Wednesday, August 27, 2014

WrightsLaw From Emotions To Advocacy

Lending Library Item
How the Book is Organized

Section One: Getting Started 

In "Getting Started," you will learn:
• Basic advocacy skills
• Supplies you need to get started
• How to develop a master plan for your child’s education
Section Two: Advocacy 101

In "Advocacy 101," you will learn about:
• Schools as bureaucracies and the rules of the game
• Obstacles to success – school culture, myths, gatekeepers, and emotions
• Common causes of conflict
• Steps you can take to prevent or resolve problems
• Events that trigger parent-school crises

Section Three: The Parent as Expert

In "The Parent as Expert," you will learn:
• Why you must become an expert about your child’s disability and educational needs
• How to organize your child’s file, step by step
• How to use information from evaluations to understand your child’s disability
• How to use test scores to monitor and measure your child’s progress
• How to write SMART IEP goals and objectives
Section Four: Special Education Law
In "Special Education Law," you will learn about:
• The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA 2004)
• Findings and purposes of the IDEA
• Definitions in the IDEA
• Extended school year (ESY), child find, least restrictive environment (LRE), private placements, statewide assessments
• Requirements for identifying children with specific learning disabilities - Discrepancy Formulas and Response to Intervention (RTI)
Evaluations, eligibility, IEPs, and placement
• Prior written notice, procedural safeguards, mediation, due process hearings, appeals, discipline, and age of majority
• Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act
• The No Child Left Behind Act and implications for children with disabilities
Section Five: Tactics and Strategies
In "Tactics and Strategies," you will learn about:
• “The Rules of Adverse Assumptions;” first impressions; image and presentation
• How to use logs, calendars, and journals to create paper trails
• How to write effective letters (includes sample letters)
• How to write a persuasive “Letter to the Stranger” (includes sample letters)
• How to use IEP worksheets, parent agendas, visual aids & graphs of progress or lack of progress (includes sample worksheets and agendas)
• Roles of experts; how to use an expert to help develop an appropriate educational program
• Pros and cons of recording meetings; strategies
Current Status

WrightsLaw Special Education Law Second Edition

Lending Library Item
Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition, Print Book includes:
  • Full text of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004) and IDEA 2004 Regulations
  • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act
  • No Child Left Behind
  • Family Educational Privacy Act (FERPA)
  • McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act
  • Decisions in special education cases from the U. S. Supreme Court
  • Analysis and Commentary
  • Resources and References
Wrightslaw Special Education Law is an invaluable resource that provides a clear roadmap to the laws. You will refer to this book again and again. Learn what the law says about:
  • Childs Right to a Free, Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)
  • Individualized Education Programs, IEP Teams, Transition & Progress
  • Evaluations, Reevaluations, Consent & Independent Educational Evaluations
  • Eligibility & Placement Decisions
  • Least Restrictive Environment, Mainstreaming & Inclusion
  • Research Based Instruction, Discrepancy Formulas & Response to Intervention
  • Discipline, Suspensions & Expulsions
  • Safeguards, Mediation, Confidentiality, New Procedures & Timelines for Due Process Hearings

Current Status

Your Loved One Is Having a Baby with Down Syndrome

Lending Library
When you learn that someone you love is expecting a baby with Down syndrome, you naturally have concerns, and wonder what to say and do. This book will help you through your initial, normal reactions of sadness, shock, and worry, and give you the information and perspective you need to welcome a baby with Down syndrome. It covers:
  • Down syndrome biology, physical characteristics, medical condition, development
  • what the diagnosis means to the family
  • what the future holds (information & inspiration)
  • resources for relatives who speak Spanish
  • helping expectant parents and yourself
  • sample letter to a friend who’s expecting
  • estate planning & monetary gifts
  • a grandparent’s story
Current Status

Diagnosis to Delivery: A Pregnant Mother's Guide to Down Syndrome

Lending Library Item
If you're awaiting the birth of your baby with Down syndrome, then this book is expressly for you. Keep it close at hand to help you understand what to expect between now and the birth of your child, and beyond.
Including intimate and joyful photos of moms-to-be, babies, and families, Diagnosis to Delivery will answer your pregnancy and birth questions, validate your emotions, provide coping advice, and give you hope for your baby’s and family’s future. It covers:
  • medical providers including specialists
  • coping with the diagnosis 
  • pregnancy concerns
  • sharing the news with family and friends
  • dealing with comments 
  • preparing your other children 
  • creating and evaluating your birth plan
  • preparing for breastfeeding
  • first year medical issues
  • finding services
  • understanding cognition
  • getting support
  • finding resources
Current Status

Wrights Law All About IEP's

 Lending Library Item
Whether you are the parent of a child with special education needs, a seasoned educator, or a professor advocate, you have questions about Individualized Educational Programs (IEP's).
In this comprehensive, easy-to-read book, you will find clear, concise answers to frequently asked questions about IEPs. Learn what the law says about:
  • IEP Teams and IEP Meetings
  • Parental Rights & Consent
  • Steps in Developing the IEP
  • Placement, Transition, Assistive Technology
  • Strategies to Resolve Disagreements

About the authors:

Peter Wright, Esq. and Pamela Wright, MA, MSW are the authors of several best selling books, including Wrightslaw:  Special Education Law and Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy.  The Wrights are also adjunct law professors at the William and Mary School of Law.

Sandra Webb O'Connor, M.Ed., provides wise advice and reliable information as the editor of The Special Ed Advocate from, the #1 ranked special education web site.

Current Status

Monday, August 25, 2014

Possibility Place

Possibility Place
The Mission
To provide a comprehensive work, academic, social and community-based learning program for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, thereby expanding their possibilities and helping them to grow mentally, physically, socially, emotionally, and spiritually.
The Purpose
Possibility Place will strive to provide:
  • job training and volunteer skills where the participant can contribute to society and find personal fulfillment
  • training for independent living skills
  • opportunities for further learning of basic reading, math, and computer skills
  • training for a lifetime of healthy lifestyle habits including recreation, exercise, and healthy choices.
  • opportunities to build friendships and learn strong social skills
  • opportunities for the participants to grow mentally, emotionally, socially, and spiritually
The Philosophy
Possibility Place is a private pay, non-profit organization created to serve adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities who are unable to live independently and work successfully in society on their own.  Possibility Plus will provide a unique environment that will focus on the participant's strengths and needs and create an  individualized program for each participant based on that focus.
For more information please contact Possibility Plus at:
Possibility Place
PO Box 332482
Murfreesboro, TN 37133
By email:
Sonya Craig, Site Director:
Tel: 615.653.3840
Fax: 615.896.3896
Two ways to donate:

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Theme Parks With Special Needs Access Passes


An increasing number of theme parks, including Disney World and Disney Land, have changed their policies for guests with disabilities, cancelling the access passes that allow guests with disabilities to bypass queues for amusement park rides. Additionally, several large theme parks, such as Legoland California, Universal Studios and Dollywood do not publicly post their policies on access passes.
The reason for these changes is that the policies were being abused by tour guides with disabilities who charged a large fee to wealthy families to skip those long lines. [It was reported that] some individuals also attempted to fake having a disability to acquire a coveted access pass.
Quite understandably, this news is very upsetting to individuals with disabilities and their families, who - like my own family - often plan their vacations around theme parks. The good news is that there are many theme parks that welcome guests with disabilities and make special accommodations for them. Some of these are big-name parks with multiple locations, others are small, family-owned parks highly rated by theme park aficionados. A big bonus is that the whole family can have a great time at a fraction of the cost of [some of the biggest theme parks]. Here’s a list of 39 theme parks:
1. Morgan’s Wonderland
Morgan's Wonderland Theme Park
Morgan’s Wonderland in San Antonio, Texas, is still the first and only theme park in the world where all of the rides are fully accessible and sensory-friendly. The park was designed and constructed for the purpose of full inclusion. Morgan’s Wonderland is a non-profit organization, and admission is free to guests with special needs ($15 per day for adults, $10 per day for children).

2. Holiday World
Holiday World Theme Park
Holiday World is located in the middle of a corn field in Santa Claus, Indiana, 3 hours south of Indianapolis and 90 minutes west of Louisville.
Don’t let the location discourage you—this park repeatedly wins awards for being the cleanest and friendliest park in the world. It also earns rave reviews from serious roller coaster enthusiasts and families with young children.
In addition, Holiday World welcomes 2,500 children with special needs and their families for a reduced admission fee once a year, and for the rest of the season offers a boarding pass to individuals with disabilities. The boarding pass allows an individual with up to 3 companions to pre-schedule a boarding time for a specific ride without waiting in line. Matt Eckert, president of Holiday World, has said, “At Holiday World, we strive to be a park where children and adults with physical and mental disabilities can feel comfortable and safe, and have a really fun time.”
3. MarineLand
Marine Land Canada
MarineLand Canada in Niagara Falls, Ontario, offers a discounted admission fee to individuals with disabilities. Guests with disabilities can check in at the Guest Services office to receive a ride wristband that allows the wearer and one caregiver to bypass lines. In addition to roller coasters and family-friendly rides, MarineLand features shows with dolphins, orcas and beluga whales, and it’s less than one mile from downtown Niagara Falls.

