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      A Quarterly Newsletter From the Parent Network of the Capital Region (PNCR)
PNCR's mission is to provide parents with knowledge, skills, and resources to facilitate productive relationships with their school districts, ensuring an appropriate education for their child.  All services are offered at no cost.
In This Issue...

Question of the Quarter 

Featured Article

Events, News, and Notes

Recommended Reading 

Recommended Reading  
*This quarter's featured book and many more resources are available at PNCR's resource lending library! 
Click on the book cover below to read reviews and look inside at Amazon.com. 
"Developing Talents: Careers for Individuals with Asperger Syndrome and High-Functioning Autism" 
by Temple Grandin and Kate Duffy
Foreward by Tony Attwood 

"This is Temple Grandin's most practical and generous work yet. She offers so very much of herself and her real life experiences. Kate Duffy's compassion, empathy and positive attitude pervade the very fiber of this book. The guidelines and suggestions are clear, creative and useful in real-life application. The many specific examples of real people with AS in their careers are invaluable, especially to the AS population. While the book was written for people with AS, it is an essential work for anyone who cares for, teaches, employs or works with someone on the spectrum. It will go to the top of my recommended reading list!"-Sue Moreno, founder and president, Maap Services Inc.
To Inquire About Availability or Borrowing,
Contact the PNCR Office @ 518-640-3320.

The Capital District online guide to everything for kids, teens, & families.


An online resource for special needs services, offering practical resources for home, school and community.

Connect with PNCR


Summer Issue 
June/July 2017
Greetings and happy summer to all!

We hope this summer edition of  Connections  finds you and your family doing well. 

As a team, we are always exploring different ways to reach parents, provide information and resources, as well as foster learning, skill building, and confidence. As parents, we are aware of the benefits gained when we connect with others. For many parents, taking time for a cup of coffee or chatting with another parent about something other than "kid stuff" can be a way of connecting with others.  To help achieve this, we are considering hosting a monthly or semi monthly  "Coffee and Conversation" group for parents and family members whose loved ones have a disability and/or special education needs. Please consider taking 2 minutes to complete the survey below so we can better gauge everyone's interest level and preferences. This survey will close on Friday, July 14. Thanks in advance for taking the time to participate.


We have a little something extra for you this quarter and are sharing an article written by Beth McLaughlin, MSE, MT-BC. Beth recently retired from Wildwood School. In her article she shares the benefits of music beyond learning to play an instrument. Enjoy the read!

As always, if you have any special education or disability related questions or concerns you may call or email us at 518-640-3320 or info@pncrny.org. Enjoy your summer!

Bonnie, Liz, Mary, and Sheri 
The PNCR Team
Featured Article

Music Therapy - What Happens Next?
by Beth McLaughlin, MSE, MT-BC

In 2015, Music Therapy was identified as an emerging practice in the National Autism Center's report on Evidence Based Practice. According to a recent survey, 43% of the nearly 600 music therapists working in New York State are working in educational settings. The top three school age populations served include Autism Spectrum Disorder, Intellectual Disability and Sensory Impairment. Studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of music therapy interventions for improving communication skills, eliciting joint attention, enhancing perceptual motor skills and increasing social engagement.

As a music therapist with over 40 years of experience, I have found that music is unique in the ways that it engages people through its elements of rhythm, melody, form and timbre. A trained music therapist develops a relationship with the student by creating an environment that is shaped by these elements to promote learning and reinforce skill development. When working with young children, I have found that they are drawn to music because of the way it engages all the senses. Instruments have sound, shape and texture that are immediately accessible to the child. The form of a song (e.g. chorus/verse/chorus) offers a repeated, predictable structure that invites children to engage at their own pace and level of comfort. Music and rhythm invite children not only to act, but to act together so the experiences become inherently social.

Having spent my entire career at Wildwood School, I have had the privilege of working with some students and their families from elementary age through high school. During that time I often struggled with the question of 'what's next?' While developing music interventions to support a student's IEP has been a rewarding challenge, I have also hoped that the students' love of music would reach beyond school and into the community. With this goal in mind, I recently joined the teaching staff at The Music Studio, a local music school in Albany that in its 40 years has provided music instruction to upwards of 20,000 young people throughout the Capital District. The director of this school, Noel Liberty, has long had the vision of expanding her program to include classes for individuals with special needs. In the fall of 2016, we developed Circle of Friends, a fun and relaxing program designed to provide families an opportunity to engage with their young child and a small group of peers through singing, movement and instrument play. While these are not music therapy classes per se, I am drawing on my skills as a music therapist to promote the generalization of listening skills, social interaction and turn taking. Additionally, I offer individual piano instruction to students who have an interest in learning piano but require specific adaptations to the music or learning environment for their success. These students also have an opportunity to participate in field trips, recitals and integrated classes with their typical peers.

We are fortunate in the Capital District to have a very rich arts community. As these young people grow into adulthood, it is my hope that they maintain their love of music, becoming consumers of the arts in their community and sharing these experiences with family and friends.

