Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Special Needs Kids: Feeding Difficulties

Things to Remember During the Holiday Season from Mealtimes Partners Newsletter
As the holiday season rapidly approaches, Mealtime Partners, Inc. decided to provide a recap of some of the issues relating to safe eating and drinking, that have been presented in previous Newsletters. During this busy period of the year mealtimes can often be hurried and the issue of safety can sometimes be overlooked in the process of getting other things done as quickly as possible. We hope that these reminders will help keep everyone safe and happy for the holidays.

Special Needs: Autism Research

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Largest-Ever Autism Research Network Takes Shape

Autism research efforts are getting a leg up with a new public-private partnership designed to make data on thousands with the developmental disability more available for study.
The National Institutes of Health said Monday that a new collaboration with Autism Speaks will create what’s believed to be the largest single source of research data on people with autism to date.
Under the partnership, scientists will be able to access information from the advocacy organization’s Autism Genetic Resource Exchange when they search the government’s National Database for Autism Research.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Disabilities: 3E Love

What can I say?  I discovered 3E Love over the summer and fell in love.  Rock on 3E Love, here's a bit about them....

3E Love's Wheelchair Heart Logo
3E Love

What is 3E Love...?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

DD Special Needs: Autism Research Genetics

Autism Forms In The Womb, New Study Suggests

Children with autism appear to have significantly more brain cells than their typically developing peers, new research shows, offering evidence that the developmental disorder originates prenatally.
The finding comes from a small, preliminary study published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association that looked at the brain composition of seven boys with autism and six typically developing males ages 2 to 16 who had died.

Read more in Disability Scoop...

Sunday, November 6, 2011

ADA Special Needs Bathroom: Bathroom Sinks for Wheelchair Accessibility

A wheelchair accessible vanity with an accessible sink is the best choice for storage and versatility.  If you have a small bathroom and are designing a layout for someone with a wheelchair a vanity may not allow enough room for the wheelchair to turn without damaging walls or other bathroom fixtures.

If a drop-in or roll-under sink is your choice you need to make sure that:

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Special Needs Kids; Utilizing a Feeding Device to Assist with Eating

This article comes from the 'Independent Eating and Drinking Newsletter by Mealtimes Partners, Inc.'

The Use of Prosthetics for Eating
Independent eating is a complicated function involving many parts of the body and a good deal of coordination. Contemplate just what takes place when a cracker is picked up and placed into someone’s mouth. First the eyes have to judge where the cracker is and send a message to the brain to move the hand to the location of the cracker. Once the hand arrives at the location, the brain must instruct the fingers to assume the appropriate positioning to grasp the cracker. The appropriate pressure of the fingers must be included in this instruction set, otherwise the cracker will shatter and all that will be left is crumbs.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Therapeutic Horseback Riding for People with Special Needs-Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren Counties

Rider and Volunteer Opportunites

The Therapeutic Equestrian Center (TEC) is accepting new Volunteers and Riders for the Holiday 2011 Session!

For Riders:

The Holiday Session starts the week of October 23rd and will run for 7 weeks. New Riders are encouraged to download Rider Registration forms from our website, http://www.tecfarm.org/. A current physical is required at time of registration.

For Volunteers:

New Volunteers are provided training. Classes will be offered in October on the following dates:
Oct 18th- Volunteer Training Part 1, 6pm at TEC 615 N. M-140, Watervleit, MI
Oct 20th- Volunteer Training Part 2, 6pm at TEC 615 N. M-140, Watervliet, MI

Current Volunteers are encouraged to attend Volunteer Training Part 2 on Oct. 20th for a refresher course.

For more information, friend us on facebook, visit our website http://www.tecfarm.org/ or email us at info@tecfarm.org.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Special Needs Kids: Medicaid Federal Level

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Talk Of Medicaid Cuts Worries Disability Advocates

Advocates representing more than 90 disability organizations are expected to amass on Capitol Hill Wednesday to show support for Medicaid.
The noon rally on the west side of the Capitol, is expected to draw more than 1,000 people with disabilities and their allies from across the nation.

Read more....

Special Needs Kids: Hewlett-Packard to Produce Free Autism Apps

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Tech Giant To Produce Free Autism Apps

Hewlett-Packard is teaming up with a pair of autism organizations to develop apps to help people with the disorder handle everything from scheduling and communication to bullying.
At a “hackathon” scheduled for Oct. 11, the computer giant plans to bring together a slew of volunteer developers tasked with creating apps to address seven core areas of need for people within the autism community.

