• How to Inspire Thankfulness in Kids

    How to Inspire Thankfulness in Kids

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Dinner's Done, Now What? -  Ideas for Post-Thanksgiving Family Fun

Dinner's Done, Now What? - Ideas for Post-Thanksgiving Family Fun

After all the hours of prep work that go into Thanksgiving dinner, it seems as if it's gobbled up in no time flat. Now what? Here are a bunch of ideas for the entire family to enjoy after the big fe . . .

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10 Places to Buy Holiday Pies

10 Places to Buy Holiday Pies

If you don’t have the time (or desire) to make your own pies this holiday season, pick them up at one of these local favorite pie shops. Crafted Baked Goods2820 Historic Decatur Rd (Liberty Publi . . .

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Holiday Events for Families with Special Needs

Holiday Events for Families with Special Needs

Don’t miss these festivities designed specifically for children with special needs and their families. Make Christmas memories with sensory-friendly performances and encounters with Santa; or join a . . .

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San Diego Family's 100 Kid Tested Holiday Toys - 2017

San Diego Family's 100 Kid Tested Holiday Toys - 2017

Stumped for ideas on the perfect present to tuck under the tree or surprise your kiddos with this holiday season? Look no further than San Diego Family's 100 Kid Tested Holiday Toys - 2017 . From lo . . .

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How to Have a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

How to Have a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

A celebration the kids will never forget!Make the kids’ table the best one in the house by celebrating like the Peanuts Gang in the popular movie, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. With Charlie Brown . . .

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Thanksgiving Roundup!

Thanksgiving Roundup!

Celebrate Thanksgiving with family-friendly events and activities, festive crafts, fall recipes and more in our Thanksgiving Round-up! You'll even find Winter Break Camps in San Diego! Quick links: . . .

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Your child with special needs is entitled to a free and appropriate education.

Today, 1 in 50 individuals is diagnosed with autism, making it more common than pediatric cancer, diabetes and AIDS combined. It occurs in all racial, ethnic and social groups and is four times more likely to strike boys than girls. Autism impairs a person's ability to communicate and relate to others. It is also associated with rigid routines and repetitive behaviors, such as obsessively arranging objects or following very specific routines. Symptoms can range from very mild to quite severe. Some children with autism struggle to learn to count to 20 by the age of 5. 

Parents of children with autism and other special needs may feel helpless when confronted with the prospect of educating their child. In addition to coming to terms with the fact that their child is different, parents are faced with the prospect of learning a completely foreign set of terms and the different theories of what is the best way to handle their child. Just dipping a toe into the educational waters unleashes a flood of acronyms: LRE, OT, TSA, APE, IEP, IDEA, LAS and more. What does it all mean?

Even though state and federal law—the Individuals with Disability Education Act (IDEA)—provides that children with disabilities are entitled to a “free appropriate public education,” deciding what is the best placement for a child with autism is almost impossible for parents to do alone.

The choice of a child’s placement is a decision parents and school district specialists should arrive at together after a thorough series of evaluations performed by the school district, and if necessary, private consultants as well through the IEP process. This meeting can be called at any time by parents or school districts and is the vehicle through which a child’s educational needs are assessed and decisions about placement and services are made.

No matter if an IEP results in the ideal placement for a child, or if it’s a decision reached through mediation, placement is only the beginning of an even longer journey. When districts and parents understand their respective roles and the tremendous opportunities created when they enter into a true partnership, phenomenal outcomes can be achieved for children—even those with the most severe disabilities—when there is a foundation of trust, respect and full disclosure.  


To learn how collaborative therapies can your child thrive, read Collaboration Plays A Key Role In Supporting A Child's Therapy Needs from our January 2014 issue.



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Areva Martin is a nationally recognized children and women’s rights advocate and autism spokesperson. She is the founder and President of Special Needs Network, Inc., a nonprofit organization created specifically to raise awareness of issues that impact individuals with autism and related disabilities living in under-served and marginalized communities.

Published: February 2014




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    Resources for Families with Special Needs

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