On the Horizon: 07/25/12

Welcome to “On the Horizon”

Issue 193: The Power of Togetherness

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: Hot in West Michigan!
  • Feature Article:
    The Power of Togetherness
  • Ask the Horizons Team
  • Upcoming Events
  • Recommended Resources

Hi Everyone!

It’s the start of another hot week here in West Michigan! My family and I enjoyed spending last weekend in Chicago, and the MAGIC Convention was a great success for all of the families who attended. It is such a blessing to be part of events that encourage families to support each other, share knowledge, and allow children to spend time with others like themselves.

Michelle’s feature article this week is brand new and provides great insights into structuring activities in ways that foster child development. We often take for granted the power we have as parents, family members, and teachers to shape the development of children simply by engaging them in activities with us. Michelle spotlights some important considerations for making the most of the time we spend with our children.

Enjoy your week!

Looking to the horizon,

The Power of Togetherness

By Michelle VanderHeide, LLBSW

My baby just turned 4. One of the things we decided to do to celebrate his birthday was to build him a new sandbox. I’m so glad we have my dad around; because if it were up to my husband and me to build it, we’d have a pile of sand in the middle of a bunch of rocks. It would have been washed away and gone in no time at all. So my dad shows up one day to “help” build the sandbox. When my son came out to help with his Fisher Price tools, the scene was priceless. My dad would cut a piece of wood, and my son would be “cutting another” at the same time with his “tools and his protective eye gear” – working side by side. As my dad got to the point where the piece of wood was about to break, he’d ask my son to come over and kick the plank apart. Sure enough, one swift kick from a 3 year old and it would fall apart. My son was beaming, and so proud of his role in building the sandbox. My dad gave him other roles as well: bringing over the landscape planks, standing on the weed control fabric so it wouldn’t pull away, and bringing a bucket of sand down to start the sandbox. He was a natural at including and empowering my son. The look on my son’s face said it all. Here are a few things to consider when including your child in day-to-day activities:

Click here to read the rest of this article…


I am looking for some new games to play with my boys, ages 9 and 10. Both are very intelligent but struggle with staying focused on activities not of their choosing. They also have some visual processing challenges we are trying to improve. Any ideas would be appreciated!

-Rachel in Michigan


Hi Rachel,

It’s great that you are thinking about using games to address some of your boys’ challenges. Games can be great ways to work on focus and concentration, as well as specific skill deficits. Here are some that we use often at our center to address the issues you mentioned:

  • Square Up
  • Clever Castle
  • Rush Hour (regular and junior versions)
  • Spot It!
  • Logic Links
  • Castle Logix

All of these games are available on Amazon, as well as through other game websites and stores. Some of them are single-player games, and I would recommend that you supervise for a while until you are sure they have the concept and are able to play correctly. Most of these games also have increased levels of challenge built into them. The boys can start at the most basic level, and as they move through each card or level there is an increasing amount of challenge. I hope you enjoy using these with them!

Take Care,

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Upcoming Events

Hear Nicole Speak

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

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


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