How to Research and Choose a School For Your Child – A Conversation With Peg Tyre

In just one week we will be hosting Peg Tyre at Kidberry.  The topic of the night is one that we are all talking about now, “How to Research and Choose a School For Your Child.”

The quality of education in our neighbourhood schools can be shockingly inadequate and recent school reforms are missing the mark.  Our system of school choice in New York can be confusing for even the most informed and organized parents.  How can we tell the difference between a good school and a substandard one?  You need more than just test scores to get the whole story.

Peg Tyre, award winning journalist and author of, “The Good School – How Smart Parents Get Their Kids the Education They Deserve,” will discuss ways for parents to constructively engage teachers and administrators and make critical judgments about their children’s education.  Whether you're enrolling for the first time or you are at a school that may not be the right fit, you can gain from this discussion.

Please join us.

Date:  Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Time:  6:30 pm – 8:00 pm

Location:  Kidberry – 2046 7th Avenue (Between 122nd & 123rd Street)

Tickets:  $25/person (Limited financial aid available.  Contact info@letstalkschools.com for details)

Open to the public.  Registration is required at http://howtochoosebestschool.eventbrite.com

5.20.2012  Just added - NYC public school parent Kristi Barlow, of NYC Elementary School Maps, will have her Manhattan map on display and available for purchase at the event.

Early Intervention For Speech or Language Delays

Adorable little boy whispering something to his sisterThis is part 2 of a 2 part series on speech and language development by Speech Language Pathologist Timberly Leite of  Innovative Therapy Solutions, a full-service pediatric speech and occupational therapy facility in Harlem.

What should I do if my child’s speech or language appears to be delayed?

Talk to your child’s doctor if you have any concerns. Your doctor may refer to to a speech-language pathologist, who is a health professional trained to evaluate and treat people with speech or language disorders. The speech-language pathologist will talk to you about your child’s communication and general development. He or she will also use special spoken tests to evaluate your child. A hearing test is often included in the evaluation because a hearing problem can affect speech and language development. Depending on the result of the speech-language evaluation, the speech-language pathologist may suggest activities you can do at home to stimulate your child’s development. They might also recommend group or individual therapy or suggest further evaluation by an audiologist (a health care professional trained to identify and measure hearing loss), or developmental psychologist (a health care professional with special expertise in the psychological development of infants and children).

Helpful TipsI have concerns, where can I get help for my child?

These are local resources depending on your child’s chronological age:

If your child is 0-3 years old

Based on this checklist, (and/or according to the above mentioned milestones) if your child is exhibiting signs of a delay, call 311 and ask for Early Intervention. The direct number for Early Intervention is (518) 473-7016. If you are a New York City resident, call 311 and then ask for Early Intervention. Residents outside of New York City limits should call Early Intervention directly to find out your local contact. Please view the attached Early Intervention Guide For Parents

If you have concerns about your child’s overall development (or if your child is at risk for a delay for any number of reasons (hereditary/genetic risks, abuse, drug use during pregnancy, etc.,) call 311 for Early Intervention and ask to enroll in the Developmental Monitoring Program, this is a free program sponsored by the state.

If your child is 3-5 years old

Special education services are regulated by the Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE.) If you have concerns about your child’s overall development (physical, emotional, psychological, social, fine/gross motor or speech-language development OR any aspect of your child’s development) you will need to contact your local CPSE office and request assistance. Let them know that you would like to have your child evaluated and what your concerns are. They must respond in a timely manner. Please review the Parents Guide to give you information on the special education process in New York City. When your child is being considered by the CPSE for services, transportation for your child will also be addressed.

