A Blue Light Shines Outside My Home 365 Days A Year. - A Note from Sarah Rudaitis, SEPTA Co-President
I have the greatest opportunity of my life - to love and raise a child in the Harborfields community, who happens to also have a disability. I am a mom who wants what every other mom wants for her children - for my child to be welcomed, have friends, feel loved, and be successful.
The feeling of being accepted in the community for exactly who our children are, while providing a supportive educational environment, and nurturing them into who they want to become - are things we at SEPTA work on every day.
Let's leave the blue light on beyond April, become beacons on our blocks who invite all kids in the neighborhood and class for playdates, pool parties, and birthday celebrations - no matter the mess, and become members of SEPTA even if your child does not have a disability, to demonstrate that as parents we are all in this together.
Speaking of community, a huge thank you to everyone - BOE members, parents, educators, neighbors, SEPTA board members, and especially Dr. Ianni - who supported SEPTA's "Slice with the Superintendent" at Johnny D's this month!
Please join us on April 20th as Dr. Lauren Gallagher, psychologist at TJL, discusses the New York Times bestselling positive parenting book, "The Conscious Parent: Transforming Ourselves, Empowering Our Children" by Dr. Shefali Tsabary (here are two excerpts):
"When you parent, it's crucial you realize you aren't raising a "mini me," but a spirit throbbing with its own signature."
"Whether you have an infant or a teen, your children need to feel that just because they exist, they delight you. They need to know they don't have to do anything to earn your undivided attention. They deserve to feel as if just by being born, they have earned the right to be adored."
Dr. Tsabary is a frequent guest on Oprah. Additional details about the book club discussion are below. We hope to see you!
Now is the time that SEPTA begins to think about next year. If you are interested in becoming more involved, have an idea for a program or suggestion to support parents and students - please connect with us!
-Sarah Rudaitis, Co-President, SEPTA
SEPTA HIGHLIGHTS - Don't Miss these Dates!
THE SEPTA SCHOLARSHIP CLOCK IS TICKING...
The SEPTA Scholarships deadline is Monday, April 17th.
We are particularly interested in
characteristics of perseverance, self-motivation,
courage, stamina and self-direction with future goals.
The atmosphere was bustling at SEPTA's "Have a Slice with the Superintendent" fundraiser at Jonny D's on March 21st ! Due to the wonderful support of all who attended, SEPTA was able to raise nearly $1,000 to be put toward scholarships
for students with special needs in Harborfields School District.
Remind me, what was this?
Originally billed as "Pizza Pi Day" and scheduled for March 14, the event had to be re-scheduled to March 21st due to the snow day. But what a festive mood it was! At one point, the line was out the door as everyone crammed in to take out pizzas and heroes, talk with Superintendent, Dr. Ianni, and help SEPTA raise some "dough!"
We Are Thankful
We are grateful to Dr. Ianni for coming to support SEPTA's cause and lending us his pizza-making talents! We are also thankful to Jonny D's who donated 15% of all profits raised during the event, as well as to the people who purchased raffle tickets.
A huge thank you to the many administrators, teachers, and parents who helped make this event such a fantastic success!
A NOTE FROM PUPIL PERSONNEL
Happy Spring! Lots of exciting things have been blooming here at Harborfields!
Washington Drive Primary School
At WDPS, unexpected visitors arrived at Ms. Kasin's class!
Thomas J. Lahey Elementary School
At TJL, we will be celebrating Autism Awareness on April 7th by having the students all wear blue to coincide with Autism Speaks "Light it Up Blue" campaign. Pictures to come!
In the 5th grade students were celebrating other countries and sharing the fun by presenting to other students and parents on all the information they have learned!
Oldfield Middle School
At OMS, students have been participating in the Lunch Bunch where students are planning a Family Feud game for the school and working on social situations at the same time! Check out these smiling faces!
9th grade integrated co-teaching Global class just completed their 3rd quarter project. The students created a Facebook page for a Greek City-State and shared it through Google Classroom!
Join us in wearing blue on April 7th! We are in the midst of Annual Reviews, please know we are here for any questions you may have throughout this process.
Did You Know?
