Monday, November 29, 2010

Launch Meeting for the Maryland Chapter of Autism Reoriented Community Housing (ARCHway)

The Foundation for Autism Support and Training (FAST) has announced the official launch of the Maryland Chapter of Autism Reoriented Community Housing (ARCHway). This new chapter, offered in partnership with MCTransitions and M&L Special Needs Planning, will meet on December 9 from 7:30 to 9 p.m.

The Maryland Chapter of ARCHway will provide a forum for parents of transitioning youth and adults with autism and other developmental disabilities to work toward the goal of developing a full range of community housing options for their loved ones.

The chapter launch meeting will be held at the Arc of Montgomery County (11600 Nebel Street) in Rockville. While all are welcome, RSVPs are requested to ensure adequate seating and handouts. For more information or to RSVP, email kkbcast@verizon.net.

Presentation of MCPS FY2012 Operating Budget

Montgomery County Public Schools will hold a public presentation of the Fiscal Year 2012 Operating Budget recommendations on December 15 beginning at 7:30 p.m.

The presentation will take place in the auditorium of Richard Montgomery High School (250 Richard Montgomery Drive) in Rockville.

Attendees should plan to arrive at 7 p.m. Free child care for children ages 4-12 will be provided. Interpreters will be available to provide translation services in Spanish, French, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, and American Sign Language.

Extraordinary Parents Night, December 2010

The Partnership for Extraordinary Minds will hold an Extraordinary Parents Night on December 1 from 7-9 p.m. for parents who have children on the autism spectrum.

At the event, parents will have a chance to share opportunities, promote constructive ideas, and share concerns so that their students can maximize their educational experiences and outcomes.

The free meeting will take place at the Rockville Library Meeting Room (21 Maryland Avenue) in Rockville. For more information, call 301-444-5225 or email info@xminds.org.

Event Summary for the Week of November 29, 2010

Check out the AutMont Calendar to see all of the activities for this week as well as those coming up!

Wednesday, December 1:

Extraordinary Parents Night



Happy Hanukkah!



Saturday, December 4:



*****

Do you know of another event? Leave details in the comments!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Event Summary for the Week of November 22, 2010

Check out the AutMont Calendar to see all of the activities for this week as well as those coming up!

Monday, November 22:


Thursday, November 25:
Happy Thanksgiving!!

Friday, November 26:


Saturday, November 27:


Sunday, November 28:


Up for Discussion on AutMont:


*****

Do you know of another event? Leave details in the comments!

Stealing Their Thunder: Understanding and Recognizing Bullying

By JSSA Child and Family Services

On the “Leave It to Beaver” TV show of the 1950s, a bully was a boy who beat up another boy as a show of power. Today, however, boys and girls are drawn into bullying, often using much more subtle emotional manipulations. In addition, cyberbullying is an increasingly popular way for bullies to intensify their impact by spreading humiliation quickly and widely. In this uneasy environment, knowing how to recognize bullying and what to do about it in your school or community has become an important parenting skill.

Bullying is defined by the U.S. Department of Education as intentional, repeated acts reflecting an imbalance of power and perpetrated by one or more children against another. Bullying may be physical, verbal, sexual or even emotional in the form of rejection or manipulation of friendships. On the Internet, bullies shame others before thousands of people through words and pictures on social networking sites, text messages or cell phones.

Bullying behaviors typically begin when children are in fourth grade and peak during middle school, when children are unsure of themselves and seeking their place in the social scene. At this age, children are also strongly influenced by popular movies such as “Mean Girls,” television shows such as “Family Guy” and social networking chat rooms and sites such as Facebook. These and other cultural influences make disrespecting others appear acceptable, popular, and humorous. Children may interpret this behavior as a model or a normal way to act.

As a parent, it may help to be aware of some of the typical characteristics of bullies and their targets. Children who are targeted are often anxious, depressed or lack the social skills to negotiate conflicts with their peers. Bullies often show unrealistically inflated self-images, feel justified in their hurtful actions and often have a small group of admiring peers. Lacking empathy for others, they don’t resist their impulses to take advantage. A third group of children—witnesses to bullying—may feel empathy but still not take action against bullying. Unwittingly, these children can contribute to an environment that allows bullying to go on.

Signs that your child may be a target of bullies include:

• Loss of interest in school, or suddenly doing poorly in school
• Change in attitude, along with irritability or negativity
• Fear of traveling to school by bus or on foot, or fear of joining group activities
• Trouble sleeping
• Loss of appetite
• Torn, missing or damaged books, clothing or other belongings
• Unexplained bruises, cuts or scratches

Preventing Bullying

Bullying can be prevented with the right interventions and supports from parents, teachers and school administrators, all working with students to jointly build an environment of respect, vigilance and community.

