In this Issue

A Note from Pupil Personnel

Parent Support Groups
A Note from the SEPTA Presidents:

"Being deeply loved by a child with special needs gives you strength. While loving a child with special needs give you courage."

This quote rings true for me as I know it does for many parents who have walked in my shoes. Never have I felt such courage or sense of purpose as when I've been an advocate for my own child. And when I look into my son's happy eyes, I realize how privileged I am to raise this wonderfully unique and beautiful person.

SEPTA can be a great place for parents to turn to; one that I have come to truly appreciate over the years. I'm
always learning something at our Second Cup of Coffee Support Group meetings. It's a great resource for educating yourself, gaining courage, and feeling the support of those who understand this sometimes challenging and often rewarding journey we are on. 
Please read on for some upcoming events and programs from SEPTA. We'll be glad to welcome you and help in any way we can. 
-Karin Fey, SEPTA Co-President
Highlights SEPTA Highlights
Harborfields new superintendent, Dr. Francesco Ianni, will be on hand at Johnny D's  from 5:00 - 6:30 pm 
to meet your children, exchange ideas, take pictures.
He may even get behind the counter to make a pizza!
Jonny D's has generously offered to donate 15% of ALL profits made between 5:00-9:00 pm on this night to SEPTA, to be used directly toward programs and scholarships for Harborfields students with special needs.
Help SEPTA raise some dough! 
Thank you so much for your support!

Scholarships for HHS Seniors: 
SEPTA Scholarships will be available in the HHS Guidance 
office or Online on March 1st! Keep posted for more details.
For only $10 You can help increase our future scholarship funds by Becoming a SEPTA Member Today 
We thank you for your support!

Join Us on A SEPTA Road Trip! 
Join SEPTA as we visit the "Diploma Options" workshop. Find out what the newest requirements are on this important topic from an incredible panel including:
  • NYS Board of Regents Chancellor Betty Rosa
  • Long Island Regent Roger Tilles
  • Assistant Commissioner of the NYS Office of Special Education Christopher Suriano
  • and more!
Date: Tuesday, Feb 7
Time: 7:00 PM
Location:  South Side High School, Rockville Centre
It is hard to believe that we are midway through the school year! I am happy to report that our students are gaining the tools to handle any stress that may come with it! 
Washington Drive Primary School

Students in the primary school have been practicing mindfulness and teachers and students have been reporting the positive effects! One student told her sister who was sad, "Just practice mindful breathing.  That's what I do when I'm upset." 

There is so much to be mindful of, like how very fortunate we are to have so many amazing teachers organizing interesting and engaging lessons for our students.
Thomas J. Lahey Elementary School

At TJL, Mrs. Brown's class is working on a Snow Unit.  The students read fiction and nonfiction literature that has to do with snow, snowflakes, blizzards, and snowmen.  Students made predictions to see who could come closest to predicting the first snowfall of the year with more than 5 inches of snow.  The student who won the contest asked if her prize could be a prize for the class! We have the greatest kids at Harborfields!
At TJL they also have really incorporated technology in their classrooms! These are pictures of Mrs. Washington and Mr. Rettino's 5th grade class using Google Classroom to support reading groups.   The kids are so motivated by this technology! 
Survey: We Need Your Feedback

Every year NYS supplies data to the U.S. Department of Education to demonstrate compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).  This year Harborfields Central School District has been asked to collect data from the parents of children receiving special education services.  
The purpose will be to evaluate how our schools facilitate parent involvement in order to improve services and outcomes for children with disabilities.  Every family of a student with a disability within the district will receive a paper survey in the mail.  The Office of Pupil Personnel Services is requesting that you take the time to complete the survey and return it in the provided postage-paid envelope or complete the survey online.  The directions for completing the survey online will be included with the paper survey.  
This data is being collected by an independent research firm.  No one from the school district will see how you answered the questions, regardless of which method you use to complete the survey.   Harborfields Central School District is required to obtain a statistically sound survey return rate.  
Your participation is very important and the time you take to complete the survey is much appreciated.  This data helps all school districts to ensure they are providing appropriate services to their families of children with disabilities. 
Thank you!

