On the Horizon – 10/20/2009

Horizons Developmental Remediation Center
On the Horizon
On the Horizon

Welcome to “On the Horizon”

Issue 82:  Valuing Others: Reflections on an Incident in a Kindergarten Classroom

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

Helpful Ideas

A Note from Nicole: Horizons Family Fun Day

Idea of the Week:  Bean Bag Toss

Feature Article: Valuing Others: Reflections on an Incident in a Kindergarten Classroom

The Horizons Team Recommends: Raising Minds®; Horizons Workshops

Upcoming Events: CORE Approach Parent Teleseminar; West Michigan Sensory Awareness Event

A Note From Nicole
Nicole Beurkens

Hi Everyone!

This past weekend we enjoyed an awesome Horizons Family Fun day at Klackles Orchard!  We had over 50 family members participate in a wagon ride through the orchard where we picked apples and pumpkins.  Then we gathered for delicious homemade doughnuts and cider.  Many families stayed for a few hours to enjoy all the awesome attractions, bounce houses, camel and elephant rides, corn mazes, and other fun adventures offered at Klackles.  The weather was cold but sunny and we had a wonderful time.  This is definitely going to become an annual Horizons event!  Here are a couple of pictures from the day.

Klackle Orchards

Klackle Orchards

This week’s feature article is one I wrote a whole ago after a specific incident in Florida.  The message is just as pertinent today.  Incidentally, I understand that the teacher involved in this incident was merely reassigned as a result of her actions and did not even lose her tenure status.  As a former educator this disappoints me, and I can only hope that she has learned something from the experience.

On a different note, our November workshops are coming up quickly.  We’ve got an entire day for professionals and a Saturday event for parents as well.  Don’t miss the opportunity to immerse yourself in strategies that you can implement immediately to change yourself and your students.  Get the details at www.HorizonsDRCWorkshops.com.

Enjoy the week!

Looking to the horizon,

Nicole Signature

Idea of the Week

Bean Bags

Bean Bag Toss

Set up different buckets (these can be containers used as buckets) that are spaced apart around an open area.  Find some small bean bags or small soft balls that can be used to toss into the buckets.  Pick a location that you are going to stand in and take turns tossing the beans bags or balls into the different buckets seeing if you can make it the first time you toss it or if it takes you a while.  You can go around it a pattern with the buckets or pick a number for each bucket to make it a little more random.  Get creative while playing this and come up with different ways you can play!

Feature Article
Looking Through a Magnifying Glass

Valuing Others: Reflections on an Incident in a Kindergarten Classroom

By: Nicole Beurkens, M.Ed.

When we hear about things on the news, read them in the paper, or listen to the latest gossip from friends or colleagues, there is a tendency to jump to conclusions and make assumptions about the people involved.  I try to keep in mind that there are always two sides (at least) to every story.  What I may be hearing or reading about is one side of the story, but there is probably another perspective or interpretation of things that is not being told.  I have to admit that I am not always successful at withholding judgment until I understand the entire situation, but I try.  Sometimes, though, things that happen that are just plain wrong—and the other side of the story really doesn’t matter.  Such a situation occurred in a Florida classroom recently; and as I read the article describing the incident and the people involved, I must admit that I made a snap judgment.

For those of you who may not be aware of the situation to which I am referring, I’ll give you the short version:  A kindergarten teacher has had a 5 year old boy in her classroom all year, and there have been ongoing instances of disruptive behavior such as humming/singing, pestering classmates, refusing to work, etc.  This child has been in the process of being evaluated for special education services, and the professionals evaluating him believe he has an autism spectrum disorder.  One day recently, the boy was told to leave the classroom due to his disruptive behavior.  The teacher then decided to take a class vote to determine whether or not the child should return to the classroom.  She had this little 5 year old boy stand in front of all his classmates, while each one had their turn to state what they didn’t like about him and whether or not he should be allowed to return to the classroom.  He stood there and watched as all the kids said negative things about him, including a child he perceived to be his “best friend.”  The vote was 14-2 in favor of not allowing him to return to the classroom.

I sat in stunned silence the first time I read the article describing this situation.  There was a rush of emotion as I felt so angry and incredibly sad at the same time.  I was reminded that while we like to think that this kind of blatant discrimination and disregard for human worth are a part of our past, the fact is that they are very much a part of our present.  These kinds of blatant actions don’t occur regularly, or at least not that we are aware of, the fact is that this kind of thinking still exists in our society.  This way of thinking places the worth of some individuals above that of others, makes me better than you, and proposes that the majority determines the value of the few.  The fact that this child potentially has a disability that can be labeled is not the point.  Nor is it that a teacher was “mean” or discriminated against a child who may have autism.  The issue goes much deeper to how we perceive each other and ourselves, and how our words and actions reflect those perceptions.  The actions this teacher took speak volumes about her beliefs about children, their strengths and obstacles, and their value.

