Parent Network of WNY’s Behavior Intervention Coordinator was interviewed on August 27th by WLVL Radio 1340 AM/105.3 FM with questions about kids going back to school. Please read the interview or listen to the recording on the link below!
WLVL: Joining us on the line right now is Debbie Schutt. She is the Behavior Intervention Coordinator for the Parent Network of Western New York. Good morning and happy Thursday Debbie.
Debbie: Good morning and happy Friday Eve.
WLVL: Ha. I like that. I always appreciate you taking some time out of your day and joining us here on Niagara’s Choice voice line on WLVL. I just wanted to check in by asking about, of course, the Parent Network of Western New York, about your live webinars. You have been having them for quite a while now. But you do have one tonight and if you could just let us know, it’s from 4 to 6, but what can we expect?
Debbie: Tonight we are doing a session on “Challenging Behaviors in the Community and in the Home” with Dr. Marcus Thomeer. Many people in the community may be familiar with him, especially those working with autism or another disability. For the two hour session Dr. Thomeer will be talking about different tips and strategies that parents can use to help deter or intervene when their children are displaying some of those concerning behaviors – such meltdowns or tantrums, just to name a few.
WLVL: And yeah. And obviously it goes for kids that do have other issues. I guess more than other kid problems faced in life. Even for all kids, I mean this has been a stressful summer. We know it to be very stressful to not see friends. They have no events to go to or camps to go to. And now they go back to school soon. So, you know, it’s going to be a huge challenge and a huge change in mindset for these kids. So I think it could be a really good webinar for the folks to tune into if they’re interested.
Debbie: Yes. And I know Dr. Thomeer to be very interactive and he will make a lot of time to let parents ask their individualized questions and provide specific strategies that might be appropriate to that family.
WLVL: I think another challenge that a lot of families out there are facing right now is, not just the return to school, but the return to what form of school. I don’t even know what to call it – hybrid school? It’s right before and some don’t even know. I mean we are this close to what is supposed to be the start of school and even some districts are still trying to work out the details on how many hours they are going to be in class. How many hours are they going to be taught at home, you know, using the computer? And you know, things are just going back and forth and it has to be a pretty stressful time. Debbie, there’s also a seminar that’s happening on Zoom. It’s happening tomorrow, that would be Friday from 3 to 4, about stress, could you give us some details about that perhaps?
Debbie: Yes. We have partnered with a couple of local students, college students, and the event is recommended for ages 14 to 26. They are going to teach youth about some stress management tips and mindfulness tips because we are all experiencing increases in stress right now. It appears that there’s a lot less resources for young people about managing stress and being more mindful. It helps these college students with aspects of their education and also helps young people in our community.
WLVL: Really interesting. It’s almost like talking to a friend that’s your age or close to your age. College students talking to other young adults. I know that’s that’s really interesting to maybe get a first-hand perspective on what they’ve had to deal with and, you know, you can give first-hand experience to someone dealing with it. Maybe the same exact thing that you dealt with.
Debbie: Yes. And in regards to young people, sometimes they might respond better to people closer to their own age instead of from parents or authority figures. So that is another way in which young people can benefit from this event.
WLVL: These are all virtual but how can someone, you know, maybe, for someone just tuning in, maybe they haven’t heard you with us on WLVL before. Debbie, how can they get involved? What’s the process to register to be a part of these webinars?
Debbie: It’s very simple. If you went to our website at parentnetworkwny.org there is an events calendar. On any, or all events, you would like to attend, you click on them you can register. We are asking for a name, email address, and zip code. It is not intrusive or time consuming. It is pretty simple and it is free.
WLVL: Joining us right now on Niagara Choice voice line is Debbie Schutt, Behavior Intervention Coordinator for the Parent Network of Western New York. We mentioned these events which kind of have a theme or direction to go towards. But one thing that is heavily promoted on your website is one-on-one support lines for parents or maybe even young adults looking for some light counseling or advice. Tell us a little bit more about how they can get involved with getting some advice or some encouragement or some pointers or tips.
Debbie: The one-on-one support line is for used primarily by parents and professionals. And even before coronavirus, a lot questions for information that was being sought was about special education. Maybe for individualized education plans or Committee on Special Education meetings. We also provide a lot of information and referral to individuals who are looking for something specific as related to their family, their children, or kids that they work with. Maybe in regards to a specialized service or need. Let me think of some other examples – calls for linkage with a counselor, or for behavior support (which would get referred to me), or for people who need help navigating within systems like the Office of People with Developmental Disabilities or the Office of Mental Health. We find resources to link with those types of services. We can even sign them up, if they’re interested, to have their own Family Support Specialist that will touch base and connect with the family as much as needed, to help guide them through some of those processes.
WLVL: And Debbie, yeah there may be folks listening this morning that aren’t aware that you’ve been with us a couple of times now on Wake Up Niagara, and maybe they’ve never heard of Parent Network of Western New York. So, I was hoping maybe you could just give us some idea about how much the organization funded? Is it not for profit and are people able to support you financially?
Debbie: We have a variety of grants that make up most of our funding. There are opportunities on our site…which won’t load right now…
WLVL: It’s working for me right now…
Debbie: It must be me..people can go there. We can accept donations. We are primarily grant funded. And again, we are primarily providing educational and developmental disability support and resources to parents, caregivers, family, and professionals across WNY. And serve approximately 10,000 people a year.
WLVL: That’s a great mission that you have there Debbie. So we’re running out of time. Real quick here, one last thought that you’d like to share with people either concerning stress or behavior modification or anything that you’d like to throw at us this morning.
Debbie: I did notice that they were not on the calendar yet, but there are a couple of other upcoming events we are doing. We added two more days and times for the “My Child Won’t Wear a Mask”, in September and then we also added two events about “How to Build Structure and Routine at Home” when you have the hybrid school model to try to work with. There are two of those events in September also.
WLVL: Thank you very much for joining us this morning on Wake Up Niagara. Debbie is with Parent Network of Western New York. She’s a Behavior Intervention Coordinator for the organization. Debbie we look forward to having you back with us again sometime soon, okay?
Debbie: Sounds great. Have a wonderful day.