered in an encouraging atmosphere.

u.S. DepaRtment oF eDucation 400 Maryland Avenue, SW Washington, DC 20202 TEL:800-872-5327 TY 800-437-0833


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At Cardinal Reading Strategies, LLC, our primary objective is to provide parents and teachers with goals and structure that will meet the needs of students requiring either primary instruction or remediation in the reading (decoding) and spelling (encoding) of the English language. Utilizing multisensory, science-based reading instruction that is the cornerstone of the Orton-Gillingham approach, we provide a systematic and forensic methodology to mastering the English language and a solid foundation for the acquisition of reading, writing, and spelling skills. With this forensic approach, students can be shown the

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eat your medicine by Douglas Haddad, Ph.D.

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” ~Hippocrates (ancient Greek physician)

R Images courtesy of

esearch has shown that millions of Americans could be at an increased risk for getting cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes, hypertension, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and certain cancers from consuming the wrong types of food. Most people realize that processed foods are bad for them, but how can you tell if your food is processed? Even “All Natural” foods put on a disguise and use highly processed ingredients. Therefore, it is crucial to be able to know how to readily identify super healthy foods before you make your next purchase at the store.


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ave you ever wondered why a pre-packaged food has a longer expiration date than the same food made from scratch which spoils in a matter of days? look at the ingredients listed on the nutritional label. a general rule of thumb is that foods with more than five ingredients usually contain chemical additives or preservatives. these are used to enhance shelf life or to make the food look fresh by turning it a certain color. For instance, nitrates and nitrites are often found in processed meats such as deli meats, hot dogs, bacon, frozen meat dinners and breakfast meats. in food, nitrate salts can react to form compounds called nitrosamines which are problematic because they can be carcinogenic by reacting at the cellular level and altering gene expression --- thus causing dna damage. High fructose corn syrup (HFcS) is the main ingredient in soft drinks and is also hidden in foods like bread and pasta sauce. Studies have shown that large doses of HFcS can cause damage to your gastrointestinal tract and allow toxic byproducts produced from bacteria flora to pass into your blood stream and trigger an inflammatory response that is at the root of obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, dementia and accelerated aging. another chemical to avoid which is found in countless foods in the grocery stores, restaurants, school cafeteria and used to add flavor is monosodium glutamate, or MSg for short. it is tricky to really know whether MSg is in your food because it goes by so many other hidden names. MSg is commercially added to many foods, despite evidence that these excitotoxins can penetrate certain areas of the brain and cause damage. this chemical has also been linked to eye damage, headaches, migraines, fatigue, dizziness and depression. Here is a short list of common foods that contain MSG: • Fast food • Canned soups • Crackers • Soy sauce • Many cold cuts • Flavored and salty chips • Gravy • Dipping sauces • Chicken and sausage products

Keep your family healthy during this fall with super foods packed with nutritional power. When you go to your local supermarket, the easiest tip to remember when shopping for these healthy foods is to travel along the outer perimeter of the store. there you will find foods that contain the greatest amount of nutrients, including fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, dairy products and meats.

these foods are the healthiest and should be primarily consumed.

Whether you are shopping at a supermarket or a farmer’s market, keep in mind the top 10 signs of selecting a “super healthy food” for you and your family.

1. it is organic-based, preferably USda certified organic. 2. it is grown without pesticides and chemical fertil-


3. it does not contain any added growth hormones or


4. it does not contain any artificial flavors, chemical ad-

ditives or preservatives.

5. it is fresh, not expired. 6. it does not contain added salt or unhealthy trans fat.

avoid products that contain the words “partially hydrogenated” on the label.

7. it does not contain an exhaustive list of ingredients (five or less).

8. it is wild caught, not farm raised (for fish). 9. it is produced by obeying the laws of nature. animals are fed their natural diets and have free-range access to the outdoors.

