Tag Archives: developmental disabilities

Toughest Job In the World

They say April showers bring May flowers, and we can’t hope for a sunnier day with Mother’s Day coming up right around the corner.

Every day there are moms out there who help inspire their children to great heights, and they have one of the toughest jobs. When it comes to parenting a special needs child, it requires a heart that capable of containing all the love and happiness that comes with special role.

There really is no other role that requires you to be constantly on your feet, and comes with no vacations. This amazing video will give you a little laugh. Think you could handle this job?

Book #13 in our 30 Days-30 Books

Book #13 in our 30 Days-30 Books is definitely a must read.

Temple Grandin has long been known as one of the world’s most accomplished adults with autism. Recently named one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people of the year, she shares with us how she managed to breach the boundaries of autism in order to function in the outside world. Her story, Thinking in Pictures tells of her experience as an scientist and an autistic person. Sometimes it’s not necessary for language to create thought, as Grandin demonstrates.

 Easy to read, entertaining, and informative, this is one book you do not want to pass up.

Autism: Antibodies carried by Mother Linked

Image Courtesy of UC Davis MIND Institute
Image Courtesy of UC Davis MIND Institute

Autism awareness is one of the most well-known platforms in the world. A day is dedicated in early April for World Autism Awareness Day. This year, over 90 countries participated in the Light It Up Blue campaign where prominent landmarks were bathed in blue light to show support, unity, and awareness. Approximately 1 in 88 children in the United States alone are affected by autism.

Autism is one disorder that falls into a group of disorders. Up until recently, autistic disorder fell under the umbrella of Pervasive Developmental Disorders, which also included Asperger’s disorder, Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified and Childhood Disintegrative Disorder. The authority on how autism is classified is the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.  In 2013, changes to the DSM-5 regarding autism have taken effect. In the DSM-5, the three independent diagnoses of autistic disorder, Asperger’s disorder and Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified have been merged under the name Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), making the previous group title Pervasive Developmental Disorders obsolete. Autism Spectrum Disorder is a term that has been used by physicians and the community to describe an individual with autism.

Image Courtesy of Fox News
Image Courtesy of Fox News

The cause of autism has been the topic of debate for many years. In the 1990s and early 2000s, vaccines were thought to be a cause but have since been disproved via numerous studies as quoted by the CDC. In 2008, an immunologist, Dr. Judy Van de Water from the University of California, Davis, discovered a group of auto-antibodies in mothers of autistic children. Recently, her team identified six proteins that these antibodies bind to, rendering inappropriate brain development. Dr. Van de Water’s recent study has shown there is a link between maternal antibodies and autism, known as maternal autoantibody-related (MAR) autism.

The study consisted of 395 mothers, 246 moms of children diagnosed on the spectrum and 149 moms of typically developing children. Twenty three percent of the 246 moms tested positive for antibodies that recognized two or more of the proteins that directly affect brain growth. Only 1 percent of the 149 moms of typically developing children tested positive for the antibodies. It is known that maternal antibodies transfer to a fetus and maternal IgG can be detected in fetal circulation at 13 weeks of gestation in humans. During early brain development, the blood-brain barrier is not fully established, allowing the auto-antibodies that attack fetal brain proteins to cross over. This study has shown a high specificity for the risk of autism of children born to mothers who carry these antibodies.

Image Courtesy of Google Images
Image Courtesy of Google Images

Currently, there is no way to control the production of these antibodies in mothers; however, Dr. Van de Water’s team is hopeful that their discovery will lead to a test that can predict a child’s risk of developing Autism Spectrum Disorder if it is suspected, allowing for early intervention; and a mother can be tested before becoming pregnant to asses her chance of having children with autism. If she tests positive, this new information may lead to a block for the antibodies.

There is no cure for autism but this newest study brings hope that one day the prevalence of autism will decrease and treatments will evolve to prevent the disorder from being passed on.

