Strongsville City Schools | Fall 2009

Thank You!

Welcome to another school year! I want to thank all of you who took the time to contact our Ohio Legislators on behalf of the Parent Mentor Projects. Due to your support our funding was placed back on the state budget. The Parent Mentor Projects were fully funded this year and will be at least partially funded next year. I am grateful for all your support. I am looking forward to another year as Parent Mentor for Strongsville City Schools. My middle son has started KentState and my daughter is a freshman at the high school…time does fly when we are having fun!!

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns regarding special education and your child. I wish you all a successful and productive school year.

Teresa Karsnak - Parent Mentor; (440) 572-6593 or

People With Disabilities

A national campaign to promote employment of people with disabilities will ask employers to look at this population in a new light.

The Campaign for Disability Employment, a new effort of the American Association of People with Disabilities, Special Olympics and a handful of other groups, is launching an initiative dubbed “What Can You Do?” It features a public service announcement and a new websitewhere users can learn about employment issues and share their experiences.

The Web site also includes the winning videos from a contest put on by The Campaign for Disability Employment this summer. Videos show positive images of people with disabilities at work.

Jobs are particularly hard to come by right now for people with disabilities, employment statistics indicate. In August, this population experienced a 16.9 percent rate of unemployment, which is the highest rate on record since the U.S. Department of Labor began tracking such statistics in October 2008.

Meanwhile, the rest of the population was unemployed at a rate of just 9.3 percent. These numbers are not seasonally adjusted.

“The campaign is about raising expectations and changing perceptions of people with disabilities,” said Kathleen Martinez, assistant secretary for the Office of Disability Employment Policy at the U.S. Department of Labor. “The employment outlook for people with disabilities will only improve when we have the opportunity to show the contribution we can make.” - Please Join Us!

- Michelle Diament,September 18, 2009

Reprinted with permission from Disability Scoop, The Premier Source for Developmental Disability News

On the Web at

New School Year Tips

  1. Learn what you can about your child’s new teacher (s) and other professionals in the classroom. Check the school’s website to learn about the class, curriculum, talk to other parents, make contact with the case manager.
  2. Try to arrange an informal visit with key staff people shortly after school starts. Alert them to any important developments with your child that occurred over the summer.
  3. Prepare a one page summary of your child’s strengths and learning style, needs and key IEP provisions and send it to school.
  4. Identify key friendly faces at school for your child and for you. It is always helpful to have people that your child is more familiar with and trusts that they can greet, seek out and will “keep an eye on them.”
  5. Check out the curriculum for your child’s grade level. Make sure you know what materials are required. Be aware of the district computerized homework system and how it works.
  6. If your child has learning, communications, health or behavioral issues that respond well to strategies you have developed over time, offer to share these with schools staff including a demonstration of techniques you have found successful.
  7. Monitor how things are going for your child during the first 8 weeks of school. Give things a chance to settle in but if there are any major concerns, seek information from the staff. Try to build relationships with the school staff, but don’t assume silence is golden. If problems are developing, reach out to staff to try to work them out in a positive way that helps everyone but be aware of whether the needed solutions are being implemented. The more positive involvement you can have and the more connections to the school, the more you will be able to build relationships, while also making sure things are going as they should.

- Adapted from Matt Cohen Newsletter, 8/09

Upcoming Events

Sensory Sundays at Romp N Stomp- September 27th, October 25th, November 29th and December 27th, 6 -7pm

(Last Sunday of each month). For children 3-11 years. Special open play to embrace the sensory skills of those with special needs. Reservations are required. Call 234-248-4405 Romp N Stomp, 900 Medina Road, Medina

October 3rd -“Partnering for Progress” - What Parents and PractitionersNeed to Know about Special Education Advocacy. 9am-4pm Visit to register.

October 3rd-32nd Annual Walk of Hope

Supports programs for persons with disabilities. Visit Disability Services Ministries,

October 6th, Special Education Advisory Committee Meeting(SEAC)

4:15-5:30pm at Support Services.

October 10th-Cleveland Walk Now for Autism

VoinovichPark. Call 216-538-9543 to register or e-mail

October 10th- That All May Worship

Community and disability advocates of all faith communities. Call Deborah Nebel at 216-696-2716 for details.

October 14th- National Inclusion Week Planning Meeting

9:30am Support Services. We will be planning the activities for National Inclusion Week which is Dec. 7-11, 2009. Everyone is welcome to attend!

October 16th- Response to Intervention (RTI)

What are the Benefits for Students? Presented at Family Council, State Support Team (SST#3) 5811 Canal Road, Valley View. 9:30-11:30am. Register at The Educational Service Center of Cuyahoga County (ESCCC)

October 19th- Transition Training

10am-1pm at Middleburg HeightsCommunity Center. Visit to register

October 22nd- Educational Law that Impact Students with Disabilities

SST #3,5811 Canal Road, Valley View. 6:30-9:00pm.Call 216-524-3000 to register

October 29th- Boo Ball-Club Rec

StrongsvilleRecCenter, 6:30-8:00pm. Call 440-580-3260 to register ($12 per person)

November 7th- Accountability in the Education of Deaf/Hard of HearingStudents

Columbus, Ohio.Call 800-985-3323 for more information and to register.

November 10th- Breaking Down the IEP

Why is it Important to Write Good Goals/Objectives? SST #3 from 6:30-9:30 pm. Call 216-524-3000 to register.

November 17th, - Building Relationships

Parent Meeting. 7-8:30pm Strongsville City Schools, Board of Education, Room 104

November 19th-Autumn Adventure Club Rec

StrongsvilleRecCenter, 6:30-8:30pm. Call 440-580-3260 to register ($12 per person)

5 Secrets of Better Discipline

Parenting an ADHD Child

Here are five common discipline problems faced by parents of children with ADHD-and solutions for them.

