Celebrating Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month
March is National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, an opportunity to celebrate the many contributions people with developmental disabilities make to our society.
The National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities, Association of University Centers on Disabilities and National Disability Rights Network have partnered to launch a social media campaign to highlight the many ways in which people with and without developmental disabilities come together to form strong, diverse communities.
The campaign seeks to raise awareness about the inclusion of people with developmental disabilities in all facets of community life, as well as the barriers that people with disabilities still sometimes face in connecting to their communities. Throughout the month, they will be posting resources on social media including videos, blogs, toolkits and other shareable content.
You can be a part of this campaign by:
Visit the #DDAwareness17 page for more information on the campaign and follow ACL on Facebook and Twitter all month for Developmental Disabilities Month stories and resources.
State and Federal education laws require states to conduct annual statewide assessments. NH’s statewide assessment for English language arts and mathematics is called “Smarter Balanced”. This year, NH 11th graders will take the College Board’s SAT in place of the Smarter Balanced statewide assessment test. The added bonus for students who would be taking the SAT prior to applying to college is that they will not have to pay to take the English language arts and mathematics portions of the SAT.
The statewide assessments are to be given to all children, including children with disabilities. In addition to the results for the overall group of children in each school/grade, results for specific subgroups of children, including children with disabilities, limited English proficient children, students from racial and ethnic minority groups, and children from families with low socio-economic status are disaggregated and reported.
Few children or their parents love testing, though. Children may find taking tests to be less interesting than other, more interactive learning activities. Some parents are concerned about whether the tests take up valuable instruction time, while others worry that these test-taking situations may provoke anxiety in their children. Parents sometimes ask, “Why is it important for my child to participate in the statewide assessment?”
There are several answers to that question. First, the statewide assessment provides schools and school districts with valuable information about how well their students are performing. The results help schools and districts know what they are doing well (proficient), and where they may need to focus additional resources, or use some different approaches to meet the needs of all students. The US Department of Education has set a minimum 95% participation rate; when at least 95% of students participate in the statewide assessment, there can be an assurance that the data is valid and reliable. If a lower percentage of students participate, the school, school district or state may be penalized.
The statewide assessments are the only regularly conducted monitoring activity that lets schools know whether they are meeting the needs of children with disabilities and children in the other subgroups as well as they are meeting the needs of their overall student population. This information is critical in identifying unmet needs, so that schools, school districts, parents and other key stakeholders can work together to address any areas in which students (all students or specific groups of students) are underperforming.
On an individual child basis, each student’s assessment results inform the child’s teachers and parents about the academic areas in which the child is performing at grade level, and the areas where the child may need extra help in order to be successful. For students with disabilities, the child’s performance on the statewide assessment is an additional piece of data that the child’s individualized education program (IEP) team considers to help them understand the child’s needs, and make informed decisions about how to meet those needs.
All NH students, with and without disabilities, are expected to take the statewide assessment. In accordance with their IEPs, in order to ensure that the assessment accurately reflects the student’s knowledge and skills, some students with disabilities may take the assessment with accommodations, while a small number of students with disabilities may take the NH alternate assessment. In extremely rare situations, a student may receive an approved exemption from participating in the statewide assessment. The approved exemptions are for medical emergency, serious illness or emotional distress, death in the family, or if the student enrolled after the assessment of the alternate assessment or participated in another state’s assessment system. These reasons are called “State Approved Special Considerations (SASC)”. Additional information about the SASC may be found on the NH Department of Education’s website at: http://education.nh.gov/instruction/assessment/exemptions.htm.
So, when you are asked the statewide assessment, and whether your child should participate – just say “yes”.
by Bonnie Dunham, Parent Information Center
As I write this I’m in seventh grade. I’m in a local rock band and I play electric guitar. I’ve been playing since I was nine and by now I’m pretty good. I like to play music like Green Day and The Offspring, other times classic rock like Led Zeppelin. I’ve been lucky and get to play on stage in front of people. Some people who have seen me play think it’s a big deal to play lead guitar on stage. I don’t think it is. I was given a guitar, I’ve had great teachers and I’m blessed to play with other kids who are experienced. If everyone had those opportunities they’d be on stage too.
