Halloween festivities often bring exciting anticipation for many children. However, scratchy uncomfortable costumes, flashing lights, spooky effects, and scary décor may not spell fun for every child. The following are a few things to keep in mind during this spooky season in order to make it inclusive for all.
Show your house is inclusive to children with ASD
Think you may have a child with ASD or other sensory differences visiting your home on Halloween? Autism Speaks offers free printables so trick-or-treaters will know your home is an autism-friendly stop. If you are trick-or-treating with a child who has ASD, Autism Speaks offers many Halloween resources, including a downloadable social story, All About Halloween, that may be a helpful way to explain many Halloween traditions like jack-o-lanterns, trick-or-treating, costumes, and the sights and sounds of the holiday.
Create opportunities for children with allergies
A simple step you can take is to offer non-food treats in a teal pumpkin; this is a way to signal to the 1 in 13 children in the U.S. who have food allergies that you have a treat they can participate in without concern for their allergies. If you can’t get your hands on a teal pumpkin in time, simply using a separate bowl for your non-food items can make children with allergies feel included.
Be understanding of a variety of abilities
Saying “trick or treat” and “thank you” may seem like the basics of trick-or-treating, but there are many kids who may have difficulties doing so. Do not require kids to do anything in order to get their treat. You may have visitors who are nonverbal, have anxiety, point to communicate, are not wearing costumes, or may seem too old for the festivities. Don’t force kids to say “trick-or-treat” or explain their costume before putting something in their bag.
Create a clear path for trick-or-treaters
Keep in mind that individuals celebrating Halloween may have mobility issues—so keeping your path clearly lit, avoiding stairs, and stationing your treats where it’s easy to approach your home makes the night safer for everyone.
Halloween should be a fun time for children and adults. Being mindful of accessibility and inclusivity concerns can help make sure this holiday can be enjoyed by more people—and making some simple changes to your Halloween routine can help create great memories.
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. It serves as a reminder of this pervasive issue that affects countless individuals and families worldwide. Learn more about the background behind this month, the impact of domestic violence, and the resources available.
The origin of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month
National Domestic Violence Awareness Month was first observed in October 1989 as an effort to raise awareness about intimate partner violence and to promote advocacy, support, and education on this critical issue. Since its inception, organizations, individuals, and communities across the United States have joined forces to support survivors and raise awareness about domestic violence. During October, numerous events, campaigns, and educational programs are organized to shed light on the issue and provide information and resources to help individuals and communities confront domestic or intimate partner violence.
The impact of domestic violence
Domestic violence exists in every community and has an impact on individuals across the life span—and cuts across all boundaries, with no exceptions for age, race, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, gender, or religion. Domestic violence includes both physical and emotional abuse. The devastating consequences of intimate partner violence can result in physical injury, psychological trauma, and even death.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, nearly 20 people in the U.S. are physically abused by intimate partners each minute—with more than 10 million abuse victims annually. One in every 3 women and 1 in every 4 men have been physically abused by an intimate partner.
Domestic violence isn’t just something that happens between intimate partners—more than 1 in 15 children are exposed to intimate partner violence each year, with 90% of these children witnessing these acts of violence. Domestic violence can have long-lasting negative effects on children's emotional well-being and social and academic functioning.
Furthermore, new research investigates violence in teen relationships. Up to 19% of teens report that they have experienced sexual or physical dating violence, with half reporting experiences of stalking or harassment. Violence in teen relationships is associated with long-term adverse outcomes, including becoming involved in intimate partner violence in adulthood, drug and alcohol use, and an increase in other high-risk behaviors.
Increase in domestic violence since 2020
According to the American Journal of Emergency Medicine, the lockdowns that occurred in response to the COVID-19 pandemic brought about a global increase in domestic violence cases of 25–30% globally. The World Health Organization believes that number may have been as high as an increase of 50–60% due to hotline call volume. This underscores how widespread the issue of domestic violence is, and the importance of awareness, support, and resources to help survivors.
Resources for individuals experiencing domestic violence
There are a number of places to turn for support and education on domestic violence. Some of these resources include:
Adjusting to college can be difficult for even the most prepared students. But for students who may be struggling with an undiagnosed learning difficulty, the transition can be overwhelming. They may have poor coping skills, increased levels of stress, executive functioning or working memory deficits, low self-esteem, and even significant academic, interpersonal, and psychological difficulties.
The worst part is that many of them don’t know why. According to a National Council on Disability report, as many as 44% of individuals with ADHD were first identified at the postsecondary level.
The Kane Learning Difficulties Assessment (KLDA) is a tool that screens college students for learning difficulties and ADHD in order to give them the answers they need. By screening for learning difficulties and ADHD as well as other issues that affect learning, such as anxiety, memory, and functional problems like organization and procrastination, the KLDA helps to identify those individuals who should seek further assessment so they can get the help they need to succeed in college.
Steven T. Kane, PhD, author of the KLDA took a few minutes to answer some common questions about the product, its development, and the feedback he has received on its impact.
What inspired you to develop the KLDA initially?
