Family Support Network
April 2010 Newsletter

Readers, don't forget! We have created a list of over 80 newsletters for you to select personally that are disability-related. We manage this list so that you can access information specifically of interest to you! The FSN newsletters are great but we just cannot include all of the information that we receive, so please take advantage of this list! Sign up for the newsletters at

Community Calendar
If you have events for the FSN E-Newsletter, please send them to Amy Sharp at

Open Clinic Training for Families 
Tuesday, April 20, 10:30–12:30 pm
Larry J. Ringer Library in College Station, TX

PATH and Family Support Network present an Open Clinic to support families in organizing their IEP paperwork. Please bring a three-inch binder and your IEP paperwork. We will assist you in organizing this and will provide inserts/dividers for the notebooks.

Texas Mental Health Youth Conference
June 18–20
Texas Tech University in Lubbock, TX
The 2nd Biennial Texas Mental Health Youth Conference is a three-day fun-filled event for 50 youth around the state between the ages of 14 and 24. This year's summit will focus on anti-stigma campaigns and promoting positive messages about mental health. The Youth Summit is free-food, lodging, and transportation are all included for participating youth. That is because the Youth Summit is sponsored by Via Hope - Texas Mental Health Resource and funded in part by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration through the Texas Mental Health Transformation project. Space is limited so participants will be chosen based on their answers to questions on the application and their representation of different areas of the state. Applications are available by contacting Corey Benbow at (512) 693-2000 or email at

Texas Microboard Conference
July 16–17
 | The Woodlands, TX
Speakers include David Wetherow, the originator of the microboard concept; John Agosta, a leader in disability rights research; and Jill Rodgers, a facilitator, trainer and expert on PATH--a popular, person-centered planning tool. Microboards are small groups of committed family and friends who join together with an individual with a disability to create a nonprofit organization to build a network of supports for that individual. Get more details on the conference and registration information. A limited number of stipends are available to cover registration costs and travel. If you have any questions, please contact Jennifer Mathews at the Texas Microboard Collaboration at or 1-800-252-9729 Ext. 123.

Reap What you Sow: Harvesting Support Systems
July 29–31 | Raleigh, NC

The National Youth Leadership Network (NYLN) is hosting a conference for youth (age 28 or younger) and adults with disabilities interested in organizing. Travel scholarships are available, see scholarship application on the registration page.

Easter Seals Conference Call Series on Family Support Navigation

A new series of one-hour monthly conference calls, in collaboration with Wayne State University’s Developmental Disabilities Institute. Each call is designed for families of children with developmental disabilities and self-advocates to learn more about different family support options and how to advocate for service improvements. All calls in this series will be held from 2 to 3 pm. Autism
Autism Factsheet in Mandarin 
Translation into Mandarin of CDC: Learn the Signs. Act Early, an autism fact sheet. 

AOTA Autism Resources 
American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) introduces an autism micro-site, a comprehensive guide to all the resources available from AOTA on Autism.

Autism Help Videos
Mi-Stories™ are videos that can be viewed on an iPod or DVD, designed to help individuals with ASD. The videos, offered for a fee by KenCrest Services, present models of behavior and language skills that are appropriate in specific situations, and provide opportunities to imitate, review, revise, and relax to facilitate appropriate social behavior. 

2010-2014 Texas State Plan for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders 
(Texas Council on Autism, March 5, 2010) 
The 2010-2014 Texas State Plan for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders is now available on the Texas Council on Autism web site. For more information, please contact Ron Ayer at

Burns & Associates Inc. Selected to Conduct HB 1574 Adult Services Study 
(Texas Council on Autism, March 5, 2010) 
In response to HB 1574, The Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services has selected Burns & Associates Inc. to study the costs and benefits of initiating a pilot project to provide services to adults with autism and other related disabilities with similar support needs. For more information, please contact Katy Bourgeois at

Education and Employment
Common Misperceptions and Research-Based Recommendations for Alternate Assessment Based on Alternate Achievement Standards
This report explores misperceptions surrounding alternate assessments, and proposes research-based recommendations to address them. 

