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Q&A: 18 Recommended Winter Resources & Activities for Families with Special Needs in Western MA

When our readers ask, Hilltown Families does our best to find the answers. Please feel encouraged to share your favorite places in the comment section!

Jean Engle of North Adams writes, “Once the colder weather sets in, where are the best places to visit and socialize for parents and children with special needs? Are there any specialized activities?”

Holyoke High School’s Adaptive Physical Education Program is an inspiration! Here’s a video of the program they held at Fitzpatrick Ice Arena to inspire other schools and communities to model a similar program in their area:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kzNPjcEqN0

Lisa Levheim writes, “It’s a little far from North Adams, but Whole Children in Hadley is amazing! They have after school programs and daytime programs for homeschoolers and younger kids.”

Swansea Benham Bleicher writes, “Most family centers will welcome children with special needs. Contact the Coordinators ahead of time if you are concerned: Northampton Parents Center, Easthampton Family Center, Belchertown Family Center, Amherst Family Center, Cummington Family Center, Gateway Family Center, South Hadley Family Center, Ware Family Center

Matt Sawyer writes,Ski Butternut offers skiing and snowboarding adaptive programs for people with special needs.”

  Thanksgiving Episode with Guest DJ, Charity Kahn Listen to Podcast: This special Thanksgiving episode from Charity and the JAMband explores, through music and story, some of the many, many things we have to be grateful for in our lives — like the sun, rain, friends and family – – culminating in a vision for world peace where everyone finally has enough food, shelter, community and love. Incorporating songs by Snatam Kaur,… Read More

We asked our readers how their families stayed entertained when they were snowed in… Answers ranged from playing games to playing music and included arts & crafts, baking reading, watching movies, and kitchen science! Let’s their ideas inspire you on this snowy day…

Let’s talk bedtime… What time does your child go to bed, and what is their age? Many parents struggling with bedtime routines with their young children wonder how other parents manage and what time they turn off the lights. Pulled from our archives, here’s what our readers had to share…

QUESTION AND ANSWERS One of our readers is looking to set up an email account for their tween.  — “Are there any recommendations from other parents on how to set up a monitored email account for a grade school child (10yo), in particular has anyone ever used KidsEmail.org? Gmail requires kids to be 13yo+ and I’m resistant to having my child use Gmail until then, otherwise I might be modeling that it’s… Read More

QUESTION AND ANSWERS Let’s talk bedtime… What time does your child go to bed, and what is their age? Pulled from our archives, here’s what our readers had to share… Nancyjo Craig Rongner writes: “‎22.5 months. Somewhere between 7 and 8.” Amanda Saklad‎ writes: “5, 9, 11 – all go to bed at 8pm (the 5 and 11yo share a room and it is tough to have the younger one go to… Read More

QUESTION AND ANSWERS When your kids were babies, how did you include them at the dinner table? Jennifer Shiao Page writes, “Well, when she was a wee one, we always ate when she was asleep. Once she could sit up, we put her in the high chair and she sat at the table with us. We always gave her appropriately-sized bits of whatever we were eating, for her to eat on her… Read More

QUESTION AND ANSWERS How does your family stay entertained when you’re snowed in (and the temps dip below 0°)? Amy Meltzer writes: “Blokus, Backgammon, Spot It, Clue, puzzles…baking cookies…and what my girls call “book conferences” when we all get in bed and read together.” Andrew Woodland writes: “Play banjo!” Gillian Kyle Budine writes: “Cozy up and read!” Aviva Lester Sieber writes: “We do arts and crafts, and read.” Robin Shtulman writes: “Board… Read More

QUESTION AND ANSWERS Jean Engle of North Adams writes, “Once the colder weather sets in, where are the best places to visit and socialize for parents and children with special needs? Are there any specialized activities?” Holyoke High School’s Adaptive Physical Education Program is an inspiration!  Here’s a video of the program they held at Fitzpatrick Ice Arena to inspire other schools and communities to model a similar program in their area:… Read More

QUESTION AND ANSWERS Now that the days are getting shorter, do you have any ideas or suggestion on how to get the kids to enjoy  outdoors even with less light? Community recommendations from our readers include: Head Lamps Glow Sticks Explore the Night Sky Listen for Night Sounds Games Audrey Nystrom Anderson writes, “Getting dark at 5pm gives you the chance to experience the dark in the eyes of a 3 year… Read More

