Westchester Special Child - April 2022

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Keywords That Every Special Needs Family Should Know

Finding the Best Dog for Your Special Needs Family Special Needs Resource Guide

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4 | Special Needs Glossary Keywords that every special needs family should know 8 | Expert Tips When your little one is non-verbal 10 | Support Supporting your child who stutters

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Special needS

SpEcial NEEDS Glossary Keywords that every special needs family should know By Mia SalaS


art of navigating a special needs diagnosis is knowing the words used to describe it. But it can be intimidating to ask what everything means, especially when doctors or websites seem to be speaking another language with acronyms like “ERSS” and “OT”. We’ve all been in that confusing place before and, as parents, it’s not a fun feeling. That’s why, we’ve created a glossary for keywords that you may want to know as a parent of kids with special needs. This guide includes common special needs words, phrases, and acronyms so that you can feel more confident in your parenting journey! Special Needs Diagnosis Developmental disability: Physical, learning, language, or behavioral impairments that will delay your child’s development. ADHD, Autism, learning disabilities, etc. are all examples of developmental disabilities. ADHD– Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: A developmental disability that makes it difficult for your child to pay attention or stay focused. Look out for squirming and fidgeting, talking a lot, not being able to wait for their turn, or trouble concentrating. ASD– Autism Spectrum Disorder: A developmental disability that may delay your child’s speech, motor, learning, and social skills. Early intervention (see below) can help improve skills. Down Syndrome: A condition caused by an extra chromosome that affects how your child’s brain and body develop. Diagnosis typically happens before or during birth. Emotional Disturbance: Mental health disorders such as anxiety, bipolar, OCD, etc. that have no direct, identifiable cause. Be on the lookout for aggressive behavior,


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withdrawal or nerves related to social environments, and vocal outbursts in public places. Learning Disability: Difficulty learning and grasping new concepts. Learning disabilities include dyslexia (reading), dysgraphia (writing), and dyscalculia (math). See Special Education for more. Stutter: A speech disorder that makes it challenging for your child to say what they want to say. You may hear them repeat a sound a lot, hold one sound for a long time, or stop speaking mid-sentence. Special Needs Resources OPWDD– Office of People with Developmental Disabilities: A New York organization that can help connect your family to nonprofit services, based on what kind of treatment/therapy they need, and provide funding. Transition planning: Creating an action plan for what your child with special needs will do after high school. This is often a part of your IEP (see below). Service provider: An agency or organization that will help your special needs family navigate some aspect of your journey. This could be everything from speech therapy to after school programs with a focus on special needs to horseback riding as a form of physical therapy. INCLUDEnyc: A non-profit organization that

advocates for young people in NYC to be included in their communities: classrooms, workplaces, etc. They have super informative resources for parents of kids with special needs, and they can connect you with professionals who can help you navigate your options even further. Special Education Inclusion: Everyone in the classroom feels welcomed by the school, teacher, and classmates. For special needs kids, inclusion is definitely a keyword to look for when choosing a school! IEP– Individualized Education Program: A written plan for your child’s education as a special needs student. According to the NYC Department of Education (DOE), this means your child is guaranteed a free and appropriate public education in a Least Restrictive Environment (see below). Your child’s IEP will also include development and progress reports, evaluation results, specific needs, and anything else that is relevant to your child’s success. IEP Teams: Your IEP team will be made up of you (as a parent/guardian), a school psychologist, a special education teacher (and sometimes a general education teacher), and the district representative. It may also include a school physician or other service providers who have worked with your child.

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April 2022 | The Special Child


Special Needs

LRE– Least Restrictive Environment: Your child will be in a classroom with kids who do not have special needs. SETSS– Special Education Teacher Support Services: Either a special education teacher will design specific activities for children with special needs or the special education teacher will collaborate with the general education teacher to modify the entire classroom to accommodate. SEDL– Special Education Distance Learning: Modifying special needs education for virtual/online students. This became especially important during the pandemic. SWD– Students With Disabilities: Used to refer to special needs children in the classroom. SC– Special Class: If your child’s needs cannot be met in a general education classroom, they will have all classes taught specifically by a special education teacher. These classes are typically very small in NYC schools, with up to 12 students for elementary/middle school and up to 15 for high school.

