July 2018 Newsletter

Celebrate July 4 on the Quiet Side Fireworks – and the noise that goes with them – abound on Independence Day, but not all kids love the bright lights and the “boom.” Fortunately, we’ve found four fun family celebrations with all the patriotic spirit but much less noise. There will still be crowds and bright colors, but all four are fireworks-free, making them much more friendly for sensory-sensitive kids. There...

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June 2018 Newsletter

Don’t Miss Inclusive Day L.A. L.A. Parent is hosting a community celebration for families and children of all abilities from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. June 3 at the Pan Pacific Recreation Center in the mid-city area near The Grove. Festivities will include giveaways, an adaptive gymnastics program and an adaptive children’s yoga program. The gym is near an inclusive playground, and parking and event admission are free. Representatives from more than...

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May 2018 Newsletter

Find the Summer Camp that’s Right for Your Child Independence and a sense of belonging are among the deeper benefits of summer camps for special kids. Many also offer a chance to learn new skills while campers make friends and enjoy summer fun. Some incorporate social-skills training, others teach independent-living skills and many offer outdoor play, too. Giving a child a chance to join one of the many local programs...

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inclusive chess

April 2018 Newsletter

Our 2018 Inclusive L.A. Magazine is Here! Conquer your helicopter parenting instincts and learn about the power of optimism. Check out L.A.’s inclusive camps and swim programs. Find out about adaptive clothing options and try some new communication strategies. Our annual magazine for families with kids of all abilities will also connect you with some great community resources. Pick it up where you find L.A. Parent, or enjoy the digital...

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March 2018 Newsletter

7 Self-Care Strategies for Moms of Special Kids Taking care of yourself is the key to being able to provide the care your child needs, and this is especially true if your child has a disability. Yes, you have appointments, therapies and many extra things to do, and that is why you need to set aside moments to keep yourself strong. It might mean asking for help, but it’s well...

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February 2018 Newsletter

Vaulting Program Helps All Abilities Learn on Horseback At Valley View Vaulters, kids of all abilities come together to learn to perform gymnastic maneuvers atop moving horses. The sport builds strength and skills that translate into everyday life – and kids with and without disabilities learn from and support one another. We’ve got the details on this Lake View Terrace program run by a husband-and-wife team. It has operated for...

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January 2018 Newsletter

Short Film Portrays Challenges for Actors With Disabilities Actor Lauren Potter of “Glee” stars in the film, called “Headshot.” It was produced in partnership with local nonprofit AbilityFirst, and garnered an award in the recent Big Heart Small Film project in Pasadena. In the film, Potter plays an actor on a discouraging string of auditions. She finds hope at a local copy shop, thanks to an employee who is deaf....

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December 2017 Newsletter

Gifts, Gatherings and Family Travel The challenge of choosing – or helping family and friends choose – meaningful gifts for children with disabilities, making sure everyone is included in holiday celebrations and weathering travel to see distant relatives and friends can dampen holiday spirits. But keeping things simple, planning ahead and staying flexible can help make this time of year fun for all. We talked with experts and parents to...

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Down syndrome

November 2017 Newsletter

Kid Podcast Explores Down Syndrome How much do your kids – or their friends or classmates – know about Down syndrome? They can learn more in a fun, kid-friendly way via the “Brains On!” podcast, which devoted an episode to the issue. The episode, co-hosted by kids, includes an exploration of the science behind Down syndrome, plus tips for kids who want to get to know someone with Down syndrome....

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Inclusivity in Hollywood

October 2017 Newsletter

Bringing Inclusivity to Stage and Screen The reality television show “Born This Way” shines a spotlight on the ambitions and achievements of young people with Down syndrome, winning Emmy awards and nominations along the way. The acclaimed show is part of a trend toward inclusivity on television, in film and on stage. Young actors with disabilities and industry and nonprofit organizations are working hard to foster change. Even those that...

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September 2017 Newsletter

Join Us At Inclusive Day L.A.! L.A. Parent’s Inclusive Day is happening Sept. 16 at Van Nuys Sherman Oaks Recreation Center (14201 Huston St., Sherman Oaks) from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. At this celebration of children of all abilities and their families, kids can enjoy an adaptive playground, sensory-friendly arts and crafts, bubble fun, inclusive singing and prize giveaways while parents browse the resource fair. We’ll be looking for special kids...