SEPTA Mailbox
I wanted to express my heartfelt gratitude for the SEPTA fellowship I was awarded at the end of last year.  I used the fellowship to complete two mindfulness courses this past summer, the latter of which was aimed at teaching how mindfulness can be integrated in schools. 
I am thrilled to report that Dr. Teague and I have been using all the information gained from these courses to teach students and teachers how to practice mindfulness in school and in their everyday lives.  We have been pushing into classrooms at both at Washington Drive and Thomas J. Lahey providing them with weekly mindfulness lessons and practice.  Recently Dr. Ianni observed both of us leading these lessons and he was amazed by how mindful and focused our little ones could be!  We are hopefully planting seeds which will have long-lasting positive effects with our staff and students.
I am also incorporating a little mindfulness practice in almost all of my counseling sessions.  The kids really enjoy it and often welcome the opportunity to be quiet and still.  For some it is challenging but I tell them that's why they call it "practice." 
I just want to thank you again for encouraging me to attend and for providing me with the means to do so.  I am hoping at some point we are able to reach all the classrooms, teachers, and students so it becomes a more district-wide practice and overall way of being. 
Much  thanks,
Lauren (aka Dr. Gallagher J)
Did You Know?
Do you Qualify for FREE Parent Training at St. Johns?
Are you the parent of a child ages 3 - 6 with an autism spectrum disorder or Developmental disability? St. John's University is conducting a research study on the effectiveness of a group parent training program for parents of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other developmental disabilities (DD).  We are currently seeking parents to volunteer to participate in this intervention program. 

Do you qualify for FREE Summer Wilson Reading Scholarship Program?
If you have a child in  grades 1 - 3  who has deficient decoding skills
and possess average to above average cognitive abilities check this out and apply today for the IDALIB Summer Scholarship Program

New State Assessments Testing Accommodation 
You may have heard about the new state assessments testing accommodation for students with special needs from the New York State Education Department. The accommodation is for a limited number of students who already have "Tests Read" on their IEPs. To find out if your child qualifies for the new "Tests Read" accommodation, turn to the "Testing Accommodations" section of your child's most recent IEP and see if the words "Tests Read" appears. Be sure to ask your child's special education teacher if you have any questions.

Greenlawn "Pickle Park" to become ADA-accessible!
Hot off the presses! An agreement has been reached in the months-long discussion of the status of "Pickle Park" (The playground next to the Harborfields Public Library, off of Wycoff Street in Greenlawn). The Board of Education has voted that it is in the best interest of the District to join with the Town of Huntington for the joint operation and development of the property. It is expected that the playground-in the next couple of years-will become an ADA-accessible park (in keeping with the Americans with Disabilities Act), with new construction and appropriate equipment and will be available for all to use.

Lincoln Center Passports Program - Don't Miss this Opportunity!
Designed for children with disabilities and their families, this program provides a welcoming, accessible, and affordable introduction to the performing arts at Lincoln Center at no cost. To learn about Spring 2017 performances, register today.

Is it Really Time to Start Thinking about Summer Camps?
It is if you have a child ages 8-14 who has developmental disabilities, including autism and want to send your child to the All Access Makers camp in NYC on the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum for only $50 for the week if accepted! Great opportunity for a parent who works in NYC.  Space is limited and applications are due by April 15th. (submitting an app does't guarantee admission)
Through Your Child's Eyes
Understanding a disability is one thing, but it's another thing to see them through your child's eyes. In order to truly empathize sometimes you need to try and Experience firsthand how frustrating it is for many of our children. Below are some links to unique simulations and videos from & that can help us better understand some of our children's worlds.
  • Experience It: Tailor the disability simulation, expert advice and child's story by selecting your child's issue(s) and grade level-or select a child from your profile. Start the simulation >
  • Children's Stories: Want to hear kids talk about what it feels like to have learning and attention issues? Start by clicking on an age group. Then choose a video from that age group. Listen to their stories>
localLocal Events & Programs

(There are events for all ages under 25) 

Butler Special Needs Center: Life Skills Club
Ages: 15 - 25 
Sunday 2/5, 3/5, 4/23, 5/7. 6/4  
10:30 am - 12:00 noon
74 Hauppauge Road, Commack, Room 27

