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M/ O" B )I ,L )I 4T 9 Y s ) . & / 2 - !4 ) / . s ) . 3 0 ) 2 !4 ) / .

Let’s Get Moving Special Mobility & Recreation Resources

WATER SAFETY Fun in the Water



share their perspectives

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Parenting Special Needs Magazine is a FREE, online publication. Empowering parents, caregivers, and everyone by providing resources, information and inspiration.


inside this issue... may jun 2014




Dadvocates 13 Super Gabriel Fedrico and Pete Villausos Share Their Perspective with You

22 When Things

Get Out of Control: Managing Escalating Behavior

Safety 24 Water Fun in the Water in the Upsee 30 Upright Oh, The Places We’ll Go!



psn community news

9 Noteworthy! Post Alpha-Bits® Celebrates Reading DDI Opens Matthew Stansky Memorial Music Room Rockin’ Jump – The Ultimate Trampoline Park

check it out!

10 Products You Can Use & Win! real life

M/ O" B )I ,L )I 4T 9 Y s ) . & / 2 - !4 ) / . s ) . 3 0 ) 2 !4 ) / .

18 Dr. Doug

How to raise happy kids

Let’s Get Moving Special Mobility & Recreation Resources

Mom & Me COVER Contest Winners! Beth Goddard and her son Robbie Batista Cover photo courteousy of Greg Goddard

WATER SAFETY Fun in the Water

Ask the


Builder 20 Career Tools for Career Explorations Moments 53 Proud Sharing “ I Can ” Attitudes



share their perspectives

MAY/JUN 2014



inside this issue... may jun 2014 your life


34 26 28

Mom Essential’s Kara shares 5 products for traveling abroad

Mommy Time Outs Giants Causeway

Notes from the Mama Bear Diary: A Tale of Summer Inclusion

special resources



35 Mobility Let’s Get Moving Accessible Vans: 36 Handicap Size Matters Trails 50 Appy A Road Trip with Apps

health & fitness Fun 40 Fitness Waving not Drowning: The Process of Making Fitness Fun


42 BeNutrition Active and Healthy Diets 44 Special Can Food Make Us Sick fun & functional

in every issue


6 psn contributors 7 from the heart 8 contest/giveaways

46 “Foodie” fun for kids: Kiddie Cobb on a Stick

of Play 48 Power Easter Hunt Over? Now, Try Peanut Hunt!

Tips 49 ASL Exercising with Deaf children 4


MAY/JUN 2014

Get Noticed,Get Promoted EXTRA in our... PERKS for listing with us!

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psn contributors making a difference FOUNDER/EDITORIAL DIRECTOR



Chantai Meme Hieneman

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Pediatric Occupational Therapist & Author

M.S., YCS, Exercise Physiologist




Chantai/Judy Jaszcz Corporate Sponsors & Ad Sales Manager

Curt Mellott MidWest & Lower Eastern Robin Newman

Douglas Haddad

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LCSW, PC Clinical Social worker, Adjunct Professor

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

Registered Dietitian

Jim Hasse, founder of

Advertising Sales Person Needed inquire at CIRCULATION & PR


Sean Thompson Parenting Special Needs Magazine is available bi-monthly and distributed digitally for free. www. Cynthia Falardeau Executive Director of the Education Foundation of IRC

Cristen Reat Co-Founder Bridging

Sarah Cook

Becca Eisenberg

Photographer Cookwire photography

Speech Language Pathologist

Ernst VanBergeijk

Ellen Metrick


Director of Industry Relations & Partnerships National Lekotek Center

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not. ~Dr. Seuss

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 © 2014 Parenting Special Needs, LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without permission is prohibited. PUBLISHED BY: Parenting Special Needs ,LLC 518 S. Valencia Circle S.W. Vero Beach, FL 32968

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about our cover...

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

Want W in I t ? it! Look for this symbol on pages then enter to WIN at PSN Contests

ABOUT COVER: CONGRATULATIONS go out to Beth Goddard. She is the winner of the Mom & Me Cover contest. She is seen with her son, Robbie Batista, on a family trip to Cabo San Lucas. We felt she captured the theme of summer and being “on the go”! Robbie, 14, has Trisomy 8q (a rare chromosome disorder). Robbie has one older and two younger brothers and enjoys music, reading, petting animals, and video games. He has several ideas about what he wants to do when he gets older including being a Geologist, an animal-sitter or even working in an ice cream store. Cover Image Courtesy: Greg Goddard (Robbie’s step dad)



MAY/JUN 2014

Hedstrom Specialty has a set of light-up, scented balls from Ableplay

Little Tikes Clearly Sports Bowling from Able Play

Nightball by Tangle Toys from Ableplay

Waboba Balls from Ableplay

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Post Alpha-Bits® Celebrates Reading

30 Free Little Libraries Post Alpha-Bits® announces the establishment of 30 small community libraries across the nation to help children foster a lifelong love for reading and literature. Alpha-Bits partnered with bloggers across the country to set up Little Free Libraries in local communities from Philadelphia to Omaha. Each Alpha-Bits blogger is actively engaged in her community and eager to encourage reading skills and literacy for children. For more information, please visit alpha-bits.

DDI Opens Matthew Stansky Memorial Music Room Developmental Disabilities Institute (DDI), on Long Island, is the recipient of the Matthew Stansky Memorial Music Room. Matthew Stansky is a former student of DDI who passed away last year after a long illness. The program, located in Nesconset, provides numerous services for over 70 adults with autism and other developmental disabilities. The vibrant room received all new musical instruments, along with a state of the art sound system and display. . For more information about DDI, visit

Rockin’ Jump – The Ultimate Trampoline Park Rockin’ Jump is pleased to announce the opening of its first franchise trampoline park in Trumbull, Connecticut. The trampoline parks are built on the premise that many families seek a healthy, active destination where they and their children can play, get great exercise and socialize with other active families. They offer a variety of activity centers, including a large arena for jumping and playing, a foam pit runway, and specialized areas for trampoline basketball and dodge.


sq. ft. of trampolines”

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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! Have a Ball


ll ages and all abilities are ready to break out of the winter doldrums and get outside to release their pent-up energy. What better way than bouncing, dribbling, throwing, catching and kicking! Ball play hits all the body muscles that have been in hibernation all winter. There are enough types of balls to keep everybody busy, active and having fun. Look at your interests, abilities and space to determine what’s right. Here are a few to get the ball rolling. Oball by Kids II is the perfect introduction to ball play. Lightweight, interconnected rings are made of thin plastic that’s easy to grasp as kids learn how their hands move to hold, transfer, throw and catch. If basketball is the game for you, check out Fisher-Price Grow 2 Pro Jr. Basketball. Ingeniously designed, expandable rim lets kids get nothin’ but net right from the get-go. Challenge their skill by reducing the diameter for the dunk shot. If bowling is more your speed, Little Tikes Clearly Sports Bowling is a clear choice. Backyard sidewalks make the perfect alley – the grass keeps the ball in the lane and prevents gutter balls. Transparent pins have several tumbling balls inside to make the sounds of a strike that much more striking.

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

W in it! Helpful Books for Parents of Children The New Social Story Book by Carol Gray Random House Publishing Group

Please send us an email describing your product. submit@ Please make sure to put Product Share in email subject line.



Winner of an Outstanding Literary Work of the Year Award by the Autism Society of America, this 10th Anniversary Edition of The New Social Story Book offers over 150 most requested Social Stories, each one professionally written by Carol Gray. Carol also teaches you how to write Social Stories yourself! She explains her process in the included ten-step learning module: The Social StoryTM 10.1. The book comes with a CD containing each Social Story in readyto-print PDFs AND easy-to-edit Word files!

MAY/JUN 2014

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Light Up Scented balls Take to the water with Waboba Balls. These water bouncing balls bounce and float making water the field for your game. Different sizes, densities and colors let you pick the perfect fit.

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Pick a bunch of bananas – or grapes or strawberries. Hedstrom Specialty has a set of light-up, scented balls that are sure to please. Breathe the fresh air of summer and the fabulous fruits of these balls to wake up your senses as you wake up your muscles! Fun doesn’t have to end at sundown! This football-shaped Nightball by Tangle Toys adds a twist to your spiral! Internal LED lights get brighter the stronger your spiral is and the Matrix design lets you throw successful spirals at each pass.



Absorb Drool with Style An alternative to bibs for older children and adults with excessive saliva issues.

Whether it’s rolling or throwing, balls are sure to bounce into play on a warm, sunny, summer day.

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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;

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with Special Needs It’s So Much Work to Be Your Friend: Helping the Child with Learning Disabilities Find Social Success

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by Richard Lavoie, Touchstone As any parent (teacher, etc…) of a learning-disabled child knows, every learning disability has a social component. The ADD child, for example, constantly interrupts and doesn’t follow directions. These children are socially out of step with their peers, and often they are ridiculed or ostracized for their differences. No book, until now, has provided practical, expert advice for helping learning-disabled children achieve social success.

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Support Different-Ability Awareness

s up e r d advoc at e s

Super Dads eT Share Their ctive with w You Perspective Father’s Day falls during uring this issue so we thought we ou some perspective perspectiv from 2 dads: would bring you Gabriel Fedrico and Pete Villau Villausos

our Super Dadvocates! Each man shares his story with us. They are stories of courage, commitment and passion to help raise awareness, ability and understanding. understan We think they deserve some special attention themselves!

