Consider This...
Things to Consider in May 2021 from RTSC
In this Month:
  • May Articles
  • Useful Tips and Resources
  • Upcoming Federation Events
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News and information about education, research, and support for SESPs; adoptive, foster, and kinship caregivers; and child welfare and education professionals helping children with trauma and other special needs get the most from their education.
Zakim Bridge in Boston
Boston City Hall
Kenneth Burns Memorial Bridge, Worcester

As many of you know, May is Mental Health Awareness Month, but more specifically the first week of May is dedicated to Children's Mental Health Awareness. In light of this event, many of the buildings and famous structures around the state have been illuminated in green for the occasion.

I think that this year especially important given the stress and increased mental health needs of our students. The number of students that are presenting with anxiety and depression are skyrocketing across the state. And the shortage of clinician and counselors in the school is not helping matters.

So. here are some important resources to help the students that we support:

If you can, light up your house in green to show your support!

Imagine having the students in congregate care facilities vaccinated? What an impact that could make for them socially, as well as emotionally. Well The NewYork Times is reporting on the pros and cons of such a move.
The Food and Drug Administration is set to sign off soon on the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in children as young as 12, the New York Times reports. The approval will be a major development in the overall campaign to vaccinate more Americans and could go a long way toward ensuring healthy and safe operations of middle and high schools in the pandemic.

The Child Welfare League of America is looking at the racial disparities throughout the country within the child welfare system. Cheri Williams, the Vice President of Bethany Christian Services, the largest adoption and foster care agency in the US, working in 30 states, talks about their recent report about the racial divide for children and families. Among the findings: Black children accounted for 32% of the children in Bethany's programs, compared with 13% of the overall U.S. child population. And compared with white, multiracial and Hispanic children, Black children had the lowest rate of reunification with their biological parents — 19%. Although the findings are striking they are not new to Ms. Williams, who began her career as an investigator.

To address the need for enhanced early literacy instruction, over the next several years the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will issue guidance for early literacy programming paired with implementation supports, including resources, professional development, and grants. The guidance on this website serves three purposes:
  • To provide information about literacy acquisition and instruction that is based in current evidence
  • To describe evidence-based literacy practices that DESE seeks to see used in schools, and taught in educator preparation programs
  • To compile quality instructional resources and useful references to support educators.

You may have heard me talk about the need for rhythm as a way of self regulation. Dr. Bruce Perry explains that we are living in rhythm in the womb, and then soothed by rhythm as a child. Anyone caring for an infant knows that rocking a baby is very soothing and regulating to the child. But this process of using rhythm is also a great sensory way to build stronger attachments between child and adult. next time that you play catch with a child, pause to see what is happening to both you and the child in the sensory motor process.

"But what many people don’t know is that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can be very effective for kids who are anxious. In fact, research over more than 20 years has shown that CBT is the most effective treatment for reducing symptoms of severe anxiety. And unlike taking medication, the therapy gives children the tools to manage the anxiety themselves, now and in the future," says Jerry Bubrick, PhD of the Child Mind Institute. Take a look at why this is the best treatment for children with anxiety.

We, support specialist have received a number of phone calls regarding the Extended Year Services (EYS) for their students, particularly for students that can't successfully engage in remote learning. It looks like the districts are going to be getting extra support in making that happen “We are providing students access to academics as well as enrichment opportunities to help them grow and keep connected to school this summer,” said Education Commissioner Jeffrey C. Riley. “I hope all districts across the Commonwealth take advantage of these programs and this funding the Administration has made available.”
Susan F. Cole, ESQ. - A Fierce Warrior for Traumatized Children

It is with a sad heart that we pay tribute to an amazing woman who has passed away this week. Susan was a close friend and colleague of the Recruitment, Training, and Support Center, even serving as our keynote speaker at Making a Difference 2018 Conference. It is with much gratitude we have for all of the information and knowledge she and her team have provided us and SESPs over the years. She will be sorely missed.
Useful Tools, Media and Resources

Sam Himelstein has always proposed mindfulness and meditation for working with youth. But there are exceptions and precautions that should be followed for a variety of reasons. Take a look at his suggestions for the effective use of these tools.
Upcoming Federation Events
SESP Zoom Check-ins
SESP Weekly Zoom Special Education Surrogate Parents Weekly Zoom Meeting All SESPs are welcome. This will be an open zoom meeting format with RTSC support staff facilitating conversations around general questions that are common among SESPs. For questions, Bridget Koetsch at [email protected] or (617) 399-8369.

Monday, May 10th, 8:00-9:00am
Friday, May 21st, 3:00-4:00 pm
Tuesday, May 25th, 11:30-12:30pm

Thursday, May 13, 2021 @ 10:30am - 12:00pm
Are you a Special Education Surrogate Parent, PCTI trained Parent Consultant or SEPAC Officer? If so, register for an upcoming Networking Series for All.
This series will provide us with the space to dive deeper into each aspect of the IEP.

This series will be facilitated by Federation staff with support from Cheryl Hollocher. Cheryl earned an undergraduate degree in Linguistics and Anthropology, then a graduate degree in Intensive Special Education. She is the parent of two adult children with disabilities. She worked for over 20 years as a special education teacher and administrator in public school districts. For the past three years, she has been working as an Educational Consultant for families and as an Information Specialist and trainer for the Federation for Children with Special Needs as well as being a SESP.

We will dive into page #2 Present Levels of Educational Performance A: General Curriculum. On June 10th, 10:30-12:00 we will dive into page #3 Present Levels of Educational Performance B: Other Educational Needs. 
Free Upcoming Online Orientations

Saturday, May 15,2021 at 1:00-3:30
Monday, May 17, 2021 at 5:00-7:30
Tuesday, May 25, 2021 at 1:00-3:30
For more information on becoming a Special Education Surrogate Parent

Visit: RTSC Website
Federation for Children with Special Needs | (617) 236-7210 | [email protected]