Family Connections Newsletter
Eileen Hawkins, Parent Mentor
January 2019

When: February 23, 2019 from 1:00-2:30 PM
Westlake Porter Public Library, 27333 Center Ridge Rd.

FREE of Charge

Would you like to apply for a grant to help fund your child’s or teen's therapies, camps or equipment needs but aren’t sure where to begin? How do you find which grants you may qualify for? Would you like someone to walk you through the application process?

Join Julie K. Robie, Esq. of Community Fund Management Foundation (CFMF) as she takes participants step-by-step through the process of applying for CFMF Accessibility Grants and CFMF Education, Therapy, and Services Grants.

Also, Amy Clawson of Ohio Family 2 Family will present how to create your child’s medical summary and how to write a vision statement to supplement your grant applications and other uses. Families are encouraged to bring a laptop or other device to begin their application.


Need child care? Click  here  to register.

Questions: Phone: 1-440-570-5908
UCP Of Greater Cleveland
UCP of Greater Cleveland serves children and adults with a broad range of disabilities through two Centers of Excellence: LeafBridge for Children and OakLeaf for Adults. Click on Video below to learn more about this organization and visit their web site at
Travelers with Disabilities and Medical Conditions

From the TSA, the Transportation Security Administration program, procedures for screening of persons with disabilities and their associated equipment, mobility aids, and devices. Specific information available for individuals with a variety of conditions, types of equipment, service animals and more.


Topic: Behavior & Climate

Presenter: Mary Lou Fasko, School Psychologist

Sponsor: Educational Service Center of NE Ohio.

Audience: Parents, Educators and other community members. This event is open to the public.

ESC of Northeast Ohio, Essex Place, 6393 Oak Tree Blvd, Independence, OH 44131

Questions: Nadine Grimm

Cost: FREE

Professional Development Hours: 4.5

This Event Is A Series Of Dates (See Below)
January 30, 2019, February 6, 2019 and continues February 13, 2019

Keys to Learning  -- Executive Functioning Skills As parents and educators, our goal is to help students develop independent learning skills, so they can grow to become positive and productive adults. An essential component of this growth is the development of Executive Functioning skills – skills found in the “command” center of the brain, which helps us:
•         Plan and organize
•         Exert self-control
•         Initiate and carry out purposeful activities
•         Exhibit emotional adjustment

This parent/educator group is designed to discuss Executive Functioning theory and strategies to help children utilize these skills to grow intellectually and emotionally. Sessions will address the following topics:

          Executive Functioning – What is it?
        Skill Strategies – Task Initiation; Focus, Working Memory, Time Management
     Skill Strategies - Flexibility; Self-Regulation; Emotional Control

 Summer & Beyond Fair 2019
Be a part of the 21st Annual Summer & Beyond Fair for Children and Young Adults with Disabilities. Every year, districts, families and students look forward to this event! This fair has vendors for Summer Camps, Therapies, O.T., P.T., Speech, Social Skills, Dance, Karate, Counseling, etc., all in one place. It is a great resource and time saving event for Parents and Caregivers.

Sat. February 16, 2019, 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Woodside Event Center at St. Michaels
5025 Mill Rd. Broadview Hts., OH 44147 
FREE of Charge

Adapted Story Time
February 2, 2019
11:00-12:00 PM

Cuyahoga County Public Library Parma Branch, 6996 Powers Blvd., Parma OH

Children with varying learning styles and abilities learn together in a safe, supportive environment where respect and appreciation for differences is encouraged. This storytime, followed by a time for socialization, is designed for children who may not be successful in a typical storytime experience. Content is geared toward ages 3 to 7 years, but all ages are welcome. Siblings may also attend but must register separately.

Group Recreation Programs
Group Recreation Therapy classes focus on achieving developmental milestones, interacting socially with peers, and acquiring new skills related to leisure and sport while having fun in a positive environment with our team of recreation therapists. 

East Side Group Recreation Classes
Friendship Circle
Tuesdays 1/15-3/19

2:30p-3:30p Toddler Connection (18mos-3)
3:45p-4:45p Group Connection (3-5)
5p-6p Sports Connection (6-10)

West Side Group Recreation Classes
Gemini Center
Wednesdays 1/16-3/20

2:30p-3:30p Toddler Connection (18mos-3)
3:45p-4:45p Group Connection (3-5)
5p-6p Sports Connection (6-10)

Cost:  $375 (10 weeks)

Adult Fitness Connection
Fitness Connection
Ages 15+
1:1 Recreation Therapy Program
  • Standardized CERT Physical to determine areas of strength and need
  • Personalized treatment/fitness plan
  • Weekly established goals
  • Focus on 
  • Strength and endurance
  • Improve muscle tone
  • Fine and gross motor function
  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Balance
  • Flexibility
  • Encourage healthy fitness routine
  • Improve social awareness
  • Increase socialization and community integration

1 hour sessions with 1:1 Recreational Therapist
Flexible scheduling Tuesdays/Thursdays at the Gemini Center
Contact for individualized pricing

Fit Friends
Ages 15+
Small group setting in fitness studio
  • Warm up, alternating between standing and strengthening exercises and cardio exercises followed by a cool down with our recreation therapists. 
  • Personalized treatment/fitness plan
  • Weekly established goals
  • Focuses on
  • Strength and endurance
  • Improve muscle tone
  • Fine and gross motor function
  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Balance
  • Flexibility
  • Encourage healthy fitness routine
  • Improve social awareness
  • Increase socialization and community integration

When:  Thursdays 1/17-3/7
Where:  Gemini Center
Time:  4p-5p
Cost:  $175 (8 Weeks)

Rec2Connect accepts self waiver, NEON funding and insurance reimbursement

$10 discount if paid in full by the first day of the program. 