MAY/JUN 2014



s up e r d advoc at e

Gabriel Federico


arenting a child with a disability does not mean being less of a father or a different father; one is the father of the child, not the disability. Challenges, fears and satisfactions are everyday concerns for all parents whether or not they have a special situation at home.” Our first Super Dad is a Professional Music Therapist, the Director of CAMINO (Spanish acronym) – Argentinian Centre of Music Therapy and Investigation in Neurodevelopment and Obstetrics, a writer, husband and father of three. We’ll let him tell you about himself, his family and his vocation. My name is Gabriel Federico; I have two sons and a daughter: Matías, 18; Nicolas, 14; and Micaela, 2. I’m married to Claudia and we live in Buenos Aires City, Argentina. Matías has Cerebral Palsy and also lives in the city, in his own adapted home with his mother. We love to travel and spend time together doing many things such as: visiting our family or different parts of the city by car, reading books, watching TV series or movies, playing games on the play station and singing along to musical instruments. I love any form of music and love to have barbeques (asado in Argentina) with family and friends. Matías was diagnosed when he was three months old. He’s very intelligent and his difficulties are in coordinating his



MAY/JUN 2014

movements and speaking, but he uses devices to aide him with what he can’t do by himself. When Matias was two years old, I was determined that he should use his hands properly, until he showed me that with his feet he could do things without me: it was the first time we played music together. It was then I realized that his feet would allow him to find a way to communicate with the world. Today, at 18, Matias is the editor of videos about my center and intends to study a related university career when he finishes high school.

And so it begins I encountered the world of disability when I was 17. At that age, I went to live in England as part of a student exchange for almost all of 1987. The family I stayed with had three daughters and the eldest, Debbie, had disabilities and lived with us in the same home. Unknowingly, she opened the possibility of discovering this special world and showed me the way. I discovered music therapy because of it. Since he was born, I have always accompanied Matias to all his therapy sessions; from occupational therapy to early stimulation and through all you can imagine. It was while searching through books -

there was no Internet then – looking for answers to “why things were as they were”, that I realized that I had to take it as a blessing and ask “why not”? With Matias I have learned to create ramps where there were stairs. Mati was born in 1995 and with him was born a vocation. I discovered that there were many experts in the clinical field who knew what to do, but very few were dealing with the person, let alone the family. From there I decided that my experience should be shared with others who have a child with special needs and founded the music therapy center CAMINO, which specializes in providing prenatal, family centered music therapy sessions and music classes for people with disabilities.

Considering the Person I try every day to make a difference and that is what we look for in the heart of all who work at the center. We don’t look only at the clinical history; we listen, observe, and accompany the patient and parents, siblings or caregivers and focus on the potential of the boys and girls instead of considering just the problems. If you look with pity on your child, people will feel shame. If you are proud of who they are, people will respect them. I also feel parents should do things that make them feel good, such as practice a sport or have a hobby. They (the parnts) must be part of this so that they can hold their children if they are fragile and they can transmit security to their child. Y

Just for about Gabriel


What do you do for fun or relaxation? I ride a bike while listening to my favorite music What super power would you have? Make people happy Favorite technology? Internet Do you have favorite Sport? Ha. Ha. Ha. Use two words to describe your child? A-Mazing... He’s bright and tenacious.

My first book, “The Child with Special Needs & Music Therapy,” was written both as a professional and a parent. My goal here is to help other families who have similar experiences and to open the minds of current and future professionals towards disability. In addition, I want to show how to use music in treatment. Moreover, I would like to dismiss myths about the “magical” power of music and enlighten those to what music therapy actually is. In other words, we are not shamans who heal by playing an instrument. Instead, we are university graduates who use music as a working tool. Finally, I would like to inspire young people who, like me at 17, are unaware they can combine a love of music, medicine, and helping others in such a rewarding and fulfilling profession (with huge potential and unlimited growth) like music therapy. My latest book, “The Child with Special Needs, Neurology & Music Therapy”, is a very special book for me. It was very motivating to write and I decided to donate all royalties to the school which allowed my son to have his primary education with other children, those without disabilities. The book has been translated into Portuguese, Korean and English. It is for sale on Amazon.

Gabriel & Matias making music together

MAY/JUN 2013



s up e r d advoc at e

Pete Villausos


hen a man becomes a fireman, his greatest act of bravery has been accomplished. What he does after that is all in the line of work. The above quote about a fireman is very fitting when describing our Super Dadvocate, Pete Villausos. Pete, a Firefighter/Paramedic for St. Lucie County, has become an advocate for helping First Responders get necessary training in order to better communicate with, handle, and treat people with autism. We’ll let Pete tell you about himself and his family in his own words. GO PETE!

First, I’m a husband to a beautiful soul, Sharon. Second, I’m a Dad to three amazing children. Finally, I’m a firefighter/paramedic for the Saint Lucie County Fire District. Back on December 12, 2012, my oldest son, Ethan, was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder/PDD-NOS. PDD- NOS stands for Pervasive Developmental DisorderNot Otherwise Specified. In other words, it’s the diagnosis that’s used for someone who has some, but not all, of the characteristics of autism or who may sometimes have relatively mild symptoms. For instance, a person may have significant autism



MAY/JUN 2014

symptoms in one core area such as social or verbal skills, but have mild or no symptoms in another core area such as repetitive behaviors like stimming.

The early days I’m one of five boys; the middle one to be exact. I was born in Brooklyn, New York, but raised in Miami, FL. My life could easily be a movie. I was on a TV show called Fame or Shame. It was an MTV talent show during Spring Break of 1996, I think. I did an impersonation of a T-Rex. It was my 15 minutes of fame. I’ve broken hearts and had mine stepped on a few times. But, that was all part of God’s plan for me to meet the right girl in Sharon. I was a volunteer firefighter in Alachua County but never got hired until Sharon came along. She made me a better man and I got myself the badge. We have been together for 17 years now. We have been to Dublin, Ireland; Las Vegas, NV; N.Y.; Chicago; Canada and Atlantis in the Bahamas to name just a few. Our life has truly been a dream.

When we had our first child, we felt like a family. Then, rather suddenly, my son wasn’t acting like his niece and nephews. He cried at family gatherings for hours as a toddler. By his fourth birthday he could only say a few words and was socially awkward around other children. It was at that point that my wife decided to have him evaluated at the Dan Marino Center. He was subsequently diagnosed with Autism. I first started going to Autism Awareness Training for First Responders just to help me accept it better. The more I learned, the more I realized the information needed to get out there to anyone and everyone who would listen. People with Autism need compassion and understanding, not pity or fear. The more we know about it, the more we can help bring Awareness and Acceptance.

Inspiring change My goal would be for all Firefighter and Law Enforcement Officers to have some kind of Autism Awareness Training. Awareness is vital to keeping our loved ones safe. Also, I would love to see more Fire Departments doing an Autism Awareness Campaign in April (Autism Awareness Month) of each year. It just takes one inspired person to bring about change. One thing I’ve learned is to never give up. When you get sad, remember you’re being sad for yourself. Your child is happy, loving and different. He may never play QB for the Gators and that’s okay. It’s my dream for him not his.Y

Just for about Pete


What do you do for fun or relaxation? “Chillaxing” by the pool with my kids; date night with mommy What super power would you have? The power to heal. I could help families suffering from any medical problems: Autism; Cancer; Diabetes and H.I.V. They would be HISTORY! Favorite technology? IPad for sure. Do you have favorite Sport? College football! More clearly, University of Florida Football. GO GATORS! Use two words to describe your child? My Hero. Ethan is my inspiration: he made me realize it’s not about me anymore.

“Autism Alert” window decals

are available for your home; you can contact your local fire department or Emergency Medical Services. Tell them you would like to get an Autism Alert Decal. Then, that department can contact the St. Lucie County Firefighters Benevolent via email or like us on Facebook at Other Fire Departments or EMS looking to get Autism Awareness training can contact Dennis Debbaudt @ or (772) 398-9756. I made contact with Dennis through Autism Speaks. He has been doing this training for over 20 years. His training program is used by almost everyone who teaches Autism Awareness Courses.

Pete & station members supporting an event for Autism Speaks MAY/JUN 2014




HAPPY KIDS by Douglas Haddad, Ph.D.

© Cherry-Merry/photo xpress


hen the Declaration of Independence was drafted, it was Thomas Jefferson who spoke of the “unalienable Rights” that all individuals possess --- among which are the preservation of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Whether it be searching for that special something or someone that makes us tick and the reason to get up in the morning or counting the years until retirement, everyone has a desire to be happy. For all parents out there, I couldn’t think of a more demanding, yet more rewarding job than to raise a child --- a happy one at that. The road to “happy parenting” may be a tricky one, though, considering all the developmental phases your child will go through and not to mention the day-to-day events that take place, with no guarantees along the way except most likely a gray hair or two. Just maybe, happiness may be a byproduct of its pursuit and associated struggles. For many parents out there, it may be a daily challenge trying to balance life’s responsibilities and demands to make ends meet. Consider the real life story of Chris Gardner (portrayed by Will Smith in the film The Pursuit of Happyness). The moral premise goes above and beyond Gardner’s desire for the physical goal of money for mere survival. It ultimately reveals the happiness that being a responsible father brought him through the trials and tribulations.



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There are some takeaways from the missing “i” in “Happyness” that you can apply to help shape your child into becoming a happy individual, despite any challenges --- at any given time in life.



I…must take personal responsibility for my actions.

- Your child is modeling your behavior and continues to do so on a daily basis and it is important to be the example of what you wish your child to grow up to become.


I…respect my child and listen to his/her dreams and desires.

-When Chris Gardner was on the basketball court with his son, he initially discouraged his son to play basketball because he “probably would take after his father and be mediocre.” Not until it dawned on Gardner that his lack of encouragement translated into his son’s sadness and sudden disinterest in his passion did he say:

“As a parent, especially a father, a man’s happiness is not pursued by abdicating his responsibilities of fatherhood. Happiness is spelled correctly with the example of your life.” ~ Chris Gardner (author, motivational speaker, and philanthropist)

“Don’t ever let somebody tell you that you can’t do something…not even me. You got a dream, you got to protect it. People can’t do something themselves, they want to tell you that you can’t do it. You want something, go get it --- period!”


I…will show interest in my child’s life.

