Education Department updates College affordability and transparency lists

    As part of the Obama Administration's efforts to keep college within reach for all Americans and encourage institutions to make the costs of college more transparent, the U.S. Department of Education today updated college costs lists on its College Affordability and Transparency Center.
    Click this link to go to the site.

    Federal Student Aid

    A one-stop website for students and their families to assist the transition to life beyong high school by providing information and resources on planning and paying for postsecondary education, career planning, campus life, and online study assistance.
    Click this link to go to the site.

    SAT Preparation Resource

    Taking the PSAT, SAT, or ACT is one of the trials that high school students must go through in the process of applying for college. Many students make the mistake of trying to cram all that studying into a few hours before the test. It works best if the students starts early.
    The Veritas Prep Site presents useful SAT prep material and guidance.
    Click this link to go to the site.

    College Scholarship Search Tool

    Search more than 7,000 scholarships, fellowships, loans and other types of student financial aid. You can also filter your search results to find scholarships specifically for students with disabilities. For more information about this tool read the frequently asked questions.
    Click this link to go to the Search Tool.

    Accomadations on the College Board Testing: PSAT, SAT

    A helpful guide to the process of getting accommodations from the college board on the PSAT and SAT.
    Click this link to read the article.

    Ways to Attend College for Free

    "Everyone deserves a college education, but with the escalating cost of tuition, few can easily afford the price. These days, public school students pay more than $32,000 for a 4-year degree, according to the College Board. For private school students that figure more than triples to $114,000, not including room, board or books."
    Click this link to read the article.

    Navigating College with Autism

    Handbook from The Autistic Self Advocacy Network written by adults and youth with autism for current and future college students with autism. Discusses disability and special education laws that apply to students from grades K-12 and how students in college must advocate for themselves. Also includes information on independent living, health and safety, and social issues.
    New Resource: Handbook on Autistic Self Advocacy in college - 11/14/11

    College Checklist: A complete checklist for getting ready to go to College

    This checklist is for students (of all ages) who haven't attended college or trade school, and parents of students in elementary and secondary school. It includes a “to do" list, starting with elementary school, to help students prepare academically and financially for education beyond high school. Each section is split into subsections for students and parents, explaining what to do. It also has publications and other websites that might be useful to them.
    click here to see the check list

    2011-12 Counselors and Mentors Handbook on Federal Student Aid

    This guide has information on federal and non-federal student aid programs, how financial need is determined for students who may have expenses related to their disability, information for students with intellectual disabilities (page 9), the application process and tips for completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
    This link opens an 88 page PDF document.

    Colleges for students with ADHD and LD

    This New York Times article provide a nice overview of College program specifically designed for students with ADHD and Learning Disabilities. It points out the need to ensure students are receiving the right services in School so they are better prepared to be successful when they go to college.
    Click this link to read the article.


    Have major companies help pay for your child's college or raise money for your school for free. is a highly recommended site because by becoming a member of the site, large corporations will give you money to put into your child's college savings account at no cost to you.  Members register their child's 529 college savings plan and their credit cards, Wegmans card, CVS card, and/or Tops Cards.  When you purchase specific items in the store, for example Land O'Lakes butter. Land O'Lakes puts a couple of pennies in your Upromise Account. Similarly when you shop on line, many merchants will give you donate 1 to 10% of your purchase into your account, at no additional charge. When you have over $50 in your Upromise account they will then transfer the money to your child's college saving account.

Community Supports

    New Website to serve as ABLE Account Clearninghouse

    "As states prepare to offer accounts that will allow people with disabilities to save without losing government benefits, a new website is launching to help families navigate the offering. The site from the ABLE National Resource Center is designed to be a one-stop shop for families as well as financial professionals and program administrators, organizers say, with information about laws, regulations and product offerings in each state."
    Click this link to read the article.
    Click this link to go to the site.