Click here to

Friday, September 9, 2011

Special Needs Kids: Trunk Support Options for Children with Low Trunk Tone

Children with a wide variety of conditions present with low muscle tone (hypotonia) in their trunks, making it difficult for them to sit up properly, stand, and walk.  Some children have virtually no tone at all, and are completely unable to hold their heads up or sit up, while others are more mildly affected, with only minor deficits in sitting or walking.

Click here to

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Access Travel Ireland: Special Needs Kids Disabled Travel via Bus

In Ireland the least expensive mode of public transportation is via bus.  The train system seems to be tolerable but 3-4 times more expensive then the bus so I was told by several native Irish.  So most of my public transit in Ireland was via bus.

Access Travel Ireland: Special Needs Kids Bus Travel-Dublin Airport to Waterford

An extremely wonderful Irish gentleman directed me to take the Aircoach Bus from Dublin to Waterford.  Great tip, this bus was much less expensive than the train and more convenient then I knew.

Aircoach Bus (Dublin to Waterford)  

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Special Needs Kids: Access Travel in Ireland-What is Handicap Accessible?

Stimr is going on a walk about to Ireland and the question is 'How accessible is Ireland for someone in with mobility issues or someone caring for someone with mobility issues?'

Friday, June 3, 2011

Special Needs Kids: Therapy/Early Intervention Strategies

 A recent study published in The American Journal of Occupational Therapy (AJOT), Identifying Strategies Early Intervention Occupational Therapists Use to Teach Caregivers, compared different occupational therapy strategies and outcomes.  The study focused on the vital role of the family as the teacher of the child and the role of the therapist as the family educator. 

The study compared Early Intervention service approaches of therapists with children requiring therapeutic intervention and the families most often the moms.  This study although conducted with Early Intervention service providers can be generalized to outpatient therapists, school therapists (teacher having caregiver role) and many other venues in which OT is practiced.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Fitting a Grid Wheelchair Back for a Child with Kyphotic Back

Grid wheelchair back with cover removed and squares removed to accommodate laterals.

Fitting a grid wheelchair back is very difficult and should be done by a trained professional.  Don't try this at home.  Do remember, grid wheelchair seat backs are to accommodate spinal issues (kyphosis) they do are not recommended for correction.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Grid Wheelchair Seat Back: Positioning for Kyphotic Special Needs Kids with Low Trunk Tone

What is a Grid Seat Back for a Wheelchair?

A grid seat back is a seat back for a wheelchair made of a grid of 2"x 2"x 2" squares of Sun memory foam that can be altered to accommodate for trunk deformities and to assist weight distribution on the seat back to prevent skin breakdown.
Grid wheelchair back without cover.  Foam was removed on sides to allow for laterals to be adjusted.

Why a Grid Seat Back for a Wheelchair?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Michigan Medicaid Comes to an Agreement- Vendors Working to Put Things Back on Track

On February 1, 2011, Wright & Filippis, along with several other Michigan medical equipment providers decided to not participate with the Michigan Medicaid and Children’s Special Healthcare Services (CSHCS) Programs for the provision of complex rehab products.  There were policy changes at Medicaid that prompted us to make this difficult and unprecedented decision.  Since that decision, we have been meeting with representatives from Michigan Medicaid in hopes of resolving these issues.  After 3 months of these negotiations, we can again participate with Michigan Medicaid and Children’s Special Healthcare Services for the provision of rehabilitation and mobility/seating equipment, effective immediately.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Special Needs Children: Developmentally Disabled: Small victories

I work with severely multiply impaired children ages 3-6.   Like many of us in this field I came into special education with a lot of big ideas. I was going to change their world. Very quickly I realized that it would not happen over night. And I would need to embrace the small victories to keep from feeling like a failure. Soon after I realized that would be enough for me.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Michigan Medicaid Reaches an Agreement with Wright and Flippis

Good news!!  We just heard Wright and Flippis just worked out a deal with Michigan Medicaid and will now start servicing Medicaid clients!!

