This month, we take our hats off to a special group of children--the 1.8 million children whose parents are serving in the military. April is the Month of the Military Child. The aptly phrased slogan for the month is "Kids Serve Too!" They must cope with frequent moves, new schools and loss of friends and classmates. They also experience separation from one or both parents for months, if not years, at a time. Re-entry of a parent often poses additional challenges, as their returning parent may arrive home with physical or emotional scars from their deployment to a war zone. Many of these children have special needs of their own that puts additional responsibility on the parent left behind.
Maryland has 11 military bases in the state and that means many military children are in our schools and neighborhoods and participating in sports and activities. That does not even include children whose parents are in the Reserves or National Guard and have experienced several deployments.
We salute these children and their families for the heroic sacrifices they make on behalf of all of us.
- Jane A. Walker
MCF Hires Military Navigator
We are pleased to announce that with a grant from the federal Center for Mental Health Services, MCF has hired Renee Cotton to be a Military Family Navigator for families at Fort Meade who have a child with special needs. Renee lives on Fort Meade and will assist military families caring for a child with special needs to access resources on base or in the community. Renee can be contacted through MCF at 410.730.8267.
Resources for Military Children with Special Needs
The military has a big presence in Maryland and it is about to get much bigger. The bases of Maryland are gaining new families with the upcoming Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) changes, which will stretch resources even more in counties throughout the state. Additionally, many Reserve and National Guard units have been activated and deployed overseas. Often these children do not live near a military installation and need extra support, since they do not have classmates who share their concerns about a parent being in harm's way thousands of miles from home.
Fort Meade is a designated Compassionate Deployment Site where military families are stationed specifically because they have a child or dependent with special needs. This is because of Maryland's system of care and the availability and accessibility of services within the state. These children and their families receive services at Johns Hopkins and Kennedy Krieger Institute, as well as in residential treatment centers and through community support services. Families receive services through the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP).
The EFMP has coordinators on its bases. Each service runs its program a little differently, but basically they all provide assistance to a military sponsor and his or her family. EFMP coordinators are an invaluable resource; they can provide information regarding the military insurance program (TriCare), respite care and other support services the military has for its EFMP families. The following is a list of EMFP contacts for Maryland :
Aberdeen Proving Grounds
Nancy Goucher, EFMP Coordinator
Anita Hendrix, EFMP Systems Navigator
Caraline Someck, EFMP Coordinator
Michelle Hewitt, EFMP Coordinator
Bethesda Naval Medical Center
Joshua Taylor, EFMP Coordinator
U.S. Naval Academy
Joanna Sztuk, Family and Fleet Support Liaison
Andrews Air Force Base
Adrian Barnett, EFMP Coordinator
Additional Resources for Military Families
Are you a military member or parent still in need of information concerning resources for your child with special needs? Would you like to learn more about this special month devoted to military children? If so, these websites can help you fill the knowledge gap:www.militaryonesource.org
National Child Traumatic Stress Network Month of the Military Child Webpage: www.nctsnet.org/resources/public-awareness/month-military-child
Real Warriors: www.realwarriors.net/family/children/militarychild.php
Department of Defense: www.health.mil/Themes/Military_Children.aspx
New Report: Listening and Learning from Families Affected by Psychological Trauma
Traumas are dangerous, frightening and sometimes violent experiences that can happen to any or all members of the family. Some types of trauma families experience are: house fires, accidents, illnesses, crimes, natural disasters and more. While stress is a normal part of everyone's life, these incidents can raise stress levels well beyond "typical." Sometimes, when families experience such traumas, they can develop symptoms of traumatic stress. These symptoms include:
- Feeling numb or overwhelmed;
- Avoiding people and places that remind you of the trauma;
- Having nightmares and/or vivid memories of the trauma;
- Experiencing intense fears, anxiety, anger or sadness;
- Having trouble sleeping or concentrating; and
- Feeling helpless and hopeless.