As a parent, you can support your child and school community by taking these actions:

• Pay close attention to clues indicating any changes in your child’s physical or emotional condition.
• Talk with your children. Let them know you do not condone bullying. If your child is being targeted, explain that it is not his or her fault.
• Encourage and help children to report bullying they experience or witness to a trusted adult.
• Discuss values with your children, paying special attention to the importance of empathy.
• Monitor who your child spends time with and what activities they pursue.
• Be sure your school has a policy for preventing and responding to bullying, including clear disciplinary measures. Support the policy and help make it as effective as you can.
• If the school tells you your child is either a bully or a target, listen carefully. Work with the school to find ways to resolve the problem.

JSSA’s child and family services department has years of experience helping people in our community cope with bullying issues. JSSA provides psychotherapy for children and teens, social skills therapy groups, anger management programs, parenting workshops and presentations on bullying at schools. To learn more about these and JSSA’s other programs and services for the entire family, visit www.jssa.org or call
301-816-2633 in Maryland.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Correction: Happy Elf Performance is on Saturday

I just got an email to let me know that the sensory-friendly performance of The Happy Elf is on Saturday, November 20—NOT Sunday as I originally published.

Just letting you know in a post instead of just correcting the listing because the event is this weekend!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sensory Friendly Holiday Stage Performances

There are two upcoming sensory friendly stage performances for young people. These performances are slightly adjusted for families with children on the autism spectrum and with sensory issues.

Both productions are open to the public. For more information, contact Michael J. Bobbitt at 301-634-2261.

The Happy Elf, November 20 at 3 p.m.—This live stage production tells the story of Eubie, an elf whose overly optimistic outlook is put to the test when he decides to bring Christmas joy to the sad little town of Bluesville. If Eubie can fix Bluesville, he may win a coveted spot on Santa's sleigh team! Intended for all ages. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for seniors and students. For tickets, call Montgomery College's Performing Arts Center at 540-567-5301 or visit www.montgomerycollege.edu/pac.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, January 2 at 2 p.m.—This show is a live-action version of the beloved TV special and features Hermey the Elf, Sam the Snowman, the Misfit Toys, the Abominable Snow Monster, Yukon Cornelius, Santa, and Rudolph. Intended for all ages. For tickets, call Adventure Theatre at 301-634-2270 or visit www.adventuretheatre.org.

Anti-Bullying Lecture

Jodee Blanco, an anti-bully activist will speak about School Bullying and Peer Abuse on December 7 from 7-9 p.m.

Ms. Blanco will be sharing her anti-bullying program "It's Not Just Joking Around" as part of this free presentation that is open to the public. Children ages 10 and older are welcome.

The meeting will be held in the auditorium of Northwest High School (13501 Richter Farm Road) in Germantown.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Getting the Services Your Child Needs

Adoptions Together will offer a seminar on Getting the Services You Need to Help Your Child Succeed on November 20 from 1-3:30 p.m.

This seminar will help you to learn how to work effectively with schools and outside agencies to ensure that your child's educational, social, and emotional needs are met.

Some of the topics that will be addressed include:

• Understanding the IEP process
• Special education eligibility criteria
• Parent rights and responsibilities in the IEP process
• Hints for working with the schools
• Assessments and evaluations
• How to find and choose a therapist
• Community resources for children with special needs

The $50 seminar will be held at 10230 New Hampshire Avenue, Suite 200, in Silver Spring. For more information, call the Center for Adoptive Families at 301-439-2900.

November 2010 SEAC Meeting

This month's meeting of MCPS' Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) will be November 18 from 7 to 9 p.m. This month's topics are special education transportation and LRE for students with disabilities.

Katrina Wright, Supervisor for Special Education Transportation, will speak and answer parent's questions about transportation.

Marcella Franczkowski, Branch Chief, Division of Special Education/Early Intervention, will speak about Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) for students with disabilities ages 3-5.

These meetings, usually held on the 4th Thursday of the month, include a period of public comments, Department of Special Education updates, and a speaker or discussion.

Meetings are held at the Carver Educational Services Center (850 Hungerford Drive, Room 127) in Rockville. All are welcome. This month's meeting will take place in the auditorium. Babysitting is provided.

Anyone wishing to give public comments must bring five copies of your testimony and contact one of the co-chairs prior to the meeting. Co-chairs are Joan Sabaka (valntine20@aol.com), Anne Turner (adturn88@verizon.net), and Laura Swerdlin (lauraswerdlin@verizon.net).

