Wednesday, April 30, 2008

National ADA Symposium

From May 12 to the 14th, the National ADA Symposium, which is the most comprehensive event on the Americans with Disabilities Act, will take place in St. Louis, Missouri. There will be presentations from the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Access Board and the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission. The symposium also offers ADA training and updates to attendees and a variety of topical sessions and social activities for networking.

Check out their website at to learn more about this event!

What Some Participants Say About the National ADA Symposium.

"This Symposium was invaluable. I found it very educational & thorough. The network of people was outstanding and impressive."

"I received clarification on many issues that were cloudy when I arrived."

"EXPO is such a great resource for products, services & contacts."

"Presenters were very knowledgeable and went out of their way to meet with people after presentations."

"Gave me a lot of new contacts and inspired me to get more involved in my community for the betterment of others with disabilities."

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Video Series on Accessible Sidewalks

A series of videos on sidewalk accessibility previously available on DVD can now be viewed through the U.S. Access Board's website. Accessible Sidewalks is a four-part video developed by the Board to illustrate issues and considerations in the design of sidewalks. The series covers access for pedestrians with mobility impairments, including those who use wheelchairs, and pedestrians who are blind or have low vision. The videos are open captioned and incorporate running descriptive audio.

Check out these videos online at!

The series on DVD is still available free from the Board. To order a copy, send a request for the “Accessible Sidewalks DVD” with your mailing address to or call the Board at (202) 272-0011 (v) or (202) 272-0082 (TTY).

Monday, April 28, 2008

Check out the new IN*SOURCE online community!

From June 16th through the 20th, the Indiana Resource Center for Autism will host a Summer Institute entitled Educating and Supporting Individuals Across the Autism Spectrum, which will involve the discussion of functional behavioral assessments, structured teaching, communication programming, and more.

This is just one of the notices recently posted within IN*SOURCE's new online community, which is free for anyone interested. The Indiana Resource Center for Families with Special Needs has created this interactive community so that, once an account is made, individuals can talk about autism, special education issues, and learning disabilities with other members. Take a look at it today to see what's new! For more information, please visit

Social & Communication Development in Autism Spectrum Disorders

Social & Communication Development in Autism Spectrum Disorders: Early Identification, Diagnosis, & Intervention, edited by Tony Charman and Wendy Stone, discusses the assessment, understanding, and treatment of autism spectrum disorders. The research of experts in the field is presented to highlight the most recent advances in the treatment of ASD. Charman and Stone's latest book have received a number of positive reviews, including the following from Samuel L. Odom, PhD. of the School of Education at Indiana University: "Charman and Stone have recruited foremost authorities to summarize in clear and considerable detail what the science shows, the clinical implications of existing knowledge, and the directions toward which we need to move in further research. This book is destined to be a truly influential contribution for autism researchers, clinicians, graduate students, and policymakers." To find out more about treating ASD during the first five years of a child's life, check out Social & Communication Development in Autism Spectrum Disorders today at CeDIR.

Friday, April 25, 2008

KidsHealth is the largest and most-visited site on the Web providing doctor-approved health information about children from before birth through adolescence. Created by The Nemours Foundation's Center for Children's Health Media, the award-winning KidsHealth provides families with accurate, up-to-date, and jargon-free health information they can use. KidsHealth has been on the Web since 1995 — and has been accessed by about half a billion visitors. On a typical weekday, more than 500,000 visitors access KidsHealth's reliable information.

KidsHealth has separate areas for kids, teens, and parents — each with its own design, age-appropriate content, and tone. There are literally thousands of in-depth features, articles, animations, games, and resources — all original and all developed by experts in the health of children and teens.

Check out!

Gurpreet K. Rana wrote an article titled KidsHealth: Child Health Information for All Ages
in the Consumer Health Searcher. The author states in the article that "Kids-Health has been recognized as one of the premier sources of pediatric consumer health information available, not only for its content and readability but also for the unique presentation–organization “information portals” to age-appropriate content, in the form of a Parents Site, Kids Site, and Teens Site."

