Friday, April 26, 2013

“Soft and in my heart”

Today is Feeling Fabulous Friday and we want to share a first-hand testament to the benefits of having a pet for special needs individuals!

Recently there have been news reports about Twinkie the pig and her pal Kason. Kason, a young boy with special needs, and Twinkie are true friends. The family almost lost Twinkie due to city threats that the family couldn’t keep Twinkie because a pig is considered livestock. They explained why they fought hard to keep Twinkie; why Twinkie is such an important member of the family.

Kason even expressed his feelings about Twinkie:
Kason’s Mother: What do you like about Twinkie?"
Kason: "To pet her."
Kason’s Mother: "You like to pet her. Is she soft?"
Kason: "Soft and in my heart."
Reporter: "She's in your heart?"
Kason: "Yup!"

Photo Credit:

This report is so touching. It is a testament to recent research about the impact of animal exposure on children with special needs. We've gathered some lists of potential benefits for special needs children for families to consider.

Benefits of Pet Interaction for Special Needs Individuals:
·         Pets provide love and unconditional acceptance
·         They create calm rather than create stress
·         Pets provide an opportunity for children to develop social skills
·         When allowed to be involved in animal care, kids develop responsibility
·         Caring for their pet boosts confidence because they are relied on
·         Animals have been known to improve the results of physical therapy

Of course, it is always important to be mindful about the safety of both children and pets. We recommend parents always monitor children playing with pets.

Kason and Twinkie’s heartwarming story has left us feeling fabulous today. Easter Seals Florida is so encouraged by stories like this and hope the information above is helpful.

Friday, April 19, 2013

NAO Robots for schools with special needs

It is Feeling Fabulous Friday here at Easter Seals Florida and we've got robots on our radar.

Technology advancements are infiltrating society by the second. From smart phones to evolving computer capabilities, so many innovations on are on the rise. Perhaps the most exciting technological advancements though, are assistive technologies that are helping with everything from cognitive to physical impairment.

Most recently, NAO Robots are a break through worth noting. These robots appeal to the masses as the next step in computer technology. Though acting as an improved and sociable computer catches general consumer attention, their potential impact for special needs could be groundbreaking.  

Photo Credit Aldebaran Robotics

Researchers are expecting that NAO robots will become extremely useful in special needs schools. A common difficulty for individuals with autism is that they become overwhelmed by social interaction due to interpreting body language, voice tone, words and many more human traits. That is where the NAO Robots bridges a gap. These robots are programmed to perform the same actions as humans, but not nearly as many actions. They are also programmed to speak softer and in a slower, more concise way than people. Not only are the robots expected to be able to connect with and therefore teach children with disabilities, but they are expected to also improve their social abilities.

The NAO Robots are bringing joy to Easter Seals Florida this fabulous Friday and hopefully to you as well!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Dreams and Dementia

We've all known people that walk and talk in their sleep. It is a fascinating occurrence that is difficult to explain. Recently though, the Mayo clinic found that men who act out in their sleep are more likely to develop dementia. By no means is acting out in ones sleep a direct sign of dementia, but there has been a strong correlation. Seventy-five to eighty percent of men with dementia with Lewy bodies (a specific type of dementia) at the Mayo Clinic experience acting out in their sleep.

(Photo Credit: Health Guidance)

"So it is a very powerful marker for the disease," says lead investigator Melissa Murray, Ph.D., a neuroscientist at Mayo Clinic in Florida. There will be future studies to determine more about this information. Below is a list of additional signs and symptoms that have been linked to dementia:

Dementia Symptoms:

1.      Frequently falling
2.      Mismanaging money
3.      Loss of humor
4.      Missing social queues
5.      Staring in space
6.      Eating strange objects
7.      Loss of memory
8.      Never embarrassed
9.      Lack of empathy
10. Hoarding
11. Difficulty speaking
12. Decrease in motor skills
13. Neglecting personal care
14. Hallucinations

If you suspect a loved one may be suffering from Dementia, it is recommended that you immediately contact your health care provider. There are many home preparations, medications, counseling and care options available for assisting individuals with dementia, including care at Easter Seals Day Break

(Easter Seals Day Break)

Friday, April 12, 2013

Where you find peace of mind

Feeling Fabulous Friday!

We want to share this story today because it makes us feel fabulous to see Tony and Ruth happy!  They have shared their story with us and we want to pass it on to you. We hope this makes you feel fabulous too.

My name is Ruth and I am 83 years old.  I live with my husband, daughter and grandson.  I am the caregiver for all.  My husband Tony suffers from a variety of health issues, my daughter has diabetes and has had it since birth and my grandson is delayed from a premature birth.  Seems I am the only one that is healthy.  I was afraid to go out shopping or to socialize with friends and family because I didn’t want to leave my husband alone.  I didn’t even think about going out of town because of fear for my daughter.  I needed some help.  I had heard about the personal emergency response service through TV ads, newspaper ads and even in magazines.  It was time.  I called Easter Seals SafetyNet.  It was the best call I had ever made.  Their technician was out to install within one day.  He explained the service and how to use the equipment.  It was so easy and I didn’t feel intimidated to use it.  My husband wears it around his neck and my daughter (who has her own button) wears hers as a bracelet.  I now have the peace of mind in knowing I could leave and either one of them can reach someone at the touch of a button.  We have used this service on many occasions, it was quick and each time the paramedics were at the house within minutes, and I believe saved the lives of my family.  I am so grateful for the services Easter Seals provides and for their wonderful customer service.  We are here because of them.

Visit Easter Seals SafetyNet website or call 407-629-1757 in Central Florida, or toll free at 1-877-347-3257 for if you or someone you know needs this kind of service.

Have a Fabulous Friday everyone!

Friday, April 5, 2013

DenDanto’s journey

It’s Feeling Fabulous Friday!

Easter Seals Florida is extremely excited to share a story that truly hits home with our mission. It is an unfortunate truth that in the past and sometimes still today, there are stigmas associated with autism. People have questioned what they don’t understand. Fortunately though, autism awareness is on the rise. In fact, Tuesday was Autism Awareness Day and April is Autism Awareness Month. Society is slowly learning not to define individuals by their autism.

We are sending a shout out to Chad DenDanto on MTV’s “World of Jenks.” Chad is one of three individuals to be followed by Andrew Jenks in the second season of MTV’s “World of Jenks.” The show will follow Chad during his transition into adulthood. From dating to finding work after high school, Jenks will be living with Chad and witnessing his journey. And there is something else about Chad, he has autism.

Worldof Jenks
Mondays 11/10c

What is so great about this project is the show’s aim to bring autism in front of society and show people there is no need for social stigma. “One in 88 American children have autism now. It’s something prevalent that could use more mainstream media attention,” Jenks said “We realized (at MTV) that we had an opportunity to humanize and ‘destigmatize’ what it’s like to have autism.”

We’re truly excited for the show and support this message all the way! Have an awesome Friday everyone.

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