The Miracle League: Bringing Baseball to Children and Young Adults with Disabilities in Your Community

Image Courtesy of Miracle League
Image Courtesy of Miracle League

One of America’s favorite pastimes is baseball. The Miracle League brings the sport to children and young adults who have disabilities. The idea for the Miracle League came about in 1997 when Coach Eddie Bagwell invited his team member’s sibling, who had a disability, to play on their team. The ball kept rolling in 1998 and the Coach continued to invite children with disabilities to play baseball. The first year produced 35 players. By 1999, the team expanded to more than 50 players. It was during this baseball season that the team knew they had something special and had to continue to grow; there was a need to open the door to other disabled children to participate in team sports. The Miracle League was formed and in April 2000, a fully accessible, custom-designed sports complex was open for business.

Image Courtesy of Miracle League
Image Courtesy of Miracle League

The complex was funded by a non-profit, the Rotary Miracle League Fund, Inc., whose objectives are to raise funds to build accessible complexes and to help bring Miracle Leagues across the country. The Miracle League was the first of its kind so it created a model of its own. The kids can wear uniforms, every player bats once an inning, players are safe on bases, all players score runs before the inning is over, and each team and player wins every game. The community comes together as “buddies” to assist players.

Image Courtesy of Miracle League
Image Courtesy of Miracle League

Since 2002, the popularity of the Miracle League caught the eye of local and national media attention. They were featured in local papers and television networks such as NBC, ABC, FOX, and other Atlanta affiliates. Nationally the Miracle League was featured on CNN, MSNBC, Fox Sports, and HBO’s Real Sports. Editorial pieces include People, Family Circle, Rotary International magazines, Paula Deen, TIME, Sports Illustrated, among others. The Miracle League also won many awards including the prestigious Martin Luther King Humanitarian Award and being inducted into The Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006.

There are 250 Miracle League Organizations across the country including Puerto Rico, Canada and Australia. To find out if a league already exists in your community or to start a league, contact Diane Alford Diane@miracleleague.com or Stephanie Davis Stephanie@miracleleague.com at the Miracle League World Headquarters located in Georgia, office 770-760-1933.

Image Courtesy of Miracle League
Image Courtesy of Miracle League

This is no ordinary league; they do extraordinary things.

McGuire Memorial Celebrates its 50th Year

Image Courtesy of McGuire Memorial
Image Courtesy of McGuire Memorial

5Oth Anniversary

Inspires a Year of  Celebration!

MARK YOUR CALENDARS NOW FOR SUNDAY, AUGUST 11, 2013.

MCGUIRE’S

50TH  ANNIVERSARY BANQUET

IS ONE CELEBRATION

YOU WON’T WANT TO MISS!

Fifty years is no small feat for any marriage, friendship, business or nonprofit! So when one considers the odds of McGuire Memorial’s astonishing success over the past half century, it should come as no surprise that Sister Thaddeus envisioned a year-long celebration of retrospectives, tributes and gratitude.

“We are extremely excited about all the events and materials we have in development to celebrate this marvelous golden anniversary,” enthuses Sister Thaddeus, President and CEO of McGuire Memorial.  “It is a time of profound thanks as well as solemn praise while we honor those who played pivotal roles in our glorious development. And lest we forget, it’s also a time to party with all the requisite pomp and recognition a half century of service so richly deserves.”

Centered around the theme “A Celebration of Gratitude  … Memories of the Heart,” an entire year of celebratory events is scheduled to remind those who work and live at McGuire, as well as those who support our human service mission, of the extraordinary things that have been accomplished in the name of St. Francis of Assisi, Blessed Mary Angela, St. Felix of Cantalice and all who inspired McGuire’s God-given ministry.

To do this, McGuire Memorial launched its sweeping celebration on August 24th with a commemorative candle lighting ceremony. Over the next 12 months, employees and/or visitors can expect to see 5Oth anniversary signage, daily candle lighting ceremonies, continuous media coverage, special tree plantings, rose gardens, a car cruise … Something to pique everyone’s interest and abundant opportunity for supporters to get involved.

