Thursday, December 31, 2009

Christmas Posts

I wanted to bring over some posts from my blog to Allie's blog. These were from a Christmas event at Allie's School.

Look who finally made it in from the North Pole...

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Each child used a push button operated speaker box to say their lines. The kids are having a blast.

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The Grinch fakes St. Nick.

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The school principal is here now introducing the next set: The Grinch That Stole Chrismas.

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Under the bridge

This is Allie and I liveblogging (me) and swinging (her). A rain shower is passing over head so we've ducked under the Blue Heron bridge at Phil Foster park to wait it out. That's where this playground is.

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Holiday shopping for special needs children

Here's a helpful list culled from an article I wrote online.

Lekotec Resources provides these helpful tips for making your shopping a win.

1. Multi-sensory 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?

3. Places the 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 a 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 making choices? Will it give the child experience with a variety of media?

7. Adjustability

Does it have adjustable height, sound volume, speed, and level of difficulty?

8. Child's individual abilities

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

Does the toy fit with the child's size and strength? Does it 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?

Holiday shopping for special needs children

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Rolling with Vets

IMG_1557 Today Allie ran with vets from the Achilles Freedom Team at the Palm Beaches Marathon Festival. Downtown West Palm Beach was crazy with activity as wave after wave of kids grouped by ages ran a race. Ronald McDonald co-officiated the start of the race.

IMG_1553The last wave of kids to line up was Allie's group in their wheel chairs. They ran the race shoulder-to-shoulder with wounded war vets from the Afghanistan, Iraq and Viet Nam wars.

IMG_1559Allie's escort was a salty Viet Nam era Marine with over 26 marathons under his belt. This guy, a war-time amputee, continues to live a heroic life of service. It was our honor to have our little crew escorted by this team of vets.

Below is video of the finish.