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ask the expert (5)

Ask the Expert: Preparing for Summer

2128979?profile=RESIZE_320x320While summer elicits thoughts of relaxation, vacation, and time off for most people, families of young children with disabilities may have different perceptions. In our continuing “Ask the Expert” series, we posed some questions about summer to Debbie Whitmer, a mother of a child with a disability and Shasta College instructor in Early Childhood Education. Here are her reflections on managing the changes that come with the end of the school year.2129005?profile=RESIZE_480x480

What were some of your primary concerns related to the transition from the school year to the summer months?

Structure and consistent routines are important for many children, especially those with autism spectrum disorders. In the summer, programs may have different schedules and may rotate providers to cover vacations. Being aware of these changes and preparing your child ahead of the summer months for new schedules and people is important. Another challenge can be the weather and the need to wear different clothes, add hats and sunglasses

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Ask the Expert: World Down Syndrome Day

world down syndrome day logo with heart shaped 21World Down Syndrome Day is next Tuesday, March 21, and will be recognized globally on six continents. In preparation for this event, Dr. Mary A. Falvey, Emeritus Professor at California State University, Los Angeles, joins us today to answer some questions about Down syndrome.

Early Start Neighborhood: Dr. Falvey, what is Down syndrome?

2128963?profile=RESIZE_180x180Dr. Falvey: Down syndrome is one of the most common genetic conditions, also known as Trisomy 21, and is caused by the presence of all or part of a third copy of a chromosome. It is typically associated with delays, low muscle tone, characteristic (e.g., a single deep crease across the palm of the hand, a slightly flattened facial profile, upward slant to the eyes), and mild-to-moderate intellectual delays.  However, it is important to keep in mind that each person with Down syndrome is a unique individual and may possess these characteristics to different degrees or not at all.

Down syndrome is named after , the British doctor who described the syndrom

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Now is your chance to "Ask the Expert"!

Mary FalveyMary Falvey, Professor Emeritus with the Division of Special Education and Counseling at California State University, Los Angeles, is standing by to answer your questions about Down syndrome. Dr. Falvey's expertise is in moderate-to-severe disabilities and inclusive education. Her research interests also include the provision of effective communication skills, strategies, and supports for students with significant communication disabilities. She teaches courses on collaboration between special and general education, methods for effectively teaching, assessment and instruction for students with and without disabilities in inclusive settings, and research methods.  Dr. Falvey is also the aunt of a 27-year-old young man with Down syndrome who lives with her. Submit your questions here and look for her answers in March in time for World Down Syndrome Day.

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Welcome to Ask the Expert, a special feature here in the Neighborhood where we ask an Early Start expert to share their knowledge on a certain topic with our members. Our expert this month is Monica Mathur-Kalluri, an Early Childhood Development Specialist with the WestEd Center for Prevention & Early Intervention and the National Center for Systemic Improvement. Last month, we asked Monica all about Routines-Based Early Intervention. After taking a short break for the holidays, we are ready to share what she had to say! Read on to find out more about Routines-Based Early Intervention.


What is Routines-Based Early Intervention?

Monica: Routines-Based Early Intervention is a model that focuses on supporting family functioning in existing, meaningful, everyday routines.  Robin McWilliam developed this model, although some of the components are shared with other family-centered models. 

The Routines-Based Early Intervention model includes 5 components:


(1) Understanding a family’s

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Ask the Expert - Take a Minute Campaign

Welcome to our first ever Ask the Expert special feature! This month, we chatted with Kelly Young (below, left) and Robin Larson (below, right) about the statewide "Take a Minute" campaign, and the importance of social-emotional development. Both Kelly and Robin are highly involved in the Early Start community - Kelly is the parent of a child who received Early Start services, as well as the Executive Director of the WarmLine Family Resource Center, and Robin is the Intake Supervisor at Far Northern Regional Center. Take a look at what they had to say below!

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Why is taking a minute for social-emotional development so important? 

Robin: Social-emotional development is the foundation for all other development. Children develop naturally by making early attachments to their parents or caregivers and observing and imitating their behavior. If there is some interruption in this natural connection, children have more difficulty maximizing their pers

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