A Message From the Director – Summer 2023

It is the time of year for splash pads, water balloons, and the various ways families try to beat the heat in Arizona during the summer months. For many of us, the furthest thing from our mind is the hustle and bustle of fall, winter, and spring routines that involve student drop off and pick up, quarterly report cards, meetings with the teacher, and the school and non-school related activities we have in the evenings and weekends.

For families of young children with disabilities, the transition into school for the first time can be wrought with stress and emotion. Our main article in this issue of Connecting discusses the nuts and bolts of the transition to preschool process through the eyes of Teresa Banas, Hope Dobbins and Renee Johnson who were as nervous and apprehensive about the change as I was the first day we sent our 3-year-old off to school by himself. In the cases we see here, and in my case, the relationships we developed with teachers and professionals made all the difference.

At RSK, we believe that strong parent and professional collaboration and communication results in positive developmental and educational outcomes for children with disabilities. This belief is rooted in 44 years of experience working with families to better understand their rights, role, and responsibilities in the education system.

Change and transition are not easy, and we thank professionals like Suzanne Perry from the Arizona Department of Education, Tanya Goitia from the Arizona Early Intervention Program, Susan Olson-Shinn & Sara Piekarski both from Flowing Wells Unified School District for their willingness to share their experience with us and for their dedication to the work of service to Arizona’s young children with disabilities.

On an ending note and keeping with the topic of change and transition, I would like to recognize the enormous contribution of a long-serving staffer at RSK, Vickie French. Vickie has served the organization in many capacities over the last 15 years. She has witnessed and been a part of much change and transition in the organization and in Arizona systems of care over the years. As she wraps up the last chapter in her work with RSK, we salute her with high honors and say, “Thank you, Vickie, for all you have done to support and serve Arizona families of children with disabilities.”

Christopher Tiffany

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