Want to read this article? Click here!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

A good teen read

Teenage years are a challenging and empowering period for everyone. Owning it: Stories about Teens with Disabilities uses short stories to explore how teens with disabilities deal with school and friends. This book is a great resource for young adults who will be able to recognize themselves in the stories, but it is also useful for teenagers without disabilities who can gain a new perspective into the lives of their classmates. Indiana residents can check this book out from CeDIR by calling 812-855-9696 or e-mailing cedir [at] indiana [dot] edu. Out-of-state residents can find the book at your local public library.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Home Makeover for Families in Need


Do you know someone whose home deserves an Extreme Makeover? If so, the producers of ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition want to hear from you! Ty Pennington and his crew have been all across the map and they are ready to drive that infamous bus to Indiana!

What does it take to be picked for an Extreme Makeover?
We are in search of real heroes - people that have amazing strength and who have put their own needs aside to help someone else. In addition to heroics, the producers are looking for families whose homes are in dire need of help. We don’t want to tear down a nice looking house. We want to see houses that look like they might fall down on their own!

To be eligible: A family must own their own single family home and be able to show producers how a makeover will make a huge difference in their lives. Interested families should: e-mail a short description of their family story to –

Nominations must include:
1. The names and ages of each member of the household
2. A description of the major challenges within the home
3. Explanation of why this family is deserving, heroic, or a positive role model in their community
4. Photos of the family and a photo of the home
5. Don’t forget to include a contact phone number
The deadline: for nominations is May 9th, 2008. Don’t Delay! Please send story submissions as soon as possible!

For more information on how to apply please visit our website at:

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Autism Chronicles

National Public Radio is currently working on a series called The Autism Chronicles. The series follows the Brown family as they navigate life with their son Gibson, who was diagnosed with autism at age 3. Part I covers the initial fear as Katrina Brown notices that her son is developing differently than other children, Gibson's diagnosis and Katrina's reaction.

Part II follows Gibson as he attends the Croyden Avenue School in Kalamazoo, Michigan. One thing that sets the Croyden apart is that it is a public school. Gibson and other students in the Autistic Program receive the kind of intensive counseling that would cost their families up to $100,000 per year in a private setting.

The web page for each article in the series comes with audio, a written article and a photo slideshow to document the Brown family's experience with autism.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Accessible housing

Few things hit closer to home than housing issues. Whether you're trying to find an accessible place to rent, purchase your first home or even remodel your existing home to make it accessible, the task can seem daunting.

The Center on Community Living and Careers has invaluable information for anyone dealing with the various issues in home accessibility. Check out their publications page here. You can find ten relevant publications at the very bottom of the page.

To give you a preview of the kind of information you'll find, here are CCLC's publications on Rental Housing and Home Modification.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Autism conference

The Indiana Resource Center for Autism is sponsoring a conference called Strengthening our Roots: A Conference for and about Families with Children on the Autism Spectrum at Bloomington High School South in Bloomington, IN on May 17, 2008.

A wide variety of topics will be discussed including puberty, assistive technology, communication, marriages between people on the autism spectrum and those who aren't, sensory integration, and life after high school. For the complete list of topics and registration information, check out the conference website.

If you unable to make it to the workshop, you may want to explore some of our print resources about autism:
Indiana residents may borrow these items and many others by calling 812-855-9396 or e-mailing cedir [at] indiana [dot] edu. Out-of-state residents should contact the local public library.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Memory Keeper's Daughter

The bestseller the Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards is now a Lifetime movie!

The birth of a child should be the happiest moment in a couple's life. But when a doctor's wife has twins, one of whom has Down syndrome, this physician makes the difficult decision to send one of his babies away. An attending nurse discovers his plan and intervenes, putting into motion events that will haunt the doc, his wife and his son for the next 20 years.

The movie premiered on Lifetime on Saturday April 12. Stay in tuned to Lifetime to find out when it will next air locally for you!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


The magazine DiversityInc posted an article yesterday titled "7 Things NEVER to Say to People with Disabilities" by Daryl Hannah. Click here to check it out!

DiversityInc is the leading publication on diversity and business. Founded in 1998 as a web-based publication, their monthly print magazine was launched in 2002. has the largest dedicated career center for diverse professionals. DiversityInc defines diversity management as the proactive management of race/culture, gender, orientation, disability and age to ensure equal outcome in relationships with employees, customers, investors and suppliers. They believe that all people are created equally, and therefore, talent is distributed equally as well.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Negotiating the Special Education Maze

Anderson, W., Chitwood, S., Hayden, D. & Takemoto, C. (2008). Negotiating the special education maze: A guide for parents & teachers (4th ed.). Bethesda, MD: Woodbine House.

