Family support and advocacy efforts on behalf of children who have disabilities or chronic health conditions, to inspire and inform loved ones, and build inclusive communities for all of us
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.
Accessible Playgrounds & Inclusive Play Areas
Every child deserves accessible playgrounds and naturally integrated play areas in their classrooms or schools. Families of children with disabilities find that local playgrounds and school play areas can be made accessible with a bit of community effort, at reasonable cost, with benefits for all.
Adoption by Gay or Lesbian Parents
Adoption or foster care of babies and children with disabilities by gay or lesbian parents requires attention to be paid to the issues that may otherwise create greater challenges during childhood.
Adult Siblings - Childhood Disabilities
There is a great diversity among adult siblings who have grown up with a brother or sister who has a developmental disability, chronic health condition, or other special needs. Research to date shows many more sensitivities and positive attributes in most adult siblings than their mainstream peers.
Advocacy and Parent Support
Advocacy for children with special needs can lead us to resource organizations that provide parent education, support and encouragement
Aid for Haiti - Childhood Disability
Families and individuals around the world are reaching out to the people of Haiti who were so tragically affected by the 2010 earthquake. Organizations who had already committed to family supoprt, schools and clinics for children with disabilities remain dedicated to filling the urgent need for help
Common allergies can cause symptoms that mimic various other conditions and initiate behavior problems. Some allergies are life threatening.
Amazon Kindle Wireless Reading Device
The light-weight, Amazon Kindle Wireless Reader offers many features to families spending long hours in waiting rooms while children are occupied in early intervention, therapy, medical treatment or other procedures. The Amazon Kindle 2 will be available late in February 2009 and is worth the wait.
Families raising children with Angelman Syndrome are excellent advocates for their sons and daughters and often reach out to other families raising as newly-diagnosed babies. Early intervention for feeding problems, developmental delays, supportive therapy and medications for childhood seizures.
Another Year Past 9/11
Children's health issues five and ten years past 9/11 should be important stories in coverage of the loss of the World Trade Center towers and other terrible events of that day and those that followed
Anxiety and Childhood Disability
Anxiety in children can be due to any number of stresses and experiences, and may be felt to be a debilitating challenge even when the outward symptoms seem to be mild enough to be seen as a function of a child's personality.
Asthma and Allergies in Early Childhood
Children with asthma and allergies can live much fuller lives today than any time in history. Parents whose children have asthma and allergies educate extended family, school staff and other caregivers about the extra risks their children face every day.
Babies Born Early - Prematurity and Childbirth
Parents of babies who are born early enter the preemie world with no preparation, experience or training, and face their own challenges while making certain their sons and daughters have the best possible care
Baby Sign Language
Babies who learn to communicate with sign language before they are able to say words may be more inspired to communicate with us, and feel less frustrated due to unmet needs and desires
Back to School with Celiac Disease
Children with celiac disease benefit from having a health care plan in place at school with information for teachers, administrators and school nurses as well as lunch suggestions, food and art supply restrictions
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.
Baseball Stories - Down Syndrome
My son has been a fan of baseball since he was a toddler. Many other children and teens with Down syndrome love the game, just like their mainstream peers.
Bathroom Skills and Childhood Disability
Children with developmental disabilities, physical challenges or other special needs may have delays in bathroom and self help skills that are frustrating for them and their families.
Before the First Week of School
Children with special needs can be especially anxious and confused about how their lives will change before the first week of school in a new grade, including how they will get to school and back, and where they will spend their days.
Behavior as a Medical Symptom
Most children show changes in behavior as symptoms of illness, injury or abuse before physical symptoms alert us to call in a doctor. Some children do not have the words to express their discomfort or pain, and many children believe that adults in charge are aware of everything without being told.
BellaOnline Special Needs Newsletter
Sign up and stay informed about the latest articles on raising children with special needs, updates on disability advocacy, and/or disability issues in the news from the editor of the Children with Special Needs website at Bellaonline.
Bipolar Disorder in Children
Bipolar disorder in children may look different than the manic depression diagnosed in adolescents and adults. Early onset bipolar disorder is now suspected in some children diagnosed with ADHD, as well as a portion of those diagnosed with depression.
Boardmaker and PECS Communication Alternatives
Children who do not use speech to communicate are highly motivated to make their needs, interests and preferences known through the use of picture communication cards or boards. Standardized graphics programs like Boardmaker, PECS and Makaton are useful in education and easing scheduled transitions.
Boston Marathon Attack and Disabilities
Our sympathies are with those affected by the terrible events at the Boston Marathon, especially families of those who were injured or killed.
Brothers and Sisters of Children with Disabilities
Building good communication and healthy relationships between our sons and daughters is a high priority for parents who have one child with a developmental disability, chronic health condition or other special needs. Sibshops can naturally encourage sibling support and soothe sibling concerns.
Burn Survivor Camps for Children and Teens
Children and teens who have survived burn incidents may find that burn survivor camps are a welcome vacation from dealing with physical or emotional scars, where they can again experience life as a person first without dealing with the curiosity and concerns of family, neighbors and classmates.
Camp Prime Time Family Camp
Camp Prime Time is a family camp in the Wenatchee National Forest near Clear Lake and Yakima, WA. Children, teens or adults with a developmental or physical disability or serious health condition and their families can enjoy a relaxed, supportive and inclusive community in a beautiful setting.
Car Safety Issues - Prevention is the Key
Summer safety issues include the dangers of cars and weather. Never leave a child alone in or near a car; something as simple as keeping a teddy bear in your child's car seat, or tying a ribbon on your antenna, can save the life of the child you love.
