Children & Parents - Kids with Autism - Autism Children - Autism Programs

Kids With Autism
Kids With Autism
A Good Teether Can Be a Sanity Saver!
A good teether can be a sanity saver, just ask any mommy with a fussy baby! The new Nawgum teether will be your new BFF in baby oral support. Designed with safety and comfort in mind, Nawgum helps soothe each stage of tooth development, from gums to...
Survivor host Jeff Probst Speaks Out for Organ Donation
The Taylor’s Gift Foundation is all about giving the gift of life.   The Beginning with Taylor Todd and Tara Storch started the Taylor’s Gift Foundation in 2010 when their thirteen year-old daughter, Taylor, passed away from injuries...
The Best Way to Take Care of Your Kids, is To Take Care of Yourself
Parenting any child is no easy task, but when you have a child with a developmental and/or physical disability, life often revolves around the needs and services that your child has. And too often, your own needs are left on the side unaccounted for...
Substance Abuse - Safeguarding Your Special Needs Teenager
The case earlier this year in Temecula CA, of a special needs teen being entrapped and arrested for supplying illegal drugs to an undercover police officer has highlighted that as parents of a special needs child, the need to safeguard them in the...
Finding Employment and Settling into a New Job: A Time of Transition for Young Adults with Special Needs
For many adults, the work they do is an important part of the way they see themselves and their place within society. As well as providing a means for them to gain money, which gives them more independence to do as they wish with the rest of their...
“Ask the Developmental Doc” A Thanksgiving Dilemma
Around this time of the year most of us are planning the menu for a grand Thanksgiving meal for family and friends. The problem is if anyone in your family or friendship circle is impacted by autism spectrum disorder then often sensory aversion to...
Substance Abuse - Safeguarding Your Special Needs Teenager
The case earlier this year in Temecula CA, of a special needs teen being entrapped and arrested for supplying illegal drugs to an undercover police officer has highlighted that as parents of a special needs child, the need to safeguard them in...
Who is Watching Your Child?
In 1992 I entered the world of expert witness. As an expert witness I complete organizational autopsies. I work with attorneys all over the country. They call to ask if I will provide my opinion about the propriety of an interaction between an...
To Blame or not to Blame
There is a stigma attached to the relationship between schools and parents. It is believed that there is often a disconnect between what the parents want for their child and what the school/studio is willing to give. Many people enter into this...
Easing the Transition Back to School for Special Needs Children
Due to their unpredictable nature, transitions in general, can be very difficult for our children with special needs. The new school year creates a whole host of transitions that made me want to devote this month’s column to tips for helping your...
The Rise of Inclusion Education in the United States
The United States education landscape has evolved substantially over the past 50 years. Issues of civil rights -- some of which the landmark Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education addressed -- and the government's role in education ushered...
 Know the Signs. Fight for Victory!
Know the signs, fight for victory!  This is the new tagline for The Marfan Foundation.  My daughter, Hadley, and I had the opportunity to attend the annual Marfan conference in Hollywood at the beginning of this month.   My...
Win a $25 IHOP Gift Card!
The holidays are coming early to SpecialNeeds..com. We're giving away a $25 Gift Card to iHop.TO ENTER:Simply "like" our facebook page and leave us a comment on why you would like to win, and you will be automatically entered.OREmail us at editor@...
Christmas is here early!
SpecialNeeds.com and LAFamily.com are teaming up to offer our loyal readers a very special treat - A $500 Gift Basket! The basket will contain toys, educational products and lots of goodies for the whole family! How do you enter to win? Simple.TO...
Healthy Recipes - Smooth Smoothie
Looking for a healthy snack for your child? We have the perfect thing that will hit the spot! Smooth SmoothiesMakes four 1/2-cup servingsIngredients    1 cup of R.W Knudsen organic apple juice    1 cup blueberries...
Suggestions for Children with Anger Issues
We at BIORAY® have recently received inquiries from parents asking for suggestions that may help with quick-temper and short-sightedness that their children often exhibit. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, being short tempered or stuck in anger...
Environmental Toxins And Breast Milk: What You Need To Know
Many families who live a holistic lifestyle know breastfeeding is the healthiest way to give their growing infants the nutrients they need. Countless studies show that breast milk -- the most organic source for a baby’s nourishment -- is the best...
Becoming Friends with Poop
Autism has now become a household name, that wasn’t the case not too long ago.  It seems we all have someone near and dear to us with an affected child. I have both a sister-in-law and close friend who have boys with severe Autism.  At the...
Getting Out of Our Own Way -- Making Independence possible for my child with special needs
I have had the pleasure to know mothers and fathers of special needs children who have created their own schools or their own curriculums so their children could learn life skills and social skills, two of the key building blocks for independence,...
5 Reasons You Should Consider Banking Your Newborn's Cord Blood
Medical practitioners and medical research scientists are fully aware of the benefits that can be gained from collecting umbilical cord blood after the birth of your baby. Cord blood can be used for stem cell transplants which will help your body...
Princess Merida Giveaway!
In honor of the coronation of Disney's newest princess, Merida, Family Magazine Group is sponsoring a giveaway. The winners will receive a special gift package from Disney, which includes:A Merida WigMerida fashion dollDisney Princess...
How to Talk with Kids About Tragic Events in the News
When a frightening and tragic event such as a the Boston marathon bombing, school shooting, terrorist attack, or a natural disaster occurs, children may understandably have lots of questions and concerns. In some cases, they may experience some...
Living with Marfan Syndrome
 “Where is Godzilla?” my neighbor asked with a chuckle in her voice.   A relaxing afternoon at the park took an immediate turn when I realized my adult neighbor was referring to my young daughter, Hadley.  I was literally...
World Autism Awareness Day
“The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance.” -- Nathaniel Branden When Awareness Becomes Acceptance April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day. As a mom that lives with autism in my family, I embrace the concept of...
Gailynn Gluth Speaks About Autism Speaks’ Inaugural Autism Investment Conference
Gailynn Gluth, founder and CEO of Wynsum Arts, wrote this blog post for Autism Speaks chronicling her presentation and involvement with Autism Speaks First Autism Investment Conference.   On February 22, I spoke at Autism Speaks’...
App of the Day: Simplex Spelling
This article is courtesy of Wynsum Arts' Every App Has a Story, the stories behind Wynsum Arts' distinguished apps. “People who read well aren’t automatically great at spelling but people who spell well are invariably great readers. With...
Congratulations to all the Family Choice Awards winners
The "Family Choice Awards" recognize the best in children's and parenting resources. Now in it's 17th year, the "Family Choice Award" is one of the most coveted, family friendly consumer award programs in the nation. These awards serve as our...
Does Bipolar make you Procrastinate?
No it’s not a sexual perversion!  I love malapropisms. A favourite is the Judge who becomes exasperated with a gum chewing defendant and tells the Bailiff to have him stop masticating. The Bailiff leans over and says ‘Oi you, take your hands...
Teaching- “What we have learned and how has it changed us”
Whenever we encounter a new student or client, in many cases a label is attached. Often we are told the child is "difficult" or "challenging". Over time, we have learned that those words do not pertain to the individual. Those are words that others...
12 Best Special Needs Apps of 2012-Special Education
Dear Developmental Doc: I have a 14 year -old son who has high functioning autism. He loves anything to do with the computer but has a tendency to use technology as a way to hide from social and emotional experiences. I was reading about recent...
The External Brain: Understanding Brain Injuries
March is Brain Injury Awareness Month. Acquired brain injury is not the kind of thing anyone wants or plans on so unless you know someone who has it, you wouldn't know...but maybe you should. There are two known types of brain injury.  ...
Bipolar Pride and Prejudice
Did you know that last month history marked the 200th anniversary of the publishing of Jane Austen’s best known work? As most will know it’s about love and how irrationally held views and emotions can easily scupper relationships. So is it much...
Designing a Future for a Child with Special Needs
Making decisions for others is never easy. In fact, it’s probably one of the hardest things one can do for someone, especially if that person is their child. When a family is coping with mental illness and intense special needs and a parent is...
Pitfall #7:  Holding On
This is an excerpt from Caroline McGraw's book for caregivers, Your Creed of Care: How to Dig for Treasure in People (Without Getting Buried Alive). To receive your complimentary copy of the book via email, visit Caroline's blog for caregivers, A...
Your Plastic Brain Gurus, Part One:  Build a Better Brain
For centuries, scientists believed that when you reached adulthood, your brain was finished developing, and the only way it could change was to worsen by aging, disease, or accidents. This meant you were stuck with your brain’s limitations for the...
Ask the Developmental Doc: :Teen Age Love: To Interfere or Not?
Dear Developmental Doc: My son is 17 years old and has Asperger’s Disorder. He attends a regular high school program and there is a girl in his homeroom class who he has sporadically tutored in math over the semester. She appreciates my son’s...
Special Needs In Our Homes: A National Discussion That Must Continue
Our family’s story became a national discussion when, after years of unsuccessful advocating for support for our mentally and organically disabled daughter, we made a decision to send her to live with another family in another state where she would...
Acacia Academy: Nurturing Young minds for Over 35 Years
"Nurturing Minds, Enriching Lives and Building Self Esteem in Chicagoland for over 35 years"   Acacia Academy is an NCA accredited school in LaGrange Highlands, Illinois, that offers customized programs for a variety of students, such as...
Barack Obama Charter School - Guiding Students Toward Success
Barack Obama Charter School, in Los Angeles, CA is part of the Ingenium Schools’ charter school campuses. How are they different from any other school? Ingenium Schools use the RISC (Re-inventing Schools Coalition) philosophy and model, a model that...
Made it Ma! - Top of the World?
Do over bearing Mothers create mental problems? I abhor speaking ill of the dead, and of that ghastly modern trend to state you were abused by someone now dead as a way of explaining your criminal behaviour. But… I had a very overbearing Mother...
The Guilt of Extra Curriculars
Last week, my daughter had her first knitting class and she LOVED it!   Until now, my kids have only attended classes or groups if they are offered by groups that can manage my son’s needs. My daughter has bugged me for years about joining...
The 14th Special Olympics World Summer Games
The 14th Special Olympics World Summer Games is coming to Los Angeles! Over 7000 Special Olympic from 170 nations will compete in the 2015 games taking place in Los Angeles, CA. More than half a million people will attend!   This will be the...
I Am Adam Lanza’s Therapist: The Children, The Moms
... continued from hereThe Children The root cause of RAD is abandonment trauma or failure to attach. Physical abuse and sexual abuse are much easier to treat than a core, learned belief that one is worthless or bad. Most of the children have been...
Ask the Developmental Doc: My Child is Still Perseverating Over Hurricane Sandy
Dear Developmental Doc, I have a son with high functioning autism. He is 9 years old and very smart. But he also has a processing delay and tends to obsess over old news items. Lately, he excessively worries about Hurricane Sandy. Although this is...
Ask the Developmental Doc: How to Travel with a Special Needs Child during the Holidays
Dear Developmental Doc, My husband talked me into flying across the country for the Holidays to visit his family with our 28 month old daughter who has just been diagnosed with autism. Under the best of circumstances, she is a handful and doesn’t...
Insights to iPad Integration for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Since its launch, the iPad has received significant coverage across the media and various social media platforms. Although this coverage has been exponentially positive, the media has often ignored some of the many unanswered inquiries relating to...
Temple Grandin on Thinking and Learning
Dr. Temple Grandin talks about different ways of thinking and learning - visual thinkers, pattern thinkers, verbal thinker. Her visual thinking helps her see things that neurotypical people cannot see. "When I was a young kid I didn't know my...
5 Ways to Work with Your Child’s Teachers
Attending a school conference can be stressful for any parent, but if your child has dyslexia, the anxiety can be higher, especially when meeting with a new teacher or counselor. The following tips should help the meeting go smoothly and help you...
Support Groups Where I Actually Felt Supported
For the first time in the 5 or so years I’ve been attending Autism-specific Support Groups, I attended one recently where I actually felt supported and understood when I left…and what’s even more amazing is that both my man AND my ex-hubby were...
Wanted:  A Place of My Own
Living Innovations pioneers a new residential model:  Shared LivingFor most of us, growing up means leaving the family home and living on our own, getting a job, making new friends and finding our place in the world. For people with...
Advocate for your Child in School
Although it’s not spring time and you have some time yet before your Annual Review, that doesn’t mean that you still aren’t coming in contact with your Case Manager or teacher.  Unfortunately, there is the idea that needing to have contact with...
We Bipolarians Are The Normal Ones
It’s the rest of the world who are out of sync!  Watching Obama -- Romney thrash it out to the finish line made me think how we with Bipolar are maybe more in sync with life than those who might think we are abnormal. As we know, Bipolar has...
“Ask the Developmental Doc” A Thanksgiving Dilemma
Dear Developmental Doc: I am a big ‘foodie’ and am starting to get excited about planning the menu for a grand Thanksgiving meal for my friends and family. My problem is that my nephew is autistic and is beyond picky about what he puts into his...
 Smart and Healthy Fall Lunches For Kids
Once kids are in school again, they can be challenged with learning, social pressers and a heavy homework load.  Most parents don't know that stress, anxiety and inability to focus in school are very common for many children.  As...
International Family Film Festival
The International Family Film Festival will be held at the Raleigh Studios, Hollywood, CA March 27 - 31, 2013.You are invited to submit your film features,  shorts, student shorts, IFF Youth Fest! (ages 8-18) as well as feature and short-...
 An Inspiring Story: Leo Beuerman, A Legacy
Leo Beuerman is an inspirational story about a man who refused to succumb to self-pity and instead became a symbol for overcoming adversity.Leo was 36 inches tall, deaf and unable to walk. When he was born, the doctors had little hope that he...
Special Needs Podcasts
Click below to listen to Bonnie Terry's interview with Dr. James Payne, talking about Leo Beuerman and the inspirational story of one man who overcame numerous obstacles despite his limitations.You can listen to Bonnie Terry's Show Learning Made...
Our Special Lives - Annabel
CaféMom introduces the YouTube series Our Special Lives. Each episode features a different family with a special needs child and we're able to take a look into their lives, their challenges and their joys. In this week’s episode you will meet...
Our Special Lives - Down Syndrome
CaféMom introduces the YouTube series Our Special Lives. Each episode features a different family with a special needs child and we're able to take a look into their lives, their challenges and their joys.   Meet Jamie, Scott and their two-...
How Allergies Can Complicate Your Child’s Dyslexia
Allergies cause physical problems, and they can be a significant piece of learning problems and emotional issues. At least 40% of the children I see have allergies as well as dyslexia or other learning and behavior problems.   Having...
Homeschooling Your Speech Disordered Child
Parents of children with speech disorders are faced with a choice: private speech therapy or speech therapy through the public school system? Each choice has its own benefits and drawbacks, but some parents prefer to consider a third, less...
