Save even MORE money with your child’s RESP


Canada Education Savings Programs (CESP)

If you are saving for a child’s education, the Government of Canada will help you with special saving incentives that are only available if you have an RESP.   See more at:

Some early reading sites of interest to parents


Starfall is a free public service site designed to motivate children to read with phonics.  The site is kept up-to-date and there are a huge variety of free activities for children to use on their home computer. features animated free reading and writing and learning for kids. Children can even have their own stories published.  The quality is high and the stories are engaging.

The Reading Rockets project is comprised of PBS television programs and online services offering information and resources on how young kids learn to read and why so many struggle. There are lots of ideas and resources for parents here aimed at early and emerging readers.

Learning Disabilities Online is a good place to start learning about Learning Disabilities and ADHD.  It is an American site so some strategies are not applicable in Canada but the site has a huge resource list of links to organizations, free on-line resources and supports.

do2Learn has a wide variety of free resources supporting students with special needs including instruction on bus safety and facial expressions, picture cards, schedulers and print activities.  The site is well-maintained and easy to use.

Learning Tools 4 All contains many free digital text-to-speech tools in one place and supports to help you choose the best one for you and your child.  The site is on a Wiki model and may be a bit hard to use for some people.

What do do when someone has a seizure


During a Convulsion
A person falls, their body becomes rigid, muscles jerk, and breathing may become shallow.
What should you do?
• Stay calm. Most seizures last less than five minutes.
• Do not restrain the person during the seizure.
• Protect the person from injury. If possible, ease the person to the floor. Move hazardous objects out
of their way.
• As soon as possible, gently roll the person onto their side.
• Loosen anything around their neck and remove their eyeglasses.
• Check for medical identification: a medical bracelet or necklace.
• Do not put anything in their mouth. A person cannot swallow their tongue.
• Afterwards, talk gently to comfort and reassure the person. Stay with them until they are re-oriented.

Other Seizures
Not all seizures are convulsive. A person may stare blankly, and appear dazed and unresponsive. They may walk in a purposeless and clumsy manner. These seizures usually last less than five minutes.

What should you do?
• Stay with the person. The person may be unaware of their actions.
• Move hazardous objects out of their way.
• Do not restrain the person during their seizure.
• Gently guide the person away from any danger.
• Afterwards, talk gently to reassure the person. Stay with them until they are re-oriented.

When should you call 911?
• When a seizure lasts longer than five minutes.
• When you find someone in a convulsion and you are unsure how long the seizure has lasted.
• When seizures repeat without full recovery between them.
• If the person appears confused for more than 20 minutes after a seizure.
• When a seizure has occurred in water.
• If the person is injured, pregnant, or has diabetes.

For more information, please contact the BC Epilepsy Society at
604-875-6704,, or
First Aid for Seizures

How to Avoid BPA in water bottles


How to identify and Avoid BPA (Bisphenol A)



BPA or Bisphenol A is a chemical found in plastics and which can behave similar to estrogen and other hormones in our bodies. Unlike phthalates, which are found in soft plastic products, BPA is found in hard plastics, like baby bottles. BPA is also found in other plastic containers, such as plastic water bottles.

You can identify plastics made with BPA by looking for the plastic identification number "7" inside the recycling symbol on their label.

The use of BPA has become controversial, as there is a concern that BPA can leach out of plastic and into baby formula, juice, food, and other substances inside plastic containers made with BPA.

Find more information and more links at:


See also these recent Vancouver Sun Articles:

Feds Designate Bisphenal Toxic

Younger Canadians have more BPA in their systems

91% of Canadians exposed to BPA

BPA Found in cash register receipts




Make a Family Tradition!


Create Memories, not anxieties!

Back-to-school is an anxious time for children AND parents. Try to make the whole experience something to remember with fondness by making up your own family tradition for the first day of school.

Many families take a yearly photograph on the first day of school.  From year to year you can compare how big they have grown!  And not just their backpacks!

Some families have a special event when the kids get home.  Go out for lunch or have a B-B-Q.  Take the time to find out who is in your child’s class this year and "Oh, my goodness, you have which teacher?  Yikes, didn’t your father have her for grade 3? She must be ready for retirement by now!"  

Make a Back-to-School advent calendar of activities.  Do something special every day for the week prior to back-to-school.  This might include re-jigging sleep schedules.  My kids always stay up later and get up later as summer goes by.  If it is part of their special back-to-school activities they might forgive you for the early bedtimes.

Some parents write a letter or a note on the first day of school, which their child can read during a free moment at school. Your letter might offer encouragement or point out specific things your child did that made you proud.