PBIS– Positive Behavioral Interventions & Support: NYC school-wide approach that encourages positive behavior instead of punishing or pointing out the negative. One example of this is changing a poster from “No Food. No Weapons. No Drugs.” to “School Rules: Be Safe, Responsible, Respectful”. This positive environment is especially important for special needs education. Special Needs Treatment & Evaluation ADL– Activities of daily living: Day-to-day actions like brushing your teeth, going to the bathroom, walking up and down stairs, etc. that are used to determine your child’s diagnosis and progress. Early intervention: Services and support for infants and young children with developmental disabilities. Early intervention can often help improve your child’s skills and progress. OT– Occupational Therapy: Focuses on ADL’s (see above) and other everyday skills that your child will work on. PT- Physical Therapy: Focuses on physical

developmental disabilities and helps your child with mobility and movement. Speech pathology: Focuses on language and speech disabilities to help your child communicate their thoughts. Regression: Your child loses skills that they previously had. If regression happens, you may want to revisit and revise your child’s IEP (see above). AT– Assistive technology: Any device that helps your child’s special needs by improving their capabilities. AT’s include wheelchairs, text to speech, voice recognition, and more. ABA– Applied Behavior Analysis: A positive-reinforcement program designed to understand your child’s behavior in real life situations. It is most commonly used for children with Autism, but it can also be effective for other developmental disabilities. Developmental milestones: Key movements, expressions, speech etc. that show your child’s progress. For little ones, this may include smiling at people, crawling, copying sounds, and reaching for toys.

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Our Biondi Middle & High School provides: • Supporting AU, ED, LD, OHI classifications • NYS Certified Teachers & Teaching Assistants • New York State Education Department Standards Based Regents Curriculum (English, Mathematics, History/Social Studies, Science, Spanish, Art, Physical Education)

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RisingGround.org April 2022 | The Special Child


Special Needs

When Your Little One is Non-Verbal new york family


n some cases talking to our child all day isn’t enough to ensure their speech is where it should be. In this Q+A with licensed speech-language pathologist and founder of Raising Little Talkers, Melissa Minney, you will learn what to do as a parent when your little one is still non-verbal. Q: How common are late talkers? A: Late talkers are children between 18-30 months old (although some sources say between 2-4 yrs), who start talking late, but have no other diagnosed disabilities or developmental delays in other cognitive or motor domains. Research tells us that 7080% of late talkers will catch up to their peers on their own, however many who appear to catch up continue to have language and literacy difficulties in school. This also means a significant 20-30% will not grow out of the delay without speech therapy. While we don’t have a crystal ball to know whether a late talker will catch up on their own or not, there are some risk factors that make it less likely:⁣⁣ • Quiet as an infant (little babbling) • A mild comprehension (understanding)


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delay for their age • Uses mostly nouns (names of people, places, things) and few verbs (action words) • Has a limited number of consonant sounds (eg. p, m, t, n, k, etc.) • Does not combine two ideas in play or use objects symbolically (pretend play) • Does not imitate words • Uses few gestures to communicate⁣⁣ • Difficulty playing with peers (social skills) • Has a history of persistent ear infections • Has a parent or sibling with language and/or learning difficulties Since we don’t know whether a child will catch up or whether they will continue to struggle during the school years, it’s best to seek out speech therapy. That’s why I recommend “check and see” instead of “wait and see.” Early intervention gives each child the best possible chance at closing the gap. Q: Are there exercises parents can do with their child at home to help encourage speech? A: There are many things parents can do to help encourage speech and language development. One of my favorite tips for parents is to follow their child’s lead. This means

allowing your child to engage in activities that genuinely interest them. When a child is genuinely interested, they will stay engaged in the activity longer and are more likely to communicate. This is hard for some parents because it means letting go of expectations, like how you expect your child to play with a certain toy or read a book from start to finish. For example, let your child play with the stacking rings by rolling them under the couch (one of my son’s favorite activities!) and add language like “ready, set, go!”, “roll”, “under”, “stop”, “go get it!” “my turn”, etc. If you try to redirect your child to stacking (how you may expect this toy to be used), your child may lose interest in the rings altogether and then you’ve lost a solid opportunity to model language for them. Another example, let your child skip around in the book you’re trying to read. Allow them to find their favorite page over and over again and model the words for their favorite pictures. You can also allow them to close the book before it’s done and model “close” and “all done” before moving on to the next book. Q: Can you share tips on how a parent can work on their child’s speech in between speech therapy sessions?

