Tag Archives: special needs technology

Keeping Kids Close By

The thought of a child gone missing is enough to strike fear in the heart of any parent. This is an especially acute worry for parents that have special needs children. And in some cases there are few options besides tracking every move for protection.

Avonte Oquendo
Avonte Oquendo went missing in Long Island City on October 4, 2013.

A recent case is illustrative. Avonte Oquendo, a severely autistic and nonverbal child, walked out of his high school in Long Island City on October 4th, 2013 and vanished. According to a lawyer representing the family, the young teen had walked right past a security desk and onto the streets. Almost half of children with severe spectrum autism attempt to wander away at least once during childhood. Senator Charles Schumer of New York has called for the Department of Justice to create and fund a program to provide voluntary tracking devices for individuals with autism and other developmental disorders. The goal is to assist and prevent the individuals from going missing and to provide resources to better locate a child if they were to ever disappear.

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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

Grant Sources for Special Needs Children

Image Source: Google Images
Image Source: Google Images

Becoming a parent is the biggest responsibility a person can take on. It is a natural part of the parenting process to plan for and envision the future for their kids even before they are born. Sometimes life doesn’t go as imagined. Parents are given the news that their child has a special need. With this, come feelings of isolation and being alone and not knowing where to begin searching for support and assistance.

Diagnostic testing, specialty care, prescription drugs, therapies, assistive technology and accommodations, medical equipment, and other health-related services cause families financial hardship. More often than not, at least one parent has to cut back on working hours or quit their job to provide care to their child. There are many grant programs across the country that is available to assist families with alleviating the financial burden.

The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities is an online resource to help you connect with the disability agencies and organizations in your state.

Kaufman Children’s Center compiled a list of grant sources to assist parents in securing funding for various therapies, medications, and equipment. The list includes organizations such as Easter Seals, Astra Zeneca, Children’s Charity Fund, and Believe in Tomorrow.

For a full list of available grants and programs, please click here to open the PDF.

All children deserve the chance to reach their full potential. These resources are designed to help kids with special needs and their families enhance their quality of life.


The All Terrain Wheelchair by Mountain Trike

Image courtesy of Mountain Trike
Image courtesy of Mountain Trike

Being wheelchair bound shouldn’t preclude anyone from enjoying the great outdoors. The Mountain Trike Company manufactures a unique, custom built wheelchair designed to tackle woodland, mountain bike tracks, beaches, nature trails, and hills. It’s lightweight yet rugged enough that it can be taken pretty much anywhere your adventure awaits. The Mountain Trike gives wheelchair users greater freedom and independence than a typical manual wheelchair.

What makes this all terrain wheelchair special is how it’s made and some features are customizable. It has been designed around mountain bike technology incorporating a one-of-a-kind control and drive system. As the trike name implies, this wheelchair has three wheels; the back wheel is where the steering takes place and the rider can opt for left or right handed steering. The lever drive system allows the rider to not have to propel the chair using the wheels. There is a choice of a dual brake system that operates both brakes at the same time and can be mounted on either the left or right, or for advanced riders, they can choose independent brakes. The frame is adjustable, the foot rest can be raised or lowered, and the seat can be moved forwards or backwards allowing for maximum fit.

Image courtesy of Mountain Trike
Image courtesy of Mountain Trike

Even though the Mountain Trike was designed for an adult size, children can experience what the Trike has to offer as long as their arm length is able to reach the drive levers and they are able to maneuver a normal wheelchair. The Trike can grow with a young rider because of the adjustability. The Mountain Trike weighs approximately 44 lbs, folds up into a cube, and fits into the back of most cars.

The Mountain Trike Company is a UK based business. The concept was invented by Tim Morgan who is a mountain biker. He wanted to share his love of the great outdoors by designing a wheelchair to allow riders to do the same. They ship all over the world including the US. The cost of the Trike in the US is about $6,040, depending on the going exchange rate at the time of order confirmation. The price includes a complete Trike in a custom color with a three year warranty, owner’s manual, a pump for shock absorbers, and some essential tools.

Image courtesy of Mountain Trike
Image courtesy of Mountain Trike

It is simple to learn to ride a Trike; however, the company does advise of a learning curve and it can take some practice to perfect. Once a rider masters the maneuverability of the Trike, a whole new world of outdoor activities is waiting to be explored that conventional wheelchairs just can’t offer.







Paraplegics Can Learn to Walk Again with ReWalk

Learn to…ReWalk? Learning to walk again may seem like a pipe-dream for anyone bound to a wheelchair because of a spinal cord injury. Based on information gathered from several studies and reported by the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, there are close to 300,000 people just in the US who are living with a spinal cord injury in 2012. About half of those individuals are paraplegic. Today, there is hope for paraplegics around the world thanks to Amit Goffer. He is an engineer from Israel, who in 1997 had an accident that left him a quadriplegic. Through his misfortune and expertise, he founded Argo in 2001. Argo is an international company that developed an exoskeleton called ReWalk.

