Activities

13-Year-Old Singer Has a Special Needs Cause

Not every 13-year-old girl with a powerful singing voice gets the opportunity to record it on an album. It is even less likely that she would have a single written for her by a noted producer. Rarer than that is when that girl wants to give a percentage of her album earnings to a special needs charity. It seems that Shayla D, who embodies all these things, is truly remarkable. Shayla’s father, Bobby Degregorio, certainly thinks so.

Underwater Treadmill Gives Paraplegics Hope

In a study by Middle Tennessee State University’s (MTSU) Department of Health and Human Performance, a treadmill at the bottom of a tank filled with 270 gallons of water has been helping paraplegics make great strides. This same technique has also been applied to children with cerebral palsy (CP) to improve their endurance and leg strength.

Playing Learning Games with Throw-Aways

If you want to play games with your child, you can do it with materials no fancier than yesterday’s newspaper, today’s empty cereal box and a smile.

Playing with your child lets her or him know that you enjoy their company and want to spend time together. But just as important is the fact that playing is the way children learn. Playing is the way they gain confidence and skills. Research even shows that brains evolve and expand with play. Play matters.

Autism Movement Therapy "Wakes Up the Brain"

"Programs like Joanne's Autism Movement Therapy offer opportunities for our kids to develop the necessary and fundamental skills that benefit all our kids.  Art saved my life!"  

Why Martial Arts Are Best for Special Needs

It’s no secret that a traditional martial arts program is one of the best extracurricular activities a child can participate in.  For children with special needs the benefits are invaluable because of the inherit structure and discipline the arts bring to a child’s daily life. All children need structure, some more than others. Some might need to be reminded more often or a different approach might be necessary, but in the end it's all the same.

Benefits of Yoga for Special Needs Children

What are the benefits of yoga for children with special needs? What is a special needs yoga class like? Is your child expected to lie still on a mat? These are questions that Alex Newell, voted LAFamily.com’s Yoga Teacher of 2010, is happy to answer. As a senior instructor at Yoga Stars in Santa Monica, Newell has been helping to design a yoga program for children and teens with special needs. Recently she began doing classes with highly functioning students with autism (ages 11-16) at some local schools.

Ice Hockey Meets Special Needs

Since it began five years ago, the Special Needs Ice Hockey program in Panorama City, California, has provided an opportunity for kids and adults with developmental disabilities to learn and play hockey. Until just six months ago, it was the only program in California to give kids with autism, intellectual disabilities and other developmental disabilities a chance to gear up, get on the ice and play hockey. They are still the only special needs ice hockey team in the state"the California Condors.

Helping Child with Special Needs Through Yoga

My son, Miguelangel, is 3 months old. He has Down syndrome and was born prematurely. I started him on a daily yoga practice when he was a month old, and I am pleased with the results.

Many families with special children are embracing alternative therapies, including yoga, to complement conventional approaches.

What is Autism Movement Therapy?

The brain is an information processing wonder. We process and store information in either long or short term areas of the brain. When we need the information, we retrieve it via a pathway (white brain matter) in the mapping area (gray matter) of the brain. Say you move into a new home. You don’t know where to find the grocery store or other neighborhood establishments. But within a short period of time you’ve found these places and you no longer have to think about the specific directions to get to any kind of theme.

Learning and Playing with Dramatic Arts

“I HATE the cold! Why didn’t I buy that condo in Florida!” blurts out the diminutive 4-year-old. She looks adorable with her contagious smile and beautiful curly blonde hair poking out from underneath the squirrel costume she’s wearing. She seems like any other vivacious 4-year-old but she’s not. She has autism. And she’s having fun while learning very important life skills.