Join us weekly on Thursday nights for "The Parent Pod"! This weekly live virtual show on Facebook and now YouTube explores local family friendly businesses, highlights local parents, discusses important topics, spreads some kindness and more! Episode has been uploaded below.
This week we will be joined by Christine Riley & Tina Qvarnstrom from Cape Cod Advocate. Cape Cod Advocate has guided hundreds of families through the education process for students of all ages with learning challenges and disabilities. Our expertise with IEPs, 504s and education law means we can take the time to truly focus on each child's unique needs. We will be discussing school opening with COVID constraints, explaining the various options that are being proposed by school districts for school attendance, special education questions, how to create a good working relationship with your child’s teacher, etc. Plus they will take your questions!
Christine Riley established Cape Cod Advocate in 2005 to provide educational consultation and advocacy for children of all ages and disabilities. Since then, she's advocated for hundreds of families in every school district on Cape Cod and the Islands. Tina Qvarnstrom is professionally trained as an education advocate and parent consultant through the Federation for Children with Special Needs and has been with Cape Cod Advocate since 2012. She has first-hand experience with adoption and the challenges of school-aged children transitioning into new environments.
So pencil in on your calendar that this week at 8pm-this hour is for you!
As we move forward Cape Cod Moms will continue to help connect our families and caregivers to amazing resources and locals in our community. Each week we will go LIVE on Facebook (soon to YouTube but replays available on website and YT and Instagram) with a special guest. We will also be sharing giveaways and a bevi of the week brought to you by local businesses and bartenders.
If you want to nominate someone for a giveaway or share a funny story see our links below:
Quotes/ Stories Parenting Stories
(we keep it anonymous)
Random Acts of Kindness
Submit your questions for a guests here
If YOU or your business is interested in being featured or you want to join our team please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
With the Cape Cod Parent Resource Fair rapidly approaching we will be sharing blog posts on our participating sponsors, vendors and nonprofits. You will find out more about these amazing businesses and what they offer to our community. They will be sharing their services, advice, what challenges face our community as well as upcoming events they will be having. Make sure to check out our virtual program and resource guide ahead of the event so you can plan for what you want to see including our famous speaker panels. If you preregister for the speakers you will earn extra raffle tickets. You also earn them by attending any of our entertainment sessions! Just email us and you will receive tickets at the door! We hope to see you at the Resource Fair!
1. Tell us about your business/non profit and how it benefits local families?
(KDC) Kennedy-Donovan Center Cape Cod Community Services is a resource and referral agency supporting individuals of all ages with developmental delays, disabilities, and family challenges. KDC offers “Across the Lifespan” services to people through-out the Cape, beginning with (EI) Early Intervention and including the Family Support Center, Individual Supports, Adult Family Care, Foster Care, Supported Living, Residential Services, community events, recreational programs, and free trainings for individuals, parents and providers. Our Family Support Center is funded through (DDS) the Department of Developmental Services.
2. Where is it located?
KDC Cape Cod office is located at 30 Ansel Hallett Road in West Yarmouth. Our administrative office is in Foxboro, MA.
3. What is your favorite thing about our community?
Our Cape Cod community has a great network of helping services for people of all ages. We love the vibrant collaborations with one goal of being of service to those in need.
4. How else do you get involved with the community?
KDC offers community opportunities through-out Cape Cod so we have strong collaborations with businesses and agencies in every town. KDC individuals also volunteer their services at local agencies such as the MSPCA and Seaside Lemans.
5. What do you think are the biggest challenges facing parents in our community?
6. What is your favorite memory or story over the years involving you and your business?
One of our individuals, David, who is on the autism spectrum has been taking art lessons with a local teacher sponsored by KDC. In the beginning he painted with very limited ability and used primarily dark colors like black and brown. Over the years his art progressed into beautiful pieces with vibrant colors. This past year, his painting of a prancing horse was entered into the (ADDP) Association of Developmental Disability Providers calendar contest. He won. His painting was selected for the cover, he was awarded a significant cash prize and he attended the ADDP event at the State House.
7. Do you have any specials, events, or anything else taking place this upcoming year that our parents should know about?