It has been a couple of months since Wright and Flippis and Carelinc quit taking Michigan Medicaid because Medicaid was paying just above cost for equipment.  Equipment being wheelchairs, bath chairs, standers, etc.  'Cost' being the actual price vendors such as Wright and Flippis could purchase equipment.

Special Needs Therapeutic Handicap Horseback Riding for Berrien, Cass and Van Buren Counties

 Therapeutic Equestrian Center's Therapeutic Handicap Horseback Riding is in Full Swing!!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Special Needs Kids: Behavioral Difficulties

This paper was first printed in 'Community Living' and is a great example of Gill Levy's 'down to earth' writing. Gill is respected as one of the leading authorities and has many years experience of working with visual loss and multiple disability. Thank you to Gill for this paper.

David and the glasses
We all had a soft spot for David's rather scatty mother. 'I do me best, you know', she would say, 'but I was never the brightest at school. Couldn't concentrate for long. But I've all the time in the world for my son'. Everyone agreed that he was 'a handful', but 'could be so loving and affectionate at times'.

She would never allow him to sleep away from home. 'If I can't cope with him, you lot won't, with all them other disabled ones around', she would say. He would occasionally 'trash the environment', tearing soft furnishings and curtains, and kick tables and chairs over. And he would slap his face if one to one support was not available. As he got older, taller and stronger - with a growing spurt after he left school - he 'presented services with even more of a challenge'.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Special Needs: History of Autism

This is an interesting history of autism I found on the AARP website of all places...

In 1943, the American physician Leo Kanner published his seminal paper, in which he described 11 children who were socially isolated, with "autistic disturbances of affective contact," impaired communication, and behavioral inflexibility. He coined the term "infantile autism" and discussed the causes in terms of biological processes, although at that time, most scientific attention was focused on analytical theories of the disorder. Kanner's paper did not initially receive much scientific credit, and children with autistic symptoms continued to be incorrectly diagnosed with childhood schizophrenia. His choice of the term "autism" may have created some confusion, because the word was first used to describe a mental state of fantastical, self-centered thought processes, similar to the symptoms of schizophrenia.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Special Needs: What is Autism/Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?

What is Autism?
Good question, it means different things to different people.  Maybe the question what we really want to know is who are these autistic people?

 So who are these autistic kids anyway?

I've been working with kids diagnosed with autism for the past 13 years, they are all different and many kids with cognitive impairments have autistic behaviors.  By autistic behaviors I mean self stimulating behaviors like arm flapping, stimming off of lights, moving fingers in front of their face and watching intently, flipping objects, spinning objects, perseverating, those kinds of things. 

Five-minute screen identifies subtle signs of autism in one-year-olds

Five-minute screen identifies subtle signs of autism in one-year-olds

Monday, April 25, 2011

2011 Spring Handicap Horseback Riding Session-Berrien, Cass, Van Buren Counties


The Therapeutic Riding Program began April 17th, group therapeutic horseback riding lessons for all ages of people with special needs runs for 7 weeks.

Benefits of Therapeutic Riding
  • Builds Muscle Strength and Flexibility.
  • Sense of Accomplishment as Goals are Met.
  • Improved Self-Confidence and Esteem.
  • Provides Exercise to the Rider.
  • Greater Ability to Focus and Stay on Task.
  • Promotes and Encourages Social Skills.
  • Increased Problem Solving Ability.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Special Needs Kids: Working with Disabilities: Cortical Visual Impairment

As a Paraprofessional in a classroom for Severe Multiple Impairments I work everyday with Cortical Blindness. Cortical Blindness is also often referred to as Cortical Visual Impairment or CVI, basically a neurological disorder where the occipital cortex of the brain doesn't know how to process or properly interpret what the eyes are seeing.

Four major causes of CVI:
  • Asphyxia

  • Brain maldevelopment

  • Head injury

  • Infection

Friday, April 22, 2011

The art of interaction

When I was a child my Grandfather used to take me to visit my great Aunt who was Severely Cognitively Impaired. She had been born in the early thirties when the general public knew very little about these types of disabilities and my Aunt Ester had been listed as Severely Retarded. She was unable to do the simplest of labors around the farm so she had been placed in an institution and later various group homes because well, her family didn't have the time or the know how to take care of her. My Grandfather loved his sister dearly and took every opportunity to visit her. I was always in his shadow so I usually ended up accompanying him.

