Do you remember the Staples commercial where parents sang, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year” while they were shopping with their kids who looked like they were ready to cry? I am slightly disappointed not to have seen it in several years as it truly marks (for me) the beginning of a new school year. (So, I found it on YouTube- click here)
Back to school usually is met with considerable excitement by both parents and students. New clothes, teachers, and friends all will be discovered this year. Not to mention the saturation of learning that will be experienced by parents, teachers and oh yeah… the students.
However, on a serious note, parents with children who have exceptional needs often experience a different set of emotion this time of year … anxiety, sadness, and maybe hopefullness. Parents in this community sometimes are full of questions and concerns. Will my child have a teacher who is a good “fit” and can follow his/her individual educational plan (IEP/ 504, etc.)? Will my child be able to learn in a new environment? Make friends? Be able to negotiate a new school building, bus, or vocational center? Be bullied? Be understood?
It is for these parents and students that I write an updated resource list in the hopes that it will provide an easier transition as all children head back to school. (Also note, that I have included resources for children who are home educated, as well.) Twitter names are in parentheses. (I am @LouiseASL)
♦GENERAL EDUCATIONAL WEBSITES WITH GREAT INFORMATION APPLICABLE for SPECIAL NEEDS
Education.com – Two million visitors each month find all kinds of information on this site. Their JustAsk forum is open to answer all kinds of education, parenting and developmental questions. And you may get me as one of the experts to respond! (@Education_Com)
abcteach.com – Looking for some help as a teacher? Need creative ideas for the classroom or home school? Check out this great website and enjoy both the free and very inexpensive subscription rate. Great gift for your child’s teacher! (@abcteach)
411 VOICES – It is no secret that I have joined this consortium of experts. Over 50% of our experts hail from the education, parenting or mental health fields. Ask a question to one or more of our 20 plus experts.
♦SPECIAL EDUCATION RESOURCES – SOME OF MY FAVES
The Coffee Klatch – A Forum for parents, educators and experts to share ideas, expertise and most of all assistance. (@TheCoffeeKlatch)
eparent.com – A general website for parents of exceptional children
The Autism News – The latest information on research and strategies in the field of Autism and related disorders (@TheAutismNews)
Autism Speaks – The “clearinghouse” of information for this disorder (@AutismSpeaks)
Our Journey Thru Autism – A resource site started by a mom of a child with autism, Tiffani Lawton (@AutismJourneys)
Spirit of Autism – Another website started by a mom with a child with Autism. She also speaks about safety issues as related to EMS understanding special needs children. (@SpiritofAutism)
Learning Disabilities International- A great resource for information about learning disabilities and related processing disorders
Learning Disabilities Online Another great LD resource for all who are involved with learning challenges (@LDOnline)
American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA)- The title says it all! @ASHAWeb)
Special Needs Homeschool – A comprehensive site for those who wish to educate from home their child with exceptional needs (@hedremp)
National Organization for Down Syndrome National organization for information, assistance and support for families with a Down Syndrome loved one. (@NDSS)
National Organization for Rare Diseases There are so many disorders in this world that do not have large organizations to support families or provide information on an individual basis. Here is an excellent web site to gain information regarding RARE disorders that impact development. (NORD)
WRIGHTS LAW– Many of us don’t speak LEGAL. So, here is a website dedicated to all the legal-speak for education / special education.
♦FEATURED PRODUCT COMPANY FOR BACK TO SCHOOL
CAROLINA PAD – I LOVE this company! Probably because they are philanthropic in addition to having a very smart looking set of materials which include – organizers, notebooks, folders and other necessities for back to school. Their products are PERFECT for children who have difficulty with organizational strategies, such as those with learning disabilities for ADD. Bright colors help with colors coding and mnemonic learning. The designs are very contemporary.
One of my faves is their IDEAL book which is a sectioned spiral book small enough to fit in to a pocketbook. This is terrific for students who lose their books and need inserts to hold CD-Roms and much more in a compact space. Also, due to the smaller size it lends itself to being a great resource for students who can’t handle a lot of written text on a standard sized paper and can benefit from large rule spacing on a smaller surface. As for adults, I use this book to organize my own business materials, and travel with one to each guest lecture I give! It fits conveniently in my pocketbook and is so bright that I easily find it on my desk!
Thanks to Carolina Pad, I was able to donate last year many school supplies to children in need. I plan to do the same this year. (@carolinapad)