On the Horizon – 6/26/13

Welcome to "On the Horizon"

Issue 224: Apprenticeship

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 Dr. Beurkens
  • Feature Article: Apprenticeship
  • Ask the Horizons Team
  • Upcoming Events
  • Recommended Resources

Hi Everyone!

The month of June has flown by around here! My family just returned from a week in Washington DC spending time with extended family members and enjoying my sister’s wedding. It’s been a long time since all three of my boys (and my husband) were dressed in suits and dress shoes! Now we are back home working on our vegetable garden, playing outside, and enjoying the long days of summer. I hope your summer has started off well, too!

The feature article this week by Erin is all about apprenticeship. Children develop skills and abilities in all areas through the relationship they have with their parents and other significant adults in their lives. The model of master (parent)-apprentice (child) has been written about extensively in the research literature and is so important for us to keep in mind when thinking about how best to support the development of children with autism and any other neurodevelopmental disorder. I hope it gives you some new things to think about in your parenting and/or teaching. The Q&A this week is about a handwriting resource for those of you who want to practice over the summer.

One more little bit of news for those of you who are wondering – the construction project is finishing up here at the clinic! Very soon we will be sharing photos of the finished spaces in the newsletter. Until then, you can follow us on Facebook to see the construction progress in photos.

Enjoy your week!

Looking to the horizon,


By Erin Roon, MA CCC-SLP

Father apprentice to sonAccording to the American Heritage Desk Dictionary, the word apprentice is defined as "one learning a trade under a skilled master; or a beginner." I find both of these definitions to be relevant to the work I do each day, as well as the way I think about apprenticeship in relation to the remediation of autism spectrum disorders or related neurological disorders.

Apprenticeship in job training has been around for hundreds of years, dating back to the middle ages. The idea of apprenticeship itself has been around much longer than that, since the dawn of history. Humans have been learning from "masters" forever, and it is what allows the human race to survive. Parents apprentice their children who apprentice their children, and so on. This passing on of basic survival skills is not what we may traditionally think of as a master/apprentice relationship; but in reality, it is apprenticeship in its most basic and necessary form.

Click here to read the rest of this article…


I would like to work on some handwriting skills with my son over the summer, mainly to help him stay in good practice between now and the fall. Do you have any handwriting resources you like and recommend? My son just finished kindergarten.

Thanks – Joy in Grand Haven, MI


Hi Joy,

I think the summer months can be a great time to practice skills in a reduced stress environment at home. My colleagues and I use and recommend the Handwriting Without Tears program and materials for working on handwriting skills. It is a very developmentally sequenced approach that is engaging and simple for most kids to learn. They have many parent/teacher guides and workbooks available, as well as other materials to teach and practice skills. The cost is very reasonable, and the website is helpful in terms of figuring out which books and resources would be best. You can check out the program at www.hwtears.com.

Happy handwriting!
Dr. Beurkens

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Autism and Other Neurodevelopmental Disorders: Practical Strategies to Improve Processing

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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.

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