Special Needs In The Media: Glee

Unlike most television shows about high school that seem to have little relationship to the reality of the lives of most kids, Glee explores the lives of kids whose experiences have long been ignored. One of the most interesting characters on the show is Artie Abrams played by Kevin McHale. Acceptance is a theme of this show and Artie’s disability doesn’t stand in the way of his dreams; a lesson that has a profound effect on the other members of the club. In the much viewed episode “Wheels,” the glee club holds a bake sale to raise money for a wheelchair accessible bus. The creators of the show see it as part of their mission to help encourage acceptance and celebrate differences.  They also run a community board where fans can reflect on their own experiences of having special needs.

Transition Planning

It’s never to early to start planning for your child’s successful transitions throughout their school careers and beyond. See how you can help pave the way no matter how old, or how young your child might be 7. Click here to check out the Transition Timeline.

Recursos en Español

The National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) created an extensive toolkit in Spanish to help families recognize potential signs of Learning Disabilities, as well as work with their children to develop and enhance their skills. This comprehensive toolkit includes articles, worksheets, and an interactive checklist to help Spanish-speaking families support their children’s success in school.

Universities offering two-year programs for students with severe cognitive disabilities

Vanderbilt University, UCLA, George Mason University and others are pioneering new programs to serve students with disabilities. These programs have a clear goal of helping students transition into paid competitive jobs while providing lots of supports.

Autism is part of a group of disorders known as autism spectrum disorders (ASD). This complex condition affects communication and social skills. Become part of Autism Awareness in April by reading the Autism blog on the Family and Community Channel.

Critical Role of Families – Learn about the important role families play in supporting their children through life’s transitions. Visit the Teaching All Students channel or the Family and Community channel to learn more.

Ladies Night Out

The Arc of Howard County offers sleepovers for older teens and young adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities twice each month at their respite care house in Columbia. Visit their website for more details.

The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) website for families offers a wealth of information about learning and development as well as what to look for in a quality child care or preschool program for your child.

AUTISM AND TRAVEL

For parents and caregivers of children with autism, the New York Times offers lots of useful tips for travel that can help ease the stress and unpredictability. Click here for the article, “Testing Autism and Air Travel.”

Annual Maryland Special Education Parent Involvement Survey

Your voice makes a difference!  If you are the parent or guardian of a child between the ages of 3 and 21 who is receiving special education and related services, the annual Maryland Special Education Parent Involvement Survey will be sent to your home during the early part of April. The survey is an opportunity for you to share your thoughts and your feedback  on how well your local school system is partnering with you and promoting your involvement in your child’s education planning process. To learn more, visit the Family and Community channel.