Special Needs Expo

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If you are in the New Jersey area, The Special Needs Expos will be hosting an event in New Jersey on September 18th, 2016 from 11:00am to 4:00pm. The expo will be held at Teaneck Marriott at Glenpointe.

The free event is geared towards delivering information to parents, caregivers, professionals and children. Resources and information include special needs schools, camps, recreational sports, respite programs and social service groups. Additional exhibitors include non-profit organizations, special needs trust information and non-traditional therapist.

For further information, click here

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10 Speech Therapy Blogs You Should Be Reading

Speech therapy is a key component in the life of a child with a disability. When it comes to speech therapy, there are so many blogs that provide an abundance of resources for other speech therapist, teachers and parents. Finding the right ones however can be a challenge.

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The following blogs provide tons of information, resources and tips on speech language topics. Here are 10 speech therapy blogs worth checking out (in no particular order).

Beautiful Speech Life– Creates and develops therapy materials for fellow SLP’s and teachers. This website provides freebies, language materials and quick therapy tips.

Nicole Allison Speech Peeps– This website offers speech language resources on a variety of topics and an evidence-based intervention series.

PediaStaff– A resourceful blog providing informative news information and article blogs from speech language websites.

Simply Speech– A site with freebies and great blog ideas and activities

Speech 2 U- Provides resources, freebies and therapy topics on communication, social language, social language, organization, plus more!

Speechy Musing– Provides speech therapy resources on a variety of topics. Age range includes, birth to 3, elementary school and middle school on the subject of articulation, language and AAC; The site also includes a blog for fellow speech therapist.

Sublime Speech– Provides therapy to children with severe and profound disabilities. Website includes information on apps, articulation, language, materials and social skills

Teach Speech 365. Includes freebies, giveaways and therapy topics.

The Dabbling Speechie– A website for speech and language pathologist and parents offering a variety of resources on articulation, language and social skills.

The Speech Room News– Specializing in pediatric speech and language therapy, Jenna’s site provides resources for speech language pathologists and educators. The website includes free resources, and treatment topics on articulation, social language, preschool and more.

 

Abilities Expo

Abilities Expo will be coming to Boston, MA, from September 16th thru the 18th. The mission of the expo is to bring necessary products and services together under one roof for the community of people with disabilities, caregivers and healthcare professionals.

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Workshops include, Living with Chronic Pain, Wheelchair Accessible Travel, Emergency Preparedness for People with Disabilities plus more. Events include, Acupressure for Stress Release, Adaptive Gaming Pavilion and an Assistive Technology Showcase.

Registration is free and will be held at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, Hall C.

Dates and Times

September, 16th- Friday- 11am -5pm
September 17th- Saturday- 11am-5pm
September 18th- Sunday- 11am-4pm

For detailed information, Click Here

Autism Moms and Chronic Stress

No huge surprise that mothers of children with autism experience stress similar to combat soldiers. Combat stress is defines as mental, emotional or physical distress, resulting from exposure to combat-related conditions including a heighten awareness of potential threats.

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Researchers followed a group of mothers of children diagnosed with autism and found the moms displayed higher levels of chronic stress. And no wonder, a 2011 study conducted by the Interactive Autism Network found that nearly half of the children with autism attempted to bolt from a safe, supervised place with more than half wandering into dangerous situations. Also, more than a third of the children with autism who wandered/elope are rarely able to communicate their personal information and two out of three parents reported a close call with a possible drowning.
Signs similar to combat soldiers include, re-experiencing events or flashbacks, memory loss, unusual or excessive fear or worry, unexplained sadness, feeling overwhelmed, feeling isolated and withdrawal and avoiding others.
Signs and symptoms may include physical signs including trembling, jumpiness, cold sweats, heart palpitations, unable to sleep, fatigue and a “thousand yard” stare. Emotional signs may include, re-experiencing events of flashbacks, memory loss, unusual excessive fear, unexplained sadness, feeling overwhelmed, and feeling isolated. Chronic stress is often caused by hypervigilance, a feeling of always being on guard and anticipating any types of threat.  This type of stress can lead to chronic stress. Ongoing chronic stress could lead to possible health problems including, heart disease, weakening of the immune system, ulcers, respiratory issues and depression.
This all occurs when our bodies perceive a threat and moves into action. When a stressful event occurs, the body prepares to meet the stress by increasing the heart rate, respiration, and blood pressure. Once the perceived threat is over, our bodies return to a relaxed state. But what happens when you are always in a state of preparing for a stressful event?  The body reacts by staying in this preparedness state thus weakening the heart and the immune system.
While it is almost impossible to allow yourself to relax completely, here are five ways that will help relieve symptoms of chronic stress:
  1. Deep Breathing. Breathing techniques will put you in a relax state which helps to reduce the stress levels. This will help to change the physical and emotional responses to stress including helping to decrease any muscle tension and the heart rate. Deep breathing also increases the oxygen supply to your brain and will help to reduce anxiety and stress.
  2. Meditation. This also helps to reduce worry anxiety and impulsivity. Meditation also helps to improve your mood and lower your heart rate. It helps to start small. Even if you are able to sit still for five minutes, you will begin to see a difference.
  3. Support System. Countless of studies show that having a support group make a huge difference. It helps to talk to someone with a shared experience. Family members mean well, but may not understand.  The truth is that we need layers of support.There are countless of support groups online you can join through social media, community forums, organizations and blogs. Know that you are not alone. Building a support group may also include spiritual mentors, parents from school and mentors.
  4. Self-Compassion. I love this one. the word compassion itself means “sympathy and concern for the suffering of others”. But how much compassion do you give to yourself? Self-compassion helps to lower symptoms of depression and paying close attention to what you say to yourself. Replace the negative self-talk with positive words of encouragement. Other steps you may take include writing a letter to yourself and making a daily gratitude list. Remind yourself that you are doing the best that you can at this moment. Below is  free printable self-compassion checklist.

