Tag Archives: special needs news

Risks of Rising Wages

Rising wages? That doesn’t necessarily sound like a bad idea. Rising wages means more money, and more money is a good thing. Usually.

In early 2014, the Obama Administration added a new change to its executive order that would raise minimum wage for employees under federal contracts to $10.10. At the urging of disability advocacy groups, President Barack Obama made sure to include workers with disabilities in this new chance. Although the promise has yet to be realized, papers have been signed and changes are already being made for employees who had previously received  a federal minimum wage of $7.25. Minimum wage has always been a controversial issue and the debate about its economic efficacy continues.

Continue reading "Risks of Rising Wages"

Couple Builds House Designed Around Children’s Special Needs

Couple builds house designed around children’s special needs – Columbia Daily Tribune | Columbia Missouri: Pulse.

The Cibula family has spent ten years worth of planning and building in order to create a new home designed to make the lives of their children easier. Their two sons, Joshua and David, will now be able to grow up in a home that helps give them some sense of independence. Their eldest, Joshua, was born with cerebral palsy, as well as intellectual disabilities and other physical issues that limited his mobility. Following the birth of their second son, David, who was also born disabled, the couple realized they needed a new home. A special kind of home.

What Jennifer and Andy Cibula didn’t want was the kind of home that looked like they were raising their children in an institution. Finally, after going through many architects who couldn’t quite grasp their dream, the couple ofund Bob Wilkoff of Archaeon Architects. Together they created a one of a kind home that will adapt to the children’s needs as they grow older.


Book #20 in our 30 Days-30 Books

Why do kids do act the way they do when they have sensory dysfunction?

Recommended by both parents and teachers, The Out-of-Sync Child clearly lays out the senses, their function, and examples that show what normal SI and sensory dysfunction actually look like. Carol Stock Kranowitz explains and gives examples as to why some kids many seem aggressive, or why some might act out in class, and anyone who is around individuals with disabilities will benefit from the knowledge found within this pages.

An indispensable guide, The Out-of-Sync Child partners well with The Out of Sync Child has Fun, with each presenting interesting case studies and activities for any child with sensory integration issues.

Book #14 in our 30 Days-30 Books

Did you love the last Chicken Soup for the Soul, #9 on our 30 days-30 special needs books list? Well, luckily for you, book #14 is another classic Chicken Soup for the Soul. 101 Inspiration Stories for Parents of Children with 

Autism and Asperger’s, like other Chicken Soup for the Soul stories, these will provide comfort, encouragement, and hope for parents of children with Autism and Asperger’s. Some stories might bring back old memories, and others might remind you of the serious times, or the fun times or raising a child with special needs. These stories are about the real struggles that families with special needs individuals face, and it comes highly recommended


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.

Book #11 in our 30 Days-30 Books

Looking for some inspiration or maybe just struggling? Filled with commonsense advice, and a seemingly endless guide, you might just find just what you need in our 11th book, on our list of 30  days-30 books.

Ellen Notbohm, who also wrote Ten Things Every Child With Autism Wishes You Knew, teams up with Veronica Zysk to take the words “No, I can’t” out of your vocabulary. They have 1001 great ideas to help you find a new way to help teach and raise children with Autism or Asperger’s, and to help change that no, to “Yes, I can”. This book is a treasure trove of ideas waiting to be used, so why not try some out? You won’t be running out of ideas any time soon.

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"

New Policy on Disabilities at Disneyland

In the past, Disney programs have allowed theme-park guests with disabilities to skip to the front of the line for many rides. This policy was great for visitors with disabilities and their family members, allowing them faster access to the attraction. Unfortunately, abuse of this system has forced Disney to change their policy in order to protect the individuals with disabilities. This system has been abused by wealthy families who pay people with disabilities to serve as “guides” in order to avoid the long lines during visits to Disney World. The guides are paid upwards of $130 an hour and allow the wealthy families a way to skip the long lines when accompanied by the individuals with disabilities.

To avoid this, the new system will implement a new program reportedly known as the Disabled Assistance System. Rather than bypassing the lines, under this new system guest with disabilities will be able to request access to a ride at special kiosks. They’ll later be able to return to the ride at a specified time and while they won’t have to wait in line, they’ll only be able to request access to one ride at a time. Disneyland understands that the needs of individuals vary dramatically, and that one size might not fit everyone. The changes are similar to their current FastPass system. Disneyland spokeswoman Suzi Brown says, “Given the increasing volume of requests we receive for special access to our attractions, we are changing our process so that it creates a more consistent experience for all our guests while providing accommodations for guests with disabilities”.The new system was implemented on October 9th but has not been easily accepted, even by families who have kids with disabilities. Many parents are upset with the abuse of the system and the impact it will now have on their visits to Disney.


Below is updated information on the new system for Disney:

Disney Parks have an unwavering commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment and accessible experiences for guests.


On October 9, the process that provides access to attractions for guests with disabilities, known as the Guest Assistance Card, will be replaced with the new Disability Access Service (DAS) Card. Guests will request the new card at Guest Relations and DAS Cardholders will receive a return time for attractions based on the current wait time. The DAS Card is designed to provide the special experience guests have come to expect from Disney. It will also help control abuse that was, unfortunately, growing at an alarming rate.


For more information on this new card, please visit http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/disney-parks-disability-access-service-card-fact-sheet/


We believe that the DAS card, with its virtual wait, will accommodate many of our guests with disabilities.

However, we also recognize that our guests with disabilities have varying needs, and we will continue to work individually with them to provide assistance that is responsive to their unique circumstances.

While each situation will be handled individually at Guest Relations, following are two examples of accommodations that could be offered based on a guest’s needs:

•   For a Guest whose disability enables them to be in the park for only a limited time, the Guest might be offered an accommodation that enables them to use the DAS Card in conjunction with access to a number of attractions without having to obtain a return time.

•   Another potential accommodation, based on a Guest’s unique needs, might include providing access to a favorite attraction multiple times in a row without having to obtain a return time.

If you need more information or have specific questions about an upcoming trip, please send an email to disability.services@disneyparks.com. If you are planning a vacation in the next few months, please include a contact phone number and the best time for us to reach you.



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

Parents.com 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. About.com: Children with Special Needs

Ideal for both parents and teachers, Terry Mauro’s website and blog for About.com 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.

18. DisabilityInfo.org

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!

Special Education and Homeschool40 Blogs for Special Needs Parents_Page_4_Image_0001

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.

Special Needs Parenting40 Blogs for Special Needs Parents_Page_5_Image_0001

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

Families.com 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.