An Unusual Way to Ensure Your Babies’ Health
Most expecting parents are facing many important decisions before the baby is born. Basic decisions include the name of the baby, formula feeding or breastfeeding, and many more. One important issue that needs to be considered by many expecting...
SPECIALNEEDS.COM SWEEPSTAKES: OFFICIAL RULES NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN THIS SWEEPSTAKES. A PURCHASE DOES NOT IMPROVE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. MANY WILL ENTER. FEW WILL WIN.   Sweepstakes is open to all residents of the 50...
Enter to Win a Holiday Gift Basket!
Enter to win SpecialNeeds.com’s Holiday Gift Basket!   This holiday season, you can enter to win a $500 personalized gift basket filled with goodies for you and your family. Here’s what you need to do to enter:   Send an email to...
Book Review: I Am A Child Just Like You
“I Am A Child Just Like You” by Travis Breeding is a beautiful book that seeks to teach children acceptance and understanding for those who are “different”, and to look past those differences and find the things that they have in common. The book is...
Our Special Lives - A Child With Blindness
CaféMom introduces the YouTube series Our Special Lives. Each episode features a different family with a special needs child and we're able to take a look into their lives, their challenges and their joys.   In the second episode we get to...
4th Annual Autism Conference: Re-Thinking Autism
The 4th Annual Autism Conference for Professionals and Families:Rethinking Autism: Neurobiology-Technology-Policy-CommunityGuest speakers:Pat Levitt, Ph.D. Provost Professor of Neuroscience, Pediatrics, Psychology, Psychiatry, and Pharmacy. Director...
10 Characteristics of the Gifted Child
Have you ever wondered if your child is gifted?  While there are several ways to assess a child's giftedness, a quick look at some typical characteristics of the gifted child may be helpful in determining if you have a gifted learner. ...
Communicating Who I Am With Autism
Happiness is something that everyone searches for in life. But when you reach the point in your life in which you can truly feel and believe you've found it, it's a very sweet moment. After being diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome in October of 2007...
How Are Highly and Profoundly Gifted Students Different?
If you suspect your child is gifted, you many notice a lot of signs. IQ isn’t the only thing that distinguishes a profoundly gifted child from other students. Though their intelligence is clearly the most prevalent feature, ironically, it may not be...
Why Organization is Such a Critical Part of a Child's Development
Most children are naturally somewhat scattered and chaotic. As you may have seen, good organizational skills aren't often something they're born with. Toys strewn about, art project left half-finished and habitually losing objects are things that...
Our Special Lives - Autism
CaféMom introduces the YouTube series Our Special Lives. Each episode features a different family with a special need child and we are able to take a look into their lives, their challenges and their joys.   In the first episode we are...
How Do I Get My Child’s Teacher On Board with His ADHD Diagnosis?
Dear Developmental Doc: I am feeling so frustrated I don’t know what to do.  The new school semester has just begun and I have a son who is 8 years old and severely impacted by ADHD. Although his teacher is certified in special education,...
Fun and Quick Food Idea for Gluten and Dairy Intolerant Kids
Being gluten and dairy intolerant is not only tough on your child, its tough on you as well. Fun "kid foods" can be a challenge to make, and finding foods that your child will love and the rest of your family can enjoy takes extra time and efford....
Winner of $500 Holiday Gift Basket
Congratulations to Andrew Barling. He was randomly chosen as the winner of the drawing for the $500 gift basket, courtesy of specialneeds.com, for attending the webinar How to Improve Learning Skills: Reading, Writing, Spelling, & Math. For more...
Welcome to the Land Special Needs
Imagine this - you and your child step off a cruise ship and are greeted by a group of people in colourful clothes, holding signs, flowers and balloons.  Some are playing musical instruments.  They shout and sing joyously, “Welcome to the...
What My Degree Taught Me about Autism
In pursuit of a degree you learn many things, some useful, some not so useful. While in pursuit of my degree I learned a great deal about Autism. Autism is a complex developmental disability that is often misunderstood. There are so many...
Building Baby's Confidence Through Sign Language
When children at an early age experience disappointment in communicating over and over again it significantly affects their confidence. We learn through patterns and repetition. When a child can’t effectively engage in either, it becomes frustrating...
The Elephant In The Pool
My husband and I and our four kids went to the pool on Saturday.  I love going to the pool with the kids. They use Lance and me as jungle gyms. It helps me to confront my hatred of being touched.  You know, because I'm ALL about...
Can Schools Hold back America's Brightest?
A Call to Action - The Templeton National Report on Acceleration  The Templeton National Report on Acceleration has a shocking name and an even more shocking message; entitled A Nation Deceived: How Schools Hold Back America’s Brightest,...
7 Strategies Every Parent Can Use to Meet the Needs of their Gifted Child
Having a gifted child can be frustrating and gratifying in equal measures. Gifted children are often a joy to their parents -- bringing home stellar report cards, talking precociously and enthusiastically about a variety of subjects, and receiving...
10 Tips for Parents of Gifted Students
Has your child been identified as a gifted student? If so, chances are, you sometimes feel desperate for advice on how to navigate this journey with your son or daughter. While your friends may look on with awe at your child’s achievements and think...
Easing the Transition Back to School for Special Needs Children
Due to their unpredictable nature, transitions in general, can be very difficult for our children with special needs. The new school year creates a whole host of transitions that made me want to devote this month’s column to tips for helping your...
New Transitional Living Program for Young Adults with Special Needs
Parents of teens and young adults with special needs are always concerned about their transition into adulthood. They constantly ask themselves, “What happens next?”   Live. Advance. LA. provides that much needed support that facilitates a...
Unblock the Momentum of Learning
How can the process of learning have momentum? Some days a student "gets it" then the next day the same concept is lost. The human brain forgets, stumbles, supposedly demonstrates achievement, but then disappoints.  Momentum and learning seem...
My Asperger Mind - On Friendship
I understand and embrace that I have Asperger’s and my mind works differently. All I really want are a few good friends and to feel like I'm a part of someone's life. Just to feel special I guess. I've been thinking a lot about what happens to...
 Anger, Self-Destructive Tendencies, Depression, and Learning Disorders
When anger is not expressed, it may turn inward and morph into self-destruction or depression. Children’s frustration and anger need an external outlet, and they may internalize these emotions when teachers, parents, and other adults belittle or...
Dear Teachers, Dear Parents: How to bridge the communication gap
I am a parent of two children with special needs, and a special education teacher. I have been working in the field of special needs for 15 years, and currently teach teachers about special education.  One of the keystones of special education...
How Your Child’s Triune Brain Develops
Over 30 years ago, the former Chief of the Laboratory of Brain Evolution and Behavior at the National Institute of Mental Health in Washington, DC, Paul D. MacLean, first proposed the Triune Brain Theory, which shows us how your child’s brain...
5 Things You Can Do at Home to Help Your Child’s Learning Challenges
How many times have you asked yourself what more you could do at home for your child’s learning challenge, whether it’s dyslexia, ADHD, or autism?   What many parents don’t realize is that they’re in the driver’s seat. As a parent, you’re...
Dear Parents, Dear Teachers: How to bridge the communication gap
 I am a parent of two children with special needs, and a special education teacher.  I have been working in the field of special needs for 15 years, and currently teach teachers about special education.  One of the keystones of...
Prenatal Testing - the Abortion Pact
A recent article in the press described one couple’s “abortion pact.”  That is, if any pregnancy had a chance of a fetal anomaly they would abort.  The couple felt that because of their age - she was 37 and he was in his 40s - they had an...
Abortion and Down Syndrome
They say that a large percentage of women who receive a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome have an abortion. But I will not point my finger at the women who have given their babies back to God without ever holding them in their arms. Why?...
A Parents Cheat Sheet to the August Jitters
A new school year is approaching and for many students with special needs, the anxiety may be growing. As a parent, you begin to notice this pattern each summer and you may not know exactly how to soothe your child other than to say, “You’re going...
How to Stand Up to Bullying at School
I have a thirteen year old son with Asperger’s Disorder. Even though he is very smart academically, he is very naïve and comes across socially as very immature for his age. He is starting middle school next month at a new site where he will be fully...
Where to Purchase GFCF Foods and Some Favorite Brands
If you live in a large city, especially in the land of fruits and nuts, where there are Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Sprouts and health food stores all within five miles from your home, finding GFCF foods is not a problem. If you live in a tiny town,...
Gluten Free/Casein Free (GFCF) Diet Cheat Sheet
  More and more families are turning to the GFCF diet to help with Autism Spectrum Disorders and a whole host of other diseases and disorders.   When people begin this diet, it can be very overwhelming. Hopefully this “cheat sheet” will...
Health Scare Fatigue!
Did you know that farting can cause cancer of the bowel? Or that using lipstick might send you dog Bipolar? If for a second you believed these stories you need help! We are bombarded daily by some new scientific research saying too much or too...
Autism is Nothing to be Ashamed Of
A few years ago when I was married, we invited a number of other families over for a “get to know you” type of BBQ as we all met at a 10-week course, in the beginning of our journey of learning about Autism.  As we went from family to family,...
Prenatal Testing, or Frankly my Dear, I don’t give a D@mn: Baby #3 and DMD?
Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) is an x-linked recessive disease. Mothers are the carriers. That means it can be found in boys that are related by female relatives " brothers, uncles, cousins. But because it is recessive not all boys that are...
The Apraxia Path
I just finished reading “The Autism Revolution” by Dr. Martha Herbert. As I neared the end of this book, I read a few simple words that struck a chord with me. The author said, “One of the most frustrating things about battling autism is having to...
Summer Eye Healthcare
With summer firmly in place, there is something we must not forget. And no, it’s not sunscreen! It’s your eye health! We recently had a chance to talk to Dr. Elise Brisco, Co-founder of the Rehabilitative Vision Clinic at the Cedars Sinai Medical...
What Does Prader-Willi Syndrome Mean?
From Wikipedia: Prader-Willi syndrome (ˈpraːdər ˈvɪli; abbreviated PWS) is a rare genetic disorder in which seven genes (or some subset thereof) on chromosome 15 (q 11-13) are deleted or unexpressed (chromosome 15q partial deletion) on the paternal...
Smoking Bans Improve the Health of Mothers and Babies
 A recent study published in the Journal of Women's Health found that a citywide ban on public smoking in one Colorado town reduced the number of pregnant women who smoke and the number of babies born with health problems caused by smoking....
Cerebral Palsy -- An Adoption Story
“I hope to adopt someday." The sentiment was real, yet my idea of adoption was romanticized and I lacked a real understanding of adoption.  I pictured bringing a shy, malnourished, lonely child to my home who would transform into a healthy and...
Little Miss Adorable, Occupational Therapy, Speech, Language and MORE Swear Words
A while ago I posted about my daughter, Little Miss Adorable’s newest words and our struggles in Speech and Language Therapy. (Little Miss Adorable, Speech, Language and Swear Words and Toddler Speech, Language and Self Defense) Little Miss...
Clues and Symptoms of Dyslexia
In the previous blog, we discussed what dyslexia is -- difficulty with words -- and what it isn’t, which is permanent. So how can you tell if your child may have it? According to Scientific Learning Corp, here are clues you may notice at home and at...
Author Rebecca Woods an Inspiration to All Moms
It seems like so rarely do we see autism in fiction, and when it’s done as well as Living Through Charlie, one has to wonder at how much truth really lies behind the story.  While it might have started out more like a memoir, author Rebecca...
Memory and Learning
What is memory? Are there different kinds of memory?  How are memories formed?  What types of information are difficult -- or easy -- for students to learn and remember, and why?  How does emotion affect learning, thinking and memory...
Is it ADHD or Not?
ADHD is one of the most commonly diagnosed conditions.  Symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, irritability, or difficulty completing tasks are hallmarks of ADHD, but they might also be signs of other conditions. Children with autism are...
What is ADD or ADHD?
Do you suspect ADHD? Do you really know what Attention Deficit Disorder is? Bonnie Terry, America's Leading Learning Specialist is on FOX Morning News talking about ADD and ADHD. ADD stands for attention deficit disorder. ADHD stands for...
Tell-Tale Signs of Adult ADHD
With high profile celebrities like NBC’s ‘The Voice’ judge Adam Levine, TV news broadcasters like Phoenix-based Kaley O'Kelley, and others like “The ADHD CEO” Greg Selkoe now publicly “owning” their ADHD diagnosis, it begs many questions: How does...
"Clever Carter": A Story About Autism
Carter, my son, was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder when he was 3.5 years old. As devastating as it was, we weren’t completely blindsided by his diagnosis. The waitlist for his assessment was almost an entire year.  We received a call...
What is Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA)?
Spinal Muscular Atrophy, often referred to as SMA, is a genetic disorder characterized my muscular atrophy (degeneration) and weakness.  It is a neuromuscular genetic disorder that is the leading cause of genetic-related deaths in infants...
Wilderness River -- Special Needs Parenting Style
I look at Special Needs Parenting like canoeing down a fast river -- full of rocks and raging rapids -- without a map! We don't know what is coming ahead, and honestly, we don’t know where we are going either. We zoom past rocks and through rough...
Are You Looking at Me?
Quoting Robert De Niro’s famous line from Taxi Driver is an apt one when one has Bipolar. The context suggests menace and persecution, both of which I can identify with.  And conveniently with the Bi in Bipolar, this aspect has typically two...
What Exactly IS Dyslexia?
The word dyslexia was coined in 1895 but didn’t come into common usage until the 1960s. The word comes from the Greek roots dys, meaning “abnormal” or “difficult,” and lexis, meaning “word” or “speech.” At its most basic level, dyslexia literally...
Proper Digestion, Proper Development
I am a digestion junkie.  Most of my research and education focuses on how to improve digestive function and correct the many ways that our digestive processes can go awry.  For children with special needs, we must focus on creating the...
Stick a Label On It: Acronym Soup and the Quest for Truth in the Land of Special Needs
Sometimes, labels only belong on apples.The land of Special Needs is filled with labels. Reactive Attachment Disorder, Down Syndrome, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Fragile X Syndrome, Learning Disability. Everything seems to be a...
Finding Your Self-Esteem From Within
I grew up as a child actor and model, from ages two to eighteen.  I never did anything fame-worthy, but I did pose for Vogue Bambini and Rolling Stone Magazine, with Fleetwood Mac.  I also got to repeatedly stuff my face with cookies in a...
Breastfeeding Promotes a Healthy Gut in Babies
It's important to have a healthy gut to keep the body functioning properly. When a person experiences problems with digestion, they may want to consider an organic detox to get their health back on track. A new study from Texas A&M University...
Fifty Shades of Embarrassment
Compromise. Commitment. Patience. My 20 years of marriage have taught me many things. One of the most important was how to read. Sure, I knew how to read before I got married. For example, I was a voracious reader of the tabloids in the lines at the...