Ensuring that your child with a disability is getting the most out of school can be a frustrating experience even in the best of situations. This updated book from Woodbine House gives parents and teachers a step by step guide to help navigate the special education system and advocate for your child's educational needs.

Included are worksheets, forms and charts to help parents plan their IEP goals, keep important records and contacts and track progress. Also included is a glossary of terms and further resources to help parents get the support they need.

If you would like to check out this book Indiana residents can call us at 800-437-7924, or find Negotiating the Special Educaiton Maze at a library near you!

Friday, April 11, 2008

video games and disability

When most of us think of people with disabilities, the idea of playing video games might be the last thing to enter our minds. However, millions of people all over the world play video games, and with the creation of network technology, it can be a great social activity. As evidenced by these three websites, gaming is also becoming more inclusive.

Ben Heck -- Benjamin J. Heckendorn, known to the rest of the net as Ben Heck, likes to mess with video game hardware. He started out doing fun or strange modifications on video game consoles as a hobby, but impressed enough people with his mods that he now does it full time. You can find plenty of interesting and creative projects on his website, but his most important work is two attempts to make a one-handed video game controller. The first version was prompted by a request from an Iraq veteran who lost the use of one arm during combat. After making the first controller, Ben spent some time redesigning and refining the project. His second version adds functionality and the ability to completely customize the button/joystick configuration, and plans are in the works to have it mass produced and available in stores. -- Able Gamers provides a community for gamers with disabilities. Their site has feature articles, product reviews for ergonomic hardware, and industry news. The industry news comes in two flavors: news geared toward gamers with disabilities, and general gaming news. You can find out whether or not Xbox plans to incorporate Blu-Ray into its consoles or find out about upcoming changes to World of Warcraft that could make gaming a lot tougher for people with limited movement.

Game Accessibility -- Game Accessiblity is very similar to AbleGamers. The main difference is that Game Accessibility focuses on computer games rather than console games. Another difference is that Game Accessibility divides certain portions of its website by type of disability, with sections for visually, auditory, physically and learning disabled gamers.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Disability awareness ideas for teachers

Our perspectives about disabilities often begin in childhood. CeDIR has a new book called "Teaching about Disabilities through Children's Literature" by Mary Anne Prater and Tina Taylor to help kids learn about disabilities in a positive way. This is a valuable resource for teachers that talks about representations of disabilities in literature and how to use children's books to teach about disabilities. There are lists of relevant children's books on specific disabilities as well as lesson plans, unit plans, worksheets, and activities.

Indiana residents may check out this item from us by calling 812-855-9396 or by e-mailing Out-of-state residents can find this book at your local public library.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Accessible Travel & Hospitality

Want to travel? Check out this website for SATH!

The Society for Accessible Travel & Hospitality (SATH), founded in 1976, is an educational nonprofit membership organization whose mission is to raise awareness of the needs of all travelers with disabilities, remove physical and attitudinal barriers to free access and expand travel opportunities in the United States and abroad.

Since its inception, SATH has served as a clearinghouse for access information. SATH’s travel magazine, Open World, features inspiring articles by travelers with disabilities and updates on destinations, cruises, web sites, legislation and more.

Interested in more accessible vacation ideas? Check out 101 Accessible Vacations by Candy Harrington. This book is the first guidebook dedicated exclusively to wheelchair-accessible destinations, lodgings, recreational opportunities, and tourist attractions! Contact us if you're an Indiana resident. If not find this book at your local library!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Indiana Summer Camps

Interested in Indiana Summer Camps geared towards youths with disabilities?

Bradford Woods in Martinsville, Indiana is well known as the best residential camping facility in the Midwest available to youth with disabilities. Many of these are sponsored by Riley Children’s Foundation. One such program is the award-winning week long Camp Kan Du, which is designed for youth whose cognitive level is assessed between 0 to 48 months. Camp About Face, sponsored by the Craniofacial Clinic and Riley Children’s Foundation, is a week-long camp for children with craniofacial anomalies.
Contact them at (765) 342-2915 or check out their website!

