Activities

Swimming:  A Life-saving Skill

Most parents are aware that swimming is a lifesaving skill that must be taught at an early age.  Sadly, drowning remains the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children between one and fourteen years of age, and children with intellectual challenges are at an even higher risk.  As an alarming statistic, drowning is the number one leading cause of death of children with autism.

What is Equine Therapy?

Many parents are given discouraging news about their children with disabilities -- this prognosis gives little hope to parents of these children, which is an unfair and negative situation.  There are therapies many parents have never heard of, including equine therapy.

School-Based Programs

Today I’d like to bring your attention to martial arts programs that may be available to your child during their day before they even get home!

Pushing the Limits

As a pediatric nurse practitioner, I remember frequently telling my parents that they know their children better than I ever will.  Now, as a mother of a little girl with Down syndrome, I know that to be true.  I will always know my daughter better than any doctor, therapist, or teacher.  I know what my daughter is capable of.  

Music & Special Needs: Cooper Plays the Piano

Ten-year-old Cooper is teaching his twin brother to play Hot Cross Buns on the piano. Cooper, who has Down syndrome, has been playing the piano since he was 8 ½ years old.  I ask him how his brother is doing. Cooper says: “I showed him how to use three fingers to play Hot Cross Buns. He is doing okay.”  There is a proud smile on his face.  His mother says: "Cooper has always been the one who holds back with his brother in the lead, but now he is the leader, and it is so nice to see the confidence building that has occurred."  

Teen with Down Syndrome Wows Basketball Team

David Andrews, age 18, wears number 40 on the Germantown High School basketball team, just outside of Memphis, TN. Much like the Knick’s Jeremy Lin, Andrews spent quite a bit of time warming the bench during his team’s games before ever getting to play in one.

Andrews has Down syndrome, and his mother had asked coach Wes Crump if her son could join the team his brother was already on. She thought maybe he could get a sweat suit and hang out with the other players on the bench. But Andrews soon proved that he had much more to offer the team. 

YogAbility for People with Disabilities

Jerry is a tall, lanky 19-year-old with autism and gastro-intestinal issues. He began coming to YogAbility, a nonprofit organization, 10 years ago. He used to have frequent tantrums, screaming fits, and wore a protective helmet. Since he began yoga therapy, Jerry has grown tremendously in the way he communicates with people. He is more grounded. He even does poses on his own at home.

Speech-Based Activities for Kids with Apraxia

 Speech-Based Activities to Do with Your Kids with Apraxia at Home and in the Community

4 Paws for Ability Gives Service Dogs to Kids

Karen Shirk is the founder and executive director of 4 Paws for Ability, a nonprofit organization that places service dogs with people rejected from the big service dog agencies. These include children with special needs. When Shirk found out that no agency would place a dog with a child, she researched the Americans with Disabilities Act and could find no legal reason why having a service dog would not be possible if a parent served as a co-handler. In October 1998, 4 Paws for Ability was born. "People started calling from all over to ask, 'Am I too young? Am I too old?

Special Needs Karate: Is Money the Big Factor

Thanks for coming back to my monthly article for children with special needs and karate. I hope to bring you closer to understanding the multitude of benefits the martial arts bring to our children.

Over the years I’ve found myself answering the same questions day after day when a parent walks in or calls for information. What I’ve found is that most ask about cost right from the start and then about class times, but almost always I am the one trying to convey the many benefits we provide during the discussion.