Educational Issues for Students With Disabilities: Inclusive Classrooms 
Revisions to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in 1997 changed the focus of special education from providing separate services for students with disabilities to including more students in mainstream classrooms. Schools are required to place students in inclusive classrooms, when appropriate, in order to provide the social and academic benefits of taking part in the general curriculum. Read full story.

We Connect Now 
We Connect Now is dedicated to uniting college students with disabilities in access to higher education and employment issues. 

Interested in Careers in the Arts? 
The Kennedy Center’s Opening Stages Facebook Fan page is loaded with career opportunity announcements. Opening Stages was primarily developed to enable students and individuals with disabilities to become competitive with their non-disabled peers by providing them with information and resources regarding career development opportunities. The Fan page will continue to highlight disability-specific opportunities but will also highlight mainstream opportunities as well––and it will do all of this in real-time with current, topical postings. 

VSA arts Invites Applications From Teaching Artists With Disabilities for Professional Development Fellowship Program 
The program will offer teaching artists with disabilities the opportunity for professional development, networking, professional memberships as well as stipends and coverage of travel costs. Deadline: April 23, 2010. See the VSA arts web site for complete program information. 

Ten Employment Myths 
This 17-minute video responds to concerns expressed by employers, explaining the ADA in common sense terms and dispelling myths about this often overlooked pool of well-qualified employees. 

Customized Employment: Put it to Work for Your Business 
ODEP developed this brochure for employers interested in exploring unique ways to meet newly recognized or unmet needs to increase productivity and profitability, increase retention and lower turnover rates, improve return-to-work outcomes, increase efficiency of operations, and increase a more diverse workforce and inclusive environment. The brochure showcases real employers that have put this unique form of Flexible Work Arrangements to work in their businesses. 

Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans 
Texas A&M Mays Business School program teaches veterans with disabilities how to succeed as entrepreneurs. See video

Family/Caregiver Issues
Caregiving in the U.S. 
The National Alliance for Caregiving along with the AARP has published a report on family caregivers today in America. 

Strengthening Families and Communities: 2010 Resource Guide 
This resource guide was written to support service providers in their work with parents, caregivers, and their children to strengthen families and prevent child abuse and neglect.

CaringBridge is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit providing free personalized websites that connect family and friends during a serious health event, care and recovery. A CaringBridge website is personal, private and available 24/7. It helps ease the burden of keeping family and friends informed. The websites are easy to create and use. Authors add health updates and photos to share their story while visitors leave messages of love and support in the guestbook.

Government and Law
A Chronology of the Disability Rights Movements 
This chronology, taken from Fred Pelka's book The ABC-CLIO Companion to the Disability Rights Movement (copyright 1997), goes up to 1996, and is roughly broken down by decade.

Privileged Parking in Texas 
The Texas Statutes dealing with Accessible Parking have now been updated to show changes from the 81st Legislative Session. In particular, it incorporated both the new fines from SB 52 and HB 3095 so law enforcement may choose the fines directly related to the offense. Read full story

Disability Law Handbook 
The National Network of ADA Centers is pleased to announce the release of the new edition of the Disability Law Handbook. The Disability Law Handbook is a 64-page guide to the basics of the Americans with Disabilities Act and other disability related laws. 

Census 2010: Toolkit for Reaching People with Disabilities 
The U.S. Census Bureau has already sent out mailers alerting individuals and families that the 2010 census is on the way and aired a number of television advertisements. This Toolkit for Reaching People with Disabilities is designed to help organizations that serve people with disabilities communicate the benefits of census participation. 

Health and Wellness
Social Networks a Lifeline for the Chronically Ill

Online social networks have become valuable sources of information and camaraderie for people with chronic diseases or disabilities. Read full story.

Health Matters: The Exercise and Nutrition Health Education Curriculum for People with Developmental Disabilities

The Institute on Disability and Human Development introduces a new edition of this innovative, easy-to-implement curriculum is the perfect way to help adults build healthy lifestyles—and as a bonus, help communities reduce the high costs of common health problems.