    Simple idea led to Autism Center

    Bennett J. Loudon, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Two years ago, Jen Hackett and her professional colleagues simply wanted to give a few families of children with autism an opportunity to take a vacation, something that’s nearly impossible with a child who depends on a consistent schedule and feels uncomfortable in new environments. “Kids with autism like to have a lot of routine, and sometimes when their routine is different for them, it’s really hard to handle,” said Hackett, a special-education teacher in the Webster Central School District. But helping just five families enjoy a getaway in the Adirondack Mountains in 2013, at what they named Camp Puzzle Peace, grew to 10 families in 2014, and is expected to double again next summer.."
    Click this link to read the pdf of the article.

    Social Security Disability Income

    The Federal government has a number of program available to help individuals with disabilities. Two of these provide direct money to the individual of their family. This money can be spent to provide additional supports the family needs or merely to help pay the rent or buy clothing.
    The Social Security Administration (SSA) controls two separate disability programs Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
    SSDI is an adult disability program in which basic eligibility is at least partially based on employment history.
    SSI, on the other hand, is based on financial need and is available to disabled individuals of all ages. If you are the parent or guardian of a special needs child, you will need to apply for benefits through the SSI program.
    Click this link to read more about this topic.
    Click this link to learn more about the financial requirements to qualify for SSI benefits.


    Compeer helps youth and adults overcome the devastating effects of mental illness, such as loneliness, low self-esteem and isolation, through the healing power of friendship. Compeer offers programs providing supportive friendships to people with mental health or emotional challenges. Compeer programs, serve as a complement to therapy, include one-to-one mentoring relationships, skill-building and interim telephone support. Compeer is recognized as a best-practices model by the American Psychological Association.

Educational Resources

    Education Place

    The Education Place is run by Houghton Mifflin. The website offers a range of materials and activities that teach spelling and social studies facts among others.
    Click this link to go to the page

    Enchanted Learning

    This is rich resource for parents and elementary classroom teachers.  The web page includes printable books, worksheets, handouts, reference material on a number of topics, including math, foreign language, and science.  A favorite is the monthly calendar.
    Click this link to go to the page.

    How Stuff Works

    Ever wanted to know why earthquakes happen? How CD burners work? What the sun is made of? These questions, and many others related to computers/electronics, automobiles, science, entertainment, and people, are all answered at this award-winning website. Simply type a query into the search window or peruse the topics by category. Extras include free newsletters, surveys, and printable versions of all answers.
    Click this link to go to the page

    The Khan Academy

    The Khan Academy provides over 1000 instructional Youtube video's on a variety of topics. The video's are straightforward and informative. The do not replace a classroom teacher, but are helpful for children working on homework of parents trying to figure out what their child's homework is about. Topics include Calculus | Precalculus | Trigonometry | Algebra | Finance | Pre-algebra | Arithmetic | Geometry | Physics | SAT Preparation | Probability | Linear Algebra | Differential Equations | Credit Crisis | Banking and Money | Paulson Bailout | California Standards Test: Algebra II | California Standards Test: Algebra I | California Standards Test: Geometry | Venture Capital and Capital Markets | Statistics | Geithner Plan | Current Economics | Brain Teasers | Valuation and Investing | Chemistry | Biology | CAHSEE Example Problems.
    Click this link to go to the page

    Video Jug

    Videojub provides 1000's of how to videos on a number of topics. I have not watched all of the videos and have the sense that some of these would not be appropriate for many of my patients. However some of the videos, for example on reading body language, or how to know if a man, and how to know if a women is flirting with you can be very helpful for a number of my patients with autism and related disorders that cause social issues. There are also videos on a number ofother topics from cooking to solving algebraic equations.


    Social Jobs Partnership

    Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis has announced an innovative partnership that leverages the combined audience and expertise of officials from the U.S. Department of Labor, Facebook, the National Association of State Workforce Agencies, DirectEmployers Association and the National Association of Colleges and Employers. The initiative provides important employment resources to job seekers through the use of social networks. As part of the announcement, Facebook officials debuted a social jobs partnership page that highlights available training programs, educational opportunities and job search resources.
    Click this link to read the announcement.
    Click this link to go to the Facebook page.