The Journey of the Parent with a Special Needs Child
I think it’s time we acknowledge the internal emotional experience of a parent of a child with special needs.  This is a journey, and there are times when you will feel traumatized or in disbelief with your experience, and times when you wish...
IASO (Immature Adrenaline Systems Over-reactivity), AKA Aggressive Behavior
Aggressive or violent behavior can be a very difficult and discouraging issue to manage, especially for special needs parents and caregivers. Violent behaviors hinder progress in IEPs, in learning plans, and in becoming mature in personal...
Helping the Siblings of Children on the Spectrum
I often wonder how my son appears through my daughter’s eyes.  She adores him; this is clear.  But what does she make of the sudden outbursts, the seemingly unprovoked anger, and the daily challenges that a family with a child on the...
Mindfulness Awareness-Avoidance
The other day there was a knock at my door. When I answered it was an elderly lady inquiring about my husband's business.  She described what she needed and when she'd be home, stating that her husband had cancer and they were often not home...
Show Me the Money and Failure to Thrive
Obama’s healthcare debate filled the radio airwaves the weeks before daughter was born.  I would drive to doctor’s appointments, hoping that Mr. Obama’s reforms would go through and amazed at history in the making.  I could not fathom...
Battle to Autism Diagnosis
Recently, within a few days, two of my friends confided in me that they are starting to think one of their kids (two different families) may be on the Autism Spectrum, and then they asked how I knew my son had Autism. I’ll admit that my ex-husband (...
What is Down Syndrome?
Down syndrome, also called Trisomy 21, is a genetic condition in which an individual has 47 chromosomes instead of 46.  In most cases, an extra copy of chromosome 21 is the cause of Down syndrome.  This extra copy of the chromosome affects...
Ask the Developmental Doc: Medicating Children Impacted by ADHD
Dear Developmental Doc: My son has just been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder -- hyperactive type. His psychologist wants me to have him be seen by a psychiatrist so that in addition to play therapy he will be given medication to treat his...
Tossing Your Child's Room: Part One
Pretty much all children hide things from their parents.  I think that’s a given, and children with Reactive Attachment Disorder are certainly not excluded from that group.  Their need to control the situation as if their life depends on...
Transitioning for Young Adults with Special Needs
Transitioning to independence during young adulthood is a pivotal and challenging time for everyone. For young adults with special needs, these periods can particularly difficult. People with special needs, such as autism spectrum disorders or...
Military Wife and Mother: A New Home
Being a wife and mother will always be a big challenge, but more when you're a military wife. When I met my husband, I always knew his aspirations to enter the military and serve his country.  For it was always his dream, and have someone to...
How To Make Sure Your Child Eats Well: Part Two
Eating used to be a family affair, a time when everyone came together to talk, share, and enjoy each other’s company. We’re nourished by each other’s presence when we sit around the table. Nowadays, many of us catch meals on the run and don’t spend...
What is GMO?
Of growing concern is the prevalence of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, in our food.  The question is GMO safe for us to eat? GMOs are organisms that have been created through gene splicing and biotechnology, also called genetically...
Can a Standard Classroom Meet the Needs of the Gifted?
It is widely known that gifted students have special needs, yet few schools provide daily programs designed to meet these needs. While many schools have what they refer to as a “gifted program,” this program usually only consists of a weekly, pull-...
How to Protect Your Family from the Sun
With the weather getting warmer and kids taking breaks from school, families are sure to spend more time out of doors and in the sun.  We all know we should put on sunscreen, but which kind is the best and how often should we put it on? ...
Help for Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is a mental illness that typically begins in late adolescence and early adulthood.  Symptoms of schizophrenia include “negative” and “positive” symptoms.  Negative symptoms refer to a lack of an emotion or characteristic, and...
Histamine Invasions
Spring is here! Flowers are blooming, grass is green and Mother Nature offers her rays of warm sun as a relief for the winter’s chill. For some of us, flowers and grass can give rise to pollen sensitivity. Pollen present, high levels of histamine...
When the Chips are Down, Say "Thank You"
Cayden was referred to “The Queen Alexandra Hospital for Children’s Health (QA)” before he hit his 3 month mark.  Already, my little man was exhibiting difficulties meeting milestones; he was not responding to faces, auditory or visual stimuli...
How to Make Sure Your Child Eats Well: Part One
We all know how important nutrition is to a child’s health, but it’s doubly important for children with learning difficulties. Children can’t learn when they’re malnourished or if they’re eating too much junk food. Most people tell me they are...
What is Respite Care?
Caring for a special needs child or adult becomes a part of daily life for many parents and caregivers.  It’s a demanding and difficult job, and many parents don’t get the breaks they need to stay healthy.  It is critical for parents and...
Diabetes on the Rise in Teenagers
According to a study by the CDC published in Pediatrics journal, diabetes is significantly on the rise for teenagers.  Nearly one quarter of American children and adolescents has type 2 diabetes or is developing the disease. Additionally, the...
New York City Officials Approve Special Needs Classroom Inclusion Plan
Despite parent protests, New York City education officials approved a plan to move special needs students into mainstream classrooms.  Mayor Bloomberg’s Panel for Education Policy voted for this inclusion plan, and many critics are saying that...
I Need Her
It is 2:00 am when the cell phone vibrates under my pillow reminding me to get up. In a swift motion I swing my legs around and glide out of bed, barely moving the covers. My husband sleeps soundly and so does my one-week-old baby, Nichole, who...
Diet for ADHD
ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, is one of the most commonly diagnosed conditions in children.  While the cause of ADHD is not known, many people believe it to be due to chemical imbalances in the brain, or genetic or...
Challenges in Math Education
It is a sad fact that students in the United States are falling behind in the study of mathematics. "Everybody Counts: A Report to the Nation on the Future of Mathematics Education" from The National Research Council found that only half of the...
Home is Where the Heart Is: Take 5 (or More)
Everyone’s in the midst of planning summer vacations, signing up for camps and stocking up on popsicles and sunscreen.  May I make a recommendation?  Take a break, maybe even a big break, from therapy at some point this summer.  Odd...
How Can You Prevent Allergy Symptoms?
What are the common causes of allergies? Fifty million Americans suffer from allergies. Itchy, watery eyes affect their ability to enjoy life, work and sleep. Allergies can be triggered by virtually anything around us. Some of the most common causes...
Avoidance Parenting -- Are You Out Enough?
I am a multi-faceted Mommy. If my job were likened to a circus act, I would most certainly be a juggler… who juggles angry rattle snakes… while riding a motorcycle… on a trapeze. Yes -- that would be me up there. You can be my audience. I’ll try not...
Throwing Parents a Life Preserver
In San Jose California in March 2012, a mother of a child with autism shot her son and then herself I wrote this piece that evening WHERE Were We? (A professional’s introspection on that awful day) I shot my son with autism and then I shot...
Symptoms and Signs of Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy refers to a group of chronic conditions affecting muscles and body movements.  It is caused by brain damage during fetal development and pregnancy, and it can also occur during or shortly after birth.  Children with cerebral...
What is Hyperactivity?
Hyperactivity is the state of excess activity and might be manifested by fidgeting, jumping, nervousness, or inability to sit still.  Hyperactivity is a common symptom of ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. To define what is...
Special Needs in Education
Everyone learns at his own pace, but some children require a little extra push or have special needs in education.  Special ed, the common lingo for special education, refers to alternative education programs that teach children with academic,...
Teenage Mutant Bipolar Heroes
If it wasn’t bad enough being a teenager, it’s a real bummer if you are developing symptoms of Bipolar. As parents, if we’re honest, we want a bit of rebellion in our children. It’s healthy for them to be reprobates -- within reason of course -- and...
A Picky Eater or Problem Feeder?
Feeding disorders occur in anywhere from 6 to 40 percent of typically developing children; the percentage of those children with special needs rises to 18 to 80 percent.  Children with feeding disorders are often viewed as picky eaters, but...
When is it Attention Deficit Disorder?
Attention deficit disorder, commonly called ADD amongst the general public, is a disorder characterized by distractibility, impulsivity, and hyperactivity.  Attention deficit disorder is the same as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or...
How To Tell Your Child You Have MS
Full disclosure:  I don’t have kids.  But this is such an important topic that I decided to read up on it and summarize the highlights.  And, I consulted with a good friend in South Carolina, Dr. Dale Dingledine, a psychotherapist,...
How to Modify Aggressive Behavior in Children with Autism
Bright Minds InstituteA frequent question from both parents and teachers is how do you discipline children that behave badly -- and by that I mean become physically aggressive or start having tantrums and throwing things around physically.The first...
Testing for ADHD
While there is no single tool for testing for ADHD, psychologists and physicians do use a standard set of guidelines for testing for ADHD.  These healthcare professionals will use subjective and objective information from parents, caregivers,...
Adopting the Special Needs Child
On an unusually cold day in Hong Kong, China my husband and I walked into an orphanage to meet a four year old child who would soon become our son.  Hours later we walked out of the orphanage not only with a new family member in our presence,...
Healing Tyler: Awareness for Nephrotic Syndrome
Bravery, down to earth nature, and love of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) -- well, that’s a start for describing Tyler Ransom, but it’s not all-inclusive. Tyler has Nephrotic Syndrome, a kidney disease in which valuable protein in the blood leaks into...
What is ADD and ADHD?
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, also commonly called ADHD, is a condition that affects children and adults and is characterized by hyperactive, overactive, or impulsive behavior.  Individuals with attention deficit hyperactivity...
Resources to Reduce Stress in Parents
One of the biggest challenges that parents of children on the autism spectrum must cope with is their own stress. How you manage your stress can be a huge factor in both the quality of your own life and in the life of your child. If you are overrun...
The Importance of Valuable Social Interaction
In neuroscientist John T. Caccioppo’s book “Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection”, brain scans, blood pressure, and immune functions are studied to show how social interaction is powerful enough to change DNA...
Auditory Processing Disorder in Children
Almost every school activity, including listening to teachers, interacting with classmates, singing along in music class, following instructions in physical education, etc, depends on the ability for students to process sounds and have a strong...
Announcing: Shannon Rose and Triumph Over Adversity
From his voice, you wouldn’t know Shannon Rose has a life-threatening disorder called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.  And after speaking with him, you’d know that he doesn’t let this diagnosis get in his way. Rose says, “Since the age of birth, I’ve...
Where Does the Choice Come From?
I was helping Ben today with his shopping list, which he mostly manages himself, but today he asked me when I arrived at his house; ‘Have you worked out what we are cooking today yet?’  A pretty complex sentence for him! As I recovered I...
Ten Asperger's Traits of Women
1) We are deep philosophical thinkers and writers; gifted in the sense of our level of thinking. Perhaps poets, professors, authors, or avid readers of nonfictional genre. I don’t believe you can have Aspergers without being highly-intelligent...
What Triggers Asthma?
May is Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month, and as asthma affects 25 million Americans, 7 million of them children, it is important to know what triggers asthma. Asthma is a respiratory disease that can be anywhere from mild to life threatening....
The Future of Diagnosis with DSM-5
The Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is the text for diagnosis the array of mental illnesses.  The manual covers everything from an overview to lists of specific symptoms individuals must meet in order to be given a diagnosis...
How to Get Calcium without Milk
With the surge of gluten-free and casein-free (dairy-free) diets, many parents might have difficulty ensuring their children are still getting adequate nutrition.  Many of us know milk products are perhaps the easiest and most well known way to...
Ask the Developmental Doc: Psychotropic Medication
Dear Developmental Doc, We have a 10-year-old son who is on Resperidal and Zoloft who is having really severe behaviors in school and at home when ANY type of demand is put on him. He hits, scratches, spits, kicks, etc.  Any suggestions for us...
Is Organizing and Sorting Normal for Children?
Many parents are often overly conscious of their child’s behavior -- when one thing seems odd, some parents jump to conclusions like “my child must have autism.”  Many children might seem “obsessed” with behaviors such as organizing and...
Osteopenia and Celiac Disease
Osteopenia is a precursor to osteoporosis, and it typically occurs in adults over the age of 55.  So why are many children showing signs of bone loss?  One cause might be celiac disease. Osteopenia falls in between healthy bone and...
Aren't We All Special? Don't We All Have Needs?
As an adult looking back I realize I have always had special needs people in my life.  More so I have often felt special needs myself from time to time.  This is now what my life revolves around.  Special needs is in my life...
RADs and Cutting
January 21, 2011.  It was a day that started off like any other day, except about noonish I found out that my daughter had skipped school.  I rushed home and called around but nobody had seen her.  Then, about 4 p.m. or so the...
On Being a Military Wife and Mother
My name is Xiomara Montes, I am 35 years old, born on the island of Puerto Rico. I have 5 years of marriage, and my husband served in the U.S. Armed Forces. We have 3 beautiful children, two girls and one boy. Our first daughter is 10 years, a very...
"I Wish I Didn't Have Asperger's" Response
Many blogs and special needs supporters are writing responses to “I Wish I Didn’t Have Asperger’s.”  These supporters do not know who this person is, but someone typed “I wish I didn’t have Asperger’s” into Google, and now floods of parents,...
What Happens When We Laugh?
Laughter is more than just a sound -- it’s a whole body experience.  15 facial muscles contract, our breathing becomes irregular as we half-close our larynx, and even our tear ducts can become activated.  Our muscles throughout our bodies...
Fighting the "Anxiety Monster"
What is Anxiety? “It’s the extreme fear of being scrutinized and judged by others in social or performance situations: Social anxiety disorder can wreak havoc on the lives of those who suffer from it. This disorder is not simply shyness...
W is for Wellness
W is for Wellness Of all the words associated with autism spectrum disorders the word "wellness" tends to be a loaded  term. Honestly I don't truly understand why but it is. There are accepted medical practices which add to a person's wellness...
Living with Trisomy 13
Raising a special needs child is by far not an easy task.  Your daily life changes in ways that no parent can ever imagine possible.  Now add into that the fact that your child has a genetic syndrome that doctors and medical professionals...
How to Stay Healthy on a Gluten-Free Diet
While the movement to label boxes of food as “gluten-free” has certainly made a gluten-free diet much easier, eating right on any diet can be a challenge.  Gluten-free diets can be just as healthy or unhealthy as any other diet, so it’s...
Dora's Story
Hi everyone. How are you all today? As for me, good. Just chillin in my bedroom on Skype.For those of you who don't know me yet, hi my name is Dora. I am age 20, I am totally blind, I use a screen reader on both my Iphone 4 and my Windows XP Desktop...
Special Needs of Gifted Children
If you’re the parent of a gifted child, then you probably feel very proud of your child and his academic accomplishments -- and rightfully so! Gifted children have so much to offer, and a great deal of potential. Teachers often regard them favorably...
Do you know what an infant seizure looks like? Until a year ago, just like many of you, I would have answered no. My daughter, Lola Anabelle Howell, was born on January 4th, 2011 at 4:42 a.m. in a Costa Rican hospital.  The doctors and...
