Family fun, health, life, disability and parenting support for families with special needs

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Monica and Martha with DadWhen parents learn that their child has special needs, they begin a journey filled with strong emotion, difficult choices, interactions with many professionals, and an ongoing need for information and services. Parents may feel isolated and alone, not knowing where to begin their search for information and understanding. This website responds to these needs of families with special needs.

This website is dedicated to my oldest daughter Monica. Monica was born with multiple disabilities (cortical blindness, developmental delays, complex partial seizure disorder) and skull deformation due to an occipital encephalocele and Chiari malformation. She has a genetic disorder called PKD and hand & arm deformities from Amniotic Band Syndrome. Despite this, Monica is a delightful, motivated and affectionate young woman who continues to learn and enjoy life. She is an inspiration to all that know her. See Monica's page and Youtube channel.

Take a tour of our website and discover family fun, family health, family life, parenting and disability support for families with special needs or use the search box (above) to quickly find what you want.

What's new - our most recent articles for families with special needs.

•Those with disabilities are more likely than those without disabilities to report having poorer overall health, less access to adequate healthcare and more engagement in risky behaviors such as smoking and physical inactivity. Here is a toolkit to raise awareness about the health and safety of our disabled population from

•For too long, people with disabilities had been told that having families of their own was not an option. The truth is, though, that there have always been parents with disabilities, and as our society evolves, more will have access to that opportunity.

•Thousands of children with special needs and disabilities wait for families to offer them a permanent home. In the United States, more than 110,000 children with special needs are waiting for permanent homes. Often the stability and safety of an adoptive family can provide children with special needs the healing atmosphere and loving ties that can change their lives.

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Making music can enrich a special needs child's life in many wonderful ways. Dozens of new studies on the developing brain show dramatic lifelong improvements in language, math, spatial skills, coordination, memory and motor skills by learning to make music. Music is effective because it is nonverbal communication, a natural reinforcer, immediate in time, and successful because almost everyone responds positively to some kind of music. Music therapy can help children on their journey of self-growth and understanding and can be an effective intervention tool for persons with disabilties.

• Art is important to the development of all children, but it is particularly valuable to children with disabilities. When creating art, the child is building a wide variety of skills – both motor and cognitive. Special education art provides various sensory experiences that are positive and pleasurable. The creative process provides opportunities for expressing ideas and emotions, which can sometimes be difficult for the child with disabilities.

•Developing childrens motor skills are important when they are very young. Teaching your child these motor skills in the form of a craft or a game allows your child to learn while also having family fun. Learning these skills will help make them better prepared for when they go off to school.

Sign language is used to communicate with people with hearing impairments, disabilities, and preverbal infants. Despite the popular use of computerized communication devices, research suggests that teaching sign language, especially involving simultaneously produced signs and words will likely accelerate a child's ability to speak.

•Through books of literature and poetry, children learn to cope more constructively with complex emotions like fear and jealousy or stressful experiences like starting school or moving to a new neighborhood. Parents and teachers of children with autism often use interactive reading to facilitate interaction and social skills. It sparks their imagination and also engages them in a social activity. It also makes reading fun, which helps children to approach the learning process with enthusiasm rather than the dread they may to feel if they are struggling with reading.

•Just as with any child, it’s important to make your home as safe and secure as possible for your special-needs son or daughter. Not only do we have to make sure that the house is safe and secure, but we also need to find as many ways as possible to make their lives easier as well as the environment safer. Your home can also become more accessible with a few minor home accessibility modifications.

Are you bored and lacking of things to do? Poki just launched a brand new website with a lot of child friendly games to play. Is your teacher's lesson boring but you do need to upgrade your math skills, Poki is the right place to go. Apart from the school related games they have tons of Car, Dress Up and Sport Games. Find your perfect game and play as long as you wish!

Family fun and fun games brings not only enjoyment but BIG family health benefits. And if you look carefully, you can find fun in whatever you do... it is only a matter of attitude. Taking time for the things that you enjoy can help you feel better about yourself and more satisfied with life. When you feel this way, you might be more likely to exercise, eat well, get regular medical care and reach out to friends and family - all of which can benefit you physically and mentally and create a more balanced life.

•A container garden eliminates physical barriers to enable accessible gardening, creating an area where people of all ages and abilities can grow vegetables, fruits and flowers. All you may need are a few adaptations. As well, learning to plant vegetables and enjoy the benefits of eating them fresh from your own windowsill or other indoor garden has many benefits.

•Developmental age-appropriate toys - When choosing toys for your child, it is important to consider developmental age. If your child has been diagnosed with a developmental disability or delay, her pediatrician, speech therapist, teacher, occupational and physical therapists can offer suggestions on the types of developmental toys that will be most beneficial. In general, look for toys at or slightly above your child's motor skill level, but can be successfully played.

