Tag Archives: intellectual disabiliy

Book #21 in our 30 Days-30 Books

Anything But Typical tells the story of Jason Blake, a 12-year-old boy living in a ‘neurotypical’ world. Diagnosed with autism at a young age, Jason has struggled socially to fit in with the other students in his classes.

From the beginning of the book, he captures your attention with his words, with his story as he puts it.

When it comes to writing, Jason is a whiz, and the words come out easily. Online he posts most of his fiction on a website called Storyboard. There he comes across a girl named PhoenixBird, who he quickly becomes good friends with. But when faced with the opportunity to meet Rebecca, PhoenixBird’s real name, he is faced with thinking of who she will see first. Will she see the autism, or who Jason really is?  If you’d like to fall in love with this cast of wonderfully developed characters, check out Anything But Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin.


Coffee and Chocolate Have Never Been More Special

Fairfax City in Virginia is now home a shop that’s truly special, in more ways than you might think. Walk through the doors of Cameron’s Coffee & Chocolates and you’re in for a surprise. The shop is named after Cameron Graham, a girl who loves to bake and dip chocolates. Besides combining two of the greatest things ever invented, coffee and chocolate, the shop has made it its mission to create a place that offers opportunities to people who have disabilities just like Cameron. The shop opened October 1st, and half of the employees are made up of individuals with disabilities.

The shop was opened by Cameron’s parents, Ellen and Jim Graham. Their daughter, Cameron, was born with intellectual disabilities and attended a local high school and training center until she aged out of the FCPS system. Cameron first began her journey in the culinary arts at Chilmark Chocolates in Martha’s Vineyard. Chilmark Chocolates was the inspiration for Cameron’s shop, which employed individuals with disabilities as well. They spent their days baking delicious treats and dipping chocolates, a job Cameron really enjoyed. Continue reading "Coffee and Chocolate Have Never Been More Special"

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!






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

US Youth Soccer TOPSoccer Program: What is it and how can you participate?

Image Source: US Youth Soccer

Sports can be an integral part of the life of a special needs child. It fosters personal growth, exercise, builds confidence, and builds interpersonal and communication skills. Soccer is one sport that can help provide these building blocks. US Youth Soccer offers the TOPSoccer program, which is an outreach, community-based program for young boy and girl athletes with mental or physical disabilities. The disabilities include Autism, Down Syndrome, Muscular Dystrophy, Cerebral Palsy, sight or hearing impaired, and traumatic brain injury. Players are placed according to ability, not by age. Player development is the goal of this program rather than competition. According to the 2010 US Census Bureau report, there are approximately 56.7 million people in the United States with some form of disability, school-aged children aged 5 to 17 make up 2.8 million.

Image Source: New York State West Youth Soccer Association
Image Source: New York State West Youth Soccer Association

US Youth Soccer is the largest member of the United States Soccer Federation. US Youth Soccer is comprised of over 600,000 volunteers and administrators, and most of its 300,000+ coaches are volunteers. The organization spans across America making up 55 member State Associations; one in each state, and two in California, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas. TOPSoccer programs are already in place in some US cities. Contact your local US Youth Soccer State Association office to get involved. If the TOPSoccer program does not exist in your community and there is a need, a program can be created.

What did US Youth Soccer have to say about why America needs the TOPSoccer program?

“TOPSoccer was formed to perpetuate the US Youth Soccer mission statement which is, in part, “to foster the physical, mental and emotional growth and development of America’s youth through the sport of soccer at all levels of age and competition.” There are thousands of children with disabilities who need, and can be provided with, the opportunity to play soccer through the TOPSoccer program.”

Visit the US Youth Soccer website for more information about the TOPSoccer program, to find a local association, or for info to bring the program to your hometown.

Boy and Girl with Coaches TOPSoccer
Image Source: Lexington Youth Soccer Association









U.S. Census Bureau, Survey of Income and Program Participation, May–August 2010

U.S. Census Bureau, 2010 American Community Survey

March is Intellectual Disability Awareness Month

Tom CorbettArlington Heritage Group, Inc. is pleased to announce the Proclamation, signed on February 13th, 2013, by Governor Tom Corbett as proclaiming March 2013 as Intellectual Disability Awareness Month in Pennsylvania. He has encouraged the public to support Pennsylvanians with intellectual disabilities and their families. Check your community businesses and organizations for event listings and ways to get involved.



March 2013

           WHEREAS, An intellectual disability is defined as a disability characterized by significant limitations both in intellectual functioning and in adaptive behavior as expressed in conceptual, social and practical adaptive skills, which originates before age 21; and

          WHEREAS, people with an intellectual disability are of all racial, ethnic, educational, social and economic backgrounds; and

          WHEREAS, people with an intellectual disability are valued members of society— our friends, neighbors and co-workers—who find fulfillment living everyday lives; and

          WHEREAS, early intervention, education and home and community-based services continue to be vital to enabling citizens with an intellectual disability to function and thrive.

          THEREFORE, In order to recognize the many contributions and challenges of citizens with an intellectual disability, I, Tom Corbett, Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, do hereby proclaim March 2013 as INTELLECTUAL DISABILITY AWARENESS MONTH in Pennsylvania. I encourage all citizens to support the efforts and hard work of Pennsylvanians with an intellectual disability and their families as they strive to live self-determined lives and realize their own personal aspirations.

Image Source: PA Office of the Governor

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 http://www.regulations.gov 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 http://www.regulations.gov.

Image Source: Google Images