Page 1

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For Young Adults

Social Behaviors for Independent Living

Useful Tools: Life Skills Apps


Music to bond with your child

Get Noticed,Get Promoted in our...

Resource Directory Serving the Special Needs Community

inside this issue... Jul Aug 2013 Features Moms Share 17 Real Valerie Strohl Shares about creating


opportunities for independence

Making Skills 24 Decision For Young Adults do 32 Appropriate-Where you draw the line Teaching Social Behaviors for Independent Living

42 Teaching Independent Play

A Win-Win for Children & Parents

Music 50 Using to Bond with your child and help them

32 58

reach developmental goals

psn community news

You Know that every state has 10 anDid“Independent Living Center” (ILC) that can assist families with transition planning.

11 Noteworthy! Caroline’s Cart has won people over Tampa’s Champions for Children Conscious Art: A Gallery for Artists with Special Needs

it out! 12 check Products You Can Use & Win! real life


the Nurse 22 Ask Social Interaction Tips Therapist Advice 23 Crying in Therapy Moments 61 Proud Sharing “I Can” Attitudes

Ask the NURSE

Cover photo courtesy of Adelina Hay-Sowell JUL/JAUG 2013



inside this issue... your life


28 29 30

Sharing real finds Daily aides for busy moms

Organization Tips Life Skills Organization

Mommy Time Outs Sequoia National Park

special focus

34 36 38

36 61


Tiny Light: Noah

Shares his shining lightah

Useful Tools: Life Skills Apps

Independent & Daily Living Special Resources

health & fitness Health 44 Super The Big 3 Super Summer Foods for kids

46 48

Roping in the Fun Using Fitness Ropes

Therapies for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

fun & functional in every issue

46 4

6 7 8 9 54


psn contributors from the heart contest/giveaways facebook shares psn apps & more

JUL/AUG 2013

56 58

Power of Play


ASL Tips Learn to sign a few

Fun Ways to Walk!

“Foodie” fun for kids: Ice Cream Sandwiches Summer Social Activites

Share this Magazine!

Enjoy Any Issue, Anytime, Anywhere!

psn contributors making a difference magazine




Chantai Meme Hieneman

Susan Parziale

Eric Chessen

Barrie Silberberg

Ph.D. in Special Education

Organizing Consultant

M.S., YCS, Exercise Physiologist




Chantai/Judy Jaszcz Corporate Sponsors & Ad Sales Manager

Curt Mellott MidWest & Lower Eastern Robin Newman

Douglas Haddad

Christina Bartlett

LCSW, PC Clinical Social worker, Adjunct Professor

Ph.D. (“Dr. Doug”) Author, Full-time Contributing Writer

Registered Dietitian

Chynna Tanara Laird Author, Psychology student, Freelance writer

Nadine Timpanaro Schools, Camps & Residences CIRCULATION & PR


Sean Thompson

Cynthia Falardeau Executive Director of the Education Foundation of IRC

Kami Evans

Ernst VanBergeijk

Barbara Sher

Certified Special Needs Children’s Yoga Instructor


Pediatric Occupational Therapist & Author

“Life is for service.” ~ Fred Rodgers Sarah Cook

Parenting Special Needs Magazine is available bi-monthly and distributed digitally for free. www. Editorial Submission are welcome. We reserve the right to edit, reject, or comment editorially on all submitted material. We can not be held responsible for the return of any submitted materials. Articles and advertisements in Parenting Special Needs Magazine do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the publisher nor does the publisher assume responsibility for statements made by our advertisers or editorial contributors. Acceptance of advertising by Parenting Special Needs does not constitute an endorsement of products, services or information. Parenting Special Needs Magazine, is © 2013 Parenting Special Needs, LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without permission is prohibited.

Photographer Cookwire photography

PUBLISHED BY: Parenting Special Needs ,LLC 518 S. Valencia Circle S.W. Vero Beach, FL 32968



JUL/AUG 2013

editorial director from the heart

Walking towards Independence... /UTSIDERIGHTNOW TEMPERATURESAREINTHES9EP SUMMERIS here and it will get hotter yet before summer is always does. It is also the time that folks take vacations with the family, kids (hopefully) are off for summer break from school, and for a few months “fun and playâ€? might be the order of the day. 4HATSNOTTOSAYEVERYONEGETSTOHAVETWOMONTHSOFFUN MOSTOFUSSTILLHAVETOWORKANDMAKESURETHERESFOODON the table. Even so, summertime is a great time to celebrate; ITSAGREATTIMETOBEALIVE7E ASA.ATION GETTOCELEBRATE Independence Day (Happy 237 America, by the way) during SUMMER)NDEPENDENCEWASNTANDISNT EASY)TTOOKAGREAT deal of hard work, dedication, and sacriďŹ ce among many, many other things. Ultimately, it was worth it. Independence happens to be the theme of our July/August issue. Who better KNOWSTHEHARDWORK DEDICATION ANDSACRIlCEFOROURCHILDRENS independence than the parents, loved-ones, and care-givers of those with special needs? It is one of the common threads of this community that continues to make it a most special group of people. This issue has many great tips and advice on helping our children towards independence. We hope you enjoy this issue...

Chantai Snellgrove Founder and Editorial Director

Coming Next Issue BACK TO SCHOOL: Education, Technology, & Learning Games

JUL/AUG 2013



about our cover... magazine

Great Giveaways Log on to parenting special click on CONTESTS and enter to WIN these great products.

Ryan Carl Wasser is this issue’s cover star. He is 10 and a half and loves to go to the beach and play with his electronic games, he also enjoys going out on the town. Ryan has 2 siblings: Jordan Lee Sowell, and Sinjon Sowell. He also has tons of cousins who are like his siblings. Ryan has Autism/ADHD and when he grows up Ryan would like to own his own cotton candy store, be an astronaut or own a pet shop that has a lot of baby pigs. Ryan’s proud moment was an Honorable mention in science fair this year. In addition, he has been in two fashion shows, sold several art pieces at Georgians with Disabilities Art Show, and this year had the highest reading average in his class. He also made A/B honor roll.



Look for this symbol on pages then enter to WIN at PSN Contests STRIDER™ No-Pedal Balance Bikes from Ableplay & STRIDER

Cool Cards by Fun and Function

Pet Massager by Fun and Function

Stay in touch in order to W in!

Cover photo courtesy of Adelina Hay-Sowell


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Q &A


ADVICE NEEDED: My son is 2 years old and developmentally delayed. He has recently started showing interest in helping with putting his clothes away and I was wondering if there was any way I can help him learn from this small “chore?” I had the idea of putting pictures as well as names of what is in each drawer of his dresser.Thank you in advance.


Many great ideas were shared like: Pictures helped tremendously for my son. I also teach pre-k special ed. and use pictures. You can also make a small visual schedule with pictures to help him learn routines. ~Allison Riley Providing visual supports with the written word can help promote literacy, improve categorization, expand vocabulary, and help with association. You can take the photos yourself, or, use a program such as Boardmaker. ~Rebecca Ives Eisenberg This is a great idea. We did this with our son and went one step further. We emptied one drawer and called it his “get ready” drawer. In the evening he would help us pick his clothes for the next day. In the morning, my son had everything he needed to get ready for the next day. It really helped create independence and a sense of pride for my son. ~Linda Vaughan

Wonderful “WACKY” Words or Phrases

“cryropractor”= chiropractor

My son, Seely, is non-verbal and autistic. He adores water, and it is one of his fixations. This trip to a cousin’s birthday party at a water park was his heaven. Submitted by

Lizzy Sievers Post pics to our wall... and you just may be selected as our SPECIAL FAN! on our Fan page. Just go to where it says “share” then go to photo upload.

Submitted by Brandy Wojcik

Join oin Us on Fa Fac Facebook! Face ace ceb ebo book! boo oo ! JUL/AUG 2013






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Living Center” (ILC) that can assist families with transition planning, information and referral, peer support and independent living skills trainings?

post your



Click here >>

Go to your local ILC at

Source: Respect Ability Law Center Photo: © Ed Yourdon /

Be social share!


news psn community New Specialized Cart!


coming soon!

Tampa’s Champions for Children

Cart has won people over

Caroline’s Cart has already been honored, most notably with the prestigious 2013 Da Vinci Award for Transportation and Mobility. Easter Seals is so enthusiastic about the cart that it will be the first product emblazoned with the organization’s iconic lily logo. Technibilt (member of the Wanzl Group), the world’s largest producer of grocery carts, will start production on a line of Caroline’s Carts on August 1, 2013. Caroline’s Cart is a state-of-the-art product that will provide families of special-needs children new freedom of mobility nationwide. Hopefully, every store offers at least one. Visit

Champions for Children has received a significant accreditation and national endorsement through the Council on Accreditation (COA), an independent, New York-based not-forprofit organization. With this accreditation, the agency will continue delivering the highest A Gallery of Artists with Special Needs standards of care and expertise. As an accredited agency, the COA has deemed Champions for Children’s services are well coordinated, culturally Art competent, evidencebased, outcomes-oriented Submissions Anna’s Angels, a North Carolina-based non-profit that supports and provided by a Down syndrome research at Duke Children’s Hospital, is pleased skilled and supported to announce its newest and most exciting event. Conscious Art workforce. Champions for will be held on November 9 from 6:30-10:30 pm at the Bechtler Museum Children provides assistance of Modern Art at Levine Center for the Arts (420 South Tryon Street, Charto thousands of families lotte). Director Michelle Pfeiffer started Anna’s Angels with her husband, throughout the Tampa Bay area Andrew Merrills, following the birth of their second daughter, Anna, who using education, prevention has Down syndrome. techniques and treatment This year’s gala featured television’s Glee star, Lauren Potter, who has Down programs and has since 1977. syndrome. Visit: www.championsforchilFor more information, art submissions, event sponsorship, or donating to the auction, please contact Anna’s Angels at


JUL/AUG 2013

Conscious Art: A Gallery for Artists with Special Needs Set for Nov.



check it out! special products Some of these Special Products are available for Parenting Special Needs Contest Winners. To enter, click on CONTESTS on our site and register.