Carry On Luggage Rules for Flights Today
The Transportation Security Administration has a website with information for Airline Travelers with Disabilities, Traveling with Children, and Frequently Asked Questions
Celiac Disease in Children
Celiac Disease, or gluten intolerance, is much more common in children than was previously suspected, especially those who are already diagnosed with Type One Diabetes or Down Syndrome
Child Abuse and Neglect - Childhood Disability
Children with disabilities experience childhood abuse and neglect at least as often as their mainstream peers, but may deal with delayed rescue or assistance due to communication challenges, exclusion from ordinary classrooms and programs, or different expectations of their behavior and development.
Child Safety - Pills, Purses, and Suitcases
Purses, diaper bags and suitcases - childhood treasure chests - are often overlooked as dangers even in child-proofed homes and vehicles. Parents, babysitters, relatives and visitors may not realize how inquisitive and vulnerable children may be to accidental poisoning, choking, or other injury.
Childhood Disability and Parent Advocacy
Parents of children with disabilities often turn to the internet and social media sites for information and support following a diagnosis, injury, health issue or traumatic childbirth. Those who establish themselves via a blog, other social media or website may be both admired and highly criticized.
Childhood Disability and Supporting Other Mothers
We can best support other mothers of children with special needs by exercising our best friendship skills and remembering that we are people first, too.
Childhood Grief and Loss
Children who have lost a loved one may struggle with grief as well as fear and confusion. Like their mainstream peers, children with developmental disabilities can be comforted by reassuring stories and patient listeners. Many worry whether there will be someone to take care of them as they grow up.
Children and Sign Language
Young children with temporary speech delays, hearing impairment or language disorders are finding sign language is a wonderful bridge to satisfying communication.
Children of Divorce - Childhood Disabilities
Issues in families where parents are divorced or separated can be slightly more complicated when one of the 'children of divorce' has a disability or developmental delay. Helping build resilience in our children benefits everyone in the family during and after divorce.
Children who are deaf and blind [offsite link]
Information and support for families of children who are deaf and blind
Children who are visually impaired or blind [offsite link]
Babies who have visual impairments may show signs when they are just a few weeks old, but may not be diagnosed until much later. Early intervention and support are especially valuable for development and accommodations.
Children with hearing loss and deafness
Children with hearing loss can show signs when they are just a few weeks old, but may not be diagnosed for years. Early intervention and support can make a world of difference.
Children, MRI Scans and CT Scans (CAT Scans)
Prepare yourself and your child for the MRI or CAT Scan
Chronic Sorrow and Childhood Disabilities
The symptoms of depression in mothers of children with disabilities are not acknowledged or understood in the same way as a physical injury requiring treatment and accommodations. Mothers of children with disabilities have been said to experience chronic sorrow that intrudes into their happy lives.
Civil Rights, Prejudice and Disabilities
Parents of newly diagnosed babies or young children may assume that staff and volunteers at EICs. schools and community have the training or experience to dispel prejudice, and implement best practices while interacting with children and teens. Some pay a terrible price to learn never to assume.
Communicating with Babies
Responding to a baby´s cries and filling their needs teaches them that their attempts to communicate work, that they are loved, and that they are surrounded by people who care deeply about them. Successfully interpreting signals and sounds that babies use to communicate can reduce frustration, too.
Communication Alternatives - Childhood Disability
Alternate forms of communication for children with speech delays or disabilities include body language, behavior, facial expressions, and informal sign language or shorthand words as well as standard sign language, icon based communication systems, handwriting and typing.
Community Access for Children in Wheelchairs
A child may use a wheelchair for mobility full-time, as the result of an injury or condition that is temporary or intermittent, or to avoid injury, relapse or exhaustion. After a temporary injury, my son needed a walker and wheelchair, an accessible home and community, and a better informed mother
Community Emergency Response Team Training - CERT
Parents and other caregivers of children with disabilities, chronic health conditions and other special needs are participating in Community Emergency Response Training to build stronger networks for support and to expand planning efforts for severe weather, natural disasters and unforeseen events.
Community Support for Families
Child health, Children and Youth with Disabilities, community support, inclusion, inclusive education
Comparing Ourselves to Other Mothers
Mothers with babies and young children at home may project images of themselves and their children to other moms that are as unrealistic as the perceptions that other mothers may have the resources, support, ideas and energy we can´t find. This is also common for mothers of kids with special needs.
Costume Ideas - Childhood Disabilities
Some children cannot tolerate uncomfortable fabrics, seams, masks or sounds. Accommodations for sensitivities can be a great help for mainstream peers. Costume ideas for children with disabilities take into account mobility issues as well as fabulous opportunities to incorporate wheels or walkers.
Cousins of Children with Special Needs
Like brothers and sisters, cousins of children with special needs are fine companions and fierce competitors who deserve recognition and affirmation
Creative Playtime for Babies and Children
Parents often seek educational or therapeutic play options for their babies and young children who have a developmental disability, physical challenges or other special needs. Fortunately, many creative and fun play activities that parents have invented through the ages turn out to be therapeutic.
Dads of Babies with Disabilities
Most fathers of kids with disabilities were civilians when their son or daughter was diagnosed. Many resources for parent support and information are offered through a mother´s perspective, with the needs and concerns of siblings and grandparents higher priorities than the husband and father.
Dads, Complicated Pregnancies and Childbirth
Fathers of children with special needs often have compelling stories to tell about complicated pregnancies, wives on bedrest, premature childbirth or newborn diagnosis that are uplifting, inspirational, and funny.