Before becoming a professor and researcher, I was employed in a university disability resource center as a psychologist who specialized in learning disabilities and ADHD. I was also previously employed at three of the most diverse community colleges in California. In each of these settings, I saw literally hundreds of students who should have been screened for learning and attentional challenges but never were. I was also shocked, quite frankly, by the number of individuals I saw who clearly suffered from some form of learning or attentional difficulties as adults yet were never screened or tested in the K–12 system.
As most of us are aware, being tested for a learning disability and/or ADHD is very expensive and simply out of reach for the majority of our most at-risk college students. I also found it troubling that almost none of these same students were ever screened for anxiety disorders or memory challenges. Thus, my goal was to develop a screening assessment that was very affordable and easy to take, preferably via the internet.
How does the KLDA differ from competitive measures?
There are actually not a lot of similar measures, which is, again, one of the main reasons why we developed the KLDA. There are two or three other measures that assess study skills, motivation, etc., but not the key academic skills and executive functioning skills the KLDA assesses.
What are some important things clinicians should know about the KLDA?
First, the KLDA was normed on a very large and diverse population from across the U.S. and Canada. Second, the KLDA was completed by more than 5,000 people via the internet for free as we performed factor analyses, perfected item development, etc. Third, the KLDA is very affordable, essentially self-interpreting, and can be administered quickly administered via PARiConnect. Most respondents finish the assessment in about 10 minutes as the items are written at about the fourth through sixth grade reading level. The KLDA can also guide the assessment process and inform which lengthier diagnostic assessments should be administered. Finally, the KLDA is a great discussion prompt to encourage clients to talk about their difficulties across different environments.
What feedback have you received from users on the KLDA and the insight it provides to students?
Thus far, both practitioners and test takers have found the assessment very useful, easy to take, and comment that it leads to very interesting discussions that the respondent has often never had with anyone before.
Anything else you think is important for people to know about the KLDA?
The KLDA is a very flexible product. The assessment can be used by individual clinicians to screen a client before they even meet for the first time. It’s been used by community colleges and universities as part of their orientation process to screen at-risk students before they fail, and study skills and student success instructors have found it extremely useful to administer to a classroom as part of a group assignment. Thanks to PAR’s PARiConnect assessment platform, the assessment can be easily administered to large groups of individuals and at a very low cost.
Learn more about the KLDA
The KLDA is a self-report form that measures academic strengths and weaknesses in key areas, including reading, listening, time management, writing, math, concentration and memory, organization and self-control, oral presentation, and anxiety and pressure. It is useful for all levels of postsecondary education, including vocational schools, technical colleges, community colleges, 4-year colleges and universities, and graduate schools.
Visit the KLDA page to learn more!
PAR recently lost a cherished member of our staff, Marie Mitchell. Marie was an enormous part of PAR’s success during her 33-year tenure with the company. As our order entry coordinator, Marie worked with many customers and distributors, always with a deep desire to help and a kind and positive attitude. Her loss will be felt deeply. The following are some thoughts from our staff in remembrance of Marie.
To lose someone who has been part of PAR for so long (an amazing 33 years) is like losing a family member. Marie was a constant—quiet, determined, strong, witty, incredibly thoughtful, caring are all words that come to mind. She was a wonderful and foundational part of our company and is greatly missed by so many.
–Kristin Greco, Chief Executive Officer
It is difficult for me to think of PAR without Marie’s presence. It feels like she was always here as part of the Customer Service team, and she was for much of PAR’s existence. When I changed offices and moved to the South Building, I saw Marie more frequently. She would be outside my office making copies or walking by to go out to the Distribution Center. Occasionally we would chat for a few moments and catch up a little. I always enjoyed her laugh. I have very fond memories of Marie and she is greatly missed at PAR.
–Bob Smith, Executive Chairman and Founder
In memory and appreciation of Marie, who worked tirelessly and efficiently processing orders for our customers. She took great pride in taking great care of our customers. We miss you, Marie!
–Cathy Smith, Vice President of Community Relations Emeritus
I have had the pleasure of knowing and working with Marie my entire career at PAR. She was always someone to look up to as she was a great source of knowledge about all things PAR. I asked her so many questions over the years and not once did she show any sign of impatience or frustration. That was Marie, just happy to help and do her part. Usually, she did way more than her part, in fact. She was hard-working and had a can-do attitude. She cared deeply about her family, both her real family and her PAR family. But my favorite thing about Marie was her stealthy sense of humor. She didn’t tell a lot of jokes, but when she landed one, it was always gold. And while she certainly took her job seriously, she loved to laugh. She was as sincere a person as I’ve ever met and I consider myself extremely fortunate to have had her as part of my life every day for the last 23 years. Although she will be missed so much by myself and the CS team, she will never be forgotten. Thank you for everything, Marie.
–Daniel McFadden, Vice President of Customer Support
Marie and I both arrived early each morning to the PAR office, so it was always fun to call out good morning to her each day. Marie had an unparalleled work ethic. She was so loyal and committed to PAR and to her work; it was inspiring. She and her husband Mitch had such a sweet and supportive marriage, and it was always nice to connect with him when he picked Marie up each day. She will be missed.