How I Turned Asperger's Quirks into Career Success
I’ve written for 200 newspapers, Time magazine, and Business Week. I have published a bestselling book on career advice but I have never written for a special needs audience. I don’t think I really thought of myself as special needs until the last...
Helping Hands: Building an Autism Network
Parents of every stripe have the primary mission of making sure their children grow up with the tools they will need to be successful, useful, and prosperous as adults.  We do whatever we can to make sure they have opportunities to learn, grow...
Bullying from Teachers -- Father Reveals Audio Evidence
Watch the following YouTube video from Stuart Chaifetz, father of a boy with autism, and you will be shocked, horrified, and even get angry.  And you should. On Februrary 17, 2012, Chaifetz sent his son, Akian, to school wearing a wire. ...
Low-Income Students More Likely Placed in Special Ed
According to a study commissioned by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, children from low-income families are almost twice as likely to be placed in special education than other students. African American and...
Understanding Reactive Attachment Disorder
Understanding Reactive Attachment Disorder -- An Overview of One of the More Misunderstood Conditions Affecting Child Welfare A few years ago, I spent a good bit of my time crisscrossing the country lecturing on the topic of Reactive Attachment...
What is Angelman Syndrome?
Angelman Syndrome is a neuro-genetic disorder that is often misdiagnosed as autism or cerebral palsy.  Symptoms include developmental delay, seizures, lack of speech, and motor disorders.  Named after Dr. Harry Angelman, who first noted...
Signs and Symptoms of Celiac Disease
Gluten-free diets are hot topics, even for children with special needs.  Gluten intolerance is becoming more common, and it is important to know the signs and symptoms of celiac disease, which is one of the leading causes of gluten-related...
Special Mothers
If you are a mother, you are connected to your children in an extraordinary way -- feeling their pain, shedding tears together, and celebrating in their triumphs, no matter how large or small. You persevere, even when exhausted. You smile, even when...
Book Review: 22 Things
22 Things a Woman with Asperger’s Syndrome Wants Her Partner to Know Most adults would agree that dating and relationships are hard.  Communication, control issues, mood swings, and emotions all converge together in one pot, and sometimes it...
What is Gluten-Free and Casein-Free?
Gluten-free and casein-free diets (also referred to as GFCF) continue to grow in popularity as an alternative remedy for treating special needs like autism or ADHD.  While some parents say their child’s symptoms disappear while on these diets,...
The 7000 Habits of Highly Imperfect Parents
Imperfect parenting as seen through the eyes a CHImP. If you've read many books on special needs parenting and blogs, you’ve probably noticed that many of the authors have lots of impressive initials after their name. I, however, don’t. In fact,...
ADD/HD and US Healthcare: Fabulous or Just Funded?
As a country, we like to tout that we have the best medical care in the world, that we are cutting edge, innovative, and of the highest of quality.  We are simply fabulous.  And we are, depending on the stick we are measuring with. ...
Disciplining Children with Autism
Autism presents its own set of challenges when it comes to parenting and disciplining at home and in school.  Children with autism tend to have difficulty communicating, and they typically either retreat into themselves or become frustrated and...
Asperger's Syndrome: Cure or Acceptance
In light of autism awareness month, I have been pondering exactly what autism awareness means. As a neurotypical living within a family sprinkled with aspergians, I have learned most likely more from my family than them from me. Mostly, to step out...
Hazardous Parenting
Hazardous Parenting: How to Regain and Maintain Your Life While Raising a Child with Dis-Regulated Behaviours and Behavior Disorders Hazardous Parenting is a term I use to describe and define the parenting experience of raising children who have...
Early Intervention at Home
Many parents have heard the phrase “early intervention,” but what does it really mean?  Early intervention is key to helping prevent or lessen the symptoms of developmental disabilities, such as autism.  Early intervention can help...
What is Cystic Fibrosis?
Cystic fibrosis is a chronic disease in which the protein product of a defective gene produces thick and sticky mucus, which clogs the lungs and prevents the pancreas from helping the body break down food. Symptoms of cystic fibrosis include:...
The "Othering" of Autism
When going to the cinema, I love the previews almost as much as actually getting to see the movie.  But on this weekend’s movie trip, the pre-movie advertising proved to be infuriating. Before a trailer for the documentary “Bully” was an...
What is Pervasive Development Disorder?
Pervasive development disorder, often called a developmental disorder or PDD, is another term for autism spectrum disorders.  PDD includes autism, Asperger’s disorder, Rett syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, and PDD-NOS, or pervasive...
Teaching Special Needs Kids to Swim
Teaching kids with special needs to swim is not only a good idea, it’s essential.  Swimming lessons help kids with special needs in a number of key areas, including greater muscle strength and physical endurance, increased flexibility, more...
What is Adult ADHD?
ADHD and ADD are terms most often associated with children, but ADHD in adults is commonly misunderstood and unmentioned in many reports.  Many children with attention deficit hyperactive disorder will carry these characteristics into their...
Appropriate Measures of Physical Restraint
On April 24, 2012, a mother of a special needs child reported her son was restrained in a choke hold by a school supervisor on the bus.  Even when she was there to pick up her son, the supervisor would not release her son until the police...
What is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy is a disorder that affects as many as 500,000 children and adults each year.  What is cerebral palsy?  Cerebral palsy is the term used to describe the many disorders caused by abnormal development or damage to the brain...
Types of Learning Disabilities
Overview of Common Types of Learning Disabilities If your child has trouble with schoolwork and learning, it can be both frustrating for you and your child.  Your child may feel unintelligent, and you may feel that your child is not trying his...
Siblings of Special Needs Children
As special needs children most often get more than their “share” of their parent’s attention, siblings of special needs kids also have their own special needs.  Licensed marriage and family therapist Rachel Bernstein gives parents some tips for...
What is OCD?
Most people will check to make sure they’ve turned off the stove after cooking or turned off the lights when leaving the house.  While the impulse to check things is a typical human condition, people with OCD feel the need to check things...
June Cleaver I am Not
There are many, many times I feel I am a substandard mom, and I hold June Cleaver personally responsible. Well, her, Carol Brady, Marion Cunningham, Cliff & Clair Huxtable, Elyse and Steven Keaton and maybe even Marge Simpson. After all, these...
Your Marriage and Family as a Team
Marriage by itself can be a hard thing to maintain -- when you add a special needs child to the family, the stress placed on the system and the marriage can cause friction.  Follow some tips from licensed marriage and family therapist Rachel...
What is ADHD?
What Is ADHD? With the number of learning disorders and physical disabilities treated each year, one that often gets misdiagnosed or misunderstood is ADHD.  What is ADHD?  ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.  ...
Asperger's Syndrome: Getting the Diagnosis
Do you suspect your child might have Asperger’s syndrome?  Has your pediatrician recommended testing?  You’re probably stressed out and worried, wondering what comes next.  It’s not going to be easy, but with a positive mindset and an...
Emma Ate a Slice of Pizza
Emma ate a slice of pizza last night. That sentence required some space.  It needed to be written by itself with nothing else.  For most of you, this may seem like an excuse-me-while-I-yawn moment.  But for us, it was a DID-YOU-SEE-...
Advancements in Autism Science
Autism is not just one thing.  Some researchers have even compared it to conditions like cancer -- there are many possible causes, and the autism science community is hoping to pin down its etiology and hopefully find a cure or the best...
The Risk of Autism
The CDC recently released their latest findings which state that autism is now found in 1 out of 88 children in the United States.  This can be further divided into boys (1 in 54) and girls (1 in 252).The risks increases if you already have a...
No More Us Against Them
No More Us against Them; Time for Us and Them…one professional’s perspective Fear, budget cuts, distrust, lack of knowledge, unrealistic expectations and no idea of priorities seem to form the foundation of many special educational planning...
Angry and Frustrated with Your ADHD Spouse?
If you are angry, frustrated, or just plain feeling hopeless about your relationship with your ADHD partner, you would not be alone.  Many couples get married not realizing that one or both of them has ADHD.  The undiagnosed symptoms...
Special Glasses
How often do you enter a place of business, such as a hospital, school, or fortune 500 company and you immediately come face to face with its mission statement?  Do you read that statement?  Do you know the purpose behind such a statement...
Getting Acquainted with Special Education
Special education is a program designed to meet and protect children with unique needs.  Special education can serve many children of many different types of disabilities, from physical disabilities to mental disabilities or learning...
After the Diagnosis:  Who to Tell and What to Say
Parents respond in different ways to a child’s special needs diagnosis.  Some parents are devastated by the news.  Many are relieved to have their suspicions confirmed.  Some need time to think before taking action, while others want...
Obesity Linked to Autism
In a study released April 9, 2012 by Pediatrics, researchers looked at the possible link between metabolic conditions and autism.  While there were more cases of autism amongst mothers with metabolic conditions, such as diabetes, obesity, and...
Protecting a Special Marriage
In the world of special needs, there is a great amount of statistics flying around, and one of the most shocking numbers is that an estimated 80-90 percent of marriages involving special needs children end in divorce.  Rachel Bernstein, a...
Working with Special Needs Children
Many people spend their lives searching for a career that be not only financially lucrative, but also emotionally fulfilling.  For those who want to make a difference in the lives of others, and earn a special place in someone's heart along...
Questions to Ask Your Attorney Before Hiring Them
How to Select a Special Needs Attorney: Questions to Ask Your Attorney Before Hiring Them As a parent of a special needs child, you don’t plan on needing a special needs attorney, yet sometimes certain circumstances just come up.  While you...
How Do You Get Autism?
Autism can seem like a mysterious disease that can affect any family.  It causes one to question, “How do you get autism?” as well as make parents wonder if they did something wrong to cause their child to be autistic.  However, just as...
What to Look for in a Special Needs Attorney
If you have a child with special needs, you may find yourself in certain circumstances that require you to go to court and to use a special needs attorney.  No matter what the case is, the right attorney is essential to find.  The wrong...
Disaster Preparedness Tips for Special Needs
Stormy weather or natural disasters, such as earthquakes and tornadoes, often scare any child, but these events can be magnified for children with special needs.  Most parents understand these disasters, but are you prepared?  Check out...
What is Special Education and is it Right for Your Child?
When it comes to your child and their education, it is natural to only want the best.  However, if your child has special needs or a learning disability, a regular classroom setting may not be best for them.  In fact, your child may be...
The First Step of an I.E.P.
When enrolling your child with special needs or a learning disability into school, you may have heard the phrase I.E.P. tossed around a few times.  If this is your first child that needs to enter special education, the I.E.P. process can be a...
Best Treatments for Adult ADD
Natural Treatments are the Best Treatments for Adult ADD The stress of being an adult is hard enough with the constant responsibilities and challenges.  Add Adult ADD to the picture and life is even more complex.  Work, relationships, and...
Successful Transitions: Focusing on Medical Tasks
We have been blogging for several weeks about how to increase the odds of raising children with special medical needs who are responsible, confident, and independent in all areas of life including around self-care issues. Now let's look briefly at...
Aligning the Mis-aligned
Aligning The Mis-aligned…Understanding your Parenting Style and Aligning yourself as Parents Every person enters into the ever so bumpy journey of parenthood with an idea of what it will be like based on childhood experiences and presently held...
New Possibilities for Children on the Autism Spectrum
I’ll never forget the first time a child on the Autism Spectrum showed up in my office, over twenty years ago. Chase was three years old. He did not speak, did not respond to language. He did not even respond to his name. Nothing seemed to grab his...
Brain Plasticity Brings New Hope to Children on the Autism Spectrum
If you are a parent to a child on the Autism Spectrum, you most likely have seen your child improve, at least somewhat, through therapy and through your own efforts to help your child. At the same time you know the depth of the mystery of your child...
Preparing for the First IEP Meeting
Enrolling your child into special education is the best thing you can do for your child if they have severe learning disabilities or special needs.  However, getting started with the program can be intimidating since there are so many steps and...
What Information is Included in an IEP?
Individual Educational Plans (IEPs) are established for special needs children or children with learning disabilities to ensure that they have an equal chance at learning and education.  The whole IEP process can be an intimidating and time-...
Your Part in IEP Meetings
As you may have already discovered, getting a child enrolled in an Individual Education Plan, (IEP), and special education can be a momentous task.  However, once your child gets evaluated and approved into special education, things will get...
Ask the Development Doc:  Play Dates for Autism
The Importance of Neuro-Typical Play Dates for Children with Autism Dear Developmental Doc: Do you have any ideas for helping my autistic child make friends? I recently started to volunteer in my daughter’s kindergarten classroom (she’s in a full...
Q&A with Dr. Kevin Ross Emery
SpecialNeeds.com is pleased to have this Q&A session with Dr. Kevin Ross Emery, a Certified Catalyst and author of books about ADD/HD.  Read further for Dr. Emery's discussion of his practice and revolutionary ideas about ADD/HD.Q:  ...
College and Jobs for People with Autism
The stigma surrounding autism suggests that individuals with autism are dumb or incapable of learning and work, but this picture is not very accurate. According to a study published March 2012 in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, people with...
Is it ADHD or Could it Be FASD?
Last year I spent one fall morning filling out forms so that my 9-year-old son could see yet another specialist, get yet another evaluation, have yet another appointment with someone we were hoping could help us figure him out. At the time, his...
What is Dyspraxia
Out of several learning disabilities, dyspraxia is not one commonly heard by many people.  Dyspraxia affects about two percent of children, the majority of which are males.  Like many other disabilities, dyspraxia can vary in its degree of...
The Magic Number 8
When it comes to RAD, 8 seems to be our “magic number.”  My daughter was 8 years old when she was diagnosed.  It took 8 years before I could honestly say she seems to be healing.  We’ve gone through 8 therapists.  But most taxing...
Quick Fixes and Long Term Damage
ADD/HD has been one of the top, steadily increasing diagnoses for children.  The statistics are both amazing and alarming that suddenly you can't go anywhere that some child or adult doesn’t either know someone or is someone who has been...
What is Dysgraphia?
Types of Learning Disabilities: What is Dysgraphia? With the several types of learning disabilities known, it is not uncommon for your child to have one.  Having a learning disability does not mean your child is unintelligent.  Many times...
Turning the Wheel
The meeting of the Literary Society was just about to get underway when the young man sitting next to me stood up and socked me in the face.  The impact knocked my glasses across my nose and stung my cheek.  He finished pulling off his...
What is Dyscalculia?
Types of Learning Disabilities: What is Dyscalculia? When it comes to the different types of learning disabilities, everyone seems to know the common ones, such as dyslexia or the learning challenges that come with attention disorders, such as ADD...
Testing for Dyslexia
Testing for dyslexia is a good idea if your child is having problems with schoolwork or reading and writing comprehension.  You may want to test your child for dyslexia if the child’s teacher recommends it as well.  There are many signs...