As a young child I often wondered about the people who suffered from the Severe Multiple Impairments that were usually lined up along the walls at the group homes. I always thought it was wrong just to put them into their wheelchairs and leave them all day to stare out the window. Nobody ever seemed to talk to them. Nobody showed them any attention other than to change their diapers or spoon feed them. I was saddened by the idea of being locked away in one's own mind and ignored by the outside world. So one day while I was waiting for my grandfather I had begun to roll a ball around on the floor and I notice that several of them were watching me. At first I was uncomfortable under their vacant gazes but after awhile I grew curious and bolder. I walked over to an elderly women who reminded me of my Grandmother and started talking to her. Her smile was immediate and warm. I could tell that she didn't understand me but I held her hand anyway and kept talking. I think the contact was reassuring to both of us. When it was time to leave she patted the top of my hand and her smile broadened. I like to believe she was saying thank you. After that every time I went back I talked to everyone I had time for. Sometimes I got a reaction, sometimes I didn't but it was always worth a try.

Now I work as a paraprofessional for the Multiply Impaired ages 3-6. My babies as I like to refer to them. For the most part my daily routine is very simple, interact as much as possible. Find ways to get them to interact with me. To do this I use toys, a variety of lighting, different types music, banging on musical instruments or the sides of their chairs with drumsticks. Tapping on their shoes, whatever it takes. But I'm always talking to them, encouraging them to communicate. To come out of their shells and experience the world. Other times when I can tell that they do not feel so well I just sit and talk with them. Let them know what's in store for the day and that they have an opinion that is valued.

But most importantly I use love. Just holding their hand or swinging it along to the beat of music. picking them up and rocking them and letting them know that I'm here for them and they are important and they will never be shoved into a corner around me. And I'm always waiting for that smile.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Media Push Aims To Raise Accessibility Awareness

A national campaign launching this week is designed to help people with and without disabilities better understand accessibility.
The web-based campaign dubbed “what is WRONG with these pictures?” will be promoted on social media websites and through a series of print advertisements directing people to participate in an online game to test their knowledge of accessibility issues.

Read More Here..

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Disability, Special Needs Children: Mom Struggles with Undiagnosed Genetic Syndrome

by Michele Juda
This is how today started…no less than eight phone calls were made in relation to my son Devon.  I talked with the supply company (twice), the GI office (twice), the pediatrician, the geneticist, the director of special education services for our school district, and Devon’s service coordinator.  When I got done with all that, my husband tried to lighten the mood by saying,  "Gee, you would think this kid had a disability or something!"
Yeah, you would…or would you?

From Complex Child emagazine: 
 Click here to read more.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Growing Up with a Sibling with Cerebral Palsy: Learning to adapt

My sister was born with cerebral palsy affecting the left side of her body. Her left arm is shortened and under developed. Her left leg is twisted inward making it very difficult for her to walk. She is not affected cognitively other than the fact that many of her classmates made fun of her. But through the years she’s learned not to allow any of that to affect her spirit. I think she has become the strongest person I know. 

Monday, April 4, 2011

Cerebral Palsy: Misunderstood,

Living With One Hand:

A recent conversation at the local gym left me surprised and made me wonder what others thought about the following situation:

I have Athetoid Cerebral Palsy which means I can control my arm about 60%.  I can wave hello to a passerby and turn on a light switch with my left hand – but that is about it.  My life with Cerebral Palsy has not stopped me yet… I invited my therapists to come watch me play soccer and basketball as I grew up.  I played the piano with my elbow, and I graduated college with my Masters in Occupational Therapy. 

The challenge I faced at the gym started as a simple conversation – she asked if I was married, to which I replied “yes, almost two years now.”  Then she asked a question that was more like a statement – “So would you abort if you got pregnant?” 

Where did Cerebral Palsy Come From?

Where did Cerebral Palsy Come From?
In the 1860s, an English surgeon named William Little wrote the first medical descriptions of a puzzling disorder that struck children in the first years of life, causing stiff, spastic muscles in their legs and, to a lesser degree, in their arms. These children had difficulty grasping objects, crawling, and walking. Unlike most other diseases that affect the brain, this condition didn’t get worse as the children grew older.  Instead, their disabilities stayed relatively the same. 
The disorder, which was called Little's disease for many years, is now known as spastic diplegia. It is one of a group of disorders that affect the control of movement and are gathered under the umbrella term of “cerebral palsy.”      