A HUGE WIN!! Supreme Court Decision in Endrew F. Focuses on Mainstreaming, Progress, and Designing IEPs to Meet Child's 'Unique Needs'
Julia, A Muppet With Autism, Joins The Cast Of 'Sesame Street'
For the first time in a decade, the classic children's television show Sesame Street will introduce a new Muppet on the air. Julia will become its first-ever character with autism. She will be introduced to the show in April in a segment where she meets Big Bird, but shows reluctance in shaking his hand. Elmo then has to help explain to a saddened and hurt Big Bird that Julia has autism, "so sometimes it takes her a little longer to do things." Learn more >
AMAZING Social Skills Resources for all Ages Below!
Downloads that Help Build Social Skills:
If your child uses any of these apps and would like to write a short review please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org title "SEPTA Game Review". I will publish all in our next newsletter. This could be helpful for other children and parents especially with summer break coming up!
Don't forget there are also some great social skill classes and groups in the area. Areilla's Friendship Circle (see below in our calendar of events) run year long as do several groups facilitated by local children psychologists or social workers. The ones we have attended my child has loved!
April is Autism Awareness Month
April is Autism Awareness Month. This is the designated month to spread awareness of and share positive, respectful, and accurate information about autism across our communities. Promoting acceptance and celebration of autistic people as family members, friends, classmates, co-workers, and community members making valuable contributions to our world.
Be accepting. Reach out. Make a difference. Not just in April but any time throughout the year.
In addition to awareness what we need is more understanding.
We need to hear and learn more from disabled advocates.
We need to fight for more accessibility and fight against discrimination.
Stony Brook University's Fourth "Music and ASD" Event
Ages: 15 - 25
Sunday 4/23 2:00 - 3:00 PM
Music Building (Fine Arts 1) of the Stony Brook University Staller Center
Autism Friendly Event. Children can visit different rooms to listen and play with instruments from the orchestra and world music ensembles. Musicians will be performing familiar pieces of classical music and Disney songs. Limited Space & Registration Required. For questions call 631-632-7857. Register Here>
Butler Special Needs Center: Life Skills Club
Ages: 15 - 25
Sunday 4/23, 5/7, 6/4 10:30 am - 12:00
74 Hauppauge Road, Commack, Room 27
Increase independence & prepare to enter the workforce.
Fees: Y Members $150, Non-Members $180. Register Elizabeth Haft, 631.462.9800 ext. 142 email@example.com
Butler Special Needs Center: Teen & Tween Social Group
Sundays- 4/23, 5/7, 5/21, 6/4
12:00 - 1:30 pm
74 Hauppauge Road, Commack
Participants will build social, self-advocacy & effective communication skills while engaged in recreational activities with others.
Priced per session:members-$20
Sunday Lunch Bunch
Sundays- 4/23, 5/7, 5/21, 6/4
1:30 - 3:00 pm
74 Hauppauge Road, Commack, Room 24
Participants learn to clean, cook, & work together as a team. Register at front desk Fees: Members $20, Non-Members $25
Ariella's Friendship Circle offers
Puppy Fun, Bowling Buddies, ZUMBA Kids, Teen Scene, Soccer and Hip Hop Fun.
A Roadmap to Success: How I Overcame ADHD and Found my True Potential - Presented by Commack SEPTA
May 9, 2017 at 7:00 PM
Wood Park School, Commack
Scott Schacter, Mental Health Advocate of NAMI relates his experience.
SEPTA SHOUT OUT'S
This issue's "Shout Out" goes to:
Jennifer Gutmann, Special Education Teacher at TJL
who was nominated by Julie Sitter.
"When we moved to the district at the beginning of third grade, the special education teachers at TJL immediately realized that my son's IEP at the time was not adequately addressing his special education needs. My son was reading at a Pre-K level. From that point forward, he began receiving reading services 3 days a week from Ms. Gutmann (along with his many other services). Thanks to his many teachers, and especially Ms. Gutmann's extraordinary teaching ability, skills and devotion, at the end of 5th grade, my son is now reading at the 50th percentile on GRADE LEVEL!!!! We will forever be grateful and hold a special place in our hearts for Ms. Gutmann and the many other teachers who have helped Dean along the way. " - Julie
To show our appreciation we will present Jennifer with