4. Knoebels
Knoebels Amusement Ride
Knoebels Amusement Resort is a family owned and operated theme park in the beautiful forested hills of Elysburg, Pennsylvania, just off Interstate 80 about 2.5 hours northwest of Philadelphia.
There is no admission fee—guests buy tickets for the rides. Guests with disabilities can receive a Courtesy Pass at the first-aid station, which will allow the individual and up to 3 companions to bypass all lines and enter the rides through the exit gate.
Picnic pavilions are available to all guests on the grounds, and there is a campground adjacent to the park. When my family visited Knoebels, we were surprised at the ample shade in the park, as well as its relatively peaceful environment—not too loud and busy like other theme parks. We enjoyed a very happy day at Knoebels!
5. Sesame Place
Sesame Place
Sesame Place in Langhorne, Pennsylvania, (about 30 minutes northeast of Philadelphia) offers a Ride Accessibility Program that allows guests with disabilities to wait for a ride in a "virtual queue" with a pre-scheduled boarding time. Guests may enroll in the Ride Accessibility Program at the Welcome Center when entering the park. Sesame Place features low-thrill family rides and non-scary Halloween attractions, so it’s perfect for a family with very young children.

6. Legoland Windsor
Lego Land in Windsor
Legoland Windsor, located in the United Kingdom about 50 minutes west of downtown London, offer a Ride Access Pass to guests with disabilities. The Ride Access Pass allows the guest with up to 3 companions to bypass the queues on 10 rides in a single day.
The Legoland website also has detailed information about food allergens at all of the restaurants inside the park. Legoland California and Legoland Florida do not post information about a ride access pass on their websites, instead encouraging guests with disabilities to contact Guest Services two weeks before their arrival to plan for their visit.

7. Sea World San Diego
SeaWorld in San Diego
Sea World San Diego provides a Special Access Pass to guests with disabilities, which places the guest in a "virtual queue" with a prescheduled boarding time for each ride. Sea World also provides sign language interpreters for shows and tours, as long as the guest contacts Guest Services two weeks before the visit.

8. Darien Lake
Darien Lake Theme Park
Darien Lake Theme Park Resort in Darien Center, New York, (about halfway between Buffalo and Rochester) has priority access entrances for its most popular rides.
Guests with disabilities may bring up to 5 family members to the priority access entrance, where the ride attendant will assign a boarding time. The guest then returns at the assigned time for immediate boarding. Darien Lake also has allergen-free menus at its on-site restaurants, as well as an accessible hotel and accessible RV campground at the park.

9. Six Flags
Six Flags Ride
There are 18 Six Flags theme parks and water parks in North America, and all of them offer Rider Access Passes or Equal Access Passes for guests with disabilities. These passes allow a guest with up to 3 companions to schedule a reservation time for a ride without waiting in line. 

10. Cedar Fair
Cedar FairCedar Fair is the parent company of 11 amusement parks, three separately gated outdoor water parks, one indoor water park and five hotels across North America. The largest and most famous of their properties is Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, which has been named the “Best Amusement Park in the World” for 15 consecutive years by Amusement Today’s international survey.
In 2013, Cedar Fair uniformly modified its policies for guests with disabilities across all of its properties. Guests with mobility impairments or Autism Spectrum Disorder may enroll in the Ride Boarding Pass Program, which provides pre-scheduled boarding times via the exit ramp for the most popular rides.
Assisted listening devices and sign language interpreters are available at all theaters and shows, but sign language interpreters must be requested a few weeks before the visit. Additionally, the parks offer quiet, air-conditioned spaces - usually the first aid station or family assistance building—for rest and re-grouping. 
By Karen Wang, a blogger and mom

Monday, August 18, 2014

CranioSacral Therapy


What is CranioSacral Therapy?

