Posts Tagged ‘ disabilities ’

10-Year-Old CEO with Cerebral Palsy Makes a Difference in Local Community

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

Keith's Ice Cold Lemonade Stand

Keith Boyd and Arthur Greeno

One special boy is doing incredible things in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Keith Boyd, 10, is currently on a mission to raise $250,000 this summer for The Little Light House, a local development center for children with special needs. Keith was born with non-verbal cerebral palsy and went to school at the center until age 6. He is now able to verbally communicate after receiving the Tobii EyeMobile as a gift from The Little Light House. The tool allows users to type a message by interpreting the gaze of their eyes, which is then read aloud. The Tobii is just one of many new tools to help kids with disabilities

And while the gift of communication is invaluable, Boyd is doing what he can to give back.

“[The Little Light House] has done so much for me; I want to give back so other kids can go to that school without paying any money,” he said.

But raising that amount of money in one summer is no easy feat, so Keith crafted a business plan to set up lemonade stands around his community. He presented the plan to Thrive15, an online educational resource for entrepreneurs. Moved by his proposal, local businessman Arthur Greeno stepped in to help make this charitable idea a reality.

Now, Keith’s Ice Cold Lemonade Stand is open for business.

Thanks to donations from local businesses, he’s off to a good start. Before the first lemonade stand opened, $70,000 had already been raised through donations. The local Chick-Fil-A franchise, owned by Greeno, also donated lemons. In his list of ingredients, Keith noted he would require lemons, water, and hugs to make the summer favorite. It can’t get any sweeter than that!

Check out Keith’s website to learn more about his mission, to donate, or to just read some good news. Because you know what they say: When life hands you lemons…

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Paralympian Tatyana McFadden: “We should all be included as one.”

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

The Sochi Winter Paralympics took place March 7-16. Previously known only as a summer Paralympian in wheelchair racing, Team USA member Tatyana McFadden took on the snow in Russia—where she was born before being adopted into an American family at the age of 6. As part of Team Liberty Mutual, McFadden rose to the top. Born with spina bifida, the now 11-time medalist (track and sit-ski) chatted with Parents about overcoming obstacles—in life and in athletics, her adoption experience and her family, and fighting for equality in sports.

P: How does it feel to have won even more medals now in the winter Paralympics?

TM: It was just an amazing, fulfilling experience for me. I definitely exceeded my expectations. I really expected just to be in the top ten for the 12k and I got fifth and then in the sprint, I just really wanted to make the Finals and I medaled. And in the 5k I really wanted to be top 10 again and I got seventh.

P: Summer Paralympics, Winter Paralympics, New York Marathon, Chicago Marathon, the list goes on. What was it like to train for so many different events simultaneously? 

TM: It was very difficult. I ran marathons all the way up until November [2013] and at that time I was still in college. I graduated just this December [2013], so as soon as I graduated I headed out to Colorado for snow training. It was a very continuous schedule.

P: You encountered quite a few obstacles in your childhood. When you were in the orphanage in Russia, how much of an understanding of your condition and your potential did you have? 

TM: Living in the orphanage for six years, I never saw myself as any different. I walked on my hands for the first six years of my life. I didn’t have a wheelchair, but I was a child of determination and drive. If I wanted to get somewhere I would do it and I would do it by walking on my hands. You know, many others think that living in the orphanage was a huge setback in life, but being adopted into an American family brought me opportunities to rise on so many levels, as a student and an athlete.

P: Do you think that your lack of wheelchair as a child led you to gain the strength that has now served you as an athlete?

TM: I think it was just the personality that I have. I wasn’t going to let anything stop me. I always had a Russian saying “Yasama,” which means “I can do it myself and I can do it by myself.” I didn’t want anyone to help me and I think walking on my hands made me extremely strong. But it was just having that drive and determination at such a young age. As soon as I was adopted, I became involved with sports to help be gain a healthy lifestyle.

P: Tell me a little more about your family and the adoption process and coming to America.