Successful Transitions: Harnessing the Power of Example
One of the easiest ways to help children learn responsibility, make good choices about their bodies, and pave the way to a successful transition/transfer is using the power of example.  Kids learn far more from the examples we set...
Improvements in Autism Symptoms
Why is it that some children with autism “get better,” while others continue to struggle with their symptoms?  Early intervention and therapy involving learning proper social and communication skills are essential to reducing the prevalence of...
ADD/HD:  Can't Fix, Not Broken
When we stop seeing ADD/HD individuals as broken, we can stop trying to fix them, especially quick fix them.  When we can embrace working with their own natural rhythms, harmonies, and their uniqueness, then we can truly take advantage of a...
Test at Home for Dyslexia
Self-Tests for Parents to Do at Home to Test for Dyslexia When it is comes to testing for dyslexia, there is not one true test that can be done.  Because of this problem, many children have dyslexia, yet go untreated for it, while other...
Best Educational Formats for ADD/HD Children
An article in USA Today reported that home schooling has been on a steady rise for the last five years and that the reasons for home schooling have shifted.  There are now 1.5 million children being home schooled, which is up 74% since they...
What is Dyslexia?
How to Figure Out if Child Has Dyslexia Dyslexia is a common learning disorder that affects many children and adults.  The proper recognition of dyslexia can help children and adults manage their learning disability and even help them succeed...
When is it ADD/HD?
Just because someone said your child has ADD/HD does not make it so.  There are many things that can cause a child to be irritated, hyper, act out, have meltdowns and be inattentive.  In the email and posts that I get, often the sender...
Improving ADD with a Better Diet
Millions of children and adults are diagnosed with ADD, ADHD, or LD, all of which fall under the category of ADD.  With this diagnosis also comes the prescription of medication, some commonly known to the public, such as Ritalin.  There is...
Blue for Autism Awareness Month
Tell green to stand aside for a month -- April belongs to Autism Awareness. In March of 2012, the CDC announced that the number of cases of autism in the United States rose to 1 in 88.  Autism is five times more likely to affect boys than...
Flying with Special Needs Children
There is no reason to avoid airports and traveling because you have a child with special needs.  Yes, special measures and extra planning need to be done, but with the right organization and a good attitude, flying with your special needs child...
Sensory Integration: Building Blocks
The majority of learning disabilities stem from underlying sensory processing disorder. When the child's sensory processing issues are addressed through sensory integration intervention, the road blocks to the way the child processes starts to come...
Rescue Less: Empowering Kids
RESCUE LESS……empowering kiddos with special needs How deep the pain and guilt must be when a parent cannot say no to their son or daughter with special needs.  How overwhelmed they must feel each day to allow their son or daughter to dictate...
Transitions: Hope Through Encouragement
Successful Transitions: Building Hope and Resilience with Encouragement In our last couple of blogs in our transition series, we have talked about how to respond to children with medical issues when they make mistakes or poor choices. This...
Dealing with Behavioral Issues in School
Special needs children can thrive in a regular school setting, yet many times, their behavioral issues can become a problem with the teacher, staff, or other students.  While it may be hard to hear about your child’s behavior problems, there...
5 Unexpected Ways to Jump Start Your Child
5 Unexpected Ways to Jump Start Your Child's Processing Skills Sensory Integration, providing sensory processing activities and exercises that incorporate a lot of vestibular stimulation can jump-start your child's processing skills. Activities...
CDC Announces 1 in 88 Have Autism
The CDC announced March 29, 2012 that an estimated 1 in 88 children have an autism spectrum disorder. For over a decade, the CDC and the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network have been tracking cases of autism spectrum...
For Teens in Transition, an Opportunity
For Teens in Transition, an Opportunity to AchieveAfter spending a year at a college with coursework tailored to students with special needs, Mark lacked direction.  The university environment had supported him academically, but he needed...
Does My Child Have a Reading Disability?
Reading is an important first step on a child’s path to success in life.  A child that is an excellent reader is a confident child, has a high level of self-esteem, and is able to easily make the transition from learning to read to reading to...
What is Asperger's?
Discovering the Truth About Asperger’s -- What Is Asperger’s? Among many special needs children and disorders, one that is commonly misunderstood is Asperger’s Disorder.  In fact, many children with Asperger’s can go many years, even into...
Natural Remedies for ADD
Improving ADD in a Different Approach with Natural Remedies for ADD The most common approach doctors take towards treating children with ADD is to give the parents a prescription for their child.  Medications, such as Ritalin, come with risks...
What Happens Next?
Preparing Your Child for the Future Dr. William Lybarger, a special needs expert who provides expert witness and executive coaching, wrote about “growing towards separation.”  When special needs parents spend so much of their time caring for...
Jesse Saperstein:  A Role Model for Change
When asked why he would jump out of a plane, Jesse Saperstein does not hesitate to reply, “Because I’m insane.”  All humor aside, he adds, “I thought it would be an exciting an creative way to stop bullying.”  Indeed -- is there anything...
10 Things 14-Year-Olds Can Do to Transition
Ten Things That 14 Year Olds Can Do To Start Preparing For a Successful Transition to Adulthood1. Get a Jump start on Your Career Path -- Explore!It’s never too early to start considering your career path, so why not start now? Having a career goal...
What is Autism?
For a parent of a child with autism, it can be a confusing time when it comes to getting the proper diagnosis.  However, as many parents that have children with autism will tell you, learning about their child’s diagnosis did not rob them from...
A Parent's Love Grows Toward Separation
How weird! How can love as strong as parental (or grandparent) love grow toward separation? Two weeks ago my wife and I spent a portion of Spring Break with our grandson. He is in his first real job out of college. We are particularly close to him...
Get a Life: Take Charge of Your Future
I see it in their faces…parents of teens with disabilities trying to imagine what kind of future their son or daughter is heading towards. Often it is a look of fear and one of exhaustion.  Just when other parents are excitedly getting their...
Reactive Attachment Disorder
Ahh…Reactive Attachment Disorder.  It didn’t mean much to me when the therapist made that diagnosis of my then 8-year-old daughter.  After all, I already knew her problems stemmed from the neglect she had suffered as a baby.  From...
Transition: When Kids Make Mistakes
One of the big challenges that we face as parents of children with special medical needs is dealing with the extra stress and frustration that comes with the territory. When our kids make mistakes, especially around their medical care, it’s so easy...
Emotional Communication on the Spectrum
The autism spectrum has recently been undergoing something of a revolution in thinking thanks mainly to a number of free-sharing individuals on the spectrum, most notably Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg, who have spent the last few years sharing their...
Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy
It is not uncommon for parents to welcome home their adorable, newborn baby and finding out a year later that their child has cerebral palsy.  New parents are not to blame.  Cerebral palsy is very difficult to diagnose until the infant is...
Advantages of Special Needs Camps
Parents are often bombarded with advertisements for summer camps, and it’s true there are numerous camps to choose from.  The decision to send your child to a special needs summer camp might not be easy, especially when you must weigh the...
Transitions: Raising Wise Children
Successful Transitions: How Do You Raise Wise Children? All parents want to raise wise kids. But where does wisdom really come from? Intelligence is not the same as wisdom. Our children may have good information about their medical conditions....
Kids with ADHD: Hard to Parent
Kids with ADHD Are Harder to Parent: Here’s How to Do It BetterSome people say that ADHD is the result of bad parenting.  There are even some research studies that come to this same conclusion. Here’s the part that’s true: parents of kids with...
Special Needs Daycare
As a parent who needs to work, daycares are a great resource to ensure your child gets the proper care and love while you go to work. Even if you are a stay-at-home parent, daycare is a good choice for many children because it can teach them...
A Family Picture
Picture this with me: A dad.  A mom.  Two daughters -- one who is thirteen years old and one who is ten years old.  A nice little family that remembers the baby days with fondness but is content for them to be just that; memories....
What is a Special Needs School?
Paving a successful educational road for your child can be challenging and difficult. Depending on where your child is at on his or her educational journey, you may have heard or researched a lot about individual education plans (IEP) and special...
Different, Not Less
I saw this quote the other day and thought about how it applies to my daughter Kayla, who has Down syndrome, and people who have disabilities. The quote is "Different, not less." Yes my daughter is different in that she has an extra chromosome. (...
On Being Rare
We just celebrated Rare Disease Day on February 29th, which in itself is rare! Having a child with a rare diagnosis is a hard, wonderful, terrifying, liberating, and exhausting thing.  There are 6,000-8,000 rare diseases that have been...
Support for Special Needs Parents
The view of special needs children and their parents is not always a pleasant one.  The stigma of parents with special needs children often leads to those parents fearing for their reputations, which can result in extreme behavior.  ...
Professional Vs. Personal
In my previous life (before I was a special needs mom), I was a social worker. My resume is almost as eclectic as I am and I worked with a large variety of people. Foster care, adoption, child protective services, group homes, palliative, Native...
Disciplining Children with Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder is a condition that affects the brain areas that regulate impulse control, emotions, speech, thought, planning, and memory.  Children with bipolar disorder are extremely influenced by their impulses and surroundings. ...
Cases of Autism on the Rise
It seems that with the rise of awareness of autism, the rate of diagnosis of the disorder is ever increasing.  In 2007, the Centers for Disease Control reported that nearly 1 in 150 children have autism; in 2009, the numbers rose to 1 in 110....
Great Expectations
Great Expectations of Special Education Professionals  Call me naïve or whatever you will, but I am the kind of person who likes to believe people will do the right thing -- especially people who work in the special education field.  But...
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...
Successful Transitions:  Start Early
Successful Transitions: Start Early, Little by LittleTransition should be a step-by-step process starting as early as possible, preferably when our children are toddlers. You've all seen the milestone charts we get from our pediatricians at...
Weighing Up the Options
The Road to HomeschoolingI could feel like a failure as a mom. For 6 years I raised a child with special needs without realizing it. I knew he was a bit different; challenging and special, but even having a friend with a child with autism, I didn’t...
The Road to Diagnosis
Many parents of children diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome follow a long, twisting path as they try to find out what is going on with their child.  Many children with AS are initially diagnosed with everything from ADHD to mood disorders.When...
Ask the Developmental Doc
Dear Developmental Doc, My son is 10 years old with a moderate form of autism. He struggles in almost all areas of development, particularly since he is non-verbal. I have recently read that there are iPad apps that help kids like mine become more...
Firing the Butler and the Maid . . .
. . . A strategy for helping your child with special needs learn to problem solve.Moms and Dads of children with special needs tend to take on the role of butler and maid far too long for the well-being of their son or daughter. As a consultant I...
Adult ADHD Doesn't Have to Harm Your Marriage
Does one of you consistently promise to do chores but then forget them? Does your relationship suffer from chronic nagging or anger? Does one of you feel that you are living with another child, rather than a spouse? Did you used to feel important to...
Kinderlift Opens Up to World of Special Needs
No one was more surprised than Randy Burklund, owner of Kinderlift, that a ski vest designed to keep kids safe on the slopes would find a market in the special needs community. Kinderlift was created by a mother whose son fell off a ski lift when he...
The Power of Stories to Change Minds
Wild Onion Press took off in 2009 on the mission to change minds one at a time about children (as well as about all creatures great and small) with physical differences.  We aimed to do this through literature, believing that a story is a...
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...
Special Needs App of the Day: Build a Train
Build a Train is an app kids love because it not only allows them to choose which engines and cars to put on the train, it also challenges them with different tracks and maps.  There are a variety of colors and designs of cars for your child...
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...
Take a True Vacation with Autism on the Seas
Imagine taking a vacation with the whole family--a real vacation. And on that vacation, parents can rekindle their relationship, siblings can go on adventures, and kids with special needs can be themselves and have fun doing things like ice skating...
Special Needs App of the Day: I Hear Ewe
The I Hear Ewe app has 36 pictures of animals and vehicles paired with sounds for your child to click on. Children can use their palm or several fingers to click on an image. When they do, the app verbally describes the animal or vehicle and then...
Dealing with Staring and Special Needs
No doubt about it, when people stare at our children (or us), they make us squirm. Let's face it, people rarely stare at us because they're mesmerized by our great beauty. More likely, they are sizing up our glaring imperfections. For kids with...
When Your Child Grows Up & Out of Special Ed
It is all well and good to be told, as a parent, you must be ready for when your child with a developmental disability is no longer in special ed full time.  Yet, to me that time crept up in 2000. When my son with autism, now 31, was...
Special Needs App of the Day: Is That Gluten Free?
Many people with special needs benefit from a gluten free diet. For parents who are carefully watching their children’s diets, the Is That Gluten Free? app is an excellent tool. It is the number one gluten free app in the App Store.  Users can...
Successful Transitions: Teachable Moments
Last time we talked about making sure a child has enough information to make good choices and learn responsibility. This week we will focus on taking advantage of teachable moments with your child.Every day, we have a new...
Protecting Marriage When Your Child Has ASD
For years, parents of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have mistakenly passed along the erroneous statistic that 80% of marriages of such parents will end in divorce. This myth also has been perpetuated by professionals and the media....
Bridging the Healthcare Gap
As a parent and a doctor, I have plenty of experience with our fragmented and confusing healthcare system. I have seen firsthand the challenges faced by patients who navigate it. From the first sign of illness to the last medical bill, our...
Special Needs App of the Day: Motion Math Hungry Fish
Motion Math: Hungry Fish makes learning math a fun game for children and even adults! It is a highly visual app in which a hungry goldfish must be fed with numbers. There are up to 18 levels of increasing difficulty, from matching numbers, to adding...
Activities for Kids: Coffee Filter Fun
Parents who are looking for something fun to do with their kids away from electronic devices this spring may want to consider the things that can be done with a coffee filter. This versatile item that is common to most households can be used to...
A Day in the Life of a Special Ed Teacher
A typical day for a special education teacher is hard to define because the job description varies widely, unlike that of a classroom teacher. What all special education teachers do have in common, though, include a case load of students who have an...
I Was Diagnosed with Diabetes as a Teen
When the doctor came back into the room and told me I was a diabetic, my reaction was similar to being told I had a sinus infection. I expected the doctor to just write me a prescription, and send me on my way, but instead I was on my way to the...
Special Needs App of the Day: Comprehension TherAppy
Comprehension TherAppy is designed to help people with aphasia and alexia (acquired reading disorder). It comes with three modes: Listen, Read, or Listen and Read. The 500 + photographs of nouns in the Listen section were selected by speech-language...
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...
BPA Contributes to Learning Difficulties
A study reported in Science Daily confirms that the active form of Bisphenol A (BPA) is absorbed more rapidly into the body than previously thought. BPA is a toxic chemical found in paper and plastic used to store food and beverages. As an...
Preparing Your Child for a Hospital Stay
Hospital stays are rarely fun for anyone. But for a child in the hospital, the experience is unfamiliar at best and frightening at worst. However, parents can make a child’s stay easier by implementing three strategies before and during...