10. it is not genetically engineered. My home state of

connecticut has recently become the pioneer state to require the labeling of gMo foods. Food safety advocates hope this sparks a nationwide march toward all foods having these labels. By educating yourself on how to accurately identify a “super healthy food” next time you are at the store, you will be able to avoid sabotaging your healthy eating plan and provide your body with the proper nourishment that it needs for optimal health. For more information on helping you and your child obtain overall SUPer HealtH, please visit: w Douglas Haddad, Ph.D. (“Dr. Doug”) is a public school teacher, nutritionist and the author of parenting/child guidance book Save Your Kids… Now! The Revolutionary Guide To Helping Youth Conquer Today’s Challenges and co-author of Top Ten Tips For Tip Top Shape: Super Health Programs For All Professional Fields.


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Nutrition health & fitness

BACK TO SCHOOL Meal Planning for Diabetics by Christina Bartlett, RD, LD


any families are ready to get back to school so a new routine can start. One routine is planning meals and afternoon snacks. Other families are already doing this because it is medically necessary. Children who have diabetes must plan meals and snacks ahead of time. The main component of diabetic meal planning is carbohydrate counting. An adequate and consistent amount of carbohydrates is needed. Carbohydrates provide the fuel for your muscles and organs, such as your brain. Carbohydrates also provide all the cells in your body with the energy they need for everyday tasks and physical activity. Carbohydrates need to make up a total 45-60% of the person’s caloric intake, whether they have diabetes or not. Eliminating carbohydrates is not recommended.

What foods contain carbohydrates? Fruit- fruit, fruit juices, canned fruit and dried fruit Milk- milk and yogurt Grains – bread, pasta, rice, cereal, crackers, tortillas Legumes- baked beans, chili/ red/pinto/black/kidney beans Starchy vegetables – potatoes, corn, yams, winter squash Sweets – desserts, sodas, candy, syrup, honey, jams and sugar


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There are two types of carbohydrates: Simple: found in fruits and fruit juice, and are easily digested by the body. They also are often found in processed foods and anything with added refined sugar, such as soft drinks and some candy. Complex: found in nearly all plant-based foods and usually take longer for the body to digest. They are most commonly found in whole-wheat bread, whole-grain pasta, brown rice, and starchy vegetables. Protein and fat also need to be a part of every meal. They help slow down digestion and keep blood sugars stable throughout the day. The addition of fiber, from complex carbohydrates, also aids in slowing down digestion. Fiber can also aid in lowering blood sugars. Packing school lunches can be challenging at first, but once the child and the family understand how to plan a balanced meal, it makes their life much easier.

School lunch ideas:

Turkey, ham, or roast beef with low-fat mayonnaise, a slice of cheese, and lettuce rolled in a tortilla, served with an orange and milk Hummus on pita bread, sliced cucumbers, apple slices, and milk

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Slices grilled chicken or turkey, cheese stick, 1 serving (read serving size on the Nutrition Facts label) of high-fiber crackers, 17 grapes, and water Soup, stew, or chili in a thermos, one serving of high-fiber crackers, carrots, and milk Breadstick wrapped with deli cheese and deli meat (you may need two, depending on your child’s age), baked potato chips, pear, celery sticks and milk Salad with hard-boiled eggs, nuts, beans or meat, and oil-andvinegar salad dressing, along with a multigrain roll, butter, and milk

Snack options:

1/4 cup cottage cheese and 1 cup melon Cheese and crackers Sugar-free gelatin and a piece of fruit Low-fat yogurt and high-fiber cereal Peanut butter and crackers 3 cups of popcorn

Work with your child to be creative when meal planning and have a variety of foods available. The more involved your children are in meal preparation, the more likely they will enjoy the meal. A healthy balanced eating plan is recommended for everyone who has diabetes. Remember, everything in moderation! Christina Bartlett RD, LD is a Registered Dietitian and the owner of Everything In Moderation. Dedicated to providing nutrition information that is tailored to the individual. Visit:

I learned late in life “that heart disease is my greatest health threat, which is why I want every woman to know the truth – that heart disease is their number one killer.” Star Jones wants you to know that more women die of heart disease than all forms of cancer combined. This killer isn’t as easy to see and is often silent, hidden and misunderstood. Join Star to stop the No. 1 killer of women. We can be the difference between life and death.

