Best practices and issues in working for opportunities, acceptance, encouragement , inclusion and support for children with special needs and their families
'Tropic Thunder' Movie Affects Ordinary Lives
Ben Stiller´s movie, Tropic Thunder, offers a humiliating portrayal of a developmentally disabled character, hate language, and a ´movie within a movie´ that increases risks for individuals with intellectual disabilities who attend movies, work at theaters, or enjoy participation in community life.
(Over) Preparing for the IEP Meeting
Families new to evaluations and other steps in the IEP process have many questions that veteran parents might help answer. Sometimes mentor parents collect so much experience that they develop a level of silliness that flies in the face of stern warnings issued by school district attorneys.
AAPD - American Association of People with Disabilities [offsite link]
Accessible Designs for Schools
The most popular designs for public schools may already be outdated while school districts are promoting buildings that have few if any elements of universal design. They rarely consider the need for accessibility by those with mobility challenges who work, volunteer or are educated in schools.
Accessible Designs in Playgrounds and Play Areas
Children with physical disabilities should have accessible playgrounds in their communities and schools. We find great designs in accessible playgrounds and play areas in communities of all sizes, and we can also learn from the shortcomings we find in our own neighborhoods and local schools
Acknowledging Abused and Traumatized Children
Children deserve immediate help and long term support when they are traumatized by current events or have suffered abuse, loss, health issues or injury. Acknowledging traumatic events in a child's life is the responsibility of family members and other adults who may also have been affected.
ADAPT - American Disabled for Attendant Programs Today [offsite link]
Advocacy in Multicultural Communities
Advocacy in multicultural communities and outreach by diverse ethnic groups builds stronger support for all our children and families
Advocate Moms and Quarterback Amnesia
Just as football quarterbacks have to forget an interception or other unfortunate outcome to continue on to a big win, moms who advocate in the best interests of their children may need to employ serial amnesia to put aside setbacks in the moment and create the best possible opportunities every day.
Advocating for Children with Special Needs
Help develop your children's talents, abilities and interests as you learn about their challenges and special needs, and discover what support and encouragement works best
Airline Travel for Children with Special Needs
New security procedures make travel more difficult for children with disabilities or chronic health conditions
Amazon Kindle 2 and Childhood Disability
The updated version of the Amazon Kindle reader for books and magazines may be more useful than the original for children and adults with disabilities. Advocates for the vision impaired would improve text to speech controls but recognize Kindle 2 provides better access to visually impaired readers.
Asking More from Medical Professionals
Asking and expecting more from medical professionals is good advocacy for children with special needs
Barack Obama's Disability Advocacy Plan
Families of children with disabilities can learn a great deal about the scope of issues involved in planning for a better quality of life and richness of experience throughout their son or daughter´s lifespan by reading "Barack Obama and Joe Biden´s Plan to Empower People with Disabilities."
Bill Maher and Comments about The Extra Chromosome
In 2006, Bill Maher helped popularize using derogatory references to individuals with 'an extra chromosome'. Families of children with Down syndrome speak out about why they are concerned about the effect on their children's opportunities and safety.
Characters with Disabilities in Movies and TV
Advocates are stepping forward to describe the importance of children with disabilities being represented in movies, commercials, and television shows as main characters as well as casual extras. Seeing children with disabilities in movies, ads and television impacts siblings and mainstream peers.
Chicken Soup for the Soul Children & Special Needs
The latest Chicken Soup for the Soul book, Stories of Love and Understanding for Those Who Care for Children with Disabilities, includes inspiring tales and wonderful stories about loving and raising kids just like ours.
Comedians and Intellectual Disabilities
Individuals with intellectual disabilities and their families have deep diversity in their appreciation of humor, funny situations, and comedians. Unfortunately, many comedy writers and performers are motivated by the cheap laughs they can earn by denigrating people with developmental disabilities.
Cutting with Scissors and Other Fine Motor Skills
Children who struggle with fine motor skills, like cutting with scissors, may deal with challenges of motor planning, muscle control, perception of objects, size and strength of their fingers and hands, limited access to tools and practice, and their own frustration.
Disability Advocacy and Awareness
Disability advocacy and awareness helps children with special needs grow up included and supported in their neighborhoods and schools, and provides valuable lessons to their mainstream peers and community.
Disability Advocacy and Unintended Consequences
Disability awareness and advocacy has long been fueled by medical and education professionals, family members, and others who have neither grown up with or experienced disability issues on a daily basis. Individuals with disability bear the brunt of the unintended consequences of uninformed efforts.
Disability is Natural - Featured Website
Kathie Snow is best known for her website and eNewsletter, Disability is Natural. She is a marvelous resource for parents and professionals as well as policy makers who are dedicated to creating inclusive communities for children and adults labeled disabled.