A: What you do at home will depend on your child’s goals. I strongly urge parents to talk to the treating speech-language pathologist. Ask them what your child’s short term goals are and ask for specific things to do at home during your everyday routines. Research shows that children learn best in the context of real life activities, like meal time and bath time, with the people most important to them. Working with your child at home is critical to your child’s success. Embedding speech therapy strategies into your everyday routines is key. These moments happen daily (sometimes multiple times a day) and the built in repetition that helps your child learn the skill. For example, if your child’s goal is to use more gestures, you might model waving “bye bye” to the water after the bath each night, and wave to the diaper every time you throw it in the trash. Utilizing these routines means your child has lots of opportunities to learn and mimic you. Q: In social situations it can be challenging for a parent to have to ‘explain’ why their child isn’t talking. Do you have any advice

It's Never Too Early to Begin Transition Planning for Your Child

“Early intervention gives each child the best possible chance at closing the gap.”

If parents do want to explain why their child isn’t answering or responding when someone greets them, they can say something like “[child’s name] is working on talking and I’m here to help” or “[child’s name] is still learning how to talk and I’m here to help them”. For speech clarity issues, you can translate what your child said so the other person understands. To take it a step further you can say “[child’s name] is working on their speech sounds, so sometimes I help other people understand what they say”. I like to keep it simple and positive when speaking in front of the child so they feel accepted and supported at their current ability level. When in private with other parents you can explain that your child is a late talker or has a speech delay, and you are working on it in speech therapy or at home.

or tips on how to navigate this? A: Firstly, if you’re the parent of a child who is still non-verbal, you don’t owe anyone an explanation – it’s a personal decision whether you want to share or not. If you don’t feel like explaining, you can answer in your child’s place by responding to a greeting or answering a question on their behalf. Similarly to the way you did when they were younger (and talking back was not expected) just make sure you’re only answering if you know what your child would say if they could. You can also encourage them to use a gesture, for example, “Susie said hi, let’s wave back!”. You can also simplify a question for your child. If you know they are stronger at answering yes/ no questions or choice questions (can point to their answer), you can prompt them.

Melissa Minney is a licensed speech-language pathologist, mother of two and founder of Raising Little Talkers. Melissa created a positive approach through her 2-hour online program that moves beyond the age-old advice of “ just talking to your child all day.”

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April 2022 | The Special Child



How to Support Your Child Who

Stutters What to look for — and how to listen



ids trip up on their words a lot, especially when they’re still learning how to talk. As parents, we worry about everything, so we’re bound to wonder if maybe there’s something else going on. Stuttering is actually not too uncommon as you may think– 5% of young kids stutter and about 1% of all people do, which is 70 million people. If you’re navigating a potential or diagnosed stutter in your child, we’re here to help. You probably have a million questions, so we caught up with Travis Robertson, VP of Programming at The Stuttering Association for the Young (SAY) to get your questions answered. Read on to learn about how you can best support your child through their speech journey.


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What causes stuttering “Stuttering is a neurological difference in the way that people process speech,” says Robertson. More often than not, a stutter will reveal itself very early as kids are still developing their speech. Robertson explains how a common misconception is that stuttering is caused by trauma or nerves: “Those are things that can exacerbate a stutter perhaps or can bring to light a stutter, but the neurological challenge exists independently of that.” The only caveat being brain damage due to a physical head injury. Stuttering is also not related to your capabilities as a parent. As parents, we know how easy it is to blame ourselves and to wonder what we could have done differently. In the case of stuttering, it is not caused by anything you did as a parent. Your job

moving forward? To support your child as they navigate this challenge. How parents can recognize stuttering So if stutters develop at a young age, how can parents recognize the difference between stuttering and typical kid-like mispronunciations? Robertson recommends seeking a diagnosis even if there’s a small concern, because stuttering can look very different from person to person. The SAY Stuttering 101 Guide outlines three generalized “types” of stutters: Sound repetitions: repeating one sound or syllable over and over again Sound prolongations: extending one sound for a long time Silent blocks: pauses between words, a complete stop in sound

