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Texas Parent to Parent Summer Newsletter

Volume 20, Issue 1a
 
 
A Parent's Perspective
 
Texas Parent to Parent (TxP2P) provides support, information and education for families of children and adults with disabilities, chronic illness and other special health care needs.
This quarter our newsletter is on Self-Care.
Laura J. Warren, Executive Director, TxP2P
 
If you feel like you might have missed a newsletter, you didn’t!! We had the newsletter almost ready to go out the door in March when COVID-19 (C19) hit. Our ideas on school, social gatherings, summer camps and activities no longer applied. Just as anxiety about C19 subsided and we had just started to adjust to our new reality, George Floyd was killed in front of our eyes and protests continue today. Then, C19 ramped up and came back with a vengeance. Just a note, TxP2P embraces Black Texans with disabilities, their families, friends and loved ones. We stand with you and offer our support and ear.
 
Needless to say, our newsletter articles on summer camps and activities seemed ridiculous when we got back to it. We’ve started over and tried to give you more of what you need – info on how to decide what to do about school, telemedicine, emergency preparedness and a new feature where you will hear from our two TxP2P self-advocate staff members.
 
Please feel to reach out to us if there is anything we can help you with – if we don’t have the answer, we’ll find someone who does. You can reach me at Laura@txp2p.org. Stay safe!!
This email will be followed by another email shortly with even more articles. Enjoy! If you would like to read or save one of the articles, you can get to a PDF version by clicking on the title of the article.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Texas Health and Human Services Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) program serves children birth to 36 months with developmental delays or disabilities and their family. ECI may now provide services to children and their family through telehealth.
 
Telehealth is the delivery of early intervention services using distance technology when the ECI provider and family are not in the same physical location. Telehealth services can be provided when in-person visits pose a health risk, travel is difficult or locations are difficult to access. By using videoconferencing technology, the ECI provider shows parents how to help their child learn new skills, answers any questions the parents may have, and is able to watch parents practice the activities with their child. Telehealth helps parents improve their skills to increase their child’s communication and skills by helping parents work with their child.
 
Each ECI contractor may offer different services through telehealth. Check with your local agency to learn more about options available to families in your area. To find your local ECI program, visit the ECI Program Search page or call the Health and Human Services Commission Ombudsman office at 877-787-8999 (choose option 3).
 
Research has shown therapies delivered through telehealth may be as effective as those delivered in person. The American Physical Therapy Association, American Occupational Therapy Association, and American Speech-Language-Hearing Association all support telehealth.
 
 
Back to School Decision Making Tool
 
We thought you might find this helpful in assessing your decision about sending your child to school.
 
Conference Speakers Series in August
Still time to join us! Registration for any session
 
 
TxP2P now has Weekly Calls via Zoom -
please join us:
 
 
Parents’ Only Chats: Wednesdays 11:00 a.m. - English
2:00 p.m. - Spanish
 
Topic Calls
Tuesday: 1:30 p.m.
Thursdays: 2:30 pm.
 
Advocacy topics: Wednesdays, 7:30 pm
Amy Litzinger, TxP2P Staff
 
We thought it would be a good idea to have a regular column from self advocates now that there are two on staff at TxP2P. We wanted to share our perspective and give you an idea of how we see the world.
 
Our first introduction is Amy Litzinger. Amy has been on staff since 2011. She has life experience in living with cerebral palsy, using a power wheelchair, higher education, transition to healthcare for adults and employment, as well as self directing services across multiple systems.
 
Her current position at TxP2P is Public Policy Lead on our Advocacy team. She serves on multiple committees in Health and Human Services and education agencies. Creative projects are her usual form of self-care. She also participates in arts and dance groups around Austin.
She would like parents and other supporters to know that the more self-determination they can encourage in the early years, the better, even if only in small choices. Being encouraged to make decisions about small things can add up to bigger choices and build self-esteem as kids learn how their choices can affect their world.
 
Linda Litzinger, TxP2P Staff
 
Here are 3 websites to have on hand in case you need them on COVID-19.  
 
 
 
In my opinion, TEA’s two most important documents are:
 
a) Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) explaining Special Education in response to COVID-19 https://tea.texas.gov/sites/default/files/covid/covid19_special_ed_qa_updated_may_7.pdf
 
b) A discussion of Extended Year Services (EYS) services vs. compensatory services next fall https://tea.texas.gov/sites/default/files/covid/covid19-compensatory-services-and-extended-school-year-guidance.pdf 
 
A couple of issues that we have heard from parents:
 
a) School districts saying they can’t serve 3 and 4 year olds currently graduating from ECI because they cannot test them properly. Many of the tests has been rewritten to be administered via telehealth. 
 
b) School districts offering to withdraw the child because their disability is ‘so involved’ (just say no!).
 
c) School districts saying they are unprepared for tele-education. TEA is writing a tele-education version of each course for every grade level, to be rolled out in August to aide a district that feels they are too small or spread too thinly to be prepared.
 
3) If your child is not getting what they have a right to and need, Disability Rights Texas (https://www.disabilityrightstx.org/en/category/covid19/) reminds you that they are here for you, at no charge. 
 
As always, you can contact me at linda.litzinger@txp2p.org.
 
All TxP2P Conferences for 2020 have been canceled.
Big hopes for getting back together in 2021!
 
Texas Parent to Parent | 1805 Rutherford LaneSuite 201Austin, TX 78754