ADA: What type of flooring is best for wheelchairs and walkers?

Flooring that will be utilized in a home for wheelchairs and walkers needs to be smooth flooring or low pile carpet.  Plush carpet and textured carpet can be difficult for wheelchair or walker propulsion.

Goals for Choosing Flooring
  • Low-maintenance, durable.
  • Slip-resistant.
  • Resilient to allow for minimum injury or breakage from drops or falls.  The flooring should be a fairly smooth or regular surface for ease of use by persons with mobility or balance issues.
  • Matte finish, highly polished surfaces create glare and are usually slippery.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Special Needs: Kabuki Syndrome Genetic Testing

How common is Kabuki Syndrome?

Recently, I began working with a new child.  The child clearly had some autistic tendencies and a 'different' look which suggested to me some sort of syndrome.  As I discussed the child with the mom, the story the mother told me began to sound familiar.  Suddenly it occurred to me, the child was beginning to sound like a child with 'Kabuki Syndrome.'

Friday, April 1, 2011

Occupational Therapy: Sensory Integration Warm-Ups for Special Needs Children/Disabled Kids

As an occupational therapist working with special needs children I find that sometimes it is very difficult to find fine motor activities that cognitively impaired kids can not only understand but enjoy.  As with any other population when working on improving fine motor skills with special needs children I always use the same formula.
  • Begin with a warm-up activity.  Warm-up activities usually include sensory integration, gross upper extremity activities and move into fine motor warm-up activities prior to working on fine motor goal work.
  • Try to incorporate neurodevelopmental techniques (NDT) into activities.
  • Fine motor skills/activities that are functional.
This post will focus on sensory integration warm-up activities for special needs kids.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Medicaid Waiver for People with Special Needs

Medicaid Waiver Waiting List Triggers Federal Lawsuit

I have been working with special needs children with a variety of disabilities for 14 years.  Over the past 14 years I have assisted families of special needs children to obtain adaptive equipment, wheelchairs, lifts, orthotics anything they need.

In the beginning if a family needed something like a wheelchair lift for a van or special services to take care of the child in the home the family could apply for a Medicaid waiver to assist with funding.  Of course with the state of Michigan going broke that funding got more difficult to secure, as of 8 years ago I haven't seen anyone receive any funding from a Medicaid waiver.   I do still hear professionals recommend applying for these waivers but they are usually people new to the field.

Recently I read in Disability Scoop, about a class action suit in Florida regarding lack of Medicaid waivers.

Click on this link to read more.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Special Needs: Sensory Integration Disorders

The concept of sensory integration was developed based on research by an occupational therapist named Jane Ayres, PhD. OTR in Southern California in the late 50’s.

What are sensory integration disorders?

Sensory integration disorder or dysfunction is considered a neurological disorder in which the brain does not effectively integrate information received from the body’s five basic sensory systems. 

Basically when someone has a sensory integration disorder order their central nervous system or brain is unable to process the information their senses are delivering, so their responses to their environment are not appropriate. 

When someone is hypersensitive to stimuli from the senses they tend to overreact to their environment, someone who is sensitive to noise and has to cover their ears when things get noisy.  When someone is hyposensitive to stimuli they tend to under react to their environment, someone who is not sensitive to pain.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Fund Raising Event for Horseback Riding for Children with Special Needs in Cass, Berrien and Van Buren Counties

TEC is having a FUN raiser to raise money for their Spring/Summer riding season!!  

Come join the fun or go to the website to make a donation to support special needs kids and therapeutic horseback riding!!

The Therapeutic Equestrian Center (TEC) is a non profit organization that provides therapeutic horseback riding for special needs kids in Cass, Berrien and Van Buren Counties.

Where:  Getaway Cubbie Bar
              9489 Red Arrow Hwy
              Bridgman, MI
When:  Saturday March 26th, 2011
Time: 6pm-close

Thursday, March 17, 2011

ADA Guidelines Revised for the First Time Since 1990

For the first time in 20 years the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 has been revised, big news.

What is ADA? 

The American with Disabilities Act of 1990 was made into law to assist in regulating and providing guidelines to make public buildings accessible to people with disabilities. The ADA regulations are basically guidelines of turn radius' for wheelchairs, wheelchair ramp configurations, where to hang handrails etc.

