Wheelchair Safety and Etiquette Resources

Manual Wheelchair Safety

A guide to using your manual wheelchair safely

A home safety checklist for wheelchair users

Manual wheelchair safety tips for caregivers

Safety first!: Tips for staying safe in your manual wheelchair

Safety/Handling of Wheelchairs

Wheelchair safety and maintenance guidelines and checklist

Wheelchair safety guidelines

Wheelchair safety tips

Wheelchair safety tips you should know

Motorized Wheelchair Safety

5 tips to staying safe while using a power wheelchair

How to operate a wheelchair safely outdoors

Power wheelchair safety tips

Wheelchair Etiquette

The articles below discuss wheelchair etiquette:

A crash course in wheelchair etiquette

Disability etiquette

Tips for wheelchair etiquette

Wheelchair etiquette and disability awareness

Wheelchair etiquette in 8 easy steps

Person First Language For Special Needs Professionals

Here are some resources on people first language

Disability etiquette and person first language- Niagara University First Responders

Examples of People First Language- by Kathie Snow

Getting started with person-first language-Edutopia

People first language- District of Columbia Office of Disability Rights

People first language- Texas Council of Developmental Disabilities

Person First Language 101- JJslist

Using people-first language when describing people with disabilities– Very Well Family

What is person-first language and why is it important? – Laguna Shores

Identify First Language

Autistic person or person with autism: Is there a right way to identify people?– Molly Calahan

Identity- first language– Autistic Self-Advocacy Network

Identity first vs. person first: An important distinction– Association of Healthcare Journalist

This is how to talk about disability according to disabled people- Bustle

Updated 2/17/21

Teaching Students with Feeding Tubes: What You Need To Know

If you work in a special education class or a day habilitation setting, more than likely you are teaching a student or an individual with complex needs including the use of a feeding tube.

February 8-12 is recognized as Feeding Tube Awareness Month which is a great opportunity to provide information on tube feeding in an educational setting.  According to the Tube Feeding Awareness Foundation, there are over 300 conditions that require students and individuals to receive nutritional support through tube feeding.

What is a feeding tube?

A feeding tube is a device that is inserted in the stomach wall and goes directly into the stomach. It bypasses chewing and swallowing in a student or individual who no longer has the ability to safely eat or drink. This allows for students and individuals to receive adequate nutritional support.

A feeding tube is also used for students and adults who cannot take in enough food by mouth. Feeding tubes can be temporary or permanent .

Reasons to use a feeding tube
The student or individual may have a swallowing disorder or dysphasia. This means there is an increase risk for the student or individual to aspirate their foods or liquids into their lungs. Causes of swallowing problems include low-muscle tone, brain injury, genetic conditions, sensory issues, neurological conditions, cleft lip/palate and birth defects of the esophagus or stomach.
Types of Feeding Tubes

Gatro Feeding Tube

The gastrostomy tube (G tube) is placed through the skin into the stomach. The stomach and the skin usually heal in 5-7 days. This type of tube is generally used in people with developmental disabilities for long term feeding.

Nasogastric Feeding Tube

The nasogastric (NG tube)  is inserted through the nose, into the swallowing tube and into the stomach. The NG tube is typically used in the hospital to drain fluid from the stomach for short term tube feeding.

Neurological and Genetic Conditions Requiring Tube Feeding

Some students and individuals with neurological and genetic conditions often require tube feeding due to gastrointestinal issues including constipation, reflux, and abnormal food-related behaviors. It For example, it is estimate that 11% of children with cerebral palsy use a feeding tube due to difficulty with eating, swallowing, and drinking.

The following are different types of neurological or genetic conditions that may require the use of a feeding tube.

