reg Follow Nevada PEP on Facebook Follow Nevada PEP on Twitter Follow Nevada PEP on Instagram Follow Nevada PEP on YouTube

Sign-Up for Our Newsletter

DON'T forget to Like our Facebook page ! ↓ ↓

Translate Site

We are proud of Robin Renshaw, transition specialist at Nevada PEP, for receiving the
Personal Advocate award from the Nevada Disability and Advocacy Center.


My name is Michele Santee. I am the Intakes Specialist here at Nevada PEP. I wanted to share my families experiences with the Holiday Season. I have a 9 year old son named Ashton who has Autism. When the Holiday’s come around we experience a lot more stress than usual, as I am sure most of our PEP families do!


During this time of year we have to find more untraditional ways to celebrate. Family gatherings are certainly hard on our kids. I remember one year we were invited to a Christmas dinner at a very close friends’ home. There was a table displayed beautifully with food, snacks, and desserts. There was a turkey in the center of the table. My son ran right over to that turkey and ripped the leg off and began his Christmas feast! I could feel all the eyes in the room on me. Of course, my son doesn’t notice and continues to devour his stolen turkey leg with the biggest smile on his face – I can still vividly remember that moment.  I laugh about this now, but I remember the feeling I had at that moment. I felt like I ruined everyone’s Christmas dinner and I was uncomfortable for the remainder of the time we spent there. Family gatherings are also tough for our kids that are not comfortable with large groups, loud music, and lots of commotion. My son in particular can only handle very short burst of excitement before the inevitable meltdown begins. Over the years we have learned through my son’s body language when enough is enough! Because of this we have been able to successfully enjoy gatherings in very small doses. One quote that reminds me of my son and something I try to remember during this stressful time is “less is more” .


There is so much more to the Holiday season than gatherings. What about the change in weather? Our kids, especially our sensory sensitive kids, have a hard time with changing their wardrobe and understanding when it’s sunny it doesn’t mean it’s warm out. We had taken a road trip to the East Coast to visit with my extended family and my son had never experienced snow or the frigid cold weather. He grew up most his life in San Diego and Las Vegas. One morning while we were there I was fixing the kids breakfast and my son was just fine running around the house, as usual. When I went to call the kids for breakfast, I find the front door was wide open. I immediately run outside, no shoes, and in my pajamas. I found a fresh set of footsteps leading to the backyard. There he was curled up in the snow not sure what to do, in his birthday suit!  My son is notorious for wearing birthday suit while in the home. But he has learned, snow is very cold. Still to this day when we talk about snow he immediately tells me “snow cold”.


Christmas morning in my house is probably much different than most traditional Christmas mornings. My daughter, Amelia, loves unwrapping gifts. My son on the other hand sees a wrapped gift as a box with a bunch of Christmas pictures all over it. He doesn’t enjoy the element of surprise. Surprises upset my son because he likes everything to be predictable. So, under our tree Christmas morning we have half our gifts all wrapped and the other half unwrapped. It helps keep my son engaged with the family while he checks out all his new toys and while we unwrap our gifts. It works for us and makes the morning more predictable and enjoyable for our son.


What I am trying to say is, the Holiday Season can be very stressful on our families. In particular on our children with special needs. You need to find ways to make the Holiday’s fun, fulfilling, enjoyable for your family. Sometimes this means celebrating a little different and there is nothing wrong with being different. My family enjoys our new unique traditions it makes our family special to us. Holidays can be hard with all the change, excitement, and seasonal stress on top of all your regular stress. You have to try and laugh through the trying times and surround yourself with people that understand your family and that can laugh along with you. I wish all of our PEP families a wonderful, safe, and different Holiday Season! Cheers!


Nevada PEP is proud to announce that Havander Davis was awarded the honor of being the Private Sector Employee of the Year by WEET (Work Enhancement Employment Team)!  Join us in congratulating Havander, as we all know he is deserving of the honor. 



Significant Policy Guidance for the U.S. Department of Education - Creating Equitable Opportunities for Children and Youth with Disabilities to Access Physical Education and Extracurricular Athletics. 

Recently, a report by the United States Government Accountability Office revealed that, despite legislation obligating states and schools to provide equal access, opportunities for physical activity are limited for children and youth with disabilities. The Policy Guidance is the initial response to the GAO recommendation that “the Secretary of Education facilitate information sharing among states and schools on ways to provide opportunities in PE and extracurricular athletics to students with disabilities.” The document will help disseminate information on improving opportunities for children and youth to access PE and athletics and to refer the reader to sources of additional information regarding the inclusion of children and youth with disabilities in PE and athletic extracurricular activities. The Office for Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Education will be providing separate and additional guidance on the legal aspects of the provision of extracurricular athletic opportunities to students with disabilities to comply with the second recommendation by the GAO to the Department in its report.

For more information about the GAO findings and recommendations 

For more information about the Policy Guidance visit