On the Horizon – 03/10/2008

Horizons Developmental Remediation Center

In This Issue

Welcome to “On the Horizon”

On the Horizon is a weekly ezine for parents of children with developmental disabilities who want simple, effective strategies to reduce stress, support their child’s development, and improve quality of life for the whole family.

In This Issue

We have some great information this issue!

– A Note from Nicole: Introducing…!

– Idea of the Week: Wash Dishes By Hand!

– Feature Article: Ensuring Success through Guided Participation

– Featured Resource: Explorations in Eating Calendar and Journal

– Featured Program: Cluster Coaching for Families

– Upcoming Events: Don’t miss out!

To keep receiving On the Horizon, please add the email address “nicolebeurkens@horizonsdrc.com” to your safe address list.

A Note From Nicole
Nicole Beurkens

Hi Everyone!

I just returned from a weekend in sunny warm Houston, and I can’t say I’m enjoying being back in the cold!  Erin and I attended an CORE Approach Supervisor meeting on Saturday at the Connections Center, and managed to squeeze in some shopping and Cheesecake Factory dining, too.  It’s always great to spend time with others from around the world who are as invested in autism remediation as we are!

This week I’d like to introduce you to another member of our Horizons team, Michelle VanderHeide.  Michelle has a degree in social work, and is an CORE Approach Program Certified Consultant.  She is passionate about the field of child development from both a personal and a professional standpoint.  Working at Horizons and having two young daughters at home (and a son on the way) gives her lots of opportunities to observe child development each day!  Michelle will be contributing articles on topics related to autism and development, including some CORE Approach-specific concepts and strategies.  I know you’ll gain lots of new insight and ideas from Michelle.

This week we are continuing our pre-sales for our new product – Explorations in Eating: 365 Memory Making Opportunities for Expanding Your Food Horizons.  Whether your child has feeding issues, or you just want some fun ideas for exploring food together, you’ll want to check out this great new resource!

Looking to the horizon,

Nicole Signature 

Idea of the Week
Washing Dishes

Back to Basics:  Wash Dishes By Hand

Have the whole family help out by washing the dishes by hand. Assign each member of the family a specific job to do. This is a great co-regulation activity, plus it gets the dishes washed and put away quickly! To add some variation, switch jobs around so each family member can experience all the different roles.

Feature Article
Picky Eater

Ensuring Success through Guided Participation

By Michelle VanderHeide

A little girl, about 1 year old, is standing next to a coffee table when she decides that she wants to step off and make an attempt at walking. She immediately falls to the ground. One of two things can happen at that point. A parent or caregiver can see this attempt, and step in to encourage the child to keep trying; or they can allow the child to try and figure out how to walk on her own. Imagine how much longer it would take this infant to learn to walk without the support of a loved one to encourage her along!

One of the primary concepts in the remediation of autism is that of guided participation. In the example above, two critical people needed to be involved in order to ensure success: the parent guide and the child participant. This child was therefore involved in a guided participation activity. Think about your own life for a minute. What skills, talents, and discoveries did you develop through a guided participation relationship? When you think about some of the more challenging things you have achieved, a parent, coach, or teacher often guided you. As a result you were more successful than if you had tried to figure it out on your own.

In order for an individual with autism to achieve success, he or she also needs to be a guided participant; but often these individuals will put up boundaries to being guided, so that the relationship between parent and child, for instance, breaks apart at a very early stage. Why do those with autism put up these boundaries? It is not because of anything the parents did wrong; instead, it’s because of a neurological disorder that the individual has. Research has shown that the pathways between the different parts of the brain function at an increasingly decreased rate in those with autism as opposed to a neuro-typical individual. As a result, the individual with autism has experienced many failures in understanding social relationships. Why is this? Those with autism are unable to process social interactions at the same rate as a neuro-typical individual, and therefore miss many critical elements of social development beginning as early as infancy. When interactions fail, move too quickly or involve too much processing, success is minimal and interaction with others less appealing. Who wants to keep reentering situations in which failure isn’t only a possibility, but most likely a reality?

Upcoming articles will reflect further on the concept of guided participation, what you can do to begin building a guided participation relationship with your child, and critical things you can do to ensure those interactions will be successful.

This article is also available on the Horizons DRC website…

Featured Resource

Explorations in Eating Calendar and Journal

$19.95 (Per Calendar) or $39.95 (Per Calendar and Journal) Each day has ideas to expand your child’s diet and food preferences. Calendars are assembled by clients in our EmployAbilities program. $1.00 from every calendar will be donated to FARR.

Click on the image below to visit our store!

Explorations in Eating Calendar Image

Upcoming Events

Cluster Coaching for Families

This is the last call for families interested in joining a Cluster Coaching group for the next 4 months. If you’re looking for a low-cost, information-rich way to get started on a remediation path with your child, you’ll want to click here for all the details. Be sure to contact us ASAP – time is running out and space is limited!

For a brochure, click here

To sign up, click here

Upcoming Events

Please join us!

  • Supporting Social Communication Development in Students with Autism – A Workshop for Speech Pathologists and Social Workers
    March 13 from 9AM – 4PM
    Click here to download a registration form
  • Horizons Sibling Network (Sibshop)
    March 22 from 10AM-2PM
  • Teleseminar (for current clients only)
    March 18, 8:30 PM EST
  • Relationship Development Intervention (RDI) ® Program 2-Day Workshop
    June 13 and 14 in Lansing
    Click here for more information or to register.

See our Event Calendar for more details…

On the Horizon is a weekly ezine for parents of children with developmental disabilities who want simple, effective strategies to reduce stress, support their child¹s development, and improve quality of life for the whole family.

Our mailing address is:

Horizons Developmental Remediation Center
3120 68th Street SE
Caledonia, MI  49316

Our telephone:
(616) 698-0306

Our email address:

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