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

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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.

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

Avatars Help People with Disabilities Fight Back

logo of the state

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.

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

Monday, October 08, 2007

Improved Access to

Image of logo
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

Image of People Working at Table
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

Image of South Carolina Assistive Technology Program Logo
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."

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

Monday, October 01, 2007

South Carolina State Fair's Exception Citizens Day

image of state fair

Thursday, October 18, 2007
, is Exceptional Citizens Day!!!

This means that your child, who has a developmental delay or disability,
and you, the caregiver, will receive a FREE admission into the
SC State Fair from 9 am to 6 pm.

You can also get advanced and discounted ride tickets at your local Piggly Wiggly. Make your plans now!

Please click the title for more information.