A vibrantly illustrated picture book, "I Am, Too!" is the story of six friends, three who have disabilities and three who do not, and the fun they...
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A vibrantly illustrated picture book, "I Am, Too!" is the story of six friends, three who have disabilities and three who do not, and the fun they have sharing their favorite activities with each other!
Corona, Calif.-based author Jennifer Hendrick Davies has catapulted her professional experience with children and adults with special needs into an exciting new children's book. With illustrations by Burbank-based illustrator Lena Rose, "I Am, Too!" is published by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform and is for sale on amazon.com and other online retailers.
Readers will have fun with six unique characters who just love sharing their favorite activities with each other! "I Am, Too!" serves as a powerful learning tool for parents and teachers alike, showing kids that we have far more similarities than we do differences. Already finding its way into classrooms and libraries, "I Am, Too!" is a must-read for children ages three to six. Its message of acceptance and friendship will resonate with both children and adults. Find on amazon.com under children's books, keywords "I Am, Too!"
Amputee Cieran Kelso, 8, fulfilled his dream of swimming with Winter the tail-less dolphin at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, Florida. Cieran was obsessed with Winter after seeing her in the movie 'Dolphin Tale.'
After losing both his legs to meningitis when he was just one, Cieran also uses custom-made prosthetic flippers to swim.
The first children’s book on Visit-ability has been launched! Libby, Aria and Benjamin have been best friends since they were babies. Now Aria has moved to a new house. Libby, who uses a wheelchair, doesn’t get invited to Aria’s birthday party because the house has barriers. Hurt feelings follow.
Then the kids meet Everett, an adult wheelchair athlete, who tells them how the disability rights movement gained successes through years of public demonstrations and pressing for laws. Everett shows them a photo from the 70’s showing people with disabilities blocking inaccessible buses.
The kids are inspired to create their own version of public action to achieve the goal of a step-free entrance and wide bathroom doors in every new house. Learn how the kids get on the front page of their hometown paper, as their method gets them in trouble -– and how they achieve a sweet victory. "Libby and the Cape of Visitability" is the diary of Libby, a KWD (Kid with Disability).
Written for children ages 8-13, this book raises awareness of the exclusion created when houses are not built with simple features that allow mobility-impaired people to visit or live in them. For those grownups (teachers, parents and others) who engage in meaningful dialogue with children, this book provides not only a captivating story and relatable characters, but a Reader's Guide with discussion questions and resources as well. Written by Eleanor Smith, a housing rights worker, and Nadeen Green, a teacher, writer and blogger on the topic of fair housing.
You can find and order Libby for your Kindle, Nook, Sony eReader, iPad, etc., in numerous online outlets, including AuthorHouse ( just type the title in the box at the upper right), Amazon.com for Kindles and desktops, and BarnesandNoble.com for Nooks.
“Yes we can cross any finish line!” says Kelli Tanghe, a proud mother of three, and her 12-year-old daughter Arianna (Ari), who has cerebral palsy and a visual impairment. In September 2012, upon entering Middle School, Ari expressed her desire to “race with mom” and compete in sports just like her athletic older brother and sister have done their whole lives.
Kelli, a Boston qualified marathoner and ultra-marathoner, decided that she needed to act on making her daughter’s dream a reality. With that… Team Ari was born and Kelli pushed Arianna in her first 5k race in her wheelchair.
Since that first race, Kelli and Ari have been running together as a dynamic mother/daughter racing duo. In order to push Ari with more ease, Kelli now uses an adaptive running chair for all of their races.
To date, they have completed 5ks, 10ks, half-marathon, and marathon events. They are currently striving to complete 13 half-marathons in 2013 to celebrate Ari becoming a teenager. It is their mission to encourage individuals with disabilities to participate in running events.
What Kelli did for her daughter is inspiring and what they are now accomplishing together as a team for others is extraordinary. Go Team Ari!
Learn more about Team Ari and connect with them on their blog.