There is also:
Isanogel Center
in Muncie, Indiana where individuals with physical & mental disabilities can make friends while enjoying activities. Contact at 765-288-1073.
Camp Millhouse in South Bend, Indiana which offers fun-filled adventurous outdoor activities for persons with special needs. Contact at 574-233-2202

Looking for summer camps in different states check out this helpful website.
My Summer Camps

Monday, April 7, 2008

Understanding Your Child's Puzzling Behavior

Curtis, S.E. (2008). Understanding your child's puzzling behavior: a guide for parents of children with behavioral, social, and learning challenges. Bainbridge Island, WA: Lifespan Press. Call No. 40.2 .C8

As a parent it's often difficult to know if your child's puzzling behavior is a kid just being a kid, or indicative of a larger issue that requires professional help. If they do need professional help where do you start and what should you expect? Dr. Steven Curtis, a licensed children's clinical psychologist, has written a step by step to help parents answer these questions.

This book is divided into three main sections:
  • A framework for understanding and finding help for your child
  • Five steps to finding the right solution
  • Where and when to seek professional help
Throughout the text you'll find helpful worksheets and examples, easy to read tables and a glossary of pertinent terms. Also included is a parent resource guide for more information on a variety of subjects related to puzzling behavior.

Interested in checking this book out? Indiana residents can contact us at Not an Indiana resident? Find Understanding Your Child's Puzzling Behavior at a library near you!

Friday, April 4, 2008

The Boy Inside

Kaplan, M. (Producer). (2006). The boy inside [DVD]. Boston, MA : Fanlight Productions.

The Boy Inside gives viewers the opportunity to experience what life is really like for a child with Asperger's Syndrome. Filmmaker Marianne Kaplan chronicles her son's 7th grade year as he struggles with family tensions, bullying, social pressures and an overwhelming sense of isolation.

For more information visit where you will find video clips, showing listing, a film synopsis as well as an online Asperger's Community where you can connect to other with Asperger's and their teachers and families. Are you interested in showing this film in your classroom? Visit Fanlight Productions for a viewers guide.

Indiana residents who would like to check out this film can call us at 800-437-7924. Not an Indiana resident? Find The Boy Inside at a library near you!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

New autism book

In honor of Autism Awareness Month, we have another new resource for families. Autism 24/7 is an easy-to-read book that helps parents pinpoint times when their child's behavior interferes with the family. Parents will learn about:
  • Using motivational strategies and powerful reinforcements
  • Teaching functional communication skills
  • Creating opportunities for learning
  • Teaching techniques
  • Managing challenging behavior
  • Evaluation progress
Indiana residents may check out this item from us by calling 812-855-9396 or by e-mailing cedir [at] indiana [dot] edu. Out-of-state residents can find it at the local public library.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

April is Autism Awareness Month

Check out this great resource put together by the folks at the Indiana Resource Center for Autism here at the IIDC!

Facts and Tips for Working with Students
on the Autism Spectrum

  • In February 2007, the Centers for Disease Control issued a report which looked at a sample of 8 year olds, and concluded that the prevalence of autism had risen to 1 in 150 in American children and almost 1 in 94 among boys.
  • According to Indiana’s Child Count data reported by the Indiana Division of Exceptional Learners, Department of Education, the incidence of autism in Indiana for public school students is 1 in 128.
  • There is no single known cause for autism, but current research points to a genetic predisposition with potential triggers, including environmental factors.
  • Autism is referred to as a spectrum disorder to signify differences among a group of people who share a common diagnosis.
  • Currently, the Autism Society of America estimates that the lifetime cost of caring for a child with autism ranges from $3.4 million to $5 million.
  • The ASA also reports that the United States is facing almost $90 billion annually in costs for autism (this includes research, insurance costs and non-covered expenses, Medicaid Wavier for autism, educational spending, housing, transportation, employment, in addition to related therapeutic services).
  • Autism is treatable. Studies show that early diagnosis and intervention lead to significantly improved outcomes.

(Source: Autism Society of America. For more information, visit their website at

Tips: (Courtesy of Indiana’s Autism Leadership Network)

  • Approach students quietly from the side to avoid startling them. Their peripheral vision may be better and it gives them time to process information that tells them you are coming toward them. Once they are startled, it can be difficult for them to calm themselves.

