An April newsletter brought to you by Rhonda Davis, OSB Parent Liaison

~April Showers MAY Bring Flowers~

But really, who knows? The weather, like so much in life, can be unpredictable and out of our control.  Add to that all the regular things we have to do to fulfill our responsibilities to our children, families, workplace, communities, and more. Before you know it, overwhelm and anxiety can sneak its way into our lives. (Not helpful, or fun!)  

Next time you have that crummy feeling, try this quick, proven technique called "affect labeling."  It can reduce negative feelings and help to bring about a sense of calm. Simply take a pen and paper and write down a word or two about how you're feeling in the moment. By naming your emotional state, you can reduce your feelings of overwhelm and isolation. "Affect labeling" can be a tool in your toolbox to get you through a tough moment, which we all have from time to time.  For more information about this technique, read here.

Another help in uncertain or trying times is connection to others.  At Overbrook School for the Blind,  relationships with our families, students and staff are a valuable resource! Please consider attending one of our upcoming events to help strengthen those connections. On April 28th, there will be a "Walk and Roll in the Woods," and on June 1st, come swim and socialize at our second "Funky Friday" event, a BBQ and swim party. See below for more information.


Sign of Ridley Creek State Park, Dept. of Conservation & Natural Resources

NEW DATE! Spring Walk and Roll in the Woods!
Saturday, April 28, 2018, 11-2pm: A Spring Walk and Roll in the Woods- Please join other OSB families for a picnic and "walk and roll" at Ridley Creek State Park, in Newtown Square, Delaware County. 

Mother Nature has not been cooperating~~So lets try again!  There was such a wonderful response to the first date. We had 18 families who were ready roll- Thank you for being up for an adventure! While there is less notice for this new date, we're hoping for another big response. Time together in nature...what could be better!

Soooo,  we'll provide the picnic, you bring your sneakers and wheels! Ridley Creek State Park has an accessible, multi-use trail that meanders along a creek. After lunch, those of us who feel like it can, hit the trail. Or stay at the picnic site to visit with others if you prefer! RSVP by Evite, flyer, or by calling or emailing me at 215-877-0313 x305 or
Workshops@Woodbine House

Creating a Vision for Your Child-Teamwork for Success!
Thursday May 3, 10am to 1pm  (Rescheduled from March's weather madness.)

*Learn how to build on your child's strength so his or her full potential is reached.
*Hands-on session for families- includes all materials to create a vision to take home!
*Bring hard copy or digital photos of your child to include in your project.

Challenging Behaviors~What Families Can do to Make a Difference 
Thursday May 17, 10am to 1pm

Both workshops are for OSB parents of children at any age!

Lunch provided, and childcare will be reimbursed!

Woodbine House is located at 6398 Woodbine Ave, corner of Woodbine and N. 64th St., around the corner from OSB's main entrance. (No need to check in at the main entrance, go directly to 6398 Woodbine Ave. There is plenty of street parking!)

Three ways to RSVP: Call Rhonda @ 215-877-0313x305, return the bottom half of the event flyer OR..say yes to the EVITE coming to your email inbox.


April's Workshop@Woodbine a Big Success!
Thank you to The Institute on Disabilities at Temple and Families First for providing top notch workshop facilitators to our families!  April's workshop titled "Playpen Zen" included ideas from an art therapist to quickly calm and center caregivers, and an information packed session on how "Reflexology", applying pressure to the feet, hands, face and ears, can improve common health issues for children with disabilities.  Be sure to check out our other Workshops@Woodbine listed above!

First Ever Funky Friday BBQ and Swim Party
Friday, June 1st, 5:30-8:30
Please join us as we wrap up another beautiful year of learning and growth at OSB!
More info to come to your email inbox and your child's back pack, but please...
PERC Corner
Where you'll get the latest from your PARENT representatives!
- Mixed Bags
Don’t forget Mother’s Day and those Grads!!  Orders can still be placed at: .  The fundraiser will be available online until May 11th.  If you have any questions please email   
- Wawa Hoagie Coupons
Reminder that these will be sold until May. To place an order, please complete form and email us at or send it in with your child in an envelope marked Rhonda Davis.  Preferred payment is cash; however, checks can be made out to: Overbrook PERC.  

