Thursday, January 28, 2016

Information from the SSA on ABLE Accounts

Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Accounts

Please see the below link containing information provided by the Social Security Administration on ABLE accounts. This is a good summary of the parameters of the new ABLE accounts which could benefit many individuals served by DDSN and others across our state. 


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

World Health Organization Survey

This is from the World Health Organization

We would like to invite you to participate in the WHO-GATE global survey to identify the top 50 priority assistive products. The survey is open to all stakeholders, but users or potential users of assistive technologies, their families and organizations are particularly encouraged to participate. We are aiming for the highest number of responses from as many countries as possible. Please share the link to the survey with any user or provider of assistive technologies among your contacts.
You may access the online survey in 37 different languages through this link:
By completing the survey you will contribute to developing a standard list of most essential assistive products that must be available in a health system. The Assistive Products List (APL) will serve as a model for countries to develop their own national lists based on their specific needs and available resources. The APL will help guide countries in realizing their commitments as signatories of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities by setting a minimum standard of provision. 
Should you be unable to complete the survey online you may download the word version from the WHO website (in the language of your choice) and return the filled-in form by email. Please find the PDF and word versions of the 52 different languages by following this link: 
The deadline for completing the survey is the 3rd of March 2016. Thank you for your support in this initiative. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any further questions or comments.
Best Regards,
Andrea Pupulin
World Health Organization | Avenue Appia 20 | 1211 Geneva | Switzerland

Shuck-A-Rama Oyster Roast Registration

Header for Cvent- 2016 ShuckARama-for website

Thank you to all who have already signed up for the 5th Annual Shuck-A-Rama Oyster Roast!  We are so excited for the beer, wine, food, music & fun at Brick House Kitchen from 5:00pm-8pm!  Three live bands: Graham Whorley, The Rescue Blues & Sunflowers & Sin, will be keeping us rocking throughout the event! Videos of their performances will be posted on our Facebook leading up to the night of the event. All-inclusive tickets and sponsorships are still available. Register sponsorships and get your tickets here!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Needs Assessment Survey

Needs Assessment Survey

Give us your voice! Do you have five minutes to spare? Want to make a big change? Then come participate in the Needs Assessment Survey hosted by the SC Statewide Independent Living Council (SCSILC). The SCSILC and the local Centers for Independent Living (CILS) are working to understand and address unnecessary barriers through their tri-annual Needs Assessment Survey.

"It's important for people with disabilities to participate in our Needs Assessment Survey so the SCSILC and the CILs are able to gain insight to consumer needs and ideas across the state of South Carolina", stated SCSILC Chair David Jones.

The survey is live now! Please share your thoughts with us today!

Ready? Set? Go…Chrome! Apps and Extensions for Learning Differences

Ready? Set? Go…Chrome!
Apps and Extensions for Learning Differences
Date: February 10, 2016
Time: 9:30am – 11:30am
Cost: Free
Description: Chromebooks have become a viable tool in providing curriculum access and facilitating academic achievement for students with learning differences. It is well known that one size does not fit all. Accessibility options through Chrome apps and extensions can provide solutions for student success in the classroom and beyond. Finding the right apps and extensions can be difficult and time consuming, so we will provide ready-to-use solutions for learning differences. Chrome apps and extensions can help students with vocabulary, spelling, reading, writing, grammar, studying, taking notes, and organization. These resources are typically free of cost while providing invaluable benefits. Apps and extensions will be demonstrated during this session. A list of helpful resources will be provided.
Presenter: Madalina Tudora is an Assistive Technology Specialist for the SC Department of Education. She supports school districts in building capacity for assistive technology by providing guidance, resources and training for local assistive technology teams in SC. She also conducts workshops for teachers, therapists, administrators, and parents on various assistive technology topics. Her undergraduate degree is in Special Education, and her graduate degree is in Psychology. She is nationally certified as an Assistive Technology Professional through RESNA.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Brazil Mobilizes Against Outbreak of Mosquito-Borne Virus

Brazil mobilizes against outbreak of mosquito-borne virus

(The Washington Post) - Jusikelly da Silva was full of expectations for her baby. This was to be her fourth with her spouse, Josenildo, and the couple had three other children from previous relationships. "All perfect, all normal," her husband said of their family.

Then, at the six-month mark of her pregnancy, Jusikelly, 32, learned from a scan that her baby had microcephaly, a rare defect that causes infants to have unusually small heads and can lead to learning and motor difficulties.

Parents such as the da Silvas are struggling as South America's largest country faces an unprecedented outbreak of microcephaly cases. Brazilian officials say that disease is being triggered by Zika - a little known virus borne by mosquitoes. The government has spent more than $300 million to battle the mosquito, mobilizing hundreds of soldiers in the effort.

Concern about Zika has grown so strong that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention late Friday issued a travel alert urging pregnant women not to visit Brazil or about a dozen other countries in the region where mosquitoes have spread the virus.

To continue reading this article, click here.