–Karen Falconer, Vice President of Human Resources
It's hard to imagine my days at PAR without Marie. Aside from being the only member of our Customer Support team that I have had the pleasure of working with for my entire tenure at PAR (more than 30 years), Marie was not only a trusted coworker and friend but also an inspiration to me.
I've never met anyone more dedicated to PAR, our customers, and her teammates more than Marie. Always working our early shift, she was just always there for all of us and our customers. Even during the pandemic and through her health issues, she did everything she could do to be at work. She rarely took days off, and when she did, she is and was always missed because she handled so much—especially our distributors and lots and lots of orders—with speed and efficiency.
Marie was always the picture of calm, patience, and while quiet, she had a wonderful quick wit and sincere honesty, especially when you least expected it. My treasured memories of Marie include saving cookies for her where possible and the smile on her face when she got them, laughing together when customer issues did not quite go as planned, her being completely honest with me when I really needed it and even sometimes when I didn't, and certainly the hard moments when we both needed each other's help to make customer service magic happen—Marie she would accept nothing less. Marie was truly a force and I feel so blessed to have known her. We will miss her very much.
–Tamara Dwoskin, Customer Relationship Manager
Marie always had a smile on her face and would brighten up the room whenever I would see her.
–Katie Garside, InVista Account Executive
Marie has been the foundation of our department the entire time she has worked here. Her bottomless knowledge of our processes and our customers was an inspiration to all of us. Her dry wit would come out of nowhere and make us all laugh at the perfect moments. She always had a smile for you, and you always felt that everything would be alright when Marie was around. We will miss her, but she will certainly live on in our department and in our hearts.
–Teri Lyon, Senior Technical Support Specialist
When I started at PAR 19 years ago, Marie and I literally shared desk space on one side. Her stacks of paper would fall over into my space on a constant basis and we would both laugh about it (she was famous for printing out everything). She was always happy to answer my questions, no matter how small or silly. She was a big help to me when I was in Customer Support and continued to help me after I moved into Administration. I always knew that I could count on her. She always came through. I am going to miss her immensely.
–Vicki McFadden, Senior Permissions Specialist
I was attending my first anniversary luncheon, and I sat next to Marie. I was proud of myself for accomplishing one year, and at that time, she was celebrating 25+ years at PAR. She shared all about what PAR was like when she started and how it had changed. She was a great example of loyalty and commitment.
–Rachel Kennell, InVista Business Solutions Consultant
I just wanted to share the love Marie had for cookies. She was like a child when it came to cookies and would have them for breakfast in a heartbeat. Every year she would take a week off around the holidays to bake cookies.
I love to see the devotion Mitch had for her. He faithfully dropped and picked her up from work every day and prepared her lunch every day.
Marie was that reliable motor in the department that worked so well you took her for granted. At the end of the month, she easily processed 2.5 to 3 times more faxed/emailed orders than anyone else in the department and you were just left asking yourself how she does it. One month she processed more than 900 faxed/emailed orders while the next person processed about 350! It was incredible.
Fun fact… for years she had every PAR-released catalog at her desk. She absolutely loooovved working here (she was in office every day during COVID!). Marie really was a gem and we will miss her dearly.
–Ketsia LeFranc, Product Support Supervisor
This Thursday, October 5, is National Depression Screening Day. This day is dedicated to raising awareness about depression, its prevalence, and the importance of early screening and intervention.
Major depression is one of the most common mental illnesses, affecting more than 21 million American adults each year. National Depression Screening Day is dedicated to helping the 8.4% of adults who experience a major depressive episode each year.
The prevalence of depression
Depression is a widespread mental health condition that affects millions of people worldwide. According to the World Health Organization, depression is the leading cause of disability globally. Depression can occur throughout the life span and can touch individuals of all genders and of all races. Yet only about one-third of people experiencing depression will seek mental health help.
Why National Depression Screening Day?
National Depression Screening Day was established to combat the stigma associated with mental health issues and to encourage individuals to seek help when they are struggling.
It is just as important to screen for depression as it is to screen for other physical health concerns. Though a depression screening is not a professional evaluation, it can help people spot early signs and help them seek treatment sooner.
Here are some key reasons why this day is crucial:
Resources for individuals and professionals
Anonymous online screenings for depression are offered by Mental Health America and MindWise Innovations. These assessments can help individuals gauge their risk and provide guidance on seeking professional help. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Helpline can help guide individuals to find treatment.
For professionals, PAR offers a variety of products to help assess individuals for depression. Learn more about our assessment tools.
A focus on mental health
National Depression Screening Day serves as a reminder that mental health is an integral part of our overall wellbeing. Depression is a common and treatable condition, but it often goes unrecognized or untreated. By dedicating a day to depression awareness and screening, we can reduce stigma, encourage early detection, and provide vital resources to those in need. On October 5, take a moment to spread the message of hope, support, and understanding in the fight against depression. Together, we can make a positive impact on the mental health of individuals and our communities.