ReWalk is a device made up of struts linked by actuator motors that is strapped to the legs and waist, and a backpack. Each part contains sensors that feed information to a computer in the backpack, which tells the actuators what to do. The user also has a pair of crutches. Paraplegics don’t have to dream about walking again, it can become a reality with this groundbreaking, assistive technology. Argo offers the ReWalk Personal System, which is currently available in Europe and waiting for FDA approval in the US. ReWalk Rehabilitation is designed for the rehab environment and is available in centers in Europe, Israel, and the US.

Image Source: Argo Medical Technologies Inc.

People are talking about ReWalk. It’s hitting news waves around the globe. Just recently, Argo made an announcement unveiling the newest generation of its ReWalk Rehabilitation device, the 2.0 system.

ARGO Medical Technologies Unveils Advancement of its Exoskeleton Technology With Launch of ReWalk Rehabilitation 2.0

Marlborough, MA – January 22, 2013 – ARGO Medical Technologies has unveiled the newest generation of its ReWalk Rehabilitation exoskeleton that enables individuals with spinal cord injuries the ability to walk again. The 2.0 system is designed to make it easier to treat multiple individuals each day, it also has new software features that support beginner users and new sizing that allow each system to fit a broader range of patients.

ReWalk Rehabilitation 2.0 Highlights:

  • Rapid Exchange: A new slider adjustment mechanism accelerates and simplifies the process of sizing for individual users with a new sizing scale and a simple “click” that indicates the alignment of joints.


  • Universal Sizing: The new model fits a wide range of heights in just one device. Clinicians can easily adjust the unit to fit users between 160cm -190cm in height.


  • Beginner Gait Mode: Newly enhanced software has improved the learning process to support and transition new users as they learn to take their first steps in the ReWalk.


“I am very excited to launch this new generation of exoskeleton technology. We have learned from the everyday use by clinicians and the experience of their patients and believe as a company it is essential we continue to enhance this technology to meet the needs of those working with it.” said Larry Jasinski, ARGO CEO. “The ReWalk Rehabilitation 2.0 offers an experience that is very close to natural walking and this new model will improve the learning curve to allow ReWalkers to quickly gain comfort as they begin to walk independently.”

ARGO currently offers two ReWalk models – the ReWalk Personal, currently available in Europe and pending FDA review in the US; and the ReWalk Rehabilitation which is now available in Europe, Israel and the United States. Both models are designed to provide a customized user experience with on-board computers and motion sensors that restore self-initiated walking without needing tethers or switches to begin movement. The ReWalk uses patented technology with motorized legs that power knee and hip movement. It controls movement using subtle changes in center of gravity, mimics natural gait and provides functional walking speed. A forward tilt of the upper body is sensed by the system, which triggers the first step. Repeated body shifting generates a sequence of steps, which allows natural and efficient walking.

“Training in the ReWalk has changed my life in a way I did not believe possible after I became paralyzed,” said Sgt. Theresa Hannigan, U.S. Army Retired and ReWalk user. “When I use the ReWalk I regain my independence; I have been able to walk a 1 mile road race, and stand up hug my friends and family.”

Video Source: YouTube


Tablets, iPads Revolutionize Education for Special Needs Kids

120512_Tablets, iPads revolutional education for special needs kids_Page_1_Image_0001In the two years since the debut of the iPad, schools have found how beneficial the new technology can be to children with special needs and students with learning disabilities. A student with autism can let his teacher know that he is hungry and what he would like for lunch. Touch screen apps can help kids with fine motor difficulties, while eBooks let students read at their individual reading levels without worry of ridicule from classmates. Many schools across the country are purchasing iPads for their students with special needs and learning disabilities, and are finding that students are more motivated and more self-confident using this technology, despite their educational challenges. Continue reading "Tablets, iPads Revolutionize Education for Special Needs Kids"

iPods Help Kids with Asperger’s Syndrome

Minneapolis has a center that is experimenting with iPods and using them to assist kids with Asperger’s syndrome, bringing hope to both the kids and their parents.

One of the features of persons who have Asperger’s syndrome is a struggle with social skills, one’s that seem to come naturally to others. At the center, Sue Pederson is aware of some teenage boys who have trouble with making conversation; they might not know what to talk about, or having started talking, they do not know when to stop.

Sue, a psychologist, and her colleagues at the Fraser Child & Family Center in Minneapolis found a new way to reach students. That way was through the use of iPods that play music and videos in order to teach them how to interact. The iPods may have begun as a form of entertainment, but Sue says the technology turned into an unexpected plus for children and teenagers with special needs. iPods can be packed with the forms of information that these kids need to get through their day. Even though the center is still experimenting with the use of iPods in this way, Sue says, “I think it’s going to spread like wildfire.” Continue reading "iPods Help Kids with Asperger’s Syndrome"