Designer Bag Bingo,  April 21, 2018 (*Co-hosting)
The PERC has teamed up with OSB to host the 1st Designer Bag Bingo.  Field House doors open at 6PM!    Tickets are now available at  -  $30 in Advance/ $35 at the Door - Reserve a Table of 8 - $230
If you can volunteer, please contact Tina Pilkauskas at  We are also asking for raffle baskets donations – adult oriented (i.e. non-crayons, coloring, toys, etc ) items are appreciated as this is non-child event (21yrs+).

- Philadelphia Soul,  June 10, 2018 3:00PM 
Before the game join other Overbrook families for an awesome hi-five experience down near the locker rooms.  You will be able to hi-five & cheer for the Players as they make their way to the field!!!
Deadline for tickets is Friday, June 1, 2018.  They can be purchased via PayPal at (avoid fees send money as a friend) or cash in an envelope to JJ McGlynn (Biddle Rm 109) - PLEASE WRITE YOUR CHILDREN'S NAME  Wheelchair seating available in Section 121, but limited.  Please specify when requesting your tickets if you will need this section (map is included on flyer).
- Pastries With Parents, June 11, 2018 9:30AM
I am sure you have heard of Muffin with Mom's and Donuts with Dad's, so PERC is combining the two, having Pastries with Parents. Evite and Flyer to come soon.
This event is for Mothers, Fathers and/or Guardians of OSB child(ren) only.  Sorry other family members
and/or friends will not be able to attend this event.
- Next PERC meeting, Wednesday, May 9, 2018 7PM
Our next meeting will be on school grounds in the Nevil Center Conference Room. Park in the bus turnaround.
- Staying in touch
Come join our Facebook at Overbrook School for the Blind P.E.R.C.  (@OSBPERC) – tag us too!!
Also, we just joined Remind so download the free app or you can log on online too  and follow us at @osbperc .  This will give you realtime updates on meeting, events, etc. as we post them.

~Mark Your Calendars~ 

SERK (Southeast Regional Keys) and Elwyn SEEDS invite you to attend a one day FREE Mini Conference on Collaboration between Early Childhood Programs (Head Starts, Child Care, Day Care, Preschool) and Early Intervention focusing on strategies for behavioral support and emotional development strategies. Wednesday May 2, 9-4 pm See flyer here.

West Philly's Blackwell Library (very close to the train) offers free "Sensory Story Times" on the 2nd Saturday of each month (May 12th) with plenty of things to do for the whole family, including music, dance, playtime...see flyer for more details, FREE!!!

PART TIME JOB OPPORTUNITY FOR PARENTS!  Elwyn's Parent Partners are recruiting to hire part time employees who are parents who have or have had a child in the Early Intervention system. Fathers and parents who speak languages other than English are encouraged to apply. See flyer here.
Community Autism Network,"CAN”  Based in Mt. Airy/Germantown but serving the whole community of families and individuals in under-served and underrepresented areas of the city to enhance access to accurate information, functional skills training and creating accessible community activities....started by three professionals from the Autism community. Check out their website and mission and get connected!!

Are you ready for your child to transition to adult health care?

The transition from pediatric to adult health care is a critical time in the lives of millions of young adults. Check out resources from the PEAL Center on transition to adult health care. 


Rights Done Right: The Procedural Safeguards in Plain Language

It is important for families of children with disabilities to know and understand their child's educational rights. The PEAL Center created a video series that helps explain the procedural safeguards in plain language. Procedural safeguards represent guarantees for families and their children with disabilities, as well as offers both school and parents a variety of options for resolving any disagreement. Watch the videos here.  

~Previously Shared Resources~ 
Finding Videos With Audio Descriptions

Check out this helpful New York Times article! 

