Monday, January 30, 2012

Special Needs Autism: Multisensory Room

By GARY WARTH | Posted: Tuesday, January 24, 2012 9:00 pm

The soothing music, soft lights and pleasant aromas in the room would leave almost anyone with a calm and peaceful feeling, but they are having an especially positive effect on some students in special classes at two Escondido high schools.

"See the student who's rocking?" San Pasqual High classroom assistant Richard Shannon said Monday, as he pointed to a boy lurching back and forth in his chair. "We put him in there for the first time for a half hour, and he just sat and enjoyed it. That's the first time in about three years where he just sat still."
The Escondido Union High School District spent about $30,000 in federal stimulus money last year to create special "sensory rooms" at San Pasqual and Escondido high schools for the Specialized Transitions Adult Resource Training program, which teaches work and life skills to special-needs students ages 18 to 22.

EUHSD Special Education Director Susan Davis said she doesn't know of other public school districts that have created similar rooms for special-needs students, and she has heard of them in private schools.

"It's been shown to help them calm down, deal with their emotions and get 'reset,'" Davis said about the rooms' effects on disabled people.

Click here to

Special Needs Kids: Diagnosing Immunodeficiency

by Stefani Bush-from Complex Child emagazine

It’s 3am.  The silence of the room is interrupted by the urgent beeping of the thermometer in your child’s mouth.  No sigh of relief in sight…another fever…another illness…antibiotics aren’t working, and you’re at your wit’s end.  Morning slowly creeps in and you’re on your way to the pediatrician, again.  “This is the third illness in five weeks, this can’t be normal,” you cry.  But your words fall on deaf ears and a laid back response of, “Kids get sick, there’s nothing to worry about.”   Or is there????

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Autism and Special Needs Furniture

I just discovered this site on special needs furniture.  
This furniture looks as though it would be a great choice 
for positioning and calming for someone with special needs.  

This furniture is a great sensory integration tool for someone 
with autism spectrum disorder or attention deficit disorder.


SOPA and PIPA- Results of Last Week's Internet Black-Out

Now that Congress has had time to process last week's internet blackout, a consensus has emerged: SOPA and PIPA are toxic for politicians, and going anywhere near them could cost them their re-election.
Freedom is winning.
Together, we've done something amazing-- never have so many people stood up to defend a free and open internet.  Here's a San Francisco Chronicle article about how it all came together: The Largest Online Protest in History Started Here.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Autism and Difficulties with Eating


Autism is a relatively common developmental disorder. It is estimated to occur in 1 in every 1,000 births and occurs four times as frequently in boys as girls. Autism is typically diagnosed between the ages of 1 to 4 years and is characterized by speech and communication delays and difficulties; troubles with social behavior including failure to develop typical peer interactions and relationships; repetitive stereotypical behaviors and movement patterns; preoccupation with specific objects and intense interest in specific things, e.g., trains; non-typical interactions with toys, among other symptoms. Children with autism have sensory integration problems including being bothered by things that are rough on their skin (socks, shirts, underwear), loud noises, bright lights, smells, etc., and they like to have a routine and are distressed should a routine change. More information about autism can be found at many sites on the internet. NIH PubMed Health provides a thorough description. Also, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke have an Autism Fact Sheet that includes a list of organizations that can provide more information.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Special Needs Travel: Waterford Ireland Accessibility

My traveling in Southern Ireland was done mainly via sailboat with Dermot Greer from Sailing Ireland.  Great way to travel really, I took sailing lessons while sailing port to port on the Southern end of Ireland.  We sailed during the day and stopped at small fishing villages at night for food, pints and local music at the pubs.  Good fun and I learned a lot about the Irish, sailing and accessible facilities.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Stop SOPA and PIPA-Protect our Freedom of Speech Online

Friday, January 13, 2012

Flowers for Algernon a Science Fiction Short Story about a Man with a Cognitive Disability

I just read 'Flowers for Algernon,' a science fiction short story by Daniel Keyes copyright 1959.  'Flowers for Algernon' is about a man named Charlie with a cognitive impairment who has an operation to increase his intelligence. 

As the man becomes more intelligent he begins to see the world differently and people differently.  People also begin to see Charlie differently, by the end of the story its almost as if Charlie needed to increase his intelligence for people to see him as human, yet when his intelligence was at its pinnacle he wasn't seen as really 'human' either. 

As the story progresses Charlie becomes a genius, the hardest thing for Charlie is that he proves the increases in his intelligence are temporary.  Charlie begins to lose his intelligence as well as his memory of many of the things he did and learned.  I can't help but wonder if this is a bit like how someone with Alzheimer's feels. 

