On the Horizon: 06/20/12

Welcome to “On the Horizon”

Issue 189: Summer’s Here! 5 Helpful Tips for Parents

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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  • A Note from Nicole: Kicking Off Summer
  • Feature Article:
    Summer’s Here! 5 Helpful Tips for Parents
  • Ask the Horizons Team
  • Upcoming Events: Sibshop
  • Recommended Resources

Hi Everyone!

I want to first extend a warm welcome to all of the new subscribers from the AutismOne conference a few weeks ago. We have finally gotten you all added to the database and are so glad you are part of our growing community!

Our summer therapy camps have begun and we are excited to see familiar and new faces this summer! The weather has certainly been summery with temperatures in the 90’s and lots of sunshine. One of the kids told us that we need to add a swimming pool at Horizons. I’ll make sure to put that on the list of possible future facility improvements!

I hope the summer is starting off well for all of you and your children! My feature article this week provides some tips for making the most of the summer months. If you need some activity ideas to keep the kids busy while they are home this summer, check out our featured product this week.

Enjoy the rest of your week!

Looking to the horizon,

Summer’s Here! 5 Helpful Tips for Parents

By Nicole Beurkens, PhD

Many parents both love and hate the thought of summer vacation. On the one hand, you’re ready to be done with the homework, backpacks full of papers, seemingly endless fundraisers, and getting the kids up and out the door to catch the bus every morning. Summer holds the possibility of a slower pace, fun times together as a family, and the kids being able to wrestle each other outside instead of in the family room! But then there’s the other side of the summer vacation coin: refereeing the kids’ fights (also know as “too much togetherness syndrome”), blocking out the whines of “but there’s nothing to dooooo,” shuttling kids around from one activity to the next, and discovering that there is only so much time you can be around your children before you start to lose your mind. It seems every season has its pluses and minuses!

Click here to read the rest of this article…


My son is going to attend swimming lessons this summer at our local pool. This is the first time he has done something like this and I’m not sure how much to tell the staff about his special needs. My son is 10 and has been diagnosed with ADHD, learning disabilities, and anxiety. I feel like it may be doing him a disservice to tell the staff about all these issues, but I don’t want there to be problems because I didn’t disclose them. Do you have any insight on how much I should say to them about his diagnoses?

Kelly in Manistee


Hi Kelly,

First of all, I’m glad you are having your son participate in swimming lessons this summer. Swimming is a great way to provide sensory input, get physical exercise, and engage with other people! I understand what you are saying about not wanting to provide the right amount of information about your son to the pool staff. On the one hand you want to make sure he is supported, but on the other hand you don’t want them to have preconceived ideas about him based on diagnostic labels.

My recommendation is that you tell them the things you feel they need to know in order for them to appropriately support his swim lesson experience. You do not have to use specific diagnostic labels. Instead, it is probably more helpful to give them examples of things your son may need support with. For example, you can let them know that he sometimes needs to have instructions repeated or needs a demonstration so he can understand what he is supposed to do. If you think his anxiety may be an issue you can let them know that he is sometimes nervous about doing things with lots of other people watching, and may be better able to show proficiency with the swimming skills when just the instructor is watching. Providing some specific information and examples will give the instructors a clear idea of the challenges and how to support them. I think it’s important for staff members to understand his needs as they pertain to the swim lessons, but they don’t need an extensive history of his challenges, the labels he has been given, etc. in order to provide the support he needs.

Good luck and I hope swimming is a successful experience for your son!


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Upcoming Events


Looking for an opportunity designed for SIBLINGS of children with autism or other developmental disorders?

Siblings of children with autism or other disabilities have their own unique needs and experiences, and we use the renowned Sibshop model designed to provide them with support, education, and fun.

July 14th – 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Cost is $20 per child – Sibshop is held at Horizons in our sensory room. We will do a combination of movement and discussion activities, arts and crafts, and games. Participants need to bring a lunch. Snack will be provided.

RESERVE YOUR SPOT TODAY by clicking here, emailing our office info@horizonsdrc.com, or by calling us at (616) 698-0306.


Horizons Client Events


June 23rd – 10:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. at Horizons. Join us for a day of learning and sharing together. RESERVE YOUR SPOT TODAY at info@horizonsdrc.com or (616) 698-0306. We look forward to seeing you! Exclusively for our Horizons Developmental Resource Center Client Families.


Hear Nicole Speak

Upcoming dates and locations where Nicole Beurkens, PhD will be speaking:

MAGIC Foundation Annual Convention

July 19-22, 2012
Chicago, Illinois

American Psychological Association Annual Convention

August 2-5, 2012
Orlando, Florida

Autism and Other Neurodevelopmental Disorders: Practical Strategies to Improve Processing

September 26, 2012 in Missoula, Montana

September 27, 2012 in Butte, Montana

September 28, 2012 in Billings, Montana

October 18, 2012 in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania

October 19, 2012 in Cherry Hill, New Jersey


Do Something Daily Calendar

The Calendar offers a daily dose of inspiration and ideas for spending time together—whether you have 60 seconds or 60 minutes.

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