Parent involvement is one of the single most important factors in a child’s success in school. When parents and educators work together as partners, all children can thrive in school and in their lives after school. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) makes parents equal partners – with local school systems, service providers and education agencies – in plotting the educational course of their children with disabilities. So how do you as a parent use that authority to its best effect? In this section of Maryland Learning Links, you will learn about the Special Education laws, processes and resources that you need to know about to help your child succeed. You will also hear the personal stories of other parents and get some tips about great creative and educational activities that you can do with your child every day.

Parent and Family Engagement

The U.S. Department of Education has added a new section to its website that offers lots of current ideas to support families in education. Check it out!

What Do Parents Want

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In an online survey of 2000 parents, The Thomas B. Fordham Institute applied market research principles to parents’ priorities for school.   Take a look at the resulting report and infographic and share within your community.

Together We’re Better

The Arc of Maryland and MSDE are partnered in an exciting new initiative to celebrate the diverse abilities of all children. The theme of this year’s Together We’re Better: Celebrating Diversity project is “Stop Bullying and Show Respect!”. The Arc of Maryland has many resources available to promote awareness of inclusive practices while engaging all students in activities that create a sense of caring and community. Read the MSDE announcement and learn more by visiting the Arc of Maryland.

Picky Eaters

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Helping your child with an ASD fall in love with food.

They poke it like it is a dead animal. They ignore it like it is invisible.  They refuse because it looks different. They get up and leave the table like it never happened.   Meal time with a child who has an Autistm Spectrum Disorder can sometimes be anything but a moment to replenish your body and soul.  Meals that were a big hit the day before suddenly taste “weird.”  So how do you get your kids to fall in love with a variety of foods?

Tips:  Go Gradual

Research has shown that babies need to be introduced to a new food up to 15 times before they accept them.  All children with ASD  have different feelings about food, but one thing that is fairly common is new foods needs to be rolled out slowly.

The best way to do this is by placing the food on the plate without expectations or even acknowledgment.  Think of it like a garnish.  No one cares if you eat the parsley but it is there if you want it.  This approach takes the stress out of the situation for everyone.

Send Us Your Sure-Fire Tips and Recipes for Picky Eaters!

Gluten-free, casein free, no peanuts, no dyes, no orange vegetables… the list of what kids can’t and won’t eat can be exhausting.  At the same time, you want meals and snacks that are nutritious, tasty, easy, and best of all – will get the pickiest of eaters to gobble them up.  We are looking for recipes that have been proven to work with the picky eaters in your life.  Send in your recipe, ingredients, a photo (optional), and a short description of why you know your dish will get the pickiest of eaters to say ‘Yum!’  Each month, we will pick a recipe to feature on Maryland Learning Links, and you will see your name in lights if your recipe is chosen.  Send to: info@marylandlearninglinks.org.