Star Jones, Heart Disease Survivor and National Volunteer for the American Heart Association

Uncover the truth about heart disease and how you can help at

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health & fitness fun fitness




SEP/OCT 2013


new school year provides opportunities to build upon existing skills and develop new abilities. While the focus invariably becomes academic and vocational for the ASD and special needs population, it is very, very important that we consider things from a foundational wellness perspective; jargon meaning the healthier and more active an individual is, the better he or she can perform academically, socially, behaviorally, and successfully with real-world tasks. While it may seem, to some, as a “break between important things” or “down time,” physical education is arguably (and the argument is sustainable) the most important part of the day for establishing new abilities and skills. Recent research has demonstrated that the autism population may be more at risk for lifestyle-related medical complications (Type II Diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease) than the neurotypical population due to several issues, including limited access to appropriate physical activity programs, restricted access to regular PE/Adaptive PE classes, and infrequent-to-no engagement in active play during recess or after school. What really needs to happen is a Renaissance of adaptive PE to better serve the special needs population in the US and beyond. Here are five things to consider with regard to increasing physical activity during the new school year:

1) All PE is Adaptive: This isn’t a semantic argument so much as a reality. Consider a neurotypical, general education class of 2025 kids. Do they really all have the same skills when it comes to any area, movement included? The typical competitive game is going to exclude the majority of the class. Those few who are motivated to participate will likely dominate the activity, and the rest will make a greater effort attempting to look as though they are making an effort. Competitive games are fine as long as they make sense (meaning they are appropriate) for the whole class. You’re never going to get the exact amount of motivated participation in a class, but the situation should be structured in a way where everyone has an opportunity. I tend to use activity courses, in which the students go from movement skills to movement skill in succession. It may look similar to this: a) Rope swings b) Med ball wall throw c) jumps to spot markers d) Sandbell slams

I have the students go through the course perhaps 3-5 times, and then change it around. The beautiful part of this type of setup is how it can be scaled for every level of functioning and ability. If one student can throw the ball against the wall with ease, I may have them back up further for a greater challenge. If not, they move closer to the wall for a more successful opportunity. Everyone gets to participate at their own particular (and current) ability.

2) consider cognitive concepts:

Games, which consist of rules, can be abstract and difficult to follow for some individuals. Following multistep directions, the nuances of particular instructions, and the concepts of winning/losing and points can be difficult, frustrating, or not even register. The complexity of the activity should be directly related to the cognitive abilities of the participants. If you’ve seen an average APE class attempt kickball then you know what I’m talking about. Similar to the idea mentioned above, there will be a variety of learning styles and abilities. If competitive game play is a must (I don’t know why it would be), the inclusion of visual aids (list of rules, pictures) can be a great asset.

3) intermittent Activity:

I’m a definite advocate of exercise and movement throughout the day. Not just “stand up and stretch” or “draw a W with your index finger,” but throwing a soft medicine ball around the classroom and then adding a balloon to the mix. Or hops. Or keeping a nice long rope in the corner of the room and having the students take turns swinging it. Call it “alternative” or “inappropriate” and then try to argue with the neuroscience that completely supports doing these sort of things for increased cognitive skills and behavior regulation.

4) social skills through Movement:

One of the coolest things I ever got to do professionally was collaborate with the school speech pathologist on a program we called “Speech Gym.” The high-school aged students performed a variety of fitness activities and games, then the Speech pathologist reviewed what they did, whom they interacted with, and what types of social instances took place. You want to develop real,

meaningful, quality socialization? Have two students call out which medicine ball throw to perform next (push, scoop, overhead), how their partner should get from the blue cone to the red cone 10 feet away (bear walk, crab walk, frog hop).

