The transition out of summer activities and schedules and back to school is often difficult for kids (and sometimes for parents too!), and for many kids, can be quite anxiety provoking. For kids who struggle with mental health concerns such as anxiety, depression, ADHD, autism, or other mental health issues, school can be particularly difficult as they may struggle to fit in and to adjust to the school routine and schedule more than other peers their age. It is important to discuss the upcoming changes and talk about any worries your child may be having. Empathize with your child’s concerns and provide reassurance and support. Ask your child to identify any struggles they may have had in previous years and discuss what can be done differently this year to avoid similar occurrences. If your child sees a mental health clinician, discuss any concerns about school with them so they can address this in session and can provide your child with useful coping strategies and tools to assist them in managing the transition.
On Saturday, August 29, 2015, the Greater Richmond ARC will officially open the 2.4 acre ARCpark, the first entirely handicap-accessible, all-inclusive recreation area in central Virginia. Specifically designed for individuals with and without disabilities to enjoy outdoor recreational activities together, the park has three state-of-the-art playgrounds, including one for all ages. The ARCpark borders the organization’s 3600 Saunders Avenue headquarters on Richmond’s north side, and the free event from noon to 3 p.m. is open to the public.
“Families have told us they need and want a park that has activities and equipment for individuals both with and without intellectual and physical abilities – a park that offers therapeutic value, is safe, and can be enjoyed by people of all ages,” said John Walker, president and CEO of the Greater Richmond ARC, an organization providing services for persons with special needs for decades. “They want their loved ones to exercise, play and learn alongside everyone else.”
The ARCpark was designed based on feedback from ARC’s clients, their families and caregivers, occupational and physical therapists and special educators, and current research regarding the needs of people with developmental disabilities. Its diversity of components include a family restroom with an adult-sized changing table; charging stations for electric wheelchairs; a tree house with a ramp to the top wide enough for walkers and other adaptive equipment; play and fitness equipment for persons of all ages and abilities, including a glider that can accommodate a wheelchair; and safety surfaces throughout the park.
One of the ARCpark’s most innovative features is a custom-built sensory wall with a kaleidoscope panel, fossil and animal reliefs, and talk tubes to foster touch, hearing, vision, and fine motor skills – particularly beneficial for people with autism and sensory processing disorders. Some components were selected because they are stimulating, while others because they are calming, educational, or therapeutic.
The ARCpark is also landscaped to provide plenty of shade, with misting stations and shade structures throughout to help visitors keep cool, especially important for those with heat sensitivities.
“We no longer want families with loved ones who have physical or intellectual disabilities to remain on the sidelines when it comes to having fun and getting fit,’’ Walker added. “The ARCpark will fully accommodate people who have disabilities and will welcome those who do not. Everyone–young or old, able or disabled– will have the opportunity to play and exercise alongside one another. The ARCpark has something for everybody.””
The landmark all-inclusive park is being funded by a combination of private donations and community grants and hailed for its innovative approach.
“I have not found one park in or around Richmond like the one (ARC) is planning,” said Vicki Beatty, whose son Davis was born with a genetic anomaly in 1995. Explaining it has been a “journey of perseverance to overcome barriers,” Beatty says these can sometimes be physical, and “other times, they have to do with others’ perceptions and attitudes. Either way, Davis misses out when he is not given the chance to naturally interact with others on a level playing field.”
For families like the Beattys, the ARCpark will be a welcome destination. “The team here at ARC has developed a park with an incredible attention to detail for families, whether or not one of their members has a disability,” said Walker.
About the Greater Richmond ARC
The Greater Richmond ARC provides a variety of innovative services and programs designed to meet the needs of clients and their families. Services span the lifecycle and assist people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities to live happy, successful and meaningful lives. Core areas of service include: Infant & Child Development Services; After School & Day Support Services; ARC Employment Services; and Camp Baker Services, a full service respite and camp facility. For more information, please visit www.RichmondARC.org.
Dear General Ed Teacher,
It is almost time for me to get started as a student in your class and I thought it would be a good idea to share some important details with you in order for us BOTH to succeed.
There was no form that my parents filled out to let you know about this “stuff”.
Caregivers of dependents with special needs who receive Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) benefits must fully understand the nature, scope and duration of these benefits to effectively plan for the financial future of their dependent. When SSDI benefits are payable based on a caregiver’s working record to their adult dependent with special needs, the Social Security Administration (SSA )considers this type of benefit as a “child’s” benefit. It is this form of eligibility that this article will address.
It has taken me over a month to be able to write this after my son’s last IEP meeting. I have done about 20 drafts. Our next meeting happens today and I am walking on eggshells.
Why does it have to be like this? I have no real answer but here is a letter I wrote to our “IEP team”. Maybe I will bring it with me.