Disability Issues In the News
Disability related news articles in mainstream newspapers and magazines help advocates stay informed and gather community support
Dolls for Children with Disabilities
Beautiful dolls and toys that demonstrate the diversity of the children in our communities have been available for many years, and should be found and enjoyed in classrooms, daycare and our children´s toy collections. Some parents have found dolls with disabilities to be offensive representations.
Early Intervention and Multicultural Competence
There is the same cultural and ethnic diversity among families of children with disabilities as their local community, rarely reflected in the staff or leadership of early intervention centers and advocacy groups. Outreach and programming should be culturally appropriate and inclusive for all.
End Aversive Restraints and Seclusion in School
Use of time-out or seclusion rooms, physical restraints and other aversive techniques for any child ~ and especially for students who communicate mainly through their behavior ~ should be eliminated from the written policies and all practices of our children's schools, care and education facilities
Evaluations and Diagnosis Childhood Disability
When a child is diagnosed with a disability or chronic health condition, families want to know how best to help them meet the challenges and cope with the difficulties that stem from it.
Expressing Friendship with Valentines
Valentines Day holiday is a great opportunity for expressions of friendship between children and a wonderful incentive for them to practice writing their first names on the backs of cards, or placing stickers with preprinted names and messages of friendship.
Extended School Year and Special Education
Students who qualify for special education services through and IEP or 504 plan may also benefit from extended school year services to focus on existing or emerging skills that can diminish or be lost be lost over summer vacation. An excellent resource for parents is the Wrights Law website on ESY.
Family Voices [offsite link]
"We are families from throughout the United States who have children with special health needs.
We are also caregivers, professionals, and friends whose lives have been touched by these children and their families."
Federation for Children with Special Needs [offsite link]
Provides a center for parents of children with special needs. Link to other agencies nationally and scan publications.
Fundraising and Advocacy
Supporting organizations and advocates through fundraising and volunteer participation carries many programs through hard financial times
Home Accessibility and Visitability for Children
Home accessibility, adaptability and visitability for children with special needs means they can visit friends in their neighborhood and extended family in their own communities.
IDEA - Education Law
The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) in the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) of the U.S. Department of Education has a series of topic briefs regarding the IDEA Improvement Act of 2004. Part B is relevant for ages 3 to 21 and Part C is for ages birth throu
IEP Goals for Children with Special Needs
Writing IEP goals for children with special needs can be a challenge for teachers and other school personnel who are not yet familiar with your child as an individual
Insensitive Fundraising with the Best Intentions
A rare nighttime Fun Run fundraiser for Special Olympics known as "Run from the Cops" is inappropriate and insensitive. Even the most well-trained, experienced and compassionate law enforcement personnel could take actions that have deadly consequences if a person with a disability does not comply.
Intimidating Teachers and Childhood Disability
Parents sometimes report difficulties in creating relationships with intimidating teachers who do not seem to be open to advocacy efforts or the sharing of information about their son or daughter's individual talents, abilities, or special needs. Some teachers may feel parents are intimidating, too
Managing Rude Adults Who Insult Our Kids
Although most people have been taught that confrontational remarks are inappropriate on social occasions, speaking the truth in the face of a terrible lie is something parents are meant to do. We can't find the right words to speak out against prejudice, discrimination, and ridiculous stereotypes.
Music Education - Every Voice Heard
Children with special needs benefit from participation in school music programs, expressing themselves by playing instruments, writing and singing songs, learning and being included in the arts.
Newsletter for Families of Children with Special Needs
Keep informed of current issues and resources for children and families, updates on new Special Needs Children articles, current discussions at the SNC Forum, and Bella Online sweepstakes
Nintendo Wii Therapy/Rehab for Children and Teens
The Nintendo WII video gaming system can be used by children, teens and adults with injuries or disability, for physical therapy and rehabilitiation as well as entertainment. Student programmers have created software making the Nintendo Wii remote (WiiMote) functional for people with disabilities.
Nurturing Parents of Babies with Disabilities
There are simple steps advocates, friends and family can take to support and nurture parents the first full year after their baby is diagnosed with a developmental delay or disability, is injured, or develops a physical illness or other condition.
Pain Management for Children with Disabilities
Pain management for children with chronic medical conditions and others who need blood draws, bone marrow aspiration, central or PICC lines, IV sticks, or port access may experience less pain, fear and trauma using numbing agents and techniques to avoid or relieve anxiety and distress
Pain, Childhood Blood Draws, Injections, IV Lines
Children deserve to be offered pain relief for childhood blood draws, injections, bone marrow aspiration, laser treatment and other medical procedures that may create more fear and anxiety than the injury or illness being treated. Some are: EMLA disks, Ametop gel, Numby Stuff, and vapocoolant sprays
Person Centered Planning - Kids, Teens and Adults
Person Centered Planning is a process that can have a profound effect on an individual´s life, their community´s perspective, and the support, encouragement and opportunities your son or daughter might find during times of transition.
