Breaking Boundaries: A Progressive Program for Students with Special Needs

BY  |  Wednesday, Apr 16, 2014 10:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

Breaking BoundariesDoes your child have trouble making friends? Maybe they sit alone at lunch or rarely get together with other kids their age.  If you are concerned that your child doesn’t seem to fit in, Breaking Boundaries could be the perfect ‘fit’ you have been hoping for.

Breaking Boundaries is a progressive program that offers kids and young adults who have special needs opportunities to be social – without their parents. Co-Director Seth Blender, a special education teacher at Glen Ridge Public Schools, explains, “The activities help to foster independence because parents are not there. The kids need to learn how to adapt on their own.”  Past activities have included trips to MetLife Stadium, Tourne Park and King’s Cooking Studio.

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Let’s Play Ball: Baseball Program For Children With Disabilities

BY  |  Saturday, Apr 05, 2014 2:00pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

baseballThe Montclair Baseball and Softball Club is offering a recreational baseball program for children with physical and intellectual disabilities beginning in May.

The program is open to boys and girls ages 5 – 15. Sessions will be held on Saturday mornings from 9 am – 10:30 am. For more information, email Steve Singer.

 

 

 

 

April is Autism Awareness Month and Locals are Participating

BY  |  Sunday, Mar 30, 2014 8:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

The seventh annual World Autism Awareness Day is on April 2, and autism organizations around the world celebrate the day with unique fundraising and awareness-raising events. It’s the kickoff of a month long effort to raise awareness about a disorder which affects millions of individuals and families with a series of events and initiatives.

According to the Autism Society, “Autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life and affects a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others. Autism is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a “spectrum disorder” that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees. There is no known single cause for autism, but increased awareness and funding can help families today.” Today 1 in 88 U.S. children has autism. The numbers are higher in New Jersey, with 1 in 49 children in New Jersey, according to Autism NJ.org.

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Montclair SEPAC Meeting — Adaptive Physical Education

BY  |  Wednesday, Feb 19, 2014 10:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

montclair SEPACMontclair SEPAC is the Montclair Special Education Parent Advisory Council, which is a volunteer group of parents and guardians that provides support and information to parents and caregivers of children with special needs. Each district board of education is charged under the New Jersey Special Education Code to ensure that a special education parent advisory group is in place to provide input to the district on issues concerning students with disabilities.

Montclair SEPAC meets monthly to share information and ideas, raise and resolve concerns, and ensure that issues affecting children with special needs are given the attention they deserve.

The next SEPAC Meeting will be at Nishuane School on Tuesday, February 25 from 7 pm until 9 pm. The topic for this month’s meeting is “The Importance of Physical Education for Students with Special Needs

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Theater Project Junior Gives Back

BY  |  Tuesday, Feb 18, 2014 9:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

Theater Project Junior

By day it is a  school for kids with disabilities, but for the last five years, The Jardine Academy has shared their auditorium so that Theater Project Junior could run its annual musical theater workshop there.  Since the theater workshop is at night and the special needs academy runs by day, the kids from the two programs have never met – until now.

Having performed their shows at The Jardine Academy for the past three summers, members of Theater Project Jr (TPJ) will be returning on Tuesday, February 25 to help the students at The Jardine celebrate the birthday of Dr Seuss by performing songs from this past summer’s production of Seussical!

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A Special Day Trip: Sahara Sam’s Indoor & Outdoor Water Park

BY  |  Monday, Feb 17, 2014 10:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

Sahara Sam's Indoor & Outdoor  Water ParkSahara Sam’s Oasis Indoor & Outdoor Water Park, located in West Berlin, NJ, is about two hours away and makes a fun Day Trip for families looking for a full day of water fun, especially in the midst of winter. Sam’s offers 58,000 square feet of aquatic and arcade attractions. Sam’s also makes a great Day Trip for families with children who have special needs, because it hosts Special Evenings at Sam’s, also known as S.E.A.S.

S.E.A.S. events are hosted throughout the year on Friday nights from 6 pm – 9 pm. The evenings are safe, judgment-free, and any modifications are made to the park’s operations with the unique challenges of special needs individuals in mind including:

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Crash, Into New Beginnings, The Story of Gabe Hurley

BY  |  Friday, Jan 10, 2014 8:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

Gabe HurleyOne June 19, 2009 at approximately 12:30 in the morning, Clare Hurley heard her doorbell ring.  She did not know then that she had woken up into every parent’s worst nightmare.  A police officer stood at her front door, poised to deliver the news that her twenty-four year old son, Gabe, had been in an accident.

“I knew it was bad when they told me he had been taken to Robert Wood Johnson Hospital,” she said.  There is a smaller medical center closer to her home.

About ninety minutes earlier, Gabe was driving home from a late night errand.  Without warning, he was struck by the airborne air-conditioning compressor from a car that smashed into a bridge underpass just as Gabe approached it.  A seventeen year old boy, who had recently gotten his license, had been driving the other car. The impact altered Gabe’s life forever. Much like his windshield, the bones in Gabe’s face had shattered into tiny pieces.

Gabe Hurley is quick to clarify that this was a crash, not an accident. He explains, “An accident sounds unavoidable…  This could have been prevented.” According to the Department of Transportation, Gabe is not alone in his story. Statistics show that there were over 280,000 crashes in New Jersey in 2012 with over 63,000 causing injuries.  In 2009, the year of Gabe’s accident, there were over 300,000 crashes.

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Montclair SEPAC Meeting—Pathways Mentoring Program

BY  |  Monday, Jan 06, 2014 10:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

montclair SEPACMontclair SEPAC is the Montclair Special Education Parent Advisory Council, which is a volunteer group of parents and guardians that provides support and information to parents and caregivers of children with special needs. Each district board of education is charged under the New Jersey Special Education Code to ensure that a special education parent advisory group is in place to provide input to the district on issues concerning students with disabilities.

Montclair SEPAC meets monthly to share information and ideas, raise and resolve concerns, and ensure that issues affecting children with special needs are given the attention they deserve.

The next SEPAC Meeting will be at Nishuane School on Monday, January 13 from 7 pm until 9 pm. Melinda Jennis, the creator of the Pathways school mentoring program will speak concerning details about the program.  She will be discussing the program’s structure and the possibility of bringing to program to our schools in Montclair.

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Happy New Year 2014!

BY  |  Wednesday, Jan 01, 2014 12:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

Happy New Year

Thank you for a wonderful, productive and fun 2013. Here at Barista Kids we had a wonderful, and very busy, year:

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Losing Our Shit

BY  |  Friday, Dec 13, 2013 8:00am  |  COMMENTS (8)

someecards.com - Special needs just got to me.

I had a really bad day yesterday. Special needs just got to me. I was fortunate enough to get support from good friends, one of whom said to me, “God gives you what you can handle.” I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard this since my son was born with Prader Willi Syndrome nine years ago,  but what I told my friend who consoled me was “God must be in need of a hearing aid because I can’t take anymore today!”

The truth is, I don’t believe this “God-giving-you-what-you-can-handle-business,” because it smacks of the notion that God (if you believe in one) chooses whose life to screw up royally, devastate and bring pain and suffering upon. My belief is that this $%^& happens, for the most part, randomly and that every parent rises to the challenge when they are put in this position, not just me or all the other people whose lives have been forever altered with a child with issues. If a parent cannot deal with it and is negligent or unable to function, they need to seek professional help and support of friends and family. Email me if you need that and I will hook you up (I am a Social worker, you know).

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