    self-compassion checklist

self.compassion checklist

What ways have you found useful in combating stress?

 

 

 

 

Zika Virus and Microcephaly

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Media coverage surrounding the Zika virus outbreak and its link to microcephaly in newborns continue as the number of cases continue to grow including a recent article on the discovery of infected mosquitos found in the state of Florida.

What exactly are the facts?

Zika virus disease is a virus which is primarily transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes that were first identified in Uganda in 1947 in monkeys. The rates of human infections were reported across Africa and Asia from the 1960’s to the 1980’s. It wasn’t until 2015 however when Brazil reported a direct association between the Zika virus and microcephaly. Since then, the number of people infected has grown in alarming rates including the number of children born with microcephaly.

Transmission

Typically, the Zika virus is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. These types of mosquitos are generally found in tropical environments. The virus can also be transmitted through sexual activity and can be detected in body fluids including blood, urine, amniotic fluids, semen, saliva and spinal cord fluids.

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms may include a slight fever which may appear a few days after a person is bitten by an infected mosquito. Other signs may include conjunctivitis, and muscle and joint pain. The symptoms typically last between 2-7 days. There is currently no cure for the virus.

What is the relationship between the Zika virus and Microcephaly?

The Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) confirmed the Zika virus infection during pregnancy does cause microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects.

What is Microcephaly?

Microcephaly is defined as a medical condition where the brain does not grow properly resulting in a smaller than normal size head.

microcephaly-comparison

Diagnosis

Often, microcephaly can be diagnosed during pregnancy using an ultrasound test. This is generally done late in the 2nd trimester or early in the third trimester. After a baby is born, a health practitioner will measure the distance around the baby’s head and compare the measurements to the general population standards. Severe microcephaly occurs when the baby’s brain has not developed during pregnancy.

Incidence

Microcephaly is considered rare. In the United States, microcephaly occurs from 2 babies per 10,000 live births to 12 per 10,000 live births. An estimated 25,000 births per year. However, the rates in Brazil have jumped from 0.04 percent to 1.9 percent within the last year.

Causes

Besides the Zika virus, microcephaly may be caused by:

  • German measles
  • Chicken pox
  • Exposure to drugs or alcohol in the womb
  • Chromosomal  abnormalities
  • Decreased oxygen to the fetal brain
  • Severe malnutrition
  • Gene deletion i.e. DiGeorge syndrome

Associated Conditions

Children born with microcephaly may not show any signs or symptoms initially, but may develop the following later:

  • cerebral palsy
  • seizures
  • intellectual disabilities
  • learning disabilities
  • hearing impairments
  • visual impairments

Treatment

There is currently no treatment for microcephaly. Early intervention is vital for the growth and development of the child.

Resources

CDC- Build a Prevention Kit-Provides information on reducing the risk of Zika by creating a prevention kit.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – This site provides information on Zika travel notices and countries with the endemic including guidelines for traveler’s visiting family and friends in the affected area.

Live Coverage– complete coverage of the outbreak

U.S. Department of State– Maintains an updated status notice on the virus.

