Connecting for Kids provides education and support to families with concerns about their child. It serves all families, including those children with and without formal diagnoses. Each month, it is offering Zoom educational programs, support groups, a Parent Match Program and other resources.
Register and you will be emailed information about how to join the program using the free Zoom app or by calling in using a toll-free number.
Concerned? Ask Us! School Check In (Virtual) Has this been a difficult year for your child? Do you feel that your child is falling behind academically, having behavioral issues or struggling socially? Join Connecting for Kids for this check-in where our Family Resource Specialists will answer your questions, address your concerns and help locate resources for your family including local tutors, social skills groups, behavioral specialists, mental health counselors, pediatric providers and other services. You will also be able to network with other families that have children who are struggling this year. This program is for adults only and will not be recorded. This program is supported by a grant from Community West Foundation. 7 -8 p.m.
Speech and Language Consults (Virtual) Do others find your child’s speech difficult to understand? Does your child have trouble talking or playing with other children? Does your child have difficulty understanding what you say? If so, sign up to attend our virtual Speech and Language Consult where you and your child will meet via Zoom with a pediatric speech language pathologist from Cleveland Hearing & Speech Center. This consultation is open to children ages 18 months-12 years. Your child will be encouraged to engage in some virtual activities and parents/caregivers will be asked to complete a checklist. You will also learn strategies to help him or her at home. This program is presented in partnership with Westlake Porter Public Library. 6:30-8 p.m.
Behavior Series: Tantrum Tamer Toolbox – Stop the Meltdown Before it Starts! March’s Tool: Behavior Reward Chart (Virtual) Do you wish you had a kit filled with “tools” you could use to stop meltdowns before they start? Do you want strategies to motivate your child toward positive behavior? Join us each month to learn how to use one of the tools in our Tantrum Tamer Toolbox to help your child aged 18 months – 6 years control behavior and manage emotions. This program is designed for children with or without identified development concerns. Join Kathy Nash, M.Ed., as she leads you through another tool in the Tantrum Tamer Toolbox – the Behavior Reward Chart. Kathy will walk you through strategies to manage behavior at home as well as to help find other ways to respond to your child. She will answer your questions on a variety of topics, which can be asked during the program or submitted upon registration. This program offers a safe space to connect with both our professionals and other families and the educational portion will be recorded. To receive a Tantrum Tamer Toolkit prior to the program, request a kit at Westlake Porter Public Library’s drive-through window or by visiting the Youth Services Desk. *One free kit per household* 7-8 p.m.
Coffee and Chat: Music for Mental Health: Coping Skills for Caregivers (Virtual) This program is open to any caregiver who needs support during this pandemic, regardless of how much their child is struggling. Join us this month as the music therapist uses music and art to focus on emotions in music. We will be focusing on music listening and discussing how colors can be associated with music and how those colors can be associated with different emotions. The music therapist will lead you through a creative music listening experience so you will need coloring materials and a blank sheet of paper. Come and connect with other families as we use music to cope with our ever-present struggles. Attendees will listen to live music and access their creative side during several art-focused music experiences. This program is for adults only and will not be recorded. 7-8 p.m.
Sensory Consults (Virtual) Does your child hate “itchy” clothes? Is your child bothered by noises or have difficulty with busy environments? Are you concerned about your child’s frequent meltdowns and difficulty interacting with others? Does your child frequently spin, jump and crash his or her body into things? If so, sign up to attend our virtual Sensory Consult where you and your child will meet via Zoom with a pediatric occupational therapist from Abilities First, LLC. This consultation is open to children ages 18 months-12 years. Your child will be encouraged to engage in some virtual activities and parents/caregivers will be asked to complete a checklist. You will also learn strategies to help him or her at home. This program is presented in partnership with Westlake Porter Public Library. 6:30-8 p.m.
Speaker Series: How to Communicate Effectively with the School (Virtual) What are some ways you can improve communication with your child’s school? How can you more effectively ask for support? Join Karla Fitch, MTSC, of Connecting for Kids as she teaches families how to create and use a communications binder. Karla will walk attendees through the documents a family should have readily available and discuss the importance of each. She will also demonstrate ways to use the binder throughout the year to communicate your child’s needs. All participants will be given supplies to put together your own communications binder! To pick up these supplies prior to the program, request your communications binder at Westlake Porter Public Library’s drive-through window or by visiting the Youth Services Desk. This program is co-sponsored by the Parent Mentors of the Educational Service Center of Lorain County and is supported by a grant from the Rotary Club of Lakewood and Rocky River – Sunrise and Noon Clubs, Rotary Club of North Ridgeville, Rotary Club of Westlake-Bay Village, and West Shore Rotary. This program is for adults only. This program will be recorded. *One kit per household while supplies last* 7-8 p.m.
Coffee and Chat: How to Stay Calm When the Kids are Out of Control (Virtual) Have constant back talking, frequent tantrums, and being holed up at home more often made it tough for you to maintain a sense of calm? Have frequent meltdowns become more the norm and you find yourself losing control? Do your kids push your buttons until you explode? Join Lisa Ruman, LISW, CHt, of The Child & Family Counseling Center of Westlake as she addresses one of our most popular topics, how to stay calm even when you are angry or frustrated by your child’s behaviors. You will learn six techniques to help you stay calm in the face of adversity. The article we will be discussing is “Remaining Calm in the Face of Chaos“. This program is for adults only and will not be recorded. This program is presented in partnership with Westlake Porter Public Library. 7-8 p.m.
Coffee and Chat: LGBTQ Support and Resources for Families: They/Them: Gender Expansive Parenting and Pronouns Is your child questioning gender identity or sexual orientation? As a caregiver or family member, how can you be supportive and affirming? Join Kristen Pepera, MEd, LPCC-S, and Lisa Pepera, MEd, LPCC-S, of Colors+, as well as other families to discuss gender nonconformity. This month our presenters will explore non traditional understandings of gender identity and the effects our responses can have on children who are gender expansive. We will discuss this article from the Washington Post. This program is a safe space and will not be recorded. 7-8 p.m.
March 13 & 26
Virtual Music Therapy & More
March’s Music Therapy & More theme is socialization. These live, virtual programs using Zoom work best for children who are used to interacting with a phone or computer screen. With Zoom you can view the music therapist live and participate in real time. Families can actively engage with the music therapist, talk to each other and enjoy the program together. Register online for the session of your choice, you will then be emailed information about how to join the program running the free Zoom app on your phone or laptop. 10:30 a.m. These programs are supported by the residents of Cuyahoga County through a grant from Cuyahoga Arts and Culture and presented in partnership with Westlake Porter Public Library.
Music Therapy & More On Demand (Videos)
Before you watch this month’s video, get your free kit that will give you everything your child needs to complete the activities for the month. The video focuses on the following skills: rhyming words and letters. March kits are available starting March 7 on a first-come, first-served basis at the Westlake Porter Public Library drive-through window. Or, if you prefer, a kit will be mailed to your residence if you fill out the form which can be found on our website at connectingforkids.org/MusicOnDemand. Please note that mail can be delayed due to circumstances outside of our control. February kits will also be available through the end of the March. To see February’s theme and kit details, visit connectingforkids.org/MusicOnDemand.
For these videos, Connecting for Kids has collaborated with local music therapists to produce Music Therapy & More On Demand videos you can play anytime. Videos are available in both English and Spanish. These videos are created in partnership with Westlake Porter Public Library, and supported in part by the residents of Cuyahoga County through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture.