January 4 is Louis Braille’s birthday, so in celebration, let’s learn more about Braille! Braille primarily uses 6 dots in columns, with 63 possible combinations.
Check out this children’s book on Braille: How to Read Braille with Dottie and Dots by Kristen Smith-Armand, M.Ed.
Jan. 20, 2022
In 1997, former President Bill Clinton proclaimed November to be National Family Caregivers Month. Celebrate with us and check out the resources provided by Child Welfare Information Gateway!
Nov. 18, 2022
Children who identify as LGBT+, are obese, or have one or more disabilities are 63% more likely to be bullied than other children, according to National Voices for Equality, Education, and Enlightenment. Start a conversation with your child and learn how to prevent and respond to bullying.
Oct. 28, 2022
According to the CDC, "suicide was the second leading cause of death for people ages 10-14 and 25-34."
Check out the CDC's "Preventing Suicide: A Technical Package of Policy, Programs, and Practices" for information on how to help.
Call or text the 988 for the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.
Resource in Spanish.
Sept. 30, 2022
According to the CDC, suicide is a leading cause of death in the U.S. with 45,979 deaths in 2020. This is 1 death every 11 minutes.
Check out the Center for Practice Innovation for trainings designed to help people assess risk of suicide and prepare a safety plan.
September 9, 2022
“According to the 2015 YRBS, LGB students were 140% (12% v. 5%) more likely to not go to school at least one day during the 30 days prior to the survey because of safety concerns, compared with heterosexual students. While not a direct measure of school performance, absenteeism has been linked to low graduation rates, which can have lifelong consequences.” Source: CDC
OUT MetroWest provides a plethora of resources for your child, including for school, family, health, legal, community, and dating violence. Find out what resource may be helpful for you at outmetrowest.org.
June 2, 2022
May is National Foster Care Month. According to childrensrights.org, there are approximately 424,000 children in foster care in the United States on a given day.
May 13, 2022
According to foodsafety.gov, 1 in 6 Americans will get food poisoning this year. Prevention is key! Check out the USDA’s Food Keeper App and get a better understanding of food and beverage shelf life. The app is available on both IOS and Android in English, Spanish, and Portuguese!
March 25, 2022
Fact Friday: If Barbie were a real woman her proportions would be unrealistically attainable, allowing her to promote negative body image for child across the globe.
Source: South Shore Eating Disorders Collaborative
Consider alternatives that promote more realistic depcitions of body image, such as "Lottie." These dolls were specifically designed to replicate a realistic body image for children.
"Responding to increasing demand from young parents for 'non-Barbie' dolls, the concept behind Lottie dolls was developed over 18 months by a group of forward-thinking child development experts, parents, nutritionists and child psychologists in the UK.
More than 100 different 'action points' were incorporated into Lottie dolls and accessories to empower children to be themselves, embrace individuality, enjoy their childhood and have meaningful and inspirational adventures."
Source: Toy Factory Canada
Feb. 18, 2022
International Day of Persons with Disabilities
International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) is a UN day that is celebrated every year on 3 December.
The day is about promoting the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities at every level of society and development, and to raise awareness of the situation of persons with disabilities in all aspects of political, social, economic, and cultural life.
What role can you play in making the world a more inclusive and accessible place for a person with a disability to live, work, learn, and play?
Dec. 3, 2021
Here's this week's 'Fact Friday': Epilepsy Awareness month. Today's fact is that according to the Epilepsy Foundation, 150,000 people are diagnosed with epilepsy every year. Over a lifetime, 1 in 10 people will experience a seizure and 1 in 26 people will develop epilepsy.
Nov. 5, 2021
Disability rights are human rights.
According to the World Health Organization, “People with disability are among the world’s most discriminated people, often experiencing violence, prejudice and denial of autonomy as well as facing barriers to care.”
Federal law provides protection for disability rights. Learn more about these rights on the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) website.
Dec. 9, 2022
Myth: You should restrain someone having a seizure.
Fact: According to Valley Children's Healthcare, you should never hold someone down if they are having a seizure. This could cause a bone or muscular injury. Instead, move away any dangerous objects and ensure their head is supported under something soft.
Seizure First Aid Training and Certification
The Epilepsy Foundation is holding a number of online seizure first aid trainings and certifications throughout the month of November and early December. These trainings are available in both English and Spanish. The certification lasts for two years.
Nov. 11, 2022
“Experts estimate that anywhere between 5 and 20 percent of school children have a form of dyslexia. Dyslexia is, in fact, the root of 80 percent of all learning disabilities, and yet in many families, schools, and even businesses, it’s still profoundly misunderstood.”
- Holly Korbey, MindShift
Oct. 21, 2022
According to RespectAbility, approximately 1,586,009 Latinx students with disabilities are enrolled in U.S. public schools.
RespectAbility is a nonprofit organization led by a diverse staff with disabilities. The aim of the organization is to fight stigmas, advocate, and empower.
Intersectional families who have children who are both Hispanic/Latinx and a disability can find resources on the respectability website. There are profiles of people who share similar intersectionality as well as resources in Spanish.
Sept. 23, 2022
Educators, counselors, parents/guardians and other adult allies play an important role in ensuring the safety, inclusion and well-being of these students, all of which are essential to academic and social-emotional growth in the classroom and school communities. Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) and 504 plans for these students should account for the unique needs and experiences of LGBTQ+ students with disabilities to ensure that they can learn and participate in school programs and activities in a nondiscriminatory environment.
Check out this guide on advocating for LGBTQ+ students with disabilities for an overview of the rights of LGBTQ+ students with disabilities as well as actionable recommendations on how to best support them.
June 17, 2022
Are you aware of what resources are available to you when your child is in a crisis? Consider Wayside’s Mobile Crisis Intervention, specifically designed to help youth experiencing a mental health crisis.
