Mission Statement: This blog was created to provide information on getting help for autism in general while focussing on locally available resources for families with newly diagnosed children in Belleville and Quinte area.

Please browse the blog at your leisure. You are welcome to comment on the posts. If you are a parent, an autism consultant, counselor, teacher with information on autism resources available in our area, please email your information to benziesangma@gmail.com. Your information will be added within 24 hours.

Local Autism Support Groups

Parents Engaging Autism Quinte (PEAQ), an autism parent support group, meets once a month on the first Tuesday of the month (no meetings in January, July and August) at Kerry's Place, 189 Victoria Avenue, Belleville at 6:30 to 8 p.m. If you have questions or suggestions for autism topics that are important to you please go to our FaceBook account and post your suggestions so that we can invite appropriate autism professionals to speak at these meetings. There won't be any meeting in December but we are taking local families supporting individuals with moderate to severe sensory challenges to the Christmas Event at the Children's Safety Village half an hour prior to the event being opened to the public.

Autism parent support group meeting hosted by Mental Health Agency, Trenton and Military Family Resource Centre (MFRC) meeting is on the Second Thursday of the month from 6 to 7:30 p.m. If you have require any further information please contact Marya Peters for more information at 613 392-2811 ext 3953 or email marya.p@trentonmfrc.ca

For info on Community Living Prince Edward County Parent Support group, contact Resource Consultants @ 613 476 6038

Central Hastings Autism Support Group meets in Madoc at the Recreation Centre. Contact Renee O’Hara, Family Resource & Support, 613-966-7413 or Tammy Kavanagh, Family Resource & Support, 613-332-3227

Strategies for challenging behaviours

Friday, November 10, 2017

Remembering the Ultimate Goal

Many parents of youths with special needs often report frustrations at challenges of getting support for their children at school. They speak of endless conflicts with the school staff. Their stories are of being called to pick up their children before the school day ends due to meltdowns, disruptive behaviour, health incidents and so on. Of lack of EA support in the classroom, of lack of understanding among the staff, miscommunication or absence of communication altogether etc. They tell of days when they felt “provoked” into “going into battle” with the school staff the very next day. They start thinking of going to the media or the lawyer to make themselves heard. The situation escalates and the problem situation continues.

No doubt the parent has a right to participate in the decisions schools make for their child’s education. School staff also has a right to disagree with the parent while being obliged to recognize the value of a parent’s opinions and to facilitate ongoing consultations. Both sides have a responsibility to be respectful and receptive to ideas, suggestions and proposals to address the matter at hand. Challenging and demeaning school staff being rude and aggressive or vice versa will simply get in the way of progress on the conversation table. Both sides need to come forward with meaningful proposals based on their understanding of the situation and be ready to discuss both perspectives. The goal of the partnership between a parent and the staff is to leave the table with a plan for next steps and the deadline when to expect implementation of those steps.

The school staff has a responsibility to conduct themselves in a professional manner in all matters relating to their job. Meanwhile, as full partner in the team working towards the success of their child with special needs at school, the following might help from the parental perspective:
  • Engage in clear written communication with the school staff stating the problem seen and firmly requesting a meeting at the earliest convenience.
  •  Always come prepared to provide with potential solutions to suggest to your school staff. This can start a meaningful discussion towards a positive end but be willing to listen and find a solution calmly.
  • ·Learn and understand the art of negotiating. Negotiating is not a sign of weakness. Successful negotiation or looking for common ground will allow for goodwill and compromises that work for the benefit of the student in question.
  •  Respectful behaviour, no matter how hard, will contribute positively to the discussions.
  •  Being well-informed on the matter and surrounding special education related policies prior to coming to the meeting will help to present a clear perspective on resources to support your child’s needs.
Most school staff in general have good intentions to support the needs of every student. Limited available resources and lack of daily support to teachers and educational assistants cause unintentional grief to and failure of the special needs students who deserve their attention. In some cases, parents might also continue to come across those habits, attitudes, traditions and policies that certain schools have always adhered to in the past. They might not adapt readily to the change parents would like to see as soon as possible. But it is likely that with time, parents will see progress made slowly but surely. The bottomline is resolving conflicts is a must so that the team of parents and staff could go back to planning for addressing the problem in the interest of the child/student to succeed at school.

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In it for the long haul...

I created this blog with my sincere wish that those of you reading this will want to share your own stories, both good and bad, what worked for you and what didn't and together, we can make it easier for the next family beginning their own journey of discovery. By posting what you know, where you have recieved certain services, who you have talked to, whose expertise you trust, how you navigated the school education services and by responding to questions in the discussion thread, know that you have helped a family in need. So, parents, experts in the field, counsellors, teachers and everyone who has any information on resources available, please feel free to post on this blog.