vody/> RCM - Revitalizing Community Membership: Empowering Independence: February 2016

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Becoming Bulletproof Premieres March 1: Western Costume Drama Featuring a Diverse Group of Disabled People from Across the US

Spread the word! Becoming Bulletproof premieres March 1, 7:30PM EST/PST on Showtime Network! Find out about online and On-Demand airings too!

Becoming Bulletproof:

Documentary following the making of a rip-roaring Western costume drama featuring a diverse group of disabled people from across the US, which tells a moving story of big screen barriers and raises questions about why we so rarely see disabled actors on film.


9-Year-Old Boy with Autism Relies on His Service Dog to Keep Him Safe and Calm While in the Hospital

Where James Isaac goes, Mahe follows – even into the boy's hospital bed.

The 9-year-old Wellington boy is autistic and relies on the black Labrador to keep him safe and calm.

James cannot speak, and recoils from touch and eye contact with his family.

But he will curl up happily with Mahe.

“And for Mahe, James is his best mate, he is all about James," mum Michelle Isaac said.

So important is the bond that Mahe was allowed to join James at the Wellington Children's Hospital as he underwent an MRI scan to diagnose the cause of his seizures.

As he went under general anesthetic, Mahe watched with concern, nuzzling his master's face.

"He was just looking at James, and looking really worried."
As Michelle waited in the hospital cafe for the scan to end, Mahe sat beside her, calming the mother as he had calmed the son.

"I was really shaken, it was pretty stressful watching James struggle."

Life for the Isaac family has improve immensely since Mahe came into their lives, 2½ years ago.

Michelle said going out into public with James used to be nightmare. He was likely to run off and lose the plot in any unfamiliar or over-stimulating involvement.

"We couldn't even go to a cafe as a family. James would get very anxious and want to leave immediately. But when we got Mahe, James would just sit there waiting for us to finish our coffee."


“We need to make every single thing accessible to every single person with a disability.”

“We need to make every single thing accessible to every single person with a disability.”
       ~ Stevie Wonder


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Meet the School Bus Driver with a Grammy Who Loves Driving a School Bus for Little Boys and Girls with Special Needs

He loves driving a school bus for little boys and girls with special needs so much so that he mentioned it in his acceptance speech.

It’s a special day in the afternoon bus line outside tiny Watertown Elementary School in rural Tennessee.

A smiling 4-year-old blonde girl carries a neon-yellow cardboard sign that reads “We Love Mr. Joe” and sheepishly hands it to the beaming bus driver.

“Ms. Elise!” he says, chuckling, deep voice booming. “Thank you, baby.”

Most kids at the small-town school love their bus drivers.

But this sign also is a large congratulations card — just days earlier Joe Thompson won a Grammy award in Los Angeles, about 2,048 miles away.

Thompson leads legendary gospel quartet The Fairfield Four, which broke big outside the genre in 2000 by appearing at the end of the Coen Brothers' movie “O Brother Where Art Thou?”

Still, that music thing is just a part-time gig for the 80-year-old bass singer.


Sunday, February 21, 2016

My Son with Autism is Going to College Cue the Happy Tears

One of the great parental rites-of-passage is when your eldest child receives their first college acceptance letter. If it happens to be the school that he or she so wants to attend, then it’s a moment of genuine celebration, tinged with the bittersweet knowledge that the adult leave-taking is beginning.

But when, like my son Max, your child is autistic, and that first “you’re in” letter lands on the doormat… well, full disclosure, I found myself sobbing uncontrollably. Because early on in Max’s odyssey along the autism spectrum I was categorically told that the hope of him ever having a so-called “normal life” — let alone eventually going off to college — was beyond the realm of possibility.

Ask any parent of a child with a disability and you will usually get an earful about the all-encompassing uncertainties that accompany having a son or daughter with “special needs” (to use that politically correct catch-all phrase). These parents are acutely aware of the fact that — in its brutal, happenstantial way — life can suddenly deal you some very bad cards. Only retrospectively — many years down this track — do you also begin to realize that how you, the parent, grapple with this determines so much of your child’s future.

To read more on this story, click here: My Son with Autismis Going to College Cue the Happy Tears


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Mother of Two Autistic Boys Has Created Toys that Celebrate Children with Disabilities

Maria Kentley didn't want her two boys, who have autism, to grow up feeling different so she decided to design dolls to help children feel empowered about their disabilities and illnesses.

However, because the disorder has no obvious physical characteristics, the Melbourne mother-of-four thought the best way to illustrate this was to up-cycle a Bratz Boyz doll wearing a hoodie with an awareness message emblazoned across it.

“I repainted his face as a teenage version of my son Christian and made a black hoodie top for him with the words "I'm Autistic and Awesome" on it, because my son is awesome and he is autistic,” Ms. Kentley told Daily Mail Australia.

“Although Christian is only three years old and too young to read, he is already attached to this doll and knows I made it for him. I suppose you can say it's his "mini me.”

Just under two months ago, Ms. Kentley's youngest son Ethan was also diagnosed with autism.

“When we received Ethan's diagnosis, it wasn't as big of a shock as when Christian was diagnosed because we didn't know as much about it then as we do now,” she said.

“I want him to be afraid of the word Autism and Autistic.

I want him and Ethan to grow up loving themselves for who they are and learn to embrace their differences, and know that they are beautifully and wonderfully created, no matter what.”

Although the autism dolls have proved to be the most popular, Ms. Kentley will custom make each doll upon request which has included anything from dolls that are bald or with wigs after undergoing chemotherapy to wearing prosthetic limbs, in wheelchairs, birthmarks or with Down Syndrome.


