Halloween Safety Tips!

Hi Everyone,

With Halloween approaching fast, I thought it would be nice to have a list of safety tips. I found these online from http://www.parentingspecialneeds.org:

Halloween Safety Tip 1: Select a costume that makes your child easily visible in the dark to improve Halloween safety.

Most Halloween costumes are dark colored and make it hard to spot kids while trick or treating. Some ways to help children with special needs to be seen is to have them bring a flashlight, a glow stick, or to place reflective tape on their costume or wheelchair.

Halloween Safety Tip 2:  Double check that your children can see ok with their mask or costume on.

If your child with special needs has a Halloween costume with a mask or hood, it may make it difficult for them to see properly. If needed, modify the costume so the child doesn’t have obstructed vision. That way as they are walking from house to house they won’t fall on steps (and other things that go bump in the night).

Halloween Safety Tip 3 :Helping your children to become familiar with the trick or treat route will enhance Halloween safety.

Doing a test run in the day time is a smart way to help your child get to know the route a bit better. It will help ensure they don’t get lost. You can also encourage kids to stick to the sidewalks to stay safe.

Halloween Safety Tip 4 : Looking to make sure costumes don’t trip your child will boost Halloween Safety for Kids.

With oversized costumes and capes it may make it difficult for your child to walk. Shorten long costumes if necessary. Also check that the kids have warm, safe, shoes that are comfortable. With all the walking they will do it’s important to make sure they don’t trip or slip due to ill-fitting costumes or shoes.

Halloween Safety Tip 5 : Use the buddy system for children with special needs.

If you have a younger child, it’s better to have an adult accompany them. If your child with special needs is old enough to trick or treat independently, you may want to group him with another responsible older sibling or friend. Tell the kids when they need to be home. If your child has a cell phone, have him carry it with him in case he needs to reach you or vice versa.

Halloween Safety Tip 6 : Make sure that costumes for children with special needs are comfortable.

Whether it’s the feel of the fabric, the snugness of the costume, or a noise it makes, sometimes children with special needs are extra sensitive when it comes to sensory stimulation. Bring children along with when shopping. It may save you having to return the costume to the store later. Or, there may be easy ways to “adjust” the costume so your child feels happy and comfortable in it.

Halloween Safety Tip 7: Teach Halloween Safety and Manners for children with special needs.

Trick or Treat time is a wonderful opportunity to teach Halloween etiquette. Teach kids to be polite as they ring the doorbell and say “Trick or Treat”. Then advise them it’s proper to take only one piece of candy unless told otherwise. And always tell the person “thank you” before leaving. Also tell the kids not to eat the candy until they get home and parents can check it. Finally tell kids not to go into someone’s home who is a stranger if invited.

Halloween Safety Tip 8:  Dress properly for the weather for ultimate safety and fun!

The full moon and the cool of autumn can make for a frightfully cool Halloween evening. Dress the kids in layers so they can stay warm. Gloves to match the costume can keep little hands cozy and warm.

Halloween Safety Tip 9: Select flame retardant costumes to maximize safety.

With candles glowing, pumpkins lit up and bonfires, there’s a fire danger for children. Make sure your child with special needs has a Halloween costume that is flame retardant.

Halloween Safety Tip 10:  Prepare kids so they won’t be afraid.

Goblins, skeletons, and witches – oh my! There are lots of spooky sounds and decorations that may upset your child. Prepare your child for this experience by talking about it in advance. Let them know what they can expect and tell them it’s all part of Halloween fun.

And just for fun, I thought another Halloween speech freebie would be great for everyone to have…here is an “I Spy” Halloween game for you all to enjoy!

http://www.pleasantestthing.com/2013/09/halloween-spy-game.html

–Steph

Halloween Speech Fun!

Hi Everyone,

This week is Halloween and I thought it would be a good idea to give everyone some fun holiday themed speech practice ideas!

