Big muscle movements, also called gross motor skills, involve a variety of areas of the body and specific aspects of their use. Gross motor skills are involved in movement and coordination of the arms, legs, and other large body parts and movements, such as running, crawling and jumping. Development of these skills result in postural control, coordination, strength, balance, and bilateral coordination (both sides of the body working together). Toys that emphasize these movements help […]


Youth Empowerment Groups Encourage Self-Advocacy

Groups for youth and young adults may provide opportunity for building a foundation of skills to address core concepts that enable youth to have meaningful participation in the process of planning for their own futures. BY ERIN SEIGH AND LAUREN AGORATUS, M.A. Students with disabilities need to learn how to advocate for themselves in order to foster independence when  transitioning to adult life. Groups that encourage the voices of youth and young adults can help […]


Bringing the Family’s Voice to Research: Parents as Members of the Research Team (Part One)

  By: Lisa Diller, Seattle, Washington; Paula Drew, Edmond, Oklahoma; Marquitha Gilbert, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Nancy Ford, Atlanta, Georgia; Tina Hjorngaard, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Kim Rayfield, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Barbara Taylor, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania “Nothing About Us Without Us!” is a slogan used to communicate the idea that no policy should be decided by any representative without the full and direct participation of members of the group(s) affected by that policy.” It has been embraced by the disability community for […]


Teens & Tech

BY CECELIA TAMBURRO Remaining aware and responsible in the social media age. It can be helpful to educate your child or teen about the ways in which social media use affects them. By increasing their mental health literacy, you can provide your teen with tools to improve their mental health. Modern day parents often worry about social media use amongst their teens. Unsurprisingly, recent surveys show 92 percent of teens report using the internet daily, […]


Building Bridges and Breaking down the Barriers that Parents of Children with Down Syndrome Face in Their Collaboration with School Professionals

BY JUDITH HARDING, Ed.D. Collaboration with parents of children with Down syndrome is legally mandated and pedagogically sound. This process allows parents and professionals to share in mutual decision making regarding the student’s educational program. Positive collaboration works because it makes available multiple perspectives, expands competence, and enhances the process for all involved. The benefits of positive partnerships between parents and professionals may result in improving academic achievement and functional life skills for students. Yet […]


Music As An Alternative To Opioids Pain Management Stretches To New Paradigms

BY MARTHA SUMMA-CHADWICK, DMA Neuroscience professionals acknowledge that music is a direct conduit to the brain; specific rhythm exercises in the form of biomedical music protocols can help redirect neural networks for persons with motor, speech, and cognition challenges. Note from the Editor in Chief: Exceptional Parent magazine is dedicated to reporting on alternative modalities of therapies for a variety of conditions. The use of music as a therapeutic alternative in the treatment of opioid […]


From Screening To Storytelling: One Mom’s Advocacy Journey

GENETIC ALLIANCE BY AMELIA MULFORD In a distant jungle, Max the monkey swings from vine to vine with his pals Minnie and Mo in search of a lagoon to take a swim. He quickly realizes that he is falling behind his friends and feeling sluggish. As Max discovers, he has medium chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency, or MCADD. MCADD, as explained in the children’s book Max the Monkey Has MCADD, is a rare genetic metabolic disease […]


8 Ways To Get The Best Medical Care For Your Kids

BOOK EXCERPT TIPS FOR PARENTS FROM HEALING CHILDREN: A SURGEON’S STORIES FROM THE FRONTIERS OF PEDIATRIC MEDICINE BY KURT NEWMAN, M.D. Over the years I’ve found myself giving advice to parents about how to tackle the confounding range of decisions involved in finding the right doctors and medical care for their children. A good guiding principle is that the more you use experts and facilities that specialize in pediatric care, the better your child’s experience […]


How Shared Care Plans Help Children With Special Needs And Their Families

BY LAUREN AGORATUS, M.A. Shared plans of care are records of health information communicated with the medical team and patient. This allows primary care providers, specialists and others to communicate with each other, as well as allowing access to essential medical information to families of children with special needs. Why Does Your Child Need a Shared Care Plan? Sometimes children with special needs have multiple conditions which could be affected by each other. For example, […]