Helping Hands

The ETCSD Special Education Parent Newsletter, October 2016

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Special Celebrations and Awareness in October!

As you may already be aware, October is a month to bring awareness of the special needs that our children face to others. Help spread the word and awareness to others during October and year round.

Learning Disabilities Awareness Month: October is Learning Disabilities Awareness month, a time to increase awareness of children, adolescents, and adults with learning disabilities and to recognize the educators who serve them. President Ronald Reagan originally designated October as LD month in 1985.

Down Syndrome Awareness Month: This month, OSERS' Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) is partnering with several groups to celebrate Down Syndrome Awareness Month. Partners include:

  • U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER)
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AIDD)
  • Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD)
  • National Down Syndrome Congress (NDSC)
  • National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS)

Check out the AUCD event page for more details and read today’s two AUCD blog posts:

Stay tuned to the OSERS Blog and Twitter account for updates on our celebration activities throughout the month, including a topical Twitter Chat on October 26th. Follow each of the participating organizations for your chance to join in the conversation on Down syndrome (#DSAM).

Augmentative Alternative Communication (AAC) Awareness Month and Wisconsin AAC Network: The International Society of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (ISAAC) was founded in 1983 to bring awareness of people who use Augmentative and Alternative Communication (communication devices, IPad, pictures, or anything else) around the world and to support people who use AAC or work with children or adults who use AAC. ISAAC has chosen “Access All Areas” as one of this year’s themes for International AAC Awareness Month in order to challenge all ISAAC members to expand the concept of accessibility to include communication access in their own communities, regions, and countries.

ISAAC/USSAAC/Wisconsin AAC network is an AAC group for anyone who works with children or adults who use AAC to communicate with. Regionally, the Wisconsin AAC Network hopes to start a leadership team for AAC so speech therapists and special education teachers know how to best work with students who are using a communication device to speak and do their schoolwork and homework.

The Wisconsin AAC network will be working to increase awareness by having training classes, training the police and firemen on how to communicate with people who use a communication device, and having a leadership team .

The leadership team will include one speech therapist and one special education teacher for school districts around Wisconsin, parents and young adults and adults who use AAC to talk about what they are working on, what they are having trouble with and any great news like a student is starting to use their communication device. It will be up to the members of the leadership team on how many times they will meet. Please e-mail Mike Hipple at if you would like to be a part of the AAC leadership team or have any questions about WisconsinAAC network .

National Disability Employment Awareness Month: This presidential proclamation acknowledges that there is much more work that needs to be done to forge a future where workplaces are more inclusive and where employees are more accepted for who they are, while ensuring that the Presidential Administration is dedicated to upholding our Nation’s promise of equal opportunity for all and advancing employment for people with disabilities in every community. In this proclamation, the President also urges all Americans to embrace the talents and skills that individuals with disabilities bring to our workplaces and communities and to promise the right to equal opportunity for all people.

To view the proclamation, please click this link.

In Honor of Down Syndrome Awareness Month: Don't Limit Me!

Don't Limit Me!

Parents United: Academic Career Planning for All

Tuesday, Nov. 1st, 6-8:30pm

2810 Golf Road

Pewaukee, WI

Claire DuCharme (UW Whitewater), Colleen Gonzalez (WCTC), Wanda Routier (Concordia University of WI), Christine Schulz (Goodwill Industries) …and one student from each school will speak from 6-8:30 regarding academic career planning (ACP) for all students. Specifically, this panel presentation will cover:

*What Technical Colleges Can Offer

*Dual Enrollment Opportunities

*Four-Year Post-Secondary Options

*Attending College with a Disability

*Living & Learning on Campus

*Preparing for college classes

This event is presented by Parents United and is FREE to staff, parents and community members from our District, but reservations are requested. Please email Edie Scott at if you are interested in attending or contact Kate Harder at 262.642.6720 x 3223 for additional information.