KDC recently picked up the Early Intervention program on Cape Cod. KDC is hosting an Early Intervention Workshop on Thursday, January 23, 2020 from 5:30-7:30. Location 30 Ansel Hallett Road West Yarmouth, MA . Topic: Identifying “Red Flags” in Early Childhood Development. Limited childcare available. Registration required: contact Juliane Dillon 774-352-1325 or email@example.com
Preeminent Experts to Present: What Parents Need to Know About Dyslexia and Language-Based Learning Differences
Preeminent Experts to Present: What Parents Need to Know about Dyslexia and Language-based Learning Differences
All parents and guardians are invited to attend Comprehending the Challenge and Potential of Children with Dyslexia and Language-based Learning Differences, a discussion led by two preeminent experts in the field of language-based learning differences.
This special presentation will be held on Monday, June 3rd at 5:30 p.m. at Cape Cod Academy (CCA).
Guest speakers, Jon Green and Jeanette Epstein of The Hamilton School at Wheeler in Providence, Rhode Island, helped to create a successful school within a school for children with learning differences. Jon and Jeanette have begun an exciting outreach initiative to help school communities better understand learning differences.
Roughly 20% of the people in the US have some kind of learning difference. Dyslexia is the most common language-based learning difference diagnosed in children, and it rarely occurs in isolation. Jon and Jeanette will share insight and answer parents’ questions about children with language-based learning differences. They will provide tools to empower parents and share information and educational strategies. They will review the 12 things parents need to know about dyslexia and learning differences.
Jonathan Green has been Director of The Hamilton School at Wheeler for the past 27 years and has been a board member of the International Dyslexia Association (IDA) for six years. Jeanette Epstein has been Director of Admissions at Wheeler School for the past 32 years and the Brown/Wheeler elementary MAT Program. The Hamilton School at Wheeler is an innovative school-within-a-school for 80 students in grades one through eight who have diagnosed language-based learning disabilities.
What: Comprehending the Challenge and Potential of Children with Dyslexia and Language-based Learning Differences (A Talk for Parents)
Who: Jon Green and Jeanette Epstein of The Hamilton School at Wheeler, an innovative school within a school for children with dyslexia and language-based learning differences.
Where: Cape Cod Academy, 50 Osterville-W. Barnstable Road, Osterville, MA 02655 Tel: 508.428.5400
When: Monday, June 3rd at 5:30 p.m.
How: Free and open to the public.
Autism Awareness Month
As we enter Autism Awareness Month, many do so with a lot of enthusiasm and want to know how they can support the autistic people in their lives. I wanted to take the opportunity to address my opinions are hot-button, important topics, because it is an area that many have no idea is an issue. Language is powerful and we need to make a shift in how we speak about autistic individuals in order to give them the respect that every human being deserves, while also recognizing that there are popular hurtful images and organizations that people think are helpful.
I will cover the following topics: Language, Functioning Labels, Logos/Symbols, & Organizations. If you want to learn more about ways to support the autistic community during Autism Awareness Month or support to be supportive of the Neurodivesity Movement check out my blog on Remy's Rainbows about Autism Awareness Month!
Corinne is a wash-a-shore who grew up on Long Island, NY, but spent summers and vacations here on the Cape in Brewster. She moved to the Cape, full- time, shortly after college in 2000, and eventually settled in Falmouth in 2014, with her husband Rob. She is mom to her incredible autistic 6 –year-old son, Remy, stepmother to twins, William and Samantha, and eldest, Sophie who are all now young adults. Corinne is also a local community theatre director and actor and whose work on, and offstage, has been seen throughout the Cape. She also enjoys; knitting, crocheting, painting, reading, cooking and baking in her free time. In early 2018, her son Remy started on an artistic journey creating stunning images through fluid art. Corinne and her husband started “Remy’s Rainbows,” as a way to share Remy’s talents, as well as their unique journey with autism. You can follow their journey at www.remysrainbows.com and they can be found on FB, Twitter, Instagram and Etsy @remysrainbows.
Local Moms, Jess Roy is a mom of autistic twins who are non verbal and 8. She has decided to open a autism and sensory store to help her sons and the community. Piecing it Together will host their GRAND OPENING on March 31, 2019 at 9am!
The store will cater to children with ADHD, autism and many other needs. They will also have resources such as GPS bracelets, a special needs photographer, a horse back riding company for therapy, special needs fishing charters, and fun events in the future like paint nights etc. They will offer a lot of different sensory items and toys and have connected with Edaville regarding their sensory weekend.
They want parents to know they can shop or find info and not worry if your child has a meltdown. They get it and live it too. So stop on by and check out this amazing new resource!
