Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Spotlight: Tiny Superheroes

Building on the "tiny" theme from last week, today's post is about Tiny Superheroes, an organization that gives confidence to children with an illness or a disability by providing them with capes. Parents are happy to see joy and courage in their children, who are encouraged to embrace what makes them unique. Robyn Rosenberger of Kirkwood, Missouri, started Tiny Superheroes five years ago this month. She has three young sons, one of whom was born about a year ago with vertical talus, a condition that results in a flat foot. Capes are sold in the St. Louis Children's Hospital gift shop; people can also go online and sponsor a cape to be sent to a child. More than 12,000 children all over the world have received capes. For more information about Tiny Superheroes, go to or its Facebook page.

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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Students With and Without Disabilities Build Tiny House

During the past year, a group of students with and without disabilities at Bayside High School in Palm Bay designed and built a tiny house. The Able Trust, a foundation that helps Floridians with disabilities become employed, funded the unique construction project, which was part of Bayside's High School High Tech program. After being delayed by Hurricane Irma in September and the lead teacher's moving away, the house's unveiling took place at Bayside on December 21. The Able Trust will auction off the house to raise money for its programs. Building the tiny house was a valuable learning experience for the students. I was pleased to read about Bayside because I graduated from there in 2004. For more details on this story, go to

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A tiny house (image from Wikipedia)

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Spotlight: Samples

Samples, a restaurant that serves comfort food and craft drinks in Longmont, Colorado, was featured on last night's episode of the Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. During the program, restaurant co-owner Mark Sample demonstrated to show host Guy Fieri how to make the Poutine Burger and the Korean BBQ Sandwich. Something else that makes Samples stand out is it employs people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This is because of Sample's wife Carmen, a social worker who noticed a lack of resources for these individuals. She also founded Sample Supports, a community-based social services agency that provides services like behavior therapy, supported living, and employment opportunities. If I ever find myself in Longmont, I'm going to go to Samples for a meal. For more information about the restaurant, go to

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Guy Fieri

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Spotlight: Shaquem Griffin

Happy New Year, readers! Today's post is about a University of Central Florida (UCF) football player whose left hand was amputated when he was four years old.

Shaquem Griffin, a linebacker, helped No. 12 UCF beat No. 7 Auburn University at the 50th annual Peach Bowl in Atlanta yesterday afternoon. Griffin was born with amniotic band syndrome (ABS), which caused the fingers on his left hand to hurt very much, leading to amputation. This didn't stop him from wanting to play football. Griffin was a safety for UCF four years ago but sat on the sidelines during games while his twin brother Shaquill (older by 60 seconds) played as a cornerback.

Days before the Peach Bowl, Griffin met Jordan Davis, a 19-month-old boy with ABS, along with his twin brother John (also older by 60 seconds) and parents Matt and Amanda, who are Auburn fans but are inspired by Griffin's life story. Griffin received the Football Bowl Subdivision 2017 Senior CLASS Award for his outstanding work on the field, in the classroom, and in the community during the past two years. He doesn't consider his missing left hand a disability and would like to play in the National Football League like his twin brother. For more information about Shaquem Griffin, go to

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Shaquem Griffin

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

UCF Team Creates Accessible Video Game

Some children ask for video games for Christmas. There is a video game for children without hands. Students from the University of Central Florida's School of Visual Arts & Design worked with Limbitless Solutions to create an accessible video game called Smash Bro. Smash Bro and other games in the Limbitless Training Games series use electromyography (EMG) board technology. An EMG board is attached to one's forearm with conductive pads for the measurement of electric impulses while flexing muscles. In early August, UCF's game design students and their professors went to the Smithsonian American Art Museum where they had a demonstration of Smash Bro and talked with White House staff about accessibility technology. Children who received bionic arms from Limbitless Solutions tried out the video games and gave positive reviews in September. On December 1, Limbitless Training Games won the Best Serious Game Innovation Award during the Serious Games Showcase & Challenge at the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference in Orlando. For more details on this story, go to

Image result for video game controllerImage from Wikimedia Commons

Friday, December 22, 2017

Spotlight: Accomable

Many people travel for the holidays. One resource for travelers with disabilities is Accomable, a London-based company that provides information about handicap accessible lodging in several countries. Srin Madipalli and Martyn Sibley, childhood friends with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, founded Accomable in 2015. Last month, the online hospitality service Airbnb bought the company. Accomable will assist users during the transitional period. For more information, go to

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Monday, December 11, 2017

Mowat-Wilson Syndrome

Chef Adam Greenberg of Washington, D.C., beat three other chefs to win $10,000 during the "Grand Holiday" episode of Chopped last Tuesday, December 5. A three-time Chopped winner, Greenberg donated his winnings to the Mowat-Wilson Syndrome (MWS) Foundation of which his sister Katie Fineberg is a director (Katie's daughter Zoe has the disorder). MWS is a genetic condition with several characteristics, including distinctive facial features, moderate or severe intellectual disability, delayed development of motor skills, and Hirschsprung disease (an intestinal disorder). Other issues associated with this disorder are speech problems, seizures, and heart defects. People with MWS in general have a smiling, open-mouthed expression on their faces along with cheerful personalities. For more information, go to

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