occupational therapy

beating the summer blahs — kid-oriented activities for late summer

The author, Juliet Hiznay, is a special education advocate and attorney in private practice in Northern Virginia. For information about her practice, visit http://jdhiznay.com/ 

It’s almost August and this is about the time when summer starts to fray on nerves, at least that has been my experience. This is even more the case for families with children with special needs. Does this sound familiar? Your kids are off schedule, lack routine, have trouble occupying themselves (“I’m bored.”), tired of jumping from camp to camp, exhausted from traveling, irritable due to an overload of “fun” in the sun, staying up too late at night — because it is hard to go to sleep when it is still light out and who wants to miss the Summer Olympics? Continue reading

who is who? seeking out specialists for children with developmental delays

The author, Juliet Hiznay, is a special education advocate and attorney in private practice in Northern Virginia. For information about her practice, visit http://jdhiznay.com/ 

For my own family, it all started during a parent-teacher conference at a private preschool. The teachers told us they were concerned that our 4-year old son might not be able to be a successful and whole person or reach his full potential in life. Blinking through tears, I was shocked, bewildered and had no notion of what had just happened. They explained what they were observing at school, but their experience of our son was very different from our experience of him. It was very hard to accept. We now know that the preschool setting was a much more challenging place for our child than our quiet and predictable home. It was hard to recognize in our son the nature of his disability because he was sweet tempered, engaging, enthusiastic, physically active and verbal. He had not missed any benchmarks other than fine motor tasks. Over time we came to accept that he was on the autism spectrum. At the time, without knowing the vocabulary of the disability universe, the internet was not the tool it should have been, and parenting books were too vague. It required many forays with specialists to arrive at a diagnosis. It was a painful and expensive journey and I regret that it took so long.

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