Products you can use and win! Buddy Bikes


ccording to a study at the University of Michigan, “Less than 20 percent of kids with autism—and just 10 percent of those with Down syndrome—learn to ride a bike.” However, experts concur that riding a bike provides excellent benefits for children with disabilities. Bikes inspire kids to exercise, improve their gross motor skills, and spend more time outdoors. But, the social/emotional aspects that foster independence and engender a sense of self-empowerment cannot be underestimated.

Do you have a product you would like to share with our readers?

Two companies with outstanding options are Buddy Bike, LLC and Strider Sports International. The Buddy Bike is an alternative tandem bicycle where the child sits in front of the adult. The child’s seat is lower so the adult can easily see over his head. The pedals are synced and both riders have brakes. This is particularly beneficial for children who may fall behind in riding or who may change direction or ride off course without warning. The children are secure on the bike with supervision, yet feel the independence of the wind on their face and the control of the movements.

What’s “APP”ening? Helpful Apps

Please send us an email describing your product. We are happy to review and test your product.

Heads Up! by Warner Bros.

Heads Up App is a speech pathologist’s dream. As played on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, it’s similar to the popular game, Hedbanz, but, for the iPhone/iPad. Place the phone, screen facing out, on your forehead and whoever you are playing with must describe the word that is on the screen. Use this App in social group settings as well as for individual therapy. 18 decks of cards to choose from. Price: $0.99

submit@ Please make sure to put Product Review in email subject line.



JUL/AUG 2013

STRIDER™ No-Pedal Balance Bikes

W in it!

Give the gift of speech.


trider Sports International, developer of the patented STRIDER™ No-Pedal Balance Bikes, builds pedal-less bikes that can assist children with disabilities develop balance, coordination and other valuable developmental skills. The concept behind the no-pedal bike is that children can focus on balancing their bodies and steering without the added distraction of pedals. The security of being able to push with their legs and put them down whenever they want, provides the support many kids need to master the basics of biking.

Ryan McFarland, Founder and CEO of Strider Sports International, Inc. puts it this way, “Our main mission is to give all children the chance to experience the joy of riding a bike.” Emily Kachorek, cyclist and biking advocate wrote in Cycling Illustrated magazine: “I ride because I love to feel the wind on my face and listen to the birds and bugs I ride because going downhill … makes me feel wild and free. I ride because it allows me to play with the boys. I ride because I can go alone. I ride because even though I have ridden the route 1000 times, I never know what is around the next bend.” For more play ideas and toys for children with special needs go to This website was created by the National Lekotek Center to encourage children of all abilities to experiences the benefits of play. Find us on Facebook! Reviewed by Ellen Metrick, Director of Industry Relations & Partnerships, National Lekotek Center;

for Children with Special Needs Slow Tunes by By Brian Stokes SlowTunes is a simple

TalkRocket Go

music player that lets you slow down your favorite songs without changing the pitch. You can add songs from your music library and play them at 3 speeds: normal, slower and slowest. Perfect for the child who loves to sing, but, might want to sing at their own pace. Price $1.99

Build a bridge to communication with this award-winning app for kids with speech challenges.

check it out! special products Race Car and Butterfly Chews

Pet Massagers

W in it!

Calm tension and wake up tired muscles with our vibrating Pet Massagers. Stimulating and fun, just press the button for a vigorous massage. Power off for a rolling massage. Choose Tickles the Turtle or Lady Buzz. A great fidget toy! Double A batteries not included. Ages 3+. Price: $8.99

Race Car and Butterfly Chews are a fun, socially appropriate way to calm and focus, and an alternative for kids who chew on their clothing, pencils, or other objects! These fun, non-edible shapes are great for kids who crave oral stimulation and have sensory processing needs. Each has multi-textured surfaces for a varied sensory experience. The shapes can also be placed on top of a pencil, on our stems, a necklace or key chain for chewable jewelry. To top it all off, Cool Chews are bendable and make for awesome fidgets. Made in the USA. BPA, phthalate and latex free. Adult supervision required. Age 3+. Price: $9.99

W in it! Enter to WIN at PSN Contests

3-in-1 Magical Apparel Innovative and incredibly realistic! These vocational dressing vests can double as weighted vests and are super cool, fun and functional! Each vest includes large and small buttons, zipper, buckle, hook-andloop closure strips, tie and snap closures. Weights can be safely added to pockets inside the vest to calm and provide great sensory input for children, as the weight functions as a reassuring deep hug. Heavy-duty, cotton/poly blend. One size fits all with comfortable elastic panels. Weights sold separately. Styles may vary slightly. Ages 3-8. Price: $29.99

Cool Cards Triple the fun of expanding language skills with three Cool Card decks: Opposites, Associations, and Part-to-Whole. Each deck has 52 illustrated cards, and game variations to challenge children at every level. Even non-readers can identify these kid-friendly pictures, and all the words are functional and age-appropriate. Play to expand vocabulary, develop relationship awareness, enhance reasoning skills, and improve visual analysis and organization. Perfect for family play or in language therapy groups. Supports children with language or developmental delays, learning disabilities, and autism. For 1-4 players. Age 3+ . Price: $29.99



JUL/AUG 2013

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Š 2011 011 Fo Fox xB Broa r dcasting roadcast ttiing C Com ompa pan p ny

Lauren Potter - American Actress As an actress, Lauren has appeared on the hit show, Glee, but she is also an advisor to the White House for People with Intellectual Disabilities and appointed by President Obama. Lauren was born with Down Syndrome.

no limits!

Support Different-Ability Awareness

Valerie Strohl Life’s lessons

Shares about creating opportunities for independence


alerie Strohl contributed to this issue’s “Real Moms Share” section. We asked her to give us an insight into herself, as well as into her life raising her daughter, Sarah, who has Down Syndrome. We asked her a series of questions; some serious and some “just for fun”. See what she said....

Photos Courtesy Valerie Strohl

JUL/AUG 2013



PARENTING SPECIAL NEEDS: Tell us a little bit about yourself and family. VALERIE STROHL: My husband, Mike, and I have been married for 22 years. We have three daughters, Claire (19), Rachel (16) and Sarah (14). We also have a Dog – Dallas, and a Cat - Lila. PSN: Tell us a little bit more about Sarah’s diagnosis and personality. VS: Sarah has Down syndrome. She is spunky and her greatest strength has always been her social skills. She loves to be with her friends (which doesn’t happen enough) and really is a good cook. I mean that. PSN: Share with us something YOU, personally, had to overcome by being a mother to a special needs child? VS: Control and pride. Sarah is my youngest and before she was born, I thought I had it all together as a mom. I was proud of what I had accomplished in our family and our lives. In fact, I actually thought I was responsible for all this family greatness. Suddenly, I have this child who every doctor tells me is going to struggle to fit in, and accomplish goals, and my whole world collapsed for a while. Sarah taught me to give up my need for control and the desire for a family that looked, performed, and acted a certain way. Actually, as a parent, it was quite liberating to let go of both control and pride, although difficult at the time. I’m pretty sure that without Sarah I would have been one of those overbearing mothers. PSN: What kind of life do you envision for your child’s future? VS: I envision she will graduate from high school with her class, go to college, get a job, get married and live a very meaningful life. Our family is very close, so I hope we all will live within close proximity to one another so Sarah can continue to enjoy time with her sisters and their families. PSN: What have been some of your biggest obstacles/challenges raising Sarah? VS: Trusting my instincts when I’m not comfortable with the status quo for my daughter. I often take a different path than what the school’s



JUL/AUG 2013

or governmental agencies would recommend. For example, Sarah went to a private preschool and did not go to developmental preschool. I homeschooled Sarah this year for Special Education, but she went to school for her inclusion classes. I’m not a big fan of traditional institutional therapy; instead I try to find ways for her to learn in a more natural environment at home, or through life experiences. I always get nervous when I do this, but, to be honest, this is how Sarah’s Kitchen Creations came into existence. I needed to create a new opportunity for Sarah because she did not like school. PSN: What has school/education been like for your child? VS: This is a hard question for me to answer because there have been good years and bad years. This year was a really good year because I really mixed it up and tried some new ideas, and the school was really supportive of this change and helped make it successful. I have always had a good relationship with my schools, teachers and administration and I have worked hard at fostering a positive relationship with them. In fact, I think it is just as important as your child’s IEP. The kids have been wonderful for the most

part. Most of Sarah’s friends do not have special needs and I attribute this to the attitude of our principal and how this attitude is carried down through the school. At Sarah’s school, all kids are special, not just kids with special needs, and that is equality and it is a beautiful thing to witness. PSN: How did you come up with the idea of a cooking show? VS: Honestly, the idea was born out of a solution to a really difficult problem in Sarah’s education plan. In 7th grade, I had to make the difficult decision to home school my daughter because she would not engage in her resource classes. So, she went to school in the mornings for classes with her typical peers and I hired a special education teacher for two one-hour sessions a week. I taught her the other three days in the afternoon. I’m not a teacher, so I found activities she could learn from, thinking this would be more appeasing to her. So, we started cooking. And that is when I realized how many skill sets she could learn in the process. Math, sequencing, fractions, crossing midline – you name it. And the more we did it, the more I

Sarah and Valerie working together on recipes

thought “this can apply to anything you do with your child”. I decided that the cooking show was the most pleasing format to show other parents how to teach your child independence in their natural environment. I had no idea it would be this popular. I actually thought it was just another crazy idea I had. PSN: What is something your child does that you’ve come to appreciate as a gift? VS: All of her euphemisms. They have now become an actual love language in our family. Probably not the best thing to do, but, we all can talk “Sarah” and it brings us a lot of joy. PSN: Do you have a proud moment you would like to share with us? VS: Actually, there are a lot of moments where I am proud of my daughter, but, they all seem to focus around her courage. Sarah will pretty much try anything and for that I am truly proud. I know she is afraid sometimes, but, she will still try. Horseback riding, singing in her school choir, taping the cooking show – all of these activities caused her some fear, but, she attempted them anyway and triumphed over her fear. I really have a lot of respect for her for doing this. PSN: What do you know now that you wished you had known earlier? VS: That this whole disability thing is really not that big of a deal. It’s different, but that is it. And a “go-to” person for additional help and insight. Finally, our doctors are always a great resource –sharing the latest reports and learnings about CCHS and guiding us through the decision making process.

