Thursday, December 13, 2007

Special Education Law and Resource Expo

Image of South Carolina Autism Society Logo
South Carolina Autism Society presents:
Special Education Law and Resource Expo

Mitchell L. Yell, Ph. D.

Saturday, January 29, 2008

St. Andrew Catholic Church
503 37th Avenue North
Myrtle Beach, SC

Teachers and parents alike will benefit from Dr. Yell's insight and knowledge. His engaging style, coupled with his extensive knowledge and classroom practice make this presentation indispensable for professionals and parents alike.

*Registration begins at 8:30am
*Lunch is included with registration fees!
*Space is limited. REGISTER EARLY!

South Carolina Autism Society is pleased to offer scholarships for parents. Deadline to apply is January 20, 2008. Please visit our website at to submit your application or call SCAS to request forms.

For more information, please call 803-750-6988 or 803-438-4790. You can also email SCAS at

To view register or learn more, please click the title above.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

National Job Site to Connect Employers with Disabled Workers

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"Large gap between disabled unemployment rate of 44.2% compared to national unemployment rate of 4.7%"

"TRENTON, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today marks the launch of a new national job board dedicated to including disabled employees in today's workforce. is designed to provide employers with one central place to post employment positions and
search resumes of qualified disabled candidates. In addition, also allows potential job candidates to post their resumes for review by prospective employers who have made a commitment to include people with disabilities in their workforce."

To view this entire article, please click the title above.

Friday, December 07, 2007

A Midlands Christmas Miracle

Image of Vincent and Lisa13-year old Vincent has a rare kidney disease and needs a new kidney to stay alive. On December 5th, his mother, Lisa, a Richland County Sheriff's Deputy, will donate one of her kidneys to him. Lisa's "Gift of Life" to her son Vincent is a true Christmas Miracle!

You can help Vincent & Lisa by eating at any of the 5 Midlands Carolina Wings on Saturday, December 8th.

On that Saturday, Carolina Wings will donate 10% of their total sales to Lisa and Vincent.

So come and enjoy some delicious food at Carolina Wings while helping Lisa and Vincent celebrate a Christmas they will never forget!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Wrightslaw Special Education Law and Advocacy Conference

Image of Pro Parents Logo

February 27, 2008
Sponsored by ProParents
Presented by Peter Wright, Esq.

SC State Museum
301 Gervais Street
Columbia, SC 292201
(803) 898-4921

Peter Wright is a graduate of Randolph-Macon College and received his law degree from the University of Richmond. Mr. Wright has practiced special education law since the 1970's. In 1993, he represented Shannon Carter before the U. S. Supreme Court in Florence County v. Shannon Carter (510 U.S. 7). He is the co-author of several books, including Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy, Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind, and Wrightslaw: IDEA 2004.

FREE registration includes a copy of:
Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition and Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy, 2nd Edition (retail value $50.00)

6.0 hours of CLE credit pending
6.0 CEU’s available from University of South Carolina for an additional $8.00.

Note: If you are a person with a disability and require accommodations, please discuss your needs with Heather Watson-Kelley at (800)-759-4776.

To view agenda, register, or learn more, please click the title above.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Autistic Children May Have Abnormal Functioning Of Mirror Neuron System

image of brain
ScienceDaily (Nov. 29, 2007) — Using a novel imaging technique to study autistic children, researchers have found increased gray matter in the brain areas that govern social processing and learning by observation.

"Our findings suggest that the inability of autistic children to relate to people and life situations in an ordinary way may be the result of an abnormally functioning mirror neuron system," said lead author Manzar Ashtari, Ph.D., from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania.

Mirror neurons are brain cells that are active both when an individual is performing an action and experiencing an emotion or sensation, and when that individual witnesses the same actions, emotions and sensations in others. First observed in the macaque monkey, researchers have found evidence of a similar system in humans that facilitates such functions as learning by seeing as well as doing, along with empathizing and understanding the intentions of others. Dr. Ashtari's study found the autistic children had increased gray matter in brain regions of the parietal lobes implicated in the mirror neuron system.

To view this entire article, please click the title above.