The Obama administration for the first time is telling school districts across the USA that they must give students with disabilities equal access to extracurricular sports, a move that advocates say has been years in the making. In a letter to schools, Acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Seth Galanter of the Department of Education says schools should provide "reasonable modifications" to allow special needs students to participate – for instance, providing a deaf track athlete with a flashing light that goes off simultaneously with the starter pistol that others hear.
He said schools don't have to radically alter games or stop choosing the most qualified athletes for competitive teams. They can look to “allied” or “unified” sports teams, in which students with disabilities participate with students without them. Schools can't deny a student with a disability a slot on a sports team because a coach believes he can't compete.
Schools that don't comply risk losing federal funding, but civil rights cases rarely get that far. “We think it's huge,” said Kirk Bauer, executive director of Disabled Sports USA, a national non-profit group established by Vietnam veterans that offers sports rehabilitation programs to anyone with a permanent disability.
The 2012 Sports Illustrated Kids SportsKids of the Year, brothers Conner and Cayden Long, were honored at a star-studded event in New York City. The Long brothers were part of the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year ceremony that recognized Miami Heat star LeBron James. Celebrities such as Jay-Z, Beyoncé, and Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski were also in attendance, and everyone there was impressed by Conner's and Cayden's accomplishments.
Cayden, suffers from cerebral palsy, but Conner doesn't let that stop him from playing sports with his brother. The two compete in triathlons together, with Conner towing Cayden behind in a raft during the swimming leg, towing him behind his bike during the cycling portion, and pushing him during the run. Triathlons have been a great way for the brothers to come together and have made them an inspiration to everyone that hears their story.
After hearing their story at the Sportsman ceremony, Coach K said that Conner and Cayden have scholarships to Duke waiting for them when they get older, and LeBron said that the brothers should get ready for the private plane that is going to take them from their home in Tennessee to Miami to "meet the guys." Even Jay-Z and Beyoncé couldn't wait to shake hands with Conner and Cayden. Click here for more and watch their inspiration video in the video player.
Molly Taylor babysat Emma while her mother worked. She often read Cinderella to Emma and both Molly and Emma felt that the story didn’t speak to them. After an unsuccessful search to find books targeted for children with physical challenges, Taylor decided to write her own, just for the little girl,Taylor took it upon herself to write Special Shoes, a book that shows moments from Emma’s life with her family. And the little girl wears braces and uses a walker just like Emma!
Special Shoes was published this summer, and it’s a beautiful book that allows Emma to feel like the princess that she is. The illustrator used pictures of Emma to make the illustrations and now Emma reads the story every night and gets to feel special.
Available online at www.tatepublishing.com (24 pages; ages 6-10; $8.99)
"What's up?" the cover says. Social Rules for Kids - The Top 100 Social Rules Kids Need to Succeed, that's what's up.
Susan Diamond has written an invaluable resource to help any child sharpen their social skils and learn to navigate the social world. Diamond, a licensed speech-language pathologist wrote 100 one-page lesson plans on how to teach kids to navigate daily social interactions.
In her forward, Ann Gordon write, "Some of these children have difficulties because of learning difficulties, some because of autism spectrum disorders, and some because of emotional challenges. What these children share is that they don't know what to do when, what to say to whom, or, in short, how to make and keep friends."
To order Social Rules visit www.aapcpublishing.net
Tucked between a baseball field and a performing arts center in Tinley Park in Chicago is a new playground that — quite literally — is designed to level the playing field for children with special needs.
At first glance, McCarthy Park looks like any other suburban playground with its standard red, yellow and blue equipment. But it offers visitors a smorgasbord of well-thought-out features — including a rubberized surface, metal ramps and sensory-activity panels — that make it the first completely accessible playground in the village and, experts say, one of only a few dozen in the Chicago area.
Opened last month, the playground was developed with the goal of creating a space where children with disabilities could easily move around and interact with others.
For more about Tinley Park click here.
