Most parents would love to see their child's smiling, happy face on the cover of a magazine. According to a Feb. 8 Cafe Mom report, Liz Kiecher is getting to experience the thrill this month with her daughter Emily appearing on the cover of Parents magazine.
Parenting a child with special needs can be an overwhelming and lonely experience. Finding resources is sometimes a challenge, especially in smaller communities.
However, linking to appropriate services and resources often makes a world of difference in the quality of life for a special needs child and their family. Therapy, support groups and other types of aid are essential in helping the child reach their full potential. They also allow the families of children with disabilities see that they aren’t alone.
Here is a list of resources, products and services that many families with special needs children find helpful.
This website provides much information on early childhood education. It is a huge website. It has a resource section for parents with topics such as "Hispanic tool kit" and "helping your preschooler become a reader". There is a section for parents of children with special needs with lots of links. It also has a resource section for teachers with many links including one to the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities. It is packed with information on research studies relating to many aspects of early education. This website could be very useful for people in need of data for reports or grants.
This is a large website regarding Fragile X. It discusses what it is, possible causes, current research and advocacy information. It details services available under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). It explains evaluations and IEPS in clear language. It discusses what services may be available, parents rights and what happens when the child starts kindergarten. It is good information that is very easy to understand. Parents can feel so alone and confused while getting services set up for their child. This website is a great guide for them.
This is a great source for articles on topics such as assessments; speech delays, building self-esteem in a child with disabilities and helping a child adjust to preschool. It would make a great resource for both parents and teachers.
Born Learning is an initiative of the United Way focused on parents and caregivers of infants and toddlers. The theme is that every moment is a learning moment for young children. It encourages talking to children during every day tasks such as grocery shopping or folding laundry. Parents and teachers can be encouraged to sign up for the free email newsletter. Articles on the website are great as handouts during parent and teacher training.
This website contains the latest news, research and views on all areas of early childhood education from around the globe. There is an extensive article database with a great search feature. They have an online store where books, subscriptions to their magazine and training kits can be purchased. A sample training kit is available to download for free. They also have a free daily email for educators with research, tips from other early childhood professionals and news. All early childhood educators should be encouraged to subscribe to the website. The database is a great source of information for issues parents or teachers are having.
The National Association for the Education of Young children is dedicated to improving the quality of early childhood education for young children. Their accreditation program is a rigorous process that only programs of the highest quality are able to successfully complete. Programs can read all about the accreditation website, including the steps in the process and the standards and criteria required to have a NAEYC accredited program. The program can enroll in the accreditation process online. NAEYC also has a membership program that is great for teachers, students and other early childhood professionals. Members have access to a special section of the website with message boards and a job vacancy feature. Parents can search for a NAEYC accredited childcare center or preschool on the website. There are lots of articles for both teachers and parents. Uses of this website include encouraging teachers to become members of NAEYC, access to articles and research for parents and teachers and showing both parents and teachers what a high quality program should look like by reading the NAEYC standards. NAEYC also promotes "Week of the Young Child" each year and have ready made press releases and information packets available for down load to promote early childhood education.
This is an online store filled with classroom furniture, books, toys, etc. However, they have a very impressive free teacher resource section. There are model room plans available for infant - prek classrooms. There is a label maker where name tags, shelf labels, center signs, picture schedules and more can be personalized and printed. There are guides to assessments and accreditation. There are ideas for classroom themes. There are also lots of parent and teacher education handouts. The free label maker allows teachers to freshen up their classrooms. Labels can be printed with pictures and in both English and Spanish.
FDLRS is a network of state and federally funded centers that operate as part of Florida public school districts to provide support to children with disabilities and their families, educators, and community agencies. This website is for the division serving my area. It also serves three other counties. FDLRS service areas are child find, human resources development, parent services, and technology. Child find screens children ages 3 -5 to see if they could benefit from special educational services. The human resources development department offers training to parents, teachers and the community. Parent services include education, advocacy, support groups and conflict resolution. Many websites, message boards, online classrooms and other info is offered from their technology department.
The Florida Department of Children and Families childcare website is packed with information for center owners, directors, teachers, parents and the public. It contains the latest news on laws and regulations pertaining to childcare. It lists the steps, requirements and criteria for licensing. It has a provider search where parents can search for centers in their areas and even view their inspection reports. It has information about how a center can receive the Gold Seal, and provides a list of what accreditating agencies are accepted for Gold Seal. The public can also do a search to see what centers in their area are Gold Seal. Training requirements and schedules for teachers and directors are available on the website. There are even online training modules available. This website is a good resource for anyone working in early childhood education is the sate of Florida. Parents can be referred to the website to search research centers. Teachers and directors can be referred to the website to register for training.
Though the actual clinic is in Europe the website offers a tremendous amount of information in a very user-friendly format. Information is available on ADHD, autism spectrum disorders, developmental delays, and learning disorders. The information is very extensive and is updated regularly as new research comes in. There is a question and answers section that is taken from questions emailed from visitors to the site. Current questions include, "Does breast feeding make a child smarter?" and "Why does my child bang his head?" There are resource links on a wide variety of health topics. The glossary section is a great place to seek out definitions to a wide variety of medical terms parents, teachers and caregivers of children with special needs may often hear, but not really understand.
The Florida Center for Child and Family development provides quality services and programs for young children and their families. They provide developmental therapy, mental health counseling, fetal alcohol intervention, and a variety of screenings. The website is a great resource about fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, in particular. There is lots of information there about FASD and childcare teachers can contact them through the website to make referrals for screenings.