My Bike Program Sponsored by Variety the Children’s Charity Pittsburgh

Do you remember your first bike? The feeling of the wind blowing in your hair, the sun’s warmth on your face? There is a sense of freedom when riding a bike especially for children. Not everyone is able to ride a traditional bike though, like children with special needs. Everyone deserves to experience the independence, mobility, and health benefits that bike riding provides. Adaptive bikes are expensive and are cost prohibitive for many families.

In November 2012, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald announced a new program intended to provide bicycles to those in need. Corbett teamed up with Variety: the Children’s Charity of Pittsburgh on the program called “My Bike.” It began giving adaptive bikes a decade ago, under its Kids on the Go mobility program but they started “My Bike” to increase access. Corbett said the program will provide adaptive bicycles to children with disabilities in the 10-county greater Pittsburgh area to increase their mobility and encourage play. These counties include Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lawrence, Washington, and Westmoreland.

Variety’s mission:

“Variety the Children’s Charity provides children with disabilities unique programs,experiences, and equipment, so they may live life to the fullest. Variety works to ensure that children with disabilities can participate in the same activities as any other children by providing mobility equipment and social programs to children, ages 21 and under, in ten counties in Southwestern Pennsylvania.”

Variety’s “My Bike” program provides adaptive bikes to children with disabilities who meet the eligibility guidelines. For more information and for an application, visit Variety: The Children’s Charity of Pittsburgh’s website,

The cost to sponsor a bike is $1,800 and can be sponsored by individuals and organizations.

My Bike

Image Source: Variety The Children’s Charity Pittsburgh

Social Security Administration Changes Terminology: Mental Retardation to Intellectual Disability

Social Security Symbol- Blog

The Social Security Administration is considering dropping the phrase “mental retardation” to “intellectual disability” according to a Federal Register announcement made late January. A proposed rule was highlighted on Docket No. SSA-2012-0066 on January 28th, 2013.

This term is frequently used in the Listing of Impairments that Social Security uses to evaluate claims involving mental disorders in adults and children under titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act. Since the term affects reimbursement for Social Security and other payments, the agency is receiving comments until February 27th.

Social Security was not mandated to change its terminology; however, this proposal is in response to Rosa’s Law which was passed in 2010 mandating Federal agencies to change references to “mental retardation” to “intellectual disability”. Rosa’s Law did not include titles II and XVI.

Rosa’s Law was named after Rosa Marcellino, a nine year old girl with Down Syndrome. Her family worked with state legislation to have the words “mentally retarded” officially removed from the health and education code in their home state of Maryland. On October 5th, 2010, President Barack Obama signed the bill into law. Rosa’s Law amends the language in all federal health, education and labor laws to remove that same phrase and instead refer to Americans living with an “intellectual disability.”

Comments can be submitted by Internet or fax and must refer to Docket No. SSA-2012-0066 and should only include information that you wish to make publicly available. Visit the Federal eRulemaking portal at and use the Search function to find docket number SSA-2012-0066. For fax, the number is (410) 966-2830.

Comments will be available for public viewing on the Federal eRulemaking portal at

Image Source: Google Images


Blogs for Special Needs Parents

No parent has to tend to a special needs child — no matter his or her age — alone. Even those whose lives involve serious or rare conditions will invariably find others with identical or similar experiences. In the digital age, blogs make it simple to connect with professionals and parents with plenty of advice, comfort, and resources to offer. Check out some of the following for detailed discussions about almost anything and everything related to raising an individual with special needs.

Assistive Technology

40 Blogs for Special Needs Parents_Page_1_Image_00011. The Assistive Technology Blog

Virginia Commonwealth University and the Virginia Department of Education join up to develop and discuss the latest in technologies designed to make life more accessible to special needs kids and adults alike.

2. Assistive Technology

School psychologist Dr. Brian S. Friedlander specializes in assistive technologies in an educational setting, but his commentary certainly applies to outside of it as well sometimes.

3. Assistive Technology Blog

Venkat Rao shares news and opinions regarding assistive technologies today, with some seriously cool devices on display.

4. AT Blog

Check out Maryland Department of Disabilities’ official blog for thorough, detailed information about assistive technology developments, events, news, and plenty more.

5. Assistive Technology Blog

Along with the blog, this absolutely essential resource also provides a podcast and product reviews to help parents, teachers, and other caretakers make the right choices for their kids.

6. Indiana Assistive Technology Blog

Despite the name and talks of relevant legislation and regulation, much of the content discussed here still works on national and international levels.

7. ATLA: Assistive Technology of Alaska

Another region-specific assistive technology blog whose m.o. applies to situations in other states and nations, making it a fantastic read.

8. AT Blog

It may be based out of California, but AT Blog’s frank postings about assistive technology developments and implementations still engages audiences from different backgrounds.

9. PATINS PROJECT Rapid Fire Blog

Both parents and teachers head here for advice about best practices to ensure equitable educational opportunities for special needs students.

