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Kid's World - Hersam Acorn Newspapers - Eastern Edition

Kid's World - Hersam Acorn Newspapers - Eastern Edition

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Published by Hersam Acorn
Kid's World - Hersam Acorn Newspapers - Eastern Edition. A special section to The Easton Courier, Fairfield Sun, The Milford Mirror, The Monroe Courier, The Shelton Herald, The Stratford Star, The Trumbull Times and The Valley Gazette.
Kid's World - Hersam Acorn Newspapers - Eastern Edition. A special section to The Easton Courier, Fairfield Sun, The Milford Mirror, The Monroe Courier, The Shelton Herald, The Stratford Star, The Trumbull Times and The Valley Gazette.

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Published by: Hersam Acorn on Apr 02, 2014
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Special Section to:
The Valley Gazette
The Stratford Star
The Milford Mirror
The Trumbull Times
Fairfield Sun
The Herald
The Monroe Courier
The Easton Courier
Kids World 
by Melissa Ezarik 
Parents of students in the special education system spend a lot of time thinking about the big picture as well as scrutiniz-ing the details. Navigating the system well requires the abil-ity to envision a life for your child well into the future and then actively partnering with the school team each year (and throughout the year) to develop the broader goals and more specific objectives to help that child access an appropriate education — through the right supports — and live up to his or her potential as a contribut-ing member of society.Often with multiple diagnoses to understand and work through the challenges of, the sped parent may well feel the need to connect with, learn from, and feel sup-ported by like-minded parents. With a number of active special educa-tion parent groups in our area, these parents don’t need to feel alone. Here’s what any local parent should know about the special needs parent and the groups they turn to for support.
The stakes are high.
 “If you don't learn what you need to know, your child — and your whole family — will struggle through unmitigated stress without learn-ing the necessary skills and strategies to be successful,” said Eve Kessler, co-founder of SPED*NET Wilton, an advocacy and supportive network for Connecticut special needs families.
A night out is more likely to involve a lec-ture than some liquor.
 “Knowledge is power when it comes to parenting your child with special needs. Parents need other parents and professionals to talk to and learn from,” Kessler said. In other words, sped parents are snagging babysit-ters and meeting up to take in presentations from experts who can help them navigate a complex sys-tem.
Their conversations involve acronyms.
“So anyway, we were in our PPT developing the IEP and I requested an FBA conducted by a highly qualified BCBA so that our BIP would be most appropriate.” It’s the kind of sentence overheard when sped parents are on the playground, in between discussions about their private ABA, OT, and PT therapy sessions. (And, yes, they know they talk funny.) Their children have various differences. Alan Llewelyn, president of Stratford SEPTA, said he’ll sometimes get asked if the “A” in “SEPTA” is for autism. But the organization helps support and guide any family involved in special education, including people still in the qualifying process or whose chil-dren have 504 instead of IEP plans.
They think big.
 Jeffry Spahr of Norwalk, whose son has ADHD and autism, among other challenges, spent several years as president of the Connecticut Association for Children and Adults with Learning Disabilities and co-founded Norwalk SPED Partners.  When he felt his own district wasn’t doing enough to raise awareness of ADHD, he persuaded Gov. Dannel Malloy to proclaim  ADHD Awareness Week in October 2011.
Sped parent groups know dis-trict administrators like PTA presidents know principals.
 In explaining what his group is, Llewelyn will “start with the PTA part, as that creates a ‘one-voice’ common ground starting point for the conversation,” he explained. But the big difference, he’ll say, is that “as a townwide PTA, we do not have a principal so instead SEPTAs get to work with central office administrators.” He’ll add that SEPTA has a “more global focus as the discussions impact more than one building.”
These groups are open to all.
 Stratford SEPTA, for example, is for anyone who cares about a child with any kind of individual difference that poses challenges in school and beyond. “I sometimes hear that parents don’t participate because they’re not members,” Llewelyn said. “We have never turned anyone away from a meeting or a speaking engagement, so go ahead and join the PTA at your home school and then if you need support or guidance, just find us.”
They want a voice.