Dealing with Rude Comments or Behavior in Public
Although it has been a rare occurance, my family has experienced rude comments and behavior in public in response to people recognizing that my son has Down syndrome. Sometimes these unfortunate experiences can lead us to make mistakes in judging the reactions of others, who may have good intentions
DIR Floortime Model Techniques
One of the most enlightening developments in therapies for children with complex challenges, including autism spectrum disorders, has been the DIR (Developmental, Individual-Difference, Relationship-Based) model, especially one of its most significant elements, Floortime.
Disability and Future Planning for Parents
Families of children with disabilities have greater responsibilities in planning for the future of their son or daughter as well as the parent who is the main caregiver, especially single moms who may not have investments, health coverage, savings or retirement plans to take care of herself later.
Disability Parking Placards - Childhood Disability
Families use disability parking placards for health and safety reasons, managing wheelchairs and other equipment, for childhood disabilities including those affecting mobility, breathing, cardiac issues, vision impairment, sensitivity to vehicle emissions or dificulties walking more than 200 feet.
Down Syndrome - Treatment Research
Families question the uneven funding of research into treatment and support for Down syndrome compared to investments in prenatal testing. However, we should be encouraged by the comparative funding of treatment research now compared to even a decade ago. It also benefits the general population.
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.
Early Intervention for Developmental Delays
Children diagnosed with developmental delays find stimulation, support and encouragement in early intervention and specialized preschool classrooms as well as mainstream 'Mommy and Me' activities, baby gym and parks department programs.
Easter and Children with Disabilities
Easter events and traditions can be overwhelming for children who have disabilities, their families and their mainstream peers - and lots of fun, too
Eating Disorders and Children with Special Needs
Children with special needs may have eating disorders related to their diagnosis, or may develop an eating disorder that puts their health at serious risk
Encouraging Children Who Have Cancer
Families of children diagnosed with cancer have many questions about the specific diagnosis, what treatments are available, and where to find experienced medical professionals.
Encouraging Friendship - Childhood Disabilities
Encouraging friendships between classmates who represent the true diversity of our communities helps build relationship skills among children with developmental disabilities as well as their mainstream peers.
Encouraging Fussy Babies and Sensitive Toddlers
Most babies have fussy periods, and toddlers go through stages where they are uncomfortably sensitive to touch or texture. Parents of those who experience ongoing sensory defensiveness, sensory integration challenges or a sensory processing disorder appreciate soothing S.I. therapy techniques.
Encouraging Late Talking Children
Finding ways to encourage late-talking children to communicate helps us to build better relationships within the family and community. When a child misses developmental milestones in speech, or does not speak at all, alternative forms of communication help them show us their full potential.
Encouraging Learning in Babies and Toddlers
Infant stimulation activities and early intervention programs for babies and toddlers with disabilities have been inspired by research into child development for more than a quarter of a century. Parents, grandparents, extended family and friends can all help children reach their true potential.
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.
Equine Therapy for Communication Delays
Children who have delayed speech or articulation difficulties may benefit unexpectedly with hippotherapy - riding horses bareback with an OT or PT even though the main goals are physical: vestibular stimulation, building better balance responses or building and using their core strength.
Establishing Advocacy Priorities
Parents and advocacy organizations can establish advocacy priorities for children and teens with developmental disabilities, chronic health conditions or other special needs that maintain support, encouragement and opportunities throughout the lifespan of each individual.
Explaining a Cancer Diagnosis to Children
Explaining to a child that a parent, relative or close family friend has a serious or life threatening condition can be difficult for adults who may feel overwhelmed themselves. National and regional treatment centers may have resources for families to share with children, who have special needs.
Fainting Due to Vasovagal Syncope
Some teens faint due to vasovagal episodes: a drop in blood pressure and heart rate with a pooling of blood in the legs and lack of oxygen to the brain, usually caused by fear; anticipation of injury or pain; the sight of blood or needles; heat exposure; extended standing; straining or shock.
Faith, Religion, and Childhood Disabilities
Families of children with special needs have found wonderful support and encouragement from religious groups and their own communities of faith; children who grow up included in a faith community make and find lifelong friends and good company.
Family Games for Parties - Social and Educational
Families of children with special needs may worry about isolation and lack of social context in communication between their sons and daughters and cousins. Playing games at holiday parties, family visits or informal dinners gives us a common frame of reference and helps us get to know one another.
Family Happiness and Childhood Disability
Scientific research on the psychology of happiness has resulted in a great deal of knowledge that should apply to families of children with special needs. Instead, diagnosis of childhood disability most often leads to a description of 'worst case scenarios' and explanations of the stages of grief.
Family Relationships with a Complicated Diagnosis
Children rely on their immediate and extended families for care and nurture, social and cultural education, and a sense of who they are in the world. Those who have a complicated diagnosis may lose connections with extended and even immediate family members, increasing vulnerability due to isolation
Family Thanksgivings - Childhood Disabilities
Thanksgiving for families of children with disabilities is a lovely time to celebrate opportunities our sons and daughters find growing up appreciated and included in our neighborhoods and schools, especially if a chid has been injured, has a medical condition, or has a developmental disability.
Fathers of Children with Special Needs
Father to Father support groups are often helpful for dads, children with special needs, and the whole family
Feeding Therapy for Children
Feeding therapy is a big help for babies and young children who have sensory issues with food, motor planning problems related to mouthing, chewing or swallowing, or who are transitioning to taking nourishment by nursing or eating. Pleasant mealtime social interactions can be reflected in therapy.
Finding a Welcoming Congregation
Finding an inclusive faith community that is supportive of childhood disabilities and welcoming to families of children who have special needs should not be a rare event. However, some families feel that they no longer fit in their congregations, and others may even have been encouraged to leave.