Payment for classes are billed monthly. 
The first monthly payment is due by the first day of the program registered.

Rec2Connect | 330-703-9001 |  |   Rec2Connect
Sensory Friendly Sunday
Cleveland Museum Of
Natural History

Sunday February 24, 2019
9:00 am till Noon
People on the Autism Spectrum and their families, can now enjoy a gentler way to experience the Museum.
  • Arrive before open hours and avoid crowds, noise and distractions.
  • Stroll through the galleries at your own pace.
  • Relax in designated “quiet areas.”
  • Enjoy modified experiences of the Biomechanics exhibit and planetarium shows.
  • View live animals outside, weather permitting.
Museum Store will open early at 11:30am.
Registration is welcome but not required.

Cleveland Museum of Natural History
1 Wade Oval Drive
University Circle
Cleveland, OH 44106

U sing Compassionate Curiosity to Find Confidence in Conflict Webinar

12 - 1:30 PM EST


Difficult conversations and conflict are often feared or avoided, but they can be growth opportunities. In this webinar, Kwame Christian, Esq., M.A., Director of the American Negotiation Institute, will help you learn new approaches to dealing with conflict. The powerful Compassionate Curiosity Framework is designed to guide you through all of your difficult conversations, at work and at home. You’ll learn what to say, how to say it, and when to say it in order to maximize persuasion while minimizing the risk of destructive dialogue.

Specifically, you will learn how to:
  • Negotiate with yourself in order to gain control over your emotions and understand what you really want and why you want it.
  • Develop a winning mindset.
  • Consistently put yourself in the best position for success.
  • Defuse potentially explosive conflicts before the conversation breaks down.
  • Use the fundamental tenets of cognitive behavioral therapy to help you to overcome fear and anxiety.
  • Use conflict as a tool to increase understanding and strengthen relationships.

AMC Theaters
@Ridge Park Square
Sensory Friendly Movies
AMC Theaters 'offer unique movie AMCAMC is proud to partner with the Autism Society to offer unique movie showings where we turn the lights up, and turn the sound down, so you can get up, dance, walk, shout or sing!

Our Sensory Friendly Film program is available on the second and fourth Saturday (family-friendly) and Tuesday evenings (mature audiences) of every month.

Bumblebee Jan 8, 2019
Mary Poppins Returns January 12, 2019
Glass January 22, 2019
A Dog's Way Home January 26, 2019

AMC Ridge Park Square

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


Support, Training & Resources FREE to All Ohio Residents

The Ohio Family to Family (Ohio F2F) Information Center helps families of children with disabilities and special health care needs navigate the health care system and find answers to their questions.

The center is staffed by family members experienced at accessing care for their own children with special health care needs. The Ohio F2F team provides families and the professionals who serve them with support, training, information and resources. Ohio F2F’s aim is to help families become informed advocates for their children.

Services are free to all Ohio residents. A grant from the Maternal Child Health Bureau (MCBH) and the Health Resource Service Administration (HRSA) makes Ohio F2F possible.

What They Do: Ohio Family to Family provides: Support. The family members who staff Ohio F2F are experienced at navigating Ohio’s healthcare systems and they can help guide your family too. Ohio F2F works to support effective partnerships between parents and health care professionals.

Training and Information Ohio F2F provides training to families on advocacy, medical home, family-centered care, and other important information. They provide training to professionals on concepts related to care coordination, and the Medical Home Model—a philosophy of primary care promoting healthcare that’s coordinated, accessible, and focused on quality and safety.

Resources Ohio F2F can connect people to local and statewide resources for families of children and youth who have disabilities and special healthcare needs.

More About F2F: Ohio Family to Family is a family staffed, virtual center that provides free information and training to families and professionals, and connects them to local and statewide resources for children with special healthcare needs. Contact them for information about:
• Health related services
• Navigating community services
• Medical Home features
• Early periodic screening, diagnosis & treatment
• Transitioning to adult systems of care
• Family support

For More Information Call 1 -844-644-6323 or 1-844-OHIOF2F



When: March 15, 2019 from 11:30-1:00 PM

Westlake Porter Public Library, 27333 Center Ridge Rd.

FREE of Charge

What is the best way to equip your child to stay in control of his or her emotions and behaviors through the ups and downs of daily life? Are you interested in finding ways to coach your child rather than having to referee an outburst?

