Family Connections Newsletter
Eileen Hawkins, Parent Mentor
April, ,2019
April is Autism Awareness Month

Celebrate Autism Acceptance Month by sharing these facts;

1. 70 million individuals worldwide have autism.

2. Boys are 4X more likely than girls to have autism.

3. Autism was first described in 1943 by Dr. Leo Kanner.

4. Autism is NOT a disease.

5. Autism is often labeled a social/communication

6. 50% of people with autism have average
to above average intelligence.

7. There is a wide range of abilities in people with autism just like in the general population.

8. Autism-related cost average over $60,000 a year per family.

9. People with autism are more likely to be the victim of violence then committing a violent act.

10. Autism is the fastest-growing developmental disability in the United States.
Family Town Hall Meetings Your Chance To Be Heard!

This is your opportunity for having a seat at the table and getting your voices heard . We have to make sure families are heard regarding Students with Disabilities.
The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) is developing recommendations to improve educational experiences and outcomes for students with disabilities in Ohio.  As our most important partners, we are calling on parents, guardians, grandparents, aunts, uncles, foster parents, family members and advocates, to assist in developing those recommendations Family Town Hall meetings  have been scheduled across the state. The one closest to this area is set for April 12, 2019.
April 12, 2019
10:30 AM-12:00 PM or 6:00 - 7:30 PM

Educational Service Center of North East Ohio
6393 Oak Tree Boulevard
Independence, OH 44131

To register, visit
Epilepsy 2019 Seminar Series Schedule and Topics

Click Here to Register for an upcoming seminar
About the Seminar Series Program: - The Seminar Series is a set of consumer-focused educational meetings that address timely issues affecting those with epilepsy and their families. These seminars feature presentations by neurologists and other professionals on relevant epilepsy related topics.

Seminars are held throughout the year and are about 90 minutes in length, which includes a Q&A session with the speaker.

The cost is $5 per seminar and lunch is included.

Topic: Transitioning from Pediatric to Adult Epilepsy Care
Thursday, May 16, 2019 
Jennifer Waldron, DO
University Hospitals 

Topic: Social and Cognitive Effects of Epilepsy 
Wednesday, August 7, 2019 
Elia Pestana Knight, MD
Cleveland Clinic 

Topic: Epilepsy and Psychiatric Disorders
Thursday, October 10, 2019 
Howard Hall, PhD, PsyD
University Hospitals  
The Wonderful World of Waivers

W/ Gary Tonks, Arc of Ohio, May 14, 2019 at 6:30 pm
The Autism Society of Greater Cleveland (ASGC) will host the Wonderful World of Waivers with Gary Tonks from the Arc of Ohio at the Independence Civic Center in Independence, OH on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 at 6:30 p.m. This session will introduce participants to the basics of Ohio Medicaid (State Plan Services) including mandated and non mandated federal services with emphasis on Intermediate Care Facilities, Home Health Care Services, Managed Care, and Home and Community Based Waivers. Participants will become familiar with:
The definition of a Waiver . The history of how Waivers became available and the difference between a waiver and its institutional alternative.

The various waivers provided by the Ohio

Department of Developmental Disabilities . Waivers are administered by various departments within the state of Ohio. Focus on the various waivers administered by DODD and other waivers which may be appropriate for individuals with other levels of care.

Location of Waiver Service Delivery:  The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have issued specific rules where waivers services may and may not be provided. The session will detail to those locations with guidelines.

Supports within each waiver:  Each waiver traditionally includes a menu of services/supports available. The session will review the available menu and how to access those services.

Self-Directed Services:  Self Directed Services are available within the SELF Waiver and are expanding to other DODD Waivers. Options and how to access Self Directed services will be reviewed.

Support Broker Services : The definition of Support Broker Services and the role of a Support Broker will be discussed.

Waiver Current Events

Due Process Rights  associated with Medicaid and Waivers. Rights associated with Medicaid and Waivers will be reviewed.
Please note that Social Skills and Childcare will not be available at this meeting.
Game Night for all Individuals (High School through Adult)

Please bring a game and a snack or drink to share. Please pre-register by using the registration link below. If you do not pre-register, you cannot attend the Game Night.
When : Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Time : 6:30 - 8:00 PM
Where : Independence Civic Center, 6363 Selig Blvd, Independence, OH 44131
Registration Required   Click Here

Sensory Friendly Films at AMC Theaters
April is Autism Awareness Month, and AMC is proud to partner with the Autism Society to offer unique movie showings. Not only this month but every month, they screen the latest releases in a sensory-friendly environment that’s a little quieter and a little brighter. Getting up to dance, walk, shout and sing is all part of the experience.
President and CEO of the Autism Society of America Scott Badesch said, “AMC is a very strong and cherished partner of the Autism Society. We value the partnership, because AMC is enabling hundreds of thousands of families impacted by autism to enjoy the movie-going experience, as well as allowing the over 1.5 million people who are autistic to attend a movie without being impacted by the far too often sensory-related noise and lights that are part of a movie showing.”

