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

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Early communication and dialogue between parents and school critical for smooth transitioning of a special needs child into school

It is February. It is not too soon to start planning for transitioning your child who might be entering school for the first time or going up a grade, changing school or going into high school or college or University environment this September. Planning is critical if you have a child with special needs. As parents, we understand the level of discomfort our children feel when it comes to new situations. That level of discomfort and how well we plan for it can have a direct deciding effect on the first day of school where our children with special needs will encounter challenges of having to face new routines and schedules, unfamiliar faces, dynamics of different individuals in the classroom, different smells and their own reactions to such challenges. Being well-prepared and by putting into place various support measures can take away some of those challenges and prepare your child for a more confident entry into the new environment.
The key to planning the transition is for parents by directly communicating with the school administration and the teacher who will be receiving your child into the classroom as early as possible. It is important that the school has your information on the needs of your child with special needs well ahead before school reopens. They need to understand the kind of supports that they need to put in place in the classroom both for your child and the teacher. Absence of such critical information and communication between the parents and the school administration often leads to subsequent frustrations, anger and power struggle. The parents expect the school administration to put in immediate supports for their child in the classroom but often discover that a few weeks or more would go by before anything substantial takes place in terms of support for their child. Meanwhile, on day 1 of school reopening, the parent gets a call from the school to pick up their child who has been "disruptive" or "had a meltdown", "bit a classmate" or "hit the teacher" and "needs" to go home. A parent who is at work, is then required to drop everything and rush to the school to take their child home. This happens again the next day and the next. The parent's own work suffers and the quality of his or her service at the workplace goes down. Stress follows both at work and at home. This often results in parents hitting out at the school administration who is seemingly not offering support to their child. School staff appears to be uncaring and taking their sweet time in coming up with support options. They'd tell the parents that they need time to come up with a support plan.
The following tips might be helpful. Parents can begin meeting with school staff and explore options on resources available to accommodate their child's comfort in the learning environment. Some of the essential paperwork that they can present to the school include their child's latest medical assessments and if changing schools, a copy of previous Individual Education Plan. (IEP). A brief profile information on your child's strengths and weaknesses, potential triggers for potentially "negative" behaviours and the kind of learner that he or she is - whether visual, verbal or hands-on - could be vastly helpful for the classroom teacher as well. Finally, begin introducing your child to the new school by either asking the school to come for a tour, sit in a class or explore the library, gym or the playground. This kind of exposure to the new environment will help calm your child and help familiarize the sounds and smells ahead of the first day at school. This is it. There's no magic or short cut to it. Effort put into early communication and dialogue between the parents of a special needs child entering school and the school administration will decide how well a child adapts to school. The onus for the child easing into the school system lies on the shoulders of both the parents and the school administration.

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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.