The specific nature of the 1990 ADA regulations have not changed in the 2010 revisions as stated in  -2010Section 35.151 (a). Section 35.151(a), which provided that those facilities that are constructed or altered by, on behalf of, or for the use of a public entity shall be designed, constructed, or altered to be readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, is unchanged in the final rule, but has been redesignated as Sec. 35.151(a)(1). ADA Guidelines

ADA: How to Choose a Freestanding Patient Lift for a Person with a Disability

How do you know when you need a patient lift? You need a lift when the person you are caring for can no longer perform assisted transfers safely and/or is becoming too big to lift safely.

How do freestanding patient lifts work?

Monday, March 14, 2011

FEMA To Include Disability Advocates In Emergency Planning

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is joining forces with a disability rights group in an effort to better serve people with special needs during disasters.

In a White House meeting Friday afternoon, FEMA is expected to sign a memorandum of agreement with the National Disability Rights Network, an umbrella group for the protection and advocacy organizations in each state. The agreement will ensure the advocates a seat at the table as FEMA plans for and responds to emergencies.

Click here to read more at Disability Scoop.

Friday, March 11, 2011

ADA: Patient Lifts: Transferring a Special Needs Child with a Physical Disability Safely

How do you know when you need a patient lift?  You need a lift when the person you are caring for can no longer perform assisted transfers safely and/or is becoming too big to lift safely.
How do freestanding patient lifts work?

Friday, March 4, 2011

Assistive Technology for Special Needs: Intro

Hi, my name is Cara, and I’m an Assistive Technology (AT) Addict.

What is Assisitive Technology and what does it have to do with a blog dedicated to accessible and universal home design? Everything! Assistive Technology is focused on enabling people with traumatic injuries, disabilities, or diseases to be more independent with the “technology” in their lives.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Autism: Bullying Fears No Factor In School Placement Decision

Concerns about potential bullying are not enough to prove that a proposed school placement is inappropriate for a student with special needs under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA, a federal judge has ruled.

Click here for the rest of the story at Disability Scoop.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Berrien, Cass and Van Buren Therapeutic Horseback Riding Program for Special Needs Kids Winter Session

Therapeutic Equestrian Center
2010 Winter Riding Program
Therapeutic Equestrian Center
615 N. M-140, Watervliet, Michigan, 49098

2010 Winter Riding Program
TEC is Accepting Rider Applications for a Seven-Week Winter Session

Monday, February 7, 2011

Increasing Feeding Tube Awareness- February is Feeding Tube Awareness Month

Feeding Tube Awareness Week
by Traci Nagy

It started with Sesame Street.  My two and a half year old son, Lucas, and I watch Sesame Street most mornings.  Lucas has a rare chromosomal microdeletion that has caused him to have complete gastroparesis (paralysis of the stomach), among other GI disorders and developmental delays.  He has been on a feeding tube nearly his entire life. 

Lucas at 8 months of age with Elmo


Friday, February 4, 2011

Federal Medicaid News

As states struggle to tackle soaring budget deficits, the nation’s top health official is offering advice on trimming Medicaid costs, but says cutting people with disabilities from the program is a no-no.

In a letter sent to governors across the country on Thursday, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius offered suggestions for Medicaid cost savings, pointing out that 40 percent of 2008 spending on the program covered benefits that are considered optional.

Click to read more,

Michigan Medicaid: Access to Adaptive Equipment Becoming More Difficult

I just got word today that Wright and Flippis will no longer be providing durable medical equipment for clients with straight Michigan Medicaid or Children's Special Healthcare Services. This is a huge hit to anyone with Michigan Medicaid especially handicapped kids.

This is my understanding of the Michigan Medicaid issues based on discussions with people from Mary Free Bed, University of Michigan and Wright and Flippis.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Definition of Cerebral Palsy vs Chromosomal Syndrome for Children with Special Needs

Recently I was sitting in a meeting regarding a special needs child, when one of the professionals in the meeting asked for the child's diagnosis.  A couple of people responded 'cerebral palsy' a couple of people didn't think that was the case.  

I didn't think that was the case because the boy was 11 years old and the size of a 5 year old.  When we checked the file we realized he was diagnosed 'Mosaic Down's Syndrome.'  