Flu Outbreaks and Childhood Disabilities
Families of children with developmental disabilities, chronic health conditions or other special needs faced disproportionate challenges due to the effects of the 2009 Swine Flu (A1N1 Influenza) outbreak, in reducing risks, maintaining medications during illness and routines during school closures.
Food and Eating Issues - Childhood Disabilities
Babies, toddlers and young children who have difficulties with feeding, eating or oral-motor issues benefit from interventions and support from parents and professionals
Forgiving Family - Childhood Disabilities
Family members who express opinions or make comments that are hard for parents, siblings or children with disabilities to accept or forgive are sometimes great supporters and advocates later on
Fragile X Syndrome - Children with Special Needs
Fragile X Syndrome causes symptoms in children that are challenging for families, but there are ways you can support and accommodate your child´s special needs
Friendship, Inclusion and Childhood Disability
Adults can help kids with special needs and their mainstream peers initiate, build and maintain friendships.
Gardening with Children
Children with developmental delays, physical disabilities, chronic health conditions or other special needs may find peace, delight and motivation in gardening where they are not being measured, evaluated or trained to do better but still take responsibility for perfectly wonderful accomplishments.
Gardens and Autumnal Strolling
Children with disabilities and their families can benefit from a closer connection to the natural world where diversity is the rule and life is abundant.
Gifted and Talented Children - Special Needs
Resources for gifted and talented children who have special needs, disabilities or health conditions
Gifts for Children Who Have a Disability
When a baby, toddler or child is diagnosed with a disability, useful presents are often the same gift that you would already want to buy
Going to a Movie with a Child in a Wheelchair
First experiences in outings with a child who is new to using a wheelchair or walker can be learning experiences about human nature, building design, and community access
Good Health Habits and Food Safety
Practicing good health habits and being aware of food safety rules is important for all children, but even more for those with disabilities, chronic health conditions or reduced immune response. School staff, extended family and other caregivers may be unaware of health and safety issues.
Grandfathers and Great Uncles
Grandfathers and great uncles can make a world of difference in the lives of children with special needs, whether they are supporting dads, or taking on some of the responsibilities of fathers who are away from home
Grandmothers and Childhood Disability
Grandmothers fill an important role in the lives of all children and may be the best resources and advocates for a children with chronic health conditions, developmental disabilities, or other special needs; helping to maintain strong relationships in the family and to advocate for community support
Grandmothers of Children with Special Needs
Grandmotherss of children with a disability or chronic health condition often support and encourage the parents and siblings as well as their grandchild with special needs.
Grief - Comforting Children with Disabilities
Children with special needs who experience grief and loss in their lives benefit from the same consideration, support and acknowledgement as their mainstream peers
Halloween Costumes and Childhood Disability
Halloween can be a favorite holiday for children and teens with developmental disabilities, physical challenges, chronic health conditions or other special needs. Finding costume options and making plans weeks before the end of October can help our children enjoy the fun and fright of the night.
Halloween Safety Tips - Children with Disabilities
Halloween safety tips for children may not include specific information for families of children with disabilities but reduce the risk and increase the fun for all children who dress up, go trick-or-treating or attend inclusive Halloween parties in their communities.
Healthy Smiles and Dental Visits
The Winter 2008 Linkages Newsletter featured a focus topic on Oral Health for Children with Special Health Needs, with resource links for dental professionals outlining appropriate treatment, establishing better dental health habits, and preparing children and families for office visits and care
Holiday Breaks and Childhood Disabilities
Parents of children with disabilities may struggle more than their mainstream peers to plan activities, schedule play dates or find childcare when school is not in session during holidays. Changes in sleep schedules and differences in daily routines can be challenging for both parents and children.
Holiday Parties with Children with Disabilities
Holiday parties and gift giving add both stress and delight for families of children with disabilities, chronic health conditions, or developmental delays
Holiday Party Planning - Support Groups
Party and holiday event planning for families of children with disabilities, chronic health conditions, or developmental delays helps create great memories and traditions.
Holiday Play and Crafts
When children are visiting during holidays or vacation, play and craft activities can be wonderful in creating both Quality Time and Ordinary Life pursuits
Holiday Shopping for Children with Special Needs
Holiday shopping and gift giving for children with special needs may take a bit more ingenuity and planning than we or our friends and extended family expect.
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.
Home Access for Children in Wheelchairs
When a child is injured and needs a walker or wheelchair to help him get around in his own home, families discover how thoughtless design works to create challenges that the mobility equipment was invented to overcome.
Homeschooling Transition and Childhood Disability
Making a transition into homeschooling from public or private school can find parents questioning their instincts and ability to educate and encourage their own children´s interests and build back their self esteem
Housing Discrimination and Childhood Disabilities
Landlords and neighbors sometimes discriminate against families who have children with developmental disabilities, chronic health conditions, physical disabilities or other special needs. Whether parents take a stand against prejudice or walk away from it, haters can be motivators for advocacy.
Hurricane Katrina - Help the Families
Hurricane Katrina has caught up families of children with disabilities and health conditions in the devastation and they need our support to survive; Hurricane Rita may result in similar destruction along the Gulf coast of Texas.
Hurricane Katrina Disaster Relief - Children with Disabilities, Health Issues or other Special Needs
Disability support and advocacy organizations that are participating in rescue or relief operations, and seeking donations or support for victims of Hurricane Katrina
Inappropriate Comments in Inclusive Congregations
Raising a child with a developmental disability and chronic health condition has introduced me to a greater appreciation for welcoming congregations. They can unfortunately be sabotaged by certain conversations. Many of us avoid or choose not to respond to these topics when our children are present.