- Be involved in your children’s lives by asking them about the best and worst parts of the day. Kids want to know that their parents care about what is going on in their lives and that they are consistently showing genuine interest in their daily lives.


I…will structure the environment to provide structure.

- Provide and consistently apply rules that are fair and enforceable. Children may not visibly express liking rules, but it gives a sense of much-needed security and stability in their lives. The environment should contain healthy food, a clean living space and positive interactions between family members.


I…will accept my child for who he/she is.

- Acknowledge your child’s perspectives and demonstrate empathy. A child feeling understood will experience a sense of relief and support that can be used in different situations in life. On the other hand, when a child feels repressed or constantly judged, those feelings don’t fade away, but rather manifest unpredictably in frustration, nervousness, depression, rebellion, and/or rage. Encourage children to express and manage their feelings by using healthy outlets such as reading, writing, drawing, painting, acting, singing, dancing, sports and participation in leadershipbased activities. For more information on empowering your child and assisting in their maturation and overall development: Check out Dr. Doug’s official website: www.douglashaddad.comY Douglas Haddad, Ph.D. (“Dr. Doug”) is a public school teacher, nutritionist, parenting blogger, and the author of parenting/child guidance book Save Your Kids…Now! 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.

Image courtesy Facebook Friends

Tools for Career Explorations Use Free Assessment Tests for Guiding Your Middle School Student by Jim Hasse he Occupational Information Network (O*NET), sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, has a set of self-directed career exploration/ assessment tools to help your youngster consider and plan career options, preparation, and transitions more effectively.


O*NET can help youngsters identify their workrelated interests, what they consider important for working on the job, and their abilities so they can explore those occupations that relate most closely to those attributes. These career assessment tests, which are based on a “whole-person� concept, include:




These instruments can help your youngster identify their work-related interests, what they consider important for working on the job, and their abilities so they can explore those occupations that relate most closely to those attributes. There is no charge for completing them and obtaining the results online (or printing them out, completing them and sending them to your state workforce development department for results). Users of these career assessment tests may link to the more than 950 occupations described by the O*NET database as well as to occupational

INFORMATIONON#AREER/NE3TOPORG AWORKFORCE assistance and information portal site administered by the U.S. Department of Labor and Employment AND4RAINING!DMINISTRATION !SARESULT INDIVIDUALSCANMAKEASEAMLESS transition from assessing their interests, work values, and abilities to matching their job skills with the requirements of occupations in their local area. Your youngster has three options in most cases:



s*OINAGROUPOFINDIVIDUALSUNDERTHE direction of an administrator who helps each person take and evaluate the assessments.

It may be wise to seek professional guidance, ESPECIALLYINMATCHINGYOURYOUNGSTERSPROlLETO THENEEDSOFTHEJOBMARKETINYOURAREA!ND OF course, since your youngster is still in middle school, you have some exibility in choosing the right time for administering these career assessment tests. Y Jim Hasse, founder of (the careercoaching guide for parents of CP youngsters) is an Accredited Business Communicator and Global Career Development Facilitator. He has CP. See http:// Copyright Š 2014. Hasse Communication Counseling, LLC. All rights reserved



MAY/JUN 2014


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When Things Get Out Of Control! MANAGING ESCALATING BEHAVIOR by Meme Hieneman & Milissa Yeagley

Liam’s grandfather needed a few things at the home improvement store and decided to take his twelve year-old grand son, Liam, along. As they were walking through the store, Liam became anxious, highly-distracted, and noisy (i.e., making high-pitched sounds). His grandfather decided to forgo the shopping and hurried Liam out of the store, but by this time Liam was really upset. Liam dropped to the ground in front of the electronic doors and refused to move, slapping his grandfather’s hands away as he tried to guide Liam away. His grandfather was frustrated and embarrassed. He said, “I used to just be able to pick Liam up and move him – maybe I should just leave Liam home from now on.”

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NOV?DEC2014 2012 MAY/JUN


he incident described here is way-too-familiar for some families. When children are young and small, parents are typically able to manage incidents of escalating behavior pretty readily, especially when the problems occur within the privacy of their own homes. As children get older and larger, these incidents can reach crisis proportions. The purpose of this article is to describe strategies for anticipating, preventing, and managing escalating behavior. Dr. Geoff Colvin has provided an extremely helpful model for understanding phases of acting out behavior (see the figure below). In this model, he encourages us to define behavior associated with each level of escalation. This includes how a child appears and interacts when he is calm, becoming upset or agitated, and highly escalated – and even aggressive. For example, when Liam is calm, he is attentive, follows instructions readily, and keeps his voice soft and even. When he becomes agitated, Liam begins looking around and increases his activity level, is slow to comply, and makes loud noises. When highlyescalated, Liam becomes limp and physically resistant and may strike other people if approached. When Liam de-escalates, his behavior gradually returns back to calm. Recognizing these levels of behavior helps parents determine how to respond.

A second aspect of this model is identifying “triggers” for behavior. Triggers are environmental, social, and physiological events that upset children and may lead to problem behavior. For Liam, those might include having to remain in crowded, noisy environments (e.g., home improvement stores on Saturday mornings) for prolonged periods, his grandfather’s attention being diverted, or being hungry because he had a small breakfast. If we are aware of these triggers, we may be able to prevent problems in the first place. Liam’s grandfather could purchase a breakfast sandwich for Liam before entering the store, tell Liam exactly what he needs and how long he will need to be shopping (e.g., by cutting out pictures of the items), avoid crowded aisles when possible, and provide more attention by conversing with Liam when in public. He might also promise Liam an enjoyable activity or reward following his visit to the store if he is cooperative and quiet. Unfortunately, it is not always possible to avoid problems. In this case, we need strategies for averting or managing escalation. Dr. Colvin helps us determine how to respond based on the level of escalation. When a child is calm, we try to maintain that state through positive interaction and encouragement, but are also able to expect and demand more from him. When a child becomes agitated, but has not escalated to disruptive or aggressive behavior (e.g., when Liam starts getting noisy), our response should be supportive. That would be the time to offer him choices, encourage him to communicate his needs, and change the circumstances to reduce the triggers. For example, Liam’s grandfather might take a brief break from shopping to play a game with Liam. When a child accelerates, which is characterized by threats or resistance, we must establish clear limits – and make a plan if the circumstances become dangerous. How we respond here depends on the child. For example, some children respond well to time limits:“I’m going to count to 10 and then guide you to the car.” Others respond to contingencies: “If you walk with me now, you will still be able to have your electronics in the car. If not, I will be keeping them”. Contingencies Illustration Courtesy Colvin, G. (2005). Reprinted with permission from University of Oregon/Behavior Associates.

should be determined in advance whenever possible. At this phase, it is also important to plan ahead. For Liam, this might mean calling someone to come to the store to help or communicating with the store’s management to block off the area until Liam is safe. Having a solid plan reduces stress for everyone. When a child’s behavior becomes dangerous to himself of others, options for managing the behavior become increasingly limited. The primary goal in crises is to ensure safety, while regaining control of the situation as quickly as possible. For some families, getting specialized training in crisis management is absolutely necessary. In Liam’s situation, another patron (who happened to have extensive training in ABA and crisis management) was willing to sit by the doors and watch Liam to ensure that nobody else approached him while his grandfather brought the car around. She and the grandfather then lifted Liam together and guided him into the car parked 10 feet away. As soon as Liam saw the car, he had calmed down (i.e., de-escalated) enough to cooperate. Once the crisis has passed, and the child has regained his composure (what Dr. Colvin refers to as recovery), it is important to process through the events and make plans for the future. It would be unfortunate if Liam’s grandfather stopped taking him into the community. If he were able to identify the triggers and make a better plan to manage outings, this may not be necessary. Y

Meme Hieneman, has a Ph.D. in Special Education and is nationally certified as a behavior analyst. She has published a variety of articles, chapters, and books including “Parenting with Positive Behavior Support: A Practical Guide to Resolving Your Child’s Difficult Behavior.” In her professional career, Meme has worked with children with severe behavior problems for more than 20 years.

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Is Your Family


for FUN in the WATER this SUMMER? by Kristie Snape


ater safety is a concern for all parents. This is especially true for the families of children with disabilities. While it poses some unique problems, it also carries some unique benefits. On average two children per day under the age of 14 die from accidental drowning. Drowning is a leading cause of death for children with autism (and any child prone to wandering). Close and constant supervision, pool barriers, life jackets, and separating alcohol consumption from water activities are all important safety precautions. Sometimes these precautions are not enough if you have a child prone to wandering.

The problem with personal flotation devices is complacency Coast Guard approved personal flotation devices (PFDs) are critical life saving devices and absolute requirements for boating or any time that family members are around large bodies of water. PFDs are wonderful devices and have saved many lives. The problems begin when adults and children develop a dependency on these devices and they become the only defense against a potential catastrophe. Panic is the typical outcome when children dependent on PFDs do have an aquatic accident and are not wearing their device. Panicking is the worst thing someone can do when falling into the water. A stiff and stressed body will sink, while a relaxed body will float. Flotation devices can give children a false sense



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of confidence leading your child to think they can swim by themselves without fully understanding their dependency on the flotation device. This is why learning to swim independently is critical to child water safety.

Single Point of Failure Think of all the high-tech safety devices in the modern automobile and yet every time we load up the kids, we double-down on safety making sure they are properly restrained in even more safety devices. The key to better safety is to always have a backup plan; never rely on a single point of failure. There is no such thing as too much safety for our children. This goes for all family members: brother; sister; mom; dad and even grandma and grandpa. They need to be ever vigilant, trained and capable when it comes to the safety of children. The good news is that you can double-down on water safety for your children even if they have special needs.

