Wednesday, December 2, 2009 – A Social Network for Special Needs!

What is is a social networking site dedicated to connecting the families of children with special needs and the professionals that serve them. The goals of are to:

1. Create a community where families can find information, support, friendship, and appropriate peers for their children
2. Connect families with service providers (therapists, doctors, etc.)
3. Help service providers connect with others in their field and across fields for professional development

Mike Radicone, founder and creator of; A social network dedicated to families with special needs children and the professionals who serve them. But before we get into the wide range of resources this website can offer, here is a brief bio of the founder and creator, Mike Radicone.

After earning a Masters in Special Education, he began working as an Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapist in private home sessions. Throughout his career as an ABA therapist, he serviced preschool and school-aged children with a wide variety of special needs including Autism, Aspergers, Down Syndrome, Speech/Language disorders, ADD/ADHD and Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD), to name a few. His background consists of extensive private school and public school teaching (mainly in a self-contained capacity) where parent interaction and training are at the forefront of responsibilities. In addition to teaching, he currently speaks at educational conferences, provides training to parents and teachers, facilitates social groups and transition special needs students to new schools.

Over time he has met many amazing families who have put a great deal of time, money, and effort into providing the best experiences they can for their children. Several families expressed the challenges they faced in finding other families that have children with similar needs to their own, and specifically in locating social peers, therapists, and information. One day it clicked and he decided to introduce two of these families to each other and, in a short period of time, noticed some very positive results. The children, with different degrees of disabilities, were able to interact with each other and the adults had an opportunity to share information, experiences, and ideas. They continued to keep in touch and set up play dates, no longer needing me to facilitate the meetings. This sharing of information and bringing people together through their personal experiences is the premise behind

Please review the website and take a few minutes to create a profile and join the community! Connect with other families, share stories, blog with a therapist and take advantage of the many other resources that has to offer. Your feedback is valuable so please contact with your comments/questions. – A Social Network for Special Needs!

Weekly Art Projects for kids with Autism, Special Needs

Sometimes a little bit of inspiration and creativity can create awesome moments to share with your child with special needs. Some days you just need a little lift and a guiding push. Weekly Art Projects is an email delivered to you once a week with quick ideas to get your creativity rolling.

After completing a project, you can email us the results and we'll post to our blog for everyone to see and share inspiration.

Join the Weekly Art Projects list by signing up for our email newsletter. A weekly email encouraging creativity and inspiration. A new art project via email every week

Weekly Projects will:

* stir creativity for both you and your child
* bring inspiration as you both enjoy the activities together
* solve boredom
* give you somewhere to "start"

Our hope is that with a weekly jolt of ideas we can individually inspire our kids. Together we can enjoy being creative while inspiring them to come up with great ideas on their own. Some ideas will be an exercise in being silly, a new perspective and others will be works of art!

We will post the Weekly Art Project to this blog as well as email out the Weekly Project. Simply sign up and enjoy!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Causes of Autism Survey

Causes of Autism Survey
by Autism Coach

We invite you to complete our brief survey on what you believe caused your child or you to be diagnosed within the autism spectrum.
In 2004, I surveyed Autism Coach customers to determine what customers believed was the cause of their child's autism. 
Five years later, in 2009, we now have 1 in 91 children diagnosed between the ages of 3 and 17 diagnosed within the autism spectrum.  We need to know more than ever what is causing this high incidence of autism. 

If you could email back your responses to, you can help others by sharing your history and story.
Because everyone these days is strapped for time, I'm keeping it short:
1.  I believe my child's autism diagnosis or my own diagnosis was caused by (if you select more than one, please list in order of priority):
A.  Immunization of child, if yes, please specify which immunization(s)
B.  Genetic condition
C.  Environmental toxins (downwind from a coal fire power plant, living in a heavily polluted area, etc.)
D.  Immunization of parent (during pregnancy or in the military, for example)
E.  Illness (of child or parent during pregnancy)
F.  Other (if other, please specify)

Please feel free to share your story, as this information can help other parents make decisions concerning their children. 
Optional questions for parents, if you have time:
2.  What year was your child diagnosed?  At what age?
3.  When did symptoms first appear?
4.  How old is your child now?
5.  What diagnosis does do they currently have?
6.  How are they doing in school, home, and/or work?
7.  What therapies, supplements, other strategies do you feel were most helpful?
8.  What therapies, supplements do you feel did not make a positive difference or were harmful?
9.  If you are a parent or guardian and had one piece of advice to give a parent or guardian whose child was just diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, what would it be?
Optional questions for adolescents and adults diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder:
2.  What year were you diagnosed?  At what age?
3.  When did symptoms first appear?
4.  How old is you now?
5.  What diagnosis does do you currently have?
6.  How are you doing in school, home, and/or work?
7.  What therapies, supplements, other strategies do you feel were most helpful?
8.  What therapies, supplements do you feel did not make a positive difference or were harmful?
9.  If you had one piece of advice to give to another person on the autism spectrum and one piece of advice to a parent whose child had just been diagnosed on the autism spectrum, what would you pieces of advice be?