Inappropriate Remarks from Other Parents
Topics including prenatal diagnosis, adoption and foster care can be inappropriate when families of children with special needs are sharing their experiences in early intervention, advocacy or support groups. It is important to be considerate and kind when speaking with other families.
Inclusion in Brownies and Girl Scouts
Brownie and Girl Scout troops in your community may already include classmates and neighbors who have developmental disabilities like Down syndrome, chronic health conditions like insulin dependent diabetes, or other special needs. Information and support are available to Girl Scout leaders.
Interviewing Caregivers for Your Child or Teen
Parents of children with developmental disabilities, chronic health conditions, or other special needs may assume that any caregiver on an agency list has the training, experience, or basic skills to care for their son or daughter. Agency training may cover only filling out paperwork or timecards.
Intuition and Practical Matters
Parents and professionals should use practical information about children to plan supports and interventions
iPhone and iPod Touch Apps - Childhood Disability
Reports of iPhone and iPod Touch apps especially developed for children and adults with developmental disabilities or who use alternative communication options have inspired parents to start thinking about how the newest technologies might benefit our sons and daughters with childhood disabilities.
Planning the transition from preschool to kindergarten can include visiting available classrooms before summer break, considering an extra year of preschool in a transition or mainstream program, private kindergarten or homeschooling
Legg Perthes Disease and Osteochondritis
Announcement that Dancing with the Stars competitor Cameron Mathison - Ryan, on All My Children - had Legg Perthes disease as a child has raised awareness about Legg Perthes Disease, Osteochondritis, Childhood Hip Dysplasia, and Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis
Little League Challenger Division
The Little League baseball Challenger Division gives youth with physical and intellectual disabilities the opportunity to play on real teams with mainstream buddies who also love the game. Daily physical activity is encouraged by the national "Let's Move" campaign led by First Lady Michelle Obama.
Medical ID Bracelets for Children and Teens
Identification bracelets, tags and other jewelry are especially important for children and teens who have conditions like diabetes, autism, Down syndrome, asthma or seizures, speech impairments and/or developmental disabilities. There are varieties that suit different fashion needs and special needs
Melissa Riggio Made a Difference
Melissa Riggio´s birth on March 25, 1988 inspired the creation of the Special Needs section at Barnes & Noble bookstores in 1991. Her life in twenty years made more of a difference than many lives of 80. A battle with leukemia ended that extraordinary life on April 7, 2008.
Memorable Sundays - Childhood Congregations
Memories of positive interactions and inclusiveness within a family's faith community may be overwhelmed by a few unexpected negative comments or reactions, especially if we forget to share stories of the warmth and support offered by so many individuals.
Mental Wellness in Pregnancy and Motherhood
Women who are pregnant and new mothers of babies may experience anxiety, depression or even post traumatic stress symptoms with a difficult birth, due to prenatal diagnosis of medical challenges, or while adjusting to news of a birth injury, childhood disability, or developmental delay.
Military Families and Childhood Disabilities
There are many challenges faced by military families raising children with disabilities, chronic health conditions, or other special needs. Common problems are frequent moves; IEPs that do not transfer; lengthy or closed waiting lists; insurance coverage rules; and military-related difficulties.
Mothering Babies with Special Needs
Moms of children with special needs are mothers first, and it is often that fierce basic mother love that inspires advocacy and awareness efforts that positively change the world for our daughters and sons
Mothers Day Crafts - Childhood Disabilities
Teaching children what Mother's Day means and seeing them delight their moms with gifts and cards is why the holiday was invented. Many kids with disabilities enjoy making a macaroni necklace, one of a kind bracelet, decorated photograph, computer designed artwork, advocacy pin or thank you note.
MRSA Antibiotic Resistant Staph Infections
MRSA and ORSA are antibiotic-resistant staph infections that can quickly become life threatening when diagnosis or treatment is delayed. Children with certain health conditions and developmental disabilities may be more susceptible due to skin conditions, injury, accidents or hospitalizations.
Multiple Births and Childhood Disability
Discussion of the birth of octuplets to Nadya Suleman included criticism and negative views of the higher risk of developmental disability and other special needs in babies born via multiple birth. Families raising children with special needs become alarmed by hateful comments reflecting prejudice.
Neurofibromatosis is a set of 3 genetic disorders causing tumors to grow along the covering of nerves, also affecting bones and skin. Earliest symptoms in babies with the most common type of neurofibromatosis (NF1) are café au lait birthmarks. Two-thirds of individuals with NF1 are mildly affected.
New Holiday Traditions - Childhood Disability
Winter holiday traditions can be elaborate, significant and also merry for families who have children with developmental or physical disabilities, chronic health conditions, or other special needs.
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.
New Years Blues and Winter Doldrums
New Year Blues and winter depression can strike families unexpectedly, and may hit harder when parents of children with special needs lack support, understanding and encouragement during the first stressful weeks of the new year and dark months of winter
Nursery Rhymes and Political Correctness
Parents of chidren who reflect the diversity of our communities are working to raise awareness of cultural and personal sensitivities that their families experience. Sometimes this advocacy effort is condemned as unnecessary or ridiculous 'political correctness' by those who feel threatened by it
Orthotics and Shoe Inserts for Children
Families of children with cerebral palsy, Down syndrome or other conditions may be unfamiliar with the use of orthotic shoe inserts that help beginning walkers learn how to take their first steps and retrain older children and teens how to walk without causing lifelong discomfort and pain.
Outdoor Games for Children
Children with special needs often learn new games at summer picnics, parties and on vacation visiting relatives just like their mainstream brothers and sisters. It is delightful when we see any child teaching their cousins, neighbors and classmates games that are cooperative as well as competitive.
