On the Horizon – 4/25/12

Welcome to “On the Horizon”

Issue 183: It’s the Simple Things!

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: Back from Travel
  • Feature Article:
    It’s the Simple Things!
  • Ask the Horizons Team
  • Upcoming Events: Sibshop
  • Recommended Resources

Hi Everyone!

I’m glad to be back home and in the office this week after conducting a series of seminars in Indiana last week. My oldest son came with me as a travel companion, and we had fun together between the times I was teaching. It was great to meet so many professionals and parents who are excited about new ideas for supporting the growth and development of individuals who have autism and related disorders. A big welcome to those of you who were at those seminars and are reading this newsletter for the first time!

As the school year starts to wind down, some of you may be thinking about kids making transitions to new school buildings next year. The Q&A column below provides some ideas for strengthening the kind of thinking that is needed to comfortably manage change.

For those of you who have not yet registered, our Summer Camp 2012 information is up on our website. Make sure you check that out and get registered soon so you can have your choice of days and times. We look forward to seeing many familiar and new faces in our programs this summer!

Enjoy your week!

Looking to the horizon,

It’s the Simple Things!

By Erin Roon, MA CCC-SLP

Singing songs, taking a walk, sharing a snack, holding hands, reading a bedtime story – these are the simple things in life. My daughter is really into music, and we spend many hours every day either listening to music, making music, or singing songs. It doesn’t matter to her that her momma can’t carry a tune. As long as I’m signing one of her favorite songs, life is good. One of her other favorite activities is walking around our yard saying, hi and bye to the trees. Sometimes she just wants to walk, and at others she wants to ride in the wagon as we visit each tree. At eighteen months old, she is developing quite the personality and independent mind; but she helps me to remember the simple things.

In our fast paced world, it is important to stop once in a while and take stock of the simple things. Why does life always have to be so complex and full of hustle and bustle?

Click here to read the rest of this article…


My son is finishing 5th grade and will be going to the middle school next year. It’s a totally new building and he is already talking about all the things that will be “different”. He struggles in general with things that are different, but is getting better with acknowledging and accepting that things can’t always be exactly the same.  Do you have a suggestion for how we can help him see that things will be different but that it will be okay?

Kay in Austin, TX


Hi Kay,

Thanks for asking this question, as I’m sure that many parents are thinking about the same issues at this time of year. Moving to an entirely new building and grade level can be a stressful experience, especially for kids who struggle to understand that “different is okay”. Actually it sounds like one of the things your son is working on is understanding the concept of “same-but-different”; that things can be different but fundamentally the same. There are a number of things you can do to help strengthen “same-but-different” thinking, and I’ll share one specific example related to your question.

When I have a client transitioning to a new building I focus on spotlighting how things between the familiar building/school experience and the new one are different and the same. Sometimes we make a list of things they have in their current building, such as drinking fountains, a gymnasium, cafeteria, bathrooms, etc. Then they go through the new building and use the sheet to mark off which things are in that building. This helps them see that many of the things are present in both places. You can also make a column on the sheet for noting things that are different about the drinking fountains, bathrooms, cafeteria, etc. Again, the focus here is on spotlighting that things can be the same and different at the same time. One client I did this with recently noticed that there were drinking fountains in both buildings, but in the new high school they were automatic! He was able to compare that to the ones in his middle school that you had to press the button to operate. These are small things, but they help strengthen the same-but-different thinking that is essential for understanding and coping with changes in life.

Obviously there are many strategies to support a child with transition to a new building, including taking some tours ahead of time, meeting the new teachers/staff, spending time on the playground over the summer months, etc. Taking time to think about and prepare for the change will definitely be time well spent. Hopefully you can use the above idea not just to support the current transition, but to help develop the kind of thinking that is needed for managing change in general.

Good luck with the transition!

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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 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


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