Intelligent Software Helps Build Perfect Robotic Hand

image of cyber glove
ScienceDaily (Dec. 2, 2007) — "Scientists in Portsmouth and Shanghai are working on intelligent software that will take them a step closer to building the perfect robotic hand.

Using artificial intelligence, they are creating software which will learn and copy human hand movements.

They hope to replicate this in a robotic device which will be able to perform the dexterous actions only capable today by the human hand."

To view this entire article, please click the title above.

Epilepsy Genes May Cancel Each Other

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ScienceDaily (Nov. 5, 2007)— "Inheriting two genetic mutations that can individually cause epilepsy might actually be 'seizure-protective,' said Baylor College of Medicine researchers in a report that appears in the journal Nature Neuroscience.

'In the genetics of the brain, two wrongs can make a right,' said Dr. Jeffrey L. Noebels, professor of neurology, neuroscience and molecular and human genetics at BCM. 'We believe these findings have great significance to clinicians as we move toward relying upon genes to predict neurological disease.'

In addition, the finding might point the way to new ways of treating epilepsy using gene-directed therapy."

To view this entire article, please click the title above.

U.S. appoints autism advocates to new federal panel

logo of national institute of mental health
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Advocates who believe vaccines may cause autism will join mental health professionals and neurologists on a new federal panel to coordinate autism research and education, the U.S. Health and Human Services Department said on Tuesday.

Parents of children with autism and a writer who has an autism spectrum disorder will also be on the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee, HHS said.

"The committee's first priority will be to develop a strategic plan for autism research that can guide public and private investments to make the greatest difference for families struggling with autism," said Dr. Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute for Mental Health and the chairman of the new committee.

To view this entire article, please click the titles above.

Fever can unlock autism's grip: study

image of sick child

CHICAGO (Reuters) - "Fever can temporarily unlock autism's grip on children, a finding that could shed light on the roots of the condition and perhaps provide clues for treatment, researchers reported on Monday.

It appears that fever restores nerve cell communications in regions of the autistic brain, restoring a child's ability to interact and socialize during the fever, the study said.

'The results of this study are important because they show us that the autistic brain is plastic, or capable of altering current connections and forming new ones in response to different experiences or conditions,' said Dr. Andrew Zimmerman, a pediatric neurologist at Baltimore's Kennedy Krieger Institute, who was one of the study authors."

To view this entire article, please click the title above.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

2008 Family Connection 'Of Hopes and Dreams' Conference

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The 2008 Family Connection 'Of Hopes and Dreams' Conference, expanded to two days of workshops, will be held on February 22 and 23 at the Brookland Banquet and Conference Center in West Columbia, South Carolina. The theme of this year's conference is "Pulling Together... It Works Wonders!"

The 'Of Hopes and Dreams' Conference brings parents and professionals together to learn about issues and topics concerning those who raise children with special needs.

This year's conference will also feature a family night social on Friday night at EdVenture Children's Museum. The family night social is a great opportunity for families to meet, greet, and enjoy fun, food, and EdVenture Children's Museum. You do not need to be registered for the conference in order to attend the family night social.

Friday's conference offers three workshop options, and Saturday's conference offers 19 workshops.

This year's keynote speaker is Dr. Mark Posey, associate professor of clinical pediatrics in the department of developmental pediatrics in the University of South Carolina School of Medicine. A licensed and certified school psychologist, Mark has 12 years of experience in the public school system working with all areas of special needs, including parents of children with special needs.

To register for this year's conference, please call (800) 578-8750 or complete the registration form at and mail to Family Connection, 2712 Middleburg Drive, Suite 103B, Columbia, SC 29204.

Monday, November 26, 2007

First Steps Towards Spinal Cord Reconstruction Following Injury Using Stem Cells

Image of spine X-ray

"ScienceDaily (Nov. 13, 2007) — A new study has identified what may be a pivotal first step towards the regeneration of nerve cells following spinal cord injury, using the body's own stem cells. This seminal study, published in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, identifies key elements in the body's reaction to spinal injury, critical information that could lead to novel therapies for repairing previously irreversible nerve damage in the injured spinal cord."

To view this entire article, please click the title above.

