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BellaOnline's Children with Special Needs Editor

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Shoes for Children and Teens with Down Syndrome
Some children with Down syndrome have sensory issues or are especially troubled by shoes that have not been properly fitted and will kick them off at the worst possible times. Custom orthotics that fit in shoes half a size larger often help children and teens with balance and gait anomalies.

Environmental Issues and Childhood Disabilities
Environmental dangers to children require strict regulations and earnest measures to reduce or eliminate disease, infection and related childhood disabilities. Dangers include toxic chemicals in products and environments; all types of indoor air; soil and water pollution; and inadequate sanitation.

A Smile as Big as the Moon - More than Space Camp
The 2012 Hallmark movie "A Smile as Big as the Moon: A Special Education Teacher, His Class, and Their Inspiring Journey Through U.S. Space Camp" is as inspirational today as it was in 1989. The actor playing the student with Down syndrome is Peter ten Brink.

Teaching Babies to Self Soothe When Crying
Many babies who are are late to learn 'self-soothing' are not developmentally ready to take on that responsibility. Teaching an infant to self-soothe without being aware of what might be causing them physical discomfort or other distress is counterproductive to raising a resilient child.

Organ Transplants and Developmental Disability
In 1995, Sandra Jensen was initially denied a heart/lung transplant because she was born with Down syndrome and medical professionals felt she would be unable to manage post-operative care. In 2012, a young patient with intellectual disability was denied a kidney transplant even with a family donor

Early Intervention and Advocacy - Then and Now
The first early intervention programs for children with developmental disabilities began as preschool studies of children with Down syndrome. Films, photos and videos showing their potential and accomplishments raised professional and public awareness, like today's advocates using social media.

Bacterial and Viral Pneumonia
Parents and caregivers of babies and children with disabilities should be familiar with the symptoms and lack of symptoms seen with bacterial and viral varieties of pneumonia.

New Resolutions and Childhood Disabilities
New Year resolutions for parents of children with disabilities, delays, or chronic health conditions often have less to do with the child or the diagnosis than they do the relationships we have with family, friends, and professionals involved in our children's care.

Holidays and Family Stress
There are many reasons that winter holiday stress complicates the lives of families of children with disabilities, developmental delays or chronic health conditions. There are more reasons to dwell on the joy and let the stress take a holiday.

When My Son was Born with Down Syndrome
I became sensitive to certain words and phrases when my son was born and diagnosed with Down syndrome. I am grateful that his pediatrician developed his own awareness without my intervention. A good doctor can learn from every new patient. Some average doctors may overwhelm by their own ignorance.

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