  • Give the child space. Don’t hover behind.

  • Use non-verbal communication (e.g., gestures) when you can. For example, point to the location where you wish the child to be, put your finger to your lips to remind them to stop talking, or give a thumbs up when s/he is doing well.

  • Use literal, succinct and direct instructions. “First, put your coat in the closet, and then come to class.” Avoid idiomatic phrases or sarcasm that the student may not understand.

  • Use a calm even tone of voice. Excited adults yield excited students. Practice your poker face.

  • Visual supports are beneficial even after the child no longer seems to “need” them. Do not discontinue their use without a case conference discussion. In times of stress, these visual supports may be a great support.

  • Use a non-threatening stance: arms at your side or gently folded, and shoulders relaxed.

  • Remember not to take behaviors personally, even when the child has a perfect knack for targeting your most vulnerable attribute.

  • Children on the spectrum often have poor social skills. It is part of the diagnosis. Insert naturally occurring lessons into the day as they arise. For example, prior to the event, coach a child to say happy birthday to a peer, raise their hand to answer a question, cover their mouth when they sneeze, say no thank-you to non-preferred treats, etc.

  • Give the student ample time to respond BEFORE you repeat instructions.

  • Structure is your best friend. When there is down time, help students develop a repertoire of things they can do. For example, in line they can recite a poem in their head, count, read a book, make a list, etc. If there are too many choices given, narrow it to two or three and have the child choose.

  • If there is a given schedule, follow it. Prepare for any upcoming variations.

  • Information processing and sensory issues are more difficult when the child is stressed.

  • Know the signs of anxiety or stress for your students: pacing, hand-wringing, cussing, flushed face, laughing, etc. Know what causes anxiety or stress for each student. Adjust your language and demands when anxiety is heightened.

  • Spend time with a student before making programming judgments. Listen to and observe the student with input from family members, teachers/therapists or other involved staff before commenting.

  • Educate students using their knowledge, interests, and fixations. Build lessons around these special interest topics so that others see them as experts in something.

  • Stay in close contact with family members and physicians about what is working and what is not, especially when students are on medications.

  • Build in many small breaks, even in secondary school, for relaxation. Identify a safe area or safe person for the student to access when they are stressed.

  • Help find a social group, a club or some sort of organization that can connect them to peer mentors that are positive.

  • Pre-teach new concepts so they can re-hear them in the general education classroom. This allows them to contribute to the classroom discussion and promotes their success when topics have been rehearsed.

  • When you are feeling overwhelmed by a situation, surround yourself with a team of people with whom you can brainstorm. Using the resources and wisdom of all, helps us to be more creative and problem-solve more effectively.

  • The ultimate goal for any student is the ability to be independent and to have a successful adult life. No matter what the age of the student, teaching specific procedures and skills and then fading support, is essential for this to happen.

  • And finally, enjoy working with these students. They have many gifts and talents. Building a strong and positive rapport may be your most effective tool.

Special thanks to Roma Osterloo, Eilleen Kalman, Edi Powell and Olivia Schueler from Indiana’s Autism Leadership Network. Organized by Dr. Cathy Pratt, Director, Indiana Resource Center for Autism, Indiana Institute on Disability and Community. Visit our website at

Promote Woman's Day

Promote Woman’s Day Health Initiative through May 11

A new health initiative is being sponsored by ALA’s Campaign for America’s Libraries and Woman’s Day magazine. The magazine is looking for stories on how readers have used the library to improve a family member’s or their own health.

Woman’s Day, which has a readership of 4 million, announced the initiative in its March issue, where it asked its readers aged 18 and over to submit their stories in 700 words or less. Stories can be sent to Up to four of the submissions will be featured the March 2009 issue of Woman’s Day. Deadline is May 11.

Why not go ahead and send your story in today!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

CNN Reporting on Autism

All day tomorrow, Wednesday April 2nd, CNN will be reporting on autism. They will be discussing the global impact and latest science concerning the developmental syndrome of autism in a global investigation. Their website includes various in-depth articles including one titled "Life as an Adult with Autism." There are also numerous videos including families living with autism, debates on vaccines for autism and a video titled "Autism: How Do You Know?"

Check it out at and don't forget to tune in to CNN tomorrow to watch!