To my surprise the 2004 survey ended up being included the Wikipedia Autism entry for several years.  Evidently no-one had bothered to ask parents about their own observations concerning their children.

This is an opportunity for you to have a voice  and share your story.  It is intended to be filled out by parents or guardians of children diagnosed with the autism spectrum.  It may also be filled out by adolescents or adults who are diagnosed within the autism spectrum.

For those of you who choose to respond, thank you for sharing your stories and by doing so helping others in the autism community.  The responses will be made public on the Autism Coach web site.  We will be accepting responses through November 30, 2009. 
If you answered the 2004 survey, feel free to respond again - your contribution made a difference and will do so for 2009 survey! 

Again, to complete it, just email your response to the above question or if you have time the additional questions to 

Thank you again,
Sue Bennett
Autism Coach

Friday, July 17, 2009

Institute on Disability Seeks Artists for its 2010 Calendar

Institute on Disability Seeks Artists for its 2010 Calendar

Are you an artist looking for an opportunity to get your work noticed? Do you know someone who is an artist and might be interested in such an opportunity? Every year since 2000, the Institute on Disability <> (IOD) at the University of New Hampshire has produced a calendar that features 13 original works of art. These highly anticipated calendars are distributed each year to thousands of people around the world who are connected to the IOD's mission of strengthening communities and ensuring full access, equal opportunities, and participation for all persons. The IOD is currently inviting artists to submit artwork to be considered for its 2010 Calendar.

The theme for the 2010 calendar is reflective of the quote:

“Disability is not a 'brave struggle' or 'courage in the face of adversity'... disability is an art. It's an ingenious way to live.” - Neil Marcus

If you would like to submit, here are some simple guidelines to follow:

All artwork must be 2-dimensional (i.e. drawings, paintings). Unfortunately, we are unable to accept photography and sculpture.
Artwork for submission may be created for the purpose of this calendar or may be selected from an existing portfolio of work.
Artwork should reflect the artist's interpretation of the quote above.
Artists are encouraged to submit artwork with vibrant colors (see links to past calendars below).
Artists are welcome to submit a maximum of three (3) works of art for consideration.
Submissions must include the artist's name, phone number, email address and title(s) of artwork.
If chosen, the original work submitted will be requested and will need to be sent to the IOD. All originals will be returned to the artists.

Here are links if you would like to see a PDF copy of the 2008 and 2009 calendars.

Digital copies (scanned or photographed artwork) for consideration should be sent as a JPG or PDF file to with “2010 IOD Calendar Art” in the subject line. Please do not send original artwork at this time. If you would like to submit a printed copy of your artwork via snail mail, please mail it to:

Attn. Matthew Gianino
10 West Edge Drive, Suite 101
Durham , NH 03824

During the final selection process, the IOD may request the original artwork for further consideration in some cases. The 13 finalists will be asked to complete an Artwork Release Form <> . Please be sure you are able to comply with the terms of the release form prior to submitting. The deadline for submissions is Friday, August 7, 2009. All artists whose work is chosen for the 2010 Calendar will be contacted by August 21st .

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact the IOD.

Good luck and we look forward to your submission!

The IOD Staff

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

CVS Caremark Community Grants Program Accepting Grant Applications for Programs Serving Children With Disabilities

Deadline: October 31, 2009

CVS Caremark Community Grants Program Accepting Grant Applications for Programs Serving Children With Disabilities and the Uninsured

The CVS Caremark Community Grants program provides support to community organizations and public schools in states where CVS stores are located.

The 2009 Community Grants program is focused on a few key areas. The program will award funds to nonprofit organizations working to provide disabled children and youth (under age 21) with health and rehabilitation services and/or programs that enable and encourage physical movement and play. The program will also award grants to public schools that promote a greater level of inclusion in student activities and extracurricular programs for children with disabilities. Proposed programs must be fully inclusive where children with disabilities are full participants in an early childhood, adolescent, or teenage programs alongside their typically developing peers.

Additionally, contributions will be made to organizations that provide uninsured individuals with needed care, in particular programs where the care received is of higher quality and delivered by providers who participate in accountable community healthcare programs. There is no age limit on proposed programs that create greater access to health care services.

Qualifying organizations are eligible for grants of up to $5,000 each.

