On the Horizon – 10/18/11

Welcome to “On the Horizon”

Issue 166: Come to the Edge

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: Handwritten Notes
  • Feature Article: Holiday Parties—Helpful Hints for Educators
  • Ask the Horizons Team
  • Upcoming Events: Simple Solutions Seminar & Parent Education Day
  • Recommended Resources

I just received a lovely handwritten note in the mail today, and it’s such a nice reprieve from most of the other stuff that shows up in my mailbox!  This note has me thinking about the value of taking a few moments to jot something down on a nice notecard and sending it to someone.  These days we are so dependent on email, Facebook, and other electronic means of communication that we forget how good it feels to actually get something nice in the mail.  I’m going to take a few minutes tonight to write brief notes to a couple of people I’ve been thinking about lately.  Whose day can you brighten with a handwritten note?

With Halloween around the corner, and the holidays not far behind, school party season is upon us.  In this week’s feature article, Courtney shares some tips to make school holiday parties fun and enjoyable for all participants, particularly students with sensory processing issues, anxiety, or behavioral regulation problems.  I think these strategies make school parties more fun for everyone involved!

Check out the events calendar below for a Simple Solutions teleseminar coming up later this week.  There are only 2 left in 2011 – don’t miss this one on stress!

Make it a great week!

Looking to the horizon,

Holiday Parties—Helpful Hints for Educators

By Courtney Kowalczyk. MEd

The leaves are beginning to turn colors and fall from the trees; and whether we want to admit it or not, fall has arrived here in West Michigan!  It is hard to believe that in less than two weeks, children will be knocking at my door trick-or-treating.  With the arrival of fall, it is important for educators to start thinking about and planning classroom parties if your school chooses to include them.  For special educators, it is even more important to examine classroom parties and plan how your students can have a successful and enjoyable experience.  As a special education teacher, I used to dread classroom parties with all of the chaos erupting here and there; but, after several trials and errors, I found a few strategies to be rather useful in my classroom during those hectic events.  Not only did my students have an enjoyable time, but so did I!  Here are several tips for teachers to keep in mind when planning holiday parties.

Click here to read the rest of this article…


My 7-year-old son is in second grade and is getting very stressed about lunch each day.  He doesn’t remember whether he is supposed to have hot or cold lunch, and gets worried about what the hot lunch is going to be.  We thought that by now this wouldn’t be a problem anymore, but clearly it is.  Any helpful suggestions?

-Kara in Byron Center, MI


Hi Kara,

Great question, and one that likely has a simple answer (don’t you love it when that happens)!  It sounds like he has a hard time keeping the information about his lunch choice in his head from the time he leaves the house each morning until he participates in lunch count at school.  Another issue is keeping the information about the featured hot lunch item in his head after he leaves the house.  To help with this, I recommend that you make a small laminated card for him to keep in his backpack that says “Hot Lunch” on it and lists the featured menu item for the day.  On the days he is eating a hot lunch you can write the menu items on the card and he can put it in his backpack.  When the teacher asks the kids whether they are “hot or cold lunch”, your son can go to his backpack and get either his lunch bag or his hot lunch card.  He can carry the hot lunch card with him to the cafeteria so he knows what he will be eating and doesn’t get stressed about it.

Hopefully this strategy will reduce his stress by giving him a resource for knowing what his lunch plans are so he can manage both the lunch count and the cafeteria line effectively.

Try it and see what happens!


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Upcoming Events

Simple Solutions Seminar
October 20, 7-8:30PM via teleseminar
The Stress-Behavior Connection: Strategies to Reduce Your Child’s Stress and Improve Functioning
Click here for more information.

Parent Education Day
October 29th, 10am-3:30pm
for Horizons families

November 12, 2011 from 10am-2pm
open to everyone


Autism Transformation for Educators Audio Program

From Frustrated and Overwhelmed to Overwhelming Success: 10 Concepts That Will Transform the Way You Understand and Teach Students with Autism and Other Neurodevelopmental Disorders

More Information >>