Join Meghan Barlow, PhD, of Meghan Barlow and Associates, and Christine Chambers, OTR/L, MEd, of Abilities First, LLC, as they provide practical tips that families can implement immediately to help children successfully navigate through their daily activities. Learn ‘pregame’ sensory strategies and activities for waking up and getting ready, handling unexpected situations, staying calm at social gatherings, completing work, and learning to play and have fun in a variety of environments.

This program is for typically developing children as well as children with developmental delays.

Need child care? Click  here  to register.
Save the date text in a creative way over dark background.
March 9, 2019
2nd Annual Twice Exceptional Conference

Understanding & Supporting Gifted Students With Disabilities

The conference is for families, educators and administrators, and will help attendees to understand and support gifted students with disabilities.

Summit Educational Service Center
420 Washington Ave.
Cuyahoga Falls, OH 44221
Brenda Palinkas
Cost: $35.00

College for Students with Disabilities:

A College Guide for Students, Families, and Educators

Students with disabilities and their families have many pathways to achieve independence through higher education. First they need to know their rights and how to prepare for higher education.

Maryville University Online created a guide specifically for those students that help you understand the options available to you and resources to find more information.


Rec2Connect Foundation and the Cleveland State Vikings teamed up to bring a fun family event!

Saturday, January 26th for a 7pm tipoff! 
Tickets are $4 each
RSVP by 1/19/19
-Number of people attending the game
-Number of individuals with special needs
-Seating requests or needs-ADA Seating Available at the Wolstein Cnter

Cash or check made out to:
Rec2Connect Foundation
Mailed to:
Rec2Connect Foundation CSU Basketball Game
23606 Duffield Road
Shaker Heights, OH 44122

Event Includes:
-Free T-Shirt for 1st 500 Fans
-Cheap Eats & Drinks
-Kids Zone with Inflatables, Magician, & More
-High Five Tunnel exclusively for Rec2Connect Foundation
Sibling Expressions Art Therapy Group
One Saturday per Month 10:30-Noon

J anuary 26, 2019
February 23, 2019
March 30, 2019
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

Autism Series @ UH Westlake Medical Center

Address: (1st Floor) 960 Clague Rd Westlake, Ohio 44145

Register: 216-844-1289

Cost: $100 for all meetings or $20 for Students and Paraprofessionals for all meetings.

January 9, 2019 6:30-7:30 PM Raising Socially Savvy Kids/Science of ABA Sarah Glass, BA, BCaBA

February 13, 2019 6:30-7:30 PM Co-Morbid Disorders and treatment issues in Adolescent with ASD Christine T. Barry, PhD, Kathy Maxwell, MSN, CNS

March 13, 2019 6:30-7:30 PM Sleep and Preschool Issues in ASD Max Wiznitzer, MD

April 10, 2019 6:30-7:30 PM Transition to Adulthood Beth Thompson, MSSA, LSW
There’s No Crying in IEP Meetings: Turning Your Emotions into Practical Goals

When: Tue, Feb 12 2019 @ The City of Independence Civic Center

Presenters: Beth Thompson, MSSA, LSW; Haley Dunn, MA, LPC

Sponsor : Autism Society of Greater Cleveland and Milestones Autism Resources

Cost: FREE

Parents and caregivers often feel overwhelmed and unsupported when they go into their IEP meetings, but there are strategies to make the meetings productive and successful instead of stressful. Your emotions may guide your advocacy efforts, but they don’t have to take it over. Learn from Milestones Autism Resources staff how to effectively work with your IEP team to get the most of your educational services.

Questions: 216.464.7600 or
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
ICAN Independence Community Adapted Network

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 Walkers Club & Kickball
I ndependence Field House
Fridays - January 4th, 11th, 18th, 25th & February 8th
7 - 8:30 PM

FREE - Registration Required 216-524-3262, Ext. 2559

Stay healthy and active during the winter months. Get your steps in while having fun!

DATE: Saturday, February 9, 2019
Cost: $15 per Person
LOCATION: City of Independence Elmwood Rec Building
Register: 216-524-3262, Ext. 2559

Wear something pink or red! It’s time to dance, laugh, and have fun! D.J., Dinner, and Dancing!Ages 16 and over.
ICAN Water Aerobic Exercise Class
City of Independence Indoor Pool
Fridays - February 1st & 15th
7 - 8:30 PM
Register: 216-524-3262, Ext. 2559
Stay active while swimming!
ICAN - Dinner at Harry's Steakhouse Independence, Ohio
Tuesdays, January 22nd 6- 7:30 PM
February 19th 6 - 7:30 PM
Resident: $20 per Session
Non-Resident: $25 per Session
Come out and socialize while enjoying dinner with friends. Bring your own money and provide your own transportation.
Register: 216-524-3262, Ext. 2559
PARENT MENTOR - Eileen Hawkins
216-524-0424 - Available for questions, concerns, resources, IEP or 504 planning. Services are provided to Families Free of Charge by the District. Call anytime.
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.