Photo Courtesy Valerie Strohl

JUL/AUG 2013



PSN: Are there any special resources you have found that have helped you on your journey? (local or web) VS: Other parents – young and old. They are a wealth of knowledge. Plus, I will watch things they do with their kids, that maybe I’m afraid to do, and this will give me the courage to try. That is an incredible resource. PSN: In conclusion, is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers that was not covered in this list of questions? VS: I have a saying, “You can’t be equal if you have to be special”. I think as a community, we need to be careful how we present ourselves to the rest of society. If you can figure it out on your own, do it. If you need help, take it. But, don’t assume just because you have a child with a disability that you have to do it the way the “powers-that-be” present it to you. Mix it up. Try things. You might be surprised to learn that your ideas are better than what exists out there today!Y PSN: Valerie, thank you so much for sharing with us your experiences and the lessons you have learned raising Sarah.

Just for

fun about Valerie

What do you do to find time for you? Yoga Mommy timeout: Dream vacation? Beach with my husband Favorite treat? Fruit Your one makeup essential? Lip-gloss! Do you drink Coffee or Tea? Both! Are you a dog or cat person? I am dog person!

United Media Now provides a quality cooking show for the disability community starring Valerie Strohl’s 14-yr old daughter, Sarah. It is their desire to promote independence in the kitchen, entice businesses to utilize more universal design options and bring people without disabilities into our fold. Visit



JUL/AUG 2013

Favorite wacky word or phrase from Valerie? “Holy Mamma” She says this whenever she does something that is difficult for her. We were hiking through the mountains in California this summer and I think she said it about one hundred times. She made it though.

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Michael Phelps - Olympic Athlete

Some rights ights reserved by An An Honorable ble German

Known as the most decorated Olympic Athlete in history (22 medals), as well as the greatest swimmer of all time, Michael has been diagnosed with ADHD, yet has been able to maintain razor-sharp focus in his training and competitions.

no limits!

Support Different-Ability Awareness

real life advice

Social Interaction



My child is not interactive with other children. What can I do?

Ask the NURSE



A child with special needs requires additional skill development. Social skills are not always learned in the same manner as other children. They often do not pick these up on their own. One way to do this is to focus on special needs activities with your child. Focus on activities that develop social and emotional skills. Involve other children and family members. These activities not only improve their skills, but also, are fun and can be enjoyed by everyone. Here are some examples of activities that help develop and strengthen muscles which, in turn, improve skills. Fine Motor Skills: drawing and coloring, manipulating play dough, folding, scrunching paper, cutting shapes with paper and scissors, picking up small objects. Gross Motor Skills: kicking and throwing a ball, dancing, and pretend play, riding tri-cycles, balancing, swinging, climbing and sliding on playground equipment. Speech/Language Skills: blowing bubbles, licking ice cream, creating sentence strings, singing silly songs, tongue twisters.

Focus on activities that develop social and emotional skills. Involve other children and family members.

Just playing with your child and having fun can go a long way in both teaching and having a great time. Y

DISCLAIMER: The contents of the Ask the Nurse column (“Column”) such as text, medical information, graphics, images and any and all other material contained in the column (“Content”) are for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your (or your child’s) physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. NEVER DISREGARD PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE OR DELAY IN SEEKING CARE BECAUSE OF SOMETHING YOU (OR YOUR CHILD) HAVE READ IN ANY MEDICAL LITERATURE!



JUL/AUG 2013

Have a question for “Ask the Nurse”?

Send an email to: Please make sure to put “Ask the Nurse” in email subject line.

reallife therapy tips

Crying in Therapy by Natan Gendelman


or many parents, family members, and therapists, crying can be a big obstacle to overcome when teaching and working with a young child. While it may be difficult to manage this sort of behavior, it is important to understand why a child is upset as well as the things you can do in order to see his way of thinking. In my opinion, the key to handling this issue is to try to figure out where the child is coming from and be willing to view things from his perspective. In doing so, you will be able to tell the difference between when he is simply protesting something new, or if he is hurt and needs you to stop and assist him in his function.

Seeing from a child’s perspective For this reason, it’s good to take a step back and observe your child. We often believe that since we are older and “wiser,” our primary goal is to teach a child the things that we know and understand. However, every child is different, and each has his own dreams, wishes and fears. In this respect, our first response should be to learn as much from him as he learns from us. The ability to understand a child becomes really important especially when you are working with him to improve his function. In response to unfamiliar situations or tasks, a child will often cry because he does not want to do them. This makes it important to know the difference between crying as a response to new experiences, or in response to actual injury. If he is really hurt, you will need to stop and find out what is happening. However, if this is not the case it is important to persist and continue with treatment. Why is this the case, you may ask? If a child is only protesting, explaining things to him will be much more effective than stopping treatment every time he begins to cry. If you stop, he will automatically assume that crying will be the solution to stop you from making him do certain things. It is a self-defense mechanism. This is why you need to explain what, how and why he needs to do something in order for him to be able to understand. In this way, he will come to comprehend what is being taught and you will be able to continue with his treatment.

The effect of this approach To demonstrate how effective an approach this is, I’ll tell you about one of my experiences with a young girl that had cerebral palsy. As I worked with her, I made sure to explain every function and its purpose to her for each new

activity we did together. During the girl’s treatment, her mother told me, “You are the first therapist that she didn’t cry with.” My question to her was: did anyone talk to the girl and explain what she was supposed to do? When the mom said no, it was easy to understand the differences she saw in her child’s learning and behavior. Whenever I encounter these situations, I ask myself: why do we have to assume things about a child and try to make him follow them, when we can simply ask a child what’s wrong and then explain what we are going to do? If a child is not willing to do the things he should, then the approach to take is to explain, follow up, and repeat it again and again and again. This is how a child is able to learn and eventually follow. When we do everything for a child however, instead of simply assisting him as he learns to do things for himself, he starts to assume that everything can be done for him. If this were the case, then why should he have to follow instruction and strive to accomplish more? Without being given a reason for doing things, a child will continue to protest and cry whenever he comes across new situations. So my final advice to parents, therapists and caregivers alike is this: communicate with your child. Explain why he has to perform certain functions and show him how to do them. It is important to be patient, persistent and understanding; for you are the one who will teach him what’s wrong, what’s right, what’s true and what’s false. As you help to introduce him to the world, remember that your child is bright, and it’s up to you to support and guide him as he continues along the path of development. Y Natan Gendelman is licensed as a physical therapist in Russia and Israel. After moving to Canada, he was certified as a kinesiologist and osteopathy manual practitioner. Natan has more than 20 years of experience providing rehabilitation and treatment for conditions such as cerebral palsy, autism, Down syndrome, pediatric stroke and acquired brain injury. He is the founder and director of Health in Motion Rehabilitation, a Toronto-based clinic whose main objective is to teach their patients the independence necessary for success in their daily lives. Blog:

JUL/AUG 2013






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by Calvin and Tricia Luker


hen students with disabilities become young adults, they and their parents often ask whether and how decision-making practices should change. After all, the student and family, and the school, medical, vocational and service providers have been using the transition process for several years to help prepare the student for complete community inclusion. Now that the student is nearing, or has attained, the age of majority, how should decision making responsibilities be addressed? This article answers that question. 24


JUL/AUG 2013


K_\kiXej`k`fegifZ\jj`j[\j`^e\[kf\eXYc\k_\ jkl[\ekkfXZ_`\m\k_\]fccfn`e^flkZfd\j% V?Xm\XafY V9\XZfejld\i V?Xm\X_fd\ V?Xm\c\`jli\XZk`m`k`\j A key component to each of these goals is providing the student with the skills and supports necessary to make good choices. Indeed, if the transition planning principles of self determination and person centered planning have been followed throughout the development of the transition plan, the student, his or her parents and the participating professionals all should have had many opportunities to help the student develop the ability to make choices. As a young adult, the process continues, even as the decisions become more complicated. The preferred means of insuring the young adult’s safety and security at home, at school, at work, or at leisure, is to be sure that strong decision making skills and supports are created and remain in place. Key to this strategy is insuring that the young adult makes every possible necessary decision himself or herself. As with all students, students with disabilities need to learn real world skills, and need to have the chance to make mistakes and to learn from them. Many transition and vocational education programs focus on building community living skills, like counting money, finding a job, getting to and from work, performing assorted tasks at work, buying food and budgeting money. These are vital skills to community inclusion, but they are decision-making skills as well. Self determination focuses on developing skills and supports that preserve and enhance, rather than limit, the young adult’s ability to exercise choice in all facets of his or her daily life. Many options exist which advance self determination, including teaching self advocacy skills, and teaching the young adult how to name patient advocates for medical

V?Xm\]i`\e[j_`gj V9\XeXZk`m\Z`k`q\e V?Xm\]`eXeZ`Xcj\Zli`kp V?Xm\X_\Xck_pc`]\jkpc\ decision making or how to grant powers of attorney for complex financial needs. Self determination teaches young adults to use the same decision making resources that are available to and used by us all, including professional consultations, the support and feedback of family and friends, access to materials which explain choices in language and formats we can understand, and guidance from appropriate advocacy or support agencies. It is easy to understand why legal choice issues can arise once a young adult begins the move to community independence. Often members of the general community do not respect either the right or the ability of the young adult who has disabilities to make his or her own decisions. They presume that because the person has a disability, they therefore lack the legal capacity to make their own choices. Self-advocacy and direct support from the family or advocacy agencies can educate the community member to accept both the young adults’ right to choose and the wisdom of the choice. Some medical service providers, again fearing out of ignorance that the young adult cannot exercise “informed consent,” will try to insist that a family member or case manager obtain a guardian or other representative to consent on behalf of the young adult before providing services. Again, strong selfadvocacy, along with support from parents, family, other service providers and advocacy agencies can educate the balky medical provider to the adult’s rights and abilities. These strategies also are proving to be successful in other situations. Even with strong family and community support in place, there are instances when a young adult

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either has a hard time understanding the available choices in a specific situation, such as whether or not to have surgery, or in a particular area of life skills, like medical decisions or money management situations. All states have laws which allow adults to designate other adults to act as their patient advocates in some or all medical matters, or to give other adults permission to make medical, economic and other choices for them by using powers of attorney. These options are in wide use throughout the nation by many adults -- whether or not they have disabilities – who want to preserve their legal right to make choices for themselves, and at the same time delegate that power to others of their own choosing, without involving courts. The most restrictive decision making options involve the imposition of court ordered guardianships or conservatorships. Guardianships control decisions related to the person, like where to live, medical decisions and the like, while conservatorships control decisions related to the person’s property, like wages, bills, property ownership and the like. Guardianships and conservatorships can take partial or total control over the person’s decision making and property rights. It is important to remember that these devices actually strip the young adult of the legal right to make some or all choices for himself or herself, and in the State’s name give that legal right to another adult, who might or might not even know the young adult. Once the courts take away some or all of the young adult’s decision making rights, it becomes next to impossible to have them restored later, whether or not the person named as the guardian remains alive and able to serve throughout the life of the young adult. Guardianships and conservatorships have been overemphasized throughout the nation for many years because it has been common to presume that people who have disabilities must therefore be legally incompetent. Many states use public or corporate guardians when family members are not available or refuse to serve as guardians. This exposes the young adult to a whole different arena of indifference, mistreatment and other potentially serious harm. Transition services stress decision making as a central part of the process of daily life in the community, and as part of the means by which young adults have been able to move from the home or facility into the community. Hopefully the self-determination process and the availability of strong community supports will further reduce the need for guardianships or conservatorships. Guardianships and conservatorships are the option of last resort, and should be used only if and when all other decision making skills and supports have completely failed. Y Reprinted with permission from© 2012, Calvin and Tricia Luker

your life help



for more details see pg. 38

Palm-held peeler:

So appealing!