10. Innovative Technology Treatment Solutions

Not all of the articles posted at Innovative Technology Treatment Solutions necessarily involve AT, but the blog features enough on the subject to warrant consideration.

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11. To The Max blogger Ellen Siedman writes mostly about special needs parenting (as one can probably imagine considering the site), but she frequently branches out into general issues as well.

12. Disability Studies, Temple U.

Follow this highly insightful blog for an academic dissection of special needs and intelligent solutions for properly addressing them.

13. Children with Special Needs

Ideal for both parents and teachers, Terry Mauro’s website and blog for covers a wide range of topics pertinent to making sure special needs children receive proper care in safe spaces.

14. 5 Minutes for Special Needs

Special needs advocacy, education, parenting, and more are the name of the game here, making it a particularly essential digital resource on the subject.

15. Friendship Circle Blog

Both the blog and the website that hosts it come packed with commentary and valuable resources for parents and teachers tending to special needs children and adults.

16. Patti’s Blog – Advocate for Elders, People with Disabilities and Their Families

Any parents, caretakers, and family members contending with special needs individuals of any age must bookmark Patricia E. Kefalas Dudek’s — an attorney and advocate — official blog about everything they have to know about their rights.

17. Different Doodles

Much of this blog’s content centers around education, but it includes enough general information about parenting, legalities, and more to warrant placement here.


The New England INDEX focuses on people and programs making a difference in the special needs community, providing inspiration for those living in other states and countries.

19. The World of Special Olympics

Regardless of whether your child participates in Special Olympics events, savvy parents with an activism and advocacy bent would do well to follow what one of the leading organizations serving special needs individuals is doing for the community.

20. Jews and Special Needs

Michelle Wolf analyzes special education trends and topics from an obviously religious perspective, though readers of all faiths can still walk away having learned something!

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21. On Special Education

Nirvi Shah at Education Week analyzes the ins and outs of special education news and strategies for parents and teachers alike.

22. The Wrightslaw Way

Parents with special needs children in homeschooling and more traditional classroom environments alike should become intimately acquainted with the laws and advocates shaping their lives.

23. Special Needs Homeschooling

Moms and dads who wish to homeschool their special needs children for personal or practical reasons will find this blog an essential stop when perusing the Internet for valuable educational resources.

24. Teachers at Risk

Elona Hartjes, one of Canada’s most trusted advocates and educators of special needs and troubled children, blogs about best practices for keeping kids and their teachers safe from harm.

25. The Life That Chose Me

Read the experiences and perspectives of a special education professional whose sons also live with autism spectrum disorders; while not about homeschooling, such parents will certainly appreciate the recommended resources!

26. My Angels and Autism

Considered one of the best special needs homeschooling blogs around, this one focuses on how one mother educates within the parameters of the autism spectrum.

27. Special Education Law Blog

All parents and teachers who care for special needs students must stay on top of the legislation and movements that dictate how their educations are structured.

28. Special Education Strategies and More

Ideal for homeschooling parents as well as those wanting to know the viable strategies special education teachers are currently utilizing in the classroom.

29. Montessori and Special Needs

Explore how the Montessori method applies itself to different special needs situations, whether schooling a child within the system or at home.

30. Special Education and Disability Rights Blog

Advocacy and education collide in an informative resource that should sit on the bookmarks list of every special needs parent.

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31. Love That Max

Ellen Siedman returns with a more personal look at parenting her son with cerebral palsy, sharing both personal stories and broad resources for other moms and dads needing encouragement and advice.

32. Special Needs Blog presents a detailed read delving into almost everything parents need to know about making sure their special needs kids live happy and healthy lives.

33. Everything and Nothing from Essex

One of the most popular blogs about parenting a special needs child focuses on an Essex-based family (like the title states) with a Down syndrome daughter; make sure to download the e-book as well!

34. Uncommon Sense

Follow one family’s ups and downs trying to figure out what causes daughter Maya’s developmental delays — a simultaneously tragic and triumphant experience many special needs parents will indeed find relatable.

35. Hopeful Parents

This grassroots organization reaches out to special needs parents with the hope of providing both emotional support and resources about raising happy, healthy kids.

36. Shut Up About Your Perfect Kid

A book, a blog, a website, a movement — special needs parents share their stories through Shut Up About Your Perfect Kid to peel back the frequently frustrating reality of their respective situations.

37. A Different Dream for My Child

No matter the diagnosis, parents seek solace with one another through this blog, which overflows with personal stories as well as resources for a wide range of needs.

38. eSpecially Ben

Writing allows these parents to channel their hopes and fears about raising a special needs child while simultaneously providing support and useful advice for others with similar lifestyles.


Presented by Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, BLOOM offers up almost everything a special needs parent could want in an online resource.

40. Special Needs Jungle

Though based out of the UK, parents of special needs kids and adults worldwide will nevertheless find some common ground with the contributors here.