Virginia Rep has added dates for sensory friendly performances for the rest of the current season and they are taking reservations! How exciting is this!
Missing Piece Awareness Inc.
As of today, January 3, 2016, Missing Piece Awareness has educated over 1200 employees, managers, and owners of “mainstream” businesses in Autism Awareness and Acceptance!!!
We are continually expanding and enhancing our training and promotional programs to bring attention to not only the challenges that many families with autism face, but more importantly, the brilliance and often masked giftedness of individuals with autism and the wonderful contributions made to the broader “mainstream” community.
Editor’s Note- I am lucky enough to say I know Shannon, we use to work together on one of her other projects when she lived in Richmond. I am so excited for her and touched by the message in this book.
The Story of Conch by Shannon McAfee is a heartwarming story about self-acceptance. Conch experiences a series of adventures (and mishaps) as he travels across the world, landing on different beach-lined shores. With each adventure, his shell is damaged in some minor or major way, and these imperfections embarrass him and make him feel unwanted. He is eventually found by a girl who feels that his imperfections are the most interesting parts about him and she helps him see his life in a new, and positive way.
Why is regular vision screening so important, especially for children?Good vision is key to a child’s physical development, success in school and overall well-being. The vision system is not fully formed in babies and young children, and equal input from both eyes is necessary for the brain’s vision centers to develop normally. If a young child’s eyes cannot send clear images to the brain, his or her vision may become limited in ways that cannot be corrected later in life. But if problems are detected early, it is usually possible to treat them effectively.
When and how should screening be done?
It is essential to check children’s vision when they are first born and again during infancy, preschool and school years. The American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus recommend the following exams:
An ophthalmologist, pediatrician, family doctor or other trained health professional should examine a newborn baby’s eyes and perform a red reflex test (a basic indicator that the eyes are normal). An ophthalmologist should perform a comprehensive exam if the baby is premature or at high risk for medical problems for other reasons, has signs of abnormalities, or has a family history of serious vision disorders in childhood.
A second screening for eye health should be done by an ophthalmologist, pediatrician, family doctor or other trained health professional at a well-child exam between six months and the first birthday.
Between the ages of 3 and 3½, a child’s vision and eye alignment should be assessed by a pediatrician, family doctor, optometrist, orthoptist or person trained in vision assessment of preschool children.
Visual acuity should be tested as soon as the child is old enough to cooperate with an eye exam using an eye chart. Photoscreening is another way to check visual acuity that does not require a young child to cooperate with the test. Either approach to testing will determine whether the child can focus normally at far, middle and near distances. Many children are somewhat farsighted (hyperopic) but can also see clearly at other distances. Most children will not require glasses or other vision correction.
If misaligned eyes (strabismus), “lazy eye” (amblyopia), refractive errors (myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism) or another focusing problem is suspected in the initial screening, the child should have a comprehensive exam by an ophthalmologist or pediatric ophthalmologist. It’s important to begin treatment as soon as possible to ensure successful vision correction and life-long benefits.
Upon entering school, or whenever a problem is suspected, children’s eyes should be screened for visual acuity and alignment by a pediatrician, family doctor, optometrist, orthoptist, or person trained in vision assessment of school-aged children, such as a school nurse. Nearsightedness (myopia) is the most common refractive error in this age group and can be corrected with eyeglasses. If an alignment problem or other eye health issues is suspected, the child should have a comprehensive exam by an ophthalmologist.
Learning Disabilities and Children’s Vision
Learning disabilities include disorders in understanding or using spoken or written language or symbols. These disorders result from the brain’s misinterpretation of images received and relayed by the eyes, rather than from structural or functional problem in the eyes. That’s why learning disabilities are not treatable by eye exercises or vision therapy. Children with learning disabilities do not have more visual problems than those who do not have learning disabilities.
What to look for
The child may experience problems with reading (dyslexia), writing, listening, speaking, concentration, or mathematical calculations.
What to do
Public schools are required by law to evaluate any child who is thought to have a learning disability; the evaluation should include a complete eye examination by an ophthalmologist. Treatment for learning disabilities is best provided through an educational approach, using tutors and resource teachers. Whether or not learning disabilities are suspected, all students need vision screening to check for visual acuity and general eye health.
Editor’s Note- Meet Elsie, her mom Melanie shares this with us and how HOPE THERAPY has helped so much.
Elsie is 5 years old and loves to laugh and play with musical instruments. She has a great disposition and rolls with whatever comes her way. Elsie has a 10 year old brother who enjoys sports and video games. Both mom and dad work with mom as a social worker and a dad as a librarian. The family enjoys spending time at the beach and in the winter going skiing.
Every January, many of us hit the gyms, dust off our juicers, and swear off sugar. “This is the year I’ll get healthy,” we declare. When we say “healthy,” though, we don’t necessarily mean we’re committing to work toward becoming stronger, more balanced, or connected people. Truth be told, we’re just trying to get skinny.
If your child is not making any effort to talk or communicate with you, it’s normal to be worried. Here’s what all parents should know about kids and speech delay.