Stem Cells Can Improve Memory After Brain Injury

Image of brain

"ScienceDaily (Nov. 2, 2007) — New UC Irvine research is among the first to demonstrate that neural stem cells may help to restore memory after brain damage. In the study, mice with brain injuries experienced enhanced memory -- similar to the level found in healthy mice -- up to three months after receiving a stem cell treatment. "

To view this entire article, please click the title above.

Genes Influence Age-related Hearing Loss

Image of an ear
"ScienceDaily (Nov. 16, 2007) — A new Brandeis University study of twins shows that genes play a significant role in the level of hearing loss that often appears in late middle age. The research, in the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences, examined genetic and environmental factors affecting hearing loss in the frequency range of speech recognition."

To view this entire article, please click the title above.

Obesity-related Hormone Is Higher In Children With Down Syndrome

Image of a scale
"ScienceDaily (Oct. 28, 2007) — Children with Down syndrome are more likely than their unaffected siblings to have higher levels of a hormone associated with obesity, according to pediatric researchers. The hormone, leptin, may contribute to the known higher risk of obesity among children and adults with Down syndrome."

To view this entire article, please click the title above.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Pro-Parents Calendar of Workshops

Image of parents11/27/2007
11:00 am - 12:30 pm
Lunch & Learn
*Bring your bag lunch*

ADD / ADHD Workshop
Palmetto Education Center
(Parenting Center)
200 Broad Street
Mullins, SC 29574

Shawntel Green, PRO-Parents of SC
Region 1, Education Coordinator
To register call: 1-800-759-4776 or (803) 772-5688

5:00 pm - 6:30 pm

ADD / ADHD Workshop
Palmetto Education Center
(Parenting Center)
200 Broad Street
Mullins, SC 29574

Shawntel Green, PRO-Parents of SC
Region 1, Education Coordinator
To register call: 1-800-759-4776 or (803) 772-5688

6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

ADD / ADHD Workshop
Family Preservation of Columbia
3710 Landmark Drive
Suite 109
Columbia, SC

Melinda Hawk, PRO-Parents of SC
South Carolina Special Kids
DSS Project Coordinator
To register call: 1-866-863-1512

10:00 am - 12:00 pm

Positive Behavior Interventions (PBI) Workshop
Sponsored by: Anderson Foster Parents Association
224 McGee Road
Anderson, SC 29622

Susan Bruce, PRO-Parents of SC
Region 3, Education Coordinator
To register call: 1-800-759-4776 or (803) 772-5688

11:00 am - 1:00 pm
Lunch & Learn

Individualized Education Program (IEP) Workshop
Sponsored by: Clarendon School District 3 Parenting Program
2358 Walker Gamma Road
New Zion, SC

Shawntel Green, PRO-Parents of SC
Region 1, Education Coordinator
To register call: 1-800-759-4776 or (803) 772-5688

5:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Individualized Education Program (IEP) Workshop
Sponsored by: Clarendon School District 3 Parenting Program
2358 Walker Gamma Road
New Zion, SC

Shawntel Green, PRO-Parents of SC
Region 1, Education Coordinator
To register call: 1-800-759-4776 or (803) 772-5688

5:30 pm - 7:30 pm

ADD / ADHD Workshop
Bluffton High School
12 North East McCracklin Circle
Bluffton, SC

Shawntel Green, PRO-Parents of SC
Region 1, Education Coordinator
To register call: 1-800-759-4776 or (803) 772-5688

5:30 pm - 7:30 pm

ADD / ADHD Workshop
Special Service Building
305 Burroughs Avenue
Beaufort, SC

Shawntel Green, PRO-Parents of SC
Region 1, Education Coordinator
To register call: 1-800-759-4776 or (803) 772-5688

10:00 am - 3:00 pm

Positive Behavior Intervention (PBI) and Related Topics Workshop
Lee County DDSN
(Gibbs Training Center)
307 Chappelle Drive
Bishopville, SC 29010

Tanya Inabinet, PRO-Parents of SC
Region 2, Education Coordinator
To register call: 1-800-759-4776 or (803) 772-5688

10:30 am - 2:30 pm

Individualized Education Program (IEP) Workshop
Sponsored by: Marlboro County DDSN
109 Glenn Street
(Conference Room)
Bennettsville, SC 29512

Tanya Inabinet, PRO-Parents of SC
Region 2, Education Coordinator
To register call: 1-800-759-4776 or (803) 772-5688

Monday, November 19, 2007

New Treatment Holds Promise for Tourette Syndrome

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ScienceDaily (Nov. 13, 2007)
— "Research out of the Neurological Institute at University Hospitals Case Medical Center finds that Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) helps patients who suffer from Tourette Syndrome (TS). This first-of-its-kind study of five adults with TS determined that DBS can reduce tic frequency and severity in some people who have exhausted other medical treatments.