Finding the right swimming program for children with special needs This can be a tall order, but here are some important things to look for when searching for the right program for your child:

1. Make sure the swim program has a good track record of working with students with disabilities. Many programs are willing to work with students

with disabilities, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they have the knowledge and skills to do so. Find out if the instructor has any specific certifications or has taken courses to learn more about working with students with disabilities. Try to find a program in your area taught by local professionals in the special education community. This might include special education teachers, special education teacher aides, or therapists. Ask if the program includes learning strategies that your child responds well to such as: visual aids, video modeling, social stories, etc. If they don’t, find out if they are willing to add some of these strategies into their program.


2. The program you choose should make

Pool Rules Video Following the spoken and unspoken social rules at the pool can be a challenging task. Watch the video above with your child before you get into the pool this summer to help prepare them for the rules of the pool. If your child responds well to it, consider making your own that is more specific to you own child’s needs. For more information and resources visit

learning to float a priority. Learning to relax and float is an essential safety component for anyone first learning to swim. If your children know how to float independently, they will have a strong defense if they find themselves in a sticky situation in the water. When someone relaxes and floats, they can breathe, call for help, or catch their breath and swim out of the water. Students should practice jumping in from the side of the pool and immediately going into a relaxed float as well as going down to the bottom of the pool and coming back up into a relaxed float.

3. A good program will have a fully clothed test for the students to simulate a real aquatic accident. The student may be pushed or gently tossed into the pool unexpectedly with all their clothes on. Sometimes this can be difficult for parents to watch, but it is important to remember that you are doing this because you want to equip your child with as many safety defenses as possible. This could save their life! Swimming with

Images Courtesy Kristie Snape, Adaptive Aquatics of Georgia

your clothes on feels very different than a swimsuit, especially if the student has a heightened sensory system. Practicing swimming with clothes lets them become familiar and comfortable with the sensations, so they aren’t shocked if they ever fall in unexpectedly. This, of course, only comes after adequate instruction has taken place and the student is ready for the task. Aquatic activities are great fun and fitness for the entire family. Just because a child has a disability does not mean they can’t participate in the fun. Often times finding the right swim instructor with the right skill set for your child is all it takes. Be sure to research the swim programs in your area and always ask questions. Lastly, become an advocate for quality swimming programs for persons with disabilities in your area. Y

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Mommy’s Timeout : T ake k a time i out and use V isualization Meditation to relax. Picture yourself here viewing the North Alantic Ocean at the inspiring Giants Causeway Of Northern Ireland. Take a couple of deep breaths and begin to let go of any stress. Giants Cuaseway located on the coastline of Northern Ireland Photos courtesy of Š PSNM 2014 Music courtesy Ryan Judd

breathing space your life

A TALE OF SUMMER INCLUSION by Cynthia Carr Falardeau

“As our son has grown, he has led the change and taught me a lot about letting go. My advocacy has been instrumental in his development. However, I am learning that as he changes – so do I. I need to adapt to his development. Inclusion is the solution to his independence. Here is how I am working on curbing my grizzly attitude to allow my cub to grow…..”


t was a defining moment. As I sat there quietly, I looked around the room, and watched the other mothers. Each of them held a kitchen utensil. We were asked to share what was wrong with our tool. I believe the process was to identify our need to upgrade to a “pampered” version. I am not sure if I was delirious from lack of sleep, heart monitors, oxygen tanks, the stress or re- bandaging my son’s recent amputation. I just know that as I held my worn and battered spatula I could only focus on one thing – what made it special.



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I am often reminded of that moment when I think of advocating for my son. Now please understand that I am not comparing my child to an inanimate object. I am merely making the connection that sometimes in an effort to protect our children – we focus on what is wrong, or rather, what they can’t do. We want to protect them yet we lose sight of what they can do. We made a big leap a few years ago; we left the cozy comforts of attending the local school district’s ESE summer program. My son was tired of the setting and wanted to attend theater and outdoor camps. He led the change and was the one who convinced me he could do it. I did my best to retract my helicopter wings and park my Mama Bear attitude. Now, at age 11, and has thrived in these enriched settings. The one thing I have learned through all of this is that I no longer need to point out my son’s differences and exceptionalities. I have decided that I am no longer going to call ahead, fill out camp forms or notify anyone in order to protect him. I am not throwing him to the wolves; rather, I am allowing others to appreciate that he is as an individual - a person first. His labels are inconsequential. I had thought that by doing these things I was protecting him and keeping him from being misunderstood. My analysis was actually causing him “paralysis” and through that, I was causing others to make judgments that led to limitations in my son’s participation. In the beginning it seemed so rational. I wanted there to be no surprises. My husband and I both work full-time and do not have any family near-by for back up. We could not afford a call from the camp director saying, “I am sorry but this is not working – please come get your child”. Several experiences this spring and last summer changed my view. I anticipated that there would be concern about my son’s ability to be understood or about his behaviors when he becomes overwhelmed. To my surprise, the greatest concerns were about his missing right forearm and hand. Truthfully, this has been the least of our challenges. But for some, it is the

most visible difference. The counselors convey fears about explaining my son’s limb to the other children. Honestly, I will never forget the first call, I was flabbergasted. Well, really, I was speechless. I remember the camp counselor asking, “Mrs. Falardeau….are you still there”? I was fitting back tears and anger. I wanted to blurt out, “Well how do you explain why the fat kid eats too much? What about the child who chews their nails to the bone? Or how about……”? I refrained because I did not what to become the monster that I perceived I was about to battle. I took a deep breath and asked the simple question, “Do you want my child to attend your camp”? There was an agonizing silence. The director said, “Well, yes, of course I do”! And then I pushed the ball back in her court and said 8 simple words in a strong tone, “I am sure you will figure it out”. I hung up and threw my arms up in the air. I felt like a modern day Rocky Balboa. I pranced around the room throwing air punches like I had taken down the “Apollo Creed” of inclusion. Triumph faded quickly and my euphoric moment led to tears. We did follow through with the camp. It turned out it was not my son’s favorite. I never told him about the call from the camp director. I think we both learned a lot from that experience and a few others that have impacted how I register our son for summer camps. I fill out the forms completely. When I get to the section that says, “Is there anything else you would like us to know about your child?” I now write a simple sentence: “He is amazing”! Y

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Upright in the

Upsee: h, the Places O

“Out of my pain and desperation came the idea for the Upsee and I am delighted to see it come to fruition”. ~Debby Einatan Inventor of the Upsee


ecessity, they say, is the Mother of Invention. For one mom, the “necessity” not only caused an invention, but also, started a desire to bring a product to market. A desire that has taken many twists and turns, almost two decades in the making and that eventually led to a company 2,500 miles from her home in Israel. Meet Debby Einatan. When her son, Rotem (who has cerebral palsy), was two, Debby took him to a physical therapist. When the session was completed, her therapist told her “your son doesn’t know what his legs are for”. After crying for about a week or two, Debby picked herself up and was determined to walk him. However, it was very difficult to

We l G o ! l

by Chantai Snellgrove

walk a two-year-old.“You are practically on your hands and knees…holding your child up”, Debby explained. But, she was determined to get him moving, and knew there had to be a better way.

She started to make shoes out of wood and tried different kinds of connections until she came up with the first version of the Upsee: a sewn harness for Rotem that she attached to her body. She put him in sturdy sandals that she strapped to her own shoes and started walking around with him. They started out slowly, but eventually, were able to take walks in the neighborhood for up two hours at a time.

Finding the Right Fit

Charlotte likes to go forward in the Upsee, her entire face lights up when she’s strapped into the Upsee.

Debby knew that in order for her to get her product to the very people who could benefit most from it, she couldn’t do it alone. She needed a company that not only understood what was needed to manufacture and market the product, but also had a “heart” for the clients it served and truly “got it” when dealing with special needs families. Debby also new the importance of being able to give

Photo of Upsee: James Leckey Design Ltd.



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children a chance at a better childhood and was looking for that “special company” that knew this as well. She eventually selected Leckey, a company based in Lisburn, Ireland, that has made positioning equipment for children with special needs for more than 30 years. Leckey recently started a new division called Firefly that focuses on research and development of postural care for children, with a strong emphasis on solutions for special needs family participation, helping more children take part in special family moments. Fast forward to the end of March, 2014: Firefly invited Parenting Special Needs Magazine (along with several other bloggers, publications, and press) to the product launch of the Upsee. It was there that we met Mr. James Leckey, Founder and President, and his entire TEAM. After initially meeting them, I recalled a quote from John Maxwell that seemed very fitting: ”people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”.This was evident in every aspect of the company…from the staff in the office to the factory. In fact, prior to touring the facility, Mr. Leckey showed us the company’s mission statement that hung as a huge banner on the wall in the factory. Every employee that works there must sign their name showing their commitment to research and commitment to developing and supplying innovative, quality-postural-support and therapy equipment that improves the lives of children and adults with disabilities. The factory is very clean and organized. In addition, all products are handmade with many checks and balances in place to make sure quality products are delivered. We witnessed the seamstress sewing parts of the vest/harness of the Upsee. The Upsee system includes a harness for the child, which attaches to the adult’s hip belt, and specially engineered shared sandals, which allows the parent and child to step simultaneously while allowing the child’s hands to remain free.

Firefly wasn’t born yesterday. It’s actually the culmination of 30 years of clinical excellence of Leckey.

~James Leckey The Firefly GoTo Seat A lightweight portable seating solution

All products are hand made

Sketches of a new “scoot seat” product in development

Emi Ryan feeding a calf at a local farm. Her Upsee allowed her a hands-on experience!

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P l a e c h e t , s h O

Benefits of the Upsee

While it depends on the ability of your child, the er Upsee can offer a number of advantages over other mobility aids. It provides the possibility of weight bearing through lower limbs, which can change according to the abilities of your child. The Upsee enables active assisted movement so your child can stand and step to the best of their ability with the minimum level of assistance provided by you.