Jess can be contacted at: (774) 419-2497. The store is located at 171 Marion Road in Wareham. And you can visit the website here: https://www.piecingittogether1.com/
Join local moms for the first South Shore Autism Eats event. Please join us at Harbor Fire Bar and Grill in Marshfield on January 24 for an Autism Eats dinner event!
We will have our own room, a delicious dinner buffet and beautiful water view. This will be a treat!
January 24, 2017 - Harbor Fire Bar and Grill, Marshfield, MAHarbor Fire Bar and Grill
239 Dyke Rd
6:00pm to 8:00pm
Click here to To Order Tickets for January 24, 2017
Autism Eats now in its third year was started to give autism families an opportunity to enjoy restaurant dinners without the stress that often accompanies these outings. Since everyone in our private room "gets it" there is no need to explain any behaviors or feel like all eyes are on us. It is a wonderful way to have a night out with other families in an autism-friendly
This is going to be an amazing event! We have a family traveling from Burlington and another coming all the way from New York! Several of our local state reps will be making an appearance. This is not only a great way for families to network but for all our special children to make some new friends.If you are interested and missed the original post please visit www.autismeats.org to register and please feel free to message me if you have any questions. And even if you are not the parent of a special needs child please help spread the word. So many families can benefit from events like this - thanks!
Did you ever just know that your child was special, or maybe just a little different? If your answer is yes, or maybe then this group is the group for you. I started a Facebook support group a few weeks back after my daughters diagnosis. Let me back track a bit.
Our daughter was born a month or so early, and from the moment she was born we knew something was special about her. We went home in a timely manner even though she came home with jaundice and a heart murmur everything seemed okay. Then she started having a hard time breastfeeding, and keeping the milk down. Which meant she wasn't gaining weight. For the first month she barely gained anything, her jaundice took sometime to go away, and we were told that if she didn't start gaining weight, and the jaundice didn't start to go away she would have to be admitted back to the hospital. One of the saddest moments for me as a knew mom, I felt as though I had failed. We switched to formula, and no matter which one we tried she just couldn't keep it all down. We even tried putting rice in her bottle but that didn't help. However she was finally gaining weight and he jaundice was going away, so we didn't have to go back to the hospital. Eventually my daughter was diagnosed with acid reflux and a lactose sensitivity. She had tried so many different formulas, and by the time we got to milk even the lactose free milk didn't help stop the reflux. That was the beginning of our journey which has just begun. Our daughter has recently been diagnosed with SPD ( sensory processing disorder) hypersensitivity, along with speech delay and behavioral issues. This doesn't mean my daughter is mean or doesn't know how to behave.
I started this group to help find support here on the Cape as well as across the country. My main focus is here on our tiny island. I found it difficult going to play groups with other kids when my daughter has trouble understanding personal space. Now some will say no 2.5 year old knows what personal space is, and I would agree. With my daughter it is a little bit more complicated than that. With this new group I want to be able to bring parents and children with special needs together, talk and gain new prospective from other parents. I don't want to have to explain why my daughter is touching you even though she has been asked many times to please stop.
With this group I hope to accomplish this, to make friends who understand, and for my daughter to be able to make friends without fear of judgement. I know there are other moms, dad, grandparents, aunts, and uncles out there searching for a group like the one I've started. Like me they don't know where to look. I went searching for one the day we came home with her diagnosis, and was unable to locate one on the Cape or surrounding areas. I want to encourage others to come check out our group, share your stories, vent if you need to. This group is a no judgement group. Not all kids are easy and not all kids are the same, and in our group we understand this. The group is called "Special needs speaks" it is a closed group so you will have to ask to join. However keeping it closed means keeping everyone's vents and issues privately within the group. You are not alone in this, there are others who are going through similar issues with their kiddos. We want to be here for you if and when you need us.
Check out below for the ways to get in touch with me and join our group!
Email - SamanthaSturtevant38@gmail.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/Samantha.Sturtevant6
I am owner and blogger for Hungry hungry mommys
Facbook for HHM - https://www.facebook.com/hungryhungrymommy/
Facebook for Special needs speaks - https://www.facebook.com/groups/specialneedsspeaks/
By: Melinda Lancaster
There are times, as a parent of a child who cannot communicate, that I have no idea what my child is thinking, why she cries, why she laughs, why she says “ow”. None. Why does she sometimes burst into tears…is she thinking of her sister so far away, is she lonely, is she missing someone, did something happen? Is she thinking of all the things she can’t do, is she grieving the loss of what she might have been?
