Family Connections Newsletter
Eileen Hawkins, Parent Mentor
October, 2018
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! Vendor Registration will be available in November. 
Save the Date
Saturday, February 16, 2019, 10:00 am to 1:00 pm
Woodside Event Center at St. Michaels
5025 Mill Rd. Broadview Hts., OH 44147 


Disabilities, and low-incidence disabilities across their lifespan
OCALI Conference Nov. 14-16

Be part of the 12th annual face-to-face gathering of state and national leaders, educators, parents, service providers, self-advocates, scholars, and policy makers as we collectively focus on common concerns and share proven solutions that address issues and challenges experienced by individuals with autism, sensory disabilities, and low-incidence disabilities across their Be part of the 12th annual face-to-face gathering of state and national leaders, educators, parents, service providers, self-advocates, scholars, and policy makers as they collectively focus on common concerns and share proven solutions that address issues and challenges experienced by individuals with autism, 

Collectively focus on common concerns and share proven solutions that address issues and challenges experienced by individuals with autism, sensory.


ICAN  is a Network of parents, residents, and City of Independence 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 or physical patterning 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

Please click on link below for more information or call 216-524-3262.


Opioid Facts For Teens

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) designed this guide to help teens and their families learn the facts about opioids and make smart, informed decisions. It includes frequently asked questions about opioids, a list of resources, and more.

You’re not alone  -  Connecting for Kids Programming

Connecting for Kids (CFK) provides education and support to families who have concerns about their child. They serve all families, including those children with and without formal diagnoses.
CFK offers educational programs, support groups, a Parent Match Program and numerous resources.  

Designed for your family 
Programs are designed to educate and support families of children (birth - 12 years) who are struggling. Look for these icons to choose programs for your family: 

Families with young children (0-6 years); 
Families with elementary- aged children (7-12 years);
All families with children (0-12 years);

Free programs 
All Connecting for Kids programs are free and open to the public. For more information or to register: 



Razor Sharks-East/West
Ages: 7+ Swim Team

Razor Sharks is a competitive swim
team for individuals with special needs
Ages 7-adulthood. 

Coach Dan Lisy provides individual coaching
techniques, engaging swimmers in a variety of swim drills, strengthening and conditioning
activities and the importance of teamwork and 
fun! High School swimmers from area swim teams
will be present throughout practice to provide
assistance and and demonstrations.

Participants are required to swim one length of
the pool independently of any stroke without the
use of a float.

East Side Location
Monday: October 1-December 17
Beachwood High School
25100 Fairmount Blvd
Beachwood, OH 44122
Cost: $200 for 12 Week Session

West Side Location
Gemini Fall I
September 11 -October 6
Tuesday: 7:30p-8:30p
Thursday: 7:30p-8:30p
Saturday: 12:00p-1:00p

Gemini Fall II
Saturday: October 6-December 8
Gemini Center
21225 Lorain Road
Fairview Park, OH 44126
Cost: $180 per session

Register for Classes
Contact Kia Picker

Elementary ExperiencesSM
These hands-on training programs are designed for families and their children (ages 7-12 years) who are struggling. Families will learn targeted skills together and receive a handout with ideas and resources to use at home.. Adults are expected to participate in the program with their children. Siblings (ages 7-12 years) may also attend but must register separately. 

Tech Tools for Learning 
Is your child struggling in school? Would he or she benefit from an in- depth look at the various tech tools that iPads and Chromebooks have to offer to meet learning needs? This workshop, led by Jason Sepsi, Technology Director at Lawrence Lower School, will explore tech tools for elementary students, including Text to Speech, Dictation, Graphic Organizers and executive function tools. iPads will be used at the 1:00 pm session for children (ages 7-9) and Chromebooks will be used at the 2:30 pm session for students (ages 10-12). Devices will be provided. 
Saturday, October 20, Sessions begin at 1:00 pm (7-9 years) and 2:30 pm (10-12 years) 

Free Learning Disabilities 
Resource Guide
This month’s Elementary Experiences, Tech Tools for Learning, will highlight a number of technologies designed to help children with learning differences, including specific learning disabilities, ADHD or executive functioning deficits. For more resources to support your child with a learning disability, visit our new learning disabilities guide online. The guide includes local experts’ top four recommendations for support organizations, books and online resources. Visit:

Connecting for Kids   (CFK) provides education and support to families with concerns about their child. They serve all families, including those children with and without formal diagnoses. 
Learn more at   Program location:
Middleburg Heights Branch of Cuyahoga County Public Library, 16699 Bagley Rd. 

