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Special Needs Resources

Finding the necessary resources to help your kid succeed can be difficult, especially when that child has special needs.

Nancy Waring Weiss, MS CCC/SLP of Social Fitness Services in Oyster Bay, will join more than 50 elite special needs industry leaders to provide, under one roof, vital tools, information and advice for Long Island families who have children with autism, other developmental disabilities and/or learning disabilities at Long Island’s first ever free IBO/Mosaic Interactive Special Needs Resource Fair on Saturday, Feb. 1. Sharing her expertise in assessment and treatment of children and adults with social communication challenges as well as speech and language disorders, Weiss will be readily available throughout the event, taking place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at The Mosaic School for Autism, located at 1309 Wantagh Avenue in Wantagh, to offer guidance for special needs families in attendance while addressing their concerns and questions.

“Social Fitness Services is proud to be participating in this comprehensive resource fair, and delighted to help bring more attention and support to today’s special needs community," Weiss said. "It allows us the opportunity to meet with and share valuable information to families who have children with special needs, including sibling support programs, effective ways to communicate with their special needs child, and the latest research supporting the use of fitness/exercise for improving social skills.”

Beyond Weiss, this event will feature professionals and educators specializing in more than 45 areas that include: cognitive development, speech, music & art therapy, sports, finance, special education, guardianship law and social security benefits.

Representatives of PeerPals.org, based in Oyster Bay, will be on hand to showcase their service: getting preschoolers with disabilities together with kids who do not have disabilities for play dates.

“We consider this early intervention for bully prevention,” says Julie Keffer.

The nonprofit organization began six years ago with a mission of creating a community of inclusion for children with disabilities as they enter kindergarten. Keffer notes their tag line is “more than just a play date.” Participation gives children with disabilities a support system, and children without disabilities a chance to learn empathy. They have numerous volunteers who provide professional support while facilitating the group play dates, and being a part of it offers parents a chance to meet each other as well.

“Networking in the special needs world is super important,” she says.

In addition to taking advantage of the free counsel, families are encouraged to attend the fair with their children in order to personally sample and experience programs to identify those best suited to their child’s unique needs.

“IBO and The Mosaic Foundation appreciate Nancy Waring Weiss and the many other special needs industry leaders for their participation in this event and allowing us the ability to provide special needs families with a one-stop public forum for finding turnkey support,” says IBO President Tom Gibson, who has a 14-year-old son who is deaf. “In making their knowledge and expertise cohesively available under one umbrella, we ... help minimize the long, drawn out ‘trial and error’ process that so many families often endure.”

The Glen Cove father has been working for more than a decade to ensure that his son gets the services he needs to thrive, and is eager to share the knowledge he has gained from his personal struggles.

“The true goal of the fair is for people to see services that are out there that families may not have known existed; have people experience them, and to have a family day,” says Gibson. "It’s not just about the parents grabbing literature off of a table; they can talk to service providers while kids are right next to them doing an activity."

Gibson stresses the importance of the “experience” aspect of the fair. If parents can see immediately the impact that an art therapist or music therapist has on their child, for example, it will help them better determine whether that is a service worth exploring. At the fair, he says, there will be a music therapist working with individual children for 5-10 minutes and art therapist hosting small group sessions for a 30 minutes at a time.

In addition to those sessions, they will have individual interactive activities, including arts and crafts projects, children’s Zumba, yoga and games. Since the atmosphere is meant to be fun, not competitive, Gibson says, kids will get tickets for participating, and can then "buy" prizes with those tickets.

“A common complaint from special needs parents is that finding qualified experts can be difficult and time-consuming,” explained Gibson. “Our mission in hosting the Interactive Special Needs Resource Fair is to bring to the many families who have children with special needs a comprehensive, effective network of local, qualified professionals.”

Find out more about IBO and this event at www.meetibo.com/special.

News

Despite the national media attention about Ebola in recent weeks, there is one virus that is actually affecting Long Islanders, Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68), with one of the first cases identified in North Hempstead on Sept. 18 and a recent case on Oct. 15 in Suffolk County, which school officials called for the closing of school, as a health precaution.

Dr. Charles Schleien, chairman of the department of pediatrics at Cohen Children’s Medical Center, said that although the enterovirus is still active, cases are dwindling on Long Island. According to Schleien, approximately 500 cases have been reported this season of enterovirus, at Cohen’s Children Medical Center, with two to six patients being admitted per day.

Matt Bentz, of Forest Hills, was the winner of the Oyster Festival Raffle that took place as the event ended at 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 19. He had a choice between winning a 2015 Chrysler 200 three-year lease or $15,000 in cash. He chose the cash. He is the “Perfect Oyster Festival Raffle winner.”

Bentz is a computer systems administrator with Spa Creek Software, a company that writes software for other software developers, and has been to the festival numerous times over the years; in fact, next year he is hoping to sail here on his 24 ft. sailboat. He got it “reasonably” from a friend who was buying up.


Sports

The autumn varsity sports season is well on its way in Oyster Bay. Many young athletes have distinguished themselves. Several fine young athletes excelled right out of the gate and were chosen by the Oyster Bay Hight School coaches as Athletes of the Month for October 2014.

Cross Country Coach Kevin Cotter has athletes who consistently qualify for the states. Picking one to honor is a difficult task. Within this impressive group of talented athletes, one stands out: junior Alex Tosi, who recently broke the 17 minute barrier for a 5K course at Bethpage State park with a time of 16:52. This feat has not been accomplished since 2008.

5- and 6-year-old Peanuts

The Little Generals (Peanuts) stepped out into the cold Sunday morning ready to give the home crowd a show as they battled the Bellmore Braves, and that’s just what they did as the Generals beat the Braves 14-7. The teams battled to a first half tie as the Generals’ touchdown came on a 26-yard run by Kody Gehnrich, thanks to great blocks by John (Jack) Grace and Jack Symanski.

In the second half, where the Generals are usually at their best, the defense shut out the Braves as Rodney Hill, Jr. and Brandon Babel stepped in on the defense line to create a great push to allow Francesco Allocca to make eight tackles. The offense got a big boost with Allocca being allowed to play RB after playing QB the past two games, and boy did he respond behind great lead blocking from Luca Granito. Allocca carried the ball nine times for 60 yards and a TD coming on the last play of the game.


Calendar

Boys & Girls Club Gala

Thursday, October 23

Halloween Party

Saturday, October 25

Property Tax Exemptions Workshop

Tuesday, October 28



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com