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Special Needs

If you recognize one or more of these in your child, or some variation of them, then you’ll likely want to see a specialist. It’s important to note that a stutter does not indicate a learning disability. “People who stutter know what they want to say and are, more often than not, confident in what they want to say. It’s not necessarily a situation of forgetting your words. It’s just the process of creating the sound of the word that is in your mind,” explains Robertson. How to get involved with your child’s speech pathology Especially if you have young kids, you’ll want to be involved with your child’s speech therapy sessions to some degree. What might this look like? Goal setting. “Families have options. Work with a speech pathologist to collaborate on what those goals are,” advises Robertson. “What do you want for your speech? Do you want to stop stuttering? Or be able to stutter confidently and help people understand exactly what is going on? Is it that you want to make a new friend? Is it that you want to answer questions in class without the fear of stuttering?” The goal for a person who stutters does not have to be to stop stuttering altogether. And for little ones around other kids in school or after-school programs, they may have other priorities that feel more urgent to them, such as raising their hand in class without feeling nervous about their stutter. Encourage your child to think about these smaller successes, and work alongside your speech pathologist to set realistic, thoughtful goals. How stuttering may impact your child emotionally It’s key that as a parent, you’re aware of what your child who stutters may be experiencing emotionally. “Below the surface there can be feelings of fear, anxiety, trauma, insecurity,” says Robertson, “There are a lot of things that I may be processing in my head: What are the words that I think I’m going to stutter on? Is there an alternative word I can use? Can you tell that I stutter? How is this going to affect the next interaction I have with you?” This is just an idea of what your child may be experiencing. Just as stuttering presents itself differently for everyone, it’s emotional impact will also be different. It’s important to note that a slight or mild stutter doesn’t necessarily mean that your child is not experiencing insecurity or doubt. Vice versa, Robertson explains: “If


WestchesterFamily.com | April 2022

“People who stutter know what they want to say and are, more often than not, confident in what they want to say. It’s not necessarily a situation of forgetting your words. It’s just the process of creating the sound of the word that is in your mind.” I’m a person who has a very strong stutter, that does not necessarily mean that I’m emotionally in a bad place. I may be very confident, secure, and comfortable in the experience that I’m having.” As parents, we have to try our best not to assume. Read on to learn how to talk to your kiddos about what they may be thinking and feeling. How to best support your child after a stuttering diagnosis “One of the most important things is just to be able to talk about it,” insists Robertson. The only way to find out what your child is experiencing on the inside is to talk and listen. “Often times, there can be a hesitation to mention the thing or talk about things that are hard, sometimes in hopes that they will go away, or as not to draw more attention to them. It’s important to be able to make space to have the conversation and to make it a collaboration with your child,” says Robertson. Talking about the stutter may be difficult at first for both you and your child, but it creates a strong emotional support system moving forward. If your child does not seem to want to talk about it at first, don’t be discouraged. Their speech progression journey will take

time, and at some point during that time, your child will lean on you because they’ll know you’re there to support them. Ask your child how they felt after their speech pathology sessions, discuss any nerves they may have before heading to school for the day, and check-in with them to see how they feel about their speech progression. Now, of course their stutter shouldn’t be the only thing you talk about, because you don’t want your child to feel as if they are defined by it. But just let them know that you are open to conversation whenever they are, and that there is nothing wrong with them. “I think it’s important for young people and families to understand that stuttering is okay. It’s okay to be a confident and clear communicator, and still be a person who stutters,” says Robertson. Tips for listening to your child Listening sounds like an easy concept, but it can be a lot harder than you think to be a good listener. “The most impactful thing that parents, families, teachers, and everyone in the community can do is to listen,” says Robertson. There are a few things that you’ll want to refrain from doing when it comes to listening to your child who stutters. First, try not to finish their sentences. “It comes with the best intentions,” explains Robertson, “But that’s a form of not really making time and space for someone. If someone is trying to guess the word that I’m trying to say before I have the chance to communicate it, on some level it can read as a microaggression: I don’t have time to give you space to say what you have to say. It goes a really long way if you as a listener are able to just listen.” Next, try not to use phrases such as “slow down” or “take a breath”. “Again, it comes with good intentions, but it’s much more of a complex experience than just taking a breath and slowing down. It goes much deeper than that,” says Robertson. It can be difficult, but do your best not to simplify stuttering with these phrases. At the end of the day, being a good listener means being able to show that you are fully present. Make eye contact, use body language to show that you’re engaged, and be patient to allow your child to say what they want to say. Other children may not always give them the same time and space at school, so you’ll want to make sure that they have it at home. Let your child know that their words matter, and they are worth waiting for!