What a great way to have our children help us out in the kitchen. This neat little gadget slides right onto your finger, tucks into your palm, and peels anything you can get your hand on. It even has a convenient potato “eyer” at the tip. It is dishwasher safe in the top rack, made of stainless steel and soft rubber, and can make a big difference in the kitchen. Although the Chef’N peeler isn’t designed exclusively for kids, it seems to give them much more control than a typical vegetable peeler. Plus, it comes with a guard for the blade.

Frozen Nutrition We found this frozen nutrition treat at the Family Café Conference in Orlando, Fl. This is a simple, yet highly effective, take on America’s favorite dessert…ice cream. Loaded with essential nutrition, it comes in 4 yummy flavors: Homemade Vanilla, Milk Chocolate, Chocolate Fudge, and Strawberry. Every member of the family can benefit from Thrive. It tastes great while delivering proper nutritional intake. It also adds the benefits of Probiotics. There was no “metallic” taste to it, no aftertaste, it doesn’t coat your tongue, and doesn’t feel “heavy” in your mouth. Our family loves it


Reuse it! Available at

Easy being Green The Little Green Pouch is a reusable food pouch that can be filled, sealed, washed and reused. It is dishwasher and freezer safe so repeated usage is built into the design. The reusable part of it is great for the wallet as well as for the “green-minded” consumer in all of us. The pouch is great for anything from applesauce, yogurt, and fruit smoothies to your favorite puree. Yes, these pouches are simple to fill and easy to use. Kid friendly and squeezable with none of the mess.



JUL/AUG 2013


organized your life




by Susan Parziale


he Life Skills programs at school are a blessing. My daughter participates in a showering program, tooth brushing program, shopping at the supermarket program, making the bed program, getting dressed program and the list goes on and on. We take these things for granted, but, our kids need to learn these essential skills to make it in the real world so teaching for them now is very important. I am a firm believer that what they are teaching in school must be carried into the home with a schedule – yes, I know, the extra work that requires; the schedule, the pictures, the remembering to take it with you – oh my! How does one stay organized with all of these schedules? Take the showering program for instance. My daughter uses the iPad for communication and other teachings, but, you cannot take an iPad into the shower! So one must use the good ole standby of some laminated paper with Velcro. Not sure who invented Velcro but I bow down to them. Her school created a picture of the human body and colored the arms in orange, legs in blue, stomach in yellow, etc. While my daughter is in the shower, I give her


HE BED MAKING T the “puff” with soap, show her the card and point to the various colors to wash – awesome! Food shopping is the same thing. I do not give her the entire list but rather show her essentials we need: Cheerios, grapes, apples, bread – again more awesome! Don’t get me wrong, the iPad is a huge lifesaver but grabbing a laminated piece of paper with Velcro-ed photos is just faster for some of the life skills programs. Back in the day, when she used PEC’s as her communication, I kept everything in a binder and took it with me everywhere. Now that she is using the iPad, and only needing PEC’s for some life skills programs, I leave them where I use them. The showering card is in the shower stall, the food shopping card is in the car and the tooth brushing card is above the sink and so on. As parents, we are always rushing around to get somewhere. Taking the time to teach life skills can be challenging for our special needs children but are essential for their independence. Y Susan Parziale is a certified Professional Organizer. She is also a mother to 8 year old daughter with Autism. Visit

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Mommy’s Timeout : Take a time out and use V isualization Meditation to relax. Picture yourself here amongst the Giant Sequoias. Feel the majesty. Take a couple of deep breaths and begin to let go of any stress. Giant Sequoias along the Crescent Meadow Trail. Photos courtesy of Š bumeister1via

breathing space your life

APPROPRIATE – WHERE DO YOU DRAW THE LINE: Teaching Social Behaviors for Independent Living by Cynthia Carr Falardeau


s I sit on the beach, I reflect on our son’s success. I start to fall into a transcendental moment of pride. I even feel cocky as I watch him run up to hotel guests and introduce himself. Then in a flash it happens; he reaches forward and hugs a pretty girl in a skimpy bikini! Like a well-trained triathlete, I spring from my chase lounge and run towards my son; my heart is pounding. I race to provide interference. Determined, I try to interrupt an awkward social situation. My finish line goal is to create understanding. Just as I am within arm’s reach I hear the young girl exclaim, “Awww…. You are so cute!” She laughs and gives our son a big hug. I begin to stammer. She looks at me like, “Lady….what’s your problem?” Later that day I relate to my husband how “we” need to teach our “tween-aged” son it’s not OK to hug every young girl in a skimpy bikini. You can only imagine the grief I took from him, and every male friend, and family member, for “over reacting.” They ask, “since when is it a crime to hug beautiful surfer girls (wink-wink)? I am advised to just “relax.” However, I contend there is a fine line between cute

26 32


NOV?DEC2013 2012 JUL/AUG

and creepy. At almost 11 years of age, our son is five feet tall and full of early pubescent energy. Yes, I am proud that he no longer paces in a pattern reciting phrases while twisting his alternate limb. The days of pulling him out of the haze from a selfinduced stim session are less frequent. However, the challenge now is how do I help him towards a life of independence? Can I insure a future that will not involve the authorities trying to resolve a misunderstanding? Am I just a dramatic Mama Bear with control issues? Perhaps I need to drop my helicopter behaviors and allow him to fly on his own. I think there is a balance for both of us. I do believe that thanks to a committed partnership between school and family units, we have managed to raise a confident young boy who has made lots of friends. In fact, he thinks he is a bit of a rock star. So to some extent I think we have done a few things right. I have two lists to share with you. The first details what we have found to be successful from Pre-K through 3rd grade and the second is the strategies we continue to use to teach him social skills for an independent future.

Pre-K through 3rd grade: 1. Take advantage of Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten: It’s free and it opens your child up to a wide variety of services. I will admit it took a year and a half until he actually enjoyed school. It also took that time until I was not carrying him into the classroom. However, I still contend that our son would not be entering 4th grade on a general education track without investing this time. 2. Find one friend: We were play-group drop outs. The noise and action of several children was too much for our son. We found it worked best to plan activities with one other child. We were able to select the setting and it forced them to interact. 3. Take advantage of after school care: This may not be possible for all children with special needs. However, if it is an option, I believe it is the cheapest and most efficient social therapy available. Twenty-five bucks a week allows our son to play and interact with other children (some with exceptionalities and others without). He comes home dirty and full of funny lessons without my hovering. 4. Seek events that promote understanding: We are blessed to have a non-profit in our backyard called, “Surfers for Autism.” The annual seaside events allow us the fellowship of being with other families like ours. The “non-judgment zone” vibe enables all parents to relax. The volunteers are amazing. They skillfully help our children enjoy the therapeutic benefits of being one with the surf and the sea. 5. Be a pioneer – Seek inclusion: This one is hard for me. There has only been one time it was not successful. So, based on the statistics of probability – you gotta try this one! I have found that most service providers want to find a way to include your child. It takes some leg work and networking on your behalf. I have taken the time to talk to coordinators in advance to make sure they could accommodate our son’s differences. We have also just “let the cards fall” and registered him. I am not a nail-bitter, but have considered it the first few times I did this. It’s based on that old adage… .”It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than to seek permission.” It’s a bit risky. But like I said, it’s only been a disaster once!

Current Strategies: 1. Use Social Stories to Make a Point: Our son is really into Legos. We use Lego figurines to act out social situations. At first he thinks it’s hilarious. But then he gets it. It provides us the opportunity to talk about different scenarios. 2. Roll Play: We recreate social situations. Again, our son thinks we are really funny. Then we talk about the best ways to make friends. The conversation about connecting with other kids is a big motivator – so he takes it pretty seriously. Plus the concept of “cause and effect” is higher-level thinking. 3. Seek Feedback: This may be hard, but, it’s a great way to gage how your child is doing in a “real world” setting. Ask the organizers or even parents you trust for feedback. It gives insight into how you can provide activities to facilitate those skills. 4. Talk to Your Child: This may seem like a “nobrainer”, but, you might be surprised by what you hear. For example, our son was nervous about a field trip. Usually one of us had attended as a chaperone. However, our work schedules did not allow this recently. The conversation identified what was making him nervous. This enabled us to reach out to teachers and fellow parents for support.

5. Remember it is a Journey – not a race! Although this statement may seem overused – it’s a great reminder that most learning is not linear. There are jumps and gaps. In fact, there can be great “dry spells.” Reflecting in the moment helps you celebrate your child’s success. It also enables you to laugh at the mishaps. There are lessons in every step – you just have to be open. You also need to trust that ultimately your child will succeed (with or without you)! Y JUL/AUG 2013





Tiny Light

Swallowing DIsorder & Cerebral Palsy Story written by Karis Sengarai

Images Captured by Teagan Photography

w w w. t h e t i n y l i g h t . c o m

iny Light Noah, to most people, would look like a normal, small, three year old boy with lots of energy. He spends his time swimming, dancing and playing with his dog, Java, his brother, Nick, and sister, Julia. But, he has already gone through so much in such a short time.