I like to be on stage in other ways. I’ve played roles in plays such as You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, Wiley and the Hairy Man, and Hamlet. It’s a blast! I’m not doing it this year, but for a while I danced in a breakdancing company. I love the shows and being on stage. Some people say they could never go on stage, they’d get nervous and have an anxiety meltdown. That would have been me too except I was given early stage opportunities. The summer before first grade my parents had me read at a Toastmasters Club in front of a few adults. In 1st grade I spoke in front of a wedding. In 2nd grade they asked me to talk about Tourette syndrome – which I have – for a teacher in-service training. I was nervous each time, but each experience prepared me for the next and now speaking in front of crowds is second nature. A big deal? Not now. If I hadn’t had those experiences, you’d better believe it would be a big deal.
I have Tourette syndrome. I’ve never been bullied because of it. I have been bullied though. Back in the first grade a couple of kids in my neighborhood used to mess with me, just in general, no real reason, but they bullied me pretty good. My Dad helped me understand why and how people bully others, and how to safely respond and how to turn the tables, and even turn bullies into non bullies and friends. By 2nd grade, and for a few more years, my Tourette was bad...really bad! However, by this point in my life, I had mastered the art of bully prevention so I wasn’t bullied. Because of that, even when Tourette was really bad my school life was good. If I had not been taught how to avoid being bullied, I would have been doomed.
This is my first year of middle school. In my town it starts in 7th grade. I’m in advanced classes and I’m friends with most everyone and my report cards have been good. I’ve had nearly all As so far this year! That doesn’t sound like that big of a deal but if you go back in time, it definitely is.
In first grade my Tourette was so bad I was kicked out of my Montessori school with 12 hours’ notice. I had screaming tics and falling on the ground tics and I couldn’t write a sentence without having a meltdown. It was hard to do what I was supposed to even though I so badly wanted to do the right thing. Each school year after that though, from second grade on, I got the support I needed. I got a strong IEP and went to schools with great teachers and special education Teams. My parents were able to set up situations in school and out, where people began to understand Tourette, and me.
I know a lot of kids with Tourette have it hard. I know for a lot of kids, Tourette is a big deal. A big deal in a bad way. One thing that made it better for me was this program called the Youth Ambassador program. It’s sponsored by the Tourette Association of America and it trains kids ages 12 – 17 to put on presentations about Tourette to other kids. Youth Ambassadors go to schools and present. I had a couple of Youth Ambassadors come to my school. They’d lived Tourette and could talk about it. I got to speak with them on stage at my school when I was younger, and It made a huge difference. Teachers who heard the presentation learned a bit more and cut me some slack. Kids didn’t think I was weird because now they understood why I was doing the things I did.
Is Tourette a big deal or not?
If I wasn’t given a guitar and provided guitar teachers, I couldn’t play lead today. If I wasn’t given experience on stage I’d have stage fright. If I wasn’t provided strong support for my Tourette, my Tourette would be a giant, enormous, massive deal and my life would be a train wreck.
Is Tourette a big deal or not? It can go either way. It all depends on the support kids get.
Camden Alexander, age 13, is a student in Marblehead, Massachusetts. Camden is a former resident of Hudson, New Hampshire, and still has great affection for his former school, Hills Garrison Elementary, and the amazing teachers that supported him even when his Tourette was, “really bad”. As well, Camden and his family gratefully thank the Parent Information Center of NH for their support over the years. Camden and his family participated in many PIC training, workshops and conferences, all of which contribute to Cam’s ongoing success.
We were recently featured in an article about New Hampshire’s Parent Information Center Helps to Provide a Positive Future for Children of Special Needs.
The Parent Information Center (PIC) is one of the hundreds of nonprofits participating in the first-ever NH Gives Day, scheduled for June 7. NH Gives Day is a 24-hour online giving challenge facilitated by the NH Center for Nonprofits, designed to celebrate our state’s nonprofits and amplify the generosity of New Hampshire citizens.
Established three decades ago, with the belief that all children can succeed with the right support, the Parent Information Center (PIC) provides a wealth of services designed to help parents understand their child’s special needs and the laws that govern the special education process.
PIC assists families and schools to increase parental involvement in children’s education with the goal of increasing student academic achievement.