Alex's Art Loft Sale

Alex of Alex's Art Loft will be selling his autism bracelets and cards from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on December 4th at Church of the Ascension's Holiday Bazaar.

The church is located at 205 South Summit Avenue in Gaithersburg.

Alex is a young man with autism who makes and sells art. To learn more about Alex's Art Loft, check out this month's article in Washington Parent, "This Mom's Creating a Special Future for Her Son." I also wrote about Alex on AutMont last April.

I personally ran into Alex and his mother, Diana Martin, last month when they were selling Alex's art at a fall festival. In addition to his cards and bracelets, they were also selling wonderful ornaments.

Diana and Alex

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Port Discovery's 2010-2011 Discovery Days for Kids with Disabilities

Port Discovery Children's Museum in Baltimore will hold Maryland Discovery Days this fall on November 16 and 17 and again next spring on May 11 and 12, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on each of those days.

On Maryland Discovery Days, children with disabilities can explore the museum in a modified environment where the lights and sounds are lowered to keep everyone at ease. Port Discovery also offers social stories on their website to prepare special needs kids for their visit.

Advance registration is required to attend and admission is limited to 250 guests per session. Admission is free for Maryland school students. For more information or to register, contact Kristie Gulick at 410-864-2664 or kgulick@portdiscovery.org.

Port Discovery is located at 35 Market Place at Baltimore's Inner Harbor.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Event Summary for the Week of November 8, 2010

Check out the AutMont Calendar to see all of the activities for this week as well as those coming up!

Tuesday, November 9:




Junior League of Northern Virginia's Enchanted Forest

The Junior League of Northern Virginia will present its 10th Annual Enchanted Forest event on November 20 and 21 in Reston, Virginia.

Included in the general admission cost of $10 per adult and child is the Enchanted Forest of decorated trees, a model train display, a holiday gift boutique, Santa Claus, Children's Science Center and Kids in the Kitchen exhibits, as well as children's entertainers. There are premium events available at an additional cost.

The Enchanted Forest is open on November 20 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on November 21 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. It is held at the Sheraton Reston (11810 Sunrise Valley Drive) in Reston. For more information or for tickets, call 703-442-4163 or email tef@jlnv.org. You can also purchase tickets online.

Proceeds from this event support the JLNV's mission and community programs that inspire and prepare children for success, including their signature project with The Children's Science Center, programs in four homeless shelters, Back-t0-School Health Fairs for uninsured children and more.

Transition Times Meeting with Jeff Deutsch of A SPLINT

This month's Transition Times meeting will be a joint meeting with MCTransitions. It will feature Jeff Deutsch, a life coach and presenter for A SPLINT (Aspies Linking with NTs).

Deutsch will discuss what social and life skills young people on the autism spectrum need to build and why. He will also cover how young people on the spectrum can best relate to neurotypical people. He will also address how neurotypical people can better understand and relate to people on the spectrum (including their children).

The meeting will take place on November 17 from 7:30 to 9 p.m. at the ARC of Montgomery County (11600 Nebel Street) in Rockville.

For more information or to RSVP, contact Abby Lubran at 301-365-0561 or abby@pcr-inc.org, Reda Sheinberg at reda.sheinberg@mctransitions.org, or Haydee M.M. De Paula at haydeed@arcmontmd.org.

Lollipop Kids Parent Support Group

The Lollipop Kids Foundation will host a parent support group for parents of children with a variety of disabilities on November 11 from 7 to 9 p.m.

From Lollipop Kids' website: "Although our children may have different needs, the same emotional struggle is shared. Interacting with others with similar issues and challenges can offset the feeling that you are the only one in your situation."

The meeting will be held at Cosi (117 Kentlands Boulevard) in Gaithersburg. S'mores will be served!

For more information or to RSVP, email debbie@lollipopkidsfoundation.org.

Parent Advocates to the Rescue

The Learning Disabilities Association of Montgomery County, CHADD of MC, and the GTLD Network will offer a lecture called "On Your Side: Parent Advocates to the Rescue" on November 18 from 6:30 to 9 p.m.

At the lecture, parent advocates will discuss how they can help parents navigate their way through special education services in the community.

The lecture will take place in the cafeteria of Walter Johnson High School (6400 Rock Spring Drive) in Bethesda. For more information, contact LDAMC at 301-933-1076 or ldamc@ldamc.org.

Extraordinary Parents Night, November 2010

The Partnership for Extraordinary Minds will hold an Extraordinary Parents Night on November 9 from 7-9 p.m. for parents who have children on the autism spectrum.