If your child is 5-21 (School-aged)

Special education services are regulated by the Committee on Special Education (CSE.) If you have concerns about your child’s overall development (physical, emotional, psychological, social, fine/gross motor or speech-language development OR any aspect of your child’s development) you will need to contact your local CSE office and request assistance. Let them know that you would like to have your child evaluated and what your concerns are. The must respond in a timely manner. Please peruse the Parents guide to Special Education to orient yourself on the services available to and the process of seeking assistance for your school-aged child. These services are available to your child regardless of the type of school your child attends. I get calls all of the time from parents whose children are not enrolled in a public school so they feel that services are not available to them, but EVERY child is entitled to Special Education services despite the school they attend! `

In Manhattan, our local CSE(s) offices are:

CSE District Address Phone/Fax
9 1,2,4 333 7th Avenue, 4th New York, NY 10001 P.  (917) 339-1600F.  (917) 339-1450
10 3,5,6 388 West 125th StreetNew York, NY 10027 P.  (212) 342 8300F.  (212) 342-8427

While you are going through the evaluation process and you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Once you have gone through the evaluation process and if you are in need of speech therapy or occupational therapy services, please consider Innovative Therapy Solutions for your therapy needs!

Understanding Speech and Language Development and When You Should Seek Help For Your Child

bigstock-Child-speaking-and-alphabet-le-18001274In this 1st of a 2 part series on speech and language development, Speech Language Pathologist Timberly Leite of  Innovative Therapy Solutions, a full-service pediatric speech and occupational therapy facility in Harlem, gives an in-depth review of speech and language development and the age which most monolingual speaking children with accomplish speaking and hearing milestones.  Part 2 will follow next week with details of the procedure for obtaining early intervention for your children. Continue reading "Understanding Speech and Language Development and When You Should Seek Help For Your Child"

The orange folder

On the first (or second, I can't quite remember) day of school, Lee brought home an orange folder with his name on it in his bookbag.  The is the primary method of communicating with the teacher.  The concept is sort of like sending notes by carrier pigeon back in the olden days.  School newsletters, forms, menus, announcements, notes from the teacher, the work your child did that day, are all placed in this folder in the bookbag on a daily basis.  Conversely, I can send notes to the teacher, money for Lee to purchase items from bake sales, and return forms by putting them in the folder.  The teacher empties the folder each day and routes the contents to the appropriate place in the school or reads the note and acts on it.  It's quite an efficient system as long as the folder is emptied and returned each day by both parties, parents and teachers.

For the most part, I've been returning the folder daily, although there has been one or two days that it's remained on the dining room table.  What I did not do was to figure out a way to store all of the stuff that comes home in the folder, so it was accumulating into yet another pile of stuff to figure out what to do with.  I'm a pack rat and information junkie so it's hard to just throw things away.  This past weekend I finally got a large 3 ring binder and a pack of dividers with the months of the year tabs and set about filing everything away.  This was so simple.  Why didn't I think of it before?

I now have a chronological record of all of the orange folder communication.  Lee's coloring pages and artwork that are not displayed are currently in the pockets of the binder.  This is only a temporary solution because at the rate that he's been bringing them home, those pockets will be filled by the end of November so I'll have to think of another solution for them soon.  Perhaps they'll just get their own orange folder.

Do you have a storage solution for your child's artwork that you would like to share?  Please leave a comment with it below.

Label EVERYTHING!

One of the most important thing they should tell new parents is to label absolutely everything that is not on your child's body, including coats, hats, shoes, anything they may remove.

It rained heavily during the first couple days of school this year so Lee wore his new yellow rain slicker that he is in love with.  When I went to pick him up that afternoon, the teacher greeted me with a most apologetic look on her face.  "I'm so sorry, but we accidentally gave his coat to the boy he shares a cubby with", she said.  The perfect storm of circumstances lead to this unfortunate mishap that left my child with no coat to wear home in the rain.  The other boy was picked up early that day by someone who was not his mother or father and couldn't have known that he did not own the coat.  The teacher handed over the book bag and coat thinking it belonged to the right child.  The other child's name was in his coat, but Lee's name was not.  I guess there was some confusion as to who was who because the wrong coat was left behind for Lee.  It was an honest mistake but try explaining that to a 3 year old who is just getting used to a new situation.  It was not pretty.  Luckily, by the time we got outside the rain stated to hold up so he didn't get very wet at all.  The coat was returned the next morning and all was well.

Since then, I've learned to put his name on absolutely everything that is not attached to him - clothing, sheets, blankets, pillows, utensils, etc.  I use the labels from Name Bubbles and they're great.  I especially love the shoe labels because they have a plastic protective cover that keeps the labels in place.