Because you can feel your child’s stepping movements through the double sandal, Upsee enables you to provide assistance to step as required. Upsee provides the possibility of cruising – moving sideways along

furniture. The type of support provided by the Upsee means that the child’s hands are free to play, while giving the child the potential to achieve hip abduction (legs apart) and actively work trunk muscles in standing –and it’s motivational because it can be done during play. And, of course, in addition to the clinical and developmental opportunities, the Upsee is lightweight and easily portable. It allows parents to help their child to experience standing, stepping and fulfill their physical potential through family participation. Children may gain the therapeutic benefits of supported standing and stepping while they play and participate in sports and family activities. The Upsee is not replacement for physical therapy. It is important that your child continues with their physical therapy routine. It is recommended that you seek advice prior to purchasing the Upsee from your child’s physical therapist. Firefly’s Clinical Research Manager and occupational therapist, Clare Canale, said “It has been humbling to see the progress and happiness the Upsee is creating; watching children do simple things for the first time such as kicking a ball or playing with a sibling is wonderful for everyone involved, but especially the families. Ultimately, this is about quality of life and we hope that the Upsee will enhance the lives of children with motor impairment and their families.”

Willow Rose was able to play in the sand and jump over the waves with her brother, Nick. Willow Rose also took her first footsteps in the sand. Visit The Willow Rose Fund >

Magical things happen “within” when you’re standing on your own two legs, with your hands free, combined with gravity. ~Debby Einatan Inventor of the Upsee



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l e W Go ! There is Fun l

e e n o o b D ! t

Th line The li above b is i a slight li h variation i i ffrom the h title i l off the h famous Dr. Seuss book, but, it is so very appropriate. The Upsee can truly improve family participation in the lives of those who use it. Imagine all of the “firsts” that you can experience with your child. Imagine how it might feel when you see your child participating in life experiences for the first time outside the confines of a wheelchair; like the viral image of the “little Flower girl” walking down the isle at her Aunt’s wedding in a specially made, Satin Upsee? Moreover, when people realize that it is extremely easy to use that makes the experience all the more pleasing: a few snaps and straps and you’re on your way! Kara Melissa Sharp of Free as Trees and her son, Sebastian, were part the initial trial of the Upsee prior to attending the launch in Ireland. In fact, after the launch, I was privileged to be with part of Kara’s family trip to the Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland. It was very touching and wonderful to see the family (including Sebastian) in all the action. When they put Sebastian in his Upsee on the “Causeway” and Sebastian was standing with his Dad it brought tears to everyone eyes. It was amazing to witness first hand the power and impact the Upsee is going to be in the lives of children and families. Kara went on to explain that when Sebastian was in his Upsee, he felt the uneven ground beneath his feet; his arms relaxed at his side; his chest open to the world with the sun on his face. His sister could come up and stand next to him, grab his hand or give him a hug without maneuvering between wheels of a walker or a wheelchair. When a new friend

Kara’s 5 Travel Abroad Essentials TURN PAGE

Kara, her husband, Ali, and Sebastian standing together for a photo for the first time on the “Giants Causeway“ in Northern Ireland.

asked k d her h family f il to t pose for f a photo, h t Kara K was suddenly dd l overcome with emotion. After the photo was taken, Kara had tears of joy, then said “Here we were, he is almost 6 years old, and we are all standing together, in an exotic, rustic locale and I wasn’t holding him. We weren’t crouching down to be next to his wheelchair. We were all standing there. Together. For the very first time”. Although the Upsee has only been out for about a month, it is already enhancing the lives of many children with motor impairments as they experience many firsts with their families upright. Let the Upsee adventures begin…...oh, the places we’ll go indeed.Y For more information:

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Kara’s 5

TRAVELING ABROAD ESSENTIALS Boba Carrier: When he outgrew the infant carriers, I bought the Boba Carrier because it holds up to 45lbs. Since Sebastian is still so small, he is able to go in the carrier with us to explore off-road destinations, like rope bridges above the Irish Sea, or the Great Pyramids of Giza Zevex Infinity Feeding Pump: Our son, Sebastian, got a g-tube last year. Having the pump ensures he gets enough calories and liquids and helps give him the energy he needs. We have to make modifications to the timing of what we do, but we can still do all of the fun things we did before. We can’t leave home without it. Annabel Karmel by NUK Masher & Bowl: Although Sebastian uses a g-tube, he loves to eat. We don’t go anywhere without the masher. It’s a small and simple item that can easily make spaghetti and other soft meals possible for Sebastian to enjoy when we are eating out.




Upsee: We recently traveled to Ireland for the Upsee launch. We took the Upsee to the Giant’s Causeway where Sebastian was able to explore the coast with his own two feet walking over the uneven stones with the help of being attached to his dad. I know that this will become a staple in our travels because it allows Sebastian to be in a different position from his wheelchair. iPad: We loaded his large and bulky picture book into the Proloquo2Go app on his iPad for a compact way to access communication. His iPad attaches to his tray so it can be mounted easily for communication, games, books, and video viewing. It also makes impromptu dance parties a possibility, which is important in our family. Sebastian needs some assistance, but he can enjoy music, books, or films independently. This is great for those long hours waiting at the airport or on trans-Atlantic flights.



Images Courtesy of, Moog, Inc. Annabel Karmel by NUK, James Leckey Design Ltd. Proloquo2Go® is an AssistiveWare® product. Used with permission

More About Kara Kara Melissa Sharp is a stay-at-home mom and transplant Torontonian after several years living and teaching abroad. She has two young children, Sebastian and Tallula. Sebastian has severe dystonic/mixed cerebral palsy due to a traumatic birth and subsequent brain injury. He loves chocolate and going fast in his Red Racer (wheelchair). Tallula adores her big brother; when she’s not stealing his glasses, she’s entertaining him with her adventurous spirit. Kara’s one true love is a journalist who masquerades as a basketball player at night. When she’s not having dance parties in the living room with her kiddos, she’s writing stories or sewing quilts for friends’ babies while sipping on homemade hot chocolate to keep warm in The Great White North. You can find her at Free As Trees (



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Advanced Biomechanical Rehabilitations Opening a New Dimension in Treatment


BR is a cutting-edge approach based on the most recent evidence-based research and new strategies developed throughout the world over the last 10-15 years. The focus of the treatment is placed on the “global development” of the brain-injured child. ABR just opened its new 3-year-homebased “Thrive and Flourish” program that brings significant progress at metabolic, mechanic and sensory levels. Patients see improvements in respiration, digestion and food

absorption, balance, robustness, weight-bearing performance, sleep, alertness and… happiness! ABR strategy focuses on strengthening the fascia to improve a child’s structure and functions. ABR has hundreds of advocates across five continents. ABR Canada offers its services throughout North and South America, with satellites in Montreal, Pennsylvania, Florida, California, Mexico, Colombia, Chile and Argentina.

Advanced Biomechanical Rehabilitation (ABR) is a new rehabilitation approach for children with Cerebral Palsy and other motor dysfunctions. ABR Canada for more information contact them at 4EL  s&AX

Opening a new dimension in the treatment of the mildest to the most severe motor dysfunctions

Thrive and Flourish ABR is an innovative, programdesigned designed to An ABR innovative,strength-focused, strength-focused, and family-centered family-centered program ed to establish workingframework frameworkto toimprove improvethe thehealth, health ,robustness robustness and and alertness alertness ess establish aa working ofchildren childrenwith with Cerebral CerebralPalsy. Palsy. of

Hundreds of advocates throughout the world! ld d! Satellites in California, Florida, Pennsylvania a, Mexico, Colombia, Chile, Argentina and Montreal, Canada

Handicap Accessible Vans: Size Matters H

andicap vans can be conďŹ gured a number of ways—with side entry or rear entry access, special seating, wheelchair position, and power or manual ramp operation. A mobility consultant at a reputable online (or local wheelchair van dealer) will gather all the information necessary to help you choose the ideal van for your speciďŹ c needs. For instance, the size of your family matters. If you have several kids, you’ll need a van with seating that can accommodate everyone. Both full-size vans and minivans can be modiďŹ ed for wheelchair accessibility. Even if you only have one child, you’ll probably need room for a school friend or two from time to time. Believe it or not, a side entry handicap minivan can seat up to seven (7) passengers with the right seating conďŹ guration. Your child’s condition and wheelchair size also ďŹ gure prominently in the selection of the vehicle. Some children with disabilities require ventilators or feeding tubes, so you’ll need room for additional equipment, and a van with rear entry access is a better choice than the side entry. Rear access allows the wheelchair and accompanying equipment to enter without

Need Help ďŹ nding a dealer? SEE PAGE 39

having to maneuver into position, which is necessary to secure the wheelchair in a side entry handicap minivan, and there might not be enough room. Is your child pre-teen or a teenager? Your tall, strapping teenage son with a football injury might require rear entry access, which is wider and higher than the side entry version. A mobility consultant will use your child’s unique physical traits, wheelchair dimensions, your family’s lifestyle, and other speciďŹ c information in a search for your best-equipped wheelchair van.

For more tips please go to: The Parents’ Guide to Wheelchair Van Shopping Susan Hawkins is a writer and video producer for AMS Vans, Inc. in Atlanta, GA

Join the Florida APBS Network. Membership provides:  











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For over twenty years, Altimate Medical has been making EasyStand standing technology that improves the quality of life for wheelchair users worldwide.


he new Bantam medium standing frame fills a gap in the marketplace for larger, more involved children. The medium is an addition to the current Bantam line; the only standers to feature the combination of sit to stand and supine. The Bantam medium fits individuals up to 200 pounds and has an approximate height range of 4’-5’6”. The Bantam medium allows transfers to a seated or supine position, or any position in between. The Bantam’s new positioning controller effortlessly shifts between sit to stand and supine modes and the innovative “Neutral” setting allows infinite positioning between seated and supine. A manual hydraulic actuator or optional electric lift brings the child to a

standing position. No other stander offers so many positioning possibilities. Transferring larger children can be difficult and often requires two or more people. As a result, the child spends less time standing or the standing program is abandoned altogether. The option to transfer into a seated position or into supine with hip-knee flexion makes transfers safer and more manageable. The Bantam medium’s infinite positioning capabilities make long-term standing a reality for larger children. Visit to learn more about the new EasyStand Bantam Medium, options and pricing, view product pictures and video, and see the full line of standing devices.