If you are trying to work on improving receptive language skills, have your kids categorize the candy they get trick or treating! Sorting candy will help them improve their categorization skills, which can help with organizing their thoughts!

If you’re trying to improve pragmatic skills have your kids practice what they are going to say when they ring the doorbell to go trick or treating! Talk about how you can tell someone you like their costume! Halloween is a great time to interact with kids in your neighborhood!

If you’re trying to improve your child’s speech with a certain sound, like k or g (just an example), read a book about a scary ghost! Or talk about all of the candy that they are going to get. Everyone is motivated to
practice more when candy is involved.

Below is a great Halloween book I found on speechtherapygames.com, I have been using it all week and all the kids love it! Hopefully your kids will too!

orange pumpkin story

Happy Early Halloween Everyone!

–Steph

New study finds typically developing peers quick to judge peers with Autism

Hey everyone!

In the spirit of anti bullying month I thought this was a great study to report on to you guys. A new study has just been published on how typically developing peers often judge their peers with Autism as unfriendly and untrustworthy within 30 seconds of seeing them! The journal of Autism’s study had typical 11 year olds watch silent movies of children, some diagnosed with Autism and some not, and judge how trustworthy they were. They were also asked if they would want to play with the children in the video or be friends with the child. Most of the typical 11 year olds stated the children on the spectrum were less trustworthy than typically developing children! Furthermore they were more likely to say they did NOT want to be friends or play with children on the spectrum!

I thought this study was really important to mention to our followers during anti-bullying month because it shows how important it is to teach our children about disabilities. The more we educate children the more likely we are to stop the hate! The video I am attaching below is what happens when we educate children on disabilities. I was so moved by this video of a boy helping his teammate with a disability score a goal during their hockey game.

Hope you enjoy the research and the video as much as I did!

–Steph

 

 

October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month!

Hey everyone!

So I know that you already know that October is Anti-Bullying Month, but it also is Down Syndrome Awareness Month.

These are facts from the National Down Syndrome Society:

Down syndrome occurs when an individual has a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21. This additional genetic material alters the course of development and causes the characteristics associated with Down syndrome.
There are three types of Down syndrome: trisomy 21 (nondisjunction) accounts for 95% of cases, translocation accounts for about 4% and mosaicism accounts for about 1%.
Down syndrome is the most commonly occurring chromosomal condition. One in every 691 babies in the United States is born with Down syndrome.
There are more than 400,000 people living with Down syndrome in the United States.
Down syndrome occurs in people of all races and economic levels.
The incidence of births of children with Down syndrome increases with the age of the mother. But due to higher fertility rates in younger women, 80% of children with Down syndrome are born to women under 35 years of age.
People with Down syndrome have an increased risk for certain medical conditions such as congenital heart defects, respiratory and hearing problems, Alzheimer’s disease, childhood leukemia, and thyroid conditions. Many of these conditions are now treatable, so most people with Down syndrome lead healthy lives.
A few of the common physical traits of Down syndrome are low muscle tone, small stature, an upward slant to the eyes, and a single deep crease across the center of the palm. Every person with Down syndrome is a unique individual and may possess these characteristics to different degrees or not at all.
Life expectancy for people with Down syndrome has increased dramatically in recent decades – from 25 in 1983 to 60 today.
People with Down syndrome attend school, work, participate in decisions that affect them, and contribute to society in many wonderful ways.
All people with Down syndrome experience cognitive delays, but the effect is usually mild to moderate and is not indicative of the many strengths and talents that each individual possesses.
Quality educational programs, a stimulating home environment, good health care, and positive support from family, friends and the community enable people with Down syndrome to develop their full potential and lead fulfilling lives.

Want to learn more? visit the National Down Syndrome Society: http://www.ndss.org/

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

–Steph

Video Of Self-Advocate Silenced By School Board Goes Viral!