English Language Arts

    The Writer's Almanc

    The Writer's Almanac by Garrison Keillor and Public Radio.  This is broadcast by many Public Radio Stations. It is also available through a daily podcast that you can subscribe to through Itunes.  Everyday Mr. Keillor relates some piece of literary history and reads a selection of poetry.
    Click this link to go to the Writer's Almanac

Family Activities


    Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online. Geocaching is enjoyed by people from all age groups, with a strong sense of community and support for the environment. I recommend geocaching as a fun activity to get kids and the family outside and exploring the environment. Local people post the caches and often include information on the area or the site, including historical information. Kids enjoy hunting and swapping for trade items. Other than the need for a GPS unit the activity is free. There is even a downloadable application for the IPhone.
    Information can be found at Click this link to go to

Financial Literacy

    Money as you grow

    Money as you grow is a helpful website with links and resources for each stage of a child's development to help them how to be finanically literate.
    Click this link to go to the webpage.

Flash Cards

    Flash Card Exchange

    The Flash Card Exchange is an online resource of pre made flash cards that can be used online or with the purchase of the BIPOD APP available on an IPod or IPhone.  Mac users can also make their own flash cards and use these. The ready made nature of some of these Flash Cards can save a student a lot of time. The Flash Card Exchange has flash cards that go along with the first 20 lessons from Coffee Break Spanish.
    Click this link to go to Flash Card Exchange

Foreign Language Learning

    Coffee Break Spanish and French

    Coffee Break Spanish and Coffee Break French are two podcasts available for subscription through Itunes.  Both are hosted by Radio Lingua Network. The podcasts are short 10 - 15 minutes and introduce language in a very slow and comfortable manner. The podcasts are free but each also has a premium version that provides even more assistance.
    Click this link to go to Coffee Break Spanish
    Click this link to go to Coffee Break French 

    Free Translation

    Sprechen Sie Deutsch? Perfect for language studies, this handy website automatically converts text from one language into another, such as English to Simplified Chinese or French to English. You can type and paste up to 10,000 characters (about 1,800 words) into the search window and then select the desired language. Or cut and paste a web URL to convert the entire site.
    Click this link to go to Free Translation


    Many children struggle with handwriting. When this problem is severe enough, they often work with an Occupational Therapist. For some children the problem, however, is that they have not learned how to actually hold a pencil correctly. Often this is because when they were first learning to write they did not have the motor coordination to hold the pencil in a tripod pencil grasp.  They often now have the motor skills to do this, but have a bad pencil grip habit.  In these cases, I recommend a specific pencil grip that has a child hold the pen/pencil in a tripod grasp. 

    Stretro Pencil Grips

    This is the Stretro grip.  It is available locally at some our local Teacher stores.  It is also available on the internet.

Homework Helper

    New York Public Library Homework Help Website

    The New York Public Library has a very helpful homework help website. The site allows students from anywhere (not just NYC) to get help from librarians. This is similar to the Dial A Teacher services provided by the RCSD. One difference, however, is that they have an interactive white board feature, where a student can type a question or use a mouse or a stylus to draw her math problem on the screen, or she can import a document, such as a scanned page of homework to the whiteboard. The teacher sees the problem on their whiteboard and provides feedback to the student. To use the whiteboard program the student must provide some basic background information.
    Click on this link to go the homework help website.