I do. Not as much as I used to, but I do. There are many parents who will understand this, those who've lost their children, those who have severely disabled children, and others whose children aren't. But, I can only speak for me.
Once, I had a perfectly normal baby girl, one who was going to grow up, fall in love, have her heart broken, who would want me to “do” her hair, and put on makeup. She would go to the prom, be a scientist or a teacher or an astronaut or none of those things. She would get married, I would dress shop with her and cry when she found “the one.” I would watch her change her name with a kiss and cradle her children in my arms. And, then….I didn’t.
Poof. All those dreams sucked from my heart in one fell swoop of “your child will be disabled for the rest of her life.” Did I love her less? Of course not. But grieve, oh yes, I did. I cried for days. She was not one bit different than the day before, but I was different. I was now a special needs parent. How can that happen in just one moment? One moment you’re a normal mom, and you’re just wondering…”I wonder why she’s not talking anymore?” It’s just a wonder, not a real worry, just a thought, almost discarded. And then it’s YOU, the normal regular ole mom full of dreams that you have to discard.
But, you adjust. You do. You move ahead, because what else can you do. But then, Kindergarten comes along, except no one cares about your child’s class on parent night. No one’s even there when you go. You don’t get to meet the teacher, see the other students. And that little tiny bit of normal you were hoping for, well that’s just sucked right from under you again.
And the playground, full of laughing, running children is hard to face, as you place your child in the baby swing at seven because she can’t hold on yet, but you do it because you know a smile will greet you and it’s a little gift of normal, a part of a dream you once had of taking your perfectly normal baby girl to the playground and watch her play. It’s not exactly the dream, but it’s close, and close is good in this world of special needs.
These sorts of moments come when you least expect them, the ones that almost break you. Like when you realize Halloween will never ever be fun and you stop dressing her up for it. Or when there aren’t any children at her birthday party and she never has a sleepover and she never, not even once, gets an invite to someone else’s birthday party that isn’t family.
And JUST when you think you’re through, you have no loss left to grieve, bam, she’s a senior and she should be going to the prom, but even if she could, you’d never find a dress to fit, and who would take her-no sweet boy, who was so nervous he could barely get the words out and then jumped up with a fist pump because she said “yes”.
But, there are great joys that counter all of that. A new skill, a new word, snuggles beyond the teenage years. And while I now realize there will be times I will grieve what could have been, the journey for a special needs parent, at least me, is to learn that the achievements are sweeter, the laughter more melodious, and the adage that “something worthwhile is never easy” becomes more true.
So, that’s why against almost all the odds, I strive to teach my daughter to read, to communicate, and on more basic levels to feed herself, to find ways to open the world to her despite her limitations. And now I have new dreams and hopes. They are no less wonderful, because what could be more wonderful than putting a book in her hands and having her understand.
I know that “what might have been” will stay with me, though Time will lessen its pull, but Hope for what might be, that’s what’s filling up the space left behind.
Melinda Lancaster is a children's author and a poet. Her books ("Tyler and the Spider" and "Grandma, Tell me If You Can) are published through Wiggles Press and her poem "Echoes" hangs in the Hyannis JFK Museum. After studying
By: Melinda Lancaster
Good day to all.
As I have been thinking about what to write about in my first real blog post the “Sound of Music” came to mind and the song “Do, Re, Mi” and the lyrics, “start at the very beginning, it’s a very good place to start. When you read you begin with A,B,C…..” so there you go! A,B,C it is!
Of course, reading is the number one way to get kids interested in reading. Dr. Seuss is my all-time favorite for this. The crazy antics of his characters and the ridiculous situations are appealing to children and rhyme is
one of the best ways for young children to hear words and how they sound alike, but mean different things. Dr. Seuss’ ABC book is a classic. I have read that so many times to Katelin that I have it memorized and use it while we talk about the ABC’s in almost every context. (Mind you she is 20, so having it memorized is not as weird as it sounds!)
So, the next few blog posts will be about the ABC’s, not so much how to teach them (because I can only speak for what works for Katelin and I) but some of the aids, manipulatives and apps we use to facilitate the learning of the ABC’s.
One of the more prominent tools that I use for Katelin is her iPad. The “Yes and No” app is one of the few ways she can communicate with the general population, but we use it mainly for education. So, today I am going to compare two Apps-both “Magnetic ABCs”
I downloaded tons of “lite” versions of apps and the following two were the best that suited our needs. I found many of the other selections to be so limited or annoying, with too much going on, music, animation etc. I find
that for Katelin, when teaching the basics, basic apps are better.