Trust It or Trash It? 
This is a tool to help you think critically about the quality of health information (including websites, handouts, booklets, etc.). This is a helpful tool for self-advocates, families, and others making health care decisions.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Medicare Drug Plan Finder 2010 
By: Patricia Barry | Source: AARP Bulletin Today | October 28, 2009 
Looking for a Medicare Part D drug plan that will cost you the least in 2010 and cover all or most of your prescription drugs? This guide provides a direct route to that information by taking you step by step through Medicare's Prescription Drug Plan Finder, a useful online tool that allows you to compare many drug plans head to head to find your best deal. The plan finder does the math for you, so that you can see your likely out-of-pocket costs-premium, deductible and copays for the specific drugs you use-throughout the year. 

National Survey of Children’s Health Releases Health Disparities Profiles
The Data Resource Center has released new CSHCN disparities profiles based on the 2007 National Survey of Children's Health. These customizable profiles allow easy comparisons between two states of your choosing and compare children with special health care needs and non-special needs children on numerous health indicators. 

What Does the Health Care Bill Mean to Me? 
The health-care overhaul will change the way millions of Americans get health insurance and require nearly everyone to have health insurance or face penalties. A number of factors - including income, age, location and family size - will determine how it specifically impacts your life. This tool looks at what it could mean for your health coverage and taxes based on your income, family size and current insurance status. Read full story from The Washington Post.

Emerging Evidence: Age-related Changes in Aerobic Capacity in Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities
A 20-yr Review VO2peak (the plateau of oxygen consumption during an exercise test where oxygen consumption will plateau and CO2 uptake will be greater than O2) and maximum heart rate are important determining factors in establishing aerobic power. Individuals with Down syndrome tend to have a lower aerobic power when compared to their non-disabled peers. This study sought to determine the patterns of VO2peak and maximum heart rate with age in those with Down syndrome compared to those with intellectual disabilities and also to people without disabilities. Read full story

Aging Adults and Daily Living 
As persons with disabilities age, they may experience increasing difficulty performing activities of daily living (ADL) (i.e., dressing, showering), and instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) (i.e., ambulation, doing laundry, grocery shopping) because their 'fitness reserve' is much lower compared to the general population. Not building high enough fitness levels in youth and young adults could create substantial difficulty in later adulthood. Persons with disabilities often require a certain level of strength to push a wheelchair or ambulate with an assistive aid. Read full story.

More Children Diagnosed with Disabilities 
Although the nation is attempting to subdue rising health costs, more than a quarter of children in the United States have a chronic health condition, according to a new study published February 16, 2010 by the Journal of American Medical Association. This is largely because there is now a broader set of definitions for health conditions. Children today suffer from a different set of illnesses, and many diseases like obesity, asthma, attention deficit disorder, and other mental health or behavioral conditions were not diagnosed years ago. Further, childhood diagnoses are less precise, because symptoms often increase or decrease with age, or completely disappear. According to the study, Latino and African American male youths were more likely to have health problems. Read full story from The LA Times.   

The House Passed and President Obama Signed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act 
AUCD applauds the United States House of Representatives for passing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (HR 3590). See photos, video, and transcript of this event.

Miscellaneous Resources
Accessible Emergency Information
This website has information for people with disabilities about how to deal with different types of emergencies. There are many video clips with sign language interpreters.

IDAs and PASS (Plans to Achieve Self Support): Exploring the Opportunities 
Assets for Independence developed this fact sheet detailing these programs that provide an opportunity for Social Security Disability beneficiaries to save for and acquire assets.  

National Resource Directory
The U.S. Departments of Defense, Labor and Veterans Affairs are pleased to introduce this re-designed and enhanced National Resource Directory web site. Created for Wounded Warriors, Veterans and their families and caregivers, the new National Resource Directory has proved to be a useful tool for service providers who support the military and Veterans communities.

Shriver Urges People Look Past Derogatory Term, See Special Olympics' Humanity
"It's not so much that the word is such an important thing, but it's finally a chance to talk about humiliation," Shriver says. Read full story from The Washington Post.

Blind Officer in U.S. Army Special Forces
Captain Ivan Castro is the only blind officer serving in the United States Army Special Forces. He continues in his position as the executive officer of the 7th Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg and hopes to stay in the military. He is looking forward to taking and graduating from the Army's officer advanced course, which teaches captains how to lead troops and plan operations. Read more.