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August 2017 Newsletter

Building Social Networks for Non-Sporty Kids Children with developmental disabilities often face social challenges as well. Team sports such as baseball, basketball and soccer are a great way to build friendships, but what if your child isn’t sporty? These four activities, recommended by local mom and behavior analyst Diana Cortese, are great for kids who don’t feel successful or comfortable playing traditional team sports, but want to connect with other...

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kids with disabilities

July 2017 Inclusive L.A. Newsletter

Arts, Abilities and Imagination For children with disabilities, the creative arts are an opportunity to express themselves. A host of L.A.-area programs let these children explore art, music, dance and even music-video making. From music videos that help children with autism share their feelings to dance programs that create community for kids with Down syndrome and bring kids in and out of wheelchairs together, take a look at the six...

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accessible los angeles

June 2017 Inclusive L.A. Newsletter

Getting Inclusive Around L.A. Museums, aquariums, gardens and historical spots are increasingly going way beyond adding wheelchair ramps and reaching out to welcome visitors of all abilities. We’ve rounded up some options that include special tours, ASL interpretation, tactile experiences for the blind and sensory packs for visitors with autism. Aquarium of the Pacific even hosts inclusive events. There’s so much for your family to explore this summer. Read on...

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special needs summer camp los angeles

May 2017 Inclusive L.A. Newsletter

Find Inclusive Summer Camps Some summer programs include kids of all abilities, while others cater specifically to kids with disabilities. Some even have paraprofessionals and typical campers to act as “buddies.” Whichever you choose, going to camp can help your child build independence and skills and make new friends. It can be a real treat for campers to be in an atmosphere of acceptance, and now is the time to...

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April 2017 Inclusive L.A. Newsletter

Here Comes ‘Inclusive L.A.’ Four years ago, we launched “Your Child With Special Needs” – and this newsletter – for families of children with disabilities. It has now evolved into “Inclusive L.A.,” a name that better reflects what we are working to create. The 2017 Inclusive L.A. magazine, in print and online, features inclusive attractions, preschools, camps, arts and cultural support groups. It explores dating challenges, family finances and inclusivity...

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March 2017 Special Needs Newsletter

Celebrate Some Amazing Young Women The California Miss Amazing pageant taking place this month in the Grand Ballroom at USC gives girls and women ages 5 and up of all abilities a chance to be fitted for the gown of their dreams, show off their talents, share their ambitions and have an amazing experience in a supportive environment. Participants are paired with a buddy who supports them throughout the day,...

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February 2017 Special Needs Newsletter

Virtual Reality, Film and Autism Come Together Student artists from L.A.-based Spectrum Laboratory created the virtual reality film “Use Your Imagination,” a musical journey through autism that premiered at last month’s Sundance Film Festival. A grant from Oculus VR made the project possible, and the program was one of 10 nonprofits selected for the honor. A new session of classes in music, film and animation for students with autism interested...

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January 2017 Special Needs Newsletter

Visit the Festival of Human Abilities The Aquarium of the Pacific hosts its annual Festival of Human Abilities Jan. 28-29. The weekend includes music, sign language choirs, wheelchair dance, art, service-dog demos and classes by artists with disabilities. Sign-language interpreters and audio tours for the blind will be available. Read on … New Savings Plans for People With Disabilities Newly launched ABLE for ALL savings plans allow those with disabilities...

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December 2016 Special Needs Newsletter

We’re Hosting a Resource and Arts Fair We at L.A. Parent are excited to be hosting our Special Needs Resource Fair from noon-3 p.m. Dec. 11 at Skirball Cultural Center. We’ll celebrate diversity in the arts with performances from The Miracle Project, Infinite Flow and L.A. Speech & Language Therapy Center, and an art show featuring work by L.A. County students. There will also be information on educational resources, therapy...