5) set Goals:

If, as I constantly rant about (and am so completely right about), physical fitness and active play are as important as other academic, social, life, and vocational skills, set goals. I developed the PAC Profile as a template for schools to develop, re-develop, or completely overhaul their Adaptive PE programs with specific Physical, Adaptive, and Cognitive goals as they relate to fitness and movement abilities. Demonstrating that an individual can now perform a bear walk, scoop throw, and six squats, but demonstrating that they are motivated to do them is even niftier. Physical Education is not a secondary scholastic element, but a necessary foundation for all other skills. Think of healthy living as a hub around which all other skills can be built. While the process of developing and implementing a good adaptive program in the gym or classroom requires some education, effort, and determination (along with the occasional meltdown), the benefits to students are, potentially, lifelong. Eric Chessen, M.S., YCS, is the creator of the PAC Profile Assessment Toolbox (, PAC Profile Workshop series, and consults with special needs programs around the world. Available on

SEP/OCT 2013

Parenting SPecial


by Barrie Silberberg


hen school starts, so does packing lunches again-if your child was home during summer with you. School lunches are usually dreadful and the majority of children should not eat what is being served. It is heartbreaking to see, but “Child Nutrition” is not what I would call that department. So few schools have healthy, balanced meals. So many schools offer fried, fake, over-sugared, over-salted, chemical filled, and tasteless lunches and breakfasts! There are many ideas, choices and ways to prepare an enjoyable lunch for your child to bring to school. This list of tips and suggestions might be something you wish to print out and put on your refrigerator to help you pack great lunches for any child. These ideas will assist you with those on special diets or even those with no dietary restrictions. Many children enjoy a hot lunch, especially if they have been home all summer enjoying such meals in their homes. Purchase a small metal-lined thermos. Name brands seem to allow the foods to remain hot by the time lunch rolls around. Some of these come in cute, fun designs that will make your child more interested in the food inside. They are not too expensive. Check your local Target, Walmart or Costco. In preparing the thermos you will need to fill a microwavable glass container with water. Heat the glass for about two minutes in the microwave, or you can boil water on your stove. Pour the hot water into the thermos and seal it closed tightly. While the water is in your thermos warming up the metal components, heat the food that you plan to put into the thermos. When the food is a good temperature, remove the water from the thermos and pour in the heated food. Close the thermos tightly, but not so tightly that your


SEP/OCT 2013

child will not be able to open it up at lunchtime. Do not forget to provide a spoon or fork.

What follows are some ideas for you to pack in the thermos: Leftovers from the night before: meatloaf, chicken and rice, chicken nuggets, cut- up taquitos, casseroles, cut-up hot dogs with BBQ sauce or ketchup or meat sauce, pasta and sauce, turkey with gravy, chicken pieces, stir fry, macaroni and cheese, beans, lentils, soup, chili, or any other ideas along these lines. If you include a warm or hot sauce, it will help maintain the foods temperature as it surrounds the main course in the thermos. Often, if you think of ethnic foods, you will find more choices for lunches such as; taco meat, rice bowls, macaroni, sweet and sour chicken, soups, etc. If your child prefers cooler foods try sandwiches. Sandwiches do not have to be made using bread. There are many other ideas to try. Try waffles, pancakes, rice cakes, crackers, chips or a tortilla to wrap the protein inside or to o use as a dip. This can also be used sed with the hot foods in the thermos. mos. Try making sandwiches ndwiches out of nut butters for a healthy option to the typical cal meat, fish or poultry sandwich. ch. Other choices can be yogurt, gurt, cereal and milk or a milk alternative. The thermos can be used for yogurt or milk. When hen you prepare the thermos mos you can put ice-cold waterr (or crushed

special diets health & fitness ice) into your thermos for about 5 minutes, tossing out the water or ice and then adding the cold beverage or food afterwards. A thermos can also be used for cold fruits or cold soups. There are alternatives to sandwiches and hot or cold foods for sources of proteins your child’s lunch. These include nuts, seeds, and trail mix.