TM: The adoption actually saved me. I was very sick and very anemic living in the orphanage. I was born with spina bifida and I was laying in the hospital with my back open for 21 days, so it was quite a miracle that I lived without getting an infection and dying. I do believe there is a purpose for me being here and being alive. I also believe in fate and I remember a woman walking in [to the orphanage] and I looked at her and I told everyone that was gonna be my mom. It was just the strangest feeling. From that moment I really connected with my mom and here we are 19 years later. She’s been so supportive in helping me be the person that I am today.

P: You have two younger adopted sisters, Hannah and Ruthi. What’s that like all having different origin stories and coming together in one family?

TM: There’s lots of culture involved. I mean, we love each other. My middle sister Hannah is also a Paralympian. She’s missing a tibia and fibula, so she’s an amputee. She was in the final of the summer Paralympics with me in the 100 meters. That was the first time ever in track that siblings competed against each other. And my younger sister Ruthi, she plays basketball. We’re all involved with sports and athletics. It’s fun just having that one thing in common. I’ve always wanted a big family.

P: When did you first discover your passion for sports?

TM: Around age 7 when my mom got me involved with a para sports club called the Bennett Blazers. She got me involved with a sports club because being so sick and very anemic, the doctors said, “She probably has a few years to live, just help her try to live a healthy lifestyle.” But my mom really thought otherwise and she said, “No, I’m gonna help her get healthy.” The way to do that was to get me involved with sports.

I started gaining weight. I started becoming a lot stronger. I was able to be more independent. I could push my own wheelchair. Then I started to do my own transfers in and out of the wheelchair. Before I knew it I could do almost everything by myself. Sports allowed me to do that and I wasn’t even focusing on how far I could take this sport. I was just focusing on Wow I can live a healthy lifestyle. If it wasn’t for my mom, I wouldn’t be a healthy person and have fallen in love with sports.

P: Your work with the Bennet Blazers and your battle to pass legislation for equality in high school sports is so important. Tell me a bit more about your quest for equal access to athletics. 

TM: I was a very different high school student. Coming into freshman year, I came back from the Paralympic games in Athens winning a silver and bronze medal and the only thing I wanted to do in high school was to be part of the track team. I was the only physically disabled wheelchair athlete at my high school and I remember the principle saying, “Get involved!” I wanted to be involved with track. First, they denied me a uniform, and then at track meets they had to stop the entire meet and let me run by myself. That’s not what it should be about. We should all be included as one.

P: So the idea is to have integrated teams of those who are in wheelchairs against those who are not? Not for a separate division or town leauges?

TM: It’s for people with physical disabilities to be part of high school sports. It was never to compete against, it was just to run along the side of. That’s what should happen especially if you’re the only athlete. If there were several others than of course we would have our own heat. It’s just about showing your athletic ability. It’s the 21st century and no one should be denied that. And if they’re denied high school, imagine what problems they’re going to run into later in life that they could be denied. Now it’s a federal law.

P: What is your message to kids with differing abilities and to parents of those kids?

TM: There are definitely gonna be challenges in your life and there’s definitely gonna be several setbacks, but it’s about being able to come back from those setbacks and rise in your own way. For me, I rose because of my mom and then in high school I rose because of the lawsuit creating opportunities for others. Now being an 11-time Paralympic medalist, I know these setbacks make us stronger so we can rise as individuals.

One mom’s story about adopting a child with spina bifada:

Adopting a Child with Spina Bifida
Adopting a Child with Spina Bifida
Adopting a Child with Spina Bifida

Photograph: Tatyana McFadden; Courtesy Liberty Mutual Insurance

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Parents Daily News Roundup

Friday, January 25th, 2013

Goody Blog Daily News Roundup

Students With Disabilities Have Right To Play School Sports, Obama Administration Tells Schools
When Kareem Dale, now a special advisor to President Barack Obama, was in high school, all he wanted to do was wrestle. But as a student who was partially blind, that wasn’t easy. (via Huffington Post)