Recreation and Entertainment
Morgan's Wonderland Grand Opening on April 10 
The mission of Morgan's Wonderland is to set a new standard for excellence in providing outdoor recreational opportunities for individuals with disabilities. Grand Opening celebration will be held Saturday, April 10, rain or shine. The festivities will include music, entertainment, and concessions on the grounds surrounding Morgan's Wonderland from 5 pm to 10 pm. This special celebration will be open to the public and will not require online reservations. 

Children in Nature Network 
This movement involves youth in all environments, from rural to urban, and all economic and ethnic groups. The Natural Leaders Network brings together individuals, organizations, communities, and sectors in a non-partisan, inclusive, peer-to-peer network. The network focuses on three issue areas: peer-to-peer communication, diversity in nature, and outdoor green jobs. 

Disability Documentary
Body & Soul: Diana & Kathy
 is a true story about two lifelong friends who have made their home in Springfield, Illinois. Diana drives, cooks, shops, and has been Kathy's personal assistant and friend for the past 35 years. Remarkably, Diana has Down Syndrome, a genetic condition that gives her one extra chromosome and a lower IQ. Kathy on the other hand is 61, has a degree in English, but is non-verbal, and has had cerebral palsy since her birth. As part of their ongoing activist efforts to demystify disability, Diana and Kathy invited Alice into their home over a period of five years to create their film. The film is currently screening at film festivals all over the world. March 2010 update: Body & Soul just got accepted in the American Documentary Showcase, which is a program that offers documentaries to U.S. Embassies overseas. View the movie trailer.

Celebrity Activist
'Breaking Bad' actor RJ Mitte finds 'perfect role' prepared him to become an activist. Read full story.  

Playing the Music in Your Head 
Tod Machover of MIT's Media Lab invented the musical technology behind Guitar Hero, and here he talks about what's coming next. Listen for some brand-new ways to interface with music--to play it, compose it, enjoy it. Machover then introduces Dan Ellsey, a composer with cerebral palsy who uses some new tools to write and perform his own music. (About 10 minutes into video). See video

Prosthetic Aesthetics
A record-breaker at the Paralympic Games in 1996, Aimee Mullins has built a career as a model, actor and activist for women, sports and the next generation of prosthetics. Athlete, actor and activist Aimee Mullins talks about her prosthetic legs--she's got a dozen amazing pairs--and the superpowers they grant her: speed, beauty, an extra 6 inches of height ... Quite simply, she redefines what the body can be. See video.

'Assburgers Syndrome' Among Google's Most Searched Following NBC Show 
Variations of the term "Asperger's syndrome" topped Google searches following the second episode of NBC's "Parenthood" which features a character with the disorder. Read full story.

Surveys and Contests
Yes I Can! Awards
Nominations for the 2011 Yes I Can! Awards will open in June 2010. The Yes I Can! Awards were established to honor children and youth with disabilities who have excelled. Thousands of children and youth have been recognized since the program's inception in 1982. Each year, CEC selects approximately 27 winners for their outstanding achievements in one of nine categories: * Academics * Arts * Athletics * Community Service * Employment * Extracurricular Activities * Independent Living Skills * Self-Advocacy * Technology

Texas Governor's Committee on People with Disabilities Survey
One of the important functions that The Texas Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities is charged to do in its enabling law is to make recommendations to the Governor and legislature each biennium on issues related to Texans with disabilities. The Committee wants to hear from its citizens with disabilities, family members, caregivers and professionals in the field of disability issues. If you have any data that you want to include with your comments that helps bolster your feedback, please do include it or a link to it with your survey comments. The survey will be posted until September 30, 2010. The information will then be consolidated and considered as the Committee drafts its biennial policy recommendations for the 82nd Legislative Session which begins in January 2011. This survey is available in: English and Spanish.

Assistive Robotics to Be Front and Center at 2010 Robotics Competition Held at Trinity College 
In conjunction with the Connecticut Council on Developmental Disabilities, a “RoboWaiter” contest will be exclusively featured during this robotics event. A survey done in 2009 revealed a high level of curiosity about the growing field of assistive robotics and technology, and a heightened interest in the RoboWaiter contest in which the main objective is to create an autonomous robot that can find and carry a plate of food from a refrigerator to a person with a disability. 
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