Community Events/Announcements for the Week of April 9, 2018

Community Events
  • Staff across all five schools will be wearing blue on Friday, 4/13 to help raise awareness and acceptance of students with autism.  Staff at each school have also planned additional activities focused on increasing inclusive opportunities for students with disabilities (including student-made videos, messages about inclusion during morning announcements, and resources for students and staff in libraries).  If you are a parent and will be volunteering at any of our schools on Friday, please consider joining us in wearing blue.
  • Goochland is also hosting our annual Goochland Transition fair on 4/17/18 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Goochland High School.  If you’re available, please consider attending.  Bridget Parker (our transition specialist) has arranged for various organizations to talk with parents and students about services and supports that may be available to students after high school.  For more information, please see this flyer.
  • Kindergarten and preschool registration day is 4/19.  You may now register your child for kindergarten (or apply for him/her to attend our preschool programs) at Randolph, Byrd, and Goochland Elementary Schools from 8:00am to 7:00 pm.  Additional information can be found here.
  • Goochland Education Foundation is hosting is annual gala on 4/28/18 from 6:00 p.m.- 10:00 p.m. at the Hermitage Country Club.  More details about the event can be found here.
Resources
  • Autism Speaks’ campaign to raise awareness of autism has a message of “What You See is Just a Piece of Who I Am” (with the idea being that autism is just one aspect of people and the importance of seeing the “whole” child or person).  Autism Speaks put together an amazing mosaic that really drives home this point.  Check it out or consider contributing to it when your family’s own story using #AutismIs.
  • The College Place- Richmond (TCP- Richmond) is located at VCU.  They provide free information and assistance for students of all ages throughout the state.  Through in-person, telephone and online support, the centers help students complete applications and financial aid forms, as well as locate scholarships that can decrease overall costs.  For more information, please click here.
  • GRAPLE is a grief support group for individuals who have lost loved ones to substance abuse or addiction.  Weekly support group meetings are held on Tuesdays in Richmond.  Click here for more details.

Community Events/Announcements for the Week of March 26th!

The events and resources below are sent out weekly to staff and families of students with disabilities via email.  If you would like to be added to the email list, please send me an email (jwaggener@glnd.k12.va.us) and I’ll add you to this list!

Events

  • The Autism Society of Central Virginia is hosting a “Say What You Need To Say: Helping Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Use Scripts Effectively” workshop for parents and educators.  For those of you who have children with autism or teach children with autism, you know that many students with autism have a tendency to repeat phrases over and over and/or “get stuck” on repeating certain information in which they may have restricted interests.  This workshop will inform parents and educators of strategies to help students with ASD communicate with others more effectively.  The event will be held on 4/13/18 at 7:00 p.m. and River Road United Methodist Church.  The event is free!
  • Michelle Garcia Winner is coming to Richmond!  For those of you who are unfamiliar with her, she’s an expert when it comes to teaching social skills to children with autism.
    • If you are a parent, she’ll be presenting on 4/26/18 at 7:00 p.m.  See the Autism Society of Central Virginia’s newsletter for more details.
    • If you are a teacher, she’ll be presenting on 4/27 from 7:30-3:45 on the Social Thinking curriculum and the Informal Dynamic Assessment.  Teachers can register for the event here.
    • Both events are free!
  • The Greater Richmond Stop Child Abuse Now (SCAN) network will be hosting a screening of the documentary Resilience at the Byrd Theatre on 4/10/18 at 6:00 p.m.  This documentary focuses on the impact of trauma on children and how trauma can lead to greater risks for disease as well as other negative outcomes in adulthood.  The documentary focuses on building resilience in children to hopefully offset some of these potentially negative outcomes.  Our division leadership team has viewed this documentary.  I can personally attest to its powerful message.  It’s a must see!