Shopping tips for Back-to-School



Check out these Canadian links on shopping for Back-to-School:


Globe & Mail, A lesson in back-to-school budgeting


Parent Central:  How to contain back-to-school shopping–how-to-contain-back-to-school-shopping


New Westminster NewsLeader:


WalletPop Canada: Six Tipsfor back-to-school



Use a Family Calendar


*updated 2012*

As a parent of a child with exceptional needs you are constantly juggling many balls at once. There are school meetings, your other children’s schedules, your work and home-life commitments and if you are lucky, a social life. Use a family calendar to get and stay organized.
1. Keep One Master Family Calendar
You’ll need one large family calendar where you can keep everyone’s schedule. Look for something that gives you a lot of space for writing appointments and details, and place the calendar in an area where you will see it regularly. Many calendars are based on an academic year, September to September, so this is the perfect time to get your new and improved calendar.  I keep my calendar on the counter right by my phone and I check it daily to be sure there’s not an upcoming event that I’ve forgotten.

2. Use a personal planner
Choose something that’s small enough to carry with you, but not so small that it’s a chore to read your own writing. Alternatively, you could use a smart phone or another  portable electronic organizer for this purpose.

3. Regularly Add Important Dates to Each Calendar
As soon as you receive the annual school calendar, add the pro-D days to your family calendar and your personal day planner. Don’t forget to add all those special days like birthdays and event invitations. Getting into the habit of adding items to your calendars regularly will help you gain control of your life.

4. Use Your Day Planner to Maintain Details
Your day planner is a perfect place to record directions, addresses, and phone numbers. Any detail you might need later can be kept in your day planner. For example, when you’re adding the date for your IEP review, you can include the location and a contact phone number in your day planner so you are prepared even if you lose the note from school.  Alternatively, buy a family calendar with large enough spaces to include these details.  Just do whatever works best for you!

5. Use Pencil
This is a simple recommendation, but it allows you to easily make changes to your calendar. The ability to keep it current and readable increases the chance that you’ll really use your family calendar regularly to keep your life’s activities organized.  I also have a pot of white-out nearby in case of a big boo-boo.

6. Check Your Calendar Daily
Get into the habit of checking your calendar regularly. For example, plan to check it every evening so you can plan your day.

7. Teach the Kids to Check the Family Calendar
As your children get older, you’ll want them to be in the habit of checking the family calendar, too. This will help prevent scheduling conflicts and help the entire family participate in the task of planning your schedules.  This is not just Mom’s job!

8. If You Can’t Find a Calendar That Works for You, Print Your Own
In addition to saving money, you can add important details to the template before the calendar is printed, such as monthly home projects, holidays, and birthdays. These actually make great family gifts, as well.

I have found DotXls good for free and simple excel templates:

or free craft calendars:

Office also has lots of free templates:

Or just Google "free calendar template" and pick and choose!


Skills for Academic Success


Skills for Academic Success,

adapted from "Homework Tips for Parents" by the Coordinated Campaign for Learning Disabilities.

It’s never too early or too late to help your child develop the skills for academic success. Learn how to build these skills and stay on track all year long. It takes a combination of skills — organization, time management, prioritization, concentration and motivation — to achieve academic success.

Here are some tips to help get your child on the right track:

Talk to your child. To find out which of these skills your child has and which he can develop further, start a simple conversation that focuses on his goals. Ask him about his favorite subjects, classes he dreads and whether he’s satisfied with his latest progress report.
Listen for clues. Incorporate your own observations with your child’s self-assessment. Is your child overwhelmed by assignments? She may have trouble organizing time. Does your child have difficulty completing her work? She may get distracted too easily. Is your child simply not interested in school? She may need help getting motivated.
Identify problem areas. Start here to help your child identify which of the five skill areas are trouble spots. Most children say they want to do well in school, yet many still fail to complete the level of work necessary to succeed academically. The reason is often motivation. Tapping into your child’s interests is a great way to get him geared to do well in school.

1. Organization

Whether it’s keeping track of research materials or remembering to bring home a lunch box, children need to be organized to succeed in school. For many students, academic challenges are related more to a lack of organization than to a lack of intellectual ability.
Tips to help your child get organized:
• Make a checklist of things your child needs to bring to and from school every day. Put a copy by the door at home and one in his backpack. Try to check with him each day to see if he remembers the items on the list.
• Find out how your child keeps track of his homework and how he organizes his notebooks. Then work together to develop a system he will want to use.
• Shop with your child for tools that will help him stay organized, such as binders, folders or an assignment book.
• Conduct a weekly clean-up. Children should be encouraged to go through and sort out book bags and notebooks on a weekly basis. Old tests and papers should be organized and kept in a separate file at home.

2. Time Management

Learning to schedule enough time to complete an assignment may be difficult for your student. Even when students have a week to do a project, many won’t start until the night before it’s due. Learning to organize time into productive blocks takes practice and experience.
Tips to help your child manage time:
• Track assignments on a monthly calendar. Work backward from the due date of larger assignments and break them into nightly tasks.
• Help your child record how much time she spends on homework each week so she can figure out how to divide this time into manageable chunks.
• Together, designate a time for nightly homework and help your child stick to this schedule.
• If evenings aren’t enough, help your child find other times for schoolwork, such as early mornings, study halls or weekends.