Hopefully, your child’s lunch will be the envy of the other children sitting around them. A nice, fun idea is to write and add a little note to your child’s lunch box. Maybe, add a sticker to complete the packed lunch. There is nothing better than putting a smile on your child’s face and having them know how much you love them and are thinking about them, while you are apart

Now that you have many ideas for the entrée, let us think about side dishes.

Happy Lunching! w

Barrie Silberberg is the author of The Autism & ADHD Diet : A Step-byStep Guide To Hope and Healing by Living Gluten Free and Casein Free (GFCF) And Others Interventions. Her web site is:

March to a different drumstick. Go meatless Monday. One day a week, cut out meat.

© The Monday Campaigns, Inc

Some side dishes that are healthy are fruits and veggies. You can pour some healthy dressing or nut butter in a small container so that your child can dip his or her veggies or fruit into it. Add some healthy snack bars, healthy chips, crackers, and pretzels for other options. Ideas in the sweets category that you can offer as a special treat (ones that you bake from scratch, for optimal health) could be: cookies, brownies, or muffins. Add some flaxseed in the batter for heart and brain healthy omega’s. Health food stores also offer ready-made sweets without chemicals, dyes or other unhealthy ingredients.

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fun&functional Happy Brothers on the bus! The Chollman brothers on the bus . Big brother, William (left), rides to school with his little brother, Alex (right), on the special ed bus. Alex has a number of special needs that include Autism, MR and Microcephaly. Riding the bus each morning with his big brother is such a blessing for both of them. The transportation department made a special exception so William could ride along on the special ed bus. I am also thankful they are both at the same wonderful public school in Henderson, Nevada! Submitted by Shannon Chollman

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Enhancing Communication through Natural Family Routines

by Donna Wexler & Meme Hieneman


eter’s mother wanted nothing more than to have a conversation with her child. Unfortunately, every time she tried to approach him, he would either continue playing with his Legos or grunt something and quickly leave the area. She was animated and positive, but nothing seemed to engage him. As parents, we want to hear about our children’s days, talk about issues of importance, and simply connect with our kids. Unfortunately, sometimes the ways in which we approach and respond to children inadvertently impede conversation. In order for a child to want to talk, the communication needs to be relatively easy and mutually beneficial. To achieve these goals and promote more positive and prolonged interaction, we offer the following tips:

Build daily routines that will encourage communication. These routines can include a) daily chores such as walking the dog, putting away groceries, taking a bath, or folding laundry or b) play time involving turn-taking games like building a tower, dressing dolls, or playing chase. During these routines, it is important to slow down and truly focus on your child (i.e., putting down phone and turning off the TV and computer).

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Focus on your child’s interests and preferred activities. Focusing on your child means watching what he or she is doing and meeting your child there. For example, you might notice that your child is walking very briskly, looking at the print on a package, splashing or pouring water, or smelling the clean clothes. You might see that your child makes certain expressions and displays of emotion to indicate his or her preferences. These actions are cues for a child’s interests and therefore an opportunity to encourage communication.

Use environmental supports to facilitate interaction. Environmental supports include visual calendars (e.g., of daily schedules or upcoming events), picture books that include favorite items, or choice menus that display options for activities or treats. Additionally, you may consider organizing and limiting the amount of toys and periodically rotating them

special learning fun & functional to encourage communication and interest. Strategies such as these create structure and may reduce stress associated with unclear expectations or distractions that may interfere with communication.

Minimize demands by commenting rather than asking questions. There is a saying that “questions go to the head, while comments go to the heart”. A good habit to encourage communication is to reduce the amount of questions and increase comments during an interaction. For example, you might narrate what you see your child doing rather than asking him or her to describe or answer questions about their activities. If your child is playing with cars, instead of asking the color, type, or which one goes the fastest, note what your child is doing with the car (e.g., “You are driving up, up, up. Uh-oh! Crash!”).