    Dial a Teacher

    In Rochester, Students can call Dial A Teacher, to get help at the Arnett Library or watch Homework Helper on Channel 21.
    Click this link to go to the Dial A Teacher website

Horseback Riding

    Therapeutic Riding Program at Heritage Christian Stables

    Horseback riding is an complementing therapy for many children with mental health problems and with developmental disabilities. Children who horseback ride gain a number of benefits from the activity. These include regular exercise, and regular exposure to fresh air (during all four seasons). Children with anxiety issues are able to experience success in a scary task, ie. riding a horse, and children with language and social skills difficulties learn how to communicate on a very basis level with a very large mammal. There are a number of horse back riding programs in the area.
    Click this link to go to the site.

IEP Checklist


    Free Rice

    Freerich is a website initially designed for students studying for the SAT. The goal of the site is to build student's vocabulary knowledge.  This, therefore, is a great site to use at home or in the classroom with children from third or fourth grade through high school as a useful tool for building language skills. As an added bonus, as a child or student builds his/her vocabulary they are also helping to donate free rice to fight hunger around the world.
    Click this link to go to Freerice


    Psychiatric Medication Fact Sheets

    Information fact sheets on Medications, including detailed information on the usage, dosage, and the side-effects of various psychiatric medications such as antidepressants, antipsychotics, and antianxiety medications.
    Click this link to go to the Psychiatric Medications page.



    US Department of Education: Early Learning Resources

    The US Department of Education has a number of helpful links for parents or grandparents parenting a young child.
    Click this link to go to the site


    Brain: An interactive guide to the brain

    When you move the mouse over the brain model to the right, the associated part of the brain is highlighted on the brain scan to the left and the name of that part of the brain appears. Clicking on the brain section brings up multiple choice questions. These are not always helpful as they are aimed at medical students. Still a nice introduction to the brain.
    Click this link to go to the site.

    Brain: An Atlas of the Developing Brain

    Scientists released the first comprehensive 3-D atlas of gene expression in the developing human brain. The resource will help reveal the early roots of brain-based disorders such as autism and schizophrenia.
    Click this link to go to read about the project.
    Click this link to go to read the abstract of the article.

    A very helpful research on the Brain, with information on the brain, how it works, and the latest brain research.
    Click this link to go to the site.

    Science Made Simple

    Science classes—including the ubiquitous science project—aren't as easy for some to grasp as they are for others. At Science Made Simple, elementary and middle school students can get detailed answers to many science questions, read current news articles related to science, get ideas on school projects, and take advantage of unit conversion tables. Users can also find out if their school's textbooks pass the test.
    Click this link to go to the Science Made Simple.

    Story of Stuff

    This is a fascinating video, that describes the environmental, political, economic, and cultural impact of the creation of stuff.  The video is short 15-20 minutes but indepth and leads to a great discussion piece for classroom or home discussion.  Strongly recommended.
    Click this link to go to the Story of Stuff


    Domestic, Dating, and Sexual Violence: Resources and a Call to Action

    This site containes a number of resources that provide more information to support schools and communities in their efforts to create safe, healthy learning environments and identify, investigate, and remedy domestic violence, teen dating violence and sexual assault.
    Click this link to go to the site


    Project Explorer

    Project Explorer provides a virtual field trip for teachers to use and for interested parents, and students who want to learn about other parts of the world. The popular site provides engaging content, pictures, and over 160 short films about the places it covers. The site currently features field trips to England, Jordan, and South Africa. The site currently contains content for Middle School and High School students. The videos and content explore the the region's food, music, culture, history, and language. The site developers are reported to be working on adding content about Malaysia.
    Click on this link to go to Project Explorer

Special Needs Planning

    When a child presents with severe disabilities, their family is presented with a number of legal, and financial issues. There is a patchwork of federal, state, and county programs and private programs available to these programs. Some of these programs provide financial help, and others provide direct supports and services. As a child ages, the family will face life planning issues, including questions about guardianship, and ensuring their child has the financial supports they need throughout their lives.

    MassMutual Financial Group

    The MassMutual Financial Group has set up a Special Needs Planning Program, as part of this program they offer a series of financial planning seminars for parents of children with special needs.