Sensory Friendly Films started in 2008 and has expanded to more than 200 AMC theatres across the U.S. Since the beginning, Director of Special Content at AMC Scott Landes has been a champion of the program, which hits close to home as his son is on the autism spectrum. “All of the sudden, we could go [to the movies] as a family,” he said of the program.

That’s the ultimate goal for both AMC and the Autism Society: to enable families to spend time together, enjoying the time-honored wonders of seeing a film at a theatre.

“At the end of the day, Sensory Friendly is about inclusivity,” Landes said. “All we’re trying to do is give people who wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to enjoy movies in a theatre an environment that’s conducive to them.”
By providing a tailored environment, AMC hopes to help our guests with autism better relate to the world around them and bring them into more conversations with friends and peers about the latest releases.

Every second and fourth Saturday, little movie lovers can watch new family-friendly films; on Tuesday evenings, we cater to teens and young adults.

Check out our sensory-friendly showings at:

The Office of Special Education Programs (along with partners in the Rehabilitation Services Administration) has issued a guide to advance efforts in ensuring that all students and youth with disabilities are equipped with the skills and knowledge to be engaged in the 21st century workforce.

This transition guide addresses the following topics to facilitate a seamless transition from school to post-school activities:

Transition planning: opportunities and programs 
Transition services and requirements, as authorized by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the Rehabilitation Act; 
Education and employment options for students and youth with disabilities after leaving secondary school; Supporting decisions made by students and youth with disabilities. Click on link below to see full guide

Five Musts for Parenting a Child with Mental Illness

These 5 practical tips are designed to help parents cope with diagnosis, treatment options and ongoing support when living with the mental illness of a child.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance - Solon Meeting

The mission of DBSA Solon is to provide a community of support, education and acceptance for individuals living with mood disorders and other mental health conditions. Meetings are held the first and third Thursday of every month at 7:00pm.
Ages 19+

Church of the Resurrection
32001 Cannon Road
Solon, OH 44139
2019 Summer and Beyond Directory Summer Camps & More...

The 2019 Summer and Beyond Directory offers educators, families and those who support children and youth with disabilities an opportunity to view all agencies and organizations who offer academic, social-emotional, therapeutic and recreational supports year round in order to assist in developing independence, enhance growth and development, and prepare for post secondary options for students with disabilities in one booklet. Special thanks to Terry McIntee and the staff at the Educational Service Center of Northeast Ohio for putting together such a wonderful resource.


ICAN Independence Community Adapted Network
ICAN - Social Activities for those Ages 10 thru Adult!

ICAN is a network of parents, residents, and city employees working together to provide adapted athletic, fitness, recreational, and social activities to individuals 10 years and older with physical, sensory, or developmental disabilities. Any individual under the age of 18 or individuals in need of constant guidance are required to have an aide, parent, or caregiver present for one-on-one assistance at all times.

For additional information, contact Jim Wotowiec at 216-524-3262, Ext. 2559 or


ICAN Dinner at Harry's SteakHouse
5664 Brecksville Rd. Independence OH 44131

April 24, 2019
6 - 7:30 PM
Bring your own money for dinner

Come out and socialize while enjoying dinner with friends. Bring your own money and provide your own transportation.

Register @ 216-524-3262


ICAN Walkers Club & Basketball
City of Independence Recreation Building, 6200 Elmwood Dr., (Pete Wisnieski Dr.) Independence, OH 44131 (Brick Building next to Pond within Park Complex)

April 12, 19, 26, 2019 from 7:00 to 8:30 PM
Stay healthy and active and have fun too!
Registration @216-524-3262
ICAN Game Night

Tuesday, May 14, 2019
6:30-8:00 PM
Bring a Snack or Soft-Drink to share.
(Ages 14 plus)

City of Independence Civic Center, 6363 Selig Drive, Independence, OH 44131

Hosted by the ASGC

RSVP @ 216-524-3262

Join the Cuyahoga County Public Library for a program geared for children and pre-teens developmentally at the preschool level and specifically designed for children with special needs and their families. The program incorporates a schedule board, double visuals, and sensory opportunities for participants.