Parents United: Start Engaging by Listening

Wednesday, Nov. 9th, 9-11:30am

2810 Golf Road

Pewaukee, WI

Join us as Jen Townsend, Educational Consultant for the Elmbrook School District, presents “START ENGAGING BY LISTENING: The impact of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) will be the Dfference.” Specifically, Ms. Townsend will address the impact of social emotional learning, including:

· How individuals develop socially and emotionally

· How we can apply our knowledge into skills and actions

· How individuals manage their emotions, set goals and share

This event is presented by Parents United and is FREE to staff and parents from our District, but reservations are requested. Please email Edie Scott at if you are interested in attending or contact Kate Harder at 262.642.6720 x 3223 for additional information.

Wisconsin Statewide Parent Educator Initiative (WSPEI) Trainings for Parents

The Wisconsin Statewide Parent Educator Initiative (WSPEI) is seeking families who have children with disabilities interested in participating in training opportunities beginning this fall.

All trainings are FREE of charge. Overnights, meals, and resources are paid for with a DPI IDEA Discretionary Grant, Wisconsin Statewide Parent Educator Initiative - WSPEI. Register early because space is limited!

Parents in Partnership (PIP)

Parents in Partnership is a leadership development opportunity for parents of children with disabilities. Parents and other caregivers meet together five times during the year to share their family stories, challenges, joys, and triumphs of raising their children. They will learn about community and statewide resources for children with intellectual disabilities; explore issues around health, education, policy making, legislation, inclusion, self-determination, family well-being, and IDEA Special Education Law.

The program assists parents in developing; communication skills, leadership skills, positive advocacy skills, collaboration skills, their own Community Action Plan.

Door County Parents in Partnership is a training that will be taking place in northwestern Wisconsin beginning November 4 & 5, 2016.

Click on the link below to view the flyer for this training.

Families can contact Kate Harder at 262.642.6720 x 3223 for more information. To register, call 608-745-5422 or contact Martha DeYoung, for more information.

Trainings for Families and Providers

Did You Know? Now You Know! explains resources and services for children with disabilities and special health care needs from birth through young adulthood. Learn about health insurance and how to best use your benefits, Medicaid, long-term supports and community resources.

What’s After High School? is a broad overview of the transition to adult life for youth with disabilities and special health care needs and includes the following topics: envisioning a youth’s future in the community; the role of schools; long-term supports; transitioning to adult health care; legal options; advocacy; and the fundamentals of self-determination.

Advocacy for Change – Family Leadership Institute is a full day advocacy and skill-building event for families who have children with special needs. Participants will learn about policy issues, how to tell your family story in ways to impact change and meet with elected officials. (This event will be held on March 2, 2017.)

  • Cedarburg, October 25, 5:00 - 7:30pm, What’s After High School training with Cedarburg School District
  • Mauston, November 1, 5:00 - 7:30pm: What’s After High School training with Juneau County Community on Transition
  • Beloit, November 7, 5:00 - 7:30pm: Did You Know? Now You Know!” training with CESA 2
  • Madison, November 10, 5:00 - 7:00pm, What’s After High School training with Community Living Alliance
  • Appleton, Nov. 29, 5:30 - 8:00pm: What’s After High School training with SOAR Fox Cities

Learn More: To find out more and register go to the Family Voices of Wisconsin website at or contact

Cost: All training sessions are free to participants and a light meal and resource binder will be provided. Stipends for childcare and travel expenses are available.

Dynamic Futures

Unsure of your career path? We can help you get a career – not just a job.

Dynamic Futures (WIOA Youth Program) is here to support you in your future goals. Our services are focused on individuals ages 16 to 24. We help you figure out what career is best for you and how to get there…

 Week-long 15hr paid training to get you ready for job search

 Paid work-experience

 Job shadowing and assistance looking for a career

 Funding for post-secondary training

The next session is Nov 7, 2016 – Nov 11, 2016. The classroom portion runs for one week from 9am – 12pm. For more information, please contact Aubrey Hanna at 262-741-5269 or

Contact Us!

Questions or Concerns? Please contact Kate Harder or your child's case manager with any questions or concerns that you have regarding the above information or with specific concerns regarding your child.

Special thanks to Matt Katzenberger for the use of his photo on the background of this newsletter.