On the Horizon – 10/02/12

Welcome to "On the Horizon"

Issue 200: Learning to Think: Part One – All Students Can Learn to be Mindful

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: ArtPrize
  • Feature Article:
    Learning to Think: Part One – All Students Can Learn to be Mindful
  • Ask the Horizons Team
  • Upcoming Events
  • Recommended Resources

Hi Everyone!

I’ve returned from my trip to Montana where I had the opportunity to speak to many professionals in various parts of the state. The long drives between venues were actually one of my favorite parts of the trip, as I got to see beautiful mountains, plains, ranches, and sunsets. Very different landscape than anywhere else I have visited to date. Since returning from the trip I’ve enjoyed some outings with my family to ArtPrize in downtown Grand Rapids. It’s a fabulous annual art competition and we enjoy seeing so many unique and amazing entries every year. I wish I had just a little bit of the artistic creativity and talent displayed by the artists who participate!

This week the feature article by Courtney is about the development of thinking skills in students. She provides some excellent tips for encouraging students to engage in independent thinking and problem solving. The Q&A for this week is about guardianship and alternatives parents may wish to consider.

Enjoy your week!

Looking to the horizon,

Learning to Think: Part One – All Students Can Learn to be Mindful

By Courtney Kowalczyk, M.Ed.

Summer has come to an end and school has begun for many children. School buses are busily picking up students and dropping them off during the morning and evening commutes. With the beginning of a new school year, I thought it would be helpful to look into the realm of education and the way our students think and learn.

For most students in the general education population today, the focus of education is on their ability to think and use problem solving skills. We are seeing more and more schools moved towards integrated curricula that teach children math, reading, and writing skills in a more dynamic fashion. A majority of these curricula pose real world problems that students work through and solve as they learn concepts along the way. For many children, this type of curricula proves to be beneficial; for others however, it can be very challenging. For example, children who struggle with reading typically have greater difficulty using curricula formatted in this fashion, since most of it is comprised of written language that needs to be read, dissected, and understood in order to progress through the problem at hand. For these individuals, accommodations to the curricula are usually made to make it easier for the child to understand and process.

Click here to read the rest of this article…


I’m not sure if you can answer this question for me or not, but it’s something that has been on my mind as my son is getting older. He is going to turn 16 years old in November and my husband and I are unsure what we may need to do as far as guardianship for him in the future. We know some families who have gotten guardianship for their adult children with disabilities, but I’ve also heard from some people who say there are better alternatives. Do you have any information or suggestions of where we can get information or options we should consider?

Thank you,
Sherry in Traverse City, MI


Hi Sherry,

Thanks for asking this important question, as I know it is on the minds of many parents as their children get older. You are correct that there are many opinions on the subject of guardianship, and it is important to get all the information to make the best choice for your child and family. Many people are not aware of that there are some excellent alternatives to guardianship, even for individuals with significant impairments. Since you live in Michigan I will specifically mention that Michigan ARC often provides seminars on this topic. I have heard Dohn Hoyle do multiple talks on this topic and he is excellent if you have the opportunity to download or attend one of his presentations. A link that you and other parents may find helpful is the Michigan Alliance for Families. It has many helpful documents, presentations, and links pertaining to guardianship and alternatives to guardianship. People within and outside of Michigan will find the information valuable. I hope it provides you with the information you need to make the difficult decisions ahead.

Take Care,

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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.

October 13, 2012 from 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM Cost is $20 per child – Sibshop is a world-renowned model for providing education and support to siblings of children with special needs. Our Sibshop is held at Horizons in our sensory room. We include a combination of movement and discussion activities, arts and crafts, and games. Children will need to bring a lunch, but snack is provided.

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


Hear Nicole Speak

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

Autism and Other Neurodevelopmental Disorders: Practical Strategies to Improve Processing

October 18, 2012 in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania

October 19, 2012 in Cherry Hill, New Jersey


Learn as we grow

This long-awaited book is written for parents and professionals who want to be more effective in their work with students who have neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism.

More Information >>