April 2012 | News You Can Use

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Child safety ~ safe and inclusive living and learning environments


We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear.

~~ Nelson Mandela


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Our best to you,

Your friends
at the National Dissemination Center
for Children with Disabilities



Living and learning in safe and inclusive environments calls to mind the many ingredients that go into creating safe and healthy places for our children to grow-including the world within themselves. NICHCY is pleased to offer a range of resources that, depending on the disability issue that concerns you, may be helpful to you and yours.

Health care resources.

Mental health resources.

Relish is for more than hotdogs: A student’s guide to making your own sweet success.

Sexuality education for children and youth with disabilities.

School inclusion.

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Create and support meaningful dialogue. Visit the Partnership’s Learning Port at the link below (to the Browse Topics page). Among the topics related to creating safe and inclusive living and learning environments for our children, you’ll find collections of resources on: abuse and neglect, afterschool programs, at-risk children and youth, behavior management, building-based teams, child health and well-being… and that just takes us from A to C!


All about the IEP.
April is here and this is typically the time of year when IEP teams gather to plan for student success through the end of the school year and into next year. Here are several resources to help families better navigate through the IEP process.

All about the IEP.

Matrix parent center’s IEP Toolkit.

Wrightslaw game plan: SMART IEPs.

When the IEP services are not delivered.

How can IDEA work for you?
10 Tips: How to Use IDEA 2004 to Improve Your Child’s Special Education

Keeping your cool.
Easier said than done, especially when tempers and anxiety are flaring. Here are several resources that can help you “take it down a notch.”

Keep it calm.

Stop Yelling.
By keeping your cool, parents can teach their children self-control and make for a calmer, happier home.

Twelve alternatives to lashing out at your child.

National parent helpline.
Being a parent is a critically important job, 24 hours a day. It’s not always easy, to say the least. Call the National Parent Helpline, to get emotional support from a trained advocate and become empowered and a stronger parent. It’s an simple number to remember: 1.855.4A PARENT, which translates into 1.855.427.2736.

All hands on deck; we are talking about chores.
It can be difficult to incorporate your child with disabilities into the routine of everyday household chores. Our friends at Friendship Circle have a few ideas on how to do just that with how to teach chores to your special needs child.

Love our children.
Love Our Children USA was founded on a promise to America’s children to keep them safe. Its work and commitment are to break the cycle of violence against children. The site is practical and easy to navigate, doesn’t scare the daylights out of you, and has resources that fit many a different person’s need, including parents, advocates, the media, and kids and teens. Enter at: http://www.loveourchildrenusa.org/index.php

Tip sheets for parents and caregivers.
These tip sheets from Preventing Child Maltreatment and Promoting Well-Being: A Network for Action 2012 Resource Guide are designed to address particular parenting concerns or questions.

Safety for children with special needs | Video Series.
Here’s an animated series of eight safety videos for families who are raising children with special needs. The series focuses on safety concerns such as fire and burn prevention, water safety, poison control, and more.

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How safe is your classroom? Identifying hazards before accidents happen.

Let them play!
Different types of play help children grow in different ways. The CDC highlights three types of play that children need.

Find an accessible playground.
An accessible playground means it’s as easy as possible for everyone to play, regardless of their abilities or disabilities. Now, more than ever, to meet ADA and due to community pressure, playgrounds are being built with an eye towards accessibility and usability. Thanks to Accessibleplayground.net, you can search for playgrounds via its directory, educate yourself about accessible play, find resources on all aspects of designing and building a playground in your community, and more.  http://www.accessibleplayground.net/

A guide to effective consultation with settings serving infants, toddlers, and their families.
What core knowledge, competencies, and dispositions do consultants need to work with early care and education programs and settings serving infants, toddlers, and their families? This document will tell you. It’s been written to guide administrators, consultants, and practitioners in the design and delivery of infant and toddler care throughout New England states, but is full of information useful in other regions of the country.

Training activity: Participation-based IFSP outcomes and IEP goals.
This training activity is designed to support participants’ understanding of the criteria needed to develop and write high-quality, participation-based IFSP outcomes and IEP goals.

Oh, those rocky transitions from one thing to another! | Video.
Children often have trouble stopping one fun thing and moving on to the next activity. Here are three videos that can help you beat the transitioning blues. All involve alerting children ahead of time that a change is coming, so they know what to expect and what to do. http://challengingbehavior.vidcaster.com

Cooperative play | Video.
Activities become more social and meaningful when completed with a friend. This video shows us a cooperative art activity, where one child holds the paper for a friend while they punch holes in it to lace later on.

