Tag Archives: special needs

Not Your Everyday Magic Show

Who doesn’t love a good magic show? Maybe it’s the funny magician, or the challenge of figuring out how exactly he managed to get out of that chained box in under three minutes. For magician Kevin Spencer, the magic he produces on stage has been adapted to be used for an audience utilizing magic for a different purpose. Hocus Focus, Kevin Spencer’s brain child helps children with disabilities learn new skills.

The idea is to incorporate magic tricks into the learning process; in order to garner the interest of the children and encourage them to develop their abilities in areas like fine motor skills, memory skills, planning, and communication. Magic seems to open up certain individuals with disabilities to a new talent. Practicing magic often requires an audience, this encourages children to develop their social and communication skills, while having fun at the same time. The program is used at various camps, one being The Flint Hills Summer Fun Camp, located in Manhattan, Kansas.

On the website of Hocus Focus there are many resources for both students and teachers who hope to learn more about what magic can do to enrich their lives. The teacher workshop is designed to teach both general and special education teachers how to teach through magic tricks with specific tools. For student workshops, it’s just the opposite. They’re shown how to create the illusions, then how to plan them out and implement them in front of an audience of their peers. For some individuals this can be a real turning point in how they communicate to others. Magic finds a way to touch their lives that other methods of teaching might not.

The Hocus Focus Project and the Healing of Magic program, both founded by Kevin Spencer, are registered with the National Board for Certification in Occupation Therapy and have the Approved Provider Status of the American Occupational Therapy Association. While recognized as an approved program, Healing of Magic, is still making modifications. Falling back on visual improvements isn’t what the team can rely on to move the Hocus Focus project forward, according to Spencer, it’s also taking down this information “empirically and statistically” in order to further develop it. The organization has recently partnered with Kansas State University, and build upon its achievements with more rigorous therapeutic data.

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.

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Morgan’s Wonderland

Summer brings to mind day dreams of sitting by the beach, coconut drink in hand, and the sun setting in front of you. But like any parent with children can imagine, this sadly remains a day dream most of the time. The kids are finally out of school, and when it comes time to take a vacation you know you’ll need to find the right spot. When it comes to accommodating the needs of your children if they have special needs, it’s even more important to make sure the vacation spot is able to make sure a vacation actually feels like a vacation.

If summer has become a boring repeat of hitting the same spots, it might be time to try out a new place.

Feeling bold and brave? If you haven’t visited Morgan’s Wonderland since it’s opening in 2010 in San Antonio, Texas, now is your chance. A park that was conceptualized as a special place for children and adults with cognitive and physical challenges, Morgan’s Wonderland strives to live up to the people it was inspired by. This place is one of the world’s first ultra-accessible theme parks, and has involved since into a 25-acre park that includes a friendly environment for people with special needs, their families, friends and caregivers. Gordon Hartman, inspired by his daughter Morgan, sought to create an environment that was both safe and relaxing. He wanted to create opportunities for his daughter and other children with special needs could connect. While most theme parks make it easy for children to interact and have fun-few are easily accessible if a child has special needs. So what exactly makes it different from the typical trip to Disneyland or Disney World?

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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?

What a Special Needs Pooled Trust Does For You

Hands of a Child and ParentThe purpose of a special needs trust is to enhance or protect the quality of life of a person with a disability. Specifically, it does this by maximizing the resources available to them, without disqualifying him or her from eligibility for public benefits, including Supplementary Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid.

When estate planning, rather than leaving property directly to a loved one with a disability, it may be best to establish a special needs trust for that person and leave the property to the trust.

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Bensalem High Schooler Plays in with the 76ers

There are few high school students who can save they’ve played with the Philadelphia 76ers.

At Bensalem High School, however, senior Kevin Grow is a unique athlete compared to the typical high school students.

Last month Kevin Grow played in the school’s “Senior Day” game against Neshaminy, a game that Grow dropped 14 points during the last two minutes. He managed 3 three-pointers, and a buzzer beater in his team’s last home game of the season. Thanks to this amazing game, Grow had been signed by the Philadelphia 76ers to a ceremonial two-day contract. He received a custom jersey and had the opportunity to participate in pregame activities prior to the team’s home game against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Kevin Grow is a member of the school’s basketball program and has served as the team manager for the past four season. He was born with Down Syndrome, but doesn’t let any of his daily challenges take away his passion for basketball.

Impressed with what they saw, the Harlem Globetrotters decided they wanted to have Kevin Grow join their team for a night too. On April 10th, he joined the Globetrotters in Philadelphia for their game and played during the entire third quarter, according to ABC 6, during which he scored 12 points-including his amazing 3 pointer.

We hope Kevin Grow doesn’t just stop here!


Surfers Healing

“Do I work, or do I make this world a better place?”

According to Israel “Izzy” Paskowitz, he’s on this planet to help take children with Autism out surfing. Founder of Surfers Healing, Izzy Paskowitz is a former pro surfer. He first began surfing in 1969 when his father took him out for the first time. He calls it the “kick off” into surfing, when he began surfing with his seven brothers and one sister. Then he began pro surfing all around the world. Traveling as a pro surfer was definitely unique experience Paskowitz, who had dreamed about this his entire life, especially when given the opportunity to meet guys who were the legend of surfing.

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SPIN Live Band


If you haven’t gotten your tickets for the SPIN Live Band then you’ll be missing out on an amazing performance this Friday, February 21st, 2014.

Arlington Heritage Group is happy to announce we’ll be attending the SPIN Live Band performance at The Emerald Room in Philadelphia, this Friday. Their annual event has been very successful, selling out last year quickly last year, and this year as well. Arlington is one of the many supporters of this one night only event, the evening’s performance will include entertainment, a silent auction and delicious food. It’s time to look forward to enjoying a spectacular evening and wonderful music with the SPIN community.

SPIN Live celebrates people coming together as a community to appreciate each person’s talents and strengths. SPIN is a non-profit organization dedicated towards providing quality services and a life of possibilities for individuals with disabilities or without, and their families in the community.

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.


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.