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.tppa naContact eluContact dehcuss otous t sschedule utotcschedule atnoCan appt. an appt. elbaliavTelehealth a NO Telehealth SREP AND NI DAND NIN A PERSON hIN tlaPERSON eheleavailable T available April 2022 | The Special Child


Special Needs

How to Find the Perfect Dog for your special needs family By Mia Salas


ets can add a lot of love to our lives, and they can be especially beneficial for special needs families. Dogs, in particular, can help your child with special needs develop their social and emotional learning, motor skills, and more. But choosing a dog can be a stressful process: next thing you know, you’ll be researching for hours, trying to find the perfect dog breed for your family. That’s why, we chatted with Kelly DiCicco, Manager of Adoptions Promotions at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) Adoption Center to give you all the information you need to find your dream dog. Read on to learn the best tips and tricks for welcoming a furry friend to your special needs family! Before we jump into the advice, let’s first talk about what makes dogs special. Cats, hamsters, fish, and other animals can certainly be less work, so why adopt a dog? “The companionship and joy that dogs provide can be a wonderful addition to any home,” said DiCicco. For special needs kids, this emotional support and positivity that dogs uniquely emulate will help them grow and develop. Dogs offer comfort and stability that makes kids with developmental disabilities feel safe and calm. While you can definitely look into trained service dogs, these are often a pretty expensive option for families. So if you’re looking for a more affordable way to add a furry friend to your lives, check out our advice for navigating the pet-finding process.

Adopt from a Shelter or Rescue Organization You may be wondering if shelter dogs are suitable for kids with special needs, and the answer is: yes! There are even pros of going to a shelter or rescue organization: “When adopting from a shelter or rescue organization, you often have the advantage of learning valuable information about the animal’s background, including any important medical or behavioral needs, and


WestchesterFamily.com | April 2022

who their ideal adopter might be, including how they would get along with children,” said DiCicco. “Some shelters even have animal behavior counselors you can speak with to determine which dog would be a good fit for your household.” You will receive personalized attention at shelters to find the perfect dog for your family. Moreover, you’ll be doing something good that your family can feel proud of. “Adopting an animal from a local shelter saves more than one life. Adoption not only moves an animal from vulnerability to safety, but creates space at the shelter, and moves more resources and attention to the remaining animals,” said DiCicco. Don’t do too much research Isn’t it best to be over prepared as a parent? Well, in this case, no. If you do too much research beforehand, you may develop too concrete of an idea and miss out on getting to know adorable and fitting dogs for your family. “We encourage adopters to keep an open mind and heart when considering animals from a shelter in case you find the right chemistry with a pet you’d never

considered before, like a senior animal or even those of a different breed, size or species,” said DiCicco. And worst case scenario you were already prepared for a certain kind of dog, but your family ends up choosing another, shelters have resources in place to provide you with all the information you need about the dog you chose. “If you end up adopting a species of animal that is different from the kind of pet you initially considered, the staff at the shelter can share information on the appropriate care and time commitment needed for the specific pet,” added DiCicco. Attend a meet-and-greet It kind of goes without saying that meeting dogs in person is a must for adopting. You’ll actually get to interact with the dogs and see how they play with your kiddos. The best part about the in-person search is that you’ll have the expertise of the shelter on your side to help you make decisions. “Meeting a potential pet in person during a meet-and-greet session with the help of staff at the shelter can be a great way to get a sense if the dog is the right fit for your family and lifestyle,” said DiCicco.

Meet-and-greets are often more telling than online research about dog breeds. Sure, there are some dog breeds that are known to be great for kids with special needs like Golden Retrievers. But DiCicco recommends that you pay attention to the dog’s personality and your family’s daily habits more than their breed: “Every animal—even those within a specific breed—has an individual personality and disposition. Ask questions and lean on the staff at the shelter for guidance—they’re the experts at making matches and can typically provide information to help you decide whether or not the animal you’re interested in is a good fit for the specific needs of your family. Your personality and lifestyle, along with the amount of time spent away from home, should also be explored to determine what pet is right for your household.”

Don’t discount older dogs You may be inclined to only look at puppies– I mean, it is hard to resist those cute little eyes and excited energy. But there are a few benefits to adopting an older dog for families with special needs. “Raising puppies properly takes a lot of time and hard work, while most adult and senior dogs have more established personalities, manageable energy levels and may have mastered basic commands,” said DiCicco. As many of us know, raising a kid with special needs can be very timeconsuming. Between school meetings, doctor’s appointments, therapy, and afterschool programs, adding a newborn puppy to the mix may make it difficult to manage. If you don’t have a ton of time in your schedule but still want to adopt a dog, older dogs may be a better fit than puppies.

the country provide training, resources, and materials to prepare you for a foster animal. The time required for fostering ranges from a couple of weeks to several months, depending on the animal’s needs,” said DiCicco.