Try to make talking fun by responding in a positive way. A critical idea regarding communication is that it should be enjoyable – not work – for both the parent and child. To encourage your child to engage, respond positively to all attempts to communicate by playing and taking turns. This may mean saying words back in a silly or enthusiastic manner or engaging in a physical game your child enjoys. After Peter’s mother adopted these principles in her interaction with him, Peter quickly became fully engaged for short periods of time. He enjoyed activities with both of his parents, and he was willing to “stay and play”. While playing, Peter’s mom started briefly narrating what both Peter and she were doing. With those changes, Peter began talking bit by bit without stress and frustration. Getting a child to communicate and engage with you is not about following a program or using a particular toy or set of materials. It is about setting aside time to interact with your child on his or her terms and creating a positive, stress free environment. If you do these things, you may find that your interest, animation, and excitement are contagious.

Here are some good resources for promoting children’s communication during natural routines: Relationship Development Intervention with Young Children: Social and Emotional Development Activities for Asperger Syndrome, Autism, PDD, and NLE by Steven Gutstein and Rachelle Sheely (2002). Jessica Kingsley Publishers. More Than Words: Helping Parents Promote Communication and Social Skills with Autism Spectrum Disorder by Fern Sussman (1999). Hanen Centre Publication Visual Strategies for Improving Communication: Practical Supports for Autism Spectrum Disorders by Linda Hodgdon (2011). Quirk Roberts Publishing. Little Stories: Early Speech and Language Development

Illustrations courtesy of

SEP/OCT 2013

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fun & functional learning to sign

ASK Angie ASL - Classroom Tips by Angie Craft

School Starts

Resources: - a dictionary format website with video clips of thousands of signs. - statewide organization for deaf educators and Parents. - statewide parenting support group deaf ed products - deaf ed products www.harriscommunications - equipment for deaf / Hard of Hearing individuals

© Marzanna Syncerz / deaf education products / aSl products

Angie Craft author and teacherbrings over 26 years of experience in deaf education and is committed to serving the deaf community. Keenly aware of the isolation that deaf students often experience, Angie developed and wrote HandCraftEdASL to bridge the communication gap between deaf children who primarily use American Sign Language and their parents, peers or educators.


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VIDEO DEMONSTRATION: As we begin the school year, I would like to share a list of things that you as a parent or teacher should look include with your DHH child this school year. 1. Read the IEP. If there in an audiogram in the Cum file, ask a specialist to explain it to you. Your county’s DHH itinerant teacher or the county’s audiologist should be able to assist you. Be sure to include them in the child’s next IEP. 2. After you have an understating of the child’s hearing loss, choose the appropriate preferential seating that will best benefit the child in accessing the most auditory or visual cueing for learning. Inquire from the local audiologist to see if a surround sound system would be appropriate for your classroom. 3. If the child’s primary means of communication is ASL, be sure that a qualified interpreter is hired to assist in the classroom so that child has the best possible access to their learning environment. 4.When reading to a deaf child make sure to include methods of showing the story in a more conceptual means. ASL is a visual, not written language and as such; a story is understood more effectively in a conceptual / visual way. This will benefit the deaf child and the others in the classroom. 5. Ask the parents to check the batteries daily before coming to school. Also ask them to send extra batteries to school in their backpack incase the battery dies during the school day. For more information: follow us on FaceBook @ HandCraftEdASL

Enjoy and have a safe and wonderful summer. w SEPT/OCT 2013

power of play fun & functional


Educational Toys by Barbara Sher


remember the first time i brought an educational toy. it was a shape sorter in which the square block fits in the square hole, the ball in the round hole and so on. i worried that the toy had only one square, one ball etc. and if my children ran true to form, those parts would disappear within minutes. roxanne lost the square immediately and the puppy chewed the ball. i wrote an irate latter to the toy manufacture pointing out their error. i expected a letter of apology and a notice of their intentions to add spare parts to future toys. i got back, instead, a price list. For two dollar each (!) plus shipping. i could purchase more parts. i’ve discovered since then that a lot of learning toys can be made in my own kitchen using nothing more complicated than scissor, colored paper and glue. For instance, when i wanted to teach my children about colors, i would use colored paper and make two squares of each color (an index card was my template). i’d have two yellow, two blue, two green, and so on. at first, i’d lay out two cards and say. “Here are two cards. one is red and the other is blue. now here is another red card. Please put this red card on top of the other red card”. i’d help guide their hand to the correct pile at first until they caught on. later, i’d lay out all the colors and ask them to “put the card on the one that is the same color. as they got older and i wanted to introduce words like ‘puce” and “teal”, i’d “borrow” matching paint samples from the hardware store for the game. the same type of matching game can be used for numbers and letters (capital from small, script vs. print). i’ve also done matching detailed designs

