The year is quickly getting closer to the end.  Most of my “wouldn’t want to miss” dates are for holiday get- together from groups that I support.  These organizations have done an outstanding job of networking and offering supports to families who have children with health problems, learning disabilities, developmental disabilities, or any other challenge. They strive to make raising your special needs children a little easier.  Many have been started by women who have a lot on their plate. These families use an enormous amount of energy to make sure their children are doing well. Even with these challenges in their own family these busy parents are very giving, and help other families by providing advocacy, mentoring, referrals, and support.  They are sharing what they learned so when a new family is met with the news that their child could have a disability, the path for the new family may be easier.

Our holiday season started out with the 2013 5th anniversary of PULSES, Parents United Learning the Special Education System with guest speaker, Dr. Vaughn K. Lauer, presenting form his new book, “When the School Says No… How to Get the Yes!”. Check out the web for more information at www.PulsesNY.Org .

The Spectrum Project Foundation had their holiday brunch at St Patrick’s Catholic Church in Highland Mills. I am glad to see this group is working hard on making sure that when children with Autism age out of the education system there will be good quality services for them.  Besides the holiday party, they meet twice a month and run a terrific support group, contact Maria at thespectrumproject@gmail.com for more information .

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This week I was pleased to attend Mental Health Association of Orange County’s AMOC (Autism move a thon of Orange County) holiday breakfast. This year the location was changed to Highland Mills Firehouse in order to have the added benefit of teaching emergency personnel more about children who are on the Autism Spectrum.  They allowed the children to meet the fireman, police and ambulance EMT workers. They allowed the children to climb in the fire trucks, ambulance, and police cars. The group AMOC has been actively helping families for over ten years.  I had a chance to speak to the Highland Mills Firehouse EMT staff about the importance of awareness for the Vagus Nerve Stimulator, VNS. Most current data shows that up to 45% of children with Autism also have a seizure disorder.  Though there are 66,000 people using this device most emergency police, fire and EMT workers we meet are not aware of this medical device or how to use it.  A VNS is a device implanted in the pectoral muscle, it can be activated by a magnet and will often stop or slow down a seizure.  AMOC is always there to help with increasing awareness about Autism and you can reach Lisa for more information at amoc@mhaorangeny.com .

Beautiful People and the holiday bowling party were next on my list. This is a terrific group that runs recreational programs. You may want to check out the upcoming basketball season.  If you do not know someone with special needs this may be a great time to get to know this group and volunteer at www.beautiful-people.us.   Hope you and your family have a warm wonderful holiday and can find time to support these terrific organizations in the upcoming New Year. Lisa BockBeautiful people holiday party 2013 008

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