Image Courtesy of McGuire Memorial
Image Courtesy of McGuire Memorial

To top it all off, McGuire’s golden year will culminate with an elegant banquet on August 11, 2013, so be sure to mark your calendars, and be watching for the dates and times of all aforementioned colorful events! Between now and next August, we’re making plans for creative 50th anniversary mailings,  special commemorative publications … We’re  opening our remodeled facility to host local civic organizations and special tours … Plus we’ve even organized a speaker’s bureau should you know of any organization interested in learning more about our life-altering mission.

Concludes Sister Thaddeus, “We want more people to know about our human service triumphs, and the singular, defining McGuire “magic” that originates with God and moves our spirits every day. We couldn’t imagine a more poetic moment in time than our 50th anniversary to share more of our story … and we look forward to welcoming each of you sincerely, lovingly and gratefully.”

For more information, Contact McGuire Memorial, http://www.mcguirememorial.org/index.php

Access Services’ 2nd Annual Fall Charity Event: Dinner in the Deep at Adventure Aquarium

Image Courtesy of Access Services
Image Courtesy of Access Services

An Unforgettable Underwater Evening

Saturday, September 28, 2013
6 – 10 p.m.

Join Access Services for an evening of fins, food and fun! Enjoy dinner, live music, dancing, and a silent auction — all surrounded by Adventure Aquarium’s 550,000 gallon Shark Realm, an exhibit with 20 sharks and hundreds of amazing fish. The Currents Ballroom, where the event will be held, also offers a spectacular view of the Philadelphia skyline.

For tickets, sponsorship opportunities and information, visit Access Services at http://www.accessservices.org/charityevent/index.html or contact Katelin Breitmayer at 215.540.2150 ext. 329 or kbreitmayer@accessservices.org.

Image Courtesy of Access Services
Image Courtesy of Access Services

All proceeds from the event benefit children and adults with special needs who are served by Access Services.

The Beaver Creek Candle Company is Dedicated to Improving the Lives of People with Developmental Disabilities

Image Source: Beaver Creek Facebook
Image Source: Beaver Creek Facebook

People with disabilities want to be productive. They have their own desires and dreams to fulfill. The Beaver Creek Candle Company out of Ohio puts the spotlight on aspirations of the developmentally disabled. This organization is unique because all of their candles are made in the USA and handcrafted by people with developmental disabilities. The employees are proud of the candles they create and a sense of independence is instilled since each employee is paid. Every candle purchase supports the hard working, energetic, and enthusiastic individuals. All proceeds of candle sales go directly to the workers of The Beaver Creek Candle Company and its operation. The company is dedicated to improving the lives of people with developmental disabilities.

Image Source: Beaver Creek Candle Company
Image Source: Beaver Creek Candle Company

The Beaver Creek Candle Company offers many types of candles from paraffin wax, soy wax, and specialty candles. The specialty candles come in a variety of tantalizing pie scents from Apple to Pumpkin and realistic looking muffin candles in Blueberry, Chocolate Chip, and Cranberry. Perfect for when you want to fill your home with that just baked smell. Also in the product line are candle warmers and gorgeous handmade soaps available in an abundance of scents ranging from Wild Passion, Orange Cinnamon, Lemongrass, and Cool Citrus Basil. The Beaver Creek Candle Company also has a line called Private Label Candles. This is a unique product because it is customizable; you can choose from four candle jar sizes, 28 fragrances, 12 colors, and the label can be your own company logo or whatever you can dream up.

Image Source: ManCans
Image Source: ManCans

The Beaver Creek Candle Company is not only dedicated to enriching the lives of the special needs community but the lives of others in many communities and have partnered up with ManCans. ManCans offers a specialty line of candles that cater to men without frilly and flowery scents. Fragrances include Dirt, New Mitt, Bacon, and Sawdust. ManCans come in recycled soup cans. Its mission is to support soup kitchens and feed people who need extra help. ManCans relationship with The Beaver Creek Candle Company allows the missions of both organizations to be fulfilled.

Fundraising opportunities are available for organizations interested in raising money with a unique product and helping to support people with developmental disabilities.

