PEATC Youth Empowerment

Does your brain ever sometimes feel like a tornado is in there? Sometimes it’s hard for us to control our feelings, or focus on a task, or to even relax and unwind. Sometimes when this happens we can get cranky. Guess what?! It’s not just you who has those feelings. A lot of kids feel this way sometimes; and even grown ups too. Do you have something special you do when you get those feelings? Well sometimes one of the easiest things you can do is something you do everyday….breathe. If you practice breathing to slow down that brain tornado you are practicing becoming Mindful. That means you are aware that something is going on in your body or that you may be losing control and you know how to start to help yourself try to control it.

Check out these videos of some kids who may feel like…

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You’re Invited!!!


Please join us on November 3, 2016, between 3pm – 7pm for an Open House.

Come learn about our outreach initiatives and how we serve families throughout the state of Virginia!

Our PEATC initiatives include:

  • Parent Engagement
  • Latino Outreach
  • Military
  • Early Childhood
  • Rural Outreach

For purposes of refreshments and resources kindly RSVP here:


Putting the Pieces Together: Organization, Rewards, Success!


avian_headshotPEATC is excited to host a guest blogger this month! Avian Mills, Organizational Design Specialist, CEO of Closets & Kids will also join us on October 20th at 11am for a live webinar entitled Organization, Rewards, and Success! Registration for our upcoming event can be found here:

We hope you enjoy her blog post!


Putting the Pieces Together:puzzle-jpg Organization, Rewards, Success!

Typically, you wouldn’t open a puzzle and just start jamming pieces together.  You take out all the pieces, lay them out so you can familiarize yourself with them, and you may even organize them in like groups to make it that much easier to complete.  You spend time looking at the pieces to see how they fit with others and you try some combinations here and there until things start fitting into place.  Gradually, you start to see the big picture, and then those last few pieces fit in effortlessly.  You feel accomplished and proud.

I say all of that to help paint a picture of how the journey to organization should look and feel for us from childhood into adulthood.  Unfortunately, though, we are approaching the development of organizational skills in more of a “jamming it together” type of fashion.  As a result, we are drowning from day to day in our own physical and mental STUFF.

Organization or the lack there of, is responsible for about 75% of a human’s higher level thinking processes.  So about 8 times out of 10, if you’re stressed, it’s because of disorganization in some realm of your life.  The problem is that in the midst of all of that busy that we have going on, we are not equipping our children with solid introductory organizational skills.  There are three major factors that contribute to strong organizational skills that we are only grazing over in the development of our little kiddies today.  The “Organize, Reward, Success!” webinar, is going to help to put this issue into perspective and provide some tips to change the course of your child’s relationship with organization.  These tips will get you started:

  1. Be intentional. There are so many chances for a parent or educator to practice the basics of organization and cleaning with their children.  Intentional seizing those opportunities needs to start early and needs to be of quality.  When you are practicing organizing basics as much as we are reading to them, things will become normal and effortless for them.
  2. Be consistent. For children, things stick when they can count on them being there. For example, if you and your little one washed dishes together today, but didn’t do it again for three months due to “not having enough time” to allow them to do it on their level of skill, then the child will not relate to it as being a routine activity.  That becomes a part of how the relationship will always be viewed.  Thus creating inconsistency in their want to complete the task as an adult.  Being consistent also gives them the opportunity to practice and get better at doing it, and even like it.
  3. Be creative! Children are naturally learning when they are playing and having fun. Studies have shown that this type of learning helps children to make the things they learn more concrete.  It’s important to creatively engage your little ones when doing things like cleaning their room.  Instead of just picking up toys, maybe you are both pirates trying to find treasure for your treasure chest.  We have to capitalize on the short time when things like this will keep them interested.

Giving children their figurative “organizational skills puzzle pieces” early in life, they will be so familiar with the pieces that they can throw them together in their sleep.  It is time to stop jamming the pieces together, and actually allow our little ones to build a strong organizational skills foundation by familiarizing them with the pieces first.  I hope this helps you to get off on the right foot!


Organize away!

Avian Mills, Closets & Kids

Resource Round Up – ESY

smallWe can see summer in the near distance. Many families are scheduling their annual IEP meetings and taking a look at what progress has been made over the school year.  Maybe you are wondering about the break and services or maybe the IEP team members have concerns about regression over the summer.  Understanding what Extended School Year is and if it is a need for your student is key to discussions.

Below is a printable fact sheet on ESY, Extended School Year that can help.

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Using AT for Self Advocacy

What exactly do we mean when we say “Using AT for Self-advocacy”??  Well, let’s break it down.
  1. the action of representing oneself or one’s views or interests.

Assistive technology is an umbrella term that includes assistive, adaptive, and rehabilitative devices for people with disabilities and also includes the process used in selecting, locating, and using them.

