On the Horizon – 3/21/12

Welcome to “On the Horizon”

Issue 180: The Importance of Small Victories: Reflections on Treatment for Autism, ADHD, and Related Disorders

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: Participate in Research Project
  • Feature Article:
    The Importance of Small Victories: Reflections on Treatment for Autism, ADHD, and Related Disorders
  • Ask the Horizons Team
  • Upcoming Events: Sibshop
  • Recommended Resources

Hi Everyone!

Forget about Spring – it seems that Summer has come early to our area as we are having record high temperatures in the 80’s and 90’s. It is the craziest thing, but wonderful for everyone to get a dose of warm fresh air and Vitamin D!

I want to let you know about an opportunity for those of you who are parents to younger children. Our center is participating in a research project to help standardize a new assessment tool for children ages 2 years 6 months to 7 years 6 months. The assessment tool is called the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence 4th Edition (WPPSI-IV) and it is used to identify a child’s cognitive ability level. Children of all ability levels and diagnoses who fall within the age range are able to participate. We are currently looking for families who are willing to participate in this research study at Horizons, and payment is available for participation.  If you live here in West Michigan and you are interested in participating, please send an email to Courtney@horizonsdrc.com for further information.

The feature article this week focuses on what it means to treat individuals with ASD, ADHD, and related disorders. It is also about the small meaningful victories we want families to experience with their children on a regular basis. Sometimes the little things really are the big things in life. Read the article and let me know what you think by posting a comment.

Have a great rest of your week!

Looking to the horizon,

The Importance of Small Victories: Reflections on Treatment for Autism, ADHD, and Related Disorders

By Nicole Beurkens, PhD

I was conducting a seminar recently when a member of the audience asked me if I believe that treatment for autism can lead to “recovery”, or if I believe autism and related disorders can be “cured”. These types of questions are asked often by parents and professionals and are worth addressing. While it may be a controversial topic, here are my thoughts:

  • I believe that every individual has the ability to be better tomorrow than they are today. Each of us is infinitely more capable than may be immediately evident, and we all have the capacity to function in different and more effective ways than we do at the present time.

Click here to read the rest of this article…


My 9-year-old son has a lot of what professionals have told us are “executive function problems”. He is very unorganized, has difficulty planning and sequencing things, forgets even simple directions, and doesn’t have any sense of time. I understand that this is all part of his ADHD diagnosis, but we just don’t seem to be getting anywhere with improving these areas. Is there a book or other resource you can recommend so my husband and I can get more information on executive function problems and strategies that can help?

Noreen in Madison, Wisconsin


Hi Noreen,

Great question! You are not alone in dealing with these issues, as most of the families we see here at Horizons struggle with the same things. One of my favorite books on the topic of executive function skills is Smart But Scattered: The Revolutionary “Executive Skills” Approach to Helping Kids Reach Their Potential  by Peg Dawson and Richard Guare. This book provides clear information on what executive functions are, how they develop throughout childhood, and the various deficits children can have in these areas. The authors also provide many practical strategies and ideas for parents and professionals to address weaknesses in executive function skills. Another resource you may find helpful is the workbook See It. Say It. Do It! Organize It! By Beth Fishman-McCaffrey, Patricia Dunnigan, and Lynn Helerstein.

Addressing executive function deficits is a process, and doesn’t happen overnight. Use these resources to find some strategies that will work for your child and family, and be prepared to implement them consistently in order to see results. Let me know how things are going for you!

Best Wishes,

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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.

May 12th – 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.


Hear Nicole Speak

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

Autism and Other Neurodevelopmental Disorders: Practical Strategies to Improve Processing

April 18, 2012 in South Bend, Indiana

April 19, 2012 in Fort Wayne, Indiana

April 20, 2012 in 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

MAGIC Foundation Annual Convention

July 19-22, 2012
Chicago, Illinois

American Psychological Association Annual Convention

August 2-5, 2012
Orlando, Florida


Parent Success Cards

(Set of 50 heavyweight full-color cards in a sturdy box with lid.)Discover a Daily Dose of Inspiration and Encouragement to Stay Focused on What’s Truly Important.

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