At the event, parents will have a chance to share opportunities, promote constructive ideas, and share concerns so that their students can maximize their educational experiences and outcomes.

The free meeting will take place at the Rockville Library Meeting Room (21 Maryland Avenue) in Rockville. For more information, call 301-444-5225 or email info@xminds.org.

Learn About How to Access LISS at MCASA's Annual Meeting

The Autism Society Montgomery County Maryland will hold its annual meeting and elections on Tuesday, November 9 at 7 p.m. The meeting will also include a discussion of LISS (Low Intensity Support Services).

Maria Dudish, Assistant Director of Family and Community Resources, will be speaking about LISS. Her presentation will include a comprehensive overview of LISS (including handouts), information on how to access LISS funding (applications will be available), a resource table, and the opportunity to ask specific questions about the process.

MCASA will also hold elections for its 2010-2011 slate of officers and directors.

The meeting will be held in the Training Room at The Arc of Montgomery County (11600 Nebel Street) in Rockville. For more information, contact MCASA at 301-652-3912.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Wheaton Area Moms to Hold Preschool Fair

Wheaton Area Moms will hold its annual preschool fair on November 17 from 10 a.m. to noon.

While the schools in attendance are not special needs preschools, this is a good place to get information from about 25 different preschools for typical siblings or special needs children who might do well at a typical school. Find a list of attending schools on WAM's website.

Children are welcome at this free event. It will be held at Crossway Community Center (3015 Upton Drive) in Kensington.

Wheaton Area Moms is a local support and activities group for at-home parents. For more information on the group, please visit their website.

ASAN and Allies Protest Autism Speaks

The Autistic Self Advocacy Network will hold a protest against Autism Speaks at Saturday's Walk Now for Autism Speaks, beginning at 8 a.m.

Protest attendees should gather at 8 a.m. between 14th and 15th Streets and Jefferson & Madison Drives. If you plan to attend, email asanwashingtondcmetro@yahoo.com so the organizers can know who to expect.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Fundraiser for Damascus Challenger Baseball

The Damascus Challenger Baseball Team will hold a fundraising event on Saturday, November 6 from 3-5 p.m. at the Music Cafe in Damascus.

Damascus Challenger helps children with special needs, ages 4-21, play baseball on a team during the spring and summer.

Representatives from Silpada Jewelry, Gigi Hill Bags, Thirty-One Gifts, Gold Canyon Candles, and Avon will be selling gift items.

The Music Cafe is located at 26528 Ridge Road in Damascus. For more information, contact Jennifer or Nick at jenniferzaranis@gmail.com

SEEC's 5th Annual Holiday Gift Boutique

SEEC (Seeking Equality, Empowerment, and Community) will hold it's 5th Annual Holiday Gift Boutique this Sunday, November 7, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. This free event benefits Montgomery County residents with autism, cerebral palsy, and intellectual disabilities.

More than 30 vendors and 18 exhibitors will be at the gift boutique, which will feature affordable one-of-a-kind gifts. A portion of all sales will be donated to SEEC. Parking and admission are free.

The gift boutique will be held at the Woman's club of Chevy Chase (7931 Connecticut Avenue) in Chevy Chase.

Event Summary for the Week of November 1, 2010

Check out the AutMont Calendar to see all of the activities for this week as well as those coming up!

Sensory Friendly Movie: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Enjoy a screening of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 in a sensory friendly environment on November 6 at 10 a.m.

AMC Entertainment and the Autism Society have teamed up to provide a mellower setting for families affected by autism and other disabilities. The movie auditorium will have its lights brought up and the sound turned down, families can bring in their own GFCF snacks, and no previews or ads will be shown before the movies. Audience members are also welcome to get up and move or vocalize. (Unless the safety of the audience is questioned.)

Tickets cost between $4 and $6 depending on the theater. The AMC Rio Cinemas 18 in Gaithersburg (9811 Washingtonian Blvd.) is one of the theaters that participates.

Sensory Friendly Movie: Megamind

Enjoy a screening of Megamind in a sensory friendly environment on November 6 at 10 a.m.

AMC Entertainment and the Autism Society have teamed up to provide a mellower setting for families affected by autism and other disabilities. The movie auditorium will have its lights brought up and the sound turned down, families can bring in their own GFCF snacks, and no previews or ads will be shown before the movies. Audience members are also welcome to get up and move or vocalize. (Unless the safety of the audience is questioned.)

Tickets cost between $4 and $6 depending on the theater. The AMC Rio Cinemas 18 in Gaithersburg (9811 Washingtonian Blvd.) is one of the theaters that participates.