3. Prioritization

Sometimes children fall behind in school and fail to hand in assignments because they simply don’t know where to begin. Prioritizing tasks is a skill your child will need throughout life, so it’s never too soon to get started.
Tips to help your child prioritize:
• Ask your child to write down all the things he needs to do, including non-school-related activities.
• Ask him to label each task from 1 to 3, with 1 being most important.
• Ask about each task, so that you understand your child’s priorities. If he labels all his social
activities as 1, then you know where his attention is focused.
• Help your child change some of the labels to better prioritize for academic success. Then suggest he rewrite the list so all the 1s are at the top.
• Check in frequently to see how the list is evolving and how your child is prioritizing new tasks.
4. Concentration

Whether your child is practicing her second-grade spelling words or studying for a trigonometry test, it’s important that she works on schoolwork in an area with limited distractions and interruptions.
Tips to help your child concentrate:
• Turn off access to email and games when your child works on the computer.
• Declare the phone and TV off-limits during homework time.
• Find space that fits the assignment. If your child is working on a science project, she may need lots of space; if she’s studying for a Spanish test, she will need a well-lit desk.
• Help your child concentrate during homework time by separating her from her siblings.

5. Motivation

Most children say they want to do well in school, yet many still fail to complete the level of work necessary to succeed academically. The reason is often motivation. Tapping into your child’s interests is a great way to get him geared to do well in school.
Tips to help motivate your child:
• Link school lessons to your child’s life. If he’s learning percentages, ask him to figure out the price of a discounted item next time you shop.
• Link your child’s interests to academics. If he’s passionate about music, give him books about musicians and show how music and foreign languages are connected.
• Give your child control and choices. With guidance, let him determine his study hours, organizing system or school project topics.
• Encourage your child to share his expertise. Regularly ask him about what he’s learning in school.
• Congratulate your child, encourage him and celebrate all his successes. Often what holds children back from trying is the fear of failure or the memory of a time they didn’t do well. You can help break this cycle by celebrating your child’s successes, no matter
how small, and by giving him opportunities to succeed academically.

 Learning Disabilities Association of Canada:

Resources for Parenting Younger Children


Attachment Parenting Canada

This website provides parents with evidence-based information regarding how to best deal with their children

Unfortunately, the BC chapter does not currently have any contact persons on its website.


BC Family Resource Programs

106-2590 Granville St, Vancouver, BC, V6H 3H1

Phone: (604) 738-0068, Fax: (604) 738-0058

This website introduces you to community based family resource programs. It mainly seeks to strengthen and empower families within their communities. It aims to help families offer children the best for optimal development.


Children First

This is a website that aims at helping BC families with small children through a number of initiatives. Although it does not provide direct services, it can help families get services that are identified by community planning.


Empathic Parenting

This is a Canadian-based website that provides information and advice on how to best parent your child. It also offers a FREE online parenting course and has links to other useful websites.


Fussy Baby

This website is quite useful to any parent of a small child. It contains information about fussy babies and offers useful tips to parents as to how they can handle their fussy baby. This website has a discussion forum for parents and others who deal with fussy babies. It also connects you to other websites that might be of use to you.


The Natural Child Project

This is a great website for any parent. It offers a lot of advice and information about raising healthy children

Family Wellness Fair – Saturday, October 24th


The Family Wellness Fair features a “Lunch and Learn” for individuals in the disability community, their families, friends and caregivers, with esteemed motivational speaker/performer David Roche.  Following the luncheon, we will hold the information/vending booth part of the day.  The goal of the Family Wellness Fair is to provide information about services and products that assist people to achieve physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing.  We are inviting a variety of large and small businesses, community service providers, and alternative health care providers to attend the fair and provide information about their products and/or services. 

Presenters Include:

  • 3H Craftworks 
  • Burnaby Hospital Foundation
  • Burnaby Public Library
  • Canadian Cancer Society
  • Canadian Diabetes Society
  • Canadian Red Cross – Equipment Loans Program
  • CBI Consultants
  • CNIB
  • Dignity Home Care
  • Family Support Institute
  • The Grape Box
  • Hardman Acupuncture & TCM Clinic
  • Isagenix
  • Nurse Next Door
  • Shepell-fgi
  • Soup ‘n Stuff
  • Special Olympics, Burnaby
  • St. John Ambulance

There will be door prizes from Active Life Health Clinic, Butterfly Yoga, Westcoast School of Massage Therapy, and Heart Centre Yoga.  Onsite childcare is available. 

If you wish to attend the free Lunch & Learn RSVP by Thursday, October 22nd to

If you require childcare during the event, you must RSVP by Monday, October 19th to