On the Horizon – 06/30/2009

Horizons Developmental Remediation Center
On the Horizon
On the Horizon

Welcome to “On the

Issue 66: Moments Together: Engaging Our Children in Everyday Life

On the Horizon is an award winning 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.

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In This Issue

Hot Topics for Summer

A Note from Nicole: Family Time; Michigan SB-CEUs and ASHA CEUs approved

Idea of the Week:  Outdoor Canvas

Feature Article: Moments Together: Engaging Our Children in Everyday Life

The Horizons Team Recommends: Extreme Makeover: Autism Education Edition; Parent Success Cards

Upcoming Events: CORE Approach Parent Teleseminar; Sibshop

A Note From Nicole
Nicole Beurkens

Hi Everyone!

Summer has hit Michigan full force with temperatures in the upper 90’s last week! We’re thankful for air conditioning and lots of nearby lakes and beaches. It was a bit cooler yesterday, so our family packed a picnic supper and headed out to a local park and trail. We had some bugs join us and had to chase a few things that got away in the wind, but overall it was a fun time! I hope your families are enjoying lots of opportunities for summer fun (or winter fun depending on which hemisphere you live in).

July starts tomorrow, and that means our Extreme Makeover: Autism Education Edition Workshop is getting closer. If you know education professionals who could benefit, please provide them with the link to get more information www.ExtremeMakeoverAutism.com. Those of you who are education professionals and haven’t yet registered, you will want to know that we are now officially offering Michigan SB-CEUs and ASHA CEUs for the workshop. Click here for more details.

This week we’re running an article providing an important reminder about taking time to really be present with our kids in the activities of daily life. Time goes so quickly, and it’s easy to miss out on opportunities to learn and relate together. Enjoy!

Looking to the horizon,

Nicole Signature

Idea of the Week

Let's Paint Ourdoors!

Outdoor Canvas

Hang an old sheet on the clothesline or tape a large sheet of paper to a fence to paint on. Try painting with different objects that you might find outdoors like a stick, leaves, grass, etc. See what kind of painting you can come up with when you are inspired from being outdoors. Leave it hanging up for a couple of days and come back to it another day when you maybe have another idea or have found something else to paint with. When you are finished come up with a creative way to frame it or hang it up inside your house or out on the deck.

Feature Article
Family Time!

Moments Together: Engaging Our Children in Everyday Life

By: Nicole Beurkens, M.Ed.

I witnessed something recently that has caused me to think about the time we spend with our children, and the importance of everyday moments. While standing in line at the counter of our family’s favorite pizza place, waiting for our take-out order to be ready, I noticed a little girl and her parents walk into the restaurant and sit down. The girl was probably around 5 years old, and she smiled widely at me as they walked past. My pizza was taking a while, so I had the opportunity to stand and watch this family out of the corner of my eye.

They sat in a booth together, the little girl next to her father and across from her mother. After ordering their drinks, both parents immediately pulled out their cell phones. The father was pressing buttons with his phone to his ear, apparently listening to voicemail messages. The mother was fiddling with the buttons on her phone while looking at the screen. I watched as the little girl sat there silently looking around the restaurant, then back at her parents. She intermittently sipped her drink, kicked her shoes off and then put them back on, and at one point handed her glasses to her mother to have them cleaned. Her mother set the phone down long enough to wipe the glasses with a napkin, and then promptly devoted herself to the phone once again. The only other time I observed the parents to pause their interactions with the cell phones was when the server came to take their order. As soon as the server left the table, those cell phones were back in hand again.

I watched this go on for 15 minutes as I continued to wait for our pizzas, and the same scenario was still occurring as I left the restaurant with pizzas in hand. There was a part of me that wanted to go over to the table, grab those cell phones, and make the parents look at their little girl. That, coupled with a lecture about the importance of relationships and engagement in the development of children, would have made me feel much better! I resisted the urge, however, and instead thought about this sad commentary on our society and how we define “spending time” with our children.

These parents might be wonderful in many respects. I have no idea who they are or how they live their lives, except what I observed for that series of moments in the pizza place. What I do know based on that limited observation, however, is that they were so consumed with themselves in those moments that they missed an opportunity. They failed to engage with their daughter who, although seemingly invisible to them, was right there at the same table. While they were spending time together, the time was void of meaning and connection. It was the epitome of being together, yet completely alone and isolated from each other.


The Horizons Team Recommends

Extreme Makeover

Makeover: Autism Education Edition Workshop

July 29-31, 2009 Grand Rapids, MI

Put together the soaring increase in students diagnosed with autism and related impairments, a group of dedicated educators seeking solutions to the challenges they face daily, a team of been-in-the-trenches experts, three days of amazing content and hands-on experience, and what do you get?

An amazing 3-day workshop that will transform
how you understand and educate students with autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders.

Click here for more information!

Parent Success Cards

Parent Success Cards

For CORE Approach Program families, these cards provide reminders of the main principles of CORE Approach such as the importance of experience sharing, guiding, slowing down, staying focused on the marathon, finding small moments for remediation, and much more. You will find them an invaluable source of inspiration and guidance as you focus on remediation.

Set of 50 heavyweight full-color cards in a sturdy box with lid – $24.95

Purchase the set or view more samples here

Upcoming Events

Please join us!

  • CORE Approach Parent Teleseminar:
    Q&A with Michelle & Courtney
    Families Only)
    Monday, July 6, 2009, 1:30PM to 2:30PM
  • CORE Approach Parent Teleseminar:
    Nutrition and Supplements with Erin Roon as our Guest Speaker
    Families Only)
    Thursday, July 16, 2009, 11:00AM to 12:00PM
  • Extreme Makeover: Autism
    Education Edition

    July 29-31, 2009
  • Sibshop
    – Horizons Sibling Network

    Open to everyone!
    Saturday, July 11, 2009, 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM EST

On the
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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