Monday, March 31, 2008

What's Going On This Week At Family Connection!

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Wednesday, April 2

9 am
Mom's Morning Coffee
Panera Bread
6080 Garners Ferry Road

Thursday, April 3
10am - 12 noon
Workshop: ABA Therapy - Setting up a home ABA Program on a Budget. Spots are filled! However if you are interested in an future session, please contact Stephanie Bridgers at

Friday, April 4
Gymboree for Children with Special Needs
Gymboree, Richland Mall
$59 a month
Contact Melanie Slattery for more information at

Friday, April 4
Teen Connection
Bowling at Anchor Lanes in Irmo
$1.50 a game
***bring snack money

Friday, April 4
Mom's Nite Out
Eric's San Jose
6118 Garner's Ferry Road

Saturday, April 5
Bowling for Autism
Contact SC Autism Society for more information!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Curbing Impulsivity In Children With ADHD

image of scientists
ScienceDaily (Mar. 5, 2008) — Central Michigan University researchers are one step closer to helping children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder improve their self-control.

ADHD is one of the most commonly diagnosed chronic psychiatric conditions in today's school-aged children and is based on such behavioral criteria as mpulsivity, hyperactivity, inattention and learning disabilities.

CMU associate professor of psychology Mark Reilly, along with experimental psychology graduate students Andrew Fox and Dennis Hand, recently published a study that investigated impulsivity in two strains of rat. The spontaneously hypertensive rat has been proposed as a rodent model of ADHD because the rats have behavioral characteristics similar to those seen in humans diagnosed with ADHD. In the study, the impulsivity of spontaneously hypertensive rats was compared to their parent strain without hypertension, Wistar-Kyoto rats, using a self-control choice task that was originally developed in humans.

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

Non-stimulant curbs ADHD in fragile X syndrome

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NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - L-acetylcarnitine (LAC), a natural substance devoid of side effects, may be considered an alternative to stimulants to control attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children with the genetic disorder known as fragile X syndrome, researchers conclude based on study they conducted.

Fragile X syndrome is an inherited form of mental retardation. The condition, which may also cause autism and ADHD, results from a genetic defect on the X chromosome.

ADHD is common in young boys with fragile X syndrome and alternatives to methylphenidate and other stimulant medications are needed, note Dr. Giovanni Neri from Universita Cattolica in Rome and colleagues in a Rapid Publication of their study posted online by the American Journal of Medical Genetics.

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

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

South Carolina Assistive Technology Expo: Cool Mobile Reader

Image of CDR Library CoordinatorThe SCAT Expo was a big hit. There were a number of vendors and exhibitors there, all showing off some of the latest technology and services available currently. I was proud to exhibit the CDR Library's services (see photo above) and am happy to report that nearly 40 new patrons signed up to receive the newsletter and hopefully use the collection and informational services. Moreover, I enjoyed networking and getting to see some of the latest and greatest in the way of assistive technology. Based on a recommendation by Dr. Rotholz, I went and requested a demonstration of the new Mobile Reader cell phone that knfbReading Technologies, Inc., has out. The product was truly amazing! Below is a write-up from some of the literature that was available.
Image of Cell Phone

"The Mobile Reader Product Line from knfbReading Technologies, Inc., is a major advancement in portability and functionality of print access for the blind, the vision impaired and those with reading difficulties.

The knfbReader Mobile and kReader Mobile software packages run on a multifunction cell phone that allow the user to read mail, receipts, handouts and many other documents wherever the user happens to be. This is a truly pocket-sized solution to reading on the go.

The Mobile Reader Product Line:

  • Reads most printed documents, from letters and memos to pages in a book
  • Reads address labels and package information and instructions
  • Easily recognizes U.S. currency
  • Displays each sentence visually and highlights each word as it is read
  • Stores thousands of pages using easily obtainable flash memory
  • Transfers text files to and from computers or Braille note takers
  • Adjusts reading speed to suit user’s preference."
For more information, please click the title above.

South Carolina Early Intervention Conference

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Registration is now being accepted for the SC Early Intervention Conference for Families & Providers to be held on Thursday, May 22, 2008.

Please click on this link to complete and submit the registration process:

We look forward to seeing you in May!

For more information, please click the title above or contact Kristie K. Musick at or 803-935-5242.

Protection and Advocacy For People With Disabilities Annual Gala

logo of protection and advocacyEnjoy an evening of entertainment and appetizing hors' d'oeuvres, deserts, wine, and coffee in support of Protection and Advocacy for People with Disabilities. Listen to live jazz music and help support disability advocacy in South Carolina through silent and live auctions that feature artwork by South Carolinians with disabilities.

The benefit will be held at The Meridian Building on Friday, April 25, 2008 from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm.