Special Needs Advocacy 101
"Is my child getting all the services he/she needs or am I falling behind?" "My son is a year old, but all he does is make noises, I’ve never heard any words come out of his mouth.   I’ve mentioned this to the pediatrician on numerous...
Special Needs App of the Day: ClickySticky
Clicky Sticky is an app that allows children to place animated stickers in different scenes. It is a great tool for learning about things like the ocean, aviation, the arctic, space, and clothing. Clickey Sticky has also been used for building...
3 Anxiety-Busting Solutions for Autism
Here are three practical, simple solutions caregivers can use to help reduce anxiety and deal better every day with a child who has anxiety from autism.  Autism spectrum disorders and anxiety go hand-and-hand like sneezing and a cold. We all...
When Homeschooling Chooses You
I never thought I would be a homeschooling parent.  My husband and I bought a house in a neighborhood that gave us access to the area’s best public elementary school.  When my twin boys were babies, I would cruise by the school,...
Special Needs App of the Day: A Present for Milo
A Present for Milo is an engaging story book app for young readers and those not yet able to read. Children will get a kick out of over 80 tap-interactive objects within the story. It is a tale of a cat and mouse game, as Milo the cat chases the...
Nick Jonas on Living with Type 1 Diabetes
Actor and singer Nick Jonas spoke to CNN’s Soledad O’Brien recently about what it has been like for him to live with type 1 diabetes. The star of Broadway’s How to Success in Business without Really Trying was diagnosed with diabetes at age 14 and...
New Font Designed for People with Dyslexia
A font has been developed by a Dutch graphic designer, which will make letters easier to read and comprehend for people with dyslexia. Designer Christian Boer is dyslexic himself. He created a font called Dyslexie to keep letters "tied down,"...
Special Needs App of the Day: Tappie Puzzles
Tappie Puzzles is a wonderful app for children ages 4 and up. It comes with 10 interactive puzzles that help children learn to navigate their way around the world. Most of the puzzles have animals that nod along when the child puts a piece in the...
Kate Winslet, a Hat, and Autism Awareness
It all started with a documentary from Iceland called A Mother’s Courage: Talking Back to Autism. The film needed an English-language narrator, and Oscar-winner Kate Winslet was sent a copy to watch. The story of Margret Ericsdottir's journey to...
God Therapy for Autism
“Why me, God?!!”  I screamed tearfully after BOTH of my two sons were diagnosed with autism. That was 100% of my children! I had considered myself a good, Christian person who tried to help others and obey the Scriptures. The irony of this...
Life Not Otherwise Specified (NOS)
Most days lately I have begun to wonder if my life is actually real or am I part of some sort of made-for-television movie game. The last seven years have been interesting to say the least. My middle child, now seven, has accumulated initials after...
Special Needs App of the Day: Gube
Gube is an app that curates child-friendly videos from YouTube onto parents’ phones. All videos are pre-screened and safe to watch for even young children. This app is a lifesaver for those whose kids want to be able to choose videos for themselves...
Roses for Autism
Millions of people are scrambling to order flowers for their sweethearts on Valentine’s Day. This year Roses for Autism is one special flower business that stands out among all the others. Started in 2009 by Jim Lyman, a man with experience in the...
AD/HD: Knowledge Is Power
Since knowledge is power, it’s worth staying informed about some of the latest AD/HD research findings. Here are a few of my favorites, which combine an "oh duh" component with a dash of "what a good idea."  The “oh duh” category of...
Speech-Based Activities for Kids with Apraxia
 Speech-Based Activities to Do with Your Kids with Apraxia at Home and in the Community A lot of parents ask, "How can I help my child with apraxia?"  In fact, it may very well be the number one question I get after "What is apraxia,...
Special Needs App of the Day: Colorific
Colorific is a great coloring app for kids. It includes over 40 templates where they can fill in the colors. There are also blank pages where children can create whatever pictures they like. Template categories are numbers, animals and birds,...
The IEP Process Explained by an Attorney
Christopher Knauf is the founder of Knauf Associates in Santa Monica, CA. His law firm specializes in disability rights and education-related legal disputes. He has also served as an independent hearing officer for Section 504 special education...
New Mental Health Manual Could Be "Dangerous"
Millions of people, including shy or defiant children, may be wrongly labeled mentally ill according to an upcoming revision of the influential Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Many experts are calling new categories in...
Special Needs App of the Day: Sprout's Good Night Star HD
Sprout’s Good Night Star app teaches your little one about bedtime routines. The goal is to help the adorable Star character get ready for bed by brushing his teeth, washing his face, reading a story, tucking him in and rocking him to sleep. Based...
UCLA Research Study Seeking Participants
 The following is an Interview with Dr. Esther Hess regarding her upcoming research study and understanding the feelings of the neurotypical siblings of children impacted by autism. Editor: Dr. Hess, I understand that you are conducting a...
Review: All About Attention Deficit Disorder
The second edition of Dr. Thomas W. Phelan’s influential guide, All About Attention Deficit Disorder, explains in layman’s terms the symptoms and treatments for this all too common condition. All About Attention Deficit Disorder asks the reader,...
Homeschooling and the Autism Spectrum Child
I began homeschooling my son soon after he was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome,  at 6 years old and in his second year of schooling. I quickly realized that his school knew even less than I did about Asperger’s, and while I soon educated...
Autism-Friendly Shows Planned for Broadway
After an autism-friendly showing of The Lion King on Broadway last fall, the Theatre Development Fund received interest in other shows from approximately 1,500 people. Now The Fund has bought out the 1,797-seat New Amsterdam Theatre and 1,677-seat...
Integrated Lesson Planning for Special Needs
A few weeks ago, as I was sitting in a professional development meeting with a team of educators at New York City Public School PS79, located in Harlem, I was overcome with unexpected emotion. For several years, I have been a vendor to New York’s...
Parent Age Related to Child’s Odds for Autism
In a new study of more than 9,500 children in Denmark who had been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, researchers found that children born to a parent over the age of 35 had a higher risk of developing autism. Interestingly, the data also...
Special Needs App of the Day: What Goes Together?
This app focuses on improving receptive language skills but is also good for expressive language skills. It asks the user to select which item out of a group goes with another item, based on use or function. For example, a child who is shown a...
Transitions: Honesty Is the Best Policy
Last time we talked about how to use choices and questions to help children learn responsibility at as early an age as possible. This week, we talk about an important part of asking questions and giving choices: making sure a child has enough...
Ruby Dee Overcomes Brain Injury with Cookbook
Four years ago, Ruby Dee Philippa was riding her scooter down the road in Austin, TX. She was a singer. Her band, Ruby Dee and the Snakehandlers, was just about to release a new album. She was careful on her ride. She wore a motorcycle jacket, hefty...
Special Needs App of the Day: Astrojammies
Astrojammies is a Demibooks app that tells the story of Jimmy and his magical pajamas that turn him into an astronaut. The book is written in rhyming verse by Stacy Williams-Ng and the text can either be narrated aloud on the iPad or the narration...
Blue Shield to Cover Autism Therapy
Blue Shield of California Life & Health Insurance Co. agreed this week to immediately cover the cost of applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy for autism patients. This decision was the result of a settlement with state regulators, stemming...
Book Excerpt: Easy to Love, but Hard to Raise
Easy to Love, but Hard to Raise is a collection of essays from the parents of children with “invisible” but very real disabilities. As these parents share their stories, a sense of empathy and support emerges until the reader comes away feeling that...
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...
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...
Special Needs App of the Day: Marble Mixer
This app offers three games, all modern twists on the classic way to play marbles. Marble Mixer is a fun and effective way to introduce children to game playing and strategy. In the Monster Picnic game, players must flick marbles into the monster’s...
Antidepressants and Pregnancy: Weighing Risks
Women who take antidepressants and learn that they are pregnant must consider not just the potential risks of the drugs but also the impact of untreated depression on a developing fetus. Untreated depression could lead to low birth weight,...
Transitions: Give Some Independence . . .
. . . Gain Some Cooperation Up until now, in this series on transitioning from the pediatric to adult medical systems, we have focused on defining transition and why it matters. Now, we are going to start looking...
7 Things You MUST Know About Fitness & Autism
Frankie did not enjoy fitness activities when we first began our sessions about seven years ago. Prior to this, his most consistent activity was jumping up and down while hitting his chest with his hand and the more-than-occasional all out tantrum...
Special Needs App of the Day: Mixeroo
When a song plays on Mixeroo, children can slide faders up and down to explore the music in different ways. They can isolate the different instruments, such as the piano, bells, violin or bongos. There are four songs to chose from on the app: “...
Changing the Mindset of Youth on the Spectrum
Changing the Mindset of Children and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders In our therapeutic work with children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), we expanded upon our earlier writings about a resilient mindset, especially given the...
Amazing Race Host Bikes across U.S. for MS
Phil Keoghan has been the impeccably dressed and proper host for 20 seasons of CBS’s The Amazing Race. On February 18, audiences will see him in a different role: as the subject of a new documentary, The Ride, which follows Keoghan as he bikes...
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...
Special Needs App of the Day: All About You, All About Me
All About You, All About Me is a social skills app with 56 illustrated picture cards that ask questions related to getting to know someone. Questions range from basic ones like, “What is your home address?” to open-ended prompts such as, “Tell me...
Cystic Fibrosis Drug Kalydeco Shows Promise
Cystic Fibrosis affects 30,000 people in the U.S. It causes an imbalance of salt in the body, which affects the pancreas shortly after birth, impedes proper digestion, and causes airways to fill with mucus, leaving patients vulnerable to lung...
More Couples Look to Special Needs Adoption
Couples who plan to adopt often look to other countries with cultures similar to their own. That is why Megan and Keith Nakamoto began the China adoption process in 2005. "My husband is Japanese, so we are familiar with the Asian culture. We thought...
Special Needs App of the Day: Fish School
Fish School by Duck Duck Moose uses beautiful images, bright colors, and music adapted from the classic ABC song to capture your child’s attention and hold it. There are eight different activities for learning, including letters, numbers, and shapes...
Using "Inner Speech" May Help Autism
Psychologists have found that people with autism possess the ability for "inner speech," which is the process of talking things through in their heads--though they do not use it in the same way as typically developing people.  In a study...
Parents as Equal Partners at the IEP Table
As a private consultant I have the pleasure of supporting families as they work to become knowledgeable members of their son’s or daughter’s IEP team. They are often anxious weeks before the scheduled date, worrying if their student will receive the...
Quality Instruction for Someone with Dyslexia
I am an elementary school reading specialist in a large public school system, so I have the opportunity to work with a large range of reading needs on a daily basis. For me, dyslexia is one of the most intriguing reading deficiencies I have studied...
Space Camp Special Needs Programs a Big Hit
The recent airing of the Hallmark Hall of Fame movie A Smile as Big as the Moon created such a surge of interest in attending Space Camp that the camp’s website was unable to handle the flood of traffic. The site crashed last night, but it is now...
Special Needs App of the Day: iBioMed
Developed by the parents of a child with autism and seizures who were looking for a way to make their lives easier, the iBioMed app helps caregivers keep track of their children’s health information--particularly those with complex conditions such...
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...
Kids with Special Needs Needed in Top Schools
The elite high schools of New York City have been put on notice. Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott has mandated that screened high schools must either admit more students with special needs or the Education Department would place the teens for them...
CDC Offers New Epidemiology Camps for Kids
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) just announced two new summer programs for kids and teens interested in learning more about epidemiology, which is the study of health-related states or events, including diseases and the control of...
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...
Special Needs App of the Day: Dexteria
Dexteria is a fantastic app for children with apraxia or who are on the spectrum, or even people recovering from injuries. It strengthens fine motor skills and enables pointing, pinching, and writing. There are three sections to the app. The first...
HPV Vaccine Does Not Trigger Autoimmune Issue
Autoimmune reactions have long been a concern connected with Gardisil, the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. It has become common for the vaccine to be recommended to adolescents and young adults to protect against sexually transmitted infections...
One Family’s Journey with Autism
Altering Our Perspective: One Family's Journey with Autism He came to us on a Tuesday, slowly and painfully easing his way into the world just after the new year. When the doctor placed Benjamin on my belly I felt that we had finally done it …...
Special Needs App of the Day: ConversationBuilder
ConversationBuilder helps elementary-age children who have trouble conversing with peers in social situations. This app gives the user options in choosing who begins the conversation (“student” or “peer”) and which phrase to say to either initiate...
Special Ed Kids Go to Space Camp in New Film
A Smile as Big as the Moon is an inspiring story about a class of special education students who dream of going to Space Camp. What began as a memoir written by real-life special education teacher Mike Kersjes has now been made into a Hallmark Hall...
Ann LeZotte and Julie Jack, a Deaf Heroine
As a young child, Ann LeZotte was diagnosed as autistic because she banged her head. Eventually it was discovered that her head-banging was merely a response to the fact that she could not hear. Born prematurely and deaf, Ann also has trouble with...
Special Needs App of the Day: iWriteWords
iWriteWords teaches your child to write using whimsical sounds and graphics. The way to play is to help Mr. Crab collect all the numbers in sequence on the screen by tracing them with your fingers. As the numbers are traced, a letter appears. Once...
Clues to Treating Cancers Found in Genomes
Two biotech companies recently announced that sequencing the human genome--each person’s individual DNA blueprint--would soon be possible to do within a single day and for approximately $1,000.  The day following this announcement, researchers...
Successful Transitions: Parenting Strategies
This is our fourth article our Transition series. The last three articles discussed what transition is and why it matters. This week, we start looking at parenting strategies for raising children with special healthcare needs who are...
Brain Scans Detect Early Signs of Dyslexia
Dyslexia is typically diagnosed in children when they are around second or third grade in school. A team from Children’s Hospital Boston reports that they have discovered signs of dyslexia in children as young as 4 or 5 years old by studying their...
Special Needs App of the Day: Doodle Buddy
Doodle Buddy Gold is a popular finger painting app that can be great for calming children with anxiety issues. There are tons of colors to choose from and fun stamps that make silly sounds when your child adds them to the picture. Doodle Buddy also...
Keep Medicines Up and Away and Out of Sight
Many parents might not fully realize the dangers of leaving medications within reach of young children. According to a press release from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in every 150 two-year-olds in the U.S. visits an...
Going Gluten, Casein and Chemical Free
A Life Transformed by Going Gluten Free, Casein Free and Chemical Free My son threw things, screamed, had uncontrollable meltdowns, had severe sensory challenges, very poor social skills and never changed his diet from pretty much eating peanut...
Behavioral Problems and Medication in Kids
Behavioral problems in children can range from mild mischievousness to serious misconduct that can interfere with normal development. Children and adolescents with extreme behavioral problems, more than typical childhood misbehavior, should be...
Special Needs App of the Day: Sound Shaker
Labeled a “21st century rattle” by Children’s Technology Review, the Sound Shaker app lets children experiment with sounds by tapping. After the child chooses a sound like a chime, whistle, barnyard animal, or drum from the main menu, each tap of...