Continued…

The Horizons Team Recommends

Raising Minds Membership Site

Discover a Source of Information
and Support for Parents Just Like You!

Imagine for a moment what your life would be like if you knew how to
identify and address the biggest obstacles facing your child. I’m
talking about the core issues that create difficulties for your child,
for you, for your family, and for anyone else involved in your child’s
life.
What would it be like if you could help your child learn to:

  • Attend to the right things at the right time
  • Thoughtfully communicate—not just talk in memorized or mechanical ways
  • Be genuinely interested in the emotions, ideas, and actions of others
  • Take responsibility for actions
  • Flexibly adapt to change
  • Understand the intentions of others
  • Come up with creative ideas and solutions
  • Have meaningful conversations
  • Develop curiosity about other people, events, and things in the environment
  • Be self-aware—know who s/he is as a person and how s/he is being perceived by others

The information available at Raising Minds® will help you understand exactly what deficit areas require treatment and how to accomplish that, while lowering your stress in the process.

Now, just imagine the peace you will bring to yourself and your
family, not to mention the results you’ll create for your child, when
you have 24/7 access to the information, resources, and motivation you
need to understand your child’s needs and powerfully impact his/her
development.

For more information, click here

HorizonsDRCWorkshops.com

You Have Questions.
We Have Answers.

Join us for learning experiences designed to provide you with the information, tools, and motivation you need to make a meaningful difference in the lives of individuals with autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders.

Horizons
Workshop Opportunities

  • Evaluating for Autism: The Nuts and Bolts of Quality School-Based Autism Spectrum Disorder Evaluations

  • Autism in the Classroom: Simple & Effective Strategies to Learn Today and Use Tomorrow

  • Day of Change: A Groundbreaking Workshop for Parents of Children with Autism and Other Neurodevelopmental Disorders

  • Extreme Makeover: Autism Education Edition

For more information, click here

Upcoming Events

Please join us!

  • CORE Approach Parent Teleseminar: Using Food for Oral Motor Therapy – Erin Roon guest speaker
    (Horizons Families Only)
    Thursday, October 22, 2009 from 11-12pm EST
  • West Michigan Sensory Awareness Event:
    Open to everyone!
    Showing of the movie “Autistic-Like” for family and community members interested in increasing their awareness about Sensory Processing Disorder and the need for careful diagnosis of children with developmental challenges.
    Saturday, October 24, 2009 10am EST at Horizons – call 616-698-0306 or email betsy@horizonsdrc.com for tickets
  • Workshop – Evaluating for Autism:The
    Nuts and Bolts of Quality School-Based Autism Spectrum Disorder Evaluations
    Thursday, October 29, 2009
  • CORE Approach Parent Teleseminar: Q&A with Michelle & Courtney
    (Horizons Families Only)
    Monday, November 2, 2009 from 1:30-2:30pm EST
  • Sibshop – Horizons Sibling Network
    Open to everyone!
    Saturday, November 7, 2009, 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM EST
  • Horizons Parent Education Day
    (Horizons Families Only)
    Topic: Remediation-Friendly Treatments for Feeding Problems and Sensory Processing Disorders
    Saturday, November 14, 2009 from 10am-4pm
  • Workshop – Autism in the Classroom: Simple &
    Effective Strategies to Learn Today and Use Tomorrow 
    Friday, November 20, 2009
  • Workshop – Day of Change: A
    Groundbreaking Workshop for Parents of Children with Autism and Other Neurodevelopmental Disorders
    Saturday, November 21, 2009
  • Workshop – Evaluating for Autism: The
    Nuts and Bolts of Quality School-Based Autism Spectrum Disorder Evaluations
    Thursday, Feburary 11, 2009
  • Workshop – Autism in the Classroom: Simple &
    Effective Strategies to Learn Today and Use Tomorrow 
    Friday, March 12, 2009
  • Workshop – Day of Change: A
    Groundbreaking Workshop for Parents of Children with Autism and Other Neurodevelopmental Disorders
    Saturday, March 13, 2009
  • Extreme Makeover: Autism Education Edition
    August 4-6, 2010

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:

info@horizonsdrc.com

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