From SEPTA Secretary, Karen Sosnoski
Arlington Special Education PTA
Thursday April 20, 2017 7-9 PM
Syphax Education Center
2110 Washington Blvd., Rooms 101, 103
Minutes from March meeting:
- Presented by Caroline Levy, President for approval. Passed.
- Treasurer’s Report: Adam Mann
- We did have our silent auction. Total number that we raised just over $6,000.
- 13 new members in March, 168 total. Pay the $10 for membership if you haven’t already.
- Goal for the next couple months to get to 300. To date, revenue for this year $8,128.
- We’re in the black. We’re right on target for all of our expenditures.
- President’s Report: Caroline Levy
- Inclusion Workshop: Was a great success. Cheryl Jorgenson came from NH, spoke to about 90 attendees. There were teachers from Fairfax and Southern VA.
- Magic Paintbrush. “This was fabulous. The kids were so engaged! It’s an incredible experience of getting involved in art at a level that makes sense to them. One parent said, ‘hey, I think we found art!’ Two workshops, ten educators attended, all from Therapeutic Rec. No Arlington art teachers, but one science teacher.
- Transportation Breakfast: SEPTA served breakfast to drivers and aids. Since all were appreciative, Caroline suggested we do this twice next year.
- EOY Picnic. There are enough parents that can’t get here on a Thursday night so want a weekend. in June. Reed Westover space has been reserved. More on that soon.
- Waddells run a sensory friendly movie night at Tysons, with venders, swag bags, SEPTA is the charity sponsor, they are the corporate sponsor. Info. is up on the website. Saturday June 17th for Cars 3.
- Nominating Committee: Katherine Harris by Caroline Levy.
- We have a president elect nominee. Janna Dressel. Hannah Grieco has offered to be VP of programming. We’re still looking for a VP of membership, particularly interested in S. Arlington representatives.
- Official slate will be presented at our May meeting at Drew model school, 6:30-7:30. At 7:30, Kelly Krugg is bringing a dyslexia coach who will do a training. Also at Drew that night is one of the school board caucuses.
- VP Fundraising, Linda Campanelli:
- Thanked everyone especially for experiential opportunities. Her goal for next year is for every school to donate a basket. Thank you notes will be going out next week.
- Kathleen Donovan, Parent Resource Center.
- “I’’m Determined Workshop”—empowering kids with disabilities at a young age to begin to take charge of their lives. A free session. April 26, 2017, 9-11AM. Syphax Ed Center.
- May is better hearing and speech month: “Life and Educational Experiences of Deaf/Hard of Hearing Graduate Students and Adults, April 25, 7-8:30 PM, Syphax Ed Center; Cochlear Implants Workshop, May 3, 2017 7-8:30 PM, Syphax Ed Center.
Dr. Linda McKenna Gulyn, Ph.D. on Teens with Disabilities:
- Developmental psychologist, Marymount University. Kids through adults. She has teaching experience, but had a set of twin boys in 2001 and in 2003 two more boys and she realized she had a lot to learn. They learned that their son Daniel had no language. He was identified by PIE at age 3; at age 5 he was diagnosed with autism.
- Brainstorming on the identity of teenagers, developmental tasks of adolescents.
- Participants hit on topics of peer pressure, power struggles, risky behaviors, self esteem issues, self consciousness, hormones.
- Major tasks start with changing body, child to adult. It’s a major upheaval in all of us, accompanied by a growth spurt.
- Separating from parents, being a separate person. If we didn’t do it, we’d still be with our parents now. It leads to all sorts of conflict.
- “Who am I?” questions and cognitive changes.
- Thinking and problem solving. Able to imagine ‘what if?’
- Abstract thinking and self consciousness, imaginary audience, can lead to self consciousness.
- Then we have our kids with disabilities who are trying to discover who they are. Most teens learn about themselves and about sex from friends, it’s a normal process. For teens with autism or other disabilities who may have a harder time forming friendships learning about their own identities and about sexuality can be more complicated.
- Puberty and Sexuality:
- Knowledge regarding sex is usually acquired indirectly from peers, pop culture, and general life experience. People with autism often don’t pick up the same information from these sources.
- Sometimes they don’t take Gen Ed health class.
- Do not wait for a crisis to arise to address sex education. Problems with impulse control, self regulation equals crisis. (Gives an example of her son wanting to touch an aid’s breasts. Could have been a legal issue, wasn’t, but she advices preempting crises like this.)
- Be very explicit. Use direct education, literal terminology and visuals. Body changes, menstruation and ejaculation, privacy, boundaries/touch, expressing affection all need to be addressed bluntly.
- Teach teens about public vs. private (e.g., changing clothes, masturbation.)
- Teens with disabilities are vulnerable—can be made fun of on social media. Educating them helps.
- Sexual abuse of people with ID, especially girls, is quite high—up to 89 percent. Teen may not know the abuse is wrong, or may not be able to communicate what has happened.
- Not a lot of research, but kids with ID are lonelier than typical peers.
- Rooted at fundamental challenges with initiating and maintaining conversation, self-regulation and social competence.
- Individuals with autism do not like to be alone and it is not good for them.
- Typical peers can be impatient and quick to reject awkward social interactions.
- Can lead to co-morbid issues such as anxiety or depression.
- Social media both helpful and no. Sometimes it raises awareness of special needs. Sometimes it stigmatizes those with special needs.
- Preferred activities can be a way to link kids with others. Help your child discover interests and find others with common ones.
- Animals and pets can be comforting and promote social opportunities.
Caroline Levy adjourned meeting.
Karen Sosnoski, Secretary
Date minutes approved: _____