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Disability Doll

Down Syndrome Dolls White Girl
Take a look at the doll in the picture. What do you see? You'll probably notice almost immediately that its face is not as “regular” as the rosebud-mouthed, snub-nosed dolls that come as standard in toy shops. But if you picked it up and examined it more closely, you'd see that they are not the only features that you don't find on a “normal” doll: a horizontal crease in the palm of the hand, the ears set low on the head, a flattened bridge across the nose, a slightly protruding tongue.

Other Developmental Disorders

The following information was found at firstsigns.org.  Please comment at the end to share personal stories regarding these various syndromes!

Although developmental and behavioral disorders are increasingly widespread, they are still poorly understood by most of society. The lack of knowledge is further compounded by the stigma that often accompanies a diagnosis of a developmental or behavioral disorder. Parents and physicians can educate themselves and others about the range of disorders, as well as the opportunities for treatment and intervention. Whether a child has a developmental delay or disorder, early identification and intervention are essential for achieving the best possible outcome.
Click "read more" to continue

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

How to tie your shoes one handed

Living With One hand: Life with Cerebral Palsy

10 of the hardest things for me to do one handed:

1) Peel potatoes
2) Cut tomatoes
3) Cut raw meat
4) Shave my right armpit
5) Cut out any picture with sharp or rounded edges
6) Put my hair in a tight pony tail
7) Cut my fingernails
8) Sew on a button
9) Opening canned foods
10) Pulling heavy pot out of oven/Bringing large boiling pot to sink to drain
As you may see, most tasks that are challenging for me are in the kitchen, but I found a few simple tools that have transformed my life in small yet powerful ways.
Click "read more" to see the tools that have changed my life

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Universal Design-ADA Kitchen Cabinets

Designing a kitchen for wheelchair accessibility requires proper turn radii, appliances, flooring etc. but what about cabinets? What do you choose standard cabinets, universal design cabinets, automated cabinets?

Where do you get universal cabinets?

Click 'Read More' for lowdown on standard vs universal cabinets.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Study Indicates Increased Rate of Autism with Closely Spaced Pregnancies

A study published in the February issue of Pediatrics, suggests that babies born close together may triple the risk of autism in the second child.  The researchers hypothesize that the first pregnancy may deplete critical nutrients such as folate and iron, and the mother may also be more stressed during the second pregnancy. 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Independent Living For People With Disabilities Gets $7.5 Million Boost

By Text Size  A  A
Nearly 1,000 Americans with disabilities will be able to leave institutions and move into the community, federal officials said Thursday, thanks to a first-of-its-kind initiative providing both housing assistance and support services.

The program is the result of a unique partnership between the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Health and Human Services. Together the agencies will provide $7.5 million worth of rental assistance vouchers in addition to health care and support services to ensure that community living is truly possible.

How do you find ADA Skid Resistant Tile for Accessible Bathrooms or Kitchens?

How do you find skid resistant tile?  First what is skid resistant tile?  Skid resistance is measured via a coefficient of friction scale.
Coefficient of Friction: Wet/Dry 

The skid resistance scale is used to determine the degree of slippage on a tiled surface. While assessing different tile surfaces, wet and dry conditions along with the speed of the subject are monitored. Also, the required force to move that subject and the angle of the tiled place are considered too. The Ceramic Tile Institute identifies tile in the following three categories: 
Click 'Read More' below to continue this post.   

Review of Ceramic Tile Types and Facts-ADA Flooring/Tiles.

There are two major types of tile that can be used for wall tile, mosaic tiles and floor tile.
·       Quarry tile: that is tile that is made by extrusion from natural clay or shale.
·       Tile that is made by the pressed dust method.
Glaze is a ceramic surfacing material that is used to provide a certain appearance, any ceramic tile type may be glazed or unglazed. This includes porcelain tiles. 

The water absorption determines the classification of tile. How can a tile absorb water, you ask? It is a dense body of minerals that is heated to a high temperature and is not like a sponge. The answer is that it can. One dries a tile then weighs it, soaks it in water and then measures it again. The weight change represents the % of water absorbed. (Weight after soaking minus weight when dry divided by weight when dry is % water absorption.)
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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Special Needs Kids and Genetic Mutations

Following is an article I found on Complexchild.com emagazine.  I am always interested in genetics since so many of the kids I work with have genetic mutations.  I had never given any thought to this aspect of genetics. 
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