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November 2016 Special Needs Newsletter

Find Free Accessible Rose Parade Viewing The City of Pasadena and Tournament of Roses coordinate three accessible street-level viewing areas, one of which offers audio description and ASL interpretation. The areas allow convenient drop-off the morning of the parade and are served by accessible restrooms. Registration is open and the reserved spaces are available free of charge for people with disabilities and up to four guests, but the new online...

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October 2016 Special Needs Newsletter

Step Out to Raise Funds for UCPLA Count your steps this month to get fit and raise funds and awareness for United Cerebral Palsy of Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. Money raised helps purchase adaptive athletic equipment so people with cerebral palsy can get their “steps” in, too. Keep your participation virtual or cheer on student runners, see art and screen a film at pop-up events where your...

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special needs

September 2016 Special Needs Newsletter

Moms of Special Kids: Take Care of You Areva Martin is a busy attorney, legal analyst, TV commentator and founder of the Special Needs Network advocacy and resource organization. She is also a wife and mom with a son on the autism spectrum. Yet she understands the importance of taking care of her health and career, and thinks all moms of kids with disabilities should do the same. She offers...

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August 2016 Special Needs Newsletter

Writing Your Child’s Teacher The new school year will soon begin, and if your child has disabilities or other special needs, a letter of introduction to his or her new teacher could help get things off to a good start. The key is to keep your note positive, supportive and brief, and to follow up throughout the year. Share successes as well as concerns. These tips from Kathleen Secchi of...

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July 2016 Special Needs Newsletter

An Animated Look At Autism Owen Suskind has autism and uses Disney films to help make sense of his world. Nonverbal at age 3, Owen was an avid viewer of the films, and his family discovered they were the key to restoring communication. A new documentary, “Life, Animated,” is based on the bestselling book by Owen’s father, and begins its run in local theaters July 1. The film provides food...

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special needs

June 2016 Special Needs Newsletter

Does Autism Mean Intellectual Disability? Many people assume that all children on the autism spectrum are intellectually disabled as well. But IQ tests don’t tell the whole story. Some are focused on measuring verbal intelligence and don’t do justice to those with autism, who can struggle with verbal skills. Others focus on non-verbal skills, but rely on social connections that are also difficult for many on the spectrum. Clinical psychologist...

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May 2016 Special Needs Newsletter

It’s Time For Summer Camp! School will be out soon. What are your kids doing this summer? There are many great local programs that will allow your child to have a real camp experience in a safe, nurturing environment. There are camps for teens who could use a chance to build independent skills away from home, and programs for families that want to stick together, and for kids of all...

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April 2016 Special Needs Newsletter

On the Spectrum, A Dose of Calm Professionals say that a little anxiety now and then is natural, and even good for us. But anxiety that interferes with daily life – as it does for some children on the autism spectrum – is not.  Try to plan ahead for stressful situations. Pack a “fidget” or two to keep worried hands busy. Learn to use the “KICK” method, and try a...

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special needs - find'em scent kit

March 2016 Special Needs Newsletter

A Kid-Saving Scent Kit For Parents Many children on the autism spectrum tend to bolt or wander away from caregivers and into unsafe situations. Many of these kids are never found alive. Bloodhounds can often locate these children, but only if they have an uncontaminated item that contains the child’s scent to work with. This new kit, invented by a local mom who handles bloodhounds for law enforcement, offers parents...

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February 2016 Special Needs Newsletter

Families Can Get Moving At Abilities Expo Play power soccer or adaptive basketball, try all-abilities skateboarding, rise to the top of the 25-foot adaptive climbing wall, meet service dogs and help create the world’s largest wheelchair painting at this showcase event coming to the L.A. Convention Center Feb. 5-7. There will be technology demonstrations, an artist marketplace, face painting, adaptive dance, workshops and free wheelchair repair. Admission is free! Learn...

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January 2016 Special Needs Newsletter

Hot Wheelers Comes to Outside the Box Discussing a wheelchair-accessible doorway for her learning center’s new home inspired owner/founder Octavia Lindlahr to create a weekly class just for young children in wheelchairs. Like all of her center’s classes, Hot Wheelers will include multisensory learning and play, but will also help build upper-body motor skills. Parents and caregivers attend the classes as well, so they can use the fun activities they...