PIC is a pioneer in creating family/school/community partnerships that help parents of all students get involved in their child’s education. PIC also offers additional parenting support through workshops and resource and referral. From its inception to the present, the Parent Information Center has demonstrated an ability to identify and respond to the changing needs of children and families in N.H.
Beginning at midnight EST on June 7 and continuing until 11:59pm EST, Granite Staters will go online to nhgives.org, connect with causes like PIC and make tax-deductible donations to support the important work of NH charities. All online donations for PIC made on nhgives.org during NH Gives Day will go directly to support PICs ongoing work of with families, students and professionals in supporting the unique learning potential of every child, including those with disabilities.
“NH Gives Day will be a special day that brings attention to the tremendous impact that nonprofits have in our lives,” said Kathleen Reardon, CEO of the NH Center for Nonprofits. “We are thrilled to host an event that will connect people to causes they care about and showcase the collective power of philanthropy in New Hampshire. Funds raised in a single day will have a lasting impact.”
For more information about PICs involvement in NH Gives Day, contact Kimm Phillips at firstname.lastname@example.org or 224-7005 x120.
Please join the Parent Information Center as a participant or a sponsor of our 5K Family Fun Run, Walk and Roll. This event includes a 5k run, walk or roll for all ages, and encourages family participation. This family friendly event takes place at Bow High School, Bow, NH on Sunday morning, September 11, 2016. We are expecting over 200 racers, along with many spectators, to gather at the starting line this year.
Since 1975, the Parent Information Center (PIC) has been a leader in assuring the academic success of all New Hampshire children, including, but not limited to, those with special needs. Our focus has always been a commitment to sustaining and strengthening family-school partnerships statewide. To learn more about the many programs offered to families please visit www.picnh.org.
Participants are welcome to register for the family Fun Run, Walk and Roll alone, with family or friends or create teams! We’re hoping for a beautiful early fall day and it will be a great way to connect with like-minded people, see old friends and make some new ones! Training or participating in this 5k will provide a boost to your energy and health. Supporting this event is part of PIC’s overall goal of being an active player in the effort to connect and involve the whole community, including families, educators, businesses and other key stakeholders.
As a sponsor of the 5K Family Fun Run, you and your business will receive premium community visibility. Your tax deductible sponsorship will provide the Parent Information Center with support of its many services accessible to families and will have a direct impact on our ability to continue providing quality programs and services. Registration is live! The sooner you become a sponsor the more exposure your business will have.
Please consider one of these sponsorships:
$1,000 Platinum Sponsor (Only 2 Available!)
- Company name attached to Event Title in all marketing, advertising & correspondence*
- Prime placement on Start/Finish Balloon Arc
- Signage & verbal recognition at the event
- PIC website company logo presence for 6 months following event
$500 Gold Sponsor (Only 4 Available!)
- Logo on print and web marketing*
- Tier 2 placement on Start/Finish Balloon Arc
- Sign and verbal recognition at the event
$200 Silver Sponsor
- Logo exposure on Social Media pages
- Logo on printed materials
- Verbal recognition at the event
Friend of Parent Information Center (PIC appreciates any contribution)
Every contribution makes a difference! We appreciate and thank you in advance for your consideration to support this family friendly event and the valuable services PIC provides families. Please complete the Sponsorship Form and send your logo electronically to Joni D’Alessandro at FrontDesk@picnh.org.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact Kimm Phillips at email@example.com or 224-7005 x120.
*See complete list of marketing and advertising materials on the Sponsorship Form.
The Parent Information Center, NH Family Voices and the YEAH Council recently held the Partnering for Strength Conference at the Grappone Conference Center in Concord, NH.
The keynote speaker, Dr. Robert Naseef, a psychologist with 20 plus years experience specializing in families of children with disabilities spoke about partnerships and family life for families of children with special needs. The conference welcomed 120 attendees and exhibitors and offered over 15 breakout sessions. Also included in the day was a concurrent youth conference: Take Charge – It’s Your Life!
Thank you to all of those who attended the conference. The 2016 Conference Planning committee is already working toward next year’s event.
SAVE The DATE: Partnering for Strength 2016 – April 1 & 2, 2016.