As a mother, I will never give up on my child. As a mother of a child who has autism, I will never give up hope.
I look into his eyes and I see all the potential that he has to offer to this beautiful world and I just know that one day the world can see what I see.

Follow my blog as I share my life and my experiences as a person who loves someone with autism.

Showing posts with label guest blog post. Show all posts
Showing posts with label guest blog post. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

#BoostingBrainpower: Helping Children Succeed in School

The following information was provided to me to share with my readers.

Melinda Curle, author of Boosting Brainpower, is helping parents with children who have learning disabilities to overcome obstacles and excel in school. Curle provides practical exercises that parents can use to literally boost their child’s brain power so that learning is much easier.

Her tips on foods to enhance your child’s brain power, healthy habits that will improve your child’s health, and simple strategies that can be included in the child’s daily activities will enrich the child’s attitude toward education. Curle provides a first-hand perspective on how to improve and learn faster in spite of the disability.

In addition to her work with children, Curle specializes in helping people improve their cognitive function, decrease their seizures naturally, and improve memory function and processing speed. She focuses on helping individuals within the epilepsy community eliminate their seizures naturally.

Boosting Brainpower will provide you with easy to use tools and strategies to give your student an edge.

You’ll learn:

  • How to boost your child’s brainpower with food
  • How physical activity can sharpen focus
  • Simple habits that will give stability to your child's day
  • Strategies to make your student excited about school

For more information about Melinda Curle or to order your copy of “Boosting Brainpower” please visit her website.

About the author:
Melinda Curie Melinda Curle has over ten years experience working with students with disabilities to improve their brain health and help them learn. With a Masters in Special Education, Curle became an expert in brain health on her journey to overcome her own learning disability and epilepsy and she chose to do it naturally. Curle is passionate about helping people improve their lives through education and fitness. She is the author of “Seizure Free: Addressing the Causes of Seizures Naturally” and “Epilepsy Empowerment: Living an Exceptional Life with Epilepsy.”

Friday, October 3, 2014

Creating a Sensory Diet

This is a guest blog post written by Ilana, a physical therapist employed at Fun and Function, that talks about sensory diets.

Fun and Function

“Tommy! Stop jumping on the couch!” “George, Sit up!” “Come on, Suzie! We’re going to be late!” It seems like most parents are forever battling their children’s sensory-motor system, the system that perceives sensory information and responds to it, sometimes appropriately and sometimes not. A sensory diet can impact this system in a positive way, making day to day routines run smoothly.

What exactly is a sensory diet? It’s a diet for your sensory system, the system that impacts the motor and behavioral system depending on how the incoming sensory information is perceived and organized. Your sensory system is comprised of visual, auditory, olfactory, taste, touch as well as proprioception and vestibular information. We all have sensory needs and even if you’re not aware, you probably have your own sensory diet.

A sensory diet is just like it sounds… a diet for your sensory system.

There really is not one diet that will meet everyone’s sensory needs, but at Fun and Function we like to provide solutions for your sensory needs. In doing so, we have also come to understand our own sensory needs. That means work is fun, and we turn that fun into solutions.

First, we need to understand what type of sensory orientation we have. So, we’ve placed these systems into three categories, but, yes, you may overlap a bit from one to the other. For example, you may find yourself a visual sensory over responder, preferring softer sights and avoiding bright lights. Yet, you may crave deep pressure and when it comes to touch find yourself as a sensory seeker. That is fine. What’s most important is to get to understand your owns sensory needs so you can better understand those of your child as well.  

Sensory Over Responders

These are individuals who over respond to stimuli. Things seem too loud, too hard, too heavy, too sticky, too wet and, well, just too much! Sensory Over Responders do not like to get messy. They avoid noisy, public places. A fireworks display can send them running for cover. So, what is the benefit of being over responsive? These individuals are generally organized, on time and on task. Strategies for sensory over responders should help to calm and reassure.