Older dogs may not be as energetic as puppies, but again, every dog has a special personality. Your kids may just meet an older dog at the shelter that they have an instant connection with. “When you’re looking for a new pet and you get the opportunity to interact with an adult or senior dog at a shelter, you may appreciate being able to know the dog’s size, energy level and personality,” added DiCicco. Consider fostering a dog Another option you may not have considered is fostering. “If you ultimately determine that now is not the best time to adopt a dog, temporarily fostering can give you the opportunity to single-handedly change an animal’s life for the better and is a rewarding experience for those who choose to become caregivers,” said DiCicco. The one con to fostering is that your family will eventually have to give the dog up, and parting with a pet can be a troubling experience for kids with special needs. However, you can potentially adopt the pet yourself after fostering, if you’re ready. You can also start fostering a new dog soon after the other dog leaves your home. If you do decide to foster a dog, you will be fully supported. “Many shelters across

Align on daily responsibilities Whether you foster or adopt, choose a puppy or older dog, adding a pet to your life will require time and effort. “When preparing to adopt, it is a good idea to draw up a schedule of who in the family will help with the care of your new pet,” said DiCicco, “including playing, feeding, grooming—and taking the dog out for walks.” Giving small tasks to your child with special needs, such as filling your dog’s food bowl, can build self-confidence and leadership skills.

Make sure everyone in your family is happy Choosing to adopt a dog is a family decision, so have an open conversation to check in and hear everyone’s thoughts. Especially if you have multiple kids, make sure you bring them to the meet-and-greet so that they all can feel included in the process. Of course it’s hard to please everyone, and there may be disagreements here and there, but at the end of the day, the dog you choose should be one that everyone gets along with. This will make it easier when you actually get into the day-to-day life of owning a dog: “The entire family should be on board and willing to welcome the pet into the home,” said DiCicco. Welcoming a furry friend to your family is very exciting, so enjoy the process and lean on support systems, like shelter staff, to make your decision. Good luck in your pet-finding search! April 2022 | The Special Child


mom stories

The Power of Acceptance The biggest obstacles on your journey of parenting a child with special needs can be the ones you have with yourself By Donna Duarte-Ladd


here are steps in this journey of parenting a child with special needs like Autism. By steps, I mean what you are going through and how you are dealing with what is at hand. I am now at a point in my son’s ASD journey where I have stopped convincing myself my child might speak one day or be able to connect with people outside his comfort zone. I have also entered the stage where I need to have those tough conversations with relatives about who will be my son’s guardian if something happens to my husband and myself. This all makes me sound pretty responsible and together, but the truth is, it has taken a while to get here. You can’t fault a parent for wanting the best for their child, but part of the heartbreak of being a special needs parent and parenting any child, really, is when you break up with the plan you had for that child. Like many parents (since I am being raw and open here), I had hoped my child would someday outgrow the stemming and not talking. Being honest with myself does not mean I was giving up; this acceptance took the pressure off me and, most importantly, my son, the innocent one in all these mind shenanigans I was bringing upon myself. But we must be gentle, not just with our children, but with ourselves as this is all new. It is a lot. It is hard. There are moments when you can’t believe life is so tough. But with acceptance comes power and strength. You switch gears and work vigorously as your child’s number one advocate. You start to be open and see the lessons. One of the biggest hurdles I currently deal with is that my child, at age five, is no longer a toddler but at an age where he should be ‘like’ other kids his age. This is where it gets tricky. Do I work on changing my child so others can


WestchesterFamily.com | April 2022

feel comfortable because his behavior isn’t checking the ‘normal’ box? The answer is NO. I hope education and special needs teachings help him to become more functioning, but any discomfort he brings upon others belongs to them, not us, and certainly, it is not his burden. I’m learning to be open to lessons from other special needs parents, especially those who have been living it for some time. Pre-pandemic I joined my husband in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (I know… those were the days!) on a work trip. It was my first time away from my kids in years, and although I was in this gorgeous town, I

was filled with anxiety about the next steps for my youngest. While I sat at a cafe at the Saturday French market, a father strolled by with his tween (she looked about fourteen) in a custom-made decorated wheelchair with a radio blasting appropriate tween tunes. She had a pacifier, and they all looked content, basking and strolling in the French sun. And I thought to myself, hell, yes, the French even do Special Needs in style. And then I knew. I may not ace this parenting thing, but I will mom my Autistic son with style and grace and, most importantly, be grateful for the lessons he teaches me daily.