Tourette syndrome is a neurobehavioral disorder characterized by sudden, repetitive muscle movements (motor tics) and vocalizations (vocal tics). It often begins in childhood. By young adulthood the tics have usually diminished in frequency and severity. However, in some adults, like those that participated in this clinical trial, the tics become more disabling even with best medical therapy."

To view this entire article, please click the title above.

Epilepsy-induced Brain Cell Damage Prevented in the Laboratory

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ScienceDaily (Oct. 30, 2007)
— "For some epilepsy patients, the side effects of epilepsy can be as troubling as the seizures. One pressing concern is the cognitive impairment seizures often inflict, which potentially includes memory loss, slowed reactions and reduced attention spans.

Now scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have directly observed seizure-induced structural changes in brain cells in laboratory animals. They report in The Journal of Neuroscience that the insights they gained allowed them to use a drug to block those changes in the brain.

'Assuming that these structural changes are linked to cognitive impairment -- and there's a lot of data to suggest that's true -- then this could provide us with a path to therapies that reduce cognitive problems in epilepsy,' says senior author Michael Wong, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of neurology, of anatomy and neurobiology, and of pediatrics."

To view this entire article, please click the title above.

Slower Brain Maturity Seen in ADHD Kids

logo of national institute of mental health
WASHINGTON - "Crucial parts of brains of children with attention deficit disorder develop more slowly than other youngsters' brains, a phenomenon that earlier brain-imaging research missed, a new study says.

Developing more slowly in ADHD youngsters — the lag can be as much as three years — are brain regions that suppress inappropriate actions and thoughts, focus attention, remember things from moment to moment, work for reward and control movement. That was the finding of researchers, led by Dr. Philip Shaw of the National Institute of Mental Health, who reported the most detailed study yet on this problem in Monday's online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

'Finding a normal pattern of cortex maturation, albeit delayed, in children with ADHD should be reassuring to families and could help to explain why many youth eventually seem to grow out of the disorder,' Shaw said in a statement."

To view this entire article, please click the title above.

Major U.S. Autism Study Gets Under Way

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FRIDAY, Nov. 16 (HealthDay News) -- "A large, five-year study looking at the genetic and environmental factors that may cause autism, as well as other developmental delays, has started enrolling 2,700 children and their families from six areas in the United States.

The Study to Explore Early Development -- which researchers called the largest of its kind -- will include children with autism and other developmental delays, as well as children with normal development.

Family medical history, genetics, and sociodemographic, lifestyle and environmental factors will be among the areas of focus in the study. Information will be gathered through interviews, physical examinations, medical records and cheek swab, blood and hair samples."

To view this entire article, please click the title above.

Grants for Kids

logo of united healthcare
The United Healthcare Children's Foundation is offering support to meet
the needs of children nationwide with assistance grants for medical
services not fully covered by health insurance.

Parents and caretakers across the country will be eligible to apply for
grants of up to $5,000.00 for health-care services that will help
improve their children's health and quality of life. Examples of the
types of medical services covered by the foundation grants include
speech therapy; physical therapy and psychotherapy sessions; medical
equipment such as wheelchairs, braces, hearing aids and eye-glasses, and
orthodontic and dental treatments.

"The United Healthcare Children's Foundation has already helped more
than 375 families and provided nearly $1 million in financial
assistance", said Foundation President Matt Peterson. "We are excited
about the expansion of the program and look forward to the opportunity
to help many more children have access to healthcare services that will
enhance their health and quality of life."

