Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Battling Bipolar Disorder

Today is World Bipolar Day. Also known as manic-depressive illness, bipolar disorder is a psychological condition in which mood, energy, and activity levels change dramatically, making it difficult for people to live their day-to-day lives. If left untreated, it can be disabling. As an individual with this disorder, I know the value of treatment in the form of medications and counseling. For more information about bipolar disorder, go to

Monday, March 28, 2016

Cerebral Palsy Awareness

Cerebral palsy (CP) is a neurological disorder in which movement and muscle coordination are affected. March is Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month with March 25 being National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day. (Please go to my "Oh, Baby!" post dated January 16, 2016, for an article about a couple with cerebral palsy who had a baby.) In February, the Chicago White Sox hired the first Major League Baseball announcer with CP. For more information about CP, go to

Friday, March 25, 2016

Writing About Disability

Pentimento is a literary journal that contains poems, short stories, and essays as well as artwork about disability. This is an excellent opportunity for people with special needs, their relatives/caregivers, and people who work with them to express themselves in writing. Submissions for the journal's summer issue, the theme of which is "Leaving Home," are due on March 31. For submission guidelines and other information, go to

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

A Special Easter Egg Hunt

An egg hunt is a fun Easter tradition for kids. However, this activity can be challenging for children with special needs, so some modifications may need to be made. To learn about inclusive Easter egg hunts, go to Happy Easter, everyone!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Helping Kids Grow

In Florida since 2012, Help Me Grow is a program in which developmental and/or behavioral issues are detected in children up to age eight. The children are then referred to service providers that meet their needs. Early intervention can make a huge difference in healthy development for all children. Young children with special needs in Brevard County can go to the Space Coast Early Intervention Center ( For more information about Help Me Grow Florida, go to

Friday, March 18, 2016

Meeting Debbie Macomber

My St. Patrick's Day was memorable: I met the #1 New York Times bestselling romance author Debbie Macomber at her book signing in Vero Beach. She signed my copy of her latest novel A Girl's Guide to Moving On, and I gave her a copy of my autobiography. Despite having dyslexia (please refer to my "The Disability of Dyslexia" post dated September 8, 2015, for a description), Macomber has written dozens of books. She is an excellent example of a successful person despite having a disability.

Monday, March 14, 2016

UCF Update

My alma mater UCF continues to do wonderful things for people with disabilities. First of all, the Doctor of  Physical Therapy Program has held two workshops based on GoBabyGo, a program in which motorized toy cars are retrofitted with items such as PVC pipes for $250 to $300. This allows children up to age 3 with mobility impairments to explore their surroundings. For more information and to watch a brief video, go to

Additionally, Limbitless Solutions, the UCF team that creates bionic arms for children, recently invented a 3-D printed device that helps people with spinal-cord injuries move their wheelchairs. With a production cost of $300 to $500, the device consists of a small box attached to the wheelchair's joystick, which picks up signals from sensors near a person's forehead. For more information, go to

Friday, March 11, 2016

A Form of Therapy for Special Needs

People with and without special needs can ride horses at Walk on Water Equine Assisted Therapy in Merritt Island. Equine assisted therapy has several physical benefits and can give riders a sense of accomplishment. Riding hours are 4:00 P.M.-6:00 P.M. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and 9:00 A.M.-12:00 P.M. on Saturdays or by appointment. For pricing and other information about this non-profit organization, go to

Monday, March 7, 2016

Tip a Cop

Tip a Cop is a fundraiser for Special Olympics Florida where law enforcement officers volunteer as restaurant servers. The tips they receive will go to Special Olympics Florida. This event will take place at Duffy's Sports Bar & Grill in Melbourne from 5:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. on Thursday, March 10. This will also happen at Jersey Mike's Subs Hibiscus in Melbourne from 5:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. on April 7. For more information about Tip a Cop (which is associated with the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics) and other events, go to

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Walking for MS

The Mid-Florida chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society is hosting a walkathon at the Church at Viera on Saturday, March 12. Registration opens at 8:00 A.M. with the walk starting at 9:00 A.M. The proceeds will go toward research for multiple sclerosis (MS), a disease of the central nervous system that interrupts the movement of information between the brain and the rest of the body. This is an excellent time for the walk, for March is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month. For more details about this event and information about MS, go to

Thursday, March 3, 2016

A New Icon for Disability

The Accessible Icon Project has been promoting an updated version of the international symbol of accessibility seen in handicapped parking spaces and on doors. The new sign shows a person with a disability pushing himself or herself in a wheelchair, making the person look more active. This symbol has made appearances in Orlando and New York, and a bill proposing its implementation is going through Connecticut's House of Representatives. To see the new symbol of accessibility, go to

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Fashion for Kids with Disabilities

Today, Tommy Hilfiger is releasing a line of clothes that were modified for children with disabilities. Mindy Scheier, the founder of the nonprofit organization Runway of Dreams and mother of a boy with muscular dystrophy, made three modifications to Tommy Hilfiger's collection. For more details and to see photos, go to