  • Providing a quiet environment  (tent, cave, tunnel, closet, etc.)
  • Use earmuffs or earplugs
  • Give plenty of notice when transitioning so as not to alarm them
  • Provide soft materials to calm  (pillows, beanbag chair filled with foam, stuffed animals, weighted blankets)
  • Use gentle music in the background and wind instruments to encourage deep breathing
  • Encourage bubble blowing
  • Place lava lamp, bubble tube or calming lights in their environment and cover or remove bright lighting
  • Encourage art activities that are calming like drawing, painting and weaving
  • Try a massage (deep pressure), pressure vest or clothing, rocking or deep breathing to calm
  • Aromatherapy for relaxing
  • Stories or books that reassure
  • Play non competitive games like catch with  scarves, parachute play or group games
  • Discuss tools that make them feel safe
  • Use deep pressure or weight to calm as well as calming swings
  • Exercise with stretching for calming. Yoga works well as does dance, gymnastics and swimming.

Sensory Under Responders

These are individuals who under respond to stimuli. They don’t hear their name when you call them. They lose their lunch, backpack, and keys. They drop things. They don’t sit up at the table. They slouch. They fall down. They forget and they are disorganized. Sensory Under Responders are often lost in a big crowd of kids. They don’t raise their hand in class and often “fall between the cracks.” What is the benefit of being a sensory under responder? These individuals are generally relaxed and don’t over react under pressure. Strategies should help organize and alert.

  • Provide lists, visual cues and visual reminders
  • Give notice when transitioning so as to give them time to get ready
  • Provide seating and supports that encourage an alert posture (wedges, firm seats, back supports)
  • Use a metronomes and timers to keep alert and organized
  • Provide an organizer
  • Use aromatherapy for alerting
  • Encourage tasks that require hand-eye coordination
  • Try drumming or guitar for music and to encourage rhythm
  • Try art activities that use large muscle groups like painting, cutting and building
  • Set up obstacle courses to encourage coordination and motor planning
  • Work on balance skills using therapy balls, balance boards, climbing ladders or active swings
  • Work on strengthening skills with weights, resistance bands or medicine balls and putty
  • Stretch muscles to alert
  • Karate works well as do sports like rock climbing, hiking and biking

Sensory Seekers

These individuals are constantly touching, pushing, grabbing, shouting, jumping, biting and on the move. These children get in trouble a lot because they don’t know how to use their energy appropriately. The love recess and competition. What are the benefits of being a sensory seeker? These individuals tend to be alert, on and never tired. They are also highly creative. Strategies should re-direct their high energies into more purposeful activities.

  • Provide clear boundaries, rules and directions
  • Give them notice when transitioning so as to give time to calm down and orient
  • Provide seating and supports that allow movement without distraction (wiggle cushion, ball chair, rocking board)
  • Use timers as warnings, boundaries or guidelines
  • Try pressure or weighted vests for calming
  • Use chewing, deep pressure or heavy hand work to filter excessive movement
  • Use heavy balls or heavy work tasks to organize their muscles and movements
  • Set up obstacle courses to encourage coordination and motor planning
  • Use eye hand coordination to engage their minds with their bodies
  • Provide jumping and running outlets with directions as to when its appropriate
  • Encourage deep breathing with wind instruments, bubble blowing, yoga or singing
  • Use art activities that require a lot of heavy work: clay, sculpting, wood working
  • Do daily stretching for calming
  • Productive exercises include rock climbing, biking, hiking, karate, swimming, triathalon and gymnastics

Watch yourself and your family members throughout the day. Your sensory system can change from morning until evening. Try some of the strategies that work for you and help your kids to come up with their own list (stretch in the morning, swing before school, cuddle after school, etc).

About Ilana:
Ilana Fun and Function
Ilana is a physical therapist. She is also employed at Fun and Function and Function as the creative director, product developer, writer and blogger. She is an author and the owner of Dunwoody Physical Therapy. She has worked in the special needs industry for 20 years writing, assembling catalogs and coming up with creative solutions for individuals all abilities. She lives in Dunwoody, Georgia with her husband, two younger children and her pet dachshund. When not writing, creating, treating or problem solving she loves to hike, bike and tap dance!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Up To $90,000 Disability Savings Benefit Is Available To Canadians With Special Needs

This is a guest blog post written by Samuel Li, which discusses how a disabled Canadian could enhance their savings through the Registered Disability Savings Plan, RDSP.