To be eligible for the grants, children must be 16 years old or
younger. Families must meet economic guidelines, live in the U.S. and
be covered by a commercial health insurance plan. For more information,

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Treadmill Training Helps Down Syndrome Babies Walk Months Earlier

Image of Treadmill

"ScienceDaily (Nov. 1, 2007) — Starting Down syndrome infants on treadmill training for just minutes a day can help them walk up to four or five months earlier than with only traditional physical therapy, a new study from the University of Michigan says."

To view this entire article, please click the title above.

Data Show Geron's Cell-Based Therapeutic for Spinal Cord Injury Survives and Exhibits Remyelination for at Least Nine Months Following Injection

Image of spine
"MENLO PARK, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Geron Corporation (Nasdaq:GERN - News) today announced that data show GRNOPC1, the company’s human embryonic stem cell (hESC)-based therapeutic for spinal cord injury, survives and exhibits durable and robust human remyelination in spinal cord-injured rats for at least nine months following a single injection.

Presented by Gerons Arjun Natesan, Ph.D., at the Society for Neurosciences Annual Meeting in San Diego, the data also demonstrate that GRNOPC1 does not amplify neuropathic pain or the reaction to painful stimuli. This finding is in contrast to research that shows many other cell types, when injected into the spinal cord, amplify neuropathic pain, a common long-term complication of spinal cord injury in man."

Note: Remyelination is the regeneration of the protective part of the nerve called the myelin sheath.

To view this entire article, please click the title above.

WITNESS: Still Paralyzed, But Back Reporting Overseas

Image of Peter Apps
"Peter Apps is a Reuters correspondent who was badly injured in a car crash on Sept 5, 2006 while on assignment in Sri Lanka. He lost the use of his limbs and is now confined to a wheelchair. He has written previously on his slow recovery and return to work. In the following story he describes going on his first foreign reporting trip since his accident."

To view this entire article, please click the title above.

Simple Blood Test Could Predict Alzheimer's Risk

Image of woman having blood drawn"CHICAGO (Reuters) - Researchers have developed a simple blood test that may be able to predict whether mild lapses of memory could be an early sign of Alzheimer's disease.

In a study published on Sunday in the journal Nature Medicine, an international team of researchers describe 18 cell-signaling, or communication, proteins found in blood that predicted with 90 percent accuracy whether a person would develop Alzheimer's disease."

To view this entire article, please click the title above.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Scientists Envision Growing Human Eyeballs

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"A genetic switch that gives tadpoles three eyes could allow stem-cell scientists to eventually grow human eyeballs or at least create replacement parts needed for repair jobs.

If scientists could grow eyeballs from stem cells in the lab, the process would be a boon to individuals with damage to cells within the eye, including retinal disorders.

"If you knew all the genes, and how to turn them on, that you needed to make an eye, you could start with very early embryonic cells and turn on all the right genes and grow an eye in a dish," said co-leader of the study Nicholas Dale, a neuroscientist at the University of Warwick in England."

To view this entire article, please click the title above.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Depression, Anxiety Tied to Allergies in Kids

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NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - "Research in psychiatrically ill children and adolescents suggests that those with depression, anxiety and other so-called "internalizing" disorders are more likely to have allergies.

Among a sample of 184 young people being evaluated for psychiatric disorders and allergies, 105 (57 percent) had a history of allergic disorders, including asthma, hay fever, hives and eczema.

Psychiatric evaluations revealed that 124 (67 percent) had an internalizing disorder, either alone or in combination with an externalizing disorder, such as ADHD, oppositional defiant disorder and conduct disorder. The children in the sample were between 4 and 20 years old; their average age was 13."

To view this entire article, please click the title above.

Insurance 101 Workshop

logo of family connection
Learn about insurance, including TEFRA and new
Medicaid options

November 13 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

First Baptist Church
1306 Hampton Street, Columbia
RSVP to Crystal Ray or Susan Haney at (803) 252-0914 by November 5
Childcare provided if registered
For more information, please call (803) 252-0914

To go to the South Carolina Family Connections web site, click on the title above...

Monday, October 29, 2007

Enjoy Halloween With Your Autistic Child

image of jack o' laternsBy Lisa Jo Rudy

"Many children on the autism spectrum look forward to Halloween. It's a time when they can dress up as their favorite character and (at least in some homes) eat piles of candy. But Halloween can be stressful and demanding for kids on the spectrum. Follow these tips to prepare for a pleasant, positive Halloween experience.