 When the statewide Municipal Opportunities & Regional Efficiencies (M.O.R.E.) Commission put together a special education working group to collaborate on legislation that could save municipalities and taxpayers money, Spahr and others noticed that no parents were includ-ed as members. In response, his organization is partnering with local SPED*NET, Special Education PTA (SEPTA), and Special Education PTO (SEPTO) groups, as well as special education attorneys and other experts, and to form the Special Ed Parents Network Alliance. “As a parent of a special ed kid, you don’t have a lot of time for this stuff, you don’t have a secretary,” he said. “Legislators respond to voting blocks. We wanted then to know we’re not just an isolated parent. Collectively, we’re talking about 10,000 votes.”“It’s particularly appropriate for the people making decisions for our state to understand that there is a whole silent com-munity out there with a common interest of making sure their kids’ special education needs are addressed,” he added.
Melissa Ezarik is secretary and a co-founder of Stratford SEPTA.
Connecting Connecticut’s special education parents
Special Education Parent Groups
Brookfield SEPTA; brookfieldsepta@gmail.com Connecticut PTSA SEPTA’s page: ctpta.org/SEPTA.htmlCT Special Education PTO Alliance; facebook.com/pages/CT-Special-Education-PTO-Alliance Fairfield SEPTA; fairfieldsepta.org North Star (Derby area parents); northstarsupportgroup.comPizza Moms (Darien); sites.google.com/site/pizzamomssite/ SEPTO Network; septonetwork.org Special Parents, Special Kids of Milford, CT; spsk-milford-ct.comSpectrum Shelton, facebook.com/SpectrumofSheltonCTSPED*NET Greenwich; spednetgreenwich.orgSPED*NET New Canaan; spednet.orgSPED*NET Wilton; spednetwilton.org Stratford SEPTA; stratfordsepta.orgTrumbull Parents of Students with Learning Differences; www.trumbullps.org/depart-ments/pupil-services/ parent-support.htmlWest Haven SEPTA; westhavensepta.wordpress.com/ 
Patti Terrasi, left, co-author of ‘Shut Up About Your Perfect Kid;’ Katie Gallagher, a college freshman with  Asperger’s and daughter of Gina, right, the co-author of ‘Shut Up,’ at a recent Stratford SEPTA event.
 Tech Campsheld at
 Wesleyan,U of Bridgeport, Yale,
and 80+ UniversitiesAges 7-18
1-888-709-TECH (8324)
 Kids World
  Hersam Acorn Newspapers   
April 3, 2014
by Melissa Ezarik 
Manis and pedis and facials, oh my! As girls who have been guests or the guests of honor at a beauty birthday party know, the spa experience is most certainly not just for adults. Spa parties for kids are about having a wildly good time as much as they are about relaxation.Take the Glam Parties put on by Brit’s Beauty Bar, for example. At the make-your-own-lipgloss bar, partygoers may customize the color and flavor of their own edible lip glosses before having zebra stripes or peacock feather designs painted on their nails. During Pink Butterfly Spa Parties, mean-while, girls sit back and relax with cucumbers covering their eyes and a warm towel over their faces, with soothing music in the back-ground. Owner Lori Jones hopes the message comes through to the girls that real beauty comes from the inside and that each of them is special and amazing. Spa parties have been around for decades, but parents today are particu-larly interested in what exactly the beauty products are made of. “Some parents are really into keeping everything natural and organic for their kids, what goes on them and what goes in them,” said Britney Fernandes, owner of Brit’s Beauty Bar. Or, as Geraldine McKeon, owner of Trixie’s Cuts for Kids in Milford, puts it: “Parents definitely dictate that everything is natural and organic now.”“Society is moving away from the parabens and the chemicals and going more toward things directly from nature,” said Fernandes, who makes her products from ingredients such as essential oils, coconut and almond oils, and beeswax. “With natural products, you’re getting the full moisturizing benefits and full cleaning benefits.” At Sundae Spa, which has two locations in Connecticut and includes build-your own-sundaes for dessert, some products and ingredients for make-your-own products are vegan-certified, organic certified, and paraben-free, with skin-safe colorants and fragrances. The spas use chemical-free Good for You Girls brand facials and Piggy Paint nail polish. At Trixies, Piggy Paint (“as natural as mud”) is another staple, along with Moodylicious for facials and skin care.  Another way to ensure spa party products are safe is to go the do-it-yourself route. “There are a lot of blogs and websites about how to make things from scratch,” Fernandes said. She recommends DIY sites such as:• wellnessmama.com/category/beauty• bettycrocker.com/menus-holidays-parties/ mhplibrary/parties-and-get-togethers/diy-kids-spa-party• notmartha.org  Also keep in mind that it’s not just girls who may wanna have fun. Fernandes has hosted co-ed beauty parties where girls make lip gloss while the guys make their own body wash. Or girls have done a princesses craft while the boys make pirates instead. “We tweak our parties to stay in the same theme,” she said.  Jones has noticed that parents tend to be most attracted to the fact that her business is mobile — but then they seem relieved when they learn that her facials are “made with real food and that our lotions, creams and foot scrubs are made in-house,” she said. “We are dealing with young girls and the less toxic ingredients being put on the skin, the better.”