Film Raises Dyslexia Awareness at Sundance
A documentary directed by James Redford (son of Robert Redford) uses animation and live interviews to explore the complex world faced by those who have dyslexia. In the film titled The D Word: Understanding Dyslexia, the audience follows Dylan, a...
New Definition of Autism Worries Some
One in 110 children in the U.S. are currently estimated to have autism, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With the rate of diagnoses skyrocketing in recent years, some newly proposed changes to the definition of autism...
Special Needs App of the Day: Going Shopping
Some children with special needs react with difficult behaviors like tantrums when going into a store. Going Shopping Social Story is an app that focuses on things that can be fun while shopping. Because children with special needs such as Down...
Advice on Transition from Pediatrics to Adult
After beginning our Transition article series, we received a question from a reader telling us about her experience going from a pediatric clinic to an adult clinic. This patient explains to us her common concern that so many others experience...
New Reality Show Follows Life with Disability
Push Girls, a reality show set to debut in April on the Sundance Channel, follows the lives of four women who have been paralyzed by either disease or tragic accidents. While each of these women use wheelchairs in everyday life, the title of the...
Special Needs App of the Day: Story Land
The Story Land app allows children with special needs to build stories by selecting a background and adding in various characters and objects. It is extremely interactive: users can choose from over 320 fully animated characters and create over 300,...
Lip Reading Study Could Offer Autism Clues
A new study conducted by researchers at Florida Atlantic University is proving that infants use more than their ears to learn how to talk. The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, tested groups of babies ranging...
Medical Professionals Share Transition Advice
Current research shows that an organized, methodical approach to transition is crucial. A. Kennedy et al. states: "Increasing evidence shows that adverse health consequences occur when inadequate transition arrangements are in place. Poor...
Many People with Autism Suited for Jobs
Employers are realizing more and more that there is a group of potential employees in the autism community who can be productive workers if given a chance. Chris Simler is the director of career development services at Turning Pointe Autism...
Special Needs App: Dragon Dictation
Dragon Dictation is a useful tool for people who have difficulty typing or translating their thoughts into written words. This voice recognition app is powered by Dragon Naturally Speaking and allows the user to speak the content of emails, text...
Guardianship and Developmental Disabilities
Surrogate Decision Making for People with Developmental Disabilities Susie is 18 years old. She has been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, which makes it difficult for her to socialize and communicate with others. She attends a school for...
FOX Features Character with Autism on Touch
Soon to join a growing list of television characters on the autism spectrum is Jake Bohm, an 11-year-old boy with an extreme form of autism who is also nonverbal. Portrayed by David Mazouz, Jake’s character is at the center of a new show called...
Special Movie Showings for Special Needs Kids
One theater in Massachusetts recently began hosting sensory-friendly screenings of movies for children with special needs. The families who attend these showings do not typically have a chance to see movies in theaters because some children have...
Morgan's Wonderland to Team up with EMHE
Ultra-accessible family fun park Morgan’s Wonderland is teaming up with Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (EMHE) to build a new home for a wounded warrior and his family in San Antonio, TX. According to a joint press release, the deserving recipient of...
Tebow Foundation Helps Those with Disability
Tim Tebow is the most talked about athlete in America right now. With his 80-yard OT touchdown pass in the playoffs against the Pittsburgh Steelers last week and subsequent 9,420 tweets about him on Twitter per second, Tim Tebow makes news wherever...
Respecting Autism: A Talk with Dr. Gil Tippy
Dr. Gil Tippy, co-author of Respecting Autism and a founder of the Rebecca School in New York, talks to SpecialNeeds.com about his book and the philosphies that the school was built upon, many of them Dr. Greenspan's legacies.SN: Dr. Tippy,...
Special Needs App of the Day: My Tale
"The Cloud Boy" is the first in a series of stories in the My Tale collection for iPad. It is about a boy who always has his head in the clouds and often gets distracted or lost. He must learn to pay attention in order to keep his parents from...
Patients Share the Significance of Transition
Transferring from pediatrics into the adult medical system is a big step for families who have children with special needs. The medical care models are very different. Even prepared parents and young adults express shock at how different the two...
Special Needs App of the Day: Turn Taker
Turn Taker teaches sharing using visual and audio cues to children with Down syndrome, autism, ADHD, and other special needs. Sharing is a key skill for growing and maintaining social relationships, which in turn promote an improved use of language...
Managing Pregnancy When Baby Isn't Perfect
No one wants to talk about it, but sadly bad things happen during pregnancy. Sometimes babies die and sometimes babies are not born perfect with "10 little fingers and 10 little toes." Since no one talks about these things, going through a difficult...
NLP for Parents of Kids with Special Needs
Parents of a special needs child also have special needs. They need more flexibility to deal with the unknown and adapt to situations that are often completely different from what they expected, more time and money to take care of their child, more...
“Scream Rooms” Used on Special Needs Children
Parents are outraged at one elementary school’s use of what have been termed as “scream rooms” on their children with special needs and behavioral problems. Teachers and staff at Farm Hill Elementary School in Middletown, CT, reportedly used the...
Special Needs App of the Day: Tap Tap Baby
 Tap Tap Baby for iPad is a great app for children who experience severe developmental delays and/or fine motor difficulties. It features a total of six games, including a monkey face that goes through a range of emotions, a xylophone game, and...
Hardy Brain Camp Helps Learning Disabilities
The school day was over, but in a classroom tucked away at a far end of Rio Real Elementary School in Oxnard, CA, a group of 10 students were just getting started. Many of them were hovering around two rows of computers being set up with cables...
Maintain a Healthy Body During Antibiotics
Studies continue to show that the use of antibiotics disrupts the delicate balance in the digestive tract and colon of patients with special healthcare needs. This compromises healthy liver, immune and bowel function. Research in the journal ...
Improve Your Special Needs Financial Planning
The Hidden Financial Costs of Having a Child with Special Needs: Part Two It costs around $15,000 a year to raise the average child in the United States. You can expect this number to nearly double if you have a child with complex medical needs...
The Meaningful Life for a Child with Autism
There are approximately one million people living with autism in the United States today. By the year 2050, it is predicted that this number will increase fivefold, with 1.7 million of these people being adults. In her book, Autism Solutions: How to...
Special Needs App of the Day: Grace
Winner of the 2010 Irish Web Awards and United Nations World Summit Award Mobile, the Grace App features a picture database for nonverbal people to use to create sentences. Both adults and children with autism will find this app useful for...
Successfully Transitioning Special Needs Kids
Successful Transitions: Moving from Childhood into Adulthood and from Pediatrics into Adult Care Whether your child is a toddler or a teenager, transition is a word you need to know. As the parent of a teenager with asthma, allergies...
Hidden Financial Costs of Special Needs
The Hidden Financial Costs of Having a Child with Special Needs: Part OneLast year my daughter's out-of-pocket medical costs were more than $200,000. Yes, you read that right. Fortunately, supplemental Medicaid picked up a good chunk of that, but we...
How Weighted Blankets Help Special Needs Kids
 Who May Benefit from a Weighted Blanket and Why My daughter with Rett syndrome and Mitochondrial disease suffers greatly from sensory integration dysfunction. She has trouble sleeping through the night, cries when her hair is brushed, suffers...
Autism: A Different Way of Being
"I don’t want a boy like that in my class," writes Ms. Linden upon hearing that she is to be my son Neal’s teacher.  A boy like that!  My mind goes to lyrics from West Side Story, "A boy like that " he kill your brother... forget that boy...
Artists with Disabilities Gain "Momentum"
Out of more than 120 submissions from high schools and colleges across the country, 15 emerging artists with disabilities were selected to showcase their works at the Ripley Center, part of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. The chosen...
Keeping Hope Alive When a Child Has Special Needs
Keeping Hope Alive When Your Child Has Special Needs I pull into the carpool lane to pick my kids up from school and am yet again touched by the sight of a service dog with a bright pink lunch pail hanging from her mouth as she trots alongside...
The Impact of OCD on Kids in a School Setting
Oh, man. There goes the bell for the end of 4th period. I hate this bell. It means I have to go to my locker and unload all my stuff from the first four periods and pick up everything else I need through the end of the day. I only go to my locker...
Helping Kids Learn about Autism
When signing up my child for baseball one cold Saturday morning I asked the chairperson, "Is there a coach familiar with autism?" He responded kindly enough, "Yeah we have one that is ADHD." Wow, I thought. Autism has been around for many years, and...
Special Needs App of the Day: ASL Dictionary
The ASL Dictionary includes 4,800 signed words accompanied by easy-to-follow videos to teach users Sign Language. It features common English phrases, the entire numerical system, dates, symbols, and 765 multiple meaning words, as well as 55...
How to Find a Special Needs Day Care
According to the Children’s Defense Fund, 19 million children in kindergarten through eighth grade are regularly in nonparental care before and after school. One of the many benefits of sending your child to a licensed child care center is the...
Who Are Student Rights Advocates?
Student Rights Advocates (SRA) works to protect student rights and ensure excellence in public education, particularly for those children who have special needs. Co-founder Debbie Papaj talks about her work and who might benefit from having an...
New TSA Helpline for Special Needs Travelers
Families with special needs may now have an easier time navigating airport security screenings. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recently rolled out a new toll free hotline called TSA Cares. Travelers with special medical conditions...
Finding a Way to Live with Pediatric MS
On the first day of fifth grade, Bryan Yglesias woke up feeling weaker on his left side. He walked with a limp, and over the course of the day he felt worse and his speech began to slur. His parents, Nick and Kathy, took him to the hospital, but the...
Avoiding Obesity in Kids with Special Needs
Childhood obesity is a rising problem in the United States, both for typically developing children and children with special needs. According to a Fact Sheet released by the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Department of Disability and Human...
Are Meds Making Your Child Sick?
Americans--including children--are taking more prescription drugs than ever before. Things can go wrong when these drugs are mixed with other prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, herbal remedies, and even caffeine. Many patients and...
How to Organize the Chaos
What bigger crisis does one face than learning their child has been diagnosed with a chronic condition? It’s virtually impossible to collect your thoughts, let alone organize them. For me, organizing the many aspects of my life after receiving that...
Children's Medical Records: 5 Things to Watch
Many of us are clueless about the valuable information contained in our children’s medical records. Knowing what’s there can help us make smart decisions; not knowing can leave us navigating in the dark. Getting ahold of your child’s records has...
Wild Onion Press Stars Kids with Disabilities
NPR Commentator and novelist Shelley Fraser Mickle takes on a new title, Publisher, with the startup company Wild Onion Press, Books Starring Kids with Physical Differences.I fell in love with stories when I was five. My grandmother from Tennessee,...
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!"   - Temple Grandin, PhD   The...
Keep Children with Autism from Wandering
It’s every parent’s worst nightmare: They turn their attention away from a child for just a moment to answer the phone or check dinner in the oven, and when they look again, the child is gone, and a frantic search begins.  This scenario...
Favorite Technology Tools for Dyslexia
Susan Barton, founder of Bright Solutions for Dyslexia, recommends five favorite technology tools for people with dyslexia. These tools allow students to work around their weak areas while they build up their strengths through tutoring or classroom...
My Child Has Dyslexia: Now What?
“When do I tell my child he or she has dyslexia?” Many parents agonize over this question. Susan Barton, creator of the Barton Reading & Spelling System and founder of Bright Solutions for Dyslexia, says that children with dyslexia know by the...
New Treatment Guidelines for ADHD
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) created some controversy with their recently released updated guidelines for diagnosing and treating ADHD. The guidelines recommend medication treatment for children as young as four years who have academic...
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...
Merrill Lynch Debuts Special Needs Calculator
Merrill Lynch has developed a financial calculator exclusively designed for families of children with special needs. This tool helps families structure their finances by factoring the costs of assistive equipment for homes, such as wheelchair ramps...
Autism: Beyond the Nonverbal Label
The common misperception that nonverbal children, particularly those diagnosed with autism, are not aware of what goes on around them or are devoid of feeling is completely destroyed in the book, Seven Keys to Unlock Autism: Making Miracles in the...
Choosing Gifts for Kids with Disabilities
Shopping for the perfect gift can be a challenge, but finding a gift for a child with special needs doesn’t have to be.According to Julie Brinkhoff, assistant director of the Great Plains ADA Center at the University of Missouri School of Health...
Facial Differences Found in Boys with Autism
COLUMBIA, Mo.  " The face develops from the same set of cells that are responsible for brain development, beginning with an embryo and continuing through the first 10-12 years of life. Now, University of Missouri researchers have...
Spina Bifida: From Patient to Parent
Spina Bifida is one of the most common birth defects, occurring in 1 out of 2,500 babies. Also termed a “cleft spine” or “open spine,” it affects the lower back and in more severe cases, the spinal cord. Carla Lohr was born with Spina Bifida...
Excerpt from "Life Before Birth"
On Prenatal Life: The evidence is increasing--traumas while being carried in the womb have a lifelong effect and can change brain function and structure permanently. One study is critical in all this. Lancet reported a study of blood...
Communicating with Your Special Needs Child
Every child is a special needs child.  Most of those special needs fall within our expectations, and that's the reason why we don't really consider them “special.”  But other needs are completely unexpected and require a lot of effort on...
The Problem of MD Chronic Joint Pain
Is there a long-lasting, little risk, minimal side-effect solution to chronic joint pain for the Muscular Dystrophy (MD) patient? The answer is yes, and the main "medicine" in this treatment is sugar. Muscular Dystrophy, sports related injuries, and...
Study Says Autism Missed in Cases of Epilepsy
 In a study presented at the American Epilepsy Society’s (AES) 65th Annual Meeting, children under five years old who were seen at an epilepsy monitoring unit and a ketogenic diet clinic were tracked for six months. Seventy-seven percent of the...
AT&T and Exmovere Partner to Fight SIDS
There are almost 2,300 incidents of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) each year. Now, by wirelessly enabling Exmovere’s patented biosensor pajamas for infants, AT&T makes it possible to monitor your baby’s critical vital signs, such as heart...
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...
Holiday Meals and Families with Special Needs
Parents of children with special needs often find themselves feeling pressured to explain or apologize for their child’s behavior around the holiday dinner table. Maybe your child is a picky eater or prone to outbursts. This may cause tension if...
Holiday Relationship Repair for Families
When holiday season rolls around, we all want to be able to sit around the dinner table and experience something reminiscent of a Norman Rockwell painting. Unfortunately, the holidays tend to bring out the worst in some families. Dr. Travis...
Canine Companions Provide Four-Legged Friends
Canine Companions for Independence is a national nonprofit organization that provides assistance dogs for people with disabilities completely free of charge. Canine Companions serves adults and children with a wide range of physical and...