1. Use videos and books to prepare your child for Halloween expectations. There are many Halloween options out there, so choose the ones that are most like your own real-life situation.

2. Together, decide what costume your child will choose. Take into account not only his or her preferences, but also sensory concerns. For example, a Spiderman costume may include a full mask - which can become overwhelming. Some children love face paint, but others can't take the sticky sensation.

3. Make a plan that you can stick to. Choose a time to leave the house, plan a path, and know what will happen when you come home (can he dump the candy on the floor? What may he or she eat? If the candy is not a good choice, what substitute treat will she get?).

4. Keep it simple. Knowing your child, what's reasonable to expect? If he can handle just one house, that's fine. Know that, even when you see other kids running up and down the street, it may not be the right choice for your child.

5. Create a social picture story. Use digital photos, images from the web, or other sources to show and tell exactly what your child will do. Include all the steps, not forgetting that he must knock at the door, say "Trick or Treat!" and "Thank You!"

6. Read the social story together, not once but as often as possible. From time to time, toss in a clinker: ask - "what if no one is home?" Help her understand that it's ok to skip a house, to take a piece of candy from a basket (if that's ok with you), and so forth.

7. Practice, practice, practice! Put on the costume many times before the Big Night, and work out any kinks. Role play the entire treat or treat scenario as often as you can.

8. Act out a number of scenarios so your child has a small repertoire of possible responses. For example, what should she say when someone says "You look beautiful (or scary or creepy)!" What if you don't like the treat that's offered? What if you meet kids you know?

9. Scope out the neighborhood ahead of time. Do you see any decorations that might upset your child? Flashing lights that might trigger sensory reactions? If so, consider skipping that house (or visiting ahead of time) to avoid melt-downs.

10. Consider recruiting peer support. If your child with autism has no siblings (or his siblings have other plans), consider recruiting another typical peer to go house-to-house with you. Explain to that child and his parents that he will be helping your child to understand Halloween a little better. You may be surprised at how helpful another child can be!

11. On the big night, remember to be flexible. If your well-prepared child suddenly rebels against his costume, consider letting him go in just a silly hat. Remember that Halloween is for fun - and it really doesn't matter what he wears or how many homes he visits.

12. Take pictures. Get excited. Have fun! Even if you're only going to one house, make it an event. When you're done, put together a memory book that can help you prepare for next year."

To view the original article, click on the title above.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) Workshops

Image of Summit Professional Education LogoThis exciting new workshop is an innovative training program that will provide you with the most current information on SPD, assessment and the tools and approaches to enhance sensory development in those who are afflicted with the disorder. It is also beneficial to clinicians, educators and parents who want to take a proactive look at Sensory Processing Disorder and walk away with new treatment strategies. These new approaches will utilize the client’s functional assets to enhance sensory development with new pathways.

Greenville - Dec. 3

Columbia - December 4

Charleston - December 6


For more information, click on the title at the top.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

USC Student Projects Concerned with Disabilities

image of computerThe following are descriptions and links to student projects completed in Cheryl Wissick's class Technological Applications for Diverse Populations.

Video Games for Diverse Populations

"Games can not only be played as a simple form of entertainment, but many studies have shown that games can be effective at teaching concepts as simple as how to perform math problems using simple drill games to understanding ancient civilizations by way of role playing games. Undoubtedly games have made an impact on the American education system and the ways they are used and the subjects they teach are only as limited as the ideas of teachers who want to use them.

People who have aural, visual, physical or learning disabilities enjoy playing video games just as much as those without disabilities. Just like anybody else, they want to be able to have fun, challenge themselves or compete against a friend. Through video games, this population is allowed to simulate settings and perform actions that they would otherwise not be able to experience in real life."

To view the rest of this website, please click

Twice Exceptional Students

"Twice Exceptional, Dual Exceptional or Gifted Learning Disabled (GLD) are all terms that refer to students who have dramatic learning abilities in some areas and dramatic learning deficits in other areas.

Unfortunately a gifted student with diagnosed disabilities often does not receive the same high level of respect and teaching as most gifted students. In fact, gifted children who are 'difficult,' who act out, the class clowns and mischievous, and the gifted with disabilities may have their problems diagnosed and may not be considered gifted at all. And students who have a wide spread of skills can have their high test scores canceled out by deficits."