Disability Savings Benefit Is Available To Canadians With Special Needs

Hi readers of, I hope you are all well. This is my very first guest post in this blog, and hopefully what I’m going to share will be helpful to you!

Whenever I sit down with clients who have family member with special needs, they often are worried whether there will be enough savings for the disabled dependant in the long run.

For example, “When I’m no longer able to provide support to my disabled children, without adequate savings, will they be able to afford the same treatments or medical services? Hire a qualified professional to assist their daily living activities? Or just maintain the same standard of living?”

From all the many conservations I had with these families, I could truly understand that people with disability and their loved ones could experience a different set of financial challenges throughout their lives.

The Government of Canada also realized these challenges, that’s why in 2008, they launched the Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP). This is a very helpful program designed to enhance the long-term savings for the disabled persons. The RDSP makes it a lot easier to accumulate savings by providing assisted government funding and tax-deferred investment growth.

How Does It Really Work?

By having a RDSP account, the beneficiary may be entitled to disability savings benefits such as the Canada Disability Savings Grants (CDSGs) and Canada Disability Savings Grants (CDSBs).

The Canada Disability Savings Grants (CDSGs) is a matching grant where the government will deposit the funding into your RDSP account based on your family income and the amount of your contribution. The maximum lifetime benefit per beneficiary is up to $70,000. Although it varies from each individual case, many families that I’m working with did receive up to 300% of the matching grants on a portion of their contribution.

To provide even more assistance for low income families with special needs, there is the Canada Disability Savings Bonds (CDSBs). Unlike the matching grant, the disability savings bonds do not require any contribution. The government will examine solely on the family net income. If the income is not beyond the program’s limit, up to $1000/year will be deposited into the RDSP account.  The maximum lifetime benefit per beneficiary is up to $20,000.

For minor beneficiary, the family net income is that of his or her parents, while beneficiary over the age of majority, the family net income is that of the beneficiary and his or her spouse, if applicable.

Who Could Open a RDSP Account?

A Canadian resident with SIN, contributions to the RDSP can be made until the end of the year in which the beneficiary turns 59, and one must be eligible for the Disability Tax Credit (DTC).

Furthermore, the government grants and bonds will only be paid until December 31 of the year the beneficiary turns 49. The DTC is available to individuals who have mental or physical impairments that markedly restrict their ability to perform one or more of the basic activities of living (i.e., speaking, hearing or walking). The impairment must be expected to last a period of one or more years, and a physician must certify the extent of the disability. Individuals can apply to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) for the DTC using form T2201.

About Samuel Li:
Samuel Li, Investment Fund AdvisorSamuel Li is an investment fund advisor and insurance consultant in Ontario, Canada. Since 2005, Samuel has started his financial advisory business with the intent to assist families and small business owners in making the right financial decisions. He is proud to be one of the few advisors who are truly specialized in the RDSP planning for families with special needs. He has great passion in sharing his insights and knowledge on investments, life insurance planning and health & dental coverage. He believes building assets and protecting the financial future is the core in financial planning.

Want to know more about planning for the RDSP? Feel free to connect with me!

Samuel Li,
Investment Fund Advisor | Investia Financial Services Inc.
Sales Manager & Financial Consultant | Excel Insurance Agency Inc.
Mobile: 647-294-0702
Website: http//
80 Acadia Ave., Suite 205, Markham, Ontario. L3R9V1

This article is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific personalized advice including, without limitation, investment, financial, legal, accounting or tax advice. Please consult an appropriate professional regarding your particular circumstances. This article does not constitute an offer or solicitation in any jurisdiction in which such offer or solicitation is not authorized or to any person to whom it is unlawful to make such offer or solicitation. References in this article to third party goods or services should not be regarded as an endorsement of these goods or services. This article is intended for Ontario, Canadian residents only and the information contained herein is subject to change without notice. The owner of this article is not liable for any inaccuracies in the information provided. Image courtesy of http://chanpipat/