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Sunday, October 7, 2012

Special Needs Resources Fair at Merrimack College

It was fun and interesting to network at the Special Needs Resources fair at Merrimack College in MA. I spent some time at the Ironstone Therapies table where visitors were able to see 55 minutes of hippotherapy videos. I just realized that my blouse was color coordinated with  the cover to my book The Recycling Occupational Therapist.

It was interesting to see some area programs that I was not familiar with and some that I had connections to. One of the Ironstone Therapists  works at the Kioko center and the owner Tara McCormick (who once worked at Ironstone, too) bought a copy of From Rattles to Writing.

I noticed there were many parent advocates sharing information at their tables. I guess its a growing field- helping parents get the school services they feel their children need. I worked for 9 years as an OT in the public schools and have mixed feelings. Sometimes I felt that students should have had more services, at other times I thought that OT services should be discontinued because they were not helping the child. When a student is not making the progress to bring him or her to grade level there are many possible reasons including, inadequate amounts or quality of services and that the child has a disability (including cognitive delays) that make it impossible to perform at age level. Schools are a complex setting filled with strife and conflict- which is why I moved from a higher paying job to a lower paying job doing hippotherapy. The children and parents are HAPPY!

I did meet an interesting occupational therapist while exploring the fair. Mary Jean Hughes wrote a book about her struggles to get appropriate services for her son Kyle who has dyslexia. I gave her a copy of my book- From Rattles to Writing and she gave me a copy of her book- The Wolf Who Cried Boy. We will each write a book review on amazon.....

I actually read it yesterday while chilling out on my porch swing. Its a fast read and a physically, cute, hard-covered,  short book that reminds me of a very long and artistically written blog about what its like to be an OT with a PhD in education trying to get a child who obviously has sensory motor impairment and learning disabilities a much needed IEP. I recommend this book for parents going through the process and special education professionals who want the other perspective.
Hughes is one justifiably angry  mama who paid out of pocket for numerous evaluations, therapies, private school, sped advocates and lawyers simply to get the support her child needed in order to read and write and academically succeed.Throughout the book Hughes quotes and refers to the work of Dr. SDally Shaywitz who brilliantly explains what dyslexia is and how to treat it.  I have often used this book as a resource in my writing and presentations, so happy to share again. ....

 I enjoyed the family photos and an even greater treat- Kyle's art work. If impaired left brain function impacts language development is balanced by advanced right brain visual artistic abilities, Kyle's precocious artistic abilities demonstrate this concept. I really enjoyed this book and writing the amazon review which I have practically done already ........
throughout the book

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