Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Back to School

Many children have already started school, while for others today is their first day back. Regardless of when they started, the new school year is the focus of many families this time of year. The early days of a new grade are filled with hopes for how the year will go – what they will learn and what new friendships will develop over the next months. For those children who are dealing with dystonia, this time of year is also full of other thoughts – Can I keep up with the school work?  Will other kids make fun of me because of my dystonia? Will my treatments make it hard for me to concentrate and pay attention in class?

Parents worry about how their dystonia-affected child will manage the academic and social demands of a new school year. This can be a very anxious time for everyone. The DMRF is here to help those families.  A wonderful blog called Dystonia & Special Education (http://dmrfspecialed.blogspot.com/) is  authored by longtime DMRF member and parent, Roberta Senzel. The blog offers tips on knowing your child’s education rights, how to approach schools to request accommodations, and how to talk with a teacher about a child’s dystonia.

Additionally, the DMRF is proud to announce the availability of a new book for children written by Zak Weinstein and his mother Alyssa Dver titled, Never Look Down. Zak has dystonia and wanted to share his advice on how to manage life with the disorder. The book is a wonderful way to begin talking with a child about their dystonia. We are grateful to the reviewers:  Nutan Sharma, MD, PhD, Naomi Lubarr, MD, Anna Nolan, PhD, Jennifer Tuttelman, MS, and Jeffrey Weinstein, MS for their comments and assistance in developing this fabulous resource for kids and their families. If you are interested in obtaining a copy of Never Look Down for your child, email us at dystonia@dystonia-foundation.org

The DMRF is also ready to help connect parents with other families who have navigated the challenges a new school year brings to everyone. For example, if you are on Facebook, be sure to check out the closed group called Support4Parents of Children with Dystonia (https://www.facebook.com/groups/support4parents.dmrf/). Please know you are not alone out there. We stand ready to help.