22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome

Angelman Syndrome

Aspiration

Cerebral Palsy

CDKL5 Disorder

Cornelia de Lange

Cri Du Chat Syndrome

Down Syndrome

Dravet Syndrome

Dysphasia

Edwards Syndrome

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Fragile X Syndrome

Hydrocephalus

Lennox-Gestaut Syndrome

Microcephaly

Ohtahara Syndrome

PPD- Not Otherwise Specified

Turner Syndrome

Trisomy 18

Spastic Diplegia

Traumatic Brain Injury

West Syndrome

Williams Syndrome

The following are articles on IEP and Accommodations:

IEP/Accommodations

Going to school with a feeding tube- http://www.tubefed.com

Accommodations and supports for children with pediatric feeding disorders- Kids First Collaborative

School-based accommodations and supports– Feeding Matters

Tube feeding at school: 8 tips to prepare your child and school staff– Shield Healthcare

Signs and Symptoms of Issues related to a g-tube

Complications due to tube feeding may include:

  • constipation
  • dehydration
  • diarrhea
  • infections
  • nausea/vomiting

Aspiration

Aspiration can be caused by:

  • reflux of stomach contents up into the throat
  • weak cough, or gag reflux
  • the feeding tube is not in place
  • delayed stomach emptying
  • The head is not raised properly.

Students should be observed for aspiration during feeding. The following are signs and symptoms of aspiration:

  1. Choking or coughing while feeding
  2. Stopping breathing while feeding
  3. Faster breathing while feeding
  4. Increased blood pressure, heart rate and decreased oxygen saturation.

The following are articles on signs and symptoms of aspiration during feeding

Aspiration in Children

How to Prevent Aspiration

Life with Aspiration and a Feeding Tube

Pediatric Aspiration Syndromes

Tube Feeding Aspiration

Resources

Book Review: My Belly Has Two Buttons: A Tubie Story

Tube Feeding Awareness Foundation

Low Tech Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) You Should Know About

You may be working with a child or an adult that uses an AAC communication device. Are you familiar with low-tech AAC devices?

According to Beukelman and Mirenda (2013), an estimated 1.3 percent of Americans cannot meet their daily needs communication needs using natural speech. Using low-tech AAC is one way to help children and adults with limited communication skills.

What is AAC?

AAC or Augmentative and Alternative Communication includes various methods of communication systems including communication devices, strategies and tools that helps a person communicate their wants, needs and thoughts specifically for children and adults who have limited communication skills.

What are the benefits of using AAC?

Studies show improvement in language development, literacy and communication among users including the use of picture exchange. There is also research that shows people working with an AAC are able to:

  • take turns appropriately
  • request items
  • decrease challenging behavior
  • improve receptive and expressive skills.
Who uses an AAC?

Children with developmental delays including motor, cognitive and physical limitations including children and adults with:

AAC Terminology You Should Know

Communication board- based on the cognitive and physical ability of the person, it is often organized by topic

Eye gaze- used in low-tech AAC by the person looking at an object and selecting the correct item using either the communication board or booklet.

Low-Tech- basic communication aids that include pictures, letters, words, symbols, communication board or picture books that cannot be changed or altered.

The following are links tp AAC core words:

AAC Core Words

70 kids picture books to target core vocabulary AAC (Omazing Kids)

100 High Frequency Core Word List (AAC Language Lab)

Core Word of the Week– The Center for AAC and Autism

Teaching Core Vocabulary– (Praatical AAC)

Low Tech AAC Boards

Eat, Think and Speak– a blog written for medical Speech and Language Pathologist on topics relating to swallowing, communication and cognition. Provides a blog article on free low-tech material including a wide variety of premade communication boards

Project Core– Provide free sample lesson plans focusing on talking with one word at a time to using correct grammar and word order.

 

2021 Special Needs Awareness Observance Calendar

Download printable here: 2021 Special Needs Awareness Observance Calendar
Did you know that 1 in 6 or 15% of  children aged 3 through 17 have one or more developmental disabilities? Or that according to the World Health Organization (WHO) that over a billion people live with some form of disability? This means that nearly 1 in 7 people on Earth have some form of a disability. For this reason, disability awareness and acceptance is more important now than ever before.

What is the Purpose of Disability Awareness?

Disability awareness serves many purposes including informing and educating people on a certain cause.  In some cases organizations and agencies use it as part of their annual campaign in an effort to bring awareness and raise money for their cause. Employers often conduct trainings on disability awareness as an effort to educate employees and to decrease bullying in the workplace. Disability awareness also can be used to address myths, misconceptions and the realities of having a disability.  Ribbons are also used that are specific to awareness activities. Through disability awareness campaigns it is hoped that people learn and develop a greater understanding of those with a disability. Annual awareness observances are sponsored by federal, health and non-profit organizations. In some cases observances are worldwide including World Autism Awareness Day or World Cerebral Palsy Day.