Increase independence & prepare to enter the workforce. Learn & practice pre-vocational / vocational skills, ADL's & basic cooking skills as well as aided in socializing with peers & self advocating. 
Fees: Y Members $150, Non-Members $180Register Elizabeth Haft, 631.462.9800 ext. 142 or

Butler Special Needs Center: Saturday Night Teen Lounge
Ages: 12-21 
Saturday 2/4, 2/25, 3/4, 3/11, 4/1, 4/22, 5/6, 5/20, 6/3 6:00 - 9:00 pm
74 Hauppauge Road, Commack, Room 10
Join us for a night of fun! Swim, play video games, shoot hoops, create arts & crafts, watch a movie, & more! Fees: Y Members $20, Non-Members $30Register at front desk

Butler Special Needs Center: Teen & Tween Social Group
Ages: 12-21 
Sundays- 2/5, 2/26, 3/5, 4/23, 5/7, 5/21, 6/4  12:00 - 1:30 pm
74 Hauppauge Road, Commack 
Led by trained staff, participants will build social, self-advocacy & effective communication skills while engaged in recreational activities with others. Activities include gym & swim. 
Fees: Priced per session: Y members-$20/session   Non-Members- $25/session

Butler Special Needs Center: Sunday Lunch Bunch
Ages: 12-21 
Sundays- 2/5, 2/26, 3/5, 4/23, 5/7, 5/21, 6/4   1:30 - 3:00 pm
74 Hauppauge Road, Commack, Room 24
Join us for lunch! We will help prepare a delicious lunch to enjoy as a group. Participants learn to clean, cook, & work together as a team. Please
register at front desk
 Fees: Y Members $20, Non-Members $25

Bowling Buddies
All Ages
February 5, 1:00 - 2:15 PM
Strike 10 Lanes, Deer Park
Children will be paired up with a volunteer teenage buddy for some fun bowling! $10/session. Reg. requiredDetails> 

ZUMBA Kids with Deb Velazquez
Ages: 5 - 13
February 6, 12, 27 & March 6, 13, 20, 27 5:45 - 6:30 pm
501 Vanderbilt Parkway, Dix Hills
Registration needed. $15/class

Teen Scene 
(Ariella's Friendship Circle)
Ages: 9 - 18
February 12 & March 26 2:00 - 3:00 pm
501 Vanderbilt Parkway, Dix Hills

FREE program! Teen volunteers and teens with special needs get together monthly for social activities and group "hang outs", where they can have a great time while enhancing social skills along the way! Learn more >

Hip Hop Fun 
(Ariella's Friendship Circle)
Feb. 8, 15 & March 1, 15, 22, 29 
5:30 - 6:15 PM (recital April 5!)
501 Vanderbilt Parkway, Dix Hills
FREE program!  All Ages. Registration is required. Learn more >

Sensory Friendly Performance:
Freckleface Strawberry
Saturday, March 4, 11:00 AM
931 Montauk Highway Oakdale
They have even included a  social storyLearn more > 
Fee: $12/ticket Get Tickets

Sensory Friendly Performance:
Raggedy Ann
Sunday, March 5, 11:00 AM
Theater Three 412 Main Street, Port Jeff. 
Fee: $10/ticket Check it out >

Soccer Stars 
(Ariella's Friendship Circle)
All Ages
Sundays March 5 & 19, 2:00 - 3:00 pm  
501 Vanderbilt Parkway, Dix Hills

Extraordinary Picasso
Art classes for children with special needs
Ages 2+
Thursdays, now through March 19, 
4:15 - 5:15 pm (no class week of 2/20) 
Picasso Kidz 72 Broadway. Greenlawn
Check out to learn more

Harborfields Library
Offer several events every month that are for children of all abilities as well as sensory friendly movies.

Sensational Kids - Autism Exclusive Open Play
Mondays 5:00 - 7:00 PM
Bounce! 310 Michael Drive Syosset 
Local Parent Support

WEBINAR- NYS Autism Insurance Reform
Feb. 2, 12:00-1:30 PM Register
March 14, 5:00-6:30 PM Register 
This webinar will address the overall legislation, who it assists and how and will also give an update on the current status of the ABA portion of the legislation

FACEBOOK CHAT: Help with Math Homework 
Fri Feb 03 at 10:00am ET
To participate, visit Understood's  Facebookpage on the day of the chat.