Noah was born healthy at 30 weeks gestation, weighing 3lbs, 7oz. However, his condition quickly took a turn for the worse as doctors discovered a major bleed on the left side of his brain when he was just eight days old. This bleed caused him to have severe brain damage and a buildup of fluid on his brain. His parents were told his prognosis was not good. Soon afterward, Noah was diagnosed with a swallowing disorder and a mild form of cerebral palsy. But this Tiny Light has worked his whole life to overcome these challenges. He has been in intervention therapies since he was just four months old and he just keeps trying. Noah has worked very hard to learn to crawl and walk, and recently he has been trying to overcome his struggles with speech. More health issues could arise for Tiny Light Noah as he gets older. Recently, doctors have been checking on a heart murmur, but, Noah’s mom thinks his future is full of opportunities and excitement.“Noah has had so many issues and hurdles in his short life, it’s hard for me to remember them all. But one thing is certain, he is such a fighter. He never gives up and neither will we.”

specialfocus “ The essence of independence is to be able to do something for one’s self.” ~Maria Montessori

Shining a light on Tiny Light Noah Useful Tools: Life Skills Apps Special Daily Living Resources

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© flickingerbrad via Flickr

by Sami Rahman & Cristen Reat


s parents of children with special needs, we are always looking for ways to use technology and apps to help our children in their daily lives. Here is a list of apps for the iPad and, in some cases, the Android platform, that we find particularly useful when it comes to addressing life skills. Story Creator

Attainment’s Dollar & Cents A

by Innovative Mobile Apps Features we love about this free app are the ability to add text, audio, photos and video. TThe app also has a custom drawing tool built in as well as the option to have individual words highlighted. Great for creating social stories or sequencing events. Price at time of review: FREE IOS:

b Attainment Company by TThis is a helpful app for teaching and p practicing functional math activities involving m money. It is targeted to adolescents and adults w with developmental disabilities, including autism. We like the realistic graphics and ageneutral content. Price at time of review: $39.99 IOS:


Full review:

Full review:

My Health. My Choice. My Responsibility.

First Then Visual Schedule F

by AbleLink Technologies, Inc. This app is designed to be a self-paced curriculum focused on developing healthy habits and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It contains 8 different topics that are targeted specifically to be cognitively accessible for all types of users. BridgingApps likes that 3 additional health tools are available online including downloadable forms called My Medical Appointment, Health Information Form, and My Health. These forms help prepare the user for doctors’ appointments. Price at time of review: $9.99 IOS: Full review:

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NOV?DEC2013 2012 JUL/AUG

b Good Karma Applications, Inc by EExcellent visual schedule with options for aadding text, audio, photos from camera roll o or Google images. Create different schedules for school, home, play, work or any kind of environment. Each schedule can be emailed for sharing and print as a pdf. Interface is simple and can be used with adults. Price at time of review: $9.99 IOS:

Android: details?id=com.apps.gk.firstthen&feature=search_result# ?t=W251bGwsMSwxLDEsImNvbS5hcHBzLmdrLmZpcnN0 dGhlbiJd

Full review:

Model Me Going Places 2

Time Timer by Time Timer LLC

by Model Me Kids, LLC This photo slideshow can be used with children of preschool age through early high school. The slideshow depicts children of early elementary age through middle school age demonstrating appropriate behavior in social situations. Each of the six social situations is narrated by a child, who speaks in the present tense, about what s/he is doing. Price at time of review: FREE IOS:

This app is a great tool for anyone (especially visual learners) who could benefit from a visual representation of the abstract concept of increments of time. Price at time of review: $9.99 IOS:


Full review:

All About Me Storybook by I Get It, LLC TThis app has a nice interface with compartmentalized areas for storing personal information; helpful for those who are working on memorizing basic information. For those who are nonverbal, it can be a lifesaver by knowing how to share this information, such as an address or phone number if one gets lost in the community. It is “customizable” and you can add photos, audio and text. Price at time of review: $2.99 IOS:

Full review:

M Pictures Talk – Video My M Modeling Tool by Grembe Inc. T is a useful video modeling tool that does This nnot come preloaded with social stories, but w where you can create your own content for your uuser. Some ways caregivers and teachers helping with transition planning have used My Pictures Talk has been to sequence a photo/video album of sequencing, or what will happen next. It can help reduce anxiety by creating a picture or video slideshow of different activities, such as getting a haircut, doctor’s appointment, etc. Price at time of review: $4.99 IOS:

Full review:


Full review:

Kids Flashcard Maker by INKids K T is an app to create customized flashcards, This b but, it is unique in that you can back up the ccontent using iCloud and email your flashcards tto another user. It is helpful for teaching vvocabulary, helping users learn the name of coworkers, classmates, or family members, place names, etc. Price at time of review: $4.99 IOS:

Android: details?

Full review:

iDress for Weather by Pebro Productions One of BridgingApps’ favorite apps for selfhelp skills. It has a simple 2-page interface appropriate for children and adults. It helps translate visual information into appropriate action. It gives a visual image of the weather outside along with an image of clothing choices for that type of weather. Completely customizable to include user’s own photos of their clothing. Price at time of review: $1.99 IOS:

Full review:

If you are interested in searching for more apps, creating your own list of apps and sharing them, please go to BridgingApps, a program of Easter Seals Greater Houston, is a community of parents, therapists, doctors, and teachers who share information about using mobile devices (iPad, iPhone, and Android) with people who have special needs. Y Sami Rahman and Cristen Reat are co-founders of Both are parents who found success when using a mobile device with their child with special needs. JUL/AUG 2013






Thrive Ice Cream Bringing Nutrition to those who Need it Most!


hrive Ice Cream (Thrive) was formulated to emulate the nutrition of leading liquid nutritional supplements, however, Thrive delivers it in a delicious ice cream form. Now you can use ice cream, the most beloved food in the USA, for all ages, and it can be used as a carrier of nutrition. Just 6oz of Thrive matches the nutritional delivery of 8oz of the most popular liquid nutritional supplements, but, Thrive also includes Probiotics. Unmet nutritional needs are common for your special needs or picky-eater child, and Thrive can help solve that problem by delivering all the nutrition of a complete meal in a delicious ice cream form. Thrive offers a new and serious solution to consumption difďŹ culties: s,IQUIDSUPPLEMENTSHAVESIGNIlCANT REJECTIONDUETOTASTETEXTURE


! W E

s0EOPLEWITHSWALLOWINGDIFlCULTIES AVOIDLIQUIDS s/THERSGROWTIREDOFCONSUMINGONLY LIQUIDNUTRITIONALSUPPLEMENTS Thrive offers a new and delicious alternative that the whole family will enjoy; escpecially those that need it most. Thrive has as much protein as an egg, as much ďŹ ber as a bowl of oatmeal, as much potassium as a banana, and as much calcium as a glass of milk. Enjoy a delicious and nutritious ice cream treat today. Try one of four avors at select retailers around the country including: Meijer, Giant, Hy-Vee, Rally’s, SaveMart, Food City and DeCA. Print your own coupons at .

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Thrive Ice Cream is helping to feed those who most need it, by delivering complete, balanced nutrition in a single serve ice cream cup. 4HRIVE invites you to treat yourself to better health by contacting them at; Socially:;; or visit their Site:






-/6).'&/27!2$ 4/7!2$3).$%0%.$%.#% 1020 Clinton Street, Suite 210 Napa, CA 94559 TEL: 707-259-1125 FAX: 610-521-6959

.%79/2+).34)454%/& 4%#(./,/'96/#!4)/.!, ).$%0%.$%.#%02/'2!- 300 Carleton Avenue Central Islip, NY 11722 TEL: 631-348-3139 FAX: 631.348.3437

A nonproďŹ t organization founded in 1998 by a group of parents, Moving Forward is a unique residential program where young adults with disabilities learn to enjoy productive, fulďŹ lling and healthy lives within a caring and safe community made up of fellow residents, trained staff members, parents and various representatives of volunteer organizations and businesses in the greater Napa, California community.

(!")4!4&/2(5-!.)49 270 Peachtree St. NW suite 1300 Atlanta, GA 30303 TEL: 800-422-4828

Students may enter the vocational program, a three-year Comprehensive Transition and Post-secondary program that focuses on academics, independent living, social skills development, and vocational exploration and training, or the pre-degree program, which guides students through regular NYIT academic majors

%30%#)!,.%%$3 11704 Lackland Industrial Drive St. Louis, MO 63146 TEL: 877-664-4565 Fax: 800-664-4534

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).$%0%.$%.4,)6).' #%.4%23


2323 S. Shepherd Houston, TX 77019 TEL: 713-520.-0232 FAX: 713-520-5785


4(%!-%2)#!.!33/#)!4)/. /&0%/0,%7)4($)3!"),)4)%3 2013 H Street, NW, 5th Floor Washington, DC 20006 TEL: 800-840-8844 FAX: 866-536-4461

"2)$'%-%$)#!,0)6/4'2)0 4%,%3#/0).'0/24!",% '2!""!2

Promoting equal opportunity, economic power, independent living and political participation for people with disabilities. This is a national nonprofit cross-disability member organization dedicated to ensuring economic self-sufficiency and political empowerment for Americans with disabilities.

Educational Services & Assistive

!",%$!4! 8630 Fenton Street, Suite 930 Silver Spring, MD 20910. Phone: 800-227-0216 or 301-608-8998. Fax: 301-608-8958.


Join our Resource Directory contact



11724 Willake Street Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670 TEL: 562-282-0244 FAX: 310-305-1718 Columbia Medical provides quality assistive products and innovative daily living aids for individuals with special needs. Dr. Caan realized the lack of quality products to assist children with multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy and spinal cord injuries so he launched a series of products to aid in toileting, bathing and mobility, including the Therapedic™ Positioning Restraint System. Today, Columbia Medical has grown to become the premier provider of quality innovative products that enhance the lives of individuals with disabilities.

Centers for independent living (CILs) are private, nonprofit corporations that provide services to maximize the independence of individuals with disabilities and the accessibility of the communities they live in. Centers are funded in part by the Department of Education, Rehabilitation Services Administration, Independent Living Branch, to provide, among other things, several core services


#/,5-")!-%$)#!, 3/,54)/.3&/2$!),9,)6).'