Repeated Blasts Linked to Brain Changes in Combat Vets

Repeated Blasts Linked to Brain Changes in Combat Vets

(HealthDay News) -- Researchers say they've gained new insight into how repeated exposure to explosions affects the brains of combat veterans.
Many U.S. veterans exposed to blasts have suffered mild traumatic brain injury, but the exact impact on the brain has not been clear.
In a new study, researchers found that the more explosions veterans were exposed to, the greater the odds for chronic changes in activity in the cerebellum.
The team also found that mice exposed to mild blasts lose neurons in the cerebellum. This pattern of loss is similar to that seen in retired boxers, according to the study published Jan. 13 in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
"There is a huge gulf separating our understanding of what kind of brain injuries develop because of mild blast and how they relate to the neuroimaging changes many research groups have detected," David Cook, a research associate professor of medicine and pharmacology at the University of Washington, said in a university news release.
"The similarities we see in the pattern of neuron injury in the cerebellum of mice, the neuron loss previously seen in boxers, and our neuroimaging findings in veterans is a step toward reducing this knowledge gap," added Cook, a scientist at the VA Puget Sound Health Care System in Seattle.
Along with coordinating movement, the cerebellum also influences emotions.
Study author Dr. Elaine Peskind, co-director of the Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center at VA Puget Sound, said in the news release, "Problems with mood, irritability and impulsivity are very common in [these] veterans."
To continue reading this article, click here

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Playing adaptive sports linked to higher employment, economic impact

Playing adaptive sports linked to higher employment, economic impact

(ScienceDaily) - Wheelchair rugby and basketball players are aggressive, conditioned and determined, just like people without disabilities. Unlike them, though, is their likelihood of employment and economic independence. A new study from the University of Houston Department of Health and Human Performance (HHP) finds playing an adaptive sport can have dramatic results on the athlete and the economy.
"Our analysis shows that playing an additional year of adaptive sport is associated with an approximately 4 percent increase in likelihood of employment every year for 10 years before the benefits flatten out," said Michael Cottingham, associate professor and the study's principal investigator. "Resources to support disability sport are lacking, though, in part because of the perceived lack of economic return of investing in these programs."
The study was published in the international, multidisciplinary journal Disability and Rehabilitation.
To continue reading this article, click here

Youth Transition Conferences

Be sure to check out the sessions on Assistive Technology and Education!

Youth Transition Conferences
When: February 26 & 27
Where: USC Alumni Center
Time: 8:30 am Friday and 9:00 Saturday to 4:30 pm
Location: 900 Senate Street, Columbia, SC 29208

Empowering a Future: Transition Conference for Professionals (Friday, February 26, 2016)

Teachers, transition coordinators, vocational professionals, college students pursuing careers in special education and community advocates are invited to attend Empowering a Future Transition Conference on Friday, February 26, 2016 at USC Alumni Center! Social Work and Education CEUs will be available for professionals. The conference is $50 and includes lunch and parking!

Register for Empowering a Future Here

Mapping Your Future: Transition Conference (Saturday, February 27, 2016)
Mapping Your Future is a FREE conference for transition-aged students (13-22) and their families. Lunch and parking are included.

The goals of the Mapping Your Future transition conference are:
•      To inform participants about their rights regarding transition services.
•      To provide students with the tools & resources to create meaningful transition goals.
•      To empower students to become self-advocates and reach their goals after high school.
•      To empower parents to set higher expectations and to effectively support their children in reaching transition goals.

Register for Mapping Your Future Here

Able South Carolina, Protection and Advocacy for People with Disabilities Inc., Family Connection of SC, and the SC Department of Education are hosting the Transition Conferences.

Friday, January 15, 2016

SC Autism Society Annual Conference Call for Presentations Now Open!

South Carolina Autism Society's Annual Conference Call for Presentations Now Open

This is your chance to be part of the South Carolina Autism Society’s Annual Conference!


The South Carolina Autism Society’s Annual Conference is scheduled for 
Friday, April 15, 2016 in Columbia, SC.  
This year in addition to our Keynote Speaker, 
we will have numerous breakout sessions for attendees to choose from.

Our Annual Conference is the only statewide event to consistently bring together professionals, individuals on the autism spectrum, family members and advocates
 in energetic forums for in-depth presentations that cover what’s new in the field of autism and explore how to improve existing services and supports.
This Call for Presentations is seeking presentations that address the full range of issues facing those affected by autism today, provide best practices, practical skills/knowledge, and cutting edge research on topics of interest to those affected by autism.  
Content areas include transition, early intervention, education, employment, quality of life, behavior, communication, social skills, community inclusion, mental health and others.

Presentations should be about 45 minutes long, with the opportunity for audience questions.

The varied expertise and experiences of presenters enables attendees to learn how to more effectively advocate and obtain needed services and supports. The ultimate goal of the Annual Conference is to empower family members, individuals on the spectrum 
and professionals to make informed decisions.

Approved presenters will receive complimentary admission to the Annual Conference, 
as well as space in the Resource Fair.

You may complete your submission online at

Submissions may also be emailed

or mailed to 
SC Autism Society
ATTN:  Annual Conference
806 12th Street
West Columbia, SC  29169 

Submissions are due by February 12, 2016.

Should you have any questions, please

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Upcoming Training: Advocating for Your Needs


Advocating For Your Needs



Able SC is hosting a free training for individuals with disabilities. 
Join us to build up your inner self-advocate, improve your communication skills, and express your needs.

Join us in person or online!
Online Webinar
Thursday, January 21
2:00PM - 3:00PM
In Person
Tuesday, January 19 2:00PM - 4:00PM 136 Stonemark Lane, Suite 100 Columbia, SC 29210
Please make reasonable accommodation requests for this event a week in advance of the event date.

Professionals who wish to attend are encouraged to participate in the webinar session as there is limited space for individuals with disabilities during the in person training.

For more information, contact Dori Tempio
Phone: (800) 681-6805
TTY: (803) 779-0949