In partnership with the University of Maryland Schools of Medicine and Social Work and the Family Center at Kennedy Krieger Institute, MCF conducted focus groups with 28 families and five youth living in Baltimore City to "listen and learn" about their experiences with trauma. A summary of the focus groups has been published and is available on the MCF website.
Children's Mental Health Awareness Week May 1 - 7
Each year the children's mental health awareness campaign grows bigger and better. This year, we have an updated awareness kit, a new poster by young artists, bus ads and myriad events statewide to send the message that Children's Mental Health Matters!
Look for a special edition of this newsletter in your inbox soon, providing up-to-date information about events and resources. In the meantime, check out the campaign website at www.childrensmentalhealthmatters.org.
Maryland 's 2010 - 2011 Parent Involvement Survey
This year's Parent Involvement Survey is under way. Conducted by the Maryland State Department of Education, the survey asks questions of parents of children ages 3 through 21 who are receiving special education services through their local school system--for public and nonpublic placement students--for the current school year.
It is vital that MSDE hear from parents through this survey, to ensure schools are doing a good job partnering with parents and are promoting parental involvement in their child's educational programming.
You may receive a paper copy from your child's school to be filled out by hand and returned in the provided, postage-paid envelope. If you misplace the envelope, you can mail completed surveys to REDA International Inc., 11141 Georgia Ave., Suite 517 , Wheaton , MD 20902-4680. To receive a link to the online survey, e-mail IEP-ParentSurvey@mmail.macrointernational.com.
Parents with more than one child who receives special education services should fill out separate surveys for each child. Participation is voluntary, but making your opinions heard can only help improve the home-school partnership.
Chances are good you've seen one of the hundreds of media reports this year covering the rising incidence of obesity among children and adults as well as the cost--financial as well as in health complications, positive sense of self, etc.--of this increase. First Lady Michelle Obama has made this a key issue and even the NFL is getting involved in encouraging exercise for the youngest among us.
But did you know that if your child has a disability and an IEP, IDEA requires he or she be provided physical education as part of your child's education? The PE teacher should be included in the IEP team.
IDEA defines physical education as the development of:
- Physical and motor skills;
- Fundamental motor skills and patterns; and
- Skills in aquatics, dance and individual and group games and sports (including intramural and lifetime sports).
If a child with a disability is unable to participate in regularly designed PE classes, then accommodations must be provided so that child may access that part of the curriculum. Adapted physical education (APE) is PE that is modified to meet the unique needs of a child with motor and/or developmental delays. In APE, the instructor adapts the curriculum, task, equipment and/or environment so the child can participate.
"Inclusion, IEPs and the Placement Process for Students with Special Needs"--April 19, 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Workshop for parents and professionals by M.E.B. Lewes, Ed.D., sponsored by the Center for Autism and Related Disorders at Kennedy Krieger Institute, 3901 Greenspring Ave., Baltimore. Free; to register, visit www.eventbrite.com/org/466374931?s=2367489.
Behavioral Interventions in School--April 20, 6:30 - 8 p.m. Pathfinders for Autism Brown Bag seminar presented by Steven E. Lindauer, Ph.D., of Kennedy Krieger Institute looks at common school-based interventions to problem behaviors as well as modifications to these procedures often needed for some children, especially those diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders. Queen Anne's Public Library Centreville Branch, 121 S. Commerce St. , Centreville. Free; registration is required. For more information, call Pathfinders for Autism at 443.330.5370.
Personality Disorders Series: Cluster C: Avoidant, Dependent and Obsessive-Compulsive--April 29, 8:30 - 11:45 a.m. Part Three of a series on personality disorders provides an overview, in-depth look and interventions, treatment strategies and a case study review. CEUs available; $39. Brook Lane Health Services Campus, Community Room, 13218 Brook Lane Drive, Hagerstown. Complete registration form and submit to Cashier, Brook Lane , P.O. Box 1945 , Hagerstown , MD 21742 or fax to 301.733.4038. For more information, contact Debbie Staley at 301.733.0331, ext. 189.