so they would notice the difference between a circle with a cross inside from a circle with an x inside it. Since puzzle pieces often went awry, i would sometimes make my own by using the sides of cereal boxes. i would cut the picture up in a number of pieces; more as they got older, and let them put it back together. the great thing about these games is that they provided some quality time between my children and me. they seemed to relish these moments. i remember my then 3 year old would approach the task like a competent executive pursing her lips and tapping the card against her forehead as she scanned the cards for the matching pattern. Some times they would take turns being the “teacher” with each other and friends. it’s important to emphasize that these are games and not tests. i am happy to supply answers. the object is not to just help children learn, although that will be happening, or to increase their awareness, although that too will be happening, but mostly to do something enjoyable together and that ‘s always nice when it happens.w

Barbara Sher M.A.,O.T.R, an occupational therapist and author of nine books on childrens games. Titles include EARLY INTERVENTION GAMES SPIRIT GAMES and EXTRAORDINARY PLAY WITH ORDINARY THINGS. Send request for workshops to or


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“Foodie” Fun for Kids: Chicken Pot Pie Cupcake Encouraging Speech & Creating Yum!

by PSN Team & Becca Eisenberg

Ingredients 1 cut up chicken breast 1 box Pacific organic cream of chicken soup 1 cup(plus) of Giant Valley fresh steamers frozen mixed veggies 1 cup of shredded cheese


hat a great combo: chicken pot pies and cupcakes. Inspired by a recipe that we came across from Bev Cooks, we just had to try these. We also thought it would be a perfect “foodie fun for kids” recipe. We tried this at home and it was so much fun…. very easy…..and even better still, it was delicious. An added benefit was that after we made them, there was enough leftover for the lunchbox the next day.

1 tsp of parsley flakes 1 tsp of onion powder 1 tsp of garlic salt 2 cans of Immaculate Flaky Biscuits


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create, cook, Talk!



Parent: Preheat oven for 400 degrees. Kiddo: Spray the muffin tin with Pam to prevent sticking.

Kiddo: Place a Pillsbury biscuit into

each cup of the tin, then press the dough to the bottom and to the sides.

Parent: In a large bowl combine the

cooked chicken, cream of chicken soup, frozen veggies, cheese and spices and mix well.

Kiddo: Evenly spoon the potpie mixture into each biscuit cup.

Parent: Slide into the oven for about

15 minutes and let them bake. Start checking biscuits around 12 minutes to make they are not burning.

Parent: Remove from oven, let rest for

about 3 minutes and then…

Enjoy your cupcakes! Becca Eisenberg is a mother of two young children and a speech language pathologist, author and instructor. Her website, www. encourages learning time during mealtime. On her website, she writes children’s book recommendations, app recommendations, as well as child friendly recipes with language tips their family.