During the recent National Volunteer Week, CNIB congratulates one of its most dedicated volunteers, and a past Play to Podium magazine “cover girl” for receiving the Ontario Medal for Young Volunteers, the highest honour a young person can achieve in the province.
Toronto’s Meaghan Walker, 17, was one of six honourees in a special ceremony held at Queen’s Park by The Honourable David C. Onley, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario and Charles Sousa, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.
Meaghan was introduced to CNIB at age 11 through a family in her neighbourhood with triplet girls, one of whom was born blind. Inspired by the special challenges this family faced, Meaghan not only befriended the family to be of help, but began fundraising for the CNIB. Meaghan’s efforts started small with bracelet sales and lemonade stands and grew as she did – most recently raising $2,000 at a gala organized at her high school.
“The priceless gift of time that CNIB’s volunteers give to our organization and the community we serve is essential to everything we do,” says Linda Goldblatt, Executive Director, Ontario-Nunavut, CNIB. “However, it is a rare and special experience to work with a volunteer as committed as Meaghan at such a young age.”
For Meaghan, the message she wishes to convey is two-fold: to inspire the world to see people’s abilities rather than disabilities and to encourage young people to get engaged in a cause that is meaningful to them.
“Volunteering has been a huge part of my life because I know how fortunate I am,” says Meaghan. “I love seeing people happy – the children and adults I’ve worked with who are blind bring a smile to my face each time I see them accomplish something they weren’t sure they could do.”
Tony’s Place is the 2nd accessible playground for children of all abilities in Long Branch, NJ. A universally accessible playground, integrated for the enjoyment by children of all abilities. It provides meaningful, sensory-rich, and developmentally appropriate play opportunities.
Check out the video of this truly accessible playground. Winner of New Jersey’s Park and Recreation Association’s Excellence in Design Award, 2011-12!
Experts are predicting 2012 to be one of the worst for Lyme disease risk. Each year in the U.S. alone, 40,000 cases of Lyme disease are documented and health experts are predicting 2012 to be the worst year for Lyme risk ever. A warm winter combined with a lean harvest of acorns are adding to this risk. According to a recent article in the New York Times, a lack of acorns results in a smaller population of rodents - meaning that ticks will be looking for other hosts - us!
Here are some helpful tick-prevention strategies to keep you, your family and pet protected this summer:
1.) YOUR YARD: Ticks are not out in the middle of your lawn, they live where yards border wooded areas, or anywhere it is shaded. Place a layer of wood chips between your grass yard and the woods edge. Ticks are attracted to the wood chips because of the shade and moisture it provides.
2.) TICK CHECKS: Do periodic tick checks (on yourself, children and pets) and carefully remove any found. (Wear light colored clothing so ticks are easier to find.)
3.) OUTDOOR PURSUITS: When on a hike, bike ride, or walk, try to remain in the center of a trail in order to minimize your exposure. Remember - ticks cannot fly, they crawl up. Avoid sitting directly on the ground, woodpiles or fallen logs - areas where ticks love to live.
4.) PERSONAL PROTECTION: Wear tick repellent clothing. Insect Shield repellent apparel is EPA registered to repel ticks (as well as a variety of other pesky and potentially dangerous insects.) The repellency is odorless, invisible and long-lasting. Insect Shield apparel is available for adults, kids and even your dog!
Information courtesy of Insect Shield. Learn how Insect Shield works at http://youtu.be/iSoYLlGu_8g.
Unfortunately, the arrival of winter is followed by an increase in visits to hospital emergency departments by young people presenting with head injuries resulting from winter activities, including tobogganing. Fortunately, helmets are known to reduce the risk of head injury; but with so many helmet options available today, which is the best one? Dr. Michael Vassilyadi from the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) Research Institute, together with a research team at the University of Ottawa, put this question to the test.
Currently, there is no certified winter recreational helmet available, so parents use what is available or no head protection at all. This study compared the protective characteristics of three types of helmets, hockey, ski, and bicycling helmets.