Papoose Board Restraints - Dental or Medical Uses
Use of restraint boards or passive restraints for medical or dental procedures can be frightening and traumatizing for patients with developmental disabilities and those who are unable to communicate due to injury or illness. It is insulting to Native Americans to refer to these as Papoose Boards.
Parent Humor and Childhood Disability
Are our lives funnier with witnesses? Families of children with special needs may find resilience and survival sometimes depend on our ability to find more humor in ordinary situations and family events, especially when stress and unexpected emergencies collide with expectations and traditions.
Parent Isolation and Childhood Disabilities
Mothers of children with disabilities can feel isolated due to insensitive comments and discrimination against their children; feelings of failing at being congenial 'ambassadors' - as well as the usual reasons mainstream moms feel they not living up to an ideal vision of perfect mothering. Whew!
Parenting Challenges - Behavior and Inclusion
Sometimes children with special needs develop behavior problems that are age appropriate misbehaviors. Mainstream parenting resources can help all of us.
Parenting Children with Mental Health Issues
Families raising children and teens with mental health issues face as many challenges from the lack of support, understanding and resources for their children and families as they do from the symptoms and complications of their child's mental health difficulties.
Patient Advocacy for Children in Hospitals
Families of children with special needs may be more aware of the specific risks during hospitalization that a son or daughter may experience than the most common dangers every child faces due to hospital mistakes, miscommunication or uninformed decisions. Companions and checklists reduce the risks.
Peanut and Food Allergies or Sensitivities
Children and teens with peanut allergies or other food sensitivities face great challenges at school, visiting friends and family, and even in their own homes.
Perceptions of New Mothers, Newly Diagnosed Babies
When my daughter was born, I was surprised that my role in the world seemed to shrink down to being only her mother. When her brother was born, that role seemed to shrink further - I was the mom of a child with Down syndrome. What happened to my history and experience before children?
Perfection and Gratitude - Childhood Disability
Children with special needs are often held to higher standards for reaching their potential or IEP goals than their mainstream peers who have more natural accommodations and support in regular classrooms, playgrounds and social situations.
Perfection, Gift Giving and Winter Activities
Gift giving dilemmas and winter activities can make holidays complicated for families who want to enjoy all the traditions of the season and also enjoy those perfect quiet moments we all treasure
Pollutants in Umbilical Cord Blood, Breast Milk
Although pollutants have been found in umbilical-cord blood, contaminants in breast milk, PCBs and even Teflon in human blood, babies are born healthy and strong, and those with special needs born today have a better chance for a good quality of life and richness of experience.
Pompe’s Disease information, resources and support available online.
Positive Psychology and Childhood Disability
Positive Psychology suggests ways of supporting and enhancing mental wellness in children and adults coping with increasing daily stress or anxiety. Human rights activist Norman Kunc explains Abraham Maslow's well-researched theory of the hierarchy of needs as it relates to our families.
Preparing for Emergencies with Children
Families of children with special needs prepare for every day emergencies as well as using new plans from government agencies and first responders who consider individuals with disabilities and chronic health conditions
Children who need medications that are too costly for families to afford can seek out programs at specific drug manufacturers that offer many prescriptions at reduced prices through local pharmacies and at company websites
Proloquo2Go for iPod Touch and iPhone
The Proloquo2Go assistive communication software application for the iPod Touch and iPhone is an affordable iTunes app for children and teens with hearing or speech impairments, communication challenges, neurological diseases, and physical or developmental disabilities.
Raising A Sensory Smart Child - Review
Raising a Sensory Smart Child - Helping Your Child with Sensory Integration Issues, by Lindsey Biel and Nancy Peske, forward by Temple Grandin. The strategies and advice offered through this book make it a treasure for parents and professionals who care for children with sensory integration issues.
Raising Awareness About Disabilities
Many parents of newly diagnosed children who decide to raise awareness and encourage opportunities for their child and others who share the same diagnosis find that many friends, coworkers, neighbors and others already have personal experience and knowledge of childhood disabilities.
Rare Conditions - Research and Support
Information and support for families affected by rare genetic conditions or diseases in children may be difficult to find without access to nationwide or worldwide resources, advocates and researchers. NORD in the USA and the UK's Rare Chromosome Disorder Support Group are well-regarded by families
Reflux - Pediatric GERD, Infant GER and EER
Babies and young children with reflux problems can be more comfortable and happy using simple techniques that reduce spitting up and the discomforts that accompany infant reflux and pediatric GERD
Respectful language means using "People First" word order and avoiding use of the "R-word" or its variations. But being aware of the damage that hate language and bullying causes means that we can no longer be bystanders when others use derogatory words and comments to tease vulnerable children.
Review - Parenting Children With Health Issues
Parenting Children With Health Issues: Essential Tools, Tips, and Tactics for Raising Kids With Chronic Illness, Medical Conditions, and Special Healthcare Needs by Foster W. Cline and Lisa Greene
Safety, Risk and Childhood Disability
Children with developmental disabilities or physical challenges are slightly more at risk for wandering off, being unaware of danger, and difficulty avoiding accidents. Mainstream children also have low awareness of danger and physical inability to protect themselves due to developmental stages.
Sarah Palin and Down Syndrome Awareness
The announcement of Sarah Palin as John McCain´s running mate in the 2008 Presidential election brought her infant son with Down syndrome into the spotlight in the USA and around the world.
Scaphocephaly and Craniosynostosis
Scaphocephaly, the most common type of craniosynostosis, is most often diagnosed in newborns who have ridged, missing or quickly closing 'soft spots' or fontanelles, or unusually shaped skulls growing too slowly. Immediate medical attention by a pediatric neurologist or surgeon may be required.