Call 1-800-640-5432 to assistance.
1 in 5 children, ages 13-18, have or will have a serious mental health disorder, according to nami.com.
Wayside Mobile Crisis Intervention:
An alternative to 911, available for the MetroWest and Waltham areas.
"Mobile Crisis Intervention is a mobile, on-site, face-to-face therapeutic response to youth experiencing a behavioral health crisis. The MCI team will identify, assess, treat and stabilize the situation reducing any immediate risk of danger to the youth or others."
May 27, 2022
“Autism is not an illness or a 'thing' a person 'has.' It is a collection of responses which must be viewed in context, and observation is always more productive than labeling. The autism spectrum is very broad, with individual variations on several key features.”
- Autism National Committee
April 22, 2022
More than half of American children had poor quality diets in 2016. Healthy eating habits are crucial to children's health, growth, and development. For more information on nutrition and other health-related resources, check out health.gov.
Source: National Institutes of Health, Health Direct
Fact Friday: Body Image Awareness Month!
“40-60% of elementary school girls are concerned about their weight or about becoming ‘too fat’.”
National Organization for Women Now.org
Check out NOW's resources on how to promote positive body image through their tools for teachers, activities for campuses, and more!
Feb. 11, 2022
This week’s Fact Friday is in honor of Prematurity Awareness Month: According to March of Dimes, 33,000 babies in the U.S. will be born premature this month. "This crisis is fueled by the health equity gap in our health care system," with "a higher chance of maternal or infant death based on race and ethnicity." Find support in March of Dimes’ NICU Family Support Program, “Your resource to improve the quality of the patient and family experience in your unit." The program is focused on education of families and hospital staff as well as providing resources that will improve patient and family experiences.
Nov. 19, 2021
National Adoption Month
Did you know that 10% of teachers received professional development about adoption and only 3% felt prepared by their training to work with adoptive families?
Dr. Abbie Goldberg suggests 3 steps school can take to be inclusive to adopted children and their families:
1. Do a “rethink” of institutional inclusion (paperwork, images, etc)
2. Actively communicate inclusion
3. Ensure professional development opportunities for teacher and staff
Nov. 4, 2022
Many English language learner (ELL) students are inappropriately identified as students with disabilities, while other ELL students’ disabilities are overlooked, leading to a lack of necessary services, according to RTI Action Network.
For more information on how to identify and best support ELL students with disabilities, check out the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s page on English Learners with Disabilities.
Oct. 7, 2022
According to a recent Gallup poll, K-12 educators have reported burnout rates that are significantly higher than other full-time profession. It is important now more than ever that educators allow themselves to practice self care.
Practicing self-care as an educator is essential. Check out the article "Self-Care Resources for Educators and Other Helping Professionals" from mindfulteachers.org for information on how to practice realistic self-care. This article has a collection of resources aimed at helping educators with the differing components to self-care.
September 16, 2022
An estimated 1 in 4 LGBTQ+ individuals have one or more disabilities, according to LGBT Map. Check out these resources from William Paterson University:
LBGT with Disabilities
Rainbow Alliance of the Deaf
Blind LGBT Pride International
Read more about LGBTQ+ individuals with disabilities on LGBT Map!
June 10, 2022
"Recent research covering 80,000 youth globally found that depressive and anxiety symptoms doubled during the pandemic, with 25% of youth experiencing depressive symptoms and 20% experiencing anxiety symptoms."
It is Mental Health Awareness Month and COVID-19 has impacted mental health of youth across the globe. Learn in what ways they were affected and how we can help from the U.S. Surgeon General's Advisory "Protecting Youth Mental Health." There are specialized sections for both families and educators.
May 20, 2022
Happy World Autism Awareness Month! Want to know more about what Autism Spectrum Disorder is? Have lots of questions? Check out the Child Mind Institute's quick guide to ASD. Explore the Autism topic page for more!
April 1, 2022
This week’s Fact Friday is for National Eating Disorders Awareness Week: Get the help you need by contacting the Nation Eating Disorders Association’s Helpline.
"People with negative body image have a greater likelihood of developing an eating disorder and are more likely to suffer from feelings of depression, isolation, low self-esteem, and obsessions with weight loss."
Source: National Eating Disorders Association
Feb. 25, 2022
The week’s fact Friday is for Body Image Awareness: According to a study done by YouGovAmerica in 2021, approximately 51% of Americans say they feel pressured to have a certain body type.
Follow the link to get a worksheet that will help both kids and adults promote a positive body image of themselves!
Feb. 4, 2022
For this week’s Fact Friday learn how to help support Transgender youth - by respecting pronouns, allowing students to participate in school activities/teams that match their gender identities, implementing inclusive policies, and including LGBTQ+ representation/history in your curriculum. During last year’s #FSULearn, Graduate Assistant Ellen Rose read a book by Holliston author Kerri Mullen. The book, “Eli's New Clothes,” provides a way to promote conversations about gender identity and self expression.
Also, check out some resources for LGBTQ+ folks and allies.
GLESN - "GLSEN works to ensure that LGBTQ students are able to learn and grow in a school environment free from bullying and harassment. Together we can transform our nation's schools into the safe and affirming environment all youth deserve."
PFLAG - "PFLAG is the first and largest organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) people, their parents and families, and allies. ... PFLAG is committed to creating a world where diversity is celebrated and all people are respected, valued, and affirmed."
Out MetroWest - "OUT MetroWest builds communities where LGBTQ+ youth thrive. ... The organization currently runs more than a dozen youth meetings per month out of its hub in Framingham. OUT MetroWest also provides online programming and satellite meetings around the MetroWest region."
Nov. 12, 2021