The following medical sites provide additional information on microcephaly including causes, symptoms, test and diagnosis:

Organizations

Cortical Foundation– Dedicated to providing services to educate, advocate, support and improve awareness of cortical malformations

Foundation for Children with Microcephaly– A website created to help and inform parents and families of children who have been diagnosed with microcephaly

Selected News Articles

The following are selected articles on the Zika Virus and Microcephaly:

A mothers battle: Surviving microcephaly in Brazil.

Microcephaly: “It’s not the end of the world.”

Protecting pregnant women in the U.S. from Zika is a top priority, Official says.

Sesame Street’s Elmo and Raya warn kids about Zika

Scientists determine how Zika virus causes brain defects and microcephaly

Zika Revealed: Here’s what a brain-cell killing virus looks like

 

 

5 Resources to Support Parents of Children with Autism

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I received these great resource articles for families with child with autism from Angela Tollerson, a blogger from familyhealthnet. Her site provides resources on family health and wellness. Please share these links with others who may benefit and don’t forget to stop by and visit Angela’s blog at: forfamilyhealth.net

  1. Anxiety and Autism Spectrum Disorders
    http://www.iidc.indiana.edu/pages/anxiety-and-autism-spectrum-disorders
  2. The Moment I Got My Son with Autism’s Need for Routine
    https://www.autismspeaks.org/blog/2014/09/16/moment-i-got-my-son-autisms-need-routine
  3. The Well Travel Guide for Parents of Autism Spectrum Children
    https://travelblog.expedia.ca/autism-travel-guide/
  4. Nutrition for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
    http://www.eatright.org/resource/health/diseases-and-conditions/autism/nutrition-for-your-child-with-autism-spectrum-disorder-asd
  5. 10 Fun Activities for Children with Autism
    http://www.education.com/magazine/article/10-activities-children-autism/

 

Happy 1 Year Blog Anniversary!

one year anniversay

 

Wow! Time really does fly. It is so hard to believe that it has been one year since I began this blog. Well officially On September 25th, but why not start the celebration early right? During the past year, I have written 102 articles which averages to about 2 a week. Not too bad huh?

I started this blog as a way of giving back to a career which has given me so much joy.. Helping people disabilities, families, professionals and organizations. Working as both a speaker and a trainer in the developmental disability field I have collected loads of information pertaining to special education, special needs, and developmental disability topics and felt the time was right to share. My other purpose in creating Special Needs Resource Blog was realizing that most blogs and social media sites were created mainly from parents and special education teachers. It truly saddens me that in the year 2015, parents are still struggling to locate services and information on their own.

My other passion and joy is learning and sharing information with others. My vision for upcoming year to continue to share resources, expand and gather additional information. In the upcoming year, I will have a page for free items including templates that can be duplicated.

In celebrating Special resources 1 year anniversary, I am raffling off a few items. All are welcome to participate.

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Autism Car Magnet

Autism Earrings

Autism Earrings

Autism Lanyard

Autism Lanyard

Rules

  1. Contest is open to both international and domestic visitors
  2. Contest is open from September 11th to September 25th
  3. I only request that you follow me. You can follow my Twitter, Google+, Facebook Like or this blog.
  4. winner must have a valid email address. Failure to respond within 72 hours will result in a new winner being chosen.

Thanks again for all of your support and feel free to contact me.

 

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August Special Needs Resource Article Links

Welcome to the August Article Links. These are articles that I have tweeted during the month of August. I tweet articles and links everyday. Please make sure you follow me and I will follow you back!
  1. 10 Truths About Making Friends When You have Autism. The Mighty
  2. CDC: 1 in 5 American Adults Live With a Disability. USA Today
  3. Rising Autism Prevalence Driven by Changes in Classifications. Medical News Today
  4. Autism and Epilepsy, More Consequences for Girls. Welfare Society Territory
  5. Kids With Autism Can Read Emotions Through Body Language. Smithsonian.Com
  6. What Causes Cerebral Palsy? New Research Suggests Genetics Plays a Stronger Role. Medical Daily
  7. The Forgotten History of Autism. TED
  8. New Studies Offer Insights Into Autism/Epilepsy Link. Epilepsy Research
  9. Reducing Back to School Anxiety. Autism Spectrum Therapies Blog
  10. Learning to Manage a Child’s Autism with Limited Communication. Kokomo Tribune
  11. Language and Autism: What Every Social Care Professional Should Know. The Guardian
  12. Model with Down Syndrome Inspired to Change the Beauty Industry. Gemstars
  13. Some Cerebral Palsy Cases caused by Genetics Anomalies, Not Just Brain Injuries- Study. The Hamilton Spectator
  14. 5 Autism Simulations to Help You Experience Sensory Overload. Mashable
  15. 10 Things Teachers Should Know About down Syndrome. Gillian Marchenko