School Violence and Children with Special Needs
The terrible events at Virginia Tech and news coverage that includes reminders of previous school violence episodes will cause deep anxiety and traumatic stress for children and their families throughout the country.
Self Employment for Teens with Disabilities
Making Self-Employment Work for People with Disabilities, by Cary Griffin and David Hammis, is a timely resource for families, counselors, job coaches, transition specialists, and individuals with developmental disabilities, physical challenges, chronic health conditions or other special needs.
Sensory Integration and Children
Sensory integration difficulties can cause children to avoid certain activities and respond inappropriately to everyday situations. Some children may be unusually uncomfortable or troubled by food textures, hairbrushing, visual stimulation, loud sounds, scratchy clothing, or other distractions.
Service Dog Etiquette
There are certain rules of etiquette for interacting with service dog handlers and their animals that are critical for people with disabilities as well as being recommended by trainers for the well-being of the dogs.
Severe Weather Events and Childhood Disabilities
Preparing for severe weather events, experiencing them, and recovering afterward may be more difficult and traumatic for children with special needs, but families who plan for everyday emergencies are more likely to demonstrate resilience and encourage it in children.
Sharing a Prenatal or Newborn Diagnosis
Pregnant women who have received a prenatal diagnosis of Trisomy 21 and mothers of newborns who have Down syndrome may wait to share that news with family and friends until they find resources to share that provide up to date and accurate information about their child's potential and opportunities.
Shoe Shopping and Children with Special Needs
Shopping for shoes, wearing and caring for them can be a challenge with any child. Down syndrome adds to the difficulty due to some physical differences common in children with DS as well as sensory issues and developmental delays that are also challenging for other children with special needs.
Sibling Support and Rivalry - Childhood Disability
The sibling of a child with special needs grows up with a different perspective on their family and the world, whether as a rival or an advocate for their sister or brother, and often, both. Sibling support and rivalry is never one-sided.
Sickle Cell Disease in Children
Sickle Cell Disease is a genetic anomaly that is more common in families with certain ethnic backgrounds. Research, information and support for children and families affected by Sickle Cell has never been greater than it is today, but more needs to be done to understand and treat this disease.
Single Parenting - Childhood Disabilities
Some of the most energetic and motivated advocates for children with disabilities are single parents who find support and encouragement from other parents in their children's inclusive classrooms and disability groups that provide the small accommodations needed for full participation.
Social Matches and Teens with Disabilities
Teens with developmental disabilities, chronic health conditions or other special needs should have opportunities to get together with peers to find friendship or romance without undue pressure or expectations from parents, staff or caregivers to form a convenient match with a particular person.
Social Security Compassionate Allowances
The Social Security Administration added new Compassionate Allowance medical conditions in December 2012 to the list of those serious enough to obviously meet disability standards, allowing for expedited processing based on minimal objective medical information from children and adult applicants.
Soothing Children's Fears
Soothing children´s fears during and after stressful or scary experiences can soften immediate and long term effects of distress
Special Needs in the News
There is always something new going on in research, education, issues and developments about children with special needs and their families
Speech Therapy for Children
There are many reasons children benefit from speech therapy during childhood and even infancy. Playing games and practicing therapy strategies at home can help encourage late-talkers and those with unclear speech or confused word order as well as being fun for their siblings and mainstream peers.
Speech, Feeding Therapy, and Early Intervention
Speech therapy and feeding therapy are available to many children in early intervention programs for delayed communication or articulation difficulties; you may find information and specialists who are just the ticket for your child!
Spring Craft Ideas
Easter crafts and Easter art projects for children can ease the stress of holiday events and expectations
Starting a Parent Support Group
Starting a parent support group can lead to better opportunities for children with special needs and their families; joining a mainstream parent group can help your child grow up with their peers in inclusive classrooms
State and National Park Disability Passes
Families of children with disabilities may qualify for a free or reduced entrance charges to state and national parks with disability passes available well in advance of a park visit. Check first for information on documentation, identification and other requirements to qualify for entrance passes.
Strange Families and Childhood Disabilities
Studies of families who include a child with a disability show them to be fairly ordinary, even though inspirational stories may describe them as extraordinary. There is anecdotal evidence that many families raising children with multiple disabilities or chronic health concerns are somewhat strange.
Strollers, Walkers and Wheelchairs for Children
Finding strollers, walkers and wheelchairs for children with mobility problems is a challenge for families whose children depend on the freedom and opportunity to get around on their own that assistive equipment may provide
Summer Activities, Traditions and Escapes
There are creative and fun ways to create new traditions in families of children with developmental disabilities, chronic health condtions, or other special needs. Activities perfect for a summer day may be traditional events and pastimes or casual escapes from the ordinary. Have fun out there!
Supported Housing Options and Caregiver Choices
Families of teens with disabilities transitioning to adulthood have many questions about housing options and caregiver support for their sons and daughters throughout adulthood. Some questions could best be answered by adults with disabilities who have had experience hiring and managing caregivers.
Surgery and Children with Diabetes
Children with type one diabetes who are scheduled for surgery have special needs before hosptial admittance, during surgery, recovery, and in aftercare that have been thoughtfully predicted by pediatric endocrinologists, surgeons and anesthesiologists at many children´s hospitals and medical centers
Surgery Waiting Rooms and Single Moms
Single mothers of children with developmental disabilities and chronic health conditions may have a very shallow support system when a son or daughter is hospitalized or needs surgery.
Talking to Your Daughter About Her Period
Daughters with developmental disabilities may have even more difficulties than their mainstream peers expressing their questions and concerns about the physical changes that occur at puberty. Planning and preparing for a daughter's first period can help her become more adept and confident.
