Local help for Parents of Special Needs

Parent to Parent of NYS, from the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) provides support (matching you with a parent who’s “been there”, information and referral (locate and pay for services, equipment, or transportation), and training, (which is too detailed to get into here).  Click here to learn more, or call the Hudson Valley center, in Valhalla at 914-493-2635.

Hudson Valley Special Education Parent Center from Westchester Institute for Human Development provides free consultation, training, and resources for parents with questions about their child’s special education, transition to adulthood, problem solving of disputes, legal help., referrals, and community-based support service providers. Call 914-493-7665.




Special Needs: Diet and Supplement Books

This is the second part of a Special Needs series of posts.  We know that caretakers of people with special needs are short on time, so please contact the reference department if we can help you with research.  We want to help.

Undoubtedly, if you deal with special needs, you deal with the question of diet and vitamin supplements. If you need a book more specific to your circumstances, let us know, and we will find the right book.

For tfood ruleshe caretaker who is over her head, and being told too much, here’s a good book to thumb through quickly:

Pollan, Michael.  Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual.

Many special needs have Irritable Bowel Syndrome. If you determine this to be an issue, it would be well worth reading this, as treatment could result in better effects in many areas:

Wagnen, Stephen. The Irritable Bowel Syndrome Solution. 

Do you just want an easy guide on vitamins and minerals, to see what they are supposed to do, and what to
beware of?

vitamins and minerals

Pressman, Alan. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Vitamins and Minerals 

Here are a couple books that are worth reading from cover to cover, with notes on the pages that deal with supplements.


grain brainPerlmutter, MD, David. Grain Brain,   In this controversial best seller Perlmutter explains the thoughts and fears behind grain. The publisher claims that it’s help for those who battle a number of conditions, from ADHD to “senior moments”.  His discussion on supplements on pp. 187 – 193, and again on pp. 223 – 224.

The End of IllnessAgus, David B. The End of Illness.  Agus does not run exactly opposite for Perlmutter, has a different perspective, from Perlmutter, if you have the time. Discussion on supplements, Chapeter 7, The Truth About Synthetic Shortcuts, p.150 – 173.


Don't eat this if

If you are taking supplements, or more than one medication, consider this book, Fernstrom, Madelyn and John. Don’t Eat This If You’re Taking That


Special Needs Resources Online

We wish the best for all our patrons, but I would like to extend a personal welcome to parents of children with special needs. I’d like to inform you of what is available through the library, and in the community. If you don’t have time to research, tell me (or any librarian) what you need, and I’ll do my best to find it. If you know someone who needs help, please pass that message on. There’s no reason to walk that road alone. Help us connect you with what you need.

At North Castle Library we have our sources, then there are county and state sources, community sources, state sources, and then there are some wonderful nonprofits that want to help, and there are for profits.  This post is just the beginning.

Here are the sources in the library that are at our patrons’ disposal, to learn about the diagnosis:

If you are looking for doctors who are recommended by doctors, try this non-exhaustive, but excellent source, also it’s where Westchester Magazine gets its list:

Castle Connelly Top Doctors



More than a Tweet

If you’d like to know what Donald Trump is like when he’s serious, and you want to decide for yourself if the facts are “alternate,” forget tweets and the media.  Get the primary documents. Find out what he says in his official mode, compare him to past presidents, read what the justice department has to say, and investigate his campaign promises vs actions.


Executive Orders and Other Presidential documents

You want the Federal Register.  That’s our nation’s news on all things government.  This is the actual words that they use, not digested by the media, or twisted by spin doctors.

If you want the most current, go here: Federal Register federalregister.gov/itself .

If you want a subject index by President, go here: National Archives archives.gov/federal-register/executive-orders/disposition. It will give you something like this for our current world leader:

Subject Index for Donald J. Trump – 2017-Present 

  • Defense, national; Border security and immigration law enforcement; procedures to strengthen; EO 13767
  • Infrastructure; Expediting environmental reviews and approvals for high priority projects; EO 13766
  • Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; Minimizing the economic burden pending repeal: EO 13765

PDF files require the free Adobe Reader.
More information on Adobe Acrobat PDF files is available on our Accessibility page.