We believe standing is not only for today, but also for a person’s future health. Research shows that regular compliance with a standing program reduces the incidence of secondary complications associated with immobilization. The benefits of standing are a key component to readiness for future medical or technological breakthroughs. Easystand/Altimate Medical Inc. for more information contact them at 800-342-8968,, or



Quantum Rehab® A Division of Pride Mobility Products® Corp.


uantum Rehab®, a division of Pride Mobility Products® Corporation, designs and manufactures complex rehabilitation solutions for individuals with comprehensive mobility needs. Founded in Northeastern Pennsylvania in 2000, Quantum Rehab centers around state-of-the-art engineering, design, testing, and manufacturing with a clinicallybased, customer-first philosophy. As a result of its reputation for quality, innovation, and service, Quantum Rehab has grown into a global company with distribution centers throughout the U.S. and subsidiaries around the world, including Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Italy, New Zealand, and the Netherlands. As part of the complex rehab community, Quantum, with its inspired employees, places an emphasis on active participation and is recognized by such national organizations as the ALS Association and

Muscular Dystrophy Association for its involvement and philanthropic efforts. At the heart of Quantum’s corporate culture is the understanding that mobility products empower consumers’ lives. Through industry-leading, clinically-based, consumer-inspired designs, Quantum Rehab represents cutting-edge complex rehab power bases, seating, and electronics for the most advanced clinical and lifestyle needs. Quantum Rehab offers consumers complete rehab solutions with many of the most highly regarded products and brands on the market today. Meeting the highest standards, Quantum Rehab is dedicated to providing products with the industry’s most innovative features, distinctive styles, and performance-driven designs, helping consumers lead healthy, active, independent lives.

To help all live a “Life Beyond Limits.”

Quantum Rehab® for more information contact them at 1-866-800-2002 Fax:1-866-707-3422 Email: Facebook: QuantumRehab Twitter:@QuantumRehab YouTube: QuantumRehab




NMEDA Transportation is the key to freedom and NMEDA is the key to quality transportation


he National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) is a non-profit organization of mobility equipment dealers, manufacturers and other professionals dedicated to expanding mobility options for people with disabilities. The association supports members engaged in the modification of quality transportation and wheelchair accessible vehicles. Over 600 international members work to provide safe and reliable adapted transportation solutions. NMEDA champions National Mobility Awareness Month in May where we educate, encourage and show the world how people with disabilities can live active, mobile lifestyles with the assistance of mobility solutions. NMEDA monitors its members to ensure they abide by the safety standards

of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, and NMEDA’s Quality Assurance Program (QAP) – the only program in the industry that promotes quality, safety, and reliability. When searching for an adaptive mobility specialist to assist with your family’s mobility needs, NMEDA should serve as your stamp of approval because all NMEDA dealers offer:

s Individual evaluations to identify mobility solutions fit to meet your family’s specific needs

s Experienced and knowledgeable local support for sales and service

s Factory supported warranty systems for your accessible equipment

s 24-hour local emergency services to keep you and your family safe and secure

NMEDA sponsors National Mobility Awareness Month in May where we educate, encourage and show the world how people with disabilities can live active, mobile lifestyles with the assistance of mobility solutions and wheelchair accessible vehicles. National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) for more information contact them at 866-948-8341,, or



The Process of Making Fitness Fun

by Eric Chessen, M.S., YCS


hen we embark upon a new activity or skill, we’re usually not too adept at it. From clarinet to skiing, I’ve experienced the enlightening glow of failure with numerous pursuits. I quit the clarinet in 4th grade after, as I recall, about three months and skiing I got good enough to realize it wasn’t my thing (I dislike the cold). Nonetheless, these were specific pieces of more general constructs; I still have a life-soundtracking love of music. And, while “retiring” from skiing, I still, hopefully quite clearly, am highly active with weight

training being my primary focus. Trying only one thing, having limited results, and “draining the whole ocean over it” is common with special needs and physical activity. Let’s figure out how to make it fun and sustainable. You can’t force fun. That is the first rule in my Autism Fitness programming. Telling a less-than-enthused individual that they will/are having a good time when the opposite is quite evident does not help much. There are, however, a few key principles in establishing healthy levels of physical activity and proficiency for special needs populations.



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1) Keep it General. At speaking events parents will approach me and say something like “We tried soccer and he/she didn’t like it”. This is the equivalent of saying “I tried celery and I don’t like it so now I can’t eat healthy”. One little area of team sports is not the whole world of physical activity. All of my programs revolve around fundamental movement activities; squatting, pushing, pulling, crawling, climbing, swinging, jumping, and throwing. Each movement can be made simpler or more challenging based on individual abilities. All of these “big” movement patterns will help us perform better in daily life, regardless of whether we participate in a specific sport. Young people also tend to “burn out” from the same sport over and over. An approach that embraces “Active Play” lends to more creative options and being able to build on existing skills. Short jumps become longer jumps because the prerequisite skills have already been developed. It is far easier to go from general skill development to specific skill development than the reverse. For example, it is more efficient to strengthen the trunk and shoulders and then work on handwriting mechanics than starting with the hand (distal proximity) and working back towards the larger muscle groups (proximal).

2) Start Small and Short. With new fitness/ m o v e m e n t activities, I like to begin with just a few minutes, sometimes a few

seconds of activity followed by reinforcement and/or a break.This seemingly arduous process is helpful because it introduces new tasks slowly without being overwhelming. For individuals with gross motor or strength deficits (just about every individual with ASD I’ve ever worked with), performing the new exercises without fatigue is critical to developing proper technique and motor planning. In school settings and at home, I am a proponent of interval fitness activities. A few medicine ball push throws and a bear walk. Then, maybe twenty minutes later, they can do some squats and jumps rather than saying “Okay, we’re going to do movement for the next 45 minutes..” Starting off with short periods of new activities can alleviate anxiety and introduce new skills systematically.

3) Pairing for Reinforcement. Pairing is the process of combining a neutral or nonpreferred stimuli (physical activity, in our case) with a known reinforcer. Pairing is cool. When we do something that may be disliked, but do it in a positive environment that rewards us for trying, eventually that non-preferred thing can become reinforcing itself. On the journey towards making fitness fun, we want to include behaviorspecific praise, access to breaks, and, apart from edibles, provide individualized rewards for engaging in a new activity. When first introducing exercise and active play programming, our athletes may need a high ratio of reinforcement time to instructional time. Eventually, with consistent practice, success with new activities, and positive support, we can “thin” the schedule and have a healthier ratio of instructional-to-autonomous time.

4) Balance Structure and Controlled Chaos. My favorite question to ask my athletes is “What do you want to do”? Of course, in order to ask this, I have to be certain that they are already capable of performing some of the foundational activities from which to choose. If I know that my athlete(s) has/have independently mastered push, overhead and scoop throws, bear walks, low hurdle jumps, squats to a ball, overhead Sandbell walks, and can discriminate between red, blue, and green cones, then we have a basis for some self-driven active play. The previously-mentioned activities were, at some

point, all taught in a structured environment. Each was probably regressed to a point where the athlete could perform some version of the activity and progressed until they could perform the movement with appropriate levels of strength and stability. Structure time is when we teach individual ividual activities to the point of mastery. astery. Controlled chaos time (AKA ls are play), is when those skills taken to the playground, d, park, or other appropriate environment vironment and performed in a random ndom sequence. Developing active play skills relies on first teaching movement patterns in a structured setting. This is why it is crucial to increase adaptive functioning (motivation) where it is lacking. The more motivated an athlete is to engage in physical activity, the more teaching opportunities we will have. All four of the concepts outlined here have significant correlation to one another. General activities introduced in short periods of instructional time, with appropriate and individualized reinforcement with eventual encouragement of autonomy, is a wordy but efficient path to success. The process of teaching exercise and active play in a way that is conducive to enjoyment and long-term engagement means making sure you account for these factors.Very few of us in Neurotypical-land enjoy being told what to do, particularly for lengthy periods of time. We want our special needs athletes to develop active play skills while being able to generalize what they do during fitness time to new environments and situations. We return to structure time to develop skills further, make fitness even more fun, and establish healthy living over a lifetime.Y Eric Chessen, M.S., YCS Eric Chessen, M.S. is the creator of the PAC Profile Assessment Toolbox (, PAC Profile Workshop series, and consults with special needs programs around the world. Available on

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Image courtesy Facebook Friends

fun fitness health & fitness

health & fitness Nutrition

by Ch b Christina i ti B Bartlett, tl tt RD, RD LD


t’s a great idea to combine physical activity and good eating habits to achieve a healthy lifestyle and body weight. Sometimes, it is much easier said than done. We know that if we can combine them, they can reduce the risk for developing serious health conditions. It can also manage current health conditions, so they do not worsen over time. When it comes to your children, how do you instill healthy habits? Remember, children form habits from their parents. You and your family can consume healthy meals and be active together. Allowing your children to be a part of meal preparation is key. It can be as simple as allowing them to pick out a recipe, pick out a new fruit and/ or vegetable or helping you prep the meal. When it comes to activity, make it a family event. You can walk the dog, wash the family car, throw a ball or Frisbee, play basketball, ride your bicycles around the neighborhood or swim in the pool. Think of new ways to be active together.



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Write down certain food and activity ideas your family would like to try. Place all of your ideas in a jar and pick one out on a regular basis.

Here is a good guideline to follow. This will help your entire family stay on track.