Adapted Storytimes Registration : A half-hour of socialization time follows the programs at the following branches this spring: Middleburg Hts., North Royalton, Parma and Solon.

Sibling Expressions Art Therapy Group

April 27, 2019
May 18, 2019
Sibling Expressions is offered to siblings of children who've been affected by medical or mental illness, or a diagnosis that is life changing.

This art therapy group accommodates children ages 6 to 12 years old. 

During sessions, siblings explore various art materials to promote self-expression and foster healthy coping skills.

Free of charge, space is limited. Please RSVP one week prior to scheduled session to  or 216-448-6265.

Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital for Rehabilitation
2801 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr.
Cleveland, OH 44104
Katie Zaller

Nathaniel's Hope Buddy Break

 Nathaniel’s Hope Buddy Break is a free kids program where kids with special needs (VIP kids) make new friends, have fun playing games, hear and see great children’s stories, videos, music and more! Siblings have fun too! Meanwhile, their parents/caregivers get a break from their ongoing care-giving responsibilities for three hours.
Buddy Break is a growing outreach to the VIP community done in partnership with churches across the nation. Royal Redeemer Lutheran Church is one of those partners and provides “Buddies” who are screened and trained, then paired one-on-one with a VIP child during Buddy Break.

Every third Sunday of the month ,  Child care will be provided for the kids after opening songs and greeting followed by Buddy Break Respite Program hours: 1:00 – 4:00 PM (parents/caregivers day out – respite). 
(No April Buddy Break due to Easter.)

Royal Redeemer Lutheran Church
11680 Royalton Road
North Royalton, OH 44133
Lynn Ebner, Special Needs Ministry Coordinator

Milestones National Autism Conference June 11-12 at
The IX Center.

Since its inception in 2003, Milestones’ Annual Autism Conference has strived to be a forum that would best serve the needs of professionals, families, and individuals with ASD, serving the autism community.

Over the years, the conference has grown from 400 to 1,000+ attendees, with more than 90 workshops and 50 exhibitors! Don't miss this event! Save the date for June 11-12 at The IX Center. 

Questions or Registration information at  (216) 464-7600
Rec2Connect Foundation 
is proud to present 
Beyond Words Try-It & Adaptive Recreation Day!  

Rec2Connect is teaming up with  Beyond Words  on Saturday, May 4th at their North Royalton location for a summer camp preview and 1:1 Adaptive Music lessons or Adaptive Music Therapy. 

Summer Dance Camp Preview
9:00 am -9:30 am : Showstopper Camp (Ages 5-7) 
9:45 am-10:15 am: Princess Camp (Ages 5-7) 
10:30 am-11:00 am: Hip Hop Camp (Ages 8-14) 
11:15 am-11:45 am: Cheer Camp (Ages 8-14) 
12:00 pm-12:30 pm: Disney Camp (Ages 8-10) 1
2:45 pm-1:15 pm: Showstopper Camp (Ages 8-10)

Individual Music Therapy or Adapted Music Lesson
Demo: Open to any age, 30 min 1:1
Demo 9:30 am, 10:00 am, 10:30 am, 11:00 am, 11:30 am, 12:00 pm

The Learning Groove Parent & Me Music Class
1:30 pm-2:00 pm: Learning Groove (Ages Birth-5)

Rec2Connect Foundation is excited to team up with Employment Collaborative, Empower Sports, Skylight Financial Group, University School and Youth Challenge for a fun filled day of sports and recreation for participants with special needs.

Open to participants of all ages and ability levels! 

School and community groups are welcome! 
Connecting For Kids Activities

Music, Saturday, April 13, 2019 1:00 pm, Solon Branch of Cuyahoga County Public Library

Animated Favorites Sing-Along for Children with Moderate-Severe Disabilities
Saturday, April 13, 2019, 2:30 pm
Solon Branch of Cuyahoga County Public Library

Special Needs and Different Cultures Coffee and Chat, April 30, 6:30 pm, Middleburg Heights Branch of Cuyahoga County Public Library

Connecting for Kids 440-570-5908

Accepting that your child has a learning disability and special needs can be difficult. This guide provides tips and resources to help parents navigate their emotions so they can remain positive to support their children.

Eileen Hawkins,
Parent Mentor

Confidential Help Available for help with IEP's, 504 Plans, Resources, Support and more. Services provided free of charge by
the district.

Call  216-524-0424  for more information or
Please read...

This newsletter is a resource. Cuyahoga Heights Schools do not endorse or recommend any providers, methodologies or services from any of the groups or companies listed. 

We urge you to make independent judgment when selecting a pr ofessional to assist you.