AbleData provides objective information on assistive technology products and rehabilitation equipment available from domestic and international sources to consumers, organizations, professionals, and caregivers within the U.S. This free service is funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research of the U.S. Department of Education.

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2136 Ford Parkway #170 Saint Paul, MN 55116-1863 TEL: 877-746-7940 Our patented designs, which require no tools or professional installation, offer our consumer a seemingly unlimited number of great looking options for safety at home and when traveling.

$!22%,,'79.. &/5.$!4)/. 4850 SW 52nd St. Davie, FL 33314 TEL: 954-792-7223 FAX: 954-581-7223 Unlike many other wheelchair donation programs and related charities, the Darrell Gwynn Foundation specializes in high-tech, customized wheelchairs. While standard manual wheelchairs are valued at approximately $350, the wheelchairs we provide are valued anywhere from $6,000 to $40,000 depending on the medical needs of the recipient. There is no other wheelchair donation program in the country that

4(%!2# 1825 K Street, NW, Suite 1200, Washington, DC 20006 TEL: 202-534-3700 / 800-433-5255 FAX: 202-534-3731 The Arc promotes and protects the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and actively supports their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes

"//+3(!2% 480 South California Ave. Palo Alto , CA 94306 TEL: 650-352-0198 FAX: 650-475-1066 BookshareÂŽ provides the world’s largest online library of accessible reading materials for people with print disabilities. Individuals can sign up for membership and access the library on their own. Organizations that serve individuals with print disabilities (schools, libraries, community centers, etc.) can sign up and provide access to their students or clients. A Bookshare membership offers unlimited access to accessible books, textbooks, newspapers and magazines. Additionally, free access technology makes it easy to read books with a computer. Through an award from the U.S. Department of Education OfďŹ ce of Special Education Programs (OSEP), Bookshare offers free memberships to U.S. schools and qualifying U.S. students. Read more about the OSEP award..

7!4%23!&%49 02/$5#43 ).# 128 Tomahawk Dr. Indian Harbour Beach, FL 32937 TEL: (800) 987-7238 International: (321) 777-7051 Fax: (321) 777-5438

the activity (e.g., because it occurs in the community or requires supervision), decide how your child can make the necessary request.

4. Practice the leisure activity with your child. TEACH your child how to participate in the leisure activity. This means telling, showing, and possibly physically guiding your child how to play. Make sure you use the ‘least intrusive’ teaching method (e.g., just playing with the materials beside your child instead of talking through all the steps) that works.

How to Teach Leisure Skills Once you have identified some preferred leisure activities, you will need to determine what type and level of participation is reasonable to expect of your child. This includes whether your child can initiate, or choose between, activities, follow directions or imitate other people, and perform the required skills unsupported and safely. You also need to determine how long your child can currently play alone before becoming frustrated or bored. Based on this information, you will be able to decide what to teach and where to begin. Simply identifying activities that interest your child is just the beginning. Unless you teach your child how to play, he or she may interact with the materials briefly and then discard them. Teaching leisure skills requires some consistency and patience; the following steps will be helpful.

1. Establish a routine for the leisure activity. If the leisure activity is available at home, determine when it may fit logically into your family’s schedule (e.g., by identifying “down times” in which your child may often be bored). If the activity must occur in the community, identify times for those outings.


5. Reward your child for independent play. If the activity is immediately enjoyable for your child, there is no need to provide additional encouragement or rewards. If, however, your child is not initially motivated, you will probably want to follow periods of independent play with praise or rewards. If you have selected the RIGHTLEISURESKILLS THEYWILLBEENJOYABLEINTHEMSELVESn making it easy to reduce these rewards over time. 6. Fade yourself out and encourage elaboration. Keep in mind that the goal here is to encourage leisure skills, not necessarily social interaction. Therefore, GRADUALLYREDUCEYOURPRESENCEANDPARTICIPATIONnAND extend the length of time your child is expected to play alone - in the activity as your child becomes independent. Teaching more elaborate routines will allow your child to stay engaged longer. Helping your child build leisure skills has multiple benefits. It makes your child’s life more enjoyable, reduces the expectation that you have to constantly entertain your child, and may produce interests that will lead to social connections in the future. In order to be successful in developing these skills, the activities must match your child’s interests and abilities and be consistently accessible. The time spent helping your child learn the skills to independently participate in leisure activities will certainly pay off in the long-run. Y

Make related materials easily accessible.

Assemble materials needed for the leisure activity and store them in a particular place. For certain activities (e.g., collections, crafts), it may be helpful to have sectional bins or books. Presenting the materials in an organized and enticing fashion may encourage their use.


Define activities and break them down.

Determine what skills your child needs to participate fully in the leisure activity, making a list of steps or options. If appropriate, create some type of picture menu to guide participation in. If your child must ask to initiate Photos courtesy of our fans on facebook JUL/AUG 2013



super health HEALTH&lTNESS

THE BIG 3 Summer Super Foods For Kids

by Douglas Haddad, Ph.D.

S Š Andrey Kiselev/

ummer is the gateway to launching your child into the world of nutrient-dense, tasty, colorful, and super healthy foods. Recharge your child’s brain power and increase energy levels by providing the maximum amount of nutrition per serving. These foods will help decrease the risk of obesity, heart disease, hypertension, high cholesterol and cancer.

1. Eggs - Eggs are packed with protein, rich in vitamin B complex, A and D. Hardboiled organic, cage-free eggs are a great choice to prepare in bulk. They are quick and easy to make and can be served for any meal.

2. Oatmeal – Packed with ďŹ ber-

Š Yvonne Bogdanski /

rich whole grains and protein, oatmeal is an excellent mid-summer choice. Oatmeal digests slowly which will keep your child’s insulin levels more stable throughout the day. The less processed oatmeal, such as steel cut and oldfashioned rolled oats, the better on maintaining blood glucose levels and preventing from “carb crashes�.

3. Fruits – When it comes to kids, the best thing about Super Foods is that they are naturally colorful. Fruits and vegetables contain a high amount of phytonutrients that give them brilliant



JUL/AUG 2013

“When you are attracted to, and eat, fruits, occasionally a seed will be carried within you to a fertile ground.� - David Wolfe (best-selling author, speaker, health expert)

colors. The good news is that kids equate taste with these bright colors. Have fun with this by getting your child involved in helping you prepare a fast and easy creative dish which shows off the food rainbow. Quick and easy delicious Super Food plates: s'REEKYOGURTWITHANASSORTMENT OFBERRIESANDGRANOLA




s$RIEDFRUITS For more information on helping your child obtain overall SUPER HEALTH, please visit: Y $OUGLAS(ADDAD 0H$. (“Dr. Dougâ€?) is a clinical nutritionist, full-time public school teacher in Connecticut and the author of parenting/child guidance book Save Your Kids‌Now! The Revolutionary Guide To Helping Youth Conquer Today’s Challenges and co-author of Top Ten Tips For Tip Top Shape: Super Health Programs For All Professional Fields.

I learned late in life “that heart disease is my greatest health threat, which is why I want every woman to know the truth – that heart disease is their number one killer.” Star Jones wants you to know that more women die of heart disease than all forms of cancer combined. This killer isn’t as easy to see and is often silent, hidden and misunderstood. Join Star to stop the No. 1 killer of women. We can be the difference between life and death.

Star Jones, Heart Disease Survivor and National Volunteer for the American Heart Association

Uncover the truth about heart disease and how you can help at

©2011, American Heart Association. Also known as the Heart Fund: TM Go Red trademark of AHA, Red Dress trademark of DHHS. 12/11DS5431

health & fitness fun fitness

ROPING IN THE FUN Using Fitness Ropes with Special Needs Athletes by Eric Chessen, M.S., YCS


ne of the reasons Autism Fitness programming works for my athletes is the selection of equipment that we use. Any tool is only as good as the coach using it and the programming methods he/she employs. When the method is sound and the approach appropriate, a variety of nifty gear creates new opportunities for developing physical skills and having the fun. One of my go-to items are long, 1-1.5” diameter ropes commonly called “Battling” or “Fitness” ropes. Here’s what you can do with them and what they can do for your athletes. Might I add, before I get on with this rope thing that I use the term “athlete” to mean any person, of any skill level, that is regularly active and improving his/her abilities over time, is engaged with physical activity, and enjoys some aspect of movement. We have far too narrow a definition right now, as athlete usually refers to someone who plays one of a few sports. Anyhow, rope time. With rope swings we can develop power, strength, endurance, coordination, and stability. Not a yawn-inducing list for something that has an ever-so-slight learning curve and is probably the safest fitness activity I know. Ropes are naturally accommodating. An athlete with very low muscle tone can perform them to the best of their ability, as can a highly skilled elite-level one. In group settings, rope swings




can be immediately regressed or progressed depending on the individual. I’ve also used them as a partner activity.

PROGRAMMING When I introduce my athletes to the ropes I usually employ only two verbal cues; “Pick up the ropes” and “Swing.” Then I stand back to see how they interpret this. Sometimes they get it right away, vigorously moving their arms up and down. Occasionally, they need a visual cue, either my swinging the ropes in demonstration mode or my standing next to them and mirroring the swinging movement. At most I may have to provide a hand-overhand (my hands on theirs) prompt for them to get a feel for the activity. Once they get a good ten to twenty swings in, the motor pattern imprints remarkably quick, even for athletes who tend towards lower cognitive functioning.