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December Special Needs Newsletter

Sesame Street Launches Autism Initiative For help in creating material for and about families with children on the autism spectrum, Sesame Workshop turned to Sherman Oaks vocational animation studio Exceptional Minds. Young animators on the autism spectrum produced the video “Benny’s Story,” an animated short designed to highlight that we are all different – in a good way. We chatted with Shane McKaskle, who created and voiced Benny. “I wanted...

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November Special Needs Newsletter

It’s Time For Our Special-Needs Resource Fair! We’re excited to host our second annual Special Needs Resource Fair from 1-4 p.m. Nov. 15 at Skirball Cultural Center. Along with a host of resources for families with children who have special needs, we are planning a kids’ zone full of fun activities plus performances by The Miracle Project and Ballet for All Kids. Admission is free, and families registering by Nov....

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October Special Needs Newsletter

Get Involved In Your Child’s School Many parents of kids with special needs spend tons of energy on IEP meetings, but don’t get involved in school beyond that. Find out how taking some time to get active in the PTA, chaperone field trips, volunteer in the classroom or cheer on sports teams can give you a new and more positive perspective on your child’s school. The connections you make will...

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September Special Needs Newsletter

DEAFestival Comes To Grand Park Designed to raise awareness and showcase achievement and talent in the deaf community, this gathering taking place from noon-4 p.m. Oct. 3 in Grand Park and L.A. City Hall includes a fashion show, art workshops, car seat giveaways, children’s stories performed in ASL and community resources. There will also be face painting, an auto show, and food trucks with tasty treats. The free festival is...

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August Special Needs Newsletter

Conference Focuses on Family Balance The Balance Conference for Special-Needs Families taking place Aug. 16 and 17 in Pacific Palisades features one day for fathers and siblings of children with special needs, and another day just for moms. It will include information on meditation and mindfulness, roundtable discussions with therapists, nutrition information and a drum circle and beach walk for teens and tweens with special-needs siblings. Conference fees may be...

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July Special Needs Newsletter

Special Olympics World Games Come to L.A. Seven thousand athletes from 117 countries will compete in 25 sports in this huge event, designed for participants with intellectual disabilities and taking place July 25-Aug. 2 at 27 different venues. Fans can cheer on their favorite competitors in aquatics, athletics, badminton, basketball, beach volleyball, bocce, bowling, cycling, equestrian, soccer, golf, gymnastics, half marathon, handball, judo, kayaking, open-water swimming, powerlifting, roller skating, sailing,...

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June Special Needs Newsletter

Adaptive Sports Event Comes to L.A. The Angel City Games, brainchild of the Frech family, will bring adaptive track-and-field events to UCLA June 19 and 20. This is the first event of its kind in Southern California, and 10-year-old Ezra Frech, born without a left knee or shin bone, is looking forward to the long jump and the celebrity wheelchair basketball game. Volunteers are welcome and athletes can register to...

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Special Needs Newsletter, April 2015

» Lekotek Toy Baskets   » Playability Toys Pick Up Our Special-Needs Magazine The 2015 edition of our “Your Child With Special Needs” magazine is available! It includes interviews with actors RJ Mitte, who has cerebral palsy, and Henry Winkler, who writes books for kids with dyslexia. You’ll find an update on the Special Olympics World Games, coming to L.A. this summer, a free inclusive play program for teachers, and...

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Special Needs Newsletter, March 2015

Wild Fun With L.A. Zoo Outreach The Los Angeles Zoo Special Needs Education Outreach Program brings docents and critters to people who aren’t easily able to visit the zoo, turning classrooms, hospitals and nursing homes into “zoos for a day.” Students have hands-on experiences with the animals, and docents teach about wildlife habits and habitat. Read about the free program’s visit to students in the special-needs program at Granada Hills...

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Special Needs Newsletter, February 2015

Brain-training Holds Promise For Fragile X Memory Skills When mice bred to have fragile X symptoms were trained in three short sessions with hour long breaks between, they remembered information just as well as typical mice, say UC Irvine researchers. People with fragile X struggle with memory, and the study suggests that the technique could help children with fragile X – and possibly those with other types of special needs...

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