Hey everyone,

Another amazing story going on this week. Christian Ranieri is a 14 year old with Autism going to school on Long Island.  He went in front of the Board of Education of his school district to self advocate for himself, stating that after a month in school multiple staff members at his school were not following the accommodations set forth by his IEP. He worked on the speech for 3 hours! Within minutes of beginning his speech multiple board members cut him off stating that this was not the appropriate forum for this issue to be discussed. After Christian and his parents stated that their letters and attempts to interact with the school board had been ignored, the board members continued to attempt to silence both Christian and his family.  Christian and his family repeatedly tell the board members that Christian solely wants to be heard. He does not want to have a discussion, he does not want to argue, he solely wants to be heard after being suspended for what both he and his family feel is for something related to his disability.

I thought that during this Anti-Bullying month, this was a great story to post. It shows a member of the community standing up for himself, when others are telling him that he is unable to do so.

Heres a link to the article about Christian and a video of his speech.

http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2013/10/11/video-silenced-viral/18798/

–Steph

Homecoming King and Queen with Down Syndrome Elected!

Hey everyone,

Hope you’re all enjoying your monday as much as I am! We’re open for business today, so I figured I would post something to cheer everyone up whose at work. I saw this article today and my heart just melted. Bubba Hunter and Semone Adkins were elected as homecoming king and queen this past week by their peers…and both are diagnosed with Down Syndrome. According to the Down Syndrome Association of Central Florida, this is the first time two students with Down Syndrome have been elected as homecoming king and queen. They both arrived in style to their homecoming celebrations, one in a Ferrari and one in a maserati! One of their peers stated, “We are not doing this because we feel bad for them or anything like that,” football captain Hayden Griffitts told Fox 19. “We are doing this because we genuinely like Bubba and Semone.”  

I thought this was a great article to post, especially during Anti-bullying month. Way to go West Orange High School of Orlando! If you want to see pictures or video of the ceremony…just follow the link.  

http://www.buzzfeed.com/adriancarrasquillo/this-homecoming-king-and-queen-with-down-syndrome-will-melt

 

Happy Columbus Day Everyone!,

–Steph 

Anti-Bullying Month

Hey guys,

This month at the Long Island Center for Speech and Myofunctional therapy we are celebrating Anti-Bullying month. We are having our clients create posters that support anti bullying to show how important this month is to us. I was on twitter and saw Dallas Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban, posted this heart breaking story about a special needs girl being bullied in Texas. I felt compelled to share it with everyone. 

Shea Shawhan, of Plano, is 18 years old but has the mental capacity of an 8-year-old as a result of a severe brain injury she had suffered at birth. She is a junior in high school and participates in many of the extra curricular activities her school has to offer, like cheerleading and softball. 

Eight months ago, the 18-year-old girl began receiving hateful text messages on her iPhone mocking her disability and her appearance. One of the texts read: ‘Why are u still here. Clearly no one wants you. U only have special needs friends. And ur ugly and have a horrible fashion sense. Honestly ur clothes suck.’  This is one of the more “PG” texts, the rest of them were unbelievably cruel as well.  I will post the rest of the article for you to read at your leisure so you can see what this poor girl has been going through. 

Shea’s bullies are so malicious that the texts she has been receiving are from a website that generates fake telephone numbers to “text” the recipient. This site makes its impossible to identify the sender of the message, though Shea’s mother believes that a group of girls from her high school are responsible.

Miss Riddel, Shea’s mother, had set up a Facebook account called Imwithshea to spread the word about her daughter’s predicament and raise awareness of bullying. So far, the page has drawn more than 19,000 followers. 

This has to stop! Spread the word about Shea because she is just one of many kids that has to suffer at the hands of a bully. By spreading stories like Shea’s we can hopefully end this vicious torment! 

Here’s a link to Shea’s story… http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2455556/Shea-seizure-die-Special-needs-girl-tormented-bullies.html

Stop the hate, spread the love.

–Steph