I teach four basic rope swinging patterns to my athletes: 1) Double Swings: Both arms swinging the ropes at the same time 2) Alternating Swings: Right/Left, Left/Right 3) Single Arm Swings: Right arm with Left arm down


fun un fitness health & fitness

Left arm with Right arm down 4) Jumping Swings: Jump up and swing at the same time or jump up then land and swing Each type of swing has a particular rhythm, and coordination is a built-in dynamic of the activity. It also promotes counting. Some of my athletes working on counting up (or down), or simply needing increased verbal communication opportunities, seem to find counting easier when swinging a rope up and down. Interesting side note: When toddlers begin to babble there is most often a movement along with the sound; typically a “bouncing” or arms moving up and down. Because rope swings can be repetition-based, or time-based, they also serve as an outstanding activity for increasing tolerance to demand or task-based situations. An individual who may demonstrate a lot of difficulty standing in one place to perform medicine ball throws (or anything else, really), may hang around a little longer when swinging a rope up and down at an intense pace. Ropes should always be anchored securely to a post or pole. I highly recommend getting a Fitness Anchor from They can be used indoors, though I prefer them as an outside activity in a park (or in my driveway). To start with programming, try having the athlete perform 10-15 repetitions of Double swings, and progress to 25 or 30. Time-based programming can begin at about 5 seconds for athletes who have either low physical and/or low adaptive functioning. The rope swings can be used as part of a circuit station setup as well. For a

DOUBLE ROPE SWINGS Photo courtesy Eric Cheesen juhansonin /

partner activity, I have athletes try to perform single arm or jumping rope swings in tandem, this adds an extra coordination challenge and often some laughter. The Double swing is best for developing basic stability (feet stay planted on the floor) and strength endurance for the shoulders. Alternating swings provide these benefits as well, though with less of a reactive “oomph” because both ropes are not landing at the same time. Alternating swings do, however, provide that extra coordination and timing benefit. Single arm swings are slightly more advanced, and require the athlete to stabilize (isometrically activate the muscles) on the non-working side. Jumping rope swings are all about power and timing. Rope swinging is a valuable addition to a fitness or Adaptive PE program and should be as fun for you as it is... or will be, for your athletes. carries some niftycolored ropes if you feel the urge to put this information to use. In addition to the pictures here, I’ll soon have a few rope swinging videos up on my blog: You can sign up for my free newsletter at AutismFitness. com to get updates on new videos and articles. Y

Eric Chessen, M.S., YCS, is the creator of the PAC Profile Assessment Toolbox (, PAC Profile Workshop series, and consults with special needs programs around the world. Available on




Therapies for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders by Barrie Silberberg


esides putting a child on a GFCF (Gluten Free-Casein Free…and often Soy free, too) diet many parents turn to a variety of therapies to help their child with ASD and ADHD to overcome sensory overload, behavioral challenges, focusing issues, speech/language problems, motor difficulties, visual and auditory processing difficulties and much more. There are a variety of therapies that many families choose to incorporate into their child’s daily or weekly living. Some of these therapies can be obtained at their school, whereas others are provided privately, Often agencies that are vendored with organizations (often government run) can provide free or low cost therapy for your child. New laws are now allowing medical insurance to cover many therapies for children with ASD. I will provide a list and explanation of many of the most popular therapies that have been proven to provide the most benefit.

OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY Occupational therapists (O.T.) assist clients with daily life skills such as: dressing oneself, motor skills (gross and fine), visual skills, oral motor skills, other learning skills, sensory processing skills, handwriting skills, food/texture assistance and learning how to play and interact with other children. An OT will evaluate the child for difficulties or delays. The OT will then assist the child, utilizing their hands, wrists, legs, arms or other parts of their body to improve their skills and abilities They will help with coordination, strength and dexterity. For more information:

VISION THERAPY Vision therapy improves a child’s visual efficiently, helping to correct visual-motor or perceptual-cognitive deficiencies or both. Vision therapy can help to treat learning-related visual problems, lazy eyes, computer vision syndrome, double vision or convergence insufficiency. Optometrists who are board certified in vision therapy have successfully helped many children with special needs. These Optometrists utilize


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computer equipment and optical devices, such as therapeutic lenses, prisms and filters, as well as games and activities to help children focus better, assist their eyes to work together better (teaming), to read more effectively and sometimes allowing the child enough improvement that glasses will no longer be needed. For more information: care.html

ART THERAPY Art therapy combines psychological therapy and art to assist clients with anxiety, depression and other mental and emotional problems, as well as addictions, family issues, social problems, trauma and loss. Art therapists help the child to assist them in finding meaning through his or her perceptions and imagination through drawings. Often, feelings and thoughts that cannot be expressed verbally can often be conveyed in drawings.

For more information:

LISTENING THERAPY Names synonymous with Listening Therapy include Drs. Tomatis, Berard, Porges, and Steinback. Other words for Listening Therapy might be auditory training, auditory stimulation, auditory integration training (AIT) or audiopsycho-phonology (APP). Children listen to guided music to improve the way they listen and learn. It can assist with language abilities, communication skills, creativity and social behavior. It can assist with distractibility, focus, attention, and concentration. Some programs can be performed at home, with the use of a computer, headphones and a CD. For more information:,

special therapy health & fitness NEUROFEEDBACK

assists with reducing anxiety and negative behaviors.

Another name for Neurofeedback is EEG (electroencephalogram) biofeedback or neurotherapy. This form of therapy assists with exercising the brain or training in self-regulation. Brain waves are recorded after attaching special sensors to the child’s scalp with EEG paste. There is no voltage or current used, so it is painless and noninvasive. The child’s hair remains in place. The child watches something similar to a video game and plays it with his or her brain waves. Neurofeedback assists with focus, sleep problems, anxiety, nightmares, bedwetting, migraines, headaches, stress, depression, attention, and more. For more information:,

For more information: These are only a handful of available therapies. Consult with your child’s doctor, other therapists or look online at the multitude of autism related web sites and blogs. Also consult with the library and bookstore for other resources available.Y


Barrie Silberberg is the author of The Autism & ADHD Diet : A Step-byStep Guide To Hope and Healing by Living Gluten Free and Casein Free (GFCF) And Others Interventions. Her web site is:

March to a different drumstick. Go meatless Monday. One day a week, cut out meat.

© The Monday Campaigns, Inc

Individuals who exhibit remarked challenges with social interaction can be assisted in developing, sustaining and fulfilling meaningful peer relationships. Issues such as poor eye contact, reciprocity, initiating interactions and conversations, enjoying appropriate activities, understanding social cues and understanding empathy can be taught to the child by therapists and psychologists who specialize in social skill training. Often social skills stories are utilized to show typical social situations. Playing games and other activities are also utilized to assist with these skills. This type of training

How to Use MUsic

to bond with your child and help them reach developmental goals by Ryan Judd


usic. Does your child enjoy it? I am guessing that the answer is, “Yes, my child loves music!” My next question is, “How are you using music to bond with your child and help them reach developmental goals, such as motor skills?” If you already have a toolbox of songs, musical games, techniques, strategies and instruments, then BRAVO! If you feel like you are just scratching the surface of what’s possible, then read on! 00

Parenting SPecial

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Bonding through Music Let’s start with bonding. Singing with and/or to your child, is a beautiful way to connect and bond. Did you know that singing increases Oxytocin, the “bonding” hormone? Not to get too heady about the neurology

behind music, but we all know that music can have profound effects on us, and scientists have begun to conduct the research to explain why. Beyond all of the neurons and hormones, there is a simple beauty of a parent singing to a child. If you are concerned that you do not have a good voice, or can’t sing at all, you have nothing to worry about, because children are not judgmental of people’s ability to sing in key. The important thing is that you have fun and sing out! Start with songs that are simple, and that you already know by heart. Tunes like “Twinkle, Twinkle,”“Row your Boat,”“This Old Man,” and “Old McDonald” are winners.

Get Started with this Simple Musical Activity Here is a simple bonding activity. Sit on the floor across from your child, hold their hands, and sing “Row Your Boat.” Sway forward and back, or sideto-side, while singing. Connecting the singing with touch, movement and eye contact is a great way to deepen your bond together. I always like to incorporate humor into activities like this, because when we laugh with our children, we bond with our children. Here are some additional verses to “Row Your Boat” that can add humor to this song. Row, row, row your boat gently in the bath, if you see a tall giraffe, don’t forget to laugh. (exaggerated belly laugh) Row row row your boat gently out to sea, if you see a big blue whale, invite him home to tea...yum (pretend like you are drinking tea) Row row row your boat gently out to sea, if you see a pretty mermaid, give her a kiss from me! (big smooch) Rock, rock, rock your boat gently to and fro, merrily, merrily, merrily, into the water we go. Splash! (fall over into some pillows) Row row row your boat gently down the river,

if you see a polar bear, don’t forget to shiver! (exaggerated shivers) Row row row your boat gently to the shore, if you see a lion there don’t forget to roar! (ROAR) AR) Row row row your boat gently down the creek, if you see a little mouse don’t forget to squeak! (squeak and act like a mouse) Row row row your boat gently down the stream, if you see a crocodile, don’t forget to scream! (scream)

Learning Developmental Skills through Music In addition to music being a wonderful way to bond with your child, you can also use it to help them reach developmental goals. Let’s start with motor skills. I love incorporating instrument playing into my sessions, and you can do this at home with simple percussive instruments such as rhythm sticks, maracas, drums and tambourines. Put on some fun, upbeat music that your child loves, and start jamming along. When your child is engaged and motivated, suddenly pause the music, and hold a tambourine up for them to strike. Hold it above your child’s head to address shoulder stability and extension. If your child is working on crossing mid-line, put a drumstick in their right hand, and hold the tambourine to the left side of their body. Have your child tap two maracas or rhythm sticks together to improve bilateral coordination. There are so many variations of this, depending on their developmental needs. As soon as they perform the desired behavior, immediately start the music back up, and continue playing along until the next pause.

Personalizing Skill-Based Songs You can also sing an encouraging song to your child so that they will be motivated to practice these motor skills. Just take a familiar melody and change the words to personalize it. For example, I have written out the lyrics to “Wheels on the Bus,” and have included personalized lyrics underneath them. I have matched these words up, so that you can get a better feel for how to sing the melody with the new words. JUL/AUG 2013



The wheels on the bus go round and round, Oh, Jack hits the big drum, up and down round and round, round and round.


and down, up

and down.

The wheels on the bus go round and round, Oh, Jack hits the big drum, up and down, all a-round the town. and he makes this sound.

Speech/Communication Skills

Music is a source of motivation and fun that you can easily tap into. 52

Whether your child is speaking, signing, or using Augmentative and Alternative Communication Devices (AAC devices), music can help them learn speech and communication skills. One easy way to work on these skills is to use “Sing and Read” books with your child. These are books that have taken classic kids songs such as “Twinkle Twinkle,” “Itsy Bitsy Spider,” and “Five Little Ducks,” and have put these songs into a story format. The pictures on the page can be used as visual prompts for the words you are reading. If your child is working on saying, signing, or using an AAC device to communicate the word “duck,” for example, then just create a big, dramatic pause before singing this word. Then, point to the duck on the page, and wait for your child to say, sign or use an AAC device to communicate this word.