special Needs Directory | Special Advertising Supplement

Breakthrough Fit Co. 251 S. Central Ave. Hartsdale, NY 10530 914-358-4575 jake@breakthroughfitco.com breakthroughfitco.com Breakthrough Fit Co. offers inclusive health and fitness opportunities for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities and the General Population alike. Exclusively at Breakthrough Fit is the Ignite Fitness Program; a small group fitness class for Special Needs individuals. Proud partners of New York Special Olympics, Autism Speaks, and Gigi’s Playhouse.

(LD), Speech or Language Impairments (SPL), or other Health Impairments (OHI). Students at JCOS are taught by certified special education teachers in small classes. Teachers utilize multisensory instructional techniques to help children succeed both academically and socially. JCOS is dedicated to providing the benefits of a Catholic education to children who learn differently. Please contact JCOS for more information by emailing tara.freeman@ johncardinaloconnorschool. org.

The Cedar School Cardinal O’Connor School 16 North Broadway, Irvington, NY 914-591-9330 jcoschool.org The John Cardinal O’Connor School is a Catholic school dedicated to providing an affordable, language-based, academic curriculum for children in grades 2-8 with mild Learning Disabilities

200 Pemberwick Road Greenwich, CT 06831 203-808-5005 thecedarschool.org info@thecedarschool.org The Cedar School, located in Greenwich, CT, is a co-ed high school for bright students with mild-to-moderate language-based learning differences. Cedar provides a rich academic setting with

researched-based supports. The school’s multisensory approach allows students to pursue a rigorous curriculum while mastering the skills they need for college and beyond.

Creative Wonders Therapy Center 470 Mamaroneck Ave, Suite 204 White Plains NY 10605 101 South Bedford Rd Suite 404 Mt. Kisco NY 10549 914.421.8270 ext. 2 914 373 6823 ext 3 Fax: 914.421.8272 creativewonderstherapy.com facebook.com/#!/ creativewonderstherapy Creative Wonders is a pediatric therapy center with locations in White Plains and Mt. Kisco. Seasoned occupational, physical, and speech therapists trained in specialties including sensory integration, PROMPT, and therapeutic listening and SIPT evaluations. Private speech and toddler rooms as well as a sensory gym! Strict cleaning

guidelines, therapists in masks, 75i True HEPA Air Purifiers in both locations.

Green Chimneys School Campuses in Brewster & Carmel 845-279-2995 Greenchimneys.org Green Chimneys School is an accredited special education program for students K-12 who benefit from a highly structured and supportive setting. An enriched curriculum for individualized academic, behavioral and emotional support features an innovative nature-based approach that integrates animal-assisted activities, horticulture and outdoor exploration into therapeutic treatment and education programs.

Littman Krooks, LLP 800 Westchester Avenue, S-436 Rye Brook, New York 10573 914-684-2100 littmankrooks.com

STEPPINGSTONE DAY SCHOOL, INC. A Preschool Program for Children With and Without Disabilities Not for Profit — Established in 1983

Queens/Bronx Preschool Programs ‑ CPSE Evaluations Speech/Language, Occupational, Physical Therapy & Counseling Services Family Support Services • Preschool self-contained and integrated classrooms; Pre-K and 3K for All in Queens site • Nurturing, child-friendly learning environments • Ongoing communication between parents and professionals • Meeting the needs of the families through concrete and social work services

To find out more about SteppingStone Day School For the Queens Location, call Janice Nicotra 718-591-9093 • For the Bronx location, call Brooke Abrams 718-554-2025 www.steppingstonedayschool.com SteppingStone Day School’s Preschool Program is Funded and Regulated By The New York State Department of Education, The New York City Department of Education and Licensed by The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Bureau of Daycare

April 2022 | The Special Child


special Needs Directory | Special Advertising Supplement

Littman Krooks Special Needs Planning and Special Education Advocacy Attorneys work for the empowerment of individuals with special needs. Planning for your child’s future can seem overwhelming but you do not need to face these tasks alone. Seeking the assistance of an attorney can be the best approach. receptive language disorders.