Are you an educator, parent or administrator seeking successful ideas about how to better include children with all type of disabilities in the classroom, school activities and the community? Do you need proven behavior strategies to help students with disabilities be more successful in the classroom and school environment? Do you want to ensure that all students with disabilities have the best transition experience possible? If so,then join over 300 fellow general and special educators, parents and other professionals form throughout Virginia and beyond to discover how to better educate students with disabilities. This full day conference, hosted by the Down Syndrome Association of Greater Richmond (DSAGR), will kick off with breakfast during keynote speaker Dr. Cheryl Jorgesen, inclusion education consultant.
RSV bronchiolitis — ‘Tis the Season for Wheezin’
Bronchiolitis is an infection of the lower respiratory tract, most commonly caused by RSV (respiratory syncytial virus). Seasonal outbreaks of the infection typically occur from November through April in the northern hemisphere and from May through September in the southern hemisphere. By 2 years of age, almost all children have been infected by RSV; unfortunately, long-lasting immunity doesn’t occur after infection, and reinfection is common, but less severe.
Initially, RSV will present with typical cold symptoms – fever, runny nose, watery eyes, and cough, usually for 1-2 days. The infection then presents with lower airway involvement, characterized by wheezing and rapid breathing (tachypnea). A child with more severe breathing problems may present with flaring of nostrils, rib pulling (retractions), ‘crackles’, (rales), prolonged exhaling, and even breathing cessation (apnea). Many children who have RSV bronchiolitis will continue to have recurrent wheezing for years to come.
Care is usually supportive, as it has been shown that medications typically used to treat wheezing such as albuterol and steroids are ineffective at treating bronchiolitis. Parents can help the baby to breathe easier by keeping the baby’s nasal passage as clear as possible with saline drops and a nasal aspirator. A humidifier at the side of the crib can also help thin airway secretions. Feeding is another area of concern for babies with bronchiolitis, as airway congestion and narrowing can make it even more difficult for the baby to feed properly.
December 2015: The Experience of Being at FTC Without Actually Helping
Hello, Internet! Cole here. As many of you will know from my December 2005 article that does not exist, I am a member of Deep Run High School’s robotics team, 1093 Blue Cheese Jr. (Side note: Yes, that is our team’s actual name. It’s based on our school colors and a technique related to robotics, or something along those lines. Of course, this means we essentially have a monopoly on cheese puns.) I can’t do much since I know very little about robotics, but I regularly attend team meetings and extracurricular activities, such as this year’s Makerfest and a Lego League meeting (hosting, not participating). This month, I attended a very important extracurricular event: the 2015-2016 FIRST Tech Challenge, or FTC for short. For those unfamiliar with robotics, the objective of FTC is to build a robot based on the year’s game and then compete with other robots for the most “points”. Eventually, though, the semifinalist teams can form alliances with losing teams, effectively giving those teams another chance. I’m too lazy to explain what FIRST stands for or anything else about its structure, though, so if anyone out in Internet land wants to find out more about it, they can go to firstinspires.org. (Yes, I am advertising my robotics program, kind of. Is that alright?)
I woke up at 6:00 the morning of the competition and got dressed. Since I’m a member of Team Blue Cheese, I had to wear a special uniform to distinguish myself – specifically, a blue shirt with my team number on it; semi-formal pants; and an oversized orange chef’s hat with a cheese motif that was surprisingly non-ridiculous. (That said, I might just have a skewed perspective, especially since our senior members wear giant foam hats shaped like blocks of Swiss.) After I helped myself to something I shouldn’t have eaten for breakfast, my Dad drove me to the parking lot of Deep Run High School, where members of the team were meeting up; at 6:45, I carpooled with a friend’s mom, and we all traveled toward Arthur Ashe Jr. Athletic Center, where the competition was being held.
The competition itself was quite eventful for our team. Our robot actually performed terribly; the two phones that we used to establish a wireless connection with the robot ran low on battery, and the robot failed to do anything for most of the rounds until the situation was remedied. We eventually “won”, but only because we managed to form a proper alliance with a team whose robot actually worked as intended – namely, the Tuxedo Pandas. (Unconventional team names are, in my experience, about as common in FTC as team names that actually relate to robotics.)
My experiences at the event were mixed. I was more interested in our overall performance than in the individual matches. I tried to participate directly in the robot’s upkeep several times but was turned down because I am only a rookie and don’t know enough… yet. I can see their point of view, but I really want to help! As such, I had to settle for watching the event. At 12:30, I got lunch from a concession stand. I bought a hotdog and fries, as well as an apple so I wouldn’t feel like garbage after eating the hotdog and fries. I also tried scouting to help the team, but when I couldn’t find one of the robots whose data I was supposed to be recording, the scouting leader gave up on me and told me that he should scout instead. After the competition ended, there was an award ceremony for the winning teams, as well as for teams that were outstanding in other regards (enthusiasm, inventiveness, etc.). Once that was over, the teams left, ending the competition. I was sad that the event was over, but after about 11 hours at the school, I wanted to move on to other things. All in all, though, it was an interesting experience.
This season of robotics is hardly over. Our team was elected to the State level of the FTC competition, which will begin in a couple of months. Additionally, another competition – the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) – is going to be revealed in January, and our team is going to participate. (If you don’t know what FRC entails, please see the first paragraph.) I plan on attending those events as well, so I may write more about my robotics career in the future. Thanks for reading, and I’ll be seeing you!