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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

You may not actually see who is leaving books and magazines for the commuters at the Locust Valley Train Station, but those who have nicknamed these delightful and dedicated women the “Book Ladies.”

Sue Klein and Joan McCauley, who are Friends of the Library, have been collecting donated books from the community and displaying them at the Long Island Railroad waiting area every week. The Book Ladies have also displayed Locust Valley Library programs so that commuters are aware of all the wonderful events that are going on.  

There will be a different look to the Oyster Bay-East Norwich Board of Education come September. Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Operations Christopher Van Cott is leaving his position to take a similar role in the Oceanside School District. He is following in the footsteps of past OBEN School Superintendent Dr. Phyllis Harrington, who also left to take a similar position in Oceanside last year. The district will begin their search for a replacement for Van Cott this summer.


Sports

The Varsity Baseball Team finished the season with a league record of 11-3-1. In the playoffs, the team swept Carle Place in a best of three set to advance to the county finals vs. Wheatley at Hofstra University. The team finished the season as County runner-ups. The team was a nice combination of veteran varsity leaders and new comers to the varsity with six senior players and four freshmen on the squad. Along with four juniors, the team maintained the winning ways of a program that has won the league championship 7 out of the last eight years and won the county championship 6 of those years. Senior Berkeley Golon, Junior Jackson O’Neill, and Junior Stephen Spiegel received All-County honors. Senior Robbie Venegas and Freshman Harrison Treble received All-League honors. With two All-County pitchers coming back and four freshmen going into their second varsity season mixed with the other juniors and new players coming up from another successful JV season, the team expects to continue to work towards the goal of another county title next season.

The 2014 Oyster Bay High School Lady Baymen varsity spring track team recently completed a most memorable and record breaking season. Two school records were shattered this season; one relay record and one individual. Oyster Bay’s 4x800 meter relay team comprised of seniors Nicole Giannetti, Cassandra Iacono and juniors Linda Cameron and Rachel Wesley, broke the existing school record, and later broke their own record with a time of 10:01.56 at the Section VIII State Qualifier Meet on May 29.

Nicole Giannetti‘s senior year as a member of the Oyster Bay Girls’ Varsity Track team will also be one that will be long remembered. In addition to helping break the school’s 4x800 meters relay record, Giannetti broke the school’s 2000 meter steeplechase record, with a time of 7:23.79. Winning the 1500 meter run in very dramatic fashion at the Nassau Coaches Invitational, with an amazing time of 4:59 was a memorable mid-season highlight. Giannetti earned All-Conference honors in both the 1500 meters and 3000 meter runs and All County honors in the 2000 meter steeplechase. Giannetti qualified for the New York State Track and Field Championship in the 2000 meter steeplechase, finishing fifth and thus earning All-State honors. Giannetti was recruited by Haverford College to run for them when she attends this fall where she will study bio-chemistry.

Calendar

OB Band Concerts

Wednesday, July 23

Music Under The Stars

Friday, July 25

Annual Chicken BBQ

Saturday, July 26



Columns

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

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
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Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
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