QUESTION AND ANSWERS Have your kids asked yet how babies are made, or where babies come from? What did you say? If they haven’t asked yet, how might you reply when they do? Amanda Kingsley writes, “My five year old thinks that boy eggs are on one side and girl eggs are on the other… beyond that cuteness we’ve explained that the sperm meets the egg to make a baby.  She hasn’t… Read More

QUESTION AND ANSWERS No one in my family eats the same thing come dinner time! Any advice? Anita Morehouse writes, “LOL! We can’t even agree on a time to eat, never mind what to eat!” Michael Muller writes, “Pizza?” Brooksley Williams writes, “If my kids (ages 5 and 3) balk at what I’m serving for dinner, I express my confidence and excitement at how hungry they will be for breakfast. Eventually, they… Read More

QUESTION AND ANSWERS As a parent, what are your top websites you wouldn’t want to live without? Harmony Niedzwiecki writes: “AllRecipes.com“ Amanda Kingsley writes: “Am I allowed to say Facebook? It keeps me connected both to friends who can relate to my life with a family, and friends who I would otherwise hardly have time to communicate with. It’ s great way to stay informed and connect with other adults during days… Read More

QUESTION AND ANSWERS Love your pediatrician? Share the love and let us know. Recommend a pediatrician to families in Western Massachusetts looking for a doctor for their children. Rakhee Price writes: “Northampton Area Pediatrics are FANTASTIC! We LOVE Dr Steele. He makes every visit fun. All the other doctors and staff are all very welcoming.” Oona Coy writes: “Dr. Feinland and Dr. Perry at Valley Medical in Easthampton — they are family… Read More

QUESTION AND ANSWERS Does anyone have any age appropriate recommendations on how to get children to write thank-you notes for gifts received this holiday season? Pauline Delton suggests, “I had my (5yo) son just say something to me about his gifts for his birthday (I gave him ideas of what thank you cards might say), and I wrote his words down in a card without changing them much, and then he signed… Read More

QUESTION AND ANSWERS What can we do as parents (and as a society) to protect and promote creative free play for our kids? Share your suggestions, ideas and questions: Joshua M. Gannon-Salomon shares: “More wild spaces, especially within easy reach of inner cities.” Laura Hoffman shares: “Send them outside!” Andrew DeSiervo shares: “Get out of the way.” Amy Sundari Finlay shares: “Skip the soccer? Not that it’s bad, but, at least in… Read More

QUESTION AND ANSWERS Anyone have any tips on how to get kids to practice their musical instruments… with out nagging them? David Walsh writes, “Take them to a show (more than once) of some kind. It worked for me, 50 years old and still playing all three saxophones.” Scott McGinley writes, “I sit next to my daughter and listen. And help when needed. Seems to work.” Mercedes Echevarria writes, “Sometimes to get… Read More

QUESTION AND ANSWERS Temper tantrums! Remember them? Experiencing them for the first time? What works/worked for you when your little angel screams like a little banshee, holds her breath until blue, pulls his hair out, falls to the floor wildly kicking little legs into the air … in the middle of the grocery store? Swansea Benham Bleicher writes, “I highly recommend Tears and Tantrums by Aletha Solter.” Julie Gouldman Russell writes, “The… Read More

Discover fun and educational events happening this week in Western Mass, along with announcements, upcoming events, links, resources and the HFVS podcast. SUGGEST AN EVENT If you have a family friendly event or educational program happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, post your event on our “Suggest An Event” page. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening,… Read More

Discover fun and educational events happening this week in Western Mass, along with announcements, upcoming events, links, resources and the HFVS podcast. SUGGEST AN EVENT If you have a family friendly event or educational program happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, post your event on our “Suggest An Event” page. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening,… Read More

Discover fun and educational events happening this week in Western Mass, along with announcements, upcoming events, links, resources and the HFVS podcast. SUGGEST AN EVENT If you have a family friendly event or educational program happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, post your event on our “Suggest An Event” page. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening,… Read More

Herbal Medicine for Children and Babies Four Fall Classes at Blazing Star Herbal School Hilltown Families and Blazing Star Herbal School (BSHS) in Ashfield, MA have partnered up to offer one lucky participant free registration for Herbal Medicine for Children and Babies, a series of four classes being offered this fall.  Participants will learn how to raise healthy children, how to prevent compromised immune systems, and discuss both common and and some… Read More

100 Links (February 2010/March 2010) Nearly every day I add recommended links to the Hilltown Families bank of on-line resources.  Some of you might find these links well suited for your family, others, maybe not so much.  But it’s a fun and useful list worth perusing!  If you have a link you’d like to share, post it in our comment box. Where are these links? You won’t find them on your blog… Read More

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