Please contact Melissa Reitmeier by email at or by phone at 803-217-6708 for more information.

For more information, please click the title above.

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Monday, March 17, 2008

What's New This Week at Family Connection

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Monday, March 17

6 pm - 7:30 pm
Autism Connection
Wills and Trusts for Special Needs
Terry Hair, Met Life
Call 252-0914 for childcare

Tuesday, March 18
Mom's Morning Coffee
Panera Bread
1007 Bower Parkway

Tuesday, March 18
6 pm - 7:30 pm
Special Needs Connection Pizza Night
Discipline - Special Consideration for the Child with Special Needs
Host: Dr Mark Posey
PLEASE RSVP 252-0914

Saturday, March 22
6 pm
Pages from the heart
The Scrapbook Store
3250 Forest Drive
$2 a person and bring pictures
Bring your own supplies or buy them there.

Kelly's Book Review

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Andy and his yellow Frisbee written by Mary Thompson is about Andy and his yellow Frisbee. He has Autism. He loves playing with his yellow Frisbee. He always wanted to be by him self. He never wants to be around other people. He likes to be in his own little world. It is a really great book. Everybody should read this book. It is really fun to read this book.

Pure Vision Arts

art of jessica park
Pure Vision Arts (PVA) is Manhattan's first specialized art studio and exhibition space for artists with developmental disabilities. PVA provides studio space, art materials, exhibition opportunities, and career development for beginning, emerging, and established artists.

Pure Vision Arts (PVA) was founded in 2002 by The Shield Institute, a not-for-profit human-service agency that educates and supports New Yorkers with developmental disabilities. PVA is staffed by trained professionals with backgrounds in art education, fine arts, and art therapy who provide mentoring and support to the artists who attend the studio.

Pure Vision Arts is ultimately about facilitating social change by creating opportunities for access and inclusion in the arts. Many of the artists have led extraordinary lives and the sheer power and uniqueness of their work helps to break down negative public misperceptions and stereotypes about people who have disabilities.

For more information, and to view their online galleries, please click the title above.

South Carolina Transition Summit

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Transition in South Carolina: Catch the Wave!

2008 South Carolina Transition Summit
Hilton Myrtle Beach Resort
April 6-8, 2008

Conference topics include DDSN services, VR services, transition curricula, supported employment, job coach panel, curriculum projects, assistive technology, SIMS study strategies, higher education issues, self advocacy, transition IEPs, transition assessment, labor laws for youth, OCR panel, WIA, IEP meetings, and drop out prevention.

For more information and how to register, please click the title above.

National Down Syndrome Society Buddy Walk

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Save The Date!

What: 2008 Lowcountry Buddy Walk

When: Sunday, October 5

Etiwan Park, Daniel Island

How: Registration begins at 12:30 p.m. and Walk begins at 3 p.m.

Last year, more than 3,000 people joined the many children, teens, and adults with Down syndrome who live in the Lowcountry to promote inclusion and acceptance.

For more information, please click the title above.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Opening of State Library's Talking Book Services Art Gallery!

March 12, 2008--The State Library's Talking Book Service had a great red-ribbon cutting ceremony today, featuring thirty works of art by talented visually impaired/blind K-12 students from across the state. According to Pamela Davenport, "The idea to display student artwork was a result of conversations with the South Carolina School for the Deaf and the Blind and will promote and educate the public about artwork of blind and visually impaired students in South Carolina."

The artwork on display includes wall hangings and sculpture. The gallery's aim is to promote and provide access to art for visually impaired/blind people. Touching the artwork will be encouraged to sighted as well as visually impaired visitors.

Below are some of the incredible works of art that I witnessed firsthand:

"Rest in Pieces" - by SCSDB Class Project

"Me and my Friends" - by Curtis

"Snake in the Grass" - by Starsha

"Tapping at Sunset" - by Bradley

These are just a handful of the works of art that you can see firsthand in the Talking Books Art Gallery. Congratulations are in order to Pamela Davenport, Director of the Talking Books Program, and to all of the art teachers and students who are responsible for the impressive show.

For more information about the Talking Books Program, click on the title above.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Columbia Parkinson's Support Group

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Meeting Date/Time: Third Sunday of every month except June at 3:00 p.m.

Location: Lexington Medical Park Auditorium (next to Lexington Medical Center) - 2720 Sunset Boulevard, West Columbia, SC 29169

Mission: The primary mission of the Columbia Parkinson Support Group is to provide support, encouragement, information, contacts, and education for Parkinson's patients, caregivers, family members and others who are working in related fields or have an interest in Parkinson's disease.

Contact Information: For information about the support group, please contact Dottie Gantt at telephone 803-604-0061 -or- email

For more information, please click on title above.