The study found hockey helmets offered the best protection for the younger kids. For more visit Play to Podium.
Autism on the Seas are dedicated to providing vacation and travel options for individuals and family's living with special needs, including, but not limited to Autism, Asperger Syndrome, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy and all cognitive, intellectual and developmental disabilities. They recently announced a new partnership between with CareVacations to further enables families to enjoy a pleasant time together in great destinations.
Autism on the Seas has selected CareVacations as its preferred provider for special needs equipment and products for selected cruise departures, including sailings aboard Carnival Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line and Disney Cruises. Autism on the Seas is the leading special needs travel provider for families living with autism, Down syndrome, other disabilities and/or special needs.
CareVacations provides an essential selection of services for families and individuals traveling with special needs.
“It’s important for families of special-needs kids to know that travel is possible for them,” said Owner and Founder of Autism on the Seas Michael Sobbell. “Our program aims to make vacations possible for the whole family, and CareVacations services are a perfect enhancement to our cruise and accommodation services.”
After losing her legs at the age of two to meningitis, courageous 10-year-old Lydia Cross has notched up a huge number of achievements. Having already raised over £60,000 for war veterans in the United Kingdom, Lydia was determined to make the most of her recent challenge.
Invited by her local Rotary Club to take part in a Remembrance Sunday ceremony, Lydia’s parents contacted her prosthetist, Bob Watts at U.K.’s Dorset Orthopaedic, to ask if they could make her a special pair of prosthetic legs.
Lydia wanted her prosthetic legs to show-off poppies, the flower used to symbolise lives lost in both wars. The challenge to Dorset Orthopaedic came at the right time. Says Watts: “We had been working on developing a new range of silicone cosmeses called myDesign. The idea was to allow clients to effectively ‘design their own legs’ using their imagination! The idea has gained a lot of interest. We are seeing a growing trend from amputees who want to show off their prosthetics in a creative way.”
Lydia and her policeman Dad and former Commando Tony, met with Watts and one of the lead-artists at Dorset Orthopaedic, Di Pidgely. Taking Lydia’s sketches, Di developed the concept into a final design showing Poppies growing from grass and reaching the sky, a theme that Lydia thoroughly approved of. The next challenge was to translate the design into the prosthetic leg.
Pidgely explains that “it takes considerable artistic skill combined with know-how of working with silicone pigmentation to produce the design. We pay a lot of detail to re-creating a 3-dimensional effect so that the design literally does stand out. We were very proud of the finished result.”
Lydia and her Dad attended the ceremony with the world’s media watching. Lydia's mum, Jodie, who stayed at home, watched the event on television with pride. She said during the event that Prince Charles noticed Lydia and asked one of his aides to find out who she was. She added: "Lydia thought it was an amazing event and she said she felt quite emotional. She looked lovely – particularly with her special legs.”
Dorset Orthopaedic has now launched the myDesign theme on their website. Watts adds, “we have perfected the ability to translate an artistic idea into reality. We want to help other amputees express their individuality. The myDesign concept is absolutely unique and with a brief sketch, we can custom design practically any idea.”
To learn more about myDesign, please visit Dorset Ortho
To see the BBC interview with Lydia, visit http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-15711333
For those with disabilities, traveling around the world is a little more difficult if not downright daunting. To find an accessible local business or service is difficult enough, but in a foreign country it is almost impossible – or at least it used to be.
That is until Raul Krauthausen of Germany, a wheelchair user himself, developed a free iPhone app just for that. Called Wheelmap, the app shows wheelchair access places around the world and rates them on their accessibility.
Users can help. Since the app is also linked to the Wheelmap website, gallivanting globe trotters can rate locations on their accessibility and even share tips. While most of the cities are in Germany right now, you can rate anyplace you’ve been – buildings in your local town or those you have traveled to in your state or province. Major cities like London and New York are growing in ratings, but you can put your own city on the map.
You can rate locations without registering, but must log in to add specific comments and share tips. It is still a work in progress, but you can help it grow! Visit the English version of the app at http://en.wheelmap.org.
This mobility safety update has been brought to you by NMEDA – the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association. For more visit www.nmeda.com.
What toy will be best for my child? What are the safety considerations I should be aware of? What features should I look for in a toy? Where do I find toys that will be appropriate for my child?
These are only a few of the questions often asked by parents, family members, or friends of children with special needs. Toy buying for a child with special needs can be a frustrating experience. You want the toy to be right for the child, to be fun, to engage, to promote growth, yet you need to recognize the specific capabilities and challenges that your child faces. This guide helps parents and others understand toy-buying considerations and promote awareness of many of the questions toy buyers should ask and answer before purchasing a toy for a child with special needs.
Visit www.play2podium.com for tips and advice on buying toys for children with special needs.
AbilityPath.org launches national campaign to raise awareness, end obesity epidemic, publishes guide for parents and caregivers in coalition with Special Olympics and Best Buddies International.
Children with special needs are far more likely to be overweight or obese than their counterparts according to "Finding Balance: Obesity and Children with Special Needs," the second in a series of groundbreaking reports produced by AbilityPath.org, an online resource and social community for parents and professionals serving the needs of adults and children with disabilities. This landmark report, the first to focus exclusively on how the obesity epidemic affects children with disabilities and special needs, presents not only the extent and causes of the problem, but also offers practical solutions for families and others caring for these children.
"For too long the national discussion about obesity has excluded millions of children who are most affected," says Sheryl Young, CEO of Community Gatepath, the nonprofit organization that created AbilityPath.org. "This eye-opening report and Parent Toolkit will allow parents and others to find the right balance of solutions as they work to improve the health, nutrition and fitness of their children with disabilities and special needs. This report shows there is hope and that it is well within reach."
In collaboration with Special Olympics and Best Buddies International, the country's premier organizations representing those with intellectual disabilities, Young announced that AbilityPath.org is launching a nationwide campaign that will engage a broad coalition of parents, health professionals, activists and policy makers to adopt and promote tools for healthier, more active lifestyles among children with special needs and disabilities.
"We must all be part of this fight," says Timothy Shriver, Chairman and CEO of Special Olympics. "Obesity is not just a health issue – it is a family issue, a social issue and a human dignity issue."
AbilityPath.org produced Finding Balance after hearing for years about the struggles that families faced in their efforts to keep their children with special needs and disabilities at a healthy weight. Food issues, medication side effects, limited mobility and limited access to sports and other active recreational activities make the challenges families face even harder. "Few people understand how many obstacles there are and how few resources on this subject exist," says Young. "We wanted to give help and hope to those who need it most."
Finding Balance brings together in one place, for the first time, information and practical solutions for parents, health professionals and other caregivers intended to address the multiple challenges that are rarely understood. The report highlights various disabilities and their influence on obesity, providing suggested remedies for overcoming those challenges. "This report is a critical guide for making change," says Anthony K. Shriver, founder and chairman of Best Buddies International, an organization that provides opportunities for friendship, employment and leadership training for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. "The key is offering opportunities for companionship, recreation and inclusion.
The full report can be downloaded by visiting Ability Path. Finding Balance's Parent Toolkit provides strategies and tips for parents to help their special needs child develop a healthy relationship with food, covering topics such as working towards a healthy weight, eating in restaurants, healthy snacking, resources for adaptive and inclusive fitness activities, and more.
Tap, swipe and paint with fingers, with more than 40 interactive activities in a world of animation and color. Crayola, whose products have inspired creative expression in children for more than 100 years, and Griffin Technology, one of the world’s foremost creators of innovations for everyday life, have rolled out a new Crayola Paint & Create app, which brings hours of activities, coloring, and painting to the iPad.
Play to Podium magazine editor Brenda McCarthy sees the app’s benefits for kids with disabilities too. “I’m always amazed at how many kids with motor function challenges I see at trade shows smiling and playing away on mom or dad’s iPad. This will be a great app for these kids too.”
The Crayola Paint & Create app gives children a way to create masterpieces on the iPad, while boasting additional activities and interactive coloring features."The iPad is very much a part of kids’ play time today, just like the Crayola crayons, markers, and paints they use to express their original ideas,” said Warren Schorr, Crayola Director of Licensing. “We combined our Crayola colors with Griffin's digital expertise to create an exciting new way for children to color, paint and express their creativity."
Kids can color in animated pages, or generate their own works of art from a blank canvas. All artwork can be saved to the gallery, e-mailed, uploaded to Facebook, or printed out. The app is available at an introductory price of $2.99 from the App Store. Ongoing updates will deliver new pictures and activities.
Sometimes siblings find it hard to know what to play with their special needs brother or sister. Here are a few ideas for fun activities.
- Make hand shadows on the bedroom wall
- See who can sit longest without laughing
- Make newspaper snowballs and throw them at each other
- Play with balloons – draw faces on them and then play throw and catch
- Listen to a story tape together
- Table board games
- Ball games
- Word games
- Balloon games
- Hairstyling and makeup
- Dance together
For more great ideas visit Sibs.org.
With a carousel with chariots for wheelchairs, Braille games decorating the side panels on the jungle gym, and table-high sandboxes, this San Antonio-theme park aims to offer everything a special needs family might enjoy, all the while appealing to guests without disabilities as well.
This inventive and heartwarming 10-hectare, $34-million amusement park caters every detail to visitors with physical and cognitive disabilities. And since opening last year, Morgan’s Wonderland (www.morganswonderland.com) has attracted more than 100,000 guests, with three out of four visitors being able-bodied.
The inspiration for Morgan’s Wonderland originated in 2006 when Texas philanthropist Gordon Hartman observed a poignant occurrence involving his daughter Morgan, a child with special needs, and a group of other children. All were on vacation splashing in a hotel swimming pool. Morgan appeared as if she wanted to take part in the fun, and the others exhibited similar interest in interacting with Morgan. Unfortunately, the connection never materialized.
Hartman thought then and there how wonderful it would be to create a special place for special friends. It would be an environment for inclusion and understanding. It would be an oasis for those needing a safe place to relax and enjoy the outdoors. Morgan’s Wonderland began with a desire to re-image the possibilities of what an inclusive park could be, if everyone were free to soar beyond their perceived limitations. This colorful and ultra-accessible 25-acre park serves as a haven not only for those with special needs but also for their families, friends and the entire community.
Funding for Morgan’s Wonderland began with an initial gift of $1 million from Gordon and Maggie Hartman in love and admiration for Morgan. Financial commitments from the City of San Antonio, the State of Texas, charitable foundations, corporations and individuals have made it all possible. Additional gifts and grants as well as proceeds from the soccer complex enable Morgan’s Wonderland to admit special-needs individuals free and others at a nominal charge to the first park of its kind in the world specifically designed for the recreation and enjoyment of individuals with special needs.
The mission of Asa Products is to provide a WOW, WOW, WOW experience for their customers, developing and delivering products that improve the lives of others and encourage a fit and fun lifestyle. And the company is doing just that with innovative, stylish, high-quality family products.
Asa has been in the active lifestyle products business for over 12 years, established in 1998 as a Minority and Female Owned Business Enterprise in the active lifestyle market. Among its product line are the Shift, Mobito and the Triton, three-wheelers with appeal for all kids, regardless of ability. In fact, here are three machines that many kids with disabilities can climb into and ride off with their friends.
The Mobo Shift is the world’s first three wheeled cruiser equipped with a reverse function. This cruiser boasts other unique features such as free-wheel manoeuvrability, a dual-joystick steering system and a reclining back seat with six angle settings to optimize back comfort and support.
The Mobo Mobito is sized just for kids and includes all of the features of other Mobo models: unique mobility, comfort, safety options and innovative design. Other features include advanced back support and an adjustable frame designed to fit most young children, and an all-new emergency brake feature.