5 or more fruits and vegetables. Aim to consume 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Preferably fresh/frozen to retain fiber and limit added sugars.

2 hours or less of screen time. This refers to watching TV, playing video games or using computer or tablet; outside of educational purposes.

1 hour or more of active play. Make physical activity a part of your child’s daily routine.

0 sugary drinks. The best drink choices are water and low-fat (1%) or fat-free milk. Allow these healthy habits to change over time. It will make life easier in the long run, when your family works together to live a healthy lifestyle.Y Christina Bartlett RD, LD is a Registered Dietitian and the owner of Everything In Moderation. Dedicated to providing nutrition information that is tailored to the individual. Visit:

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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

by Barrie Silberberg


ood can make you feel bad. Each of us are a unique being, no one else is just like us. Some of us suffer from diseases that require certain foods to be eliminated or reduced from our diet. There are also other reasons why one must change their food intake. It could be a disease such as Diabetes or Celiac Disease, or it could be an allergy or intolerance to a certain protein, enzyme, or ingredient that appears in a food or food product. In 2004, Congress passed a law to protect shoppers because there was such an outbreak of people with allergies; many with anaphylactic reactions to certain foods. This law is called The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA). It went into effect January 2006. For more information: http://www. ucm220117.pdf This law states that if a food product contains any of the top 8 allergens, the ingredient must be posted on the label. It is posted either as a warning (contains…) or on the ingredient list on the package. Ninety percent of reactions to allergens have to do with these ingredients: milk, wheat, soy, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, and peanuts. People are allergic to many other foods as well, but these are just the top 8 that have been identified. When eating some foods, individuals may not experience an allergic reaction (hives, swelling, itching, cramping, bloating, asthma reaction/ breathing difficulties, tingling, vomiting or diarrhea, etc.), but they may have other reactions such as: a change in behavior or sleep patterns, red ears, hyperactivity, tics or head banging, headaches, learning difficulties or even seizures. For a detailed overview read: The


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Feingold Diet: Some behavioral reactions can occur from eating certain foods such as: apples, apple juice, grapes/raisins, tomatoes and tomato based foods, peppers, citrus, chocolate, nuts, bananas, berries, apricots, cherries, coffee, spices, cucumbers/pickles, currants, nectarines, etc... It is best to remove all of the possible offending foods listed above and on this web site: http://www. Then, one at a time, for a full week, add one food item in (single ingredient only!), and look for reactions. Keep a journal notating any changes in appearance, behaviors, or ill effects. If no changes occur, you can keep that food in the diet and add another and observe. If you see reactions or ill effects immediately remove the food item and log it in your journal. Tell others who are around your child often (teacher, relative, baby sitter, etc. ) to be aware of what you are doing. Make sure they do not disrupt your plan. Ask them if they notice any changes, as well. A huge list of additives also causes some of the same reactions. Preservatives, labeled as BHT, TBHQ and BHA are notorious for causing many ill effects! Other additives that should be avoided for good health are artificial colors and artificial flavorings, nitrites/nitrates,

special diets health & fitness how horrific the food is in these places? Yet consumers continue to eat this so-called food. Food should taste fresh and full of flavor. If you doubt this, go to a store or farmer’s market that sells organic produce. Buy one apple, one orange, one banana or some organic vegetables and taste the difference! This is what real food should taste like...and look like. Many people will, no doubt, mention cost. Some times it’s the difference of less than a dollar to upgrade to organic. Would you rather put your money into food or doctor/hospital bills and medications? People tend to not look down the road to the future. Preventative health is imperative for a great, healthy, fulfilling life. One full of energy, happiness and many years of enjoying your loved ones. Not to mention all of the amazing events that await you in years to come!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:

© The Monday Campaigns, Inc

aspartame, and anything that you cannot pronounce! Healthy food exists, you just need to know WHERE to shop and eat and HOW to shop and eat. One of the best grocery chains, which are quickly spreading all across the USA, is Trader Joe’s. The food they sell has real ingredients and no chemicals. Sadly, once in a while, one will see some candy with artificial ingredients so be VERY careful to still read labels. Their chicken has one ingredient: CHICKEN. Their corn has one ingredient: CORN. They have an abundance of organic foods and the prices are extremely affordable! Currently, they are in 37 states (Vermont opens May 16th -for 38!!) with 415 stores in the USA and growing! Compare the labels and the prices you are paying. Also compare the percentages in protein, fiber, sodium, etc. You will be amazed! There are other great stores out there, too, but be very careful to read labels...the entire label, ingredients and the percentage chart to see what foods are going into your body. It almost seems that I do not need to mention this, but sadly fast food thrives in America. Don’t we all know

Now we get Mondays off!

One day a week, cut out meat.

Kiddie Cobb on a stick

Encouraging Speech & Creating Yum!

by PSN Team & Becca Eisenberg

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verything taste better on a stick and these Kiddie Cobb’s on a Stick are fun to make. Plus, they are easy to transport for picnics or any summer fun activity. They are packed with protein that will stick with your kids through the day. We used smoked turkey for the flavor that typically comes from bacon, and “drizzled” blue cheese dressing over the final, finished product.

U-iÀÛiÊ܈̅ÊLÕiÊV…iiÃiÊ `ÀiÃȘ} *Recipe uses All Natural Boars Head Smoked Turkey Breast and all Natural Boars Head Muenster Cheese that are *Feingold approved .



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Language Time:

Instructions/Prepration Parent: Hard boil eggs and peel in advance. Parent/Kiddo: Wash lettuce leaves and

tomatoes and dry with paper towel.

Kiddo: “rip and tear” lettuce leaves in to bite size pieces. Parent/Kiddo:

Peel and remove seed from avocado, then cut into chunks.

Parent/Kiddo: Cut smoked turkey and cheese in to chunks.

Assembly Parent/Kiddo:

Thread cheese, lettuce, tomato (sideways), smoked turkey, repeating the pattern onto wooden skewer. Make sure to leave room at the top for the egg. Serve by drizzling dressing over the skewers. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Eat! Talk! Enjoy! Note: we had these for dinner and again the

next day for lunch and the avocados were fine, however, you may want to cut avocados and assemble the skewers the morning or day of your event.Y

Cooking together can be a fun and multisensory activity for you and your child. Focusing on a simple recipe with your child will allow you to work on language while having fun. Have a child with an allergy or a special diet? This recipe is super easy to modify and swap ingredients. Before beginning the recipe, review the ingredient list with your child. This will help your child become familiar with the ingredients while expanding vocabulary. Explore each ingredient and describe the taste and feel of the ingredients (e.g. lettuce is green and crunchy, tomatoes are red and juicy). Each ingredient can be its own language activity! For example, when presenting an unpeeled avocado to your child, ask your child “How should I get this open”? This can be a great exercise for problem solving. Ask them to guess what color the avocado is inside and discuss the texture of the peel and how it compares to the smoothness of the avocado. Explore the pit inside (discuss color, shape, feel, etc…). Work on actions such as boil (when you boil the eggs), peel, cut, tear, dip, put on, take off, slice, etc. Create a pattern with the stick and have your child tell you the ingredient you should put on next. This provides an excellent opportunity for your child to use their expressive language (e.g. “time for the lettuce”). If you are working a particular sound, choose foods with that particular sound (e.g. you can work on the sound “t” with the “turkey” and “tomato”). Target sequencing! After you finished with the stick, ask your child to tell you the steps to the recipe. If that is too challenging, ask your child to tell you what order you put the ingredients on the stick. With the stick as the visual cue, your child can name each ingredient in order. Target prepositions when making the Kiddie Cobb on a stick. For example, work on the prepositions such as next to, on top off, under, etc. Other language concepts include color, size, and shapes. Discuss how the ingredients are similar and different. For example, an avocado and tomato are both fruits. However, an avocado and tomato are different shapes and colors. I made a similar recipe with my own kids using fruit and some treats. To see that post click here . I will often make all different types of stick treats and will use a chopstick instead of a kebab stick. A chopstick works well and also provides another opportunity to learn a new word!

Carryover Picture Books: ,i>`ʺ œÌÊÊ-̈VŽÊ»Êby Antoinette Portis or º …œ«Ã̈VŽÃ» by Amy Krause Rosenthal Y Becca Eisenberg is a mother of two young children and a speech language pathologist, author and instructor. Her website, 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.

MAY/JUN 2014



Easter Hunt Over? NOW!

7U\3HDQXW+XQW by Barbara Sher


ou know how much fun last Easter’s egg hunt was? There is something about finding hidden treasures that appeals to everyone from toddlers to Indiana Jones. But, why wait until next spring, almost a whole year away, to enjoy a good hunt? A bag of peanuts in their shell would work fine. One of the advantages in using peanuts over eggs is if they don’t get found there is no rotten egg smell! Hide the shelled peanuts around the house, or even in one room if you want to keep the children under eye but happily occupied while you get the dishes done (and doesn’t it seem that there are always dishes to be done?). If you want to spread the game out, and you have a yard, hide them outside. You can hide some in full view for the little ones and others well hidden for the older kids. If you end up using this idea at a kid’s party, or with siblings of different ages, give the smaller kids a 5-minute head start for the hunt. If your child is allergic to peanuts, you can use individually wrapped candy. But, if you worry the kids will have a sugar rush from candies, hide something else, such as marbles. At the end of the marble-hunt, the found marbles could be combined together for a marble game. The marble game could be the traditional kind in which players take turns flicking their marble into a circle of marbles. The goal is to see how many marbles can be knocked out of the circle. The rule is each player gets to keep the marbles that their marble knocked out of the circle.



