Special Needs Talk Radio has debuted!

Coffee Klatch, a corporation dedicated to providing resources and educational programs for families with special needs children, has a new sister company called Special Needs Talk Radio which features interviews with leading experts, advocates and more in the field of Special Needs. Special Needs Talk Radio debuted on September 6 and will present six new shows hosted by twelve different moderators. This new network is aimed at providing parents with the most current news and information covering a wide range of special education topics.

The network will present six shows that will be broadcasted weekly and are currently scheduled to run through mid-October. They cover topics from Parenting Issues, Raising children with ASD, Special Education and the Law, Inclusion and more. The website also offers interactive features that allow users to be actively engaged in the content by suggesting topics, making comments, and asking questions that can be answered during the live shows.

To find the show schedule and to learn more about each program and upcoming guests, visit:

Special Needs Talk Radio

Defining ‘Essential’ Care

With healthcare reform underway, this article in the Wall Street Journal highlights the differences between habilitative services and rehabilitative services and how those definitions will impact future insurance coverage. The article specifically looks at coverage for children with Autism and whether early intervention services will be covered or considered reimbursable expenses. More specifically, if services defined as habilitative are indeed covered, families would be entitled to behavioral therapy as well as speech and OT. Opponents claim that the costs would be too high. What are your thoughts on the issue?

Billions of Dollars Allocated for Community Living

According to Disability Scoop, part of the Health Care Reform Act allocates substantial funding to help individuals with disabilities access care within their communities and not in institutions. The money is available to help people with disabilities who are living in institutions transition into the community with services and supports. Read the full article here and let us know what you think.

Discoveries Program at the NY Metropolitan Museum of Art

We just found out about this program and think it’s fantastic! Discoveries is a Sunday program offered at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for adults and children with learning and/or developmental disabilities and their friends and family members.  Each Discoveries workshop focuses on a theme and includes a gallery tour followed by a related art activity. The program is free of charge but advance reservations are necessary. Here’s the upcoming schedule:

Guitar Heroes: Legendary Craftsmen from Italy to New York
March 20
11 am – Ages 6-17
2 pm – Ages 18 and above

April 10
11 am – Ages 18 and above
2 pm – Ages 6-17

Rooms with a View: The Open Window in the 19th Century
May 1
11 am – Ages 18 and above
2 pm – Ages 6-17

May 15
11 am – Ages 6-17
2 pm – Ages 18 and above

Group Residences and Organizations:

The Museum offers customized programs for adult group residences and other agencies that serve adults with developmental disabilities.  For scheduling and fee information, call (212) 650-2010 or email access@metmuseum.org.

For anyone living in or visiting New York, the museum is an absolute  gem and a lovely place to spend a day roaming about. We’re thrilled about the Discoveries Program!

Special Education Funding in the 2012 U.S. Budget

Education is a hot button topic as the U.S. government begins negotiations on the 2012 budget. President Obama’s budget calls for a moderate increase in funding for teacher training, research and early childhood education for an education budget total of $77.4 billion. House Republicans are simultaneously promoting a budget that slashes $5 billion from the current budget and specifically cuts special education, including $1.1 billion from Head Start that would eliminate services for 200,000 children and cut more than 50,000 jobs.

Here are two articles from the NY Times and Education Week that further explain and break down the proposed budgets:

Obama’s Budget Proposes a Significant Increase for Schools

Obama Seeks to Shelter Education in 2012 Budget

Where do you stand on the proposed budget for education services?

Congress To Consider National Special Needs Parent Day

A resolution calling for the establishment of a national day to recognize the parents of children with special needs is expected to be considered as early as Tuesday in the House of Representatives. Parents, you deserve this and so much more for all that you do.

There is some criticism of this resolution claiming that a day of recognition isn’t what’s needed as much as research, financial support and better services. What do you think?

Thinking About All the Parents Out There…

With the holidays approaching we all know that gift giving will soon be in full swing.  This undoubtedly means that your families will be generously bestowed with electronic cause and effect toys.  These types of toys help to stimulate development as your child discovers the function of the toy and how to elicit certain responses from the object.  Children with special needs tend to have a longer relationship with these types of toys as they often serve as powerful reinforcers, meet ongoing sensory needs and continue to provide opportunities to address language and motor development.  Additionally, it may take a special needs child longer to master this type of play before moving onto more imaginative and creative play.  What I’m getting at is that these toys are going to be in your house longer and some of them are LOUD.  So when I came across the following post on Apartment Therapy the other day it jumped out at me as a piece vital information for all of you special needs parents out there.  We are always thinking about adaptations for toys and games for the kids but what about the parents?  A former sound engineer for children’s sound books shares a secret on how to turn down the volume on these toys.

Check it out and Happy Holidays!

Bringing Down the Volume on Electronic Toys

Children helping children!

I am always moved to learn about inventive developments in the fields of education and intervention for children with autism.  But how often do you hear about interventions being designed for children BY children?  Well that is exactly what Zak Kukoff did when he developed Autism Ambassadors.  Zak, a typically developing 15-year old, created a curriculum that “will engage typical children and children with ASD’s in a mutually beneficial relationship.” There is research that supports the efficacy of using peer models to facilitate observational learning with children with autism but how often have you seen examples where it has been successfully implemented?  We would love for you to share your stories regarding peer modeling or your experience with Autism Ambassadors!

Have A Listen

I am a HUGE fan of the Radiolab program on National Public Radio (NPR) and just had to share this one.  I’ll admit that the Radiolab podcasts are usually my escape from work and a time to think about something different.  However, the podcast ‘Words’ focuses on the role language plays in our thinking.  It offers several interesting perspectives on language development and non-verbal individuals that really moved me.  There is no  mention of autism but so much of what is discussed felt relevant to this population.  I hope you will listen in…


Dublin Schools Using iPad As Educational Tool

This is an interesting article about a school district in Ohio that is using Ipads with students with developmental disabilities. We were particularly struck by the way they’re using it to appeal to students by engaging all of their senses and providing reinforcement.