ACT Today! Grants iPads to Kids with Autism
In the past year, ACT Today! has given 88 iPads to children with autism around the country. As part of the autism care and treatment nonprofit’s new Assisted Technology Program, tools like the iPad ensure that children on the autism spectrum will...
Diagnosing Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory disease that attacks the central nervous system, including the spinal chord, optic nerves, and brain. MS most frequently occurs in adults, but it can also be diagnosed in children and teens. It is...
Nutritional Assessment for Special Needs
Nutrition therapy for children with special needs varies greatly and must be individualized for each issue.  Swallowing difficulties, positioning and nutrient deficiencies are just a few of the variables that can have an impact on your child’s...
Kids with Autism Take Lead at Pretend City
Children on the autism spectrum need to be provided with innovative strategies that enable them to learn to negotiate effectively in the real world. This is so they will feel accepted and have the proper skills to become productive adults. Pretend...
Bullying and Children with Special Needs
Bullying is a serious problem affecting many children and teens, but it is not likely that most children, especially those with special needs, will walk up to their parents and tell them, “I’m being bullied.” Bullying can involve name-calling,...
Susie Bean Helps Families with Special Needs
Dr. R. Layla Salek knows firsthand the financial strain that families experience when struggling to help a loved one with mental illness or autism. As the daughter of a mother diagnosed with bipolar disorder, Dr. Salek ‘s passion for working with...
Girl with Down Syndrome Signed as Model
Urban Angels, an elite UK child modeling agency, opens their books only twice a year in search of new talent. Little Taya Kennedy was one of 50 children chosen out of 2,000 applicants. The fact that she has Down syndrome “did not enter the equation...
Special Needs at Sea
When Andrew Garnett founded Special Needs at Sea four years ago, he was making equipment deliveries in his own car. “I would get up at three in the morning and drive to Port Canaveral, make my deliveries there, and then I’d drive across the state...
Muscular Dystrophy Drug Success
Researchers at Ohio State University Medical Center have recently made great strides in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) research. DMD is one of the most severe forms of muscular dystrophy, resulting in the eventual degeneration of all voluntary...
Vista Inspires Autism Community
For children and families living with Autism Spectrum Disorders in West Los Angeles, Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services has a whole lot of answers to the the question, "What can we do?" As CEO Dr. Elias Lefferman says, "You do everything you...
Autism: How to Discern the Symptoms . . . and What to Do Next
Have I been living in a cave? This was the thought that went through my head when I first learned that both of my children exhibited “poor social skills and autistic-like behavior.” I had them tested at the local public school and that was their...
To Worry or Not to Worry: Your Child's Development
Mother’s intuition is priceless but unfortunately not always an accurate gauge about whether a child is developing normally or not. Thankfully, there are several excellent checklists available to evaluate social interaction, speech, and hearing and...
Educational Remediation From the Brain Stem Up: An Interview With Anna Buck
Paula: Anna, I’m excited to interview you. It gives me a chance to publicly thank you for the help you gave my children and to let others know there’s healing available for kids who struggle! Could you tell us a little about Anna’s House?  ...
Leading Pediatric Expert Offers Eight Step Technique for Managing Children's Behavioral Problems
As parents know, a child’s misbehavior can create chaos, disorder and discontent within a family that often leads to guilt, disappointment and frustration that can cloud even the very best intentions. Parents and caregivers may have found themselves...
Teaming Up with Your Child's Teachers
“My child has special needs.” That phrase can be uttered with either a sigh or confidence. Which one depends upon the spirit with which the parent greets the teacher.  As an educator and administrator, I love to tell our parents that “every...
Support For The Journey
A woman’s daughter has just been diagnosed with autism. A couple struggles to deal with their brain injured baby, still in the NICU. These courageous parents face an unknown journey with no preparation and no road map. What do they need? They need...
11 More Good Old Books about Learning Disabilities, ADHD and Dyslexia: 3 in a Series
Everyone has their favorite sources of information, and often that means a favorite book. New books are continually coming out. Sometimes new ideas come along. Sometimes they really change the game. Often, they don't.I think, and many others agree,...
Suffering in Silence: Do Food Allergies Play a Role in Selective Mutism?
My nine-year-old son was diagnosed at age four with selective mutism, a psychological anxiety disorder that is characterized by the sufferer's inability to speak in certain situations. My son speaks normally at home and some familiar situations, but...
Suffering in Silence: Could Your Child Have Selective Mutism?
Chances are you know someone who has a child that's been diagnosed as autistic, or you may have that child yourself. What exactly is autism, what is the autism spectrum, and why have diagnoses exploded so recently? Approximately one out of every one...
Teen and Preteen Girls Are at Risk For Developing Eating Disorders: Adolescent Eating Disorders
In the past five years, I have noticed an alarming trend in my private practice. Eating-disordered thoughts and behaviors are striking girls at increasingly younger ages. It is not uncommon for me to hear an eight-year-old girl tell me that she...
The Right to Read
"The sadness experienced in school stays with you forever. Early wounds may heal, but the scars are a constant reminder of a painful experience with the traditional method of learning."So says Joan Esposito, president and founder of Santa Barbara's...
A Growing Epidemic for Kids: Help Your Child Stop Cutting
One of the most insidious and disturbing behaviors teens engage in is cutting. Cutting is a form of self-punishment by people afflicted with ongoing feelings of guilt, confusion, anger, or overwhelming pain. In many cases, cutting is correlated with...
Now, Some More...Quotes from People with Dyslexia
My teachers say I'm addled...my father thought I was stupid, and I almost decided I must be a dunce.--Thomas Edison (the famous inventor pictured when he was a lad) He told me that his teachers reported that...he was mentally slow, unsociable, and...
Short Takes on the Disabilities: What is Dyslexia?
Dyslexia is an invisible disability. It is caused by a difference in brain structure which is present at birth and is often hereditary. As a result, incoming or outgoing information gets scrambled as it travels between the senses and the brain....
Agency Spotlight: Dyslexia Awareness and Resource Center (DARC)
[Editor's Note: When I returned to Santa Barbara for good in 1990, I was fortunate to make the acquaintance of Joan Esposito and her remarkable organization.  Although Ms. Esposito is a past president of LDA-CA (California's state-level...
Short Takes on the Disabilities: What Students Must Know If They Have Dyslexia or ADD To Get The Help They Need
A person is not dyslexia and is not attention deficit disorder. We can have dyslexia or ADD, just as you may have blue eyes or brown hair or asthma. They are conditions that are parts of us, but none define us. Dyslexia and ADD are...
Agency Spotlight: The International Dyslexia Association
Watching a child struggle with reading, writing, and other academic areas can be heartbreaking for parents and other family members. The International Dyslexia Association (IDA) strives to help parents of dyslexic children, as well as, others with...
And Now for Some...Quotes from Famous People with Dyxlexia
I was one of the "puzzle children" myself--a dyslexic.... And I still have a hard time reading today. Accept the fact that you have a problem. Refuse to feel sorry for yourself. You have a challenge; never quit!--Nelson Rockefeller, former...
Short Takes on the Disabilities: What Profess
The term learning disability describes a neurobiological disorder in which a person's brain works or is structured differently. These differences interfere with a person's ability to think and remember. Learning disabilities can affect a person...
DIR/FLOORTIME: A Developmental Approach to Play Therapy for Children Impacted by Autism Treatment
Often children who have been derailed by developmental delays like autism present for treatment with very poor or no apparent play skills. There is an equally low level of interest in engaging with play partners. This has led to a pessimistic view...
The IEP Process: What You Need to Know
Beginning at age 3 and throughout your child’s education, if you suspect that your child has special needs, he/she may be eligible for support from the local school district. To determine this, assessments must be conducted, which can be requested...
Do You Need a Developmental Pediatrician?
Developmental pediatricians are doctors who specialize in children with developmental or behavioral concerns, or specific developmental disabilities. Developmental pediatricians may provide a “developmental assessment” to help parents understand...
Learn the Early Signs of Dyslexia
One out of every three children entering first-grade lacks the basic skills for success in school. The National Center for Educational Statistics shows that as many as 20% of our nation’s children have substantial difficulties learning to read, and...
The Benefits of an Inclusive Classroom
In the educational field, “inclusion” means that children with and without identified disabilities are taught together in the same classroom to the greatest extent possible. Services such as speech, physical therapy, or assistive technology are...
Early Diagnosis and Independent Assessments: Paving the Path for Your Child's Success
• Autism topped President Obama’s 24-point medical agenda, calling for increased funding, and screenings for all infants.• The American Academy of Pediatrics has called for all children to be screened for autism twice before the age of two.• The...
Diagnosing and Treating ADHD
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is one of the most common neuro-biologic health conditions seen in school-age children through the adult years.ADHD does not mean not lazy, spoiled kids. It is an identified brain chemistry and neurologic...
The Role of Medication in Treating Special Needs Children
Medications and nutritional supplements have an important role in the treatment of special needs children and adults. Medications are one component of a multimodal treatment approach. The psychiatrist is an integral part of an interdisciplinary team...
Visual Processing and the Special Needs Child
“My son has been diagnosed ADHD and OCD, might be bipolar, and he is having the hardest time socially and academically. His school said to have his eyes examined, even though our pediatrician reported 20/20 and healthy eyes. The pediatric...
Family Coaching Improves the Well-Being of the Whole Family
Everyone is affected when a child has significant developmental, social or emotional challenges. Whatever the diagnosis"or even if you don’t yet have a diagnosis"if you’re parenting a child with special needs, your entire family feels the impact....
Support for the Journey
A woman’s daughter has just been diagnosed with autism. A couple struggles to deal with their brain-injured baby, still in the NICU. These courageous parents face an unknown journey with no preparation and no road map. What do they need? They need...
Where Is the Compassion in an IEP?
When an assessment team convenes to evaluate and report the results of testing a child for learning disabilities, the experience can be overwhelmingly stressful and negative for the parents hearing the news. I just witnessed a 3-hour IEP during...
Articulation Speech Therapy: How Long Should It Take?
In general, if a child had not corrected an “r” sound distortion after six months in therapy the therapy should stop. In articulation therapy a speech/language pathologist identifies the sounds a child needs to correct and teaches the child how to...
Summer Fun for Families with Special Needs Kids
As the long, lazy days of summer approach, most of us look forward to the refuge from the mad rush of school mornings, homework evenings and extracurricular bedlam. But our kids still need some kind of framework for summer days. This is a deeper...
Why can’t my kid get organized!?: ADHD and Executive Functioning
Dear Developmental Doc:I cannot believe I am so frustrated with my son this early into the school year. J is almost eleven and because he has ADHD (attention deficit hyperactive disorder), he continues to struggle with basics like making sure his...
When a Child with Selective Mutism Goes Back to School
Dear Developmental Doc,My daughter is 5 years old and I think she has Selective Mutism. She is incredibly verbal at home but shy around strangers. Her camp counselor expressed concern that although she was friendly, she never spoke to anyone at camp...
Special Needs Children have Brothers and Sisters
The siblings of special needs kids are considered “typical” and are helpful to the family in more ways than we account for. They support their special needs brother or sister by mentoring them through play, encouraging them to push towards their...
Saluting Moms of Special Needs Kids
In my practice as a speech/language therapist, I see toddlers, children and young adults with a variety of special needs labels and a myriad of challenges. Each child is special, each experience as humbling as the day I graduated more than 35 years...
Limited Communicators: How to Open the Door to your Child’s Potential
Have you ever said anything to someone close and been completely misunderstood? Have you ever tried to use another language in a foreign city and been frustrated when you could not access your wants or needs? If you needed the bathroom urgently or...
Making IEP goals that support Language and Communication: Tweaking the plan in the New Year
As our kids spend many hours per day in the classroom, their teachers and specialists track their progress (or lack thereof) by following the goals in their Individual Educational Plan (IEP). Supporting your child’s daily opportunities to attend to...
Giving Thanks for Special Needs Children
Each child brings something into a family when he or she arrives. Each individual is directly affected by the other members of the family and impacts the unit as a whole. A child with special needs adds a special dimension and provides a unique...
Communication Aides & Devices: Therapy Tool or Communication Substitute?
Children with difficulty developing verbal speech are often in need of aides or devices to help them understand and use language. For these children, schools often use programs like PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) to help grow language...
From Fear to Empowerment: A Special Needs Journey
Most parents can vividly recall the day they were told that their child’s development was not typical. Many already had a suspicion that something was different, but being told by the physician that their child indeed had special needs validated...
Cutting: A Growing Epidemic for Kids
One of the most insidious and disturbing behaviors teens engage in is cutting. Cutting is a form of self-punishment by people afflicted with ongoing feelings of guilt, confusion, anger, or overwhelming pain. In many cases, cutting is correlated with...
Verbal Speech or Alternative Communication
When verbal speech is challenging for a child, alternative systems can sometimes help children transition to eventually using verbal communication. It is a process, in which alternative methods and support systems help build receptive language ports...
The Weather is Colder, but My Kid Won’t Wear a Sweater: Dealing with Tactile Defensiveness
Dear Developmental Doc:I live in Apple Valley, a part of Southern California that actually experiences a change in seasons. In October the leaves are changing and the weather gets colder, but my four-year-old son refuses to wear anything other than...
What I Want for Christmas Are Parents That Don’t Fight
Dear Developmental Doc:I’m not sure if it’s weird for you to get a letter from a kid instead of a grown-up, but my Mom always reads your column, so I figured maybe you could help. I’m 14 years old and I’m fine. I mean, I have an older brother and a...
New Year’s Resolution: Plan for My Child’s Future
Dear Developmental Doc,I am the father of a 6 year old boy who is severely handicapped by autism. My wife and I are doing everything we can in regards to getting him the best interventions available. But I have a nagging feeling that it’s not enough...
Would A Dog Help My Child’s ADHD?
Dear Developmental Doc:I recently read an article describing the benefits of therapy dogs for kids with issues that ranged from autism to ADHD. My daughter has ADHD. She has a terrible time staying on task and maintaining sustained focus. But she...
Children Cancer Survivors: A Different Kind of Need
Dear Developmental Doc:When our daughter was 10 months old, she contracted a rare form of cancer. Her doctors advised us that her only chance at survival was intensive chemotherapy. We were also advised as to the risks, including the possibility of...
The Challenges of Having Asperger's Disorder around the Holidays
Dear Developmental Doc: Our 9-year-old daughter was diagnosed with Asperger’s Disorder last year. She’s extremely bright when it comes to school, but basically clueless in social situations. Can you suggest ideas to help prepare her for my in-law’s...
Social Skills Groups for Children and Teens with Autism
y Dr. Esther Hess, Ph.D. (aka “The Developmental Doc”). When a child has autism, parents have many questions. I am often asked what is the difference between DIR/Floor Time and ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis). I had the opportunity to address this...
Special Needs
What exactly are special needs? Most of us have heard the term “children with special needs”, but the reality is that there are many different conditions that a child may have in order to fall into the category of being a child with...