Types of Awareness Campaigns

Awareness campaigns fall under three categories:

  • Day- this is often held on the same day each year regardless of the day it falls under. There are cases where an awareness day falls on a specific day such as the last Thursday of a month.
  • Week – The dates dates change and vary based on the week. In some cases, awareness activities are held on the first week of the month to the fourth week of the month
  • Month- activities and awareness celebrations are held throughout the month.
The 2021 calendar includes major special needs awareness days, weeks, and months. Most websites include awareness toolkits, promotional material and fact sheets. This page focuses on awareness activities that impact people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Click on the month below to go to a specific month.
January /February/March/ April/ May/June/July/September/October/November/December

January     

Louis Braille

                                             

January (Month)

National Birth  Defects Month

January 4- World Braille Day

January 20- International Day of Acceptance

January 24- Moebius Syndrome Awareness Day

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

February

February (Month)

Turner Syndrome Awareness Month

February (Week)

February 7-14 Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week

February 8-12 Feeding Tube Awareness

February (Day)

February 15- International Angelman Day

February 28- Rare Disease Day

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

March

March (Month)

Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month

Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

Kidney Awareness Month

Multiple Sclerosis Month

Social Work Awareness Month

Trisomy Awareness Month

March (Week)

March 21-27- Poison Prevention Week

March (Day)

March 1- Self-Injury Day

March 1- International Wheelchair Day

March 21- World Down Syndrome Day

March 26- Purple Day for Epilepsy

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

April

April (Day)

April 2- World Autism Awareness Day 

April 7- Paraprofessional Appreciation Day

May

Better Hearing and Speech Month

Ehlers-Danlos Awareness Month

Mental Health Awareness Month

National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month

National Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month

National Mobility Awareness Month

Prader Willi Syndrome Awareness Month

Williams Syndrome Awareness Month

May (Week)

May 5-12- Cri du Chat Awareness Week

May (Day)

May 1- Global Developmental Delay Day

May 5- World Asthma Day

May 14- Apraxia Awareness Day

May 19- National Schizencephaly Awareness Day

May 15- Tuberous Sclerosis Global Awareness Day

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

June

June (Month)

Aphasia Awareness Month

Tourette Syndrome Awareness Month

June (Week)

Helen Keller Deaf-Blind Awareness Week (Last Sunday in June)

June (Day)

June 7- Tourette Syndrome Awareness Day

June 17- CDKL5 Awareness Day 

June 23- Dravet Syndrome Awareness Day (Canada)

 

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

July

July (Month)

National Cleft and Craniofacial Awareness and Prevention Month

National Fragile X Syndrome Awareness Month

July (Day)

July 18- Disability Awareness Day (UK)

July 22- National Fragile X Syndrome Awareness Day

July 26- American Disability Act Day

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

September

September (Month)

Chiari Awareness Month

Craniofacial Acceptance Month

Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI) Awareness Month

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Awareness

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Syndrome Awareness Month

Hydrocephalus Awareness Month

National Spinal Cord Awareness Month

Sickle Cell Awareness Month

Sepsis Awareness Month

September 7- World Duchenne Awareness Day

September 9- Fetal Alcohol Awareness Day

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

October

ADHD Awareness Month

Disability History Month

Down Syndrome Awareness Month

Dysautonomia Awareness

National Disability Employment Awareness Month

National Dyslexia Awareness Month

Occupational Therapy Awareness Month

October (Day)

October 6- World Cerebral Palsy Day

October 15- White Cane Awareness Day

October (Week)

October 13-19 Invisible Disabilities Week

Rett Syndrome Awareness Month

Spinal Bifida Awareness Month

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

November

22q Awareness Month

Epilepsy Awareness Month

November 1- LGS Awareness Day

November 7- National Stress Awareness Day

November 15- World Ohtahara Syndrome Awareness Day

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

December

December 3- International Day of Persons with Disabilities

December 1-7- Infantile Spasm

Updated 1/5/2021