My Son’s Autism Diagnosis

My wish for you and your child is that you get the information you need, the resources that can help, and the acceptance to be able to move forward with your lives following an autism diagnosis. BY KIMBERLEE RUTAN McCAFFERTY Over the years people have asked me about how and when Justin was diagnosed with autism. My boy got an official diagnosis at 17 months from a developmental pediatrician, received a spectrum diagnosis at a […]

Welcome To GiGi’s Playhouse

Nancy Gianni realized that she now had a mission – to change the way the world sees Down syndrome and promote acceptance for all, while providing opportunities and support for GiGi and others like her. When Nancy Gianni gave birth to her daughter, GiGi, 15 years ago, she thought she knew exactly what to expect of those early hours and days. She had already brought two babies into the world and was looking forward to […]

On Becoming a Practitioner of the Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning

ANCORA IMPARO BY RICK RADER, MD ■ EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Exceptional parents have far too many artifacts to sift through and decide which pile to place them in. What do you do with early IEPs, MRI findings, Special Olympic medals, behavioral support plans, clinic appointment cards, support group newsletters, insurance explanation of coverage and conservatorship papers? It started innocently enough. My wife decided it was time to change the carpeting in our bedroom. It had outlived its […]

Building Supportive, Person-Centered Communities For Adults With Autism

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 500,000 teens with autism will age into adulthood over the next decade and housing will become one of the greatest concerns for them, their parents and other caregivers. Right now, an estimated 80,000 adults with autism in the United States are on waiting lists for publicly-funded residential placements and services. The waiting periods can run up to 15 years and the number of those waiting […]

Starting ’em Young

Young Athletes engages families by highlighting the power of play. Young Athletes includes a series of structured physical activities, songs and games to teach basic motor development skills for children with and without intellectual disabilities, ages 2 to 7 years old. BY REBECCA RALSTON In a small community near Phitsanulok, Thailand, a young boy named Kongpob Yangkam lives with his grandparents and 17-year-old sister. Kong, as his family lovingly calls him, has intellectual disabilities and […]

Back To The Basics

The food you eat can either be the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.” ~ ann Wigmore BY ADEOLA SONAIKE, PHD, MPH, CHES The Family Resource Network launched The Center on Nutrition and Disability, which aims to further assist families and professionals with fostering a healthy relationship with food for people with special health care needs, chronic conditions, and their caregivers. One of the biggest issues people face […]

The Resilient Caregiver

BY LAUREN AGORATUS, M.A. TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF WHILE CARING FOR ANOTHER Did you know that November of each year is National Family Caregivers Month by presidential proclamation? In part the proclamation reads: “Whereas, the primary source of community-based services and the cornerstone of our long-term care system are care recipients’ family members, friends and neighbors who help their loved ones maintain their independence and their quality of life; and…according to the National Alliance for […]

Parents Perspective: Caring For A Child With A Feeding Tube

BY JULIE & TONY BOMBACINO “IT TOOK US A LONG TIME TO GET HERE, BUT WE NOW SEE AJ’S FEEDING TUBE AS AN INTEGRAL TOOL IN KEEPING HIM AT HOME AND HEALTHY. ” Our son has, and gets all of his nutrition from, a feeding tube. Serving nutritious food that everyone will eat is hard enough for any family at mealtime, but caring for a child with a feeding tube presents a new set of […]

Diet & Nutrition: From Babies To Teens

BY JORDAN CAPIZOLA AND LILLIAN DUFFIELD The new year inspires many people to set goals for themselves, especially when it comes to diet and nutrition. People, especially parents, see it as an opportunity to reset their behaviors and develop healthier habits. Parents spend a great deal of time researching ideas and recipes for how to keep their families healthy, but sometimes researching information online can be daunting. It seems like every day there is new […]

Telehealth and Children with Disabilities

AMERICAN ACADEMY OF DEVELOPMENTAL MEDICINE & DENTISTRY BY H. BARRY WALDMAN DDS, MPH, PHD, LISA BARD LEVINE, MD, MBA, ANDREW G. SCHWARTZ, DDS, FACD, RICK RADER, MD, FAAIDD, DHL (HON) AND STEVEN P. PERLMAN DDS, MSCD, DHL (HON) “Persons with severe functional disabilities are the highest users of health care services. Care for the needs of this population represents a significant percentage of our national health care costs. A growing body of research has demonstrated […]