As I write this post I feel I just can't begin to give this story credit, please read it for yourself I'd love to hear your thoughts.

'Flowers for Algernon' by Daniel Keyes.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Entrepreneur with Special Needs

I first heard about Barb from some locals on Pine Island.   Barb owns and operates a produce stand on Pine Island in Florida. Barb and her family moved to Pine Island from New York several years ago.  I was told Barb has Down syndrome, after meeting her I doubt that is the case, although she does have some sort of cognitive disability. I find her entrepreneurial story fascinating and unfortunately rare.

I write this post in hopes that many other people with disabilities will have the chance to create a life for themselves as Barb has done.  Undoubtedly Barb has had help but as Goethe says, ‘Act boldly and mighty forces will come to your aid.’

Barb agreed to photos and an interview, here is her story:

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

DME Providers: Wright and Filippis Says Good Bye to Rehab Equipment for Southwest Michigan

Today we were informed that Wright and Filippis, will no longer be providing rehab equipment such as walkers, wheelchairs, bath chairs etc. to southwest Michigan (for full list of counties see bottom of post.)
Wright and Filippis states they are changing direction, they will continue to fulfill contracts in the Grand Rapids area.

When asked why the change of direction the Wright and Filippis representative did not have much information.  I would imagine poor Medicaid reimbursement may be the reason for Writght and Filipis' 'change in direction.'  Southwest Michigan has a heavy concentration of Medicaid and Medicare neither of which reimburses vendors much above their costs.

Poor Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement has forced several DME companies out of business over the last 5 years.  Maybe Wright and Filippis' decision is based on self preservation.  Please continue to contact your senators and state representatives to let them know Medicaid and Medicare are important to the elderly, and handicapped of our state and by cutting reimbursement costs not only are people going without necessary medical equipment but we are further cutting the throats of businesses and corporations in our state which we need for commerce and for jobs. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Disabilities: Celebrate a Day of Social Acceptance for Disabilities

to do the same. emailheader.jpg

INTERNATIONAL DAY OF ACCEPTANCE - January 20, 2012To achieve social acceptance of disability.
To honor the late Annie Hopkins, founder of 3E Love and creator of the International Symbol of Acceptance.
3E Love is a social entrepreneurial awareness experiment.

Join the Movement at
Wear your heart on your sleeve on January 20th.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Special Needs: Genetics

Beyond Wanting to Know: 
Thoughts on Pursuing a Genetic Diagnosis
by Hillary Savoie- Complex Child Emagazine

You could say I had warning.  There was the 20 week prenatal ultrasound that showed several "anomalies."  But when my limp barely-breathing minute-old daughter was lifted from my arms, when they told me she was being transferred to the closest NICU, when they said that it might be a syndrome causing her problems, I was in denial.

She was fine.  I just knew it.

Prize Winning App to Help Users Find Accessible Places

A new app designed to help people with disabilities locate accessible restaurants, stores and other venues in their communities is getting a boost after being named a winner in a national contest.
The software called “Access Together” is a Foursquare-style app that allows users to check-in from various locations and answer simple questions about accessibility. The crowd-sourced information is then publicly searchable.

Read On...

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

DD Special Needs: Orlando, Minature Golf with Down Syndrome Daughter

Our family, Anne, my 19-year old step daughter with Down Syndrome, Kellena 'normal' 12-year old daughter, my husband and I went to Orlando over Christmas break.  We went to Universal Studios Adventure Island (see post below.)

While in Orlando we played a game of miniature golf at Congo River Golf, an award winning miniature golf course.   The miniature golf course was like everything else in Orlando, incredible.  It had a coi pond, an alligator pen with at least 30 alligators, waterfalls, secret passages and twists, it was a very extravagant place. Our story of our time below our thoughts.

Anne and Kellena
Thoughts of miniature golf in our own words.
Anne, 19-year old with Down Syndrome:  Miniature golf okay, then she said I was awesome (I love Anne.)

Favorite:  Waterfalls and when her golf balls went in the water.
Least favorite:  Playing, not fun.

Monday, January 2, 2012

DD Special Needs: Visiting Universal Studios Orlando with Down Syndrome

Our family, my 19-year old step-daughter with Down Syndrome, my ‘normal’  (as if) 12-year old daughter, my husband and I went to Universal Studios Adventure Island in Orlando Florida for a vacation.   Universal Studios was amazingly versatile and we all had fun in spite of the major differences between the four of us.  The story of our day at the bottom of this post.

Recommendations for Down Syndrome success at Universal Studios:

·      Get everyone involved in planning, look at the website together, go over brochures together, talk about what you want to do and make sure everyone gets a turn to choose the activity.