August 31 2008 Children with Special Needs Newsletter
Amazon Kindle Wireless Reading Device - Tech Review
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. Drawbacks are expense and the limitations of early models of electronic devices.
Visit specialneedschildren.bellaonline.com for more reviews, information, resources and support for families raising children with special needs.
Our thoughts and prayers are with families affected by the terrible Hurricane Gustav and others who have suffered due to inclement weather in recent weeks.
Winter Storm Preparations for Families
Universal Design for Learning -
Access to General Education Curriculum
Teaching Math Skills
Recess Skills for Children with Special Needs
People First Language Sensitivity
Signing, Reading and Spelling
Religious Support and Encouragement
for Children with Special Needs
Transition to Preschool from Early Intervention
Music Education and Music Therapy
Childhood Seizures and Epilepsy
IDEA - Education Law
August was notable for many amazing performances at the Beijing Olympic games, including those by Michael Phelps. He and his mom Deborah shared their thoughts about ADHD in several interviews, including this Q and A that appeared in Good Housekeeping before the Olympic games:
and a YouTube video recommended by a reader:
Also in August, the Democratic National Convention in Denver featured references to Barack Obama's support of families of children with autism and other developmental disabilities through healthcare initiatives. Read more about it at:
Maria Shriver, in the Los Angeles Times, reports that Dreamworks will include a public service announcement about using hate language when the 'Tropic Thunder' DVD goes on sale.
The indifference and the hostility that families of children with developmental disabilities have observed from people in media who are generally thought to be associated with liberal causes has caused some parents to question whether there is an understanding among most democrats that hate language used in reference to individuals with intellectual disabilities is significant.
We hope that advocates in both parties who have personal experience with this issue will educate those who are arrogantly insisting this is a 'free speech issue' or that individuals with disabilities and their families 'just don't get' that they should not feel stung or assaulted by the language, characterization, or other references in the movie, because it was supposedly only meant to target successful actors.
Coming in September:
Sharing the motto: One World One Dream,
September 6-17 Beijing will host the 2008 Paralympics.
For more information see:
Republican National Convention:
Minneapolis-Saint Paul, September 1-4, 2008
Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska has been selected as Republican John McCain’s vice-presidential running mate. Governor Palin gave birth April 18 to a darling baby son, Trig Paxson Van Palin, who has Down syndrome. Todd and Sarah Palin knew three months before their son’s birth that he would have Down syndrome. He is their fifth child, joining four wonderful older siblings: lovely, accomplished sisters Piper, Willow, Bristol, and big brother Track, scheduled to be deployed to Iraq on 9/11/08.
Read more about the family at:
National organizations like the NDSS and NDSC have guidelines for writers, editors and broadcasters on proper terminology, references and facts about Down syndrome and individuals who have DS. For more information, visit:
The NDSC sent this e-brief of interest to families raising children with Down syndrome or other developmental disabilities:
Received from the National Down Syndrome Congress
NDSC E-Brief 8.29.08
This is the time of year we field lots of questions regarding IEP's, IDEA and inclusion.
The Down Syndrome Association of Central Texas, along with the Austin Independent School District, has put together a really terrific manual titled, Working Together to Educate and Include Students with Down Syndrome.
The manual features background materials on Down syndrome and inclusion, as well as specific information about reading, mathematics, communication, sensory integration dysfunction, and behavior.
The manual also tackles friendships and involvement in extracurricular activities, and provides additional resources educators can access for more information.
While some of the information is specific to Texas, you're bound to find things in this packet that will be valuable to educators and parents in your area.
You can currently download it from the Yahoo group for DS parent organization leaders, DSALF, by logging in to Yahoo groups, and joining DSALF
A new PBS show, Toddling Toward Reading, outlines the critical importance of language development and the crucial years before kindergarten. One show segment focuses on Avery, a preschooler who has Down syndrome, and how her language skills have improved in an inclusion model preschool.
Toddling Toward Reading, in many markets, will be paired with A Chance to Read, another episode in the Reading Rockets: Launching Young Readers series that focuses on literacy programs for students with various physical or learning challenges. These two episodes will air on PBS stations across the country beginning in September (local listings vary).
Dakota's Pride, a DVD produced by NDSC parent Girard Sagmiller, is also being shown on some PBS stations around the country.
Wanting to support families (and given the current Hollywood movie environment), Girard developed a positive documentary entitled Dakota's Pride - One Fathers Search for the Truth on Down syndrome. With his personal insight, he hopes to reach out to other families with encouragement and support after a diagnosis of Down syndrome. The 29 minute version will air on some PBS stations this fall.
Check with your local PBS station to see if they are airing both Toddling Toward Reading and Dakota's Pride. You can also order the 45 minute DVD version of Dakota's Pride on the Gifted Learning Project website. Use discount code XXG5LVHD and save 25%.
To participate in free, fun online discussions, this site has a community forum all about Special Needs Children located here -
I hope to hear from you sometime soon, either in the forum or in response to this email message. I thrive on your feedback!
Have fun passing this message along to family and friends, because we all love free knowledge!
Pamela Wilson, Special Needs Children Editor
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