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BellaOnline's Children with Special Needs Editor

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 F E A T U R E   A R C H I V E  

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The Disability Hierarchy, Equity and Advocacy
What has been described as the "Disability Hierarchy" can also be seen as the multiculturalism of our advocacy community. As diverse as individuals are within disability labels throughout cultures and ethnicities, we are also within coalitions. Equity is critical for advocacy groups and individuals.

The IEP Spectrum
Understanding the spectrum of experiences possible when students qualify for an IEP helps prepare parents to be strong advocates no matter what challenges they experience with school administrators, teachers or staff. It is better to hold on to high expectations and fall short than to give up.

The Importance of Attitudes about Prenatal Testing
Some parents and disability advocates characterize a television segment about Sequenom's MaterniT21 PLUS test for Down syndrome as an advertisement promoting negative stereotypes and misinformation. They say it was insensitive in tone, language and attitude, and lacking real parent representation.

The iPrompts Application and Childhood Disability
iPrompts is the iPhone / iPod Touch app available from HandHoldAdaptive via iTunes that uses standard pictures as well as snapshots from an iPhone camera to create schedule and other prompts for individuals who have language or behavioral barriers to communication, staying on task or transitioning.

The Power of Communication
Alternate forms of communication provided by parents, teachers, or speech therapists, work only when the child actually gains the power to affect the behavior of others. There are many ways to learn and to communicate without speech!

Theater Access for Children in Wheelchairs
When neighborhood access is limited for a child in a wheelchair, options close for every member of the family. In many communities, the wheelchair is seen as the limitation, when the only challenge holding us back is the reasonable accommodation of accessibility.

Thoughts from the Middle of the Night
When my son was born with Down syndrome, I could not imagine his kindergarten year in a mainstream classroom, with friends and birthday parties, learning to read and write, or sharing his thoughts during story time. I thank all the moms looking forward, who are always reaching back to help others.

Thoughts on the Sandy Hook Elementary Tragedy
Our hearts go out to those affected by the terrible events at Sandy Hook Elementary and Newtown Connecticut, especially the victims and their families, first responders and staff; and the community that has to somehow absorb the horror of that day.

Thyroid Problems and Down Syndrome
Children with Down syndrome have a higher incidence of thyroid problems that can have adverse effects on their health, development and emotional wellness.

Toilet Training and Inclusive Education
Opportunities for inclusive placements in regular classrooms and community programs should not be limited when children have not achieved toilet training goals in preschool or on IEPs during their school years. Academic and socialization goals must always be the primary focus of proram planning.

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