To view the rest of this website, please click

Accessibility of Microsoft Suite

"Accessibility is an extremely important feature for all users. Whenever, we attempt to access something and can not do so, it causes us undue stress and can be a bit frustrating. This frustration we feel on occasions tends to be a daily occurence for individuals with disabilities. Especially when it comes to utilizing the web and other forms of technology.

This site contains a collection of information on Accessibility and Universal Design. Its goal is to promote awareness of some of the accessibility features in Microsoft Products: Microsoft Word and Microsoft PowerPoint."

To view the rest of this website, please click

Gym Classes for Children with Special Needs on Fridays!

image of gymIf you are looking for some "active" fun for your children
with special needs, please consider these classes for the upcoming fall months!

Gymboree at Richland Mall
Contact: Melanie Slattery at _gymbo@sc.rr.com_
Fridays at 3 pm
Try a FREE CLASS! 50% discount for siblings!
Fall Session is October 26 through December 30
Targeted for ages 2 to 6!

My Gym in Lexington
Contact: Travis Ross at _mygymlexington@aol.com_
Fridays at 4 pm
Try a FREE CLASS! 50% discount for siblings!
Now enrolling!
Targeted for ages 5 and up!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Wheelchairs No Bar to Beauty, Say Disabled Models

image of wheelchairby Arnaud Bouvier

HANOVER, Germany (AFP) - "They're young, beautiful, poised and ambitious -- and confined to wheelchairs. Meet the new stars of the catwalk, at a modeling competition for the disabled.

Ten young women from across Europe joined the competition in the northern German city of Hanover this month.

In smart casual togs or long evening dresses in brilliant colors, Milena of Macedonia, Gerardina of Italy and Germany's Ines relished the limelight as hundreds of spectators looked on and a professional jury sized them up."

To view this entire article, please click the title above.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

AmeriCorps Regional Information Sessions Set

logo of americorps
COLUMBIA - The South Carolina Commission on National and Community Service will host AmeriCorps information sessions this fall at sites across the state. The goal is to familiarize perspective grantees with information surrounding the 2008-09 grants process.

Public or private non-profit organizations, labor organizations, higher education institutions, schools, state and local government agencies, community and faith-based organizations are eligible to apply for AmeriCorps grants. Funding must be used to recruit, train, and manage AmeriCorps members who address critical needs in the areas of education, public safety, health, housing, and the environment.

Sessions are scheduled for:

Thursday, October 18, 2007, 9 a.m. - 11:30 p.m.
South Carolina Commission on National and Community Service
3710 Landmark Drive, Suite 200, Columbia

Tuesday, November 6, 2007, 10 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Poynor Adult Education Center
301 South Dargan Street, Florence

Thursday, November 15, 2007, 9 a.m. - 11:30 p.m.
South Carolina Commission on National and Community Service
3710 Landmark Drive, Suite 200, Columbia

Wednesday, November 28, 2007, 10 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Greenville Adult Education Center
206 Wilkins Street, Greenville

Thursday, December 13, 2007, 2:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Charleston County Public Library - Auditorium
68 Calhoun Street, Charleston

For more information, please click the title above.

Brain-Computer Interface for Controlling Second Life Avatars

Image of boy using brain-computer interface"Researchers from the Biomedical Engineering Laboratory at Keio University in Japan have developed a brain-computer interface that enables users to control the movements of Second Life avatars without moving a muscle.

The device consists of a headset containing electrodes which monitor electrical activity in the motor cortex, the region of the brain involved in planning, executing and controlling movements."

To view this entire article, please click the title above.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

New York Loses Special Education Appeal

logo of supreme courtWASHINGTON - The Supreme Court on Wednesday affirmed a ruling that requires New York City schools to reimburse a wealthy businessman for private special education for his son.

The justices split 4-4 on the case, which means a lower court ruling siding with former Viacom executive Tom Freston remains in place.

Lower courts had ruled in favor of Freston against New York City's board of education, saying the city must pay for educating learning-disabled students in private schools, even when they don't first give the public school system a chance.

