THE HELPFUL LIST
The resources listed here come mostly from postings shared by members of our Facebook group - "Upside of Downs Umbrella." Click here to visit this caregiving group and request membership. Members post helpful, inspiring links and videos to the Facebook page and the Upside staff (me) adds them to this alphabetized list! Categories (and letters of the alphabet) are added as needed!
"Bringing Gamma Back" (a Radiolab Podcast) - Breakthrough discovery, prodding the brain with light...scientists "able to turn back on a part of the brain that had been shut down by Alzheimer's disease."
AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL NATIONAL PARK PASSES
The pass is your ticket to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites. Click here then scroll down to "Access Pass" (they're free to individuals with permanent disabilities)
Programs throughout the United States offer therapeutic horseback riding and horse care activities for individuals of all ages with special needs.
SPECIAL NEEDS CAMPS
Best Day Foundation is a volunteer organization that helps children with special needs build confidence and self-esteem through safe, fun, adventure activities like surfing, bodyboarding, kayaking, snow sports, and more. Children with Autism, Down syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, blindness, cancer, Cystic Fibrosis, Muscular Dystrophy, spinal cord injuries, and other physical and developmental challenges enjoy the Best Day adventures currently offered in chapters in Florida, New Jersey, and California.
iCan Bike Camp
Individuals with special needs ages 8 and up learn to ride a two-wheel bicycle independently (at least 75 feet with no assistance) by the end of the five-day program (75 minute sessions each day). That's the goal reached by 80% of the participants with the remaining 20% having made tremendous progress and parents and/or siblings successfully trained as ‘spotters’ to pick up from there!
Surfers Healing - Surf Camp for Children with Autism
Free surf camps for children with autism offered across the country, from San Diego to Rhode Island as well as Mexico and Puerto Rico. The daylong camps are about acceptance, respite, and fun. They call it, “Extreme Special Ed. ...Surfing isn't a cure for autism, but you'd be surprised at the difference a day at the beach can make. It's amazing to see what our kids can do, and how they light up as they learn."
BIRTH THROUGH 21 - "Free and appropriate education"
In the United States your special needs child - from birth all the way through age 21 - qualifies for Special Education services under the federal law known as IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act). Services are provided through your school district - for free! School districts are required to provide a “free and appropriate public education” (FAPE) to each qualified student with a disability who is in the school district’s jurisdiction. Under Section 504, FAPE means regular or special education and related aids and services that meet the student’s individual educational needs.
If your child qualifies for special education services, you’ll work with a school team to develop an Individualized Education Program (IEP). An IEP is like a formal contract that outlines how the school will support your child. The law gives YOU an equal say in decisions about your child’s education - you help design your child's program! For more information, click here.
LIFELONG SERVICES - Fee based
Easterseals provides exceptional services, education, outreach, and advocacy so that people living with autism and other disabilities can live, learn, work and play in our communities. Easterseals has been helping individuals with disabilities and special needs, and their families, live better lives for more than 90 years. From child development centers to physical rehabilitation and job training for people with disabilities, Easterseals offers a variety of services to help people with disabilities address life's challenges and achieve personal goals.
IEP Binder: How to Assemble and Organize
SPECIAL NEEDS ADOPTION
Little girl with Down syndrome "I Can Do Anything!"