I have absolutely loved seeing all of the first day of school photos posted on social media recently, especially of the little ones. You can tell they are so proud of their new backpacks and are eager to meet their new teachers and play with their friends. It does not seem like that long ago that my girls were all decked out with their bows and cute backpacks ready for their first day of school.
While going to school is an exciting time filled with new friendships and learning new things, this can also be a time when families may discover some developmental or learning issues. For us, we learned that what we thought was an adorable speech impediment that our daughter would eventually grow out of was really something that needed some attention. Fortunately, her teacher kindly and lovingly approached us to let us know that while it is very common, and some kids do grow out of it, it was time that her speech impediment be addressed to prevent future problems. The school was very helpful in navigating the process of testing and setting her up with a plan to help correct her speech and language skills. The plan worked wonderfully for her and we are so very grateful for the assistance.
Many families have much more complex plans in place to assist a child with more in-depth needs. As families are introduced to these programs and services, they may hear terms like IEP and 504. These terms cover a wide range of services and accommodations available, be the need simple or more complex. If you are one of the families who is beginning the process of investigating options, these terms can become very confusing. To help clarify the differences between IEPs and 504 plans, local advocate, Amy Scott Lorton, has provided us with her expert explanations in this month’s Ask the Advocate feature.
September marks our annual issue dedicated to families who have children with special needs. In our effort to continue providing helpful resources to local families you can also find the Special Needs Resource Guide in this month’s issue. Like all of our directories, this is truly a community effort. Businesses, organizations, parents and relatives continue to share stories and resources with us each year. The guide is filled with therapists, financial resources, recreational activities, support groups, and more.
As many marriage experts agree, health and financial issues can be some of the top stressors on families. Unfortunately, some families may experience both of these difficulties at the same time. As Amy Baskin points out in her feature, How to Keep Your Relationship Strong While Parenting a Child with Special Needs, just because your family experiences these stressors, that does not mean your relationship has to suffer. With some thoughtfulness and planning, your marriage can thrive and strengthen in the midst of life’s struggles. This feature not only has great advice for couples of children with special needs, but for all couples.
Spending quality time together is always a great way to connect with your spouse and your children. In this month’s issue you will find plenty of fun, family activities to fill your schedule. We hope you find the Family Calendar and all of the other news, events, and resources helpful. Wishing you a wonderful September!