The online grant application process requires that all applicants answer a number of eligibility questions before gaining access to the application. Visit the CVS Caremark Web site for complete program information and application materials:

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Yummy Coffee at the South Street Seaport this summer

hello all,

we will be selling fresh roasted coffee for autism once again,
although this time on a more regular basis. we will be taking a small
space where we can sell coffee whole bean and pour samples to
customers that visit the south street seaport market in nyc.

if anyone out there has a spare moment and would like to
sell some delicious coffee for a cause we're accepting volunteer
applications ;).

check out our web site,, or ny mag's 'grub street'
blog for more details:

thanks for your support.

all our best from nyc,
john, jacquie, and max

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Dr Seuss Game - I Gan Do That

We absolutely love the Dr Seuss Series game called, I can do that! This game is great for kids on the autism spectrum. Simple sequenced cards, (1,2,3) have actions with objects (from the story) and directions centered around a trick a ma stick that is so flimsy that it makes the game even more silly. The theme is centered around the Dr Seuess story 'The Cat in The Hat'. So for example you have to take four giant steps with put fish on your head. The game involves great visuals, sequencing and is really a challenge in motor planning several actions in a row. And then you yell out, "I Can Do That!" It has really been great fun as well as challenging. Enjoy!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Social Stories by Kids Can Dream

I found this on a Yahoo post. Here is a great link to a website that was created by kids with over 220 social story examples! Great job!

Social Stories Website and More

"Hi, I would like to share with you my daughters autism website with over 220 social stories examples. She started her website Kids Can Dream, for her brothers, and as a school project and it has became a huge passion for her. On her site it also has free printables, and pecs websites. Please check it out, it is very infomative. If you enjoy the website, please sign her guestbook. If you have any questions, you can email her at . Thank you so much. Have a great day. Saundra (mom)"

Kids Can Dream - Main Page

Kids Can Dream Social Stories Page - Page 1

Kids Can Dream Social Stories Page - Page 2

Friday, January 9, 2009

20-question research-based screening tool

I just used a very simple visual question screening tool that was helpful to figure out reading ability. Its worth checking out, and my son enjoyed it too. It is really helpful to see him actually figure things out.

Get Ready to Read! Overview
Use this 20-question research-based screening tool with your four-year-old. The score will show if your child's pre-reading skills are weak, strong, or somewhere in between. And activities and resources to improve those skills will be provided.

This tool is designed to screen a child twice during the year before kindergarten. Use the tool first in the fall one year before your child enters kindergarten, and again the next fall before kindergarten begins, to measure the child's progress. Don't use the tool more than three times in a year. It's not designed to measure small changes, and children develop new skills gradually.


The Get Ready to Read! screening tool has a sample question and 20 questions. When you've finished all 20 questions, the tool will be scored automatically.

How to use the Get Ready to Read! screening tool:

1. Find a quiet time to work and set aside about 10-15 minutes to complete the screening tool.

2. Sit next to the child in front of the computer screen. Give the child control of the mouse if he or she knows how to use it.

3. The screening tool begins with a sample question. Use this question to make sure that the child knows what to do. Point to the pictures in the sample question and say to the child: "Let's look at some pictures. I will ask you a question about them, and you point to (or click on) the picture that is the best answer. Let's try one."

4. Remember, read aloud the statement that appears at the top of the sample question, slowly, clearly, and exactly as it is written on the screen. Ask the child to point to (or click on) the best answer. This is a sample question, so you may give hints and feedback only on this question to make sure the child understands the instructions.

5. When you are confident that the child understands what to do, click on "start" at the bottom of the sample page to continue to the first question.

6. Read the statement at the top of the page to the child exactly as it is written on the screen. You or the child should click on the picture that the child chooses as the answer. Click on "next" to continue to the next question. Continue in this way through all 20 questions.

7. After the 20th question, click on the "Get Score" button to get the child's score.

What if:

* The child wants to stop? Say: "We have just a few more. Let's try to finish." If the child stops paying attention, take a short break. Start with the next unanswered item. If the child is not able to start again, restart the screening tool at the beginning a few days later.

* The child asks for help? Say: "Try to do it yourself." You can repeat a question, but don't offer more help.

* The child says the answer instead of pointing to or clicking on it? Say: "Can you show me? Put your finger on it."

* The child points to more than one picture or changes an answer? Say: "Can you pick just one?" Choose the child's final answer.

* The child asks if the answer is right? Give a vague answer: "You're doing a really good job." Respond the same way whether the answer is right or wrong.

* The child answers too quickly, or points to the picture in the same position every time? Say: "Take your time. Look at all the pictures before you decide." The child may be tired. Take a short break.