Campaign Promises, Speeches, Popularity, Platforms, etc…presidents

The American Presidency Project presidency.ucsb.edu: This is a record of statements and promises made, financing info, bills passed, speeches, political platforms, press releases, etc. etc.  Some information goes as far back as George Washington, and some is as current as Donald Trump.  You may want to look at the videos of some of the articulate speakers on youtube videos found here.

Is that Legal?

The The Justice Department , justice.gov, is the place to find out about the investigation into wire tapping, as well as the legality of an executive order that bans refugees from certain countries, and will tell you the truth about reported terrorist activity.

Tax Filing for Le$$ or Free

It’s that time of year where you keep hearing that Ben Franklin quote about  the two certainties in life: Death and Taxes.  But if you’re not so certain, here’s where you can get some help.

  1. Earn less than $64,000? Go to the IRS!  They will ask you a few easy questions, then hook you up with software for both state and federal returns. The less you make, the more options you have (now that’s a first!)
  2. Earn more than $64,000, Go to the IRS! You won’t get any help with state taxes, but there are free forms to be printed out, and there is help with the math and gives limited guidance.
  3. The Armonk Branch of the Library has forms (a lot of them, but not all), and North White has some forms too. It saves you from printing!

Know More, Rant Less

Now, more than ever, we have to beware of misinformation. The trend is to get information from social media.  Millennials, (ages 18-34) “do not visit news sites, read print newspapers, watch television news, or seek out news in great numbers” (mediainsight.org).   Many have been “unfriended” when differences of opinion lead not to discussion of facts and perspective, but to personal attacks. We are turning to unreliable sources for information, and shutting out people who don’t agree with us. When we shut our minds to other’s perspectives, we further the gap of understanding, and increase the possibilities of marginalizing others. We lose whatever influence we might have had and close ourselves off to new insights.

Follow the tips below to gain confidence in your beliefs, and your ability to discuss them.  If you’re a student, you will appreciate the improved grades on papers and presentations, as you thoughtfully consider, not rant.

Continue reading “Know More, Rant Less”

How Do You Find a Book?

Here are some tricks that librarians use to find books.  I have non-fiction books in mind, but most are also applicable to fiction books.

  1. Amazon.com: Get the correct spelling of the author and title. For this, Amazon search engine is more forgiving than the library catalog, so it’s a good idea to cut and paste from there.
  2. Westchester Library System, controlled Subject terms: Once you find a book in the catalog that looks like it fits your criteria, and you want to find more like it, click on the subject links. This is “controlled language” that has been sorted out for you, by librarians, by specific subject headings, so you get rarely false hits.
  3. Worldcat.org: If you don’t find what you want in our system, go to worldcat.org.  You can click on subjects on worldcat, too, (see number 2 above). Worldcat will tell you what libraries in your area have a copy of the book you’re looking for.
  4. Interlibrary Loan service. Ask your Reference Librarian to get a book from outside the Westchester Library system (after you find it on Amazon or Worldcat).
  5. Get an ebook from our catalog. Read this article, “You Can’t Judge a Book by It’s Digital Platform”  to find out how to get an ebook from our catalog.
  6. Get an ebook from Google Books.  Google has scanned books, from title to index at the back of the book.  You may full text search them.  I mention the index because if you are looking for information on topic, it’s better to use the index than to full text search, because indexers, aka humans, have gone through the book for you to look for your topic under different names, and made sure that it is not the same words interpreted differently.
  7. Go to  Google Scholar.  Google Scholar is similar to Google Books, except that these books are “peer reviewed” (aka the kind that teachers like students to use in college).  Remember to check the index, even if it’s full text searching, because the humans who make those indexers find your topic under different names.
  8. Health Resources: Our Health Resources page, accessible from northcastlelibrary.org, has specialized databases on Chronic Illnesses, Disabilities, Older Americans, and Pediatrics.  These databases pull together many resources other than books, but the websites and articles are all vetted, and you can look at the websites and articles list of sources to get more books on the topics.
  9. Other sources: even if you use a site like Wikipedia, you can always check the source list and look for the books that they list as a source.
  10. Project Gutenburg  “offers over 53,000 free ebooks: choose among free epub books, free kindle books, download them or read them online.”