Resources

  • The Center on Transition Innovations at VCU has a wealth of resources on their website!  Some of the highlights:
    • There’s a work-based learning course that is meant for students with disabilities as they transition to the working world.  Parents and teachers can also sign up to take this course.  Information and resources included in the course are applicable to teachers and parents as well.
    • There are also TONS of archived webinars that you all may find interested, including webinars focused on accessing accommodations in community college, promoting internet safety for children with disabilities, summer employment for children with disabilities, and transitioning to independent living for young adults with disabilities.
  • Autism Speaks has put together a Financial Planning Tool Kit for parents of children with autism spectrum disorders.  Click here to download it for free.
 

Community Events/Announcements for the Week of March 19, 2018!

Community Events
  • Our Special Education Advisory Council (SEAC) will be meeting on Tuesday, March 27th at 6:00 p.m. in the downstairs conference room at the School Board Office.  Dr. Fowler and Ms. Franklin-Murray will be discussing diploma options and credit accommodations for high school students with disabilities.
  • Goochland is looking to fill 71 preschool slots for the 2018-2019 school year!  We have 4-year old preschool classrooms at Randolph, Goochland, and Byrd Elementary Schools.  Additionally, we have a 3- and 4- year old classroom at Byrd Elementary School.  Student eligibility varies between classrooms.  Contact Wendy Travis (804-556-5321, x. 3209; wtravis@glnd.k12.va.us) or myself for more information.  Click here for the preschool application.  Completed applications may be returned to Wendy or myself.
  • Preschool and Kindergarten registration day is 4/19/18!  You may register your child for kindergarten at any of our three elementary schools.  Please remember to bring two proofs of residency, your child’s birth certificate, and a recent physical/immunization form (if you have these items available).
  • The Down Syndrome Association of Greater Richmond (DSAGR) has rescheduled their World Down Syndrome Day celebrations for Friday, 3/23.  Events will be happening at Potbelly Sandwich Shop, Blue Toad Cidery, and Tap 900.  See flyer for more details.
Information Items
  • The Autism Society of Central Virginia offers scholarships to qualifying families/individuals.  More information about these scholarships can be found through this link.
  • The recent school shootings have weighed heavily on many of our hearts.  Talking to children about these events can be very difficult.  The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) has published a tip sheet for parents and teachers re: talking to students about school violence.  I especially like how NASP has broken down advice to parents/teachers by the age of the student.  If you are looking to talk with your children about this topic, check out the “Suggested Talking Points to Emphasize When Talking to Children” section.
  • The Frank Porter Graham (FPG) Child Development Institute published an article about exercise and young adults with autism.  A summary of the research can be found here.  The article noted that young adults with autism tend to exercise less than young adults without autism.  Additionally, young adults with autism are at great risk for some health challenges, including obesity, diabetes, and depression.  Research has shown benefits to regular exercise of students with autism.  This FPG study looks at the effect of praise (in-person praise versus praise through a technology device) on student motivation to exercise.  Praised delivered through both means increased exercise.  Researchers found that young adults who received praise through a technology device tended to continue to exercise even when the praise became less frequent.  They were also able to generalize exercise to other settings.  I thought it was a cool study so I figured I’d pass it on 🙂

Making a Difference as a Foster Parent

Foster parents provide safe and stable environments for children who are in crisis.  These children have often been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect.  In 2015, 25 children residing in Goochland entered foster care.  Due to the scarcity of foster parents in Goochland, the majority of these children had to be placed in homes outside of our locality.

As you can imagine, removing children from their parents is traumatic.  Children react in different ways, but many are left feeling confused, overwhelmed, scared, and powerless.  Not only do these children lose the support from their parents, but oftentimes they lose touch with friends and familiar teachers when they have to be placed in foster homes outside of Goochland.

If you are willing and able, please consider becoming a foster parent.  You can make a difference in these children’s lives by providing them with a sense of calm and reassurance in the midst of their crisis.  For more information, please contact Goochland’s Family Service Specialist, Paige Corpe, at 804.556.5880.

Department of Social Services- Foster Parent Recruitment Flyer