For a full listing of The Beaver Creek Candle Company’s product line; please visit the website at www.BCcandle.com. They are also available in select stores in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Indiana, and West Virginia.

AMC Brings Sensory Friendly Films to Families Affected by Autism

Photo courtesy of AMC Theatres
Photo courtesy of AMC Theatres

AMC Theatres and the Autism Society have teamed up to bring families affected by autism and other disabilities a special opportunity to enjoy films in a safe environment on a monthly basis with the “Sensory Friendly Films” program. Movie titles include Epic 2-D, Monsters University, and Despicable Me 2.

The auditoriums dedicated to the program have its lights up, the sound turned down and audience members are invited to get up and dance, walk, shout or sing.  Families will be able to bring in their own safe or special dietary snacks, and no previews or advertisements will be shown before the movie.

The idea for the program began with a request from a parent with an autistic child for a special screening at AMC Columbia Mall 14 in Columbia, MD.  More than 300 children and parents attended the first screening.

Photo courtesy of AMC Theatres
Photo courtesy of AMC Theatres

AMC Theatres now offers the program at many locations nationwide. These include metropolitan areas such as Philadelphia, New York, Dallas, Los Angeles, and many more. To see if there are such movie houses in your area, check AMC’s website for a complete list of nationwide theatres at:

http://www.amctheatres.com/programs/sensory-friendly-films

MOVEing Creations

Erie Homes for Children and Adults, Inc.ehca2
226 E. 27th Street, Erie, PA 16504

Phone: 814-454-1534

Erie Homes for Children and Adults (EHCA) has a unique program that makes holiday crafts, stationery, and home decorations for the general public that provides work for over 65 of its residential individuals.

MOVE (Making Opportunities for Volunteerism & Exploration) started in 1998 by EHCA and is now run by Program Director Debra Niland.

Debra:  “It was really in response to a handful of our individuals who wanted to change their day program. These seven people were in a sheltered workshop at the time and had little interaction with the outside. They wanted to go out in the community more and be helpful but couldn’t exactly hold down a job.”

Debra and her colleagues at EHCA created a working environment that eventually became MOVE. Over the years, MOVE has compiled 40-45 locations in and around Erie, PA where its residents can perform volunteer work in addition to making crafts that are sold at fairs and during the holidays.

All the individuals are adults over 21; most are in wheelchairs and have severe physical needs. But they are all given the opportunity to contribute to a project/products.

“The ideas come from the staff and the individuals that work at MOVE. The program has been very successful but keep in mind, we give away more than we sell. We gift crafts to nursing homes, day care, hospice and that’s very rewarding for all of us”

Now that Christmas is almost here, MOVE is focusing on its next major holiday, Valentine’s Day.

MOVEing creations_photo            MOVEing-creations_photo3           MOVEing creations_photo2

For those interested in these products or in purchasing crafts, please contact Debra at niland@ehca.org and visit http://www.ehca.org/node/25

MOVEing Creations

Fine Arts and Stationery crafted from elements of nature.

Erie Homes for Children and Adults, Inc.

Making Opportunities for Volunteerism & Exploration (MOVE) is EHCA’s community-based day support program, which is funded through Home & Community Habilitation Services or through private pay. It is designed to give adults with developmental disabilities successful experiences by providing them with real choices and opportunities to be involved in their community. Through unique partnerships formed with numerous local organizations, MOVE participants complete meaningful, productive volunteer work and participate in social clubs and community functions. Focusing on individual ability, participation may be done independently or with the aid of communication devices, adaptive equipment and/or hands-on help from EHCA staff.

Meaningful Activities

Dance and visual arts programs allow participants to be involved in creative arts. They also have been able to expand their interests and opportunities with a small business venture of their own – MOVEing Creations. Their handmade, dried floral prints have been sold at local art fairs and auctioned off at fundraising events.

Community Involvement

MOVE is involved in social and community events. Participants are active in clubs and classes. MOVE participants also volunteer at daycare facilities, nursing homes, social service agencies, thrift stores, libraries, animal shelters and schools.