Special Education Parent Newsletter
A Message From The Director
Hello Parents and Guardians,
Spring is officially here and we are starting the mad dash to the end of the school year. It's hard to believe that there are only 7 more Mondays left in the school year. Spring usually brings excitement with school celebrations, extracurricular activities, and the thoughts of Summer being just around the corner. But we also know that spring can bring some worry or wonder for some of our students and families as we move into STAAR testing, changes in routines due to campus celebrations and activities, and we begin to talk about transitioning to the next grade level. Please know that we are here to support our students and families in the exciting AND stressful times. This month, we will include some resources to address these challenges. We hope you find them helpful.
Special Education Parent Leadership Council Updates
A reminder that this month's SE PLC will feature a guest speaker, Elizabeth Danner, who will be talking about transition planning. Information and RSVP are below, under Upcoming Events.
We hope you can join us!
PARENT INFORMATION AND RESOURCES
Did you know that our Education Service Center, Region 13, is the statewide lead for autism? They have a core team of folks who focus on providing quality training and resources for the entire state of Texas. While these resources are targeted at students with autism, much of the information can be helpful for students with other developmental disabilities. There are a lot of resources on behavior, teaching, and planning for the future. I have linked some of the amazing resource below.
We are also very fortunate to be participating is the TEA Autism Grant this year. This grant provides research based instructional materials for our Alternate Curriculum Classes (ACC) and Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) classes, training for our teachers and paraprofessionals, parent training, as well as ongoing coaching for our teachers so that they may implement the strategies with fidelity. This has been an incredible opportunity! We have applied for the grant again for the 2022-23 school year and are hopeful that we can expand the support for our students, staff, and families.
Middle & High School Strategies
Calming Techniques for Teens on the Go
- Call or text a friend to vent. (Make sure you’re using a hands-free device if you’re in the car, and never text and drive.)
- Mentally push away the experience. Imagine plucking the frustration out of your head, placing it in a box, and putting it on a shelf, at least for the next short while.
- Read a magazine or the news.
- Count all the colors you see in a billboard or poster.
- Repeat the lyrics of a song in your head.
- Keep a paper with your favorite essential oil on it and sniff it.
- Pet a dog, if you’re outside and the owner allows it.
- Listen to your favorite song on high, or play it over and over again.
- Zone out to something in nature (like a bird on a tree).
- Eat something yummy.
- Hug yourself.
- Rock yourself gently.
Improve the Moment Skills
- Imagine or visualize a calm setting that you enjoy, like the beach, or your favorite place to just be.
- Ask for help in passing the moment.
- Unplug from all electronic devices to give yourself a mental “vacation.”
- Give yourself encouragement by repeating over and over, “I can stand this,” “I can get over this,” “I can stay calm.” Pretend you’re your own cheerleader.
And when nothing else is working, try T.I.P.P. skills—four physiological tricks that instantly calm the mind and body!
The T.I.P.P Skills
- Temperature: Change your body temperature. Go to the nearest bathroom, lean over the sink, and splash your face with cold water. Or, if you happen to have a freezer pack in your lunchbox, hold it to your eyes and cheeks for 30 seconds. It really works!
- Intense Exercise: Go to a corner and do some really intense running, walking, or jumping on the spot to get your heart rate up really quickly. (Some of our teens at Evolve like doing a set of 20 pushups on the spot!) The one caveat is that you need to stop after a short time…10 minutes is ideal. Then let your body bring your heart rate back down naturally.
- Paced Breathing: Breathe from your abdomen. Slow your pace of breathing down, and try to breathe out more slowly than you breathe in…ideally 4 seconds in, 6 out. Keep this up for a minute or two.
- Progressively Relax: Clench your muscles one by one, for a few seconds each, and then let go. Start with your face and work your way down to your chest, hands, fingers, buttocks, legs, and toes. Clench, relax. Clench, relax. You can do this (as well as Paced Breathing) literally wherever you are, so this is a great tip (no pun intended!) while you’re sitting in class or driving.
Preparing for Transitions and Changes
Changes in routines, daily activities, or larger changes such as a change in school can be difficult for students and their families. Here are some tips for tackling transitions and changes.
Parent Training Opportunity-April 5, 2022
Please join us as our guest speaker, Elizabeth Danner, shares valuable information regarding transition planning. As the transition specialist for the Education Service Center in Region 13, Elizabeth provides training and information related to graduation and post-school planning for students with disabilities, in collaboration with schools, families, and agencies. She works to ensure connection to Community, Career/Contribution, and Continued Learning for all adults.
It is never too early to be thinking about what your child may need at the next level. If that next level is elementary, middle school, high school, or beyond, we want our students and parents to be prepared and have the skills and supports they need to succeed to the best of their ability.