Article Link:
Q. I am blind, and I do not subscribe to any streaming video services at the moment. How would you suggest I determine, quickly, whether a good percentage of the original content and current popular third-party content on Netflix and Amazon Prime, for starters, is audio-described and/or dubbed?
A. A good place to start is the Audio Description Project page on the website of the American Council of the Blind. The page, optimized for screen-reader software, has a running list of streaming services that offer videos with “audio descriptions” — added narration about scenes, characters, costumes and more — for people who cannot see what is happening. The list, which is updated regularly, is available at
According to the council, Netflix has more than “500 audio-described TV series, documentaries, original programming and children’s shows in the U.S.A.,” including most of the company’s original productions, like “House of Cards.” Although you must be a member to get access to Netflix’s full list of current videos with audio descriptions, the council’s site has compiled its own alphabetized list of audio-described Netflix content at

Caring for Siblings of Sick or Disabled Children

Speaking of the NYT, here's another relevant article: right here!
  • Congresso's Family Social Services is a family support program that provides assessment and short-term case management for resource connection. The program is available to anyone, regardless of language or where you  live. Please see this flyer for more info if you feel you could use some extra support!  (or call 215-763-8870
  • For parents of middle and high school students, take a look at this thorough transition resource:  Autism Speaks announces the launch of a new version of the popular Transition Tool Kit. The Tool Kit was created to serve as a guide to assist families on the journey from adolescence to adulthood.  There are many helpful items that will relate to OSB students with and without an Autism diagnosis!  Their most recent newsletter covers this topic in depth and is worth a read.
  • Children’s mental health emergencies, like other emergencies, need prompt assessment and care. Recently,  the place to go for children’s mental health emergencies has changed to:
The Philadelphia Children’s Crisis Response Center 
3300 Henry Avenue, Falls Two Building, 3rd Floor 
Philadelphia, PA 19129. 
Phone: (215) 878-2600

Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
For other behavioral health emergencies, please be familiar with these resources

To sign up for Cap4Kids emails (an amazing resource!), click here 

Looking for help to get the most out of the IEP process? Take a look at at the Wrightslaw  website, and consider signing up for their newsletter.  This issue has "How to" Tips for Parent Input.  Another helpful topic is How to Manage your Child's Documents.  

Did you know you can dial 2-1-1 on your phone for access to resources?

2‑1‑1 SEPA is part of the national 2‑1‑1 Call Centers initiative that seeks to provide an easy-to-remember telephone number, chat, text, and a web resource for finding health and human services– for everyday needs and in crisis situations.

Every day, highly trained 2‑1‑1 call specialists provide referrals to:

  • Basic Human Needs Resources: food banks, shelters, rent and utility payment assistance
  • Physical and Mental Health Resources: crisis intervention services, support groups, counseling
  • Employment Support: financial assistance, job training, education programs
  • Support for Older Adults and Persons with Disabilities: home-delivered meals, transportation, health care
  • Youth and Child Care Programs: after school programs, summer camps, mentoring, protection services
  • Regional Disaster Preparation

With one phone number, callers gain free, confidential access to thousands of programs and services that can help improve the quality of their lives. Help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling 2‑1‑1 (or 1-866-964-7922). TTY and language services are available in more than 170 languages and dialects.

Free Adaptive Fire Alarms for Philly Homes
The Philadelphia Fire Department announced recently that it's getting nearly $1 million in grant money to buy and install at least 30,000 smoke alarms over the next two years. The funds will pay for about 26,000 traditional alarms and 4,000 adaptive alarms for residents who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind or have low vision.  The Fire Department hopes to begin installing the traditional alarms in October and the adaptive alarms starting in December. 

Adaptive alarms are designed to warn persons with hearing or vision loss about a possible fire. They come in multiple designs, including some that shake beds and others that activate strobe lights - and they can cost 10 times as much as traditional smoke alarms.   

Need an alarm? Call 311

**If you need a smoke alarm, please contact 311 and specify if you need an adaptive alarm. For traditional alarms, it could take 60 days from the date of the request until the alarms are installed. The PFD hopes to begin installing adaptive alarms starting in December.

**Important for any family with a growing child who uses a wheel chair**
Disability Rights Pennsylvania (DRP) is investigating the Department of Human Services’ (DHS) failure to provide Medical Assistance coverage to children with physical disabilities for medically necessary wheelchair lifts, stair glides and other equipment for their homes.  If you or someone you know has a child who has been denied coverage or could not identify where to send a request for such equipment for a child, please call DRP’s intake line at (800) 692-7443.