Join Brendan Hodnett, special education teacher, for tips and tricks for tackling math homework.

WEBINAR - Overcoming Dysgraphia and Writing Challenges: A Guide for Teachers and Parents
Tuesday, February 7th, 2017 at 1pm 

WEBINAR- Effective Advocacy Skills
February 8, 11:00 - 12:00 PM Register
February 16, 6:00 - 7:00 PM Register

WEBINAR- Preventing Parent Burnout for Parents of Children with Special Needs
February 8,  6:00 - 7:00 PM Register
March 2, 12:00 - 1:00 Register

Wednesday, Feb. 8 
7:00 pm Support / 8:00 pm Presentation
Samoset Middle School Little Theater
Ronkonkoma, NY

Presentation: ADHD and ASD: Detecting, Understanding, and Managing Neurodevelopmental 
Alyson H. Sheehan, PhD Clinical Coordinator, Licensed Psychologist
Learn more >

WEBINAR- Is My High School Student Ready for College?
February 8, 2:00 PM

SMITHTOWN SEPTA: Roundtable Discussion on Executive Functioning with Elizabeth Stein
February 13, 2017 at 7:00 PM
26 New York Ave Smithtown, Room 222A
Open to all. Join us as we explore how executive function skills affect learning. We will review the specific skills and strategies needed to positively impact your child's achievements.  * Organization * Time management * Working memory * Self-regulation. Learn more > 

WEBINAR - ADHD and Yelling: Solutions for You and Your Child
Tue Feb 14 at 12:00 pm ET

WORKSHOP: Picky Eater 
Wed. February 15th @ 10:30 AM
Mineola, 516-229-1744
Fee: $25 Learn more >

WEBINAR - Loss, Grief, and Adjustment for Parents of Children with Special Needs
February 15,  10:00 -11:30 AM Register
March 9, 6:00 - 7:30 PM Register

WEBINAR- Medicaid Service Coordination for Families - Getting the Most from Your Child's Program
February 16,  12:00 - 1:00 PM

Transitioning to Kindergarten: Beginning the Committee on Special Education (CSE) Process 
February 16, 2017 7:00 PM-8:30 PM Ronkonkoma Firehouse, 177 Portion Rd., Ronkonkoma, NY 11779

Facebook Chat: Helping With Handwriting Issues
Thu Feb 23 at 10:00am ET
To participate, visit Understoods 
Facebook page on the day of the chat
When is it more than just messy handwriting? Join Rayma Griffin, educational consultant, for this Facebook chat.

WEBINAR- Transition: Early Intervention to Preschool Special Education
February 28, 12:00 - 1:30 PM Register
March 1, 6:00 - 7:30 PM Register

This workshop will guide parents through the EI to preschool special education transition in New York State. It will identify important steps in the process, changes to expect and critical decisions to be made as well as help participants to understand the transition process, and more.

Addressing Challenging Behavior in Preschoolers 
March 2, 2017 2:30 PM -4:00 PM Huntington Main Public Library, 338, Main Street, Huntington Register>

WEBINAR- Come Ask the Advocates your questions about the CSE/ IEP process
March 15, 11:00 - 12:30PM Register
March 21, 6:00 - 7:30PM Register            

WEBINAR- Crash Course on Understanding how to Read an IEP.
March 28,  12:00 - 1:30 PM Register
March 30, 6:00 - 7:30 PM Register

WEBINAR- Effective Communication for CSE Meetings
March 28,  6:00 - 7:30 PM Register

This issue includes a "Shout Out" to three people: 

Karin Fey, Co-President of SEPTA 
who was nominated by Colleen Wolcott. 
"Karin is tireless in her efforts to serve in our community and is a peaceful advocate for all" 
- Colleen Wolcott

Debbie Vavoules,HHS student
who was nominated by Diane Kuzma-Harvey. 
"Debbie is being nominated in this shout out for being such a blessing to my daughter. She is wonderful person and has been a supportive friend.Diane Kuzma-Harvey 
Kristine Calderone, a Harborfields parent
for organizing a most successful Free Kids Day Out during our December break at Chris Gates. Over 30 children were in attendance and all had a wonderful time.
To show our appreciation we will present each with 
a small gift card to Urban Coffee!


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