Missouri Parents Required To Report Gun Ownership To Schools Under Maria Chappelle-Nadal Bill
A Missouri lawmaker is making waves with a bill that would require parents who own guns to notify their child’s school. (via Huffington Post)

Prenatal Inflammation Linked to Autism Risk
Maternal inflammation during early pregnancy may be related to an increased risk of autism in children, according to new findings supported by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), part of the National Institutes of Health. Researchers found this in children of mothers with elevated C-reactive protein (CRP), a well-established marker of systemic inflammation. (via Science Daily)

Vocabulary Instruction Failing U.S. Students, Expert Says

Vocabulary instruction in the early years is not challenging enough to prepare students for long-term reading comprehension, argues a study led by a Michigan State University education researcher. (via Science Daily)

Baby Born with Heart Outside of Body Finally Leaves Hospital
A baby girl who was born with her heart on the outside of her body, was finally able to leave the hospital after more than four months, the Houston Chronicle said. (via Fox News)

Detroit School Closures, Kristof On Pre-K: Ed Tonight
Detroit is slated to close even more schools, reports CBS. Enrollment in the Motor City has dwindled from 150,000 to a projected 40,000. (via Huffington Post)

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Parents Daily News Roundup

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

Goody Blog Daily News Roundup

Seeking Signs of SIDS Risks in the Womb
Subtle abnormalities in the placentas of pregnant women may predispose newborns to an increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome, according to a study in Early Human Development. (via Wall Street Journal)

Ovarian Cancer Screenings Are Not Effective, Panel Says
Tests commonly recommended to screen healthy women for ovarian cancer do more harm than good and should not be performed, a panel of medical experts said on Monday. (via New York Times)

Eye-Surgery Benefit Linked to Gender
Motor-vehicle accidents involving men decreased by 15.3% in the 12 months following cataract surgery but the frequency of postoperative crashes didn’t change significantly for women, according to a study in Clinical & Experimental Ophthalmology. (via Wall Street Journal)

Siblings Among First Cured of ‘Bubble Boy Disease’
Brother and sister Colton and Abbygail Ainslie are among three children successfully treated for their immune deficiency during an experiment detailed in Tuesday’s issue of the journal Blood. (via Today)

New Breed of Robotics Aims to Help People Walk Again
Ekso Bionics is one of several companies and research labs that are working on wearable robots made to help disabled people or to make the human body superhuman. (via The New York Times)

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Parents Daily News Roundup

Friday, September 7th, 2012

Goody Blog Daily News Roundup

Children of Older Mothers Are Healthier Later in Life, Research Reports
While older mothers are at a higher risk for miscarriage, a new study shows that children of older mothers are healthier in their adult life. (via NBC News)

Pediatric Melanoma Increasing 1 to 4% Each Year
Doctors urge parents to be aware of the signs of pediatric melanoma which manifests differently in children than in adults.(via Science Daily)

Researchers Find Possible Treatment for a Unique Form of Autism
A team of researchers may have found a treatment for a certain form of autism with epilepsy in a common nutritional supplement. (via Science Daily)

Embarrassment Keeps Children from Reading, Research Says
A new study showed that children are reading less because many say they would be embarrassed to be seen reading a book. (via Huffington Post)

Florida Officials Being Investigated for Housing Disabled Children in Nursing Homes
Investigators say Florida officials are violating state law by housing hundreds of disabled children in isolated nursing homes unnecessarily. (via Washington Post)

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Parents Daily News Roundup

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

Goody Blog Daily News Roundup

Suspensions Are Higher for Disabled Students, Federal Data Indicate
Students with disabilities are almost twice as likely to be suspended from school as nondisabled students, with the highest rates among black children with disabilities. (via NY Times)

Chalk Wars: Mom Ticketed for Child’s Chalk Drawing in Public Park
A Virginia mom has been ordered by a judge to perform community service after allowing her daughter to do chalk drawings in a public park. Last Tuesday, Susan Mortensen appeared in a Richmond, Va. court and agreed to serve 50 hours of community service by January 3, or return to court for sentencing and possibly a $2500 fine. (via MSNBC)