Monday, February 15, 2016

Family of Autistic Boy Launched a Fundraising Campaign to Get $12,500 Needed for a Therapy Dog: Taylor Swift Donates $10,000

Two schoolgirls who created their own version of one of Taylor Swift's most famous songs to raise money for their autistic relative have received a huge donation from the popstar herself.

Jordan Fox and Makaylee Duhon, who are both 12, joined together to rewrite the lyrics to Swift's hit 'Blank Space' as a way of helping Jacob Hill, who suffers from autism.

Jacob, who is five, suffers from the condition, which makes it harder for him socialize and he is prone to wandering off from his parents.

His mother Allison was keen for Jacob to be given a service dog, which would stop him from putting himself in constant danger.

His family then launched a fund-raising campaign to gather together the $12,500 needed to train a dog and his sister Jordan and cousin Makaylee decided to rework one of Swift's songs where they plead for donations.

The video of their song, their own take on Blank Space, was posted to YouTube and spotted by the hitmaker who wanted to help out the cause.


Monday, February 8, 2016

To the Mom Who Wasn’t Sure if Her Son With Special Needs Should Attend Our Party

I know it took a lot of courage to call me and talk to me about your son. I’ll be honest, I’ve been wanting to call you or to catch you in the schoolyard. I’ve wanted to reach out to you since our boys were in kindergarten together. When we went on a field trip to the horse ranch and your son faced challenges, I wanted to reach out to you then. But I didn’t know how. I didn’t know where you were in the journey, so I didn’t know if what I would have said would have felt supportive or if my words would have cut like a knife.

I should have thought back to when my oldest son was in kindergarten and how I felt so much like an outsider. He had epic meltdowns at school events and the one and only birthday party he got invited to. Parents actually moved away from us, recoiling in horror as I led my boy out of the party room. I felt absolute shame as a parent and gut-wrenching sorrow for my son. So misunderstood. I should have remembered how much it meant to me when one or two parents reached out, however tentatively and awkwardly, trying to provide understanding and support.


Active Family Raising Money to Buy Autistic Son Special Bike

Alex Cohick, 25, is autistic and suffers from an intellectual disability, but he loves to go fast.

“Whenever we push him fast he puts his arms in the air and says, ‘Woohoo!,’” Betsy Cohick, Alex’s mother, said.

Alex lives full-time in a group home in Lebanon now and went to school at Melmark, in the Philadelphia area.

“It took us a couple of years to get him close to home, because you have to go where a group home is available,” Betsy said. “So he was in northern Philadelphia for a while, and then he moved to Reading. He kept getting closer and closer to us. He has been here in Lebanon County for about two years now.”

The Cohicks, who live in Palmyra, enjoy ice skating, biking and other activities, but Alex requires special equipment to participate in those activities.

While the Cohicks have successfully gotten Alex on the ice at the Klick Lewis Arena, 101 Landings Drive, Annville, using a special sled left behind by a paraplegic ice hockey player, Alex needs an Axiom Racer Conversion to have a successful biking experience.

To read more on this story, click here: Active Family Raising Money to Buy Autistic Son Special Bike


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Car Show!

Looks like a great time was had by all at the car show this past weekend!


Please support one of our own LPNs, Diara Lawson, as She Takes the Plunge for Special Olympics D.C.!

Support one of our own LPNs, Diara Lawson, as she takes the Plunge for Special Olympics D.C.

About:  Diara Lawson

Hello!!! I'm 29 years old and a Washingtonian. I am a LPN and I work with great people with intellectual disabilities. I support community inclusion and equal rights for all!!

To support Diara, click here: 

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Join us and Register Now! February 28th is the big day for the D.C. Polar Plunge at Catholic University

Join us and Register Now! February 28th is the big day for the D.C. Polar Plunge at Catholic University. If you feel you can't jump, support a plunger who can.
For More Info Go To WWW.Plungedc.com
‪#‎SpecialOlympicsDC ‪#‎SpecialOlympics ‪#‎PolarPlunge ‪#‎PlungeDC ‪#‎TakeThePlunge

The Special Olympics D.C. Polar Plunge brings together children and adults who are interested in two things: raising money to support the athletes of Special Olympics D.C. and having fun doing something wild!  In its 3rd year, the D.C. Polar Plunge has generated $200,000 annually and is becoming the cool thing to do to support the nearly 1,600 athletes of Special Olympics D.C.  Take the Plunge and Make a Difference!

Date: Sunday, February 28th
Time: 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Place: Catholic University’s Cardinal Stadium

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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Val Chmerkovskiy, Dancing With The Stars Professional: Facing a $6 Million Lawsuit from a 16-Year-Old Girl Who Has Down's Syndrome

Val Chmerkovskiy is facing a $6 million lawsuit from a 16-year-old girl who alleges the Dancing With The Stars professional caused her severe emotional distress by posting a picture on social media mocking her appearance.

The girl, who has Down's Syndrome, claims she was at a baseball game in 2008 and someone took a picture of her drinking a soda. The photographer captioned the image, "Everything that's wrong with America", and it soon went viral.

Chmerkovskiy reposted the image on his Facebook page three weeks ago, editors at TMZ.com report, with the caption, "Letting your kid become obese should be considered child abuse."

The girl claims that due to Chmerkovskiy, and later CBS News, posting the image on social media, that it subsequently went viral again and she was left humiliated.

The girl's mother sent several emails to Chmerkovskiy asking him to take down the image, which he eventually did. However, he responded with a post on Facebook that read in part, "I am truly sorry for the lack of sensitivity... You're handicapping your kid, and they're defenseless (sic)... They don't know better. That's why you're there."


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