On the Horizon – 2/15/12

Welcome to “On the Horizon”

Issue 177: Beating the Wintertime Blues

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.

To keep receiving On the Horizon, please add the email address “nicolebeurkens@horizonsdrc.com” to your safe address list.

  • A Note from Nicole: Speaking in New York City and Indiana
  • Feature Article:
    Beating the Wintertime Blues
  • Ask the Horizons Team
  • Upcoming Events: Sibshop
  • Recommended Resources

Hi Everyone!

I hope your February is going well and that you had a Happy Valentine’s Day!  My wonderful husband gave me a big box of my favorite chocolates, and it’s going to last me a while.  Although, I have them at the office to share with my fabulous colleagues…so maybe it won’t last that long after all!  While Valentine’s Day may be a holiday designed to boost card and candy sales, it is a good thing to stop and let the important people in our lives know how much we love them. 

If you look at the events calendar this week you will see that we’ve updated with an extensive list of speaking engagements and other activities.  I’ll be doing a speaking tour in New York City and Indiana in March and April, and if you live near those areas I’d love to see you there.  You can click on the links to learn more about the events where I will be speaking.

The feature article this week by Michelle provides some great reminders about taking care of ourselves when the winter drags on.  As parents we have to keep in mind that caring for ourselves is a vital part of caring for our children.  Have you put yourself on your to-do list for this week?

Enjoy the rest of your week!

Looking to the horizon,

Beating the Wintertime Blues

By Michelle VanderHeide, BSW

Winter can start to feel long by this point in the season, especially for those of us living in cold climates! The holidays are long gone, early mornings and routines are back in full swing, and our bodies are likely digesting more fat and sugar than normal. The sun seems rarely to shine, at least here in Michigan; and exercise is hard to come by with snowy, blistery days. Let’s just face it; winter can be a tough season leaving many people in a slump, depressed, and finding that motivation takes effort. Below are a few helpful tools for beating the wintertime blues – and feeling good while doing it.

  1. Take your multivitamins: Include a little extra vitamin C and D while you’re at it! Fresh fruits and sunshine can be hard to come by in the winter, but our bodies need those essential vitamins to function properly. Vitamin C will help build the immune system to fight all the miserable viruses that seem to love winter. It also helps keep our energy levels up. Vitamin D is what we get through our daily dose of sunshine, but when the sun isn’t shining, our bodies are lacking! There is a lot of research discussing the importance of vitamin D in preventing things like multiple sclerosis, but it’s also good for boosting the mood and building a healthy immune system.

Click here to read the rest of this article…


I have a teenage son who just cannot get up on time in the mornings.  He sets his alarm, but continually hits snooze and just can’t seem to get himself up and going.  This has been an issue for him since he was a child.  Mornings just don’t seem to be his thing!  We’ve tried many things to help over the years, but I wondered if you have any new ideas.

Tom in Ada, Michigan


This can be a very difficult issue, especially in the teen years when kids need more sleep and often have to get up for school very early.  One thing you may want to try is a slow wake alarm clock.  These types of clocks mimic the sunrise and slowly bring a person out of a sleep state and into a wakeful state.  You set the clock for 30 minutes before you need to wake up, and over that half-hour the light on the clock will slowly get brighter and the sound will gradually increase (most have options for nature sounds, music, alarms, etc.).  It is a more natural way to wake up gradually, as if you were sleeping outside and waking with the sunrise.  I know many teens and adults who have been able to wake up easily for the first time in their lives using this type of clock.  Someone recently told me that there are some apps available for smart phones that can do this as well, so you may want to look into that.  You can find various clock options on Amazon at a variety of price points.

Obviously, good sleep hygiene (going to bed at a decent hour, not drinking caffeine in the evenings, etc.) is necessary as well.  However, it sounds like you’ve tried those things.  See if a slow wake alarm is the ticket for your son and let me know how it turns out!

Here’s to easier mornings!


Follow Us:

Upcoming Events


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

March 10th – 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. Children will 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.


Hear Nicole Speak

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

Autism and Other Neurodevelopmental Disorders: Practical Strategies to Improve Processing

March 14, 2012
Tarrytown, NY

March 15, 2012
Plainview, NY

March 16, 2012
Manhattan, NY

April 18, 2012
South Bend, Indiana

April 19, 2012
Fort Wayne, Indiana

April 20, 2012
Indianapolis, Indiana

Autism Society of Wisconsin Annual Conference

May 3-5, 2012
Green Bay, Wisconsin

AutismOne/Generation Rescue Conference 2012

May 23-27, 2012
Chicago, Illinois


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 >>