Friday, November 30, 2007

Choosing a Toy for Children with Disabilities

The National Lekotek Center is a non-profit organization that uses interactive play experiences to promote the inclusion of children with special needs into family and community life. To guide shoppers when making gift-buying decisions. The National Lekotek Center offers --

Top Ten Tips for Choosing Toys for Children with Disabilities

1. Multisensory Appeal -- Does the toy respond with lights, sounds, or movement to engage the child? Are there contrasting colors? Does it have a scent? Is there texture?
2. Method of Activation -- Will the toy provide a challenge without frustration? What is the force required to activate? What are the number and complexity of steps required to activate?
Where Toy Will Be Used -- Will the toy be easy to store? Is there space in the home? Can the toy be used in a variety of positions such as side-lying or on wheelchair tray?

4. Opportunities for Success -- Can play be open-ended with no definite right or wrong way? Is it adaptable to the child's individual style, ability and pace?
5. Current Popularity -- Is it a toy that will help the child with disabilities feel like "any other kid?" Does it tie in with other activities like books and art sets that promote other forms of play?
6. Self-Expression -- Does the toy allow for creativity, uniqueness, and choice-making? Will it give the child experience with a variety of media?
7. Adjustability -- Does it have adjustable height, sound volume, speed, level of difficulty?
8. Child's Individual Characteristics -- Does the toy provide activities that reflect both developmental and chronological ages? Does it reflect the child's interests and age?
9. Safety and Durability -- Consider the child's size and strength. Does the toy have moisture resistance? Is the toy and its parts sized appropriately? Can it be washed and cleaned?
10. Potential for Interaction -- Will the child be an active participant during use? Will the toy encourage social engagement with others?

This was brought to my attention by Chris Coleman who told me about a new, free website, AblePlay, designed to help parents make the best match between the toys and their children. Check my post on Vicki's Blog about that message. Good luck shopping for the kids!

Technorati technorati tags: , , , , , ,

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Paresthesia or Pins and Needles?

Today is Pins and Needles Day. In 1937 it was created to commemorate the opening of a play named Pins and Needles by Harold Rome. It was a pro-labor play with the cast and crew from the International Ladies Garment Workers Union. It played on weekends only so the women could keep their day jobs, and it ran for more than 1000 performances.

Time passed and the play closed, but November 27 is still Pins and Needles Day. The meaning of the day changed with the passing of the play. Now it is a day of anticipation, maybe because children are on "pins and needles" waiting for Christmas. It made me think of something else.

One MS symptom is paresthesia, a skin sensation, such as burning or prickling. Most of the time it is called tingling, because it is awkward to say "I am experiencing paresthesia today" and that requires an explanation anyway. It is easier to skip the medical term and just say "tingling."

"Tingling" sounds rather pleasant, almost fun, but this feeling isn't pleasant, nor is it much fun. It would be more descriptive to say "I have a prickly feeling in my arm," or even "My leg feels like pins and needles."

I choose to think Pins and Needles Day recognizes MSers who have that feeling every once in awhile. Maybe, if the feeling has its own day, it will not feel so bad. We can feel a little special instead of a little bothered.

Technorati technorati tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Saturday, November 24, 2007

This One Is Fun

Postcards of my Life is described as "Life with MS thru the eyes of a postcard" and the description fits.

Each post is a picture, photo, drawing, background, an image. The text sometimes states a fact, projects a feeling, conveys a day in the MS life.

This blog is nicely done and worth a visit. Enjoy.

Technorati technorati tags: , , ,

Saturday, November 17, 2007

ADA on Alert

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law July 26, 1990, after years of lobbying, refining, and tweaking.

The law was written very broadly and does not provide enough protection for individuals with disabilities. Congress is again working on the bill, attempting to restore the original intentions of protecting people with disabilities from discrimination. Some people are not able enough to do a job but still not disabled enough to qualify for ADA protection. Read this article on that Catch 22 that is eroding the heart of the ADA.

Then call your elected officials and ask that they support HR3195/S1881, the ADA Restoration Act. This is urgently important.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Last Lap for Funds

We are on the last lap for NIH funding as signed legislation.

A conference committee of both House and Senate members worked on the Senate bill passed Oct. 23. In a compromise move, stem cell research funding was removed to be addressed another day. This bill is a substantial increase over the 2007 level.

The House passed the conference committee bill today, and the Senate is considering the committee agreement, possibly today.

Why do we care? The bill provides $30 billion in funding for the National Institute of Health (NIH) for research and $2 million in funding the 2006 Lifespan Respite Care Act.

Why should we act? When the bill passes the Senate, it will face a likely presidential veto. The funding is important to many disabled and chronically ill people. If it is vetoed, we need our Senators and Representatives to support it.

If your elected officials voted for it, thank them. If not, tell them how important it is that they reconsider. To see how they voted, check HR 3040 on this vote monitor site or call their office. I found some conflicting information, so calling the office might be the best option.

Good luck, and thanks for your help and support.

Technorati technorati tags: , , , , ,

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Health U

Health U offers a course of four lectures telling about MS and its course, treatments and coping, presented by experts and MSers themselves.

Health U is supported by Healthology, an online medical content producer. They have produced more video programs than any other online medical site. Besides MS, Health U has courses on many other conditions, including hair loss, breast cancer, AIDS, and sleep disorders.

The courses are free. All it takes is registration.

Technorati technorati tags: , , , , ,

Friday, November 02, 2007

Mission Accomplished

In January I wrote about a man with a mission. Sean Spence was planning a trip by bike from Missouri to Manhattan to raise funds for MS.

He did it! His bike ride is over. MSer Sean biked 1100 miles, and remember the

temperatures were unusually high this year. What an accomplishment. His accomplishment is that he did more than he thought he could.

To read about the adventures, read Sean's blog chronicling
the trip Missouri To Manhattan. He includes stories and pictures from places he visited along the way. Thousands of dollars have been raised so far, and contributions are still being accepted. 100% is forwarded to the National MS Society, a receipt is provided for taxes.

Congratulations, Sean. Thank you for inspiring us to try to take that extra step. You made a difference.

Technorati technorati tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,