Melissa Ezarik is a Stratford-based writer and editor who thinks there should be more moms-only spa birthday parties.
Natural Beauty Birthday Bashes
 Try something new
Spa party places and purveyors
Brit’s Beauty Bar, Glam Party (mobile or at Nikki’s Candy Boutique in Shelton); britsbeautybar.com, 203-540-9666Magical Memories Children’s Entertainment, Sassy Spa Party (mobile); magicalmemoriesllc.com, 203-257-9621Pink Butterfly Spa Parties (mobile); pinkbutterflyspaparties.com, 203-560-5481Sundae Spa, 2457 East Main St., Waterbury, and 1201 Boston Post Rd., Milford; sundaespa.com, 203-528-3121 (Waterbury), 888-654-6577 (Milford)Trixie’s Cuts for Kids, Glamour and Spa Parties, 1400 Boston Post Road, Milford; trixiescuts.com, 203-301-4268 Above, a partgoer gets a manicure during a Pink Butterfly Spa party. The mobile party business uses natural ingredients for its facials. An attendee of the mobile Pink Butterfly Spa Parties creates some jewelry.
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*Both these Performance Intensives run from June 23-July 3 and focus on technique, choreography, injury prevention, student choreography and yoga. They culminate in a performance that highlights work set by instructors and students.
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April 3, 2014
 Kids World
  Hersam Acorn Newspapers   
The American Legion Department of Connecticut’s Third District, which includes all of the Legion posts in Fairfield County, invites the public to  join in a walk-a-thon to benefit the Connecticut Children’s Hospital. Sutter-Terlizzi American Legion Post #16 of Shelton, in conjunction with the American Legion Department of Connecticut’s Third District, is spon-soring the Kids Walk to raise money for Connecticut Children's Hospital. The walk will take place on Saturday morning, April 19, at the Veteran’s Park on the Riverwalk at 10. Registration and donations will be accepted at the Farmer's Market that morning. The day's event will include a one to three mile walk. Bottled water and snacks will be provided for participants in the walk at the market.  Along with the general public, alumni of American Legion programs are encouraged to join in the walk. Legion program alumni are men and women who have benefited from programs such as Boys State, Girls State and Legion Baseball — youth groups sponsored by the Legion. All pledges and donations to the walk will benefit the hospital. For more information, visit a local  American Legion post in Fairfield County or call Post 16 at 203-924-9887.
 The Connecticut Children’s Hospital
Kids Walk in Shelton to benefit
The Easter Bunny will once again pay a visit to the Danbury Railway Museum and you may take a ride in a vintage train through the his-toric railyard to visit him. This popular annual family event will take place on Saturday and Sunday, April 12, and 13, and Friday and Saturday, April 18, and 19. Museum hours are 10 to 4:30 on Friday and Saturday, and noon to 4:30 on Sunday. Trains leave every 30 minutes from 12:30 to 3:30. The short train ride in a fully restored 1953 New Haven RR Rail Diesel Car Budd RDC will take visitors past the fully operational turntable, more than 70 vintage railroad cars and loco-motives, and many pieces of railroad history, including a Boston & Maine steam locomotive built in 1907. The ride will stop at the Easter Bunny’s special railroad car.The museum’s beautifully restored circa-1910 Railway Post Office (RPO) car will also be open. Of course, the exhibits inside the restored 1903 Danbury station will be open, along with a coloring station, temporary tat-toos, Thomas play table and the operating model train layouts. A fully stocked gift shop will also be open. Admission is $10 (age 2 and over); each child will receive a small gift from the bunny. Reservations are suggested and may be made by visiting the museum’s website at dan-buryrail.org.The Danbury Railway Museum is a nonprofit organization, staffed solely by volunteers, and is dedicated to the preservation of, and education about, railroad history. The museum is in the restored 1903 Danbury Station and rail yard at 120 White St., Danbury. More info: 203-778-8337, danburyrail.org, info@danburyrail.org
Ride a vintage train to visit the Easter Bunny
The Easter Bunny will greet kids at the Danbury Railway Museum this month.
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    
�      
 �   �
           �
      �
 �
    
�    �
    
              
     
  �
  �
                           �
  
         �
  �   
  �
 
 � 
   
 � 
   �  
�   

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