For more information on Adapted Piano Instruction and Circle of Friends classes at The Music Studio call (518) 459-7799, email admin@themusicstudio.com or visit their website at www.themusicstudio.com
Question of the Quarter

Topic:  Compensatory Services
The PNCR office was contacted during the 2016-2017 school year with the following question.

Q: "In January 2017, my daughter was identified by the Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) as a preschool student with a disability. The CPSE recommended and agreed to one 30 minute session per week of individual occupational therapy and individual speech and language therapy. Services began within two weeks of the CPSE meeting and were delivered on site where she attends day care. It recently came to my attention however, that occupational therapy services were not provided consistently each week resulting in a total of 6 missed sessions. When I contacted the service provider and the CPSE chairperson about having the missed sessions delivered (made up) over the summer I was told that wasn't possible.   Is my daughter entitled to the missed therapy sessions?

A:  Yes!  Your daughter is entitled to the missed sessions of occupational therapy. These sessions can be delivered over the summer but should not be confused as extended school year (ESY) services being delivered as part of an ESY program. Once the CPSE has reviewed and agreed upon the changes, your daughter's individual education program (IEP) document should be updated to reflect the new dates for delivery of services. 

"Special Education Itinerant Service (SEIS) providers must arrange to provide students with make-up sessions when the missed sessions were missed due to staff absence and, as appropriate to the individual student's needs, any excused student absences. Providers may, but are not required to, make-up sessions for unexcused student absences. Each SEIS provider must have a policy and plan for provision of make-up services for SEIS sessions."

New York State Education Department (NYSED) released specific guidance detailing this information in October 2015.  The NYSED field advisory can be found at:


Events, News and Notes

Upcoming PNCR Events

Below are the trainings currently scheduled for July and August.  Simply click on the training title for more information or to register. Please remember, registration typically closes 48 hours before the training date.  For the latest schedule, please visit our TRAINING CALENDAR.

@ PNCR Offices (Wildwood Programs Bldg #1)
Tuesday, July 18, 2017 from 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM

Transition planning is a process that requires a partnership among the student, family, and school district and, as appropriate, other agencies that can provide transition activities to help students with disabilities move from school to adult life.

Effective transition planning is based on the student's strengths, preferences, and interests and focuses attention on how the student's educational program, including instruction and career and educational experiences, can be planned to help the student make a successful transition to his or her goals for life after high school.  Join us to learn more about this critical process. (Registration is limited to 10 participants.)

@ PNCR Offices (Wildwood Programs Bldg #1)
Friday, August 4, 2017 from 12:30 PM to 2:30 PM

LIFE, ANIMATED is the inspirational story of Owen Suskind, a young man with Autism who was unable to speak as a child until he and his family discovered a unique way to communicate by immersing themselves in the world of classic Disney animated films. This emotional coming-of-age story follows Owen as he graduates to adulthood and takes his first steps toward independence.

Owen was a thriving three year old who suddenly and inexplicably went silent - and for years after remained unable to connect with other people or to convey his thoughts, feelings or desires. Over time, through repeated viewings of Disney classics like THE LITTLE MERMAID and THE LION KING, Owen found useful tools to help him to understand complex social cues and to re-connect with the world around him. Owen's story is a moving testament to the many ways in which stories can serve as a means of persevering through the dark times, leading us all toward the light. (Registration is limited to 10 and participants are welcome to bring a lunch.)

@ PNCR Offices (Wildwood Programs Bldg #1)
Wednesday, August 9, 2017 from 12:30 PM to 2:00 PM

This workshop will provide parents/guardians of students with disabilities quick tips to have a successful start to the school year. Participants will share recommendations and explore steps to take in order to help start their child's school year on the right foot. (This training is designed for parents, guardians, and family members. Registration is limited to 10 and participants are welcome to bring a lunch.)

New York State Education Department (NYSED)
  • Assistive Technology for Students with Disabilities can be found HERE. (April 2017)
  • Student Exit Summary as Required by IDEA 2004, updated guidance and form can be found HERE. (April 2017)
  • Transition Planning and Services for Students with Disabilities Guidance can be found HERE. (April 2017)
  • Multiple day administration of state assessments - revised procedures can be found HERE.
  • Questions & Answers on Individualized Education Program (IEP) Development can be found HERE
  • 2017-2018 Grades 3-8 NYS Assessment Schedule can be found HERE.
  • Superintendent Determination of Graduation with a Local Diploma (updated) can be found HERE.  
  • Parent Request For Superintendent Determination of Graduation With a Local Diploma-Model Form can be found HERE. 
  • Superintendent Determination of Graduation with a Local Diploma can be found HERE. 
  • Superintendent Determination of Graduation with a Local Diploma Q&A (Updated February 2017) can be found HERE. 
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Stay connected with the latest resources, activities, events, and trainings.  If you frequent FB but haven't liked our page yet, you ARE missing out!!  Visit and like  PNCR's page . You'll be glad you did! 
Have a comment or idea for a future issue?   
Contact Sheri at: