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Archive for the ‘special needs’ Category

Ficklets Eyeglass Charms Are Fun Eyewear

Let’s be honest, most children who are told that they must wear glasses will often not be thrilled with the idea of having to wear eyeglasses.  For many children, it is the idea that others will make fun of them or, cause them to be viewed as being different from other children their own age.  Being bullied because you are visually impaired and have to wear glasses can cause a child to refuse to wear them, out of fear of being made fun of.

No one want to be made to feel self conscious about themselves, especially at certain ages when it is most important to fit in with their peers.  We’ve come along way since the days of having  a choice between wearing heavy black plastic frames or  wire frames that were basically your only choices.

Still, everyone likes to look their best and there are many fashion frames from which someone can choose to fit the shape of their face and their sense of style.   On the other hand, if you are looking to change things up so that you don’t get bored with a certain look once you’ve purchased your eyeglass frames; there wasn’t much you could do except buy multiple sets of glasses…until now.  To Continue reading: Write Where You Are

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      If you are the parent of a special needs child then you know that growing up special in today’s world is not easy.  Finding ways to help your child be successful and to be as independent as they can be is often a challenge.  Too often those children, or young adults, are shuffled off to a seperate area or to a “special” program.  Acceptance is sometimes hard to come by.

        Therefore, it is vitally important to create an environment where your special person is accepted, loved, encouraged and challenged to spread their wings.  Finding appropriate venues to integrate them with “normal” or “average” peers is difficult. 

        When you are able to find a good fit…often you must force yourself to stand back and let them do and be.  That is easier said than done.  As a parent you are always in a protective mode…and you should be…but…you must also let them be as independent as they can be without interference.  🙂 

          Do you have some great experience that you could share with other parents of special needs children or children who have been adopted who struggle with issues?  If so, others could benefit from your successes and possibly even your struggles.  Check out this blog:  http://www.growingupspecial.com/  Introduce yourself and leave a comment.  You never know…you just might find others to share with. 

          

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        Ben Stiller, the talented and funny actor has a new movie coming out; it is called Tropic Thunder.  It is a movie he was instrumental in producing, by doing the writing and directing, among other things.  There is a boycott brewing by special needs advocacy groups because of a movie within the movie.  The movie is supposed to be a mocking satire of actors who will take any movie no matter how over the top or bizarre to make a name for themselves as an actor, without regard for the subject matter. 

         Is this something that is supposed to be funny?  The lower our standards of conduct go…the funnier it is supposed to be…is that the concept?  Instead of getting kudos by the industry for a financial success…there should be a call to accountability; demanded by the American public for standards of decency.  Controvery about the subject matter should not just be just a tool used by public relations departments to garner curiosity that translates to box office rewards; that is my opinion. 

         One of the movies within the movie called, Simple Jack, allegedly mocks and makes fun of people with disabilities.   Meetings with advocacy group leaders were held with Stacey Snider who is a chief executive at Dreamworks…the company that released the film to try to address the concerns about the movie.  The studio has refused to make changes to the movie.  Shame on them!  Their attempts at humor just aren’t funny when the laughs are at the expense of a population of people born with disabilities.  Where is the respect?  (more…)

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        For those of you who have never heard of Operation Smile it is a great not-for-profit organization that organizes volunteers who team up to medically improve the lives of children who were born with facial deformities.  The non profit was begun by Dr. William P. Magee, Jr. who is a plastic surgeon and his wife.  

         Together he and his wife Kathleen S. Magee, who is a nurse and clinical social worker, put their skills into practice since 1982, working towards helping improve the life conditions of children who have been impacted by cleft palates and other facial deformities.  For a relatively low cost of approximately $240.00 a child’s life can be radically changed.  The impact of this life changing operation can not be praised enough.  Improving a child or young adult’s self esteem is invaluable to the quality of life they will have.  Many people who are born with facial deformities endure physical and emotional hardships due to the mistreatment from others.  Building up children and their families by bringing this kind of health services to them that they could not possibly afford on their own is a major humanitarian contribution.

           Operation Smile has grown to include a large volume of volunteers who labor to bring health and happiness to those who receive the benefit of it’s services.  At this point, over 26 countries are considered partner countries who are actively working with Operation Smile.  Their headquarters are located in Norfolk, Virginia.  They have offices around the world to educate and bring awareness of their cause and in those offices they work to raise funds to pay for the charitable works that they do.

        If you are interested in donating either your medical skills, your time, or fundraising abilities or even donating money here is the number to call 1-888-OPSMILE (888-677-6453) .  In Norfolk they also bring children to America to receive care on scholarships that they might not be able to receive in their own country for the more complicated surgeries.  Training is also provided for those with medical skills who wish to advance their specialized skills for work in the area of facial deformities.

         Cindy McCain, a philanthropist and businesswoman has been on Operation Smile’s board of directors for some time.  She has worked with this organization since 2001; long before her husband, Senator John McCain became a Republican presidential hopeful for the 2008 election.

          If her husband’s run for the presidency brings some attention and focus on her work with Operation Smile; I don’t think that Cincy McCain will mind.  That focus may bring more medically skilled volunteers as well as donations of money that will help Operation Smile to continue bringing, hope and help to those in need.  http://www.operationsmile.org/   Is there a willingness in your heart to help or to donate to this great organization?  https://www.operationsmile.org/help/donate/

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         Ok, it is June 1st, and you know what that means…it is the start of Hurricane Season; get ready.  Each season is filled with predictions of how many storms and how many hurricanes are expected…but, truthfully, there is no way to know for sure how many hurricanes there will be; or, where they will hit.

        The best thing that can be done is to keep an eye on the weather predictions and to be prepared as best you can.  There are some great ideas such as having an emergency preparedness kit available.  Pack them in plastic tubs so that they are water proof; and, are easily put into a vehicle at a moments notice.

          Those kits should include bottled water, batteries,flashlights, matches, candles, extra blankets, important documents, non-perishable food items, a couple of changes of clothing for each person, battery operated radios, extra medications that are taken daily, some baby formula/diapers, a phone/address book that has contact information regarding doctors and insurance company information in them.   Those are the type of items that are needed and they can be quickly accessed if you plan ahead and keep these items all in one location.

       It is wise to also have available tools, nails, sandbags, and boarding to cover windows and doors, in case the hurricane should hit your area.  Plan ahead to have an evacuation route to take, to leave the area early if you are going to do so; this is especially important if you have special health needs or physical challenges.   Keep an extra can of gasoline in the garage, for just such an emergency, if you are being encouraged to evacuate quickly.   Gas prices will go up at a time like this and the lines at the pump will be long and filled with stressed out people.

            If you stay…you are risking your life; and potentially, the life of anyone who may have to “rescue” you later.  Keep emergency flares in your vehicle and maybe in the upper most level of your home.  Stored food and water must be sufficient to last for several days; multiply the amount for each person who stays.  Remember, if help is needed…they may be overwhelmed and may not be able to get to you quickly.  It is best to leave the area than to risk lives unnecessarily.

         Communication with loved ones is very important at a time like this; so, if you have a cell phone, keep it charged and if you don’t have one…keep a calling card with you just for an emergency.  Remember, regular utilities such as phone, gas, and electric may be cut off.  Keeping loved ones informed about where you are and what your plans are, will help to cut down on any confusion and extra anxiety that you may experience. 

              Just an extra bit of advice, if you have valuables or pictures or documents that you absolutely can not afford to lose, you may want to consider keeping them on the upper most level of your home or take them with you.  Many people have lost important papers or pictures that are time consuming to replace or are irreplaceable. 

            With a little bit of planning…if the worst happens and your home or business is damaged…at least you can make it easier for your family to get to a safer place quickly.  Get flood insurance if you can get it.  Lessons learned over the last few years from all of the devastating storms that have been hitting around the world…no things are worth loosing your life over…and, the most important thing is to be as prepared as you can be to lesson the pain and suffering that these horrible storms can cause.  You can check out the hurricane storm situation at:  http://www.noaa.gov/

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         Support is a simple enough word; but, more importantly it is a powerful tool.  My dictionary says this about support:  To hold or bear weight, to tolerate, to give assistance, approval or aid.

          Quite often we hear the word in association with divorce as in spousal or child support.  This is usually in regards to finances.  This too is important in life…because truthfully, needing money to survive is a basic necessity in our world.  But there are many types of support that we need to survive.

           We need physical support throughout life such as encouragement through hugs, pat on the back, a kiss, food, water, shelter, a high five now and again.  We need emotional support that carries us through the hard times.  Most often the emotional support comes in the form of a mixture of physical touch and verbal words of encouragement.  When our words and our body language don’t match…people pick up on that and feel rejected.  But when you combine words with positive body language…that has the power to lift people up and help them to overcome obstacles and challenges that they face.

          Today, my family will be supporting three wonderful human beings that our family has been blessed to know.  All three are teachers at the core of who they are…in fact, they are “professionals”…teachers also by trade.

          One teacher, Mrs. K, has been battling cancer since her son was born 4 years ago.  She is a young woman who has given so much to her special education students and their families.  She has been making an impact on those around her by inspiring and teaching even during her illness.  

          Her husband and child have been a source of love and encouragement.  Her former students (she has not been able to work for the last 2 years because of her treatments) have motivated her and connected with her to communicate their love and support for her.  She has touched the lives of so many people that i think it surprises her how many people care about what she is going through.  Today, there is a community fundraiser to help her family out financially; as she continues to fight against the cancer that has spread in her body, even though her treatments have been aggressive.  This community support, i hope, goes along way to bring a surge of love and support to Mrs. K and her whole family.  I pray that they are lifted up and touched by the level of love (and finances) sent their way.

         Today also, we will go and support and celebrate a marital union of two other teachers who have been a big part of our family, for years.  They are blending a family officially and legally.  But more importantly, they are blending a family physically and emotionally.  One is a special education teacher who has been bringing educational support to our community’s families who have children with challenges.  We are blessed to know Mr. S.    His bride, J, will soon be Mrs. S.    She has waited 5 years for this day.  Together they will have 5 children in their family.  “J” has been teaching one of my children in a homeschool environment for the last year.  She has brought much love and support to our family as well.

         The thing about support is that it requires sacrifice.  What you put out there into the world comes back.  Support, either you’ve got what it takes…or you don’t.  Who can you find to support today?

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       Here is a story i could sink my teeth into since i am the parent of several special needs children.  A young boy, by the name of Adam Race, has been banned from the church that he has attended since 1996.  He has been banned because he is autistic, and is very large.   He has several behavioral challenges that the church is suggesting endangers other attendees.

        Adam’s priest by the name of Daniel Walz has filed a restraining order against the 13 year old’s parents; which the mother has violated.  Understand that Adam is only 13; however, he is six feet tall and weighs somewhere around 225 pounds.  The sheer size of the young man is definately something to consider. 

       The priest alledges that Adam has struck another child during services and that in his zeal to leave the building, has at times almost knocked over elderly parishioners.  Adam has also run out of the building and, started a couple of vehicles to hear the “calming roar of the engines”.  This is another danger concern.   Adam sometimes has a problem holding his urine; and, if he needs to be restrained during difficult behaviors, he fights it.  The mother and father, do at times, have to restrain him.  This can all be quite disruptive; and that, plus the concerns for safety, has led the priest to file the restraining order.  The priest felt they had no other choice.

        It seems that before that filing, the priest and a church trustee attempted to discuss their concerns with Adam’s parents.  They offered the family other options and accomodations to deal with the behavioral issues.  The family refused.  It hasn’t been revealed what those other accomodations were.  The family has defied the restraining order and continued to attend church with their son.  By the way, this is a family of seven.

       I have special needs children as i said before.  I have also been a foster parent to many special needs children who were behaviorally challenged.  I know the stress of that.  I know the need of sitting in church to receive peace and a strengthening of my faith.  I also, am well aware that most of the time…it is much more stressful trying to achieve that goal of peace and strength in a very public setting with others who have no idea of the daily struggles living and providing for special needs young people requires.

        You see, you need special training to deal with some of the behaviors and special requirements.  So you can’t just happily send a special needs child off to a sunday school classroom with people who are unprepared or untrained in those skills. 

        My husband and I have been teachers in several church settings.  We know what it is like to be the teachers or instructors in charge .  We have had to teach and sometimes handle special needs children or teens in that environment as well. 

          One time, we did have a young man who was also very large for his age and autistic.  It was a child that did not attend regularily, this program was a vaction bible school event.  The platform was a raised one.  All of the children were encouraged to stand in front of the platform during praise and worship.  Then, when that was done, they were encouraged to sit down in the rows of pews.  The young man in question, at one point, ran to the front while the puppets were performing.  My brother- in- law, who was a weight lifter, was operating a large puppet that included having his arm encased in a fur lined sleeve.

       The young man ran up on stage and grabbed my brother-in-laws arm and pulled it down over the front of the puppet stage and almost broke my brother-in-laws arm.  It took several people to disengage him.  It was something we were un-prepared for.  The parents had dropped him off during the services and left.  This was unusual…because the other days of that week, they had stayed with him and helped to keep him under control when he would get overly excited.  Communication is key in these situations.  Educate the workers or volunteers to the special skill sets that they will need to work with special needs youths successfully!

        Most of the time, having special needs children in church is workable.  You discuss with the family members or care givers what works for each child as an individual.   Maybe you can even get the parents to help volunteer in the children’s program to help out. You do your best so that the caregiver can get a couple of hours of peace and “down time” from the strains of 24/7 caregiving, if possible.   Raising awareness about those who live with special needs children and providing support is the goal of this website:  http://www.growingupspecial.com/  (more…)

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