Have you heard about AngelSense? I found this on a recent search of the web as I am always looking for things to make our lives easier and safer. AngelSense is the only GPS and Voice Monitoring solution designed exclusively for children with special needs.
Hi, my name is Jason Dash and I am writing today about my son Max Dash and how is attitude, bravery, and smile over the past 6 months has not only inspired our family, but has taught us how to be better parents, and what being a parent actually means. Max is an amazing little boy who just turned two on July 10th. This winter, he was diagnosed with Type 2 Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA II). My family had been preparing ourselves for this diagnosis for some time. We noticed early on that Max was having trouble sitting on his own and wasn’t hitting some of the same gross motor milestones that many children usually hit.
No matter how much you prepare yourself, the reality that your child will never walk, still hits you like a freight train going a million miles per hour. Your mind goes blank for a few moments and when you come to, you just keep telling yourself that everything will be ok. Although you really can’t comprehend what ok means or, how things are actually going to get to the point of being “ok”.
The first few doctor visits and the first trip to the muscular dystrophy clinic at the Richmond Children’s Hospital were hard. As a parent, you try to be attentive as possible, understand everything the doctors are saying. You try to hold yourself together, because you want to be looked at as a strong parent however, all the while, you really don’t know what that means and you are worried that you will never get to the point of being ok.
Six months into this diagnosis, our family still hasn’t figured everything out. We have a long way to go, and every day we learn something new, but for the first time since the diagnosis, I can finally say that we are beginning to feel ok.
What we have realized is that Max is the same as any other two year old despite his diagnosis. Our initial feelings of, “Max will not be able to accomplish the things he wants to” – is totally false. The idea that nothing will be normal was not anything but an initial reaction caused by fear and uncertainty. We have noticed that in Max’s mind, it doesn’t mean a thing to him that he is wheelchair bound or unable to stand. He wants to do the same things he witnesses all of the other children doing. We have made it our job as parents to encourage him and make sure we find a way for him to do it.
It is about stretching him and challenging him in everything he wants to do. We see an achiever in our son, whether it be him playing tee ball in the Miracle League, learning how to control a motorized wheelchair or just trying to complete tasks that many of us take for granted every day. A neighbor of ours mentioned this past weekend, ” I love seeing your son, he is always smiling and, he makes you realize that there is so much to smile about.”
Being ok, means that every day we work to give Max what he needs to succeed, to be happy, and to prosper in a world where the only limits are the limits you give yourself. Our job, is to keep Max smiling, so that he can change the world, one smile at a time.
Lynnhaven Academy Moves to New Location in the Museum District to Accommodate Rapid Growth and Expand Programs
Lynnhaven Academy (Lynnhaven) announced today that the school will be moving on August 1, 2015 to 304 North Sheppard Street, Richmond, Virginia, the former location of St. Benedictine High School.
Lynnhaven is a college preparatory academy for boys and girls in grades 3 through 12 and features a unique experiential learning environment. Lynnhaven specializes in individualized education programs tailored for each student’s needs and strengths and programs that promote critical thinking and academ- ic achievement.
Lynnhaven has doubled its student population each year since it was founded in 2012. Due to this growth, Lynnhaven will be moving into the space at 304 North Sheppard Street to facilitate the expansion of its day school, after school, and summer camp programs. Lynnhaven will occupy 10,000 square feet of this facility and will share the gym and cafeteria with the other facility occupant, Richmond Prep, an independent Christian school offering services to children in grades PK – 6.
“The leadership, faculty, staff and families of Lynnhaven are thrilled to make this move to the former St. Benedictine High School space” said Johnathan Harris, founder and Headmaster. “I am also especially thankful to the Catholic Diocese of Richmond for allowing Lynnhaven to occupy this wonderful facility. I feel confident that this move will allow us to continue our growth and strengthen our commitment to pre- paring students for success in college. Our aim is to challenge them to become exemplary citizens of a changing global society. We’ll be very close to museums, parks and cultural organizations, which will allow us to grow our experiential learning, student volunteer, and athletic programs.”
For more information about Lynnhaven Academy, call 804.782.2300 or visit www.LynnhavenAcade- my.org.
Names have been changed in the following article to protect the innocent. And the less innocent, but whatever.
This summer, I volunteered at a summer camp that taught young kids other languages. I took care of the children, played with them, and helped keep the classroom tidy. All in all, the camp was set up quite well – distinct schedules, reasonably tidy rooms, and friendly helpers. It was a good camp. I only had one problem with the camp – the children there. They weren’t really mean, per se – they just played a bit rough.
Our good friends at Feld Entertainment, Inc. have given us tickets to giveaway for Disney On Ice coming to Richmond Coliseum September 10-13. If you would like to go, we have 3 sets of 4 to offer for the 9/10 show . Plus discounts on tickets and for parking.