Trauma-Informed Parenting: Supporting Children Who Have Experienced Trauma March 14, 2019 6-8 PM

Experiencing trauma can greatly impact a child’s ability to learn and behave. Traumatic events can affect children’s behavior in confusing and distressing ways. By understanding the effects of trauma, participants will discover ways to support the overwhelming emotions and difficult behavior that may result from past or current experiences. In this learning opportunity, families will explore the basics of trauma; the effects on both children and caregivers; and how to help build resilience to reduce and manage trauma-based reactions.
Check-in for all events begins thirty (30) minutes prior to start time.

Contact: If you have questions regarding registration, please call Tina Forshey at 614.753.4681 e-mail
Location:  ESC of Central Ohio, 2080 Citygate Drive, Columbus, OH 43219

Career Guide for College Students With Disabilities

This guide offers information for students on finding a career after graduating college, which can be a daunting prospect for many students, but it can be especially challenging for students with disabilities. These students face challenges associated with a lack of career counseling, discriminatory hiring practices, a fear of disclosing disabilities during the application or interviewing process for a job, and inadequate education regarding disability rights. 

However, there are a variety of resources available to recent graduates with disabilities, and with guidance, finding the route to a successful career can become much more attainable. The attached guide was created and offered as a tool to bridge the gap and offer an all around resource for those who need it.

Creating a plan for a child with deafblindness or multiple disabilities

The Ohio Center for Deafblind Education (OCDBE), operated through the University of Cincinnati Systems Development and Improvement Center, is offering professional development in life course planning for parents, educators, families, caregivers, and service providers. The training will focus on using:

  • LifeCourse materials to create a LifeCourse Plan based on the hopes and dreams of the child and family;
  • The LifeCourse Plan to develop the goals and objectives of the child's Individualized Education Program (IEP); and
  • The LifeCourse Plan to develop the child's post-secondary transition plan of the IEP. 

Saturday, Oct. 20th, 10am-3pm 
6161 Parkcenter Circle 
Dublin, OH 
There is no cost to participate in the training and lunch will be provided to all participants.

To register or if you have questions, please contact Kathy Richards at  or via phone at 614-897-0020 x 101.

Last day to register is October 12, 2018.
Northeast Ohio Community of Practice / Law Enforcement and Individuals with Disabilities
Tuesday, October 2, 2018
10am - 2 pm

Join a Community Conversation on:

“Law Enforcement, the Justice System and People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities”
During the NECoP conversation in April participants expressed a desire to know what else is available to individuals with developmental disabilities and their families in NE Ohio who have interactions with the justice system.

The team continues their work supporting families in North East Ohio by offering a panel of local community and DD organizations and family members who will share local resources and programs around this topic. Panel include representatives from the Summit County Sheriff’s and Prosecutors Office, Milestones, and Ohio Association of County Boards.

All families and stakeholders are welcome to attend!

Businessmans hand writing with marker against suicide awareness day

Ohio LifeSaver: Suicide Prevention Website
HB 28 was enacted by the State of Ohio requiring public institutions of higher education to provide incoming students with information about mental health topics, including available depression and suicide prevention resources on the following topics: 
  • Crisis intervention – including national state and local hotlines 
  • Mental Health Programs – availability of local mental health services 
  • Multimedia Applications – including crisis hotline, suicide warnings, and resources offered, and free applications 
  • Student Communication – outreach plan for education and activities regarding suicide prevention 
  • Postvention – plan of how to communicate with students, staff and parents after a loss of a person to suicide
The bill also requires that the  Ohio Department of Higher Education  and the  Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services  post free suicide prevention material and programs on their websites. These state agencies have developed this website as a portal to resources that will help Ohio's public state colleges and universities to meet their requirement.

Northeast Ohio Autism Insurance Conversations October 9, 2018
Independence Civic Center 6:30-8:30 pm

Join Marla Root with Ohio Autism Insurance Coalition for conversations about:
  • types of insurance and benefits for treatments for autism in public and private insurance markets
  • options available to fund Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) in employer-sponsored insurance, Medicaid & Health Insurance Marketplace Plans
  • how to pull multiple resources together to support intensive needs

Transition Fair at Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital October 13, 2018
Organizations from Lake, Geauga, Cuyahoga and Lorain counties with be present with countless other resources for patients and families transitioning into the adult healthcare world.

Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital for Rehabilitation
2801 Martin Luther King Junior Drive
Cleveland, OH 44104
Katie Zaller

Please read...

This newsletter is a resource. Independence Local Schools and 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.