The Arc Kicks off the Parents’ Workshop Series with Award Winning Author Natalie Hale

May 22nd, 2015

Stepping Stones staff have been using the “Special Reads for Special Needs” curriculum to teach students how to read for a number of years.  Thanks to funding from The Candle Lighters and The Arc of Essex County, the Stepping Stones education team and parents were able to learn directly from the curriculum developer, Natalie Hale, during a series of workshops at the Roseland campus in March.

During an all-day staff workshop on Friday, March 13, and a parent workshop on Saturday, March 14, Hale led attendees through an effective plan to teach reading to learners of any age with Down syndrome including current best practices, the optimal order of learning to read, sight word learning vs. Phonemic awareness, the Fast Flash method, and guidelines for creating personal books and adapting trade books.

The workshop was divided into two sessions, the first focusing on how to create personal books to aid in the learning process, and the second focusing on how to modify trade books to fit each child’s learning needs.  Parents and teachers left the workshops armed with the materials and plans to take their children’s reading to the next level.

The Arc of Essex County continued the parents’ workshop series with funding from The Candle Lighters on Tuesday, May 19, with presentations from The Arc of Essex County’s Director of Business Development, Melissa Soules, Director of Education and Early Childhood, Sue Brand, and Director of Children and Family Services, Laurie Best.  Soules, Brand, and Best discussed the different services and systems that families and children will experience throughout their life, including an overview of early intervention, the NJ Department of Children and Families, Children's System of Care, PerformCare, the transition years, and the Division of Developmental Disabilities.

Check back on The Arc of Essex County’s website or follow us on social media for the next installment of the parents’ workshop series.