Person First Language Awareness
Person First Language is a natural way of communicating about people with disabilities that respectfully acknowledges each person's dignity. Individuals with disabilities experience more discrimination and bullying when a diagnosis is given more significance than their personhood.
Person First Language Sensitivity
Person First Language can apply to any individual or group who may be disrespected, overlooked or dismissed due to stereotypes, prejudice, or discrimination. People with disabilities and their families are often marginalized and excluded because they are classified by diagnosis instead of humanity.
Printing, Cursive Writing, Childhood Disabilities
Children with special needs have shown great success in learning to print and write in cursive when given the support, encouragement and tools that should be readily available to them as well as their mainstream classmates
Privacy and Parent to Parent Advocacy
Individual and parent-to-parent interactions online can be destructive to broad advocacy efforts and humiliating for children, teens or adults with disabilities, when privacy and respect issues are disregarded; especially when families appropriate the focus for support and services to themselves.
Rebuilding America with Universal Design
With the emphasis on rebuilding the infrastructure and putting people to work on construction projects as a way back to economic security for our country, we should be demanding the thorough integration of universal design in all projects
School Bus Safety Precautions
Mothers of young, non-verbal students seek to reduce the risk of their children being left at the wrong stop; or overlooked and forgotten by transportation and school personnel when asleep. Children may endure hours in extreme temperatures, or find their way off the bus and wander unsupervised.
School Safety - Staff Should Not Carry Weapons
It is a mistake to believe that arming teachers and staff in schools will reduce school violence, increase safety, or protect the school community even in cases where the campus endures an armed attack.
Second Thoughts on the Tropic Thunder Boycott
Disability activists have called for a boycott of the 2008 summer blockbuster movie and DVD due to demeaning language, storylines and repulsive catch phrases coined for the satire that are expected to further pollute common language. I now believe everyone in my community should see Tropic Thunder.
SNAP (Special Needs Advocate For Parents) [offsite link]
An online resource for information, education, advocacy, and referrals for families with special needs children of all ages and disabilites.
Snapshots, Photography and Childhood Disability
Children with delayed language can communicate through snapshots and inexpensive picture books showing their daily activities, interests and talents. Taking snapshots regularly gives us a deeper look into their lives, opportunities and capabilities as individuals, too.
Solidarity for Civil Rights and Human Rights
Events unfolding in Ferguson Missouri in August of 2014 following the death of Michael Brown resulted in a call for solidarity for civil rights and human rights from advocacy and support organizations throughout the country. Unfortunately, that call happened when we should still have been listening.
Special Child: For Parents and Caregivers of Children with Special Needs [offsite link]
Special Child is provided by The Resource Foundation for Children with Challenges (RFCC), a nonprofit charity organization and is dedicated to parents of children with special needs.
Special Ed Advocate - Special Education Law [offsite link]
Provides news and law archives for individuals interested in special education advocacy. Subscribe to the free online newsletter. I do!
Subtle Design Features and Disability Awareness
Sometimes what seems like a thoughtless design incorporating a disability awareness message or function is misinterpreted by those who have not thought out the actual challenges that a person with that disability experiences or assumes the person with a disability has limits they do not experience.
Talking About Childhood Disabilities in Public
Discussing childhood disabilities in public often means talking about individual children, without respect for their privacy or self-perception. Researching or broadcasting information on common challenges, best practices and symptoms raises awareness without benefitting the child with a disability.
TASH Conventions and Childhood Disabilities
Attending a TASH Convention in San Francisco changed the way I advocated for my son, and changed the way he saw himself as an advocate and citizen of the world. Reports from the 2013 TASH convention in Chicago assure me that people with disabilities will continue moving forward to full civil rights.
Teacher Appreciation and Childhood Disabilities
Parents share creative ideas to show appreciation for teachers who have created better learning opportunities, support, and welcoming classrooms for our sons and daughters with special needs and inspired our children to exercise greater potential than can be predicted by tests and evaluations.
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 Power of Music - Dr. Phil Show [offsite link]
Dr. Phil´s show on The Power of Music urges the reintroduction and continuation of music education in public schools and support for children to follow their interest in music and performance in their communities
Using Business Cards for Communication
Individuals with communication challenges or Down syndrome may find using business cards helpful while networking and building relationships in the community, establishing themselves as advocates as they develop the habit of exchanging cards with medical and educational professionals at meetings.
We Can End the R-Word in Movies and TV
The R-word is hate language offensive to individuals with developmental delays or intellectual disability. Individuals and advocates can help ban the R-word by raising awareness, urging everyone to pledge not to use the word, and expressing expectations that scripts include people with disabilities.
Work, Wages, and Down Syndrome
A serious topic of President Barack Obama's 2014 State of the Union address was income inequality. Healthy adults with college degrees are struggling in jobs with unlivable minimum wages, and it is crucial that adults with Down syndrome find employment with livable wages to enjoy independent living
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