 CranioSacral Therapy (CST) is a gentle, hands-on approach that releases tensions deep in the body to relieve pain and dysfunction and improve whole-body health and performance. It was pioneered and developed by Osteopathic Physician John E. Upledger after years of clinical testing and research at Michigan State University where he served as professor of biomechanics.

Using a soft touch which is generally no greater than 5 grams – about the weight of a nickel – practitioners release restrictions in the soft tissues that surround the central nervous system. CST is increasingly used as a preventive health measure for its ability to bolster resistance to disease, and it''s effective for a wide range of medical problems associated with pain and dysfunction.

How does CranioSacral Therapy Work?

Few structures have as much influence over the body’s ability to function properly as the brain and spinal cord that make up the central nervous system. And, the central nervous system is heavily influenced by the craniosacral system – the membranes and fluid that surround, protect and nourish the brain and spinal cord.

Every day your body endures stresses and strains that it must work to compensate for. Unfortunately, these changes often cause body tissues to tighten and distort the craniosacral system. These distortions can then cause tension to form around the brain and spinal cord resulting in restrictions. This can create a barrier to the healthy performance of the central nervous system, and potentially every other system it interacts with.

Fortunately, such restrictions can be detected and corrected using simple methods of touch. With a light touch, the CST practitioner uses his or her hands to evaluate the craniosacral system by gently feeling various locations of the body to test for the ease of motion and rhythm of the cerebrospinal fluid pulsing around the brain and spinal cord. Soft-touch techniques are then used to release restrictions in any tissues influencing the craniosacral system.

By normalizing the environment around the brain and spinal cord and enhancing the body’s ability to self-correct, CranioSacral Therapy is able to alleviate a wide variety of dysfunctions, from chronic pain and sports injuries to stroke and neurological impairment.

CranioSacral  and Down syndrome

Nicholas Handoll, D.O. wrote a paper, The Osteopathic Management of Children with Down's Syndrome which raises the hypothesis that postnatal hypoxia causes much of the handicap of Down’s syndrome and that osteopathic treatment may be used effectively to reduce it.

It was 93 years after Landon Down in 1866 first described the syndrome which now bears his name, when Lejune in 1959 showed that this commonest form of mental handicap affecting 800 - 1,000 live births p.a. in the U.K. is due to extra genetic material carried on the long arm of chromosome 21. Down’s syndrome is a congenital foetal growth disorder which affects all metabolic processes but fundamentally involves the nervous system. There are a wide range of characteristics, a small number of cases exhibit them all, some cases only a few. Some 80% of the manifestations of Down’s syndrome are only minor anomalies which are commonly seen in isolation in the overall population. The effect of the extra genetic material of chromosome 21 appears to decrease the buffering to disordered development as the foetus grows, which results in a greater incidence of minor anomalies.

Please follow the above link to read the paper in it entirety.

Emmalin has been seeing a CST's for close to a year now.  Chad and I both had the pleasure of having a CST session and we firmly believe that it is very beneficial to Emmalin based on our personal experience. 

Who we use and why:

From the beginning we have used Rose Alisandre, LMT, MTI.  She holds a Massage Therapy Instructor's License in Arkansas and has maintained a private practice in Arkansas for 25 years.  She is a member of IAHP (International Alliance of Health Care Practitioners) and her primary focus has been the study of Cranio Sacral Therapy with the Upledger Institute over the last 17 years.  Among her many other areas of study are: Polarity Therapy, Jin Sinn Acupressure, Voice Dialogue and Body Energetics; Movement Awareness; Active Isolated Stretching; Reiki; Essence Recovery, and Core Shamanism.

I usually schedule Emma's appointments late in the afternoon to insure a sleepy child.  She falls asleep on the way to Little Rock and I carry her in, lay her down and she sleeps through the entire session.  Rose is able to release restrictions, restore fluid transfer, enhance cell metabolism, support immune function and flexibility and list goes on.

For more information please contact Rose at Restoration Therapeutics.  She works out of Arkansas Yoga Collective at 7801 Cantrell Rd. Little Rock and The Xocai Wellness Center at 740 S Salem, Ste 114 Conway.  You can call her at 501-772-1551 or email

Also please note that Rose is trained in Raindrop technique.  I have had the pleasure of having Rose perform one on me and I could not be more please.  I have officially found me a new and very beneficial treat for myself.  Below is great video to tell you more about Raindrop and its benefits.