The Limitless Potential of Music I hope that you begin to explore the limitless potential of using music with your child. Whether you are looking to build a deeper connection, or help your child learn developmental skills, music is a source of motivation and fun that you can easily tap into. I have a free bi-weekly newsletter that gives great suggestions and resources for using music with your child, so please sign up at http:// If you are interested in having all of the tools you need to bring the joy and benefit of music into your child’s life, you will want to check out my award-winning DVD and Music Package for Children with Special Needs. For more information, and to hear what other parents and therapists are saying about it, please visit www.therhythmtree. com/store. Y

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PSN APPS & MORE NEW Special Rates for Special Needs Apps. Let our readers know that your App exists. Your App needs to be here!

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fun&functional Teddy Lincoln, he is 16 months old in this picture, and this was his first time ever using sign language, he is signing his first word “Help” (for help to go down the slide. ~ Image courtesy Roberta M. Lincoln

learning activities

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JUL/AUG 2013



By Barbara Sher

Jaimie Duplass /





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Add an easy variation to walking by alternating between a big stride (giant steps) and a little shuffle (baby steps). You can decide ahead of time how many steps to take such as 10 giant steps and then ten baby steps and then keep repeating that pattern


When walking, you suddenly say, “Stop!” and stop instantly as if frozen. Then say, “Go” and go forward. Your child or children won’t know when you will suddenly say “Stop” again since you will do it irregularly. Sometimes there will be a long walk between “Stops”, sometimes it will happen almost immediately (which produces giggles). The fun, for them, is not knowing when it will come. The fun for you is knowing that you are painlessly getting to where you want to go. Change it to Red light, Green light if you want to slip in an awareness of the meaning of traffic lights.

Paul Retherford/ photoxpress

very child gets cranky— you don’t have to be a parent of a child with special needs to know that some days, or some moments, your child gets difficult. It’s likely to find this happening when you stayed too long at the store and you still have to walk to the car or home and your child refuses, or is about to have a meltdown. When you sense your child is about to lose it— or did lose it and is over the worst of it---change the mood and play a game. Distraction, that tried and true method that worked with the fussy baby, is still valid. Pulling out a set of jangly keys to distract and calm will no longer work, but an activity in which you are the playmate can have a wondrous effect. I have done these games with preschoolers AND teenagers so I know adding the element of play never gets old. Oh, and by the way, between you and I, these games are also teachable moments that benefit a child’s social, cognitive and motor skills. But children don’t need to know that; all they care about is that it’s fun and for you. You get to where you need to go with your good humor still intact!


Rather than walk like a regular person, move like some one or some thing else such as a mouse, kangaroo, elephant, hawk or whatever creature inspires you. You can be spontanteous and just make up movements such as working like a stiff robot and your child imitates you. Or your child turns into a jumping kangaroo and you follow her lead. You could even turn it into a guessing game. What animal or creature am I being?


You could choreograph a repeated movement such as doing three jumps followed by ten gallops. Then repeat, repeat all the way home. Or just try different ways to move such as a sideways slide or walking backwards, hoping on one foot, and leaping as possible ways to move forward. Or just hold hands and skip together! There is nothing, in my mind, more fun than that, especially if accompanied by singing “We’re off to see the Wizard, the wonderful Wizard of Oz�.      


Pretend you are putting imaginary glue on his back and your front and you are stuck together. Place your hands on your child’s shoulders to give you control. Then walk forward and he walks with you. You can go quite a ways with this one For older kids, you can just be glued on your hips so that you are more like conjoined twins! One of the beneďŹ ts of this game is the sweet physical closeness, as well as moving forward in a ssilly si illlllly ly way. way. wa way y.

juhansonin /


A walking game doesn’t have to be physical, it can be mental. Guess the number of steps you will take to get to the next corner, signpost, trafďŹ c light or tree. How far ahead depends on the age of the child. Or, guess how many seconds or minutes it takes to go to the next spot. See how close you both were to the correct number on your last try and then adjust for the next guess to another spot.


This idea works well with teenagers, especially when done on a country lane. Compared to my teenage years, there is so much more variation in dance movements now. If you are familiar with a popular “dance� called the “Harlem Shake�, you know that any movement can be acceptable and “cool�. Take turns imitating each other’s moves for a delightful and joyous way to be together and shorten the path home.


If you’re worried about others thinking you’re nuts dancing down the street like you’re in the “Singing In The Rain� movie, just think of how you would feel watching a parent with his or her kid(s) clearly having some silly fun together. If it makes you smile just to think of it. These games were made for you. Barbara Sher M.A.,O.T.R, an occupational therapist and author of nine books on childrens games. Titles include EARLY INTERVENTION GAMES SPIRIT GAMES and EXTRAORDINARY PLAY WITH ORDINARY THINGS. Send request for workshops to or

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00 0 0 57

“Foodie” Fun for Kids: Ice Cream Sandwiches Encouraging Speech & Creating Yum!

by PSN Team & Becca Eisenberg

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n honor of July being National Ice Cream Month, and it happens to be summertime, what better way to kick back and unwind than by enjoying a yummy, ice cream snack? Not only is it a delicious treat, it’s also a great way to have fun with the family!


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create, cook, Talk!

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Instructions Parent: Preheat oven for 350 degrees. Kiddo:Place cookie dough onto baking

pan. .

Parent: Bake cookies for about 10-11 minutes (as you see fit). Let cookies sit until they are room temperature.

Kiddo: Place your sprinkles into a bowl

during this time.

Kiddo: Put 2 scoops of vanilla onto

your cookie, then take another cookie and place it on top of your ice cream.

Parent/Kiddo: Even out the sides

of your ice cream sandwich so that it is smooth on the sides.

Kiddo: Dip the ice cream sandwich into

the bowl of sprinkles (make sure all the sides are covered with sprinkles.)


After all the sandwiches are done, place them into a large “Tupperware” container and allow the sandwiches to cool in the freezer for up to an hour.

Enjoy the ice cream!

Language Time:

When you are making ice cream sandwiches with your child, make sure to emphasize key vocabulary such as nouns (e.g. cookie, ice cream, sprinkles), actions (e.g. bake, eat, spread), descriptives (e.g. hot, soft, cold, sweet, yummy) and prepositions (e.g. on, off, in). This can help build your child’s ability to expand their vocabulary, build sentences, comment, and improve their ability to sequence. Encourage commenting by modeling it yourself (say, “wow, these cookies are hot after coming out of the oven” or “the ice cream sandwiches are cold after coming out of the freezer”). After making the recipe, encourage your child to retell you the steps of the recipe by asking, or using, different prompts such as “We put the ice cream on the ______” or using choices, “Did we make ice cream sandwiches or turkey sandwiches”? When making this recipe with your child, have fun and take pictures while doing it. You can use these pictures as visuals to augment communication, improve visual awareness, answer questions and help improve sequencing and narrative skills. Remember, giving clear simple choices can provide your child with the opportunity to communicate, participate more actively and request appropriately (e.g. have them choose what cookie they want to make the sandwiches out of, what flavor ice cream, what color sprinkles).Y

Becca Eisenberg is a mother of two young children and a speech language pathologist, author and instructor. Her website, www. encourages learning time during mealtime. On her website, she writes children’s book recommendations, app recommendations, as well as child friendly recipes with language tips their family.

JUL/AUG 2013



fun & functional learning to sign

ASK Angie ASL - Summer Social Activities by Angie Craft b


VIDEO DEMONSTRATION: Social activities you enjoy


during summer break like swimming, playing games, eating and picnicing. Remember to use your manners and practice basic signs. Use your signs during different events and keep signing.

Tip for working with the deaf

Š Marzanna Syncerz /

thank you Angie Craft author and teacherbrings over 26 years of experience in deaf education and is committed to serving the deaf community. Keenly aware of the isolation that deaf students often experience, Angie developed and wrote HandCraftEdASL to bridge the communication gap between deaf children who primarily use American Sign Language and their parents, peers or educators.

TIP: During group activities, encourage the children to watch the faces of the other children when they speak. Semi-circle seating is especially helpful to deaf and hard of hearing children.

Enjoy and have a safe and wonderful summer. Y


ASL is a multi-sensory form of communication that helps children acquire vocabulary more quickly and efficiently.

For more information: follow us on FaceBook @ HandCraftEdASL



JUL/AUG 2013

proud moments®

Sharing “I CAN!”attitudes Proud Momma Moment I am so proud of my sweet Emma because she struggled for years to learn to walk. But, she never let it stop her. She started taking ballet using a walker with a set, and leg braces. But two years after her first summer camp ballet class, she took a full year of ballet and during that time learned to walk. She was able to perform in her first recital standing proud by her friends. She still struggles and can’t do all the moves perfectly, but, for her to be up on that stage, proudly wearing her costume and ballet shoes, was a big moment after five years of struggling to walk. I am so proud of my sweet girl, who learned to walk at 5, and dance by 6. ~ Rachel Zook (Proud Mom)

Steps Towards Independence! My son, Greysen (age 6 1/2), had a rough start to life. He consequently struggles with chronic mental illness including dysregulation of mood and emotion, is developmentally delayed, and has strong sensory irritations. Last night he proudly wrote the letters GT, his initials, and showed me he can put his shoes on his feet by himself! Independence is HUGE for him, and these two small steps were very proud moments! Y

Emma exhibiting an “I CAN” attitude Photo courteousy Rachel Zook

Share a Proud Moment with us Next Issue! Proud Moments can be any time that you have been extremely proud of your child with special needs. It can be when they are giving it their all or reaching a milestone. You may feel you can only share your excitement or enthusiasm with someone that will really understand. We understand.

~ Becky of Nebraska (Proud Mom)

Special Olympian! I would like to share a photo of my daughter, Bailey Lemelin. Bailey is in the pink bathing suit. She won the bronze medal for swimming in the 15 meter meet in the Florida Special Olympics state level competition. Y ~ Deanna Lemelin (Proud Mom)

enjoy your life!

Bailey exhibiting an “I CAN” attitude Photo courteousy Deanna Lemelin JUL/AUG 2013



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Parenting Special Needs Magazine JulyAugust 2013  
Parenting Special Needs Magazine JulyAugust 2013