•When our children have special needs, traveling becomes more difficult to plan, but it can be full of surprises and memories you won't have wanted to miss. Get help with this free guide to travelling with special needs children. Travel is by its very nature an adventure, but factor a disability into the family travel and things can get pretty scary. One of the biggest areas of concern for disabled or special needs travelers is air travel. People just don't know what to expect, but it doesn't have to be that way. Even though the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed years ago, many wheelchair-users going on a family vacation still have trouble finding an accessible hotel room. Disability and mobility concerns don't have to slow down your summer travel plans. Here are some tips to make your summer travel easy.

•Essential to baby development, your baby responds best to a warm, loving environment. Holding your baby and responding to cries are essential in building a strong, healthy bond with baby.

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•When parents are advised or when they discover through their own observation that their child is not developing as expected and have this confirmed through diagnosis, the news will be traumatic with a future of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Fortunately much has changed in the last several decades. Above everything we now know that by setting up an "early intervention program" we can have significant impact on enhancing the future and education of children with learning disabilities. It is very important to note that practically all children with a learning disability can learn. The disability usually affects certain specific and often limited areas of a child's development. In fact, rarely are learning disabilities so severe that they impair a person's future of living a happy, fulfilling life. Successful transition planning will help to ensure success in life after school.

•With 20 million plus families in the United States parenting a disabled child or a child with special needs, more children with such challenges are being mainstreamed into America's public schools. Unfortunately, too often those without special needs feel uncomfortable around a classmate who is "different". Helping youngsters become more sensitive and understanding is always important. This article shares some specific ways to make children feel more comfortable.

•Childhood is often thought of as being one of the happiest times in a person's life - a time where a carefree attitude and a worry-free life provide the environment in which a child grows and develops. For youngsters with childhood disorders, however, this isn't always the case.

Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease (ADPKD) equally affects men and women, regardless of age, race, or ethnic origin. It typically expresses itself in adults when they are in the prime of life. ARPKD strikes children at birth and is often fatal. PKD affects more than 12.5 million individuals worldwide, making it the most common life-threatening genetic disease. There are more persons with PKD than the combined numbers of those with cystic fibrosis, Down's syndrome, hemophilia, muscular dystrophy, and sickle cell anemia.

•Due to a disability or after sustaining an injury, one may find it difficult to perform activities of daily living (ADLs). Bathing, dressing, grooming, toileting, and feeding are self-care activities that are included in what is called "activities of daily living" (ADLs). Occupational therapists help their clients to develop skills needed to complete their ADLs as independently as possible. It may also be necessary to use adaptive equipment (AE) to perform ADLs, augmentative communication devices, and mobility aids to get around.

Special needs and disability support groups serve as a resource for patients, family members and practitioners offering information and emotional support for its members. The goals of our online community is to provide a forum where special needs families can meet and share information, stories, questions, concerns and support. We welcome you to join the Special Needs Family on Facebook.

•Today’s parents face a world of challenges with everything from keeping the family healthy and happy to providing their children a safe environment that fosters the physical, emotional and social growth of their children in today’s society. Sometimes the everyday demands of life seem too great to overcome and families will experience stress and/or crisis as they try to survive. It is no surprise then to learn that having a child with a disability can also drive families apart or into a state of chronic crisis. Disability need not be an obstacle to maintaining quality family life.

•Pregnancy books tend to gloss over special needs pregnancy and prenatal classes frequently choose to ignore the possibility that you might give birth a baby with special needs. About 1 in 150 babies is born with a chromosomal abnormality. Depending on the mother's risk profile, special fetal tests may be ordered to detect birth defects. After diagnosis, it is best to be prepared for the birth of your special needs baby and carefully follow safety precautions during pregnancy.

•Effective special needs planning requires a high degree of specialized knowledge and expertise. A Special Needs Trust offers a means of protecting your child's eligibility for these benefits, while addressing the ongoing care and needs of your disabled or special needs child. Special needs planning professionals that have an expertise in their planning approach, should be able to obtain additional resources and services for families, and provide them with updated information on recent law changes or innovations in the field.

•The primary population creating a demand for home care is seniors. It’s estimated that by the year 2020, 12 million older Americans will need long-term care. In addition to the senior niche, home care serves people of all ages who are recovering from health challenges, disabled, chronically ill or in need of end-of-life care. Their ongoing needs may be medical, nursing, therapeutic or just assistance with the basic activities of daily living.

• Many families embrace quality time with their senior relatives, yet living in such a fast paced society this can sometimes be a challenge. These 5 fun activities to do with the seniors in your family will expose them to fun technology while still offering an old school approach that holds traditional merit for everyone involved.

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