Main Street Pediatric Dentistry 115 Main St., Suite 302 Tuckahoe, NY 10707 914-633-4440 drpennydds@aol.com mainstreetpediatricdentistry. com Main Street Pediatric Dentistry’s experienced staff has specialized training to work with special needs patients and those with disabilities. They focus on behavior management, working closely with the patient and their families to make the experience as comfortable as possible. Patients of all ages are welcome.

Monster Mini Golf Yonkers Ridge Hill Mall 221 Market St., Unit 2950, 2nd floor Yonkers NY 914 346-5072 yonkers@monsterminigolf.com monsterminigolf.com/yonkers 49 East Midland Ave. Paramus NJ 201-261-0032 paramus@monsterminigolf. com monsterminigolf.com/paramus Monster Mini Golf is an indoor, fun, affordable, upbeat experience for special

needs humans of all ages. Our 18 holes of monsterthemed mini golf, glowin-the-dark experience is wheelchair accessible, climate controlled, with interactive team members. For more excitement we have an oncourse DJ, arcade games, bowling, and private party rooms!

RockOnMusic Westchester, Putnam counties or on Zoom, anywhere! 914 489 0520 RockonMusicSchool.com Dmeyers12531@gmail.com Make Music Accessible. Individualized music sessions in your home or through Zoom. The benefits of music participation are great, so unlock the potential in your child. Play Guitar, Uke, Bass, Keyboards, Drums, Dance and Sing, whatever inspires the musician in you. David specializes in teaching differently-abled children and young adults. (Ages 8+). SELF-DIRECTION APPROVED

behavior interventions and supports, social services, rehabilitative therapies, dietary programming, and living accommodations for children who require the specialized care offered by our comprehensive residential setting. The program’s adaptive approach ensures that all students are able to access the curriculum, via pathways tailored to meet their own unique needs.

Shames JCC on the Hudson 371 S. Broadway Tarrytown, NY 10591 914.366.7898 Specialneeds@shamesjcc.org shamesjcc.org The Shames JCC is a welcoming and supportive environment for people of all abilities and is dedicated to serving individuals with special needs across their life spans. We offer a wide range of inclusive and specialized programs for individuals with varying special needs and their families. We offer an individual-to-staff ratio of 3:1.

SAIL at Ferncliff Manor 1154 Saw Mill River Road Yonkers, NY 10710 914-968-4854 Sailatferncliff.com info@sailatferncliff.com The School for Adaptive and Integrative Learning (SAIL) at Ferncliff Manor is a New York State Education Department approved private, nonpublic school program serving residential and day students with severe intellectual and developmental disabilities. SAIL provides a range of supports and services including specialized instruction, intensive staff to student ratios, positive

Sensory Works, Vincent Incognoli 159 Main Street, Suite 201 New Rochelle, NY 10801 Phone: 646-210-3508 sensoryworksot.com sensoryworksot@optonline.net Vincent Incognoli is a Pediatric Occupational Therapist who has served Children with various disabilities for over 19 years. He specializes in Sensory and Relationship-based therapy and holds certifications in Sensory Integration (SIPT Certified), DIR/Floortime and the Integrated Listening Systems (ILS). Vincent is

passionate about building relationships with his clients and families and focuses his work on having children reach their highest level of independence. Inquire about his services which include treatment, screenings,evaluations and a broad range of therapeutic options to best suit your child’s needs.

Westchester School 45 Park Avenue Yonkers, NY 10703 520 Route 22 North Salem NY 33 Seymour St. Yonkers NY 914-376-4300 westchesterschool.org The Westchester School’s main campus is a year round, NY state approved special education day facility located in Yonkers NY. The school’s 3 locations serve individuals with autism and multiple handicaps as well as children who are medically fragile. In addition to serving Westchester, Putnam, Rockland, Dutchess and Orange counties, they also support the Mid-Hudson area, New York City and Fairfield County, CT.

Winston Prep Long Island 57 Rocks Road, Norwalk 203-229-0465 mrolfe@winstonprep.edu Winston Preparatory Connecticut is a leading school for students with learning differences, including dyslexia, ADHD, and nonverbal learning disorders. Learn more about our nationally recognized program at www. winstonprep.edu.

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WestchesterFamily.com | April 2022