I am getting ready to host a demonstration table on this very thing in Richmond tomorrow.  What I thought I would do is share some of the AT resources with our readers and give my conference visitors a place to find the links to the programs and applications that I am going to be showcasing.

Below is a set of  links to a variety of platforms and apps that students can use to create wonderful pieces for self-advocacy!  Children of all ages can use their imaginations to express themselves and share with educators, families, and service providers just who they are and what their needs are in the classroom.

Animoto – – Video maker

Voki – – Interactive avatar

Glogster – – Interactive collages

Replay – – Video maker mobile app

I’m Determined – – Resources on self-advocacy and transition

Click below to check out what one student created with Animoto!

animoto pic


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Kristin Kane Info Specialist PEATC



Empowering Parents to find Solutions

Guest blog post author, Jane Hersey, National Director Feingold Association of the US

Jane Hersey joined us on March 8th for a live webinar. It has been archived here:

Empowering Parents to find Solutions

smallWhat is generally referred to as ADHD may be triggered by things as diverse as heavy metal exposure, allergies, a stressful environment, deficiencies in one or more nutrients, vision or sensory dysfunction, synthetic food additives, celiac disease, and lack of sleep, among others.


Although this list may appear to be daunting, identifying triggers is not as difficult as it may appear.  An observant parent is often the best judge of what might be at the root of a child’s behavior, learning or health problems, and our volunteer organization provides a systematic approach to help them zero in on the most likely culprits.


This begins with the steps that are both the simplest and most likely to bring improvement; what’s more, they are things a parent can do on her own at a low cost.  If the child’s symptoms diminish then it will become increasingly clear what deficits remain, what additional steps to take, or which professionals might be best able to help the child reach a new level.


An easy first step is to make some changes in your grocery list, buying foods that do not contain things like synthetic dyes or artificial flavors.  Supermarkets have a huge array of products, both with and without these additives, and sometimes both the “good” ones and the “bad” ones are made by the same company!


Many of the food additives that have been shown to trigger learning and behavior problems are the same chemicals a growing number of health-conscious consumers are avoiding.  There has recently been a great deal of media attention on the connection between food dyes and ADHD, as well as the harmful effects the additives can have on everyone.   Synthetic dyes are derived from petroleum and are legally permitted to be contaminated with carcinogens like 4-aminoazobenzene, 4-aminobiphenyl, aniline, azobenzene, benzidine, and 1, 3, diphenyltriazene, as well as the more familiar arsenic, lead and mercury.


Natural food dyes can be created from plants and minerals and do not carry the same risk of behavior, learning or health problems.  They are now widely used in Europe so the child who eats a bag of Skittles in England is not being exposed to the harmful petro-chemicals that are being consumed by the child in the US who eats them.


Why would companies like Kraft, Mars, General Mills, Kellogg and McDonald’s offer natural versions in Europe and still use synthetic ingredients in the US?  Because they are cheaper than natural additives, enabling the mega-companies to increase their profits.  But, unlike the U.S. authorities, the governments in Europe know these chemicals have harmful effects, especially on children, and have passed legislation restricting their use.


Happily, the consumer has the last word, and as a growing number of parents refuse to buy inferior products and Big Food sees their sales decline, they are finally removing some of the most offensive chemicals.  The non-profit Feingold Association researches brand name foods to identify those that are free of the worst of the additives, so the consumer does not have to try to decipher ingredient labels or figure out where the company has hidden undesirable additives.  See for information.


Share your Story – Resource Round Up

We encourage our families to share their story. Check out these great tips and learn more about why it is an important part of advocating for your child.  We hope you enjoy this father’s story about his journey with his son, Chris.  It was just too good not to share with our PEATC families.

If you are interested in sharing your story with us, please let us know in the comments.

Your Voice Counts Printable Fact Sheet

your story fact sheet


Hard Work Always Pays Off (PYE Board Member Highlight)

Check out our latest post from our very own PEATC Youth Board Member, Calvin R!

PEATC Youth Empowerment

My name is Calvin and I decided to spend my senior year at Northern Virginia Community College instead of high school. I am currently taking English as dual enrollment to cover my high school credit and first year of college credit for English. As someone with dyslexia, writing does not come easily and it seemed like a good idea to not take a writing class twice. Math and science are my favorite subjects and I will be attending Virginia Tech next year in the engineering program.

My year at NVCC has helped me earn credits so my college transition will be a little bit easier. It also gave me experience talking to professors about the accommodations. I must give every professor a college accommodation sheet each new semester. I believe this has included nine professors. It really helps to explain what I need and get to know my professor.


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First Quarter Connection

2016 is here! Can you believe it?

If your resolution for the new year included connecting with other in the community, then PEATC can help.  Join us monthly for parent networking calls.  Check out our upcoming call topics and join us.

RSVP here:

January Call Registration:

February Call Registration:

March Call Registration:

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