Safe babies court teams are helping to build strong families and healthy communities.
It’s awful to know: Every 7 minutes an infant or toddler is removed from the family home due to alleged abuse or neglect. It’s good to know: Developmentally appropriate early intervention and child welfare policies can help infants and toddlers overcome the negative developmental consequences that stem from maltreatment. Safe Babies Court Teams are working to change local systems to improve outcomes and prevent future court involvement in the lives of very young children. Read all about it and find out if your region has a Court Team.

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Keeping children safe and providing them with nurturing learning environments requires attention on multiple fronts. The resources we’ve listed below highlight different facets of addressing the challenge.

Creating an emotionally safe classroom.

Safe schools/healthy students initiative.
The SS/HS Initiative is a Federal grant-making program designed to prevent violence and substance abuse among the nation’s youth, schools, and communities. Read all about the initiative, watch the video Show Me How, connect with websites and federal publications on youth violence prevention, take a video tour of 4 grant sites, and get involved in the network and the initiative to keep our children safe and healthy.

SS/HS central.

Find an SS/HS initiative near you.

Managing behavior challenges.

Visit NICHCY’s Behavior Suite.
There are 5 individual pages in the suite: behavior expertise; behavior assessment, plans, and positive supports; behavior at home; behavior at school; and bullying (mentioned above). Enter at:

Behavior problems and discipline.
From Wrightslaw, this centralized page of resources branches off in many directions, so you are quite likely to find the type of behavior resource you’re looking for. Lots here for parents, teachers, administrators, and IEP teams alike!

Children being punished for being sick? That does not sound right.
Laws that require children to attend school for a certain number of days per year are designed to deter truancy. But, as When Schools Punish Sick Children Who Miss School: A Game Plan points out, children with chronic illness or injury are not truant!

Safe schools, from the CDC.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer a suite of webpages on keeping students safe at school. We’ve identified three in particular we hope you’ll find helpful.

Main page, so you can look for yourself!

School health guidelines to prevent unintentional injuries and violence.

School health index.
The SHI is a self-assessment and planning tool that helps schools identify strengths and weaknesses of health and safety policies and programs; develop an action plan for improving student health and safety; and involve teachers, parents, students, and the community in improving school services.

Bullying tools and resources.

Resources to stop bullying.

Stop bullying | The government’s initiative.

Pacer’s National Bullying Prevention Center.

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It’s national child abuse prevention month.
There’s lots to be done. Find tools here.

Need school data on…?
The Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) collects data on key education and civil rights issues in our nation’s public schools, including student enrollment and educational programs and services. The 2009-10 CRDC collected data from a sample of approximately 7,000 school districts and over 72,000 schools. The link below takes you to the transformed CRDC, where data have been disaggregated by race and ethnicity, English learner status, sex, and by disability under the IDEA and Section 504 statutes.

The six factors that can make a difference.
Protective factors are conditions in families and communities that, when present, increase the health and well-being of children and families. Research has shown that these protective factors are linked to a lower incidence of child abuse and neglect.

What states are doing.
The Education Commission of the United States (ECS) keeps track of states’ policies on many issues, including safety and discipline. The link below will take you to the entry page of that issue area, where you’ll also find links to sub-issue pages on bullying/conflict resolution, suspension/expulsion, special education, and statistics.

Data snapshot on children living in high poverty.
Children living in areas of concentrated poverty are more likely to experience harmful levels of stress and severe behavioral and emotional problems than children overall. This snapshot distills recent data on the percentage of children who are living in high poverty, state by state; examines what we need to move forward; and ends with a list of nine organizations that offer additional expertise.

Getting ready for safe schools Week.
Granted, Safe Schools Week isn’t until October 21-27, 2012, but creating safe schools probably takes more than a week. Learn about how your state or community can participate, and find excellent suggestions for what leaders, stakeholders, and communities can do all year round at the local, district, and state levels.

Strategies for reaching state goals.
Have you seen the IDEA Partnership’s brief called Facilitating Community: Key Strategies for Building Communities of Practice to Accomplish State Goals?

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Publication of this eNewsletter is made possible through Cooperative Agreement #H326N080003 between FHI 360 and the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) of the U.S. Department of Education. The contents do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government or by the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities.


Comments on our newsletter? Too long? Too short? Off-target? Right on? Suggestions for future topics? Please feel free to contact us at nichcy@fhi360.org. We’re here to help you help children with disabilities.

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NOTICE: NICHCY is going away, but its resources are not. Find hundreds of legacy NICHCY publications, as well as our training curriculum on IDEA 2004, in the Center for Parent Information and Resources' Library at http://www.parentcenterhub.org/resources. This website will remain available until September 30, 2014. After that date, web visitors will be automatically redirected to http://www.parentcenterhub.org.