School’s Policy Requires Girls to Take Pregnancy Tests
Calling a charter school’s policy on pregnant students illegal, Louisiana education officials will require the Delhi Charter School to drop its classroom ban on pregnant students and the ability to mandate pregnancy tests for students suspected of being pregnant. (via

Among Diabetes Patients, the Obese Outlive the Trim
People with Type 2 diabetes who are relatively trim may not live as long as people with the condition who carry extra weight, a new study finds. (via NBC)

Kids’ Cholesterol Down; Fewer Trans Fats Cited
A big government study shows that in the past decade, the proportion of children who have high cholesterol has fallen. (via Associated Press)

Why Aren’t Hoarders Bothered by all That Junk? Scientists Find a Clue
Scientists may have uncovered an important clue that could help explain why hoarders can live surrounded by mounds of clutter: A brain network that helps us decide whether something should be kept or thrown away may be malfunctioning. (via NBC)

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Parents Daily News Roundup

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

Goody Blog Daily News Roundup

Assault: Children With Disabilities Are More Likely to Be Victims of Violence, Analysis Shows
Children with disabilities are almost four times more likely to be victims of violence than other children, according to a new report commissioned by the World Health Organization. The report, published in The Lancet on Thursday, found that disabled children were 3.6 times more likely to be physically assaulted and 2.9 times more likely to be sexually assaulted. (via NY Times)

Girls as Young as 6 Want to be ‘Sexy,’ Study Says
Most girls as young as 6 are already beginning to think of themselves as sex objects, according to a new study of elementary school-age kids in the Midwest. The study, published online July 6 in the journal Sex Roles, also identified factors that protect girls from objectifying themselves. (via MSNBC)

Women Beat Men on IQ Tests For First Time
New research is providing an answer to the age-old, delicate question: who is smarter, men or women? A new study has come down on the feminine side of that argument, finding that women now score higher on IQ tests than men. (via ABC News)

Tooth Fillings Made With BPA Tied to Behavior Issues
Kids who get dental fillings made using BPA are more likely to have behavior and emotional problems a few years later, according to a new study. (via Fox News)

Cord Blood Stem Cells Restore Toddler’s Hearing
Madeleine, 2, became the first child to undergo an experimental hearing loss treatment through an FDA-approved trial at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center that infused stem cells from her own banked cord blood into her damaged inner ear. Within the last six months, Connor says she’s seen a dramatic improvement in Madeleine’s ability to hear. (via Yahoo!)

Study Links Child Abuse to Home Foreclosures
Researchers found just under a 1 percent increase in the number of general physical abuse cases reported at 38 pediatric hospitals every year between 2000 and 2009 and a more than 3 percent rise in the number of traumatic brain injuries seen in babies. (via MSNBC)

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Parents Daily News Roundup

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Goody Blog Daily News Roundup

CDC: 1 in 88 US Kids Have Autism
A new government report says autism is more common than previously thought, burdening as many as 1 in 88 children.

School Bans Disabled Girl From Using Walker
Kristi Roberts was stunned when school officials insisted that her disabled 5-year-old daughter switch to a wheelchair from the walker she’d been using for the previous two years.

Hepatitis B Program Helps Cut Infant Infections
A program to prevent chronic hepatitis B infection in newborns seems to be working, according to a new study from researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

When Do Babies Stop Being So Darned Cute? Age 4 ½, Scientists Say
The stage between preschool and kindergarten marks the point at which little kids are no longer considered unbearably adorable. Or at least that’s what the research shows.

Women Turn to Social Media for Support After Pregnancy Loss
Webber is one of a growing number of women who share pregnancy news with “their closest 500 friends” on social networks such as Facebook.

High Schools Have Dress Codes for Prom Gowns
Schools from Connecticut to Arizona are responding to risqué prom dresses with elaborate dress codes.

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