Language Time: Baking with your little one is a wonderful time to elicit and facilitate language. It’s fun and makes using language easy and natural. When you are baking these Chicken Pot Pie Cupcakes, make sure to emphasize key vocabulary like chicken, soup, veggies, cheese and biscuits. Also, emphasize actions such as “stir”, “put in”, “open”, “push down”, “measure” and any others that are appropriate. When baking this recipe, encourage your child to do as many steps independently as possible and provide opportunities to ask for help (e.g. giving them the box of soup and asking them to open it). This can also help encourage problem solving and provide a great opportunity for your child to ask you a question. Be silly and skip a step, or use a different ingredient to give your child the opportunity to tell you different (e.g. put the whole chicken breast in a single muffin tin. Wait for your child to tell you to cut it up). Encourage commenting by modeling the language yourself (e.g. “The biscuits are popping out of the container” or “These pot pies smell delicious”, “The biscuit feel soft”). When making this recipe, make sure to emphasize the steps of the recipe using visual supports (e.g. use the recipe with the picture communication board provided, or use the recipe itself if your child can read). After making the recipe, encourage your child to retell you the steps of the recipe by asking or using different prompts, for example, “We opened the ___” or using choices, “Did we add cheese or a banana to the pot pies?”. If your child has a sensory processing disorder, and craves touching all different types of textures, save some biscuits over for fun play time. If your child has more challenges with texture, encourage them to tell you how it feels to touch it (e.g. yucky, sticky, etc). Remember, giving clear simple choices can help provide your child with the opportunity to communicate, participate more actively and request appropriately. Lastly, make sure to have fun doing it! w


Parenting SPecial


proud moments® enjoy your life

Sharing“I CAN!”attitudes Who’s teaching Whom We had such a nice weekend with Hailey. I’m sure I sound like a broken record, but, I just enjoy her company so much. It is always my pleasure when she spends the night. We even got Grampy up at 6:00 a.m. to take us out to breakfast, even though he just went to sleep at 4:00a.m. Though she doesn’t really talk much, Hailey knows that all she has to do is give him that mischievous, unbelievable smile of hers and he will do whatever she wants. She can play him like a fiddle. We spent the remainder of the day playing games and reading books. It is amazing how much Hailey still enjoys reading. After reading several books, I would attempt to walk into the kitchen and start preparing dinner or cutting up fruit and Hailey will continuously follow me out there with another book in hand. Her “new thing” is to get on her knees and thrust herself up on your legs. She totally wraps her arms around both of your legs, still holding onto that book, and looking way up at you and smiling. After such effort and determination, I have to stop dead in my tracks and bring her back into the living room and read more books. She can never get enough of them, and I can never get enough of her. Last night, when Christine came to teach us sign language, Hailey totally knocked her socks off. Of course, Grampy was video taping us and she also likes to ham it up a bit. We mostly worked on our colors. We started with the book “Brown Bear, Brown Bear what do you see?”. I narrated the book while Christine would show her each color in sign and Hailey would match each color inside the book with a small color square…she never even got one wrong! The highlight of the night was when Hailey signed “Bear”. Each time she would sign “bear”, Hailey would point outside; we had no idea what she was pointing to. At the end of the night, Christine brought the dogs inside (she brings two dogs with her each week; one dog’s name is Lycos and the other is Teddy). The dogs come running inside very happy to be going home and Hailey smiled and signed “BEAR”. We didn’t get it that she was signing Teddy Bear! Now I wonder who is teaching whom here? w

Hailey exhibiting an “I CAN” attitude Photo courteousy Janet Harold

Share a Proud Moment with us Next Issue! Proud Moments can be any time that you have been extremely proud of your child with special needs. It can be when they are giving it their all or reaching a milestone.

You may feel you can only share your excitement or enthusiasm with someone that will really understand. We understand.

~ Janet Harold (Proud Grandmother)

Jumping In

My daughter, Payton, absolutely loves the water, but, struggled with jumping in on her own. Recently, we ventured out to raft down the river. As she watched her siblings splashing and playing, she decided she would no longer be a spectator. Holding firmly to her lifejacket, she took a leap out of the boat and into the unknown water. The fear, since that day, seems conquered. You go, Payton!!! The picture was obviously taken before her adventure into the water.w

~ Julie Clem (Proud Mom)


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Payton exhibiting an “I CAN” attitude Photo courteousy Julie Clem

Michael Phelps - Olympic Athlete

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Known as the most decorated Olympic Athlete in history (22 medals), as well as the greatest swimmer of all time. Michael was diagnosed with ADHD at age 9, yet has been able to maintain razor-sharp focus in his training and competitions.

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Parenting Special Needs  

September-October 2013