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Avatars Help People with Disabilities Fight Back

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WASHINGTON — After suffering a devastating stroke four years ago, Susan Brown was left in a wheelchair with little hope of walking again. Today, the 57-year-old Richmond, Va., woman has regained use of her legs and has begun to reclaim her life, thanks in part to encouragement she says she gets from an online “virtual world” where she can walk, run and even dance.

Roberto Salvatierra, long imprisoned in his home by his terror over going outdoors, has started venturing outside more after gaining confidence by first tentatively exploring the three-dimensional, interactive world on the Internet.

John Dawley III, who has a form of autism that makes it hard to read social cues, learned how to talk with people more easily by using his computer-generated alter ego to practice with other cyberpersonas.

Brown, Salvatierra and Dawley are just a few examples of an increasing number of people who say virtual worlds are helping them fight their diseases, live with their disabilities and sometimes even begin to recover. Researchers say they only are starting to appreciate the impact of this phenomenon.

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Monday, October 08, 2007

Improved Access to

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On Friday, the Office of Special Education Programs of the U.S. federal Department of Education made a major five-year award of $32 million to This will further the objectives of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), by supplying high quality textbooks and educational materials to students with special needs.

This funding is to fully support all schools and students 26 years old and under, with qualifying print disabilities in the United States, K-12 and post-secondary. Bookshare will provide these students with access to the entire collection of accessible electronic books and to software for reading those books. As of October 1, 2007, they will cease charging these schools and students anything to join They expect to add over 100,000 new educational titles in high quality DAISY and Braille formats over the next five years, getting students the terrific quality textbooks they need for academic success. is also announcing the opening of to international users with qualifying print disabilities. They have an expanding number of books where we have received generous permission from publishers and authors to make their works available globally. gives print disabled people in the United States legal access to over 34,400 books and 150 periodicals that are converted to Braille, large print or text to speech audio files.

For more information, see:

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Employment, Education, & Resource Fair for People with Disabilities

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Mayor's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities present their annual

October 9, 2007
9:00 am - 3:00 pm

Employers, educators, and service organizations will all be in one place to provide complete information to match your needs. Panel discussions will be held to discuss SSA benefit information, available services, & more!

To be held at the Shandon Presbyterian Church
607 Woodrow St. (off of Devine St.), Columbia, SC

Free to the public! Dress to impress with resumes in hand!

How can you help?
We will also be holding a Professional Clothing Drive with drop off point in front of the building. Clothes will be given at no cost to individuals with disabilities returning to the workforce.

For further questions, volunteer opportunities, and information, please contact Catherine Bishop Vincent, Chairperson, (803) 779 - 5121 x 32 or Sandy Bostick, Secretary, (803) 737 - 0193.

SCATP Updated Training Schedule

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Below is our updated training schedule. We have added several workshops to the list since our last email announcement. There are still openings in next week's free Kurzweil workshop. Check our web page for more information and registration instructions.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Kurzweil 3000 Overview
Soliloquy Learning Reading Assistant Overview

Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Introduction to Vantage/Vanguard

Tuesday, October 23, 2007
What's New in Special Needs Software?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Communication for Participation: AAC in the Classroom

Tuesday, November 6, 2007
And the answer is *.. Classroom response systems

Wednesday, November 7, 2007
School District AT Teams Forum

Thursday, November 15, 2007
Trash to AT Treasures: How to Make AT using common objects

Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Bridging the Telecommunications Gap for Hearing or Speech Impaired Individuals in South Carolina (TEDP)

Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Simply Creating Simple Computer Activities for Students with Special Needs

Thursday, December 6, 2007
Making Books Talk for Beginning, Struggling, or Non-Readers

Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Introduction to Vantage/Vanguard

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Judge Allows Class Action Against Target Website

Image of Target LogoNEW YORK (Reuters) - "A federal judge in California certified a class action lawsuit against Target Corp (TGT.N) brought by plaintiffs claiming the discount retailer's website is inaccessible to the blind, according to court documents.

Judge Marilyn Patel of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California also rejected Target's motion for summary judgment in the case, according to the ruling filed October 2.

According to the ruling, plaintiffs -- including the National Federation of the Blind-- claim violates federal and state laws prohibiting discrimination against the disabled."

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