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.
Teaching Children About Money
Teaching children with developmental disabilities about money, spending and saving can help them build confidence in their abilities to control their lives and achieve the goals they have set for themselves.
Teaching Home Addresses to Children
Teaching children their home address can be a life-saving lesson in emergency situations. When travelling or moving to a new location, knowing a current or previous home address helps first responders to discover your child´s identity, to contact you for medical information, and get them home again.
Teaching Math Skills
Teaching math skills to children with special needs can happen during everyday activities like shopping, cooking, and playing games
Teaching Reading to Teens and Young Adults
Teens and young adults with developmental disabilities or other special needs may show signs of reading readiness and be highly motivated to learn to read long after they are given opportunities in the classroom, community or at home. Reluctant readers can find books with age appropriate characters.
Teaching Relatives To Be Caregivers
Teaching family members to care for your while who is partially disabled by developmental delays, a chronic health condition, or other special needs may be more complicated than training a babysitter or other caregiver. Some relatives may be less likely to follow your expertise, rules or wishes.
Teaching Your Child to Plan Meals and Cook
Children with disabilities can learn to plan meals and cook at home. Learning to follow or create their own favorite recipes is a great way to build a healthy lifestyle.
Teddy Bear Hospital Events for Children
Communities may offer Teddy Bear Hospital events for kindergarteners, where nursing and medical students have been trained to communicate with and soothe children's fears about hospitalization or medical procedures. Teddy bear picnics may include first aid clinics during children's hospital tours.
Teens with Disabilities - Transition to Adulthood
Children with special needs often have the same transition issues, instincts and preferences as their mainstream peers, and benefit from programs that address these as well as their individual needs
Tenderness and Childhood Disabilities
The diversity in development of children born with the same diagnosis may be even greater than the differences among mainstream children. Differences in early development do not predict the true potential of an individual. Every opportunity for support and encouragement should be given each child.
Terror Bombings in London
Our deepest sympathies go out to those involved in or affected by the terrible tragedies in London July 7th, 2005
Terrorist Attacks and Children
Children may develop anxiety or even post traumatic stress syndrome and have special needs for support and accommodations after terrorist attacks
Thanksgiving and Children with Disabilities
Children with disabilities celebrate Thanksgiving with the same traditions and expectations as their mainstream siblings and cousins. Families already make accommodations for many individuals who have no diagnosis but have histories of behavioral, personality or culinary idiosyncrasies.
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 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.
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.
Tom Cruise, Postpartum Depression and ADD
Most parents do not promote medications for ADD or depression, but support other families' choices, like Brooke Shields and Matt Lauer in response to Tom Cruise in the 'war of words' and Courteney Cox explaining her depression following the birth of her daughter Coco
Tracheotomy and Tracheostomy Resources
Medical interventions like tracheotomy, also called tracheostomy, can be unsettling to families of children who need them. Finding information and a supportive community in the early days following the procedure is much easier through the internet.
Transition Planning for Teens with Disabilities
Issues to consider when supporting teens transitioning from special education in high school to post-secondary education or adult programs are often the same shared by their mainstream peers and siblings. Goals include improving quality of life and encouraging responsibility and better decisions.
Transition to Preschool from Early Intervention
Help in understand evaluations, planning, options and resources involved in transition from early intervention or home-based services to preschool can be found through local early intervention centers, school districts, parent groups and advocacy organizations
Translations about Childhood Disabilities
The beauty of multicultural communities is how we benefit from the diversity of families, traditions and ways of viewing the world. Providing information about childhood disabilities in many languages helps educate families, translators, and whole communities where our children grow and thrive.
Traumatic Birth and Motherhood
Women whose babies experience a traumatic birth can be challenged by symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder for months and even years later. Although up to ten thousand women a year are seriously affected, most are unaware of resources, information and support available for them to manage it.
Vacation Travel, Weekend Getaways and Children
Weekend getaways and family vacations with children call for flexibility and planning support or accommodations for their special needs
Wearing Glasses in Early Childhood
Helping a child to learn to wear glasses often requires patience, imagination, and good advice. Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent, delay or cure what can develop into serious vision problems for babies and toddlers who are prescribed glasses.
Winter Challenges for Children with Special Needs
Autumn and Winter months can be especially stressful for children with special needs who are transitioning to new school programs, and dealing with changes in their schedules and activities, clothing issues, or coping with weather and holiday events
Winter Holiday Adventures - Childhood Disability
Our family holiday adventures may more closely resemble a television high drama or situation comedy than heartwarming holiday special. Sometimes the greatest challenges we face have less to do with a child's diagnosis or special needs than it does with our own childhood relationships.
Winter Storm Preparations for Families
In recent years, severe winter weather has become a serious problem for everyone in our community, especially families of children with special needs. Even with the best planning, recovery may take a long time when weather events cause adverse effects on our communities and homes.
Yoga and Childhood Disabilities
Yoga classes may be beneficial for children, but should be taught by certified and responsible instructors, like all physically demanding activities for children and especially for those who have developmental disabilities, motor planning delays, physical challenges, or chronic health conditions.
Young Adults with Down Syndrome Inspire New Moms
The success and ambition of teens and young adults with disabilities is inspiring to mothers of babies and young children with the same diagnosis. It sometimes takes that reality check to believe that our sons and daughters will be capable of much more than we imagine when dealing with 'experts'.
Your Child is Too Big for a Stroller
Media personalities should acknowledge the situation of children with invisible disabilities. The animosity toward moms whose children are considered too big to ride in strollers stems from what were meant to be humorous depictions of kids in silly poses being pushed in strollers too small for them.
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