Autism Spectrum Disorders and Employment Two Day Workshop

Image of a Job Board
Thursday & Friday, June 5-6, 2008
Midlands Collaborative Training Center

8301 Farrow Rd. Columbia, SC
Registration starts at 8:30
Workshop hours are 9:00 am to 4:00 pm

This workshop will provide participants with information about autism and how it affects the transition/employment process. Participants will learn about assessment of functional transition/employment skills for individuals with autism and some of the strategies and supports used to enhance employment opportunities and independence in the work place.

Target Audience
This course is designed for professionals, educators, transition and employment specialists, job coaches, and parents interested in assisting individuals with autism prepare for, obtain and maintain employment opportunities.

Goals and Objectives
  • Learn to identify the characteristics of autism that affect employment for individuals with autism
  • Learn to assess the vocational skills of the individual with autism
  • Learn the various strategies associated with teaching vocational skills to adults with autism
  • Learn how the job development process needs to be adapted to meet the needs of the individual with autism.
About the Speaker
S. Michael Chapman is currently the statewide Director of Services for Division TEACCH's Supported Employment Program. He went to work for the Supported Employment Program soon after graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1998. Mr. Chapman advocates for Supported Employment services for individuals with autism around the state of North Carolina and has trained audiences both nationally and internationally about the TEACCH model. Mr. Chapman is one of the coauthors of Division TEACCH's new transition assessment tool, the TEACCH Transition Assessment Profile (TTAP). The TTAP is a revision of the older Adolescent and Adult Psycho Educational Profile (AAPEP). In addition, Mr. Chapman also helped coauthor the Chapter on Adult Services in TEACCH's new book, the TEACCH Approach to Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Registration Fees
APSE Members
*Early Bird: $40.00
Regular Registration: $50.00

Non-APSE Members
*Early Bird: $55.00
Regular Registration: $65.00

KU Center Develops Online Disaster Training To Assist People With Disabilities

Image of The University of Kansas Logo"LAWRENCE — When disaster strikes, people with disabilities face greater risk of serious injury — even death.

Researchers at the Life Span Institute at the University of Kansas have taken this lesson from the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and Hurricane Katrina to create a two-hour online training course on how to assist people with disabilities during a community emergency."

To view entire article, please click the title above.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Government Concedes Vaccine Injury Case

Image of a gavel
"By MARILYNN MARCHIONE - AP Medical Writer - Government health officials have conceded that childhood vaccines worsened a rare, underlying disorder that ultimately led to autism-like symptoms in a Georgia girl, and that she should be paid from a federal vaccine-injury fund.

Medical and legal experts say the narrow wording and circumstances probably make the case an exception - not a precedent for thousands of other pending claims.

The government "has not conceded that vaccines cause autism," said Linda Renzi, the lawyer representing federal officials, who have consistently maintained that childhood shots are safe."

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

Disability Awareness Fair & Walk

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Family Connection's 2nd Annual Disability Awareness Fair and Walk
Saturday, March 8, 2007
Westgate Mall in Spartanburg
9 am to 4 pm

The Disability Awareness Fair and Walk will be held to raise awareness of the special needs community in Spartanburg and the surrounding cities and counties. The Walk will begin at 9 am with the fair/exhibits to follow.

We will walkaround the inside of Westgate Mall and stop at 4 points along the way to"Try on a Disability." A table will be set up at each stop that will have an exhibit from our disability awareness program, Awareness: The Key toFriendships.

Walk Participants ~ $10 for registration (includes one t-shirt).
Steve Holt (Magician) will MC the walk and perform.
The Gifted Warriors Demo Team will perform at 11am and 1pm.

For more information, please click the title above.

MARK THE DATE! For The SC Statewide Brain Injury Conference

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“Life with Brain Injury”
Presented by Brain Injury Alliance of South Carolina
and South Carolina Brain Injury Leadership Council

Thursday, May 1st and 2nd, 2008

Columbia Conference Center
169 Laurelhurst Avenue
Columbia, SC 29210

Call: (803)731-9823 or (800)290-6461
Email: or

For more information, please click the title above.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

1st Annual Run for Thought

logo of brain alliance of south carolina

2008 5K ‘Run for Thought’
Furman University
Greenville, SC
Saturday, March 29, 2008

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month!
Plan to join us for the 5K Run, Walk and Roll! For those interested, there will be two hours worth of informational and recreational opportunities following the race event.

Registration 8:00 a.m.
Race Start 9:00 a.m.
Participant Fee $25.00
Children under 12, students and Brain Injury Survivors $15.00
Registration on date of the race $30

For registration forms and more information, call Carey Garrett at (864)455-3934 or BIASC at (800)290-6461

For more information and to register online, please click the title above.