Resilience: From Theory to Practice--April 29, 8:30 a.m. - 12 noon. Regional training sponsored by the Mental Hygiene Administration and the Carroll County Core Service Agency for administrators, clinical supervisors and lead staff of outpatient centers reviews MHA's commitment to resilience and its core concepts and COMAR mandates related to resilience. CEUs available. Eastern Shore Hospital Center , 5262 Woods Road , Cambridge. Registration deadline April 22; contact Dawn Brown at 410.876.4440 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Children's Mental Health Awareness Week--May 1 - 7. Events listed at http://www.childrensmentalhealthmatters.org.
Resilience: From Theory to Practice--May 2, 8:30 a.m. - 12 noon. Regional training sponsored by the Mental Hygiene Administration and the Carroll County Core Service Agency for administrators, clinical supervisors and lead staff of outpatient centers reviews MHA's commitment to resilience and its core concepts and COMAR mandates related to resilience. CEUs available. Southern Maryland Center for Children, 6100 Radio Station Road , La Plata. Registration deadline April 25; contact Dawn Brown at 410.876.4440 or e-mail email@example.com.
Connect the Dots: Understanding Children's Mental Health--National Children's Mental Health Day--May 3, 2 - 3:30 p.m. National Institute of Mental Health live and videocast panel of children's mental health researchers discussing the state of the science in children's mental health and other topics ranging from normal brain development to anxiety, bipolar disorder and ADHD. NIMH campus, Building 31C, 6th Floor, Conference Room 6, Bethesda , or by videocast. Click here to register to attend onsite or watch the videocast; for more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Enhancing Resilience and Stress Management in Parents and Children--May 12, 7:30 - 9 p.m. Mary K. Alvord, Ph.D., discusses the 2010 American Psychological Association Stress in America survey results and strategies to develop resilience and stress management for parents and their children, such as being proactive, developing leadership skills, self-esteem and more. $25/$35; registration is required. The Universities at Shady Grove, Building III, 9630 Gudelsky Drive , Rockville. Click here for more information or to register.
Autism - Key Topics for the Newly Diagnosed and Veteran Caregivers, May 18, 6:30 - 8 p.m. Pathfinders for Autism Brown Bag seminar reviews checklists of what parents and caregivers need to do, whom to contact and what services to apply for at each age. Queen Anne's Public Library Centreville Branch, 121 S. Commerce St. , Centreville. Free; registration is required. For more information, call Pathfinders for Autism at 443.330.5370.
News You Can Use: Family Engagement and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Webinar--May 19, 1 p.m. U.S. Department of Education webinar focuses on family involvement for families of children with disabilities or at-risk children, with an emphasis on IDEA and how families can work with schools. To register, go to http://tadnet.ilinc.com and click on "Public Sessions."
Resilience: From Theory to Practice--May 20, 8:30 a.m. - 12 noon. Regional training sponsored by the Mental Hygiene Administration and the Carroll County Core Service Agency for administrators, clinical supervisors and lead staff of outpatient centers reviews MHA's commitment to resilience and its core concepts and COMAR mandates related to resilience. CEUs available. Carroll County Health Department, 290 S. Center St. , Westminster. Registration deadline May 13; contact Dawn Brown at 410.876.4440 or e-mail email@example.com.
Resilience: From Theory to Practice--June 7, 8:30 a.m. - 12 noon. Regional training sponsored by the Mental Hygiene Administration and the Carroll County Core Service Agency for administrators, clinical supervisors and lead staff of outpatient centers reviews MHA's commitment to resilience and its core concepts and COMAR mandates related to resilience. CEUs available. Speech and Hearing Agency of Baltimore, 5900 Metro Drive , Baltimore. Registration deadline May 31; contact Dawn Brown at 410.876.4440 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note--no parking available onsite; free on-street parking is available.