Adding to the list of nifty adaptive clothing: check out these shoes!
Sensory Friendly Clothing for Kids, list of sources for soft, seamless, comfy clothes: Check it out here~ 

Target has a new line of clothes that are "sensory friendly."  It is called Cat & Jack and has no tags, smooth seems and  soft fabric.  They have pants with extra room for older children who wear diapers, and they will continue to introduce  "adaptive pieces to help address the needs of children living with disabilities.”

Here is a resource  for those whose kids who have food allergies:  Right here~  (One of my kids has Celiac Disease, so I will be making use of this.) I especially appreciate how local attractions are covered,  so if you are taking your kids to the Zoo, for example, you can read up on what precautions to take, depending on your situation.

The Children's Advocacy Project of Philadelphia
For the most comprehensive list of resources for families in Philly, check out The Children's Advocacy Project, or Cap4Kids, created by a local doctor, Daniel Taylor, D.O.   You can sign up for his weekly email, where he will highlight a single useful item each week.

Free Tactile Art Kit for kids 2 to 8 years old!

Offered by The American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults This kit will provide tools for young children to create tactile experiences in many different formats. The kit will include:

**Substrate materials: sandpaper, rubbing plates, embossed grid paper, plastic canvas, and a Sensational Blackboard
**Drawing materials: ink pen, jumbo crayons, tracing wheel, chopsticks, and a slate and stylus
**Tools: print/Braille ruler, rounded scissors, basic shapes templates, French curve templates, and a glue stick
**Papers: Braille paper, parchment paper, copy paper, tracing paper, thermoform paper, tactile drawing film, and tactile pictures
**Sculpture material: Model Magic

To enroll in this exciting program, please complete the online application at, or fill out and mail the downloadable version to:

American Action Fund Tactile Art Program 
1800 Johnson Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21230

PLEASE NOTE:  NEW TIME for Weekly Phone in Discussion Groups 
Educating Communities for Parenting is excited to announce  phone-in discussion groups for parents of children impacted by blindness or visual impairment Tuesday evenings from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. 
Connect with others who understand the journey.  Ask questions - share advice - complain – brag – or just listen! 
To participate:    Call 515-739-1015   Access code 821175
For more information please call or email Anita Kulick   215-496-9780  

The Free Library of Philadelphia's Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (LBPH) for PA Residents

LBPH, as part of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically HandicappedLibrary of Congress (NLS) serves Pennsylvania residents who have difficulty reading due to a physical impairment, a reading disability, or a vision challenge. Please view the Eligibility page for more details

If standard print has become difficult to read for you, a friend, or a family member, please call 800-222-1754 or 215-683-3217

LPBH offers a wide variety of services for customers throughout the Commonwealth. Some are available on site, and many are available free through the mail via our partnership with Carnegie Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped in Pittsburgh.

PEAL Center: Parent Education & Advocacy Leadership Center

The PEAL Center is a great resource for families with a child who has a disability. From their website: "The PEAL Center is an organization of parents of children with disabilities and special health care needs who educate and guide:

— Families of children and youth, ages birth to 26, who have disabilities and/or special health care needs
— Professionals and others who work with children and youth who have disabilities and/or special health care needs
— Youth and young adults up to age 26 who have disabilities and/or special health care needs"

Check out their most recent newsletter:
PEAL Center Newsletter in English 
PEAL Center Newsletter  en espanol!

Philadelphia Parent Support Groups

For families with a child with intellectual disabilities and/or autism, these are "grassroots groups" organized by families, for families receiving are seeking intellectual disability services, and are located in neighborhoods throughout Philadelphia. 

If you are interested in joining a Philadelphia Parent Support Group, contact Barbara Nattile, Philadelphia Support Groups Manager at 267-773-5288 or via email:  See more info about PPSG here, and where the various neighborhoods are located here.
Copyright © 2018 OSB, All rights reserved.

Rhonda Davis OSB Parent Liaison Contact Info:

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Overbrook School for the Blind · 6333 Malvern Ave. · Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19151 · USA

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