The Mobo Triton, “the Ultimate Three Wheeled Cruiser”, is an ultra manoeuvrable three wheeled cruiser for children and adults. With a very unique, yet simple steering mechanism, not only is the Triton fun and enjoyable to steer, it is also easy to ride, durable and a great way to obtain a brisk work out resulting in increased cardiovascular health and hand-eye coordination. It sits low to the ground, which makes it safe to ride. Caliper hand brake makes slowing or stopping quick, smooth, and easy.
And then there’s the Mini, the world’s smallest luxury three wheeled cruiser, geared for children between 30 - 60 months old. The Mobo Mini features everything you're looking for in a young children's cruiser. With a unique steering system, the Mobo Mini presents a development tool for hand/eye coordination and muscle strength at a young age, benefits that will have a lasting positive impact.
Relaxing, safe, and a fun-filled experience designed to promote an active lifestyle, parents can count on other benefits like an invigorating exercise, increased arm and leg strength, improved hand-eye coordination and enhance cardiovascular function. Very cool for kids with special needs, and reasonably priced at $199 to $599 US depending on the model. Visit www.mobocruiser.com.
The Amputee Coalition urges people to handle fireworks carefully, follow instructions and to make sure children are properly supervised when using fireworks this Fourth of July weekend. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in 2010, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 8,600 people for fireworks-related injuries, up 1,600 from 2008. These injuries most often involve hands, fingers, eyes and legs.
“Every year, after-the-fact, we hear the news reports about people losing fingers and portions of their hands to fireworks accidents,” said Amputee Coalition President & CEO Kendra Calhoun. “Fireworks are a traditional part of America's celebration of Independence Day, but we want families to have fun this Fourth of July, and having fun means they avoid an unnecessary trip to the hospital emergency room. Legal consumer fireworks that comply with Consumer Product Safety Commission regulations can be relatively safe, but all fireworks are hazardous and can cause injury if proper safety measures are not followed.”
Even sparklers can cause serious burn injuries, burning as hot as 1,800 to 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the type and the contents of fuel and oxider used. This is more than sufficient to cause severe burns or ignite clothing.
According to the Amputee Coalition, the best way to prevent losing a finger or part of your hand to a fireworks-related injury is to leave fireworks displays to the trained professionals. But for those who participate, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the National Council on Fireworks Safety have issued these tips:
• Do not let children under 14 use fireworks.
• Supervise individuals under age 18.
• Only buy from reliable fireworks sellers. Read & follow all warnings and instructions. Use fireworks only as intended; don’t try to alter or combine them, and don’t experiment with homemade fireworks.
• Use fireworks outdoors only; keep them away from houses and flammable materials.
• Have a bucket of water nearby.
• Do not try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them in water and throw them away. (Keep a bucket of water nearby for dousing.)
• Be sure other people are a safe distance away before lighting fireworks.
• Never ignite fireworks in a container –especially a glass or metal one.
• Store fireworks in a cool, dry place according to their specific storage instructions.
• Do not wear loose clothing near a fire or while using fireworks.
• Rockets should be launched from a rocket launcher.
• Sparklers need to be handled carefully –they burn at 1,800 to 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Light them one at a time at arm's length. Always wear gloves while holding a sparkler, and never give one to a child under 5 years of age or hold a child in your arms while using sparklers.
• Educate children (of all ages) about the dangers of fireworks and teach them to practice safety at all times.
• Don’t mix alcohol and fireworks.
Before purchasing fireworks, familiarize yourself with your state’s fireworks laws. Check the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Web site for state regulations, and check your local government’s laws – many municipalities ban or restrict fireworks use.
There's still some time to enjoy the great outdoors! People with disabilities can enjoy many federal recreation sites for free.
When you visit a federal recreation site, just present some documentation of disability status and ask for the free Access Pass. Documentation includes a physician's statement, or a document issued by a State or Federal agency like the Veteran's Administration, Social Security Disability Income, Supplemental Security Income, or a vocational rehabilitation agency. This pass gives you and three adults free admission to federal recreation sites around the country, and it's good for life!
For more details about the passes, visit http://store.usgs.gov/pass/access.html . To find a recreation site, visit http://www.nps.gov/findapark/index.htm . (Not all recreation sites issue the passes. Please call first.)
Have fun out there!
At sixteen, life was good for Logan Olson. A young high school student with lots of friends and a bright future in fashion to look forward to, Logan had it all. Life took a very unexpected turn for Logan, but her focus for her future stayed on course.
Now 25, the beautiful young woman is creating amazing opportunities for herself as the editor and publisher of Logan, a magazine for young women with disabilities. Logan was born with congenital heart disease, and on Halloween 2001, she’d been walking through a haunted house with her dad and two brothers when she suffered a sudden heart attack and collapsed. She survived the heart attack, but fell into a coma that left her with a brain injury.
It took seven months of intense rehab and physical therapy for Logan to regain her speech and mobility with the help of a walker. In that time, her friends and life seemed to have moved on without her. Feeling hopeless about reaching her long-time dream of working in the fashion industry, Logan fell into a depression. “I thought my life was over,” says Logan. “But my parents gave me the strength and encouragement I needed to get out of my mental funk and start to create my own opportunity. That’s how Logan magazine was born.”
“There’s a black hole for kids with disabilities after high school. I could see Logan slipping into that if we didn’t have a plan,” says Laurie Olson, Logan’s mom.
Logan Magazine debuted in November 2006. She has been nominated for a Governor’s Award, featured on Washington State Library posters, and honored with marketing awards.
“Our readers have a desire to live life to the fullest, says Logan. “Like our mission, our readers want to look great while experiencing all life has to offer. It makes me proud to hear that my magazine makes teens with disabilities feel like they’re not alone.” Visit the publication’s website at www.LoganMagazine.com.
SpecialNeedsParentCoach.com has a goal to give parents of a child with special needs and their families the practical strategies for successfully navigating, balancing and enjoying life. Founder and President Joan Celebi is a life coach and proud mother of two children, one of whom has special needs.
Through workshops, teleseminars, individual coaching and her monthly newsletter, she helps parents simplify their lives and make time for priorities so they can focus on what matters most. Celebi publishes the free monthly Overwhelmed No More! newsletter, writes a daily blog (The Special Needs Parent) and offers a variety of free resources on her website including The Ten Essentials of Balance and Harmony for Parents of Children with Special Needs and The Special Needs Parent Coach Survival Guide. Visit www.SpecialNeedsParentCoach.com.
The new term in adaptive exercise is “Wii-Hab” and rehab facilities all across the country are chiming in. Physiotherapists, occupational and recreational therapists are discovering that Wii, the popular Nintendo gaming system, can help people with physical disabilities regain strength, mobility and dexterity.
The Wii fitness games are exciting, challenging and motivating… in other words, far from boring. It’s easy for gamers to forget that they’re actually exercising. A great tool for not only the institutional setting, kids can Wii-Hab or get “Wii-Fit” at home too.
The average price for a Wii is $250. This may seem like a lot, but seeing it as an investment in physical activity and health, the cost seems more than reasonable.
For the uninitiated, unlike other video-game systems, the Wii comes with a sensor (a bar you place on top of your TV), that responds to arm and leg movement. Many Wii games require only slight arm movement to play. It’s great for kids with more severe mobility or functional disabilities – those who don’t have the finger movement to use systems like Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3. Therapists use chest straps for some clients - to prevent them from swinging their way out of their wheelchairs - or rubber bands to help secure the controller in gamers’ hands (flying controllers can be a hazard to TV screens). What better way to get a cardio workout than having fun while doing it?
For a complete list of Wii games, and which controllers are required to play them, visit www.nintendo.com/games.
A tip: Rent one before you buy.