  1. “My child absolutely refuses to do as he is told.” Sometimes parents and kids get into a pattern in which daily tasks (homework, getting ready for bed) provokes a battle. In most cases, the child eventually complies, but the conflict leaves everyone upset. The best long term solution? Setting up routines. For example, parents must establish and enforce-calmly but firmly-regular study times for each child. It may take weeks or even months, until the ADHD child accepts these routine and follows them consistently. No matter how long it takes, don’t give up! Don’t let yourself be drawn into needless conflict with your child. When tempers flare, the parent must remain calm and maintain control of the situation.
  2. “My child doesn’t care about consequences.” Whether it’s withholding TV privileges, or refusing to let your child attend a party, consequences are most effective when they’re imposed as soon as possible after the infraction. If you delay the imposition of consequences, you’re blunting their emotional impact. Sometimes consequences that were once effective stop being effective after they have been used for a while. As with many other things involving ADHD, repetition leads to boredom. Devise a variety of consequences and vary themfrom time to time. Consequences should have a time limit: long enough to teach a lesson but short enough to give the child a change to move on to more positive things. The punishment should fit the crime. Overly harsh consequences will encourage your child to resent your rules and authority-and generate more anger and rebelliousness.

3. “My child doesn’t take me seriously.” Why doesn’t your child show respect for you or your rules? Are the rules clear to the child? Important rules should be put in writing. Does the child not accept the rules because she considers them unfair? In that case, the child’s objections and the parent’s reasons for the rules need further discussion. If you want your child to respect the rules enforce them consistently. That means not “forgetting about” the rules or occasionally suspending them because you feel guilty or because your child (or spouse) pressures you to do so. If you bluff or make empty threats, you’re sacrificing your credibility and weakening your authority as a parent.

4. “My child overreacts to nearly everything.” Heightened emotionality is characteristic of ADHD. For kids with attention deficit disorder, failure doesn’t merelydiscourage, it devastates. While most children protest a bit about being disciplined, kids with ADHD often react with intense indignation and anger. Disciplining an overreactive child is risky, it may trigger World War lll. Chronic overreaction to discipline-particularly when intense feelings of anger or frustration are involved-may not be due to ADHD alone. Is the child overreacting because she feels criticized? Unloved? Inadequate? Helpless? Overwhelmed? Are your expectations too high?

5. “My child won’t listen to me.” Is there a parent anywhere who has not tried to have a serious conversation with a child-only to be met with indifference? (Who are you and why are your bothering me with this stuff?) If such a conversation involves discipline, your message may not be getting through. If your child tunes you out on a regular basis, do a self-check. Have your become to negative or critical? Do you focus too much on problems and not enough on solutions? Have your conversations become lectures, instead of give and take? Does the child feel left out of the decision making process? No matter what your child’s age, you can involve him in the process of establishing rules and consequences for breaking them. A child who is included in setting the family rules is more likely to respect them.

- Peter Jaksa, Ph. D

Teach Your Child to Be Responsible for Mistakes

Elementary School

When school begins, many responsibilities are added to your child’s life. Eventually, things fall through the cracks. Some kids are tempted to blame others. To help your child admit faults and learn from mistakes:

  • Tell-Don’t Ask. When you know your child has dropped the ball, don’t give her the opportunity to shift blame. Instead of asking, “Did you study for the social studies test?” say “I know you didn’t prepare for your social studies test. The consequence is that you earned a D. From now on, please tell me when you have a test.”
  • Be understanding. Boost your child’s confidence by complimenting good behavior and limiting criticism. Do not, however, make excuses. (It’s okay. You said that because you were tired.) It is better to say, “I know you are tired, but you still have to speak to me respectfully.” This empowers your child to control her own behavior.
  • Provide freedom. Kids who are overprotected at home may have trouble at school, when they need to be more independent. Build your child’s confidence-and ability to handle failure-by giving her age-appropriate responsibilities. She might select her outfits for school or organize her room. Remember that mistakes are opportunities to learn.

- Polly Greenberg, “Setting Limits: The Child Who Always Blames Others.” From

Your Middle Schooler and Money

How to Handle ItResponsibly

Ask your preteen how much the latest video game costs and he’ll rattle off the price. But ask him how much he thinks a dentist visit costs and he’ll give you a blank stare.

It is never too early or too late to show your child how to handle money responsibly. Start by teaching your child that money is earned by tying his allowance to chores. If the chores aren’t done, the money stays in your pocket-not his.

Once your middle schooler has some money, encourage him to think first, spend later. He should ask himself three questions to prevent impulse purchases:

  1. Do I have the money for this?
  2. Do I really need this?
  3. Can I get it elsewhere for less?

These questions will build important decision-making skills that will help him for the rest of his life. They will also help teach your child the value of a dollar and may encourage him to start a savings account instead of adding to his video games collection.

- Crystal Paine, “Raising Financially Responsible Teens”,

As a side note, my oldest son moved to South Carolina when he was 19 to work as an emergency medical tech. He moved into an apartment with another guy and called me when they were setting things up. He told me that he loved South Carolina but there was one thing he didn’t like about the state, “You have to pay for cable in South Carolina. It is not free like it is at home!” My son truly thought Cable was free because I never discussed it with him. After I explained that the “Cable Fairy” did not live in Ohio and I had paid for it all along, he was shocked. This is a simple example of talking to your kids about bills and finances so they will have a better understanding when they are on their own.

- Teresa Karsnak