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But,t keep it simple if you want and just play an easy game of flicking one’s marble to see how far it can go. Do the kids still want a bit of competition? Whose marble can go the longer distance? Don’t have marbles or worried that the little ones might swallow them, use plastic animals. Bags of plastic animals are usually easily found at the store. Hide them “here and there”.They could even be hidden among the plants, whether the plants are in containers or on the lawn. Once they are all found, the pile of animals could inspire a zoo game using broken twigs for fences. Poker chips is something else that might be fun to hide. At the end of a poker chip hunt, players could make a tower of chips together or they could roll the chips on their rims for a poker chip race. If there were no marbles, animals or poker chips available, the whole treasure hunt experience can be done with people and lead into a raucous family game of hide and seek where adults and kids take turns hiding and being found. If you end up just doing the original peanut hunt game, it’s still pretty wonderful because at the very end you will have a satisfying pile of peanuts to crack open and eat. And that is fun enough!Y Barbara Sher M.A.,O.T.R, an occupational therapist and author of nine books on childrens games. This game is adapted from Barbara’s new book THE WHOLE SPECTRUM OF MOTOR, SOCIAL AND SENSORY GAMES: Using Children’s Natural Love Of Play To Enhance Key Skills And Promote Inclusion. Check out Barbara’s other game books at any on-line bookstore or get a free game designed for your child at her web site:

learning to sign fun & functional

ASK Angie ASL Exercising with Deaf children by Angie Craft


his month’s issue is about “getting moving”. When exercising with children who are deaf, or hard of hearing, some things should be taken into consideration. While it isn’t always the way, some deaf students may prefer to become involved in individual sports such as swimming, yoga, dance or martial arts. Balance may be an issue with some deaf children due to certain types of hearing loss and should be taken into consideration when choosing a sport. Gymnastics may be a good way to improve balance issues.

Some things to remember when exercising with children who are deaf are:


Keep it visual. These students need to have access to seeing the instructor at all times, allowing them to copy the movements of the instructor.


Some students may want to remove their hearing aids during strenuous activities due to excessive sweat getting into the battery case of the hearing aids. A solution could be the use of a hearing aid sock that covers the battery case and keeps it dry. Another solution is to place them into a “dry kit” after activities to get any moisture out. Both can be found at hearing aid stores or through Harris Communications.


And lastly, keep it fun and include the entire family if possible!

Here are some interesting sites to check out! National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability (NCHPAD) is positioned to effect change in health promotion/obesity management among people with disabilities through its existing 15-year history of providing advocacy, services and programs to numerous organizations and people throughout the country. Yoga PAH! provides yoga classes, workshops, retreats and other events with and to those involved in the Deaf Communities: family, friends, hearing, Deaf and Hard of Hearing (HOH)

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. Karate Image Courtesy of the National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability (NCHPAD)

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by Cristen Reat


hat do an accessible theme park, an iPad and a road trip have in common? Vacation fun!

Spring and summer time bring thoughts of getting away from the routine--vacations, camps, visiting relatives and that inevitable time in the car called: The Road Trip. We know from experience and our own childhood that road trips can sometimes be fun, sometimes frustrating experiences. Including a child with special needs on a long car trip can pose unique challenges. My two sons, Martin (13), and, Vincent (10), enjoy new adventures, but it is not always easy. Vincent has Down syndrome, a visual impairment and many sensory issues, making travel and trying new things—regardless of how well planned out—quite challenging. Recently, our family traveled to Morgan’s Wonderland which is the world’s first accessible theme park. I thought I would share how our family used technology during our trip to maximize the fun factor and reduce stress. Technology was not the focus of the recreation, but rather a tool that could enhance the experience of having fun together. Morgan’s Wonderland, located in San Antonio, Texas, features 25 acres of ultraaccessible activities and equipment including a carousel, train ride, car ride, fishing pier, sensory gym, playground, swings and much more. All areas are designed to be wheelchair accessible and sensory friendly; welcoming people of all ages and abilities to relax and play together.




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Before the visit. We used our iPad to go to the he Morgan’s Wonderland website, looked at photos os of all of the activities available, downloaded some pictures and talked about them (Skills: new vocabulary, conversation building about what we will do).


In the car- Road Trip! p! Our family loves playing Mad Libs, so we took turns playing by passing the iPad around using the free Mad Libs app. The visual display is crisp and easy to read with hints available if you get stuck (um, usually those pesky adverbs trip us up!). It is a way for all of us to play a game together at our individual levels that results in lots of giggles (skills: parts of speech, language development). Martin and Vincent enjoy playing Switch Box Invaders, which harkens back to a version of the popular arcade game Galaga. No matter where you tap on the screen, the “spaceship” fires at the aliens, making it a successful experience for Vincent who has visual tracking and processing challenges. The sound effects are great, points are tallied, and the speed at which the spaceship moves is adjustable, making it a fun way for two brothers with different skill sets to play and enjoy together (okay, mom likes it too). Skills: visual tracking, cause and effect, fine motor. For those times when the boys are just staring out of the window asking “are we there yet?” we use Signs – Autism Series to see how many of these community signs we can pick out and identify on the road. Signs includes pedestrian crossing, stop sign, camping, exit, one way, etc… (skills: picture identification, naming, vocabulary, safety).

BU T T E R FLI ES Pic Collage P

A Morgan’s At W Wonderland. W used the camera We for f snapping photos aand taking videos of o each other throughout the different areas of the park.

After the trip. Once home, Martin used the app Pic Collage to take his favorite pictures and make collages out of them. These photo collages can then be printed out or shared via email, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. There is an option for creating and sending a physical postcard that is great for sharing with loved ones far away. This is a creative activity that the boys can do together. There are other fun ideas the boys had to remember the trip. They used the app Kid in Story Book Maker to create a customized book where they could place a picture of themselves into the story! Vincent likes to talk, so by using the voice recorder feature, he enjoyed narrating the sequence of events while Martin typed in the words (skills: social stories, literacy). Scene Speak is an app that provides a framework on the iPad to create interactive visual scene displays which is great for creating books and social stories. The unique feature of this app is that it allows you to create hotspots, which is an area of the screen where you can add sound, text labels or a link to another scene. For example, Martin and Vincent spent a lot of time in Sensory Village, which has a darkened room where soothing sounds and images of butterflies, tadpoles and falling water drops are displayed on the walls. We took some of these pictures and added “hotspots” so that when you touched the scene, our recorded voices said “Look at those butterflies” or “Can you catch a tadpole”? All in all, this is a visual and auditory way to talk about all of the things that we saw and did together (skills: sequencing, language, communication). So, for your upcoming family vacation, think about using your mobile device to make that road trip seem just a little bit shorter and make those amazing memories last a little bit longer! Have a story to share about how your family uses technology? We would love to hear about it!

b Cardinal Blue by Pic Collage is a great app for sharing pictures on P a trip. Pic Collage allows users to make a collage u using their camera roll on their iPad or Google IImages. Students with special needs love this app. They can easily add stickers, text, fonts and frames to their photo collage. Then, they can share their collage on social media sites. Price: FREE IOS: id448639966?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D4 Android: details?

Full review:

Switch Box Invaders S b Cognable by SSwitch Box Invaders is a game for users with sspecial needs who use assistive technology to ccontrol the iPad. The game is a motivational means of developing and improving m sequencing, timing and basic switch control skills. It can be controlled with a single switch connected using most iPad compatible switch interfaces or it can be played by touching any part of the screen with a hand or arm. Switch Box Invaders is perfect for killing boredom during wait times at theme parks, events, and in the car. Price: FREE IOS:

Full review:

Signs – Autism Series S b WebTeam Corporation by iiSigns – Autism Series is an app for users with Autism and other developmental disabilities A tthat helps them develop receptive identification oof signs. It is very easy to use and helps learners differentiate from a variety of daily living signs that they see in the community. Using this app in the car along with pointing to visible road signs will reinforce the real life connection. Price: 99¢ IOS: Android: details?id=air.SignsLite&hl=en

Full review: MAY/JUN 2014



Mad Libs M b Penguin Group USA by Mad Libs is a fun app where users make up M ssilly stories by filling in sentence blanks with nouns, adjectives, verbs and other word types. n IIt teaches grammar, sentence structure, parts of speech and vocabulary. Mad Libs can be played alone or as a great form of educational entertainment on long road trips Price: FREE IOS: id326885152?mt=8

Full review:

Kid in Story Book Maker K b Locomotive Labs by KKid in Story Book Maker app is a wonderful way to document and share your trip. While on w vvacation, kids can take pictures of themselves or background pictures alone and create the story b of the trip later. Children love telling stories of things they experienced so this app is a great way for them to write their own personal story. Price: FREE (Full version $6.99) IOS:



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Full review:

Scene Speak S b Good Karma Apps by SScene Speak is a unique app for children to create interactive visual scene displays and c social stories. Users upload images and add s “hotspots” . A hotspot is an area of the screen “ with sound, text labels or links to another visual scene. What a fun way to remember a trip! Price: $9.99 IOS: id420492342?mt=8

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

post your



Click here >>

Cristen Reat is co-founder of BridgingApps and a mother who found success when using a mobile device with her children who have special needs.



MAY/JUN 2014

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Sharing“I CAN!”attitudes Conquering It All! My name is Belinda (Bellie) and my son is Jordan Cook. He has several “disabilities” that affect his legs and arms. In addition, he has CP and Austim; sensory issues and low muscle tone among others. He has just gone on the biggest scout camp at Woodhouse! There, the leaders helped him to achieve and do everything at camp…even climb the rock-climb wall. This was a magical moment for us all and we shed a tear of happiness! He even got to get “messy” and stay “messy”! I, myself, have spinal bifida and scoliosis that prevents me from doing lots of things! You can imagine how happy I was that he got to

Jordon achieving with an “I CAN” attitude Images courteousy Bellie Haupt

take part in so many types of activities. Nothing was too hard for their leaders or our son at camp! Y ~ Bellie Haupt (Proud Mom)

Next Issue! Share a Proud Moment with us 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. Please make sure to include photos.

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Parenting Special Needs  

May/June 2014 Issue

Parenting Special Needs  

May/June 2014 Issue