    SSI - Social Security Income

    If a child has a mental or physical condition that results in "marked and severe functional limitations" for at least a year, or in other words a very severe disability that will lead to marked limitiations in major life activities, they may qualify for SSI. This would result in their receiving a monthly check from Social Security to help provide financial assistance for your family. The majority of applicants are denied. There is however an appeals process. If an individual is found eligible for SSI, they also become eligible for medicaid.
    For information on the program follow this link to a brochure from the Social Security Administration.
    For additional information please see the Eric page with a three part article on the SSI process.


    Franklin Dictionary and Spellers

    The Franklin Spellers are moderately pricesd devices that allow children to look up word definitions and spelling of words. The words can then be read back to the student to ensure that they have the correct word.
    Click this link to go to Franklin

    Spelling City

    This is a fun way to help your child study for their spelling tests or vocabulary tests. The site also contains some useful resources and materials including a list of Dolch sight words. Teachers can add word lists to the Spelling City site, where students can access them by the school’s or teacher’s name. Students can also enter their own words manually by typing them into a series of text boxes. Once a complete list has been added, there are three options to test, teach, or review the words. Spelling City also provides immediate feedback with a progress report, designed to motivate students to learn. For visual and verbal learners, there are 10 kid-friendly exercises that integrate spelling lists into games, such as crossword puzzles, word searches, and word-matching drills. In total, Spelling City has more than 42,000 words in its database.
    Spelling City

Teaching Resources

    Watch Know: Videos for kids to learn from

    Watch Know was founded by one of the original founders of Wikipedia. The site hosts thousands of educational videos available for teachers to use in their classrooms. Videos are able to be sorted by the students age. Teachers and others are also able to submit videos to the site. For teachers or parents looking to introduce a topic or highlight a lesson having the right video to show can be very useful.
    Click this link to go to Watch Know: Videos for kids to learn from


    This site provides a range of information for teens struggling with mental health issues. The site is very teen friendly and provides information as well as stories from other teens who have struggled with the same issues, but overcome those issues.
    Click this link to go to


    Rochester Toy Library

    Toy library sees boom in business

    Justin Murphy, staff writer for the Democrat and Chronicle reports on the incredible growth of the Rochester Toy Library.
    Click this link to read the pdf of the article.

    Free Toys with your Library Card. The Lincoln Branch of the Rochester Public Library has a great hidden resource for parents and teachers of children from newborns to age 8 years. This is the Toy Resource Center Parents and Teachers with a valid Monroe County Library Card can take out toys (even some quite large toys) for three weeks. The toys must be brought back to the Toy Resource Center and not to another library.  The Toy Resource Center is a great way to try out toys you might want to purchase, or to keep a variety of toys in the house or classroom without having to spend an arm and a leg. For parents of special needs children, there are some toys targeted at that population in the collection. The Toy Resource Library is located in the back of the library.  The library itself, is of course also a nice location to visit in and of itself.  The Toy Resource Center is quite large and children can play with the toys and try them out within the resource center.  The hours are not the same as the Library, itself. The Toy Resource Center's hours are Monday and Wednesday 10 AM - 6 PM, Thursday 12 noon - 3 PM, and Saturday 11 AM - 2 PM. 



    Teaching Elementary School Students to be Effective Writers

    The What Works Clearinghouse has come out with a new guide on how to teach Elementary School student to be effective writers. This practice guide provides four recommendations for improving elementary students’ writing. Each recommendation includes implementation steps and solutions for common roadblocks. The recommendations also summarize and rate supporting evidence. This guide is geared toward teachers, literacy coaches, and other educators who want to improve the writing of their elementary students.
    To read more at the What Works Clearninghouse click this link.
    To read the pdf file of the report click this link.

Additional Resources

Frequently Used Disability Related Acronyms

Click this link to open a pdf file to view the acronyms

© Copyright, all rights reserved Daniel J. DeMarle, Ph.D. 2014