The first is ABC-Magnetic Alphabet by Dot Next.
This app has many good things going for it, but the lite version is totally useless as it only offers the capital letters. There are two other versions, one which I purchased (I think is one $1.99, but in app-purchases are
available) and a new one for $8.99. If the $8.99 had been offered when I first purchased I would have gotten that, it comes will all the in-app purchases and future updates/additions.
What I really like about the version I have (with the in-app purchases) is the variety. Let me show you what I
This app comes with Capital and small letters , numbers and a variety of things that can be used to make
scenes or to spell out. It also offers a variety of backgrounds for the kids to make comprehensive scenes, there’s a Halloween background and Halloween magnets, a winter background and Christmas magnets, a spring background and Easter magnets. The biggest plus to me though is the small letters.
This app also comes with all sorts of collections including underwater, vehicles, construction, outer space (as in-app purchases).
It has a lot of potential. The biggest downside for our situation is that it doesn’t talk, but this may not matter to most of you. However, for Katelin, who needs reinforcement at every level, having at least the letters “say” out their name would be very helpful, especially on the rare occasion she makes her own choice.
For that we use Abby’s Magnetic Toys by 22learn LLC. This has a Lite (free) version that may fit your needs but it only allows you so many items on the screen at one time and there will be popups asking if you want the full version. What I LOVE about this app is that every letter and every object, when placed on the screen, speaks its name.
Here’s an example
We use this app in a lot of ways. Katelin can pick an object then I’ll switch to the letters option and spell it out, or I will spell out a word say, “CAT” then put up the picture of the cat. Another way it can be used is initial sounds. I will put the letter “B” on the screen and then go through the selections and put “b” words on the
screen and she will hear the word and the initial sound being repeated. It also offers “blocks” and some background patterns to place the blocks on, but instead of saying the shape it says the color of the block
This app does have a couple of downsides. First and foremost it does not have small letters; it doesn’t even
offer them as an in-app purchase. Secondly, it doesn’t repeat the sound after it’s been placed on the board. Thirdly, the selection of items is limited, but it does offer contextual backgrounds that the other app doesn’t, mainly inside homes, however the “children” are not very ethnically diverse.
Between these two apps, I am able to teach Katelin a LOT, not only her ABC’s, but how to spell, teach contextual scenes that make sense, ie: Santa’s not in the Halloween scene and give her the ability to tell me, through eye gaze or pointing what she wants to add into a scene, or even, very rarely, what letter things start with!
Please join us in welcoming New Cape Cod Mom Advisor: Melinda Lancaster! We look forward to her blogs and her expertise! Comment below on topics you would like to see her discuss in the future! Welcome Melinda-great to have you!
By: Melinda Lancaster
Good day all! My name is Melinda Lancaster and I’m new to the Cape Cod Mommies blog, so let me introduce myself. I am a US Navy veteran, a member of the Cape Cod Children’s Writers Group, published author of “Tyler and the Spider” and “Grandma, Tell Me If You Can,” and a poet, with a piece of poetry hanging in the Hyannis JFK Museum. But mostly, I’m a mom to three amazing children (my daughter, Katelin has Rett Syndrome), two step children, and a grandma of four.
Reading and writing has always been a passion, even more so since I became an author. The wonder of the written word can never be overestimated, it teaches, encourages you to dare, explore, dream and opens up new worlds, connecting the reader to ideas, cultures, and amazing, wonderful places. But, I have learned that beyond that, or rather the crux of it all, is communication.
As a parent of a special needs child, I have been given a challenge-how to help my child, who cannot speak, communicate. So as I venture into this world of blogging, I hope that I can give other moms of special needs
children, or children just beginning to read, some tips they may find helpful on the amazing journey of learning to read, as well as review apps that I have found helpful (or not), the difficulties and successes of Katelin’s progress and some fun ways for hands on learning and some of Katelin’s favorite books.
I am available for readings of my book, “Tyler and the Spider”, which was inspired by my daughter as a way to address differences in general, for classrooms and daycares- it comes with a fun craft, easily adapted to any child.
I am looking forward to this new adventure!
Melinda Lancaster is a children's author and a poet. Her books ("Tyler and the Spider" and "Grandma, Tell me If You Can) are published through Wiggles Press and her poem "Echoes" hangs in the Hyannis JFK Museum. After studying
Cape Cod Moms