Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Winter Fun Made Accessible

iSkate founded by Dorothy Hamill

Few recreational activities can rival the thrill of winter sports. Thanks to a growing number of adaptive winter sports programs, children (and adults) with disabilities can enjoy skiing, skating, ice hockey and sleigh riding.  We’ve compiled this brief guide to adaptive winter sports so you’re prepared to hit the ice or the slopes, just in time for the season’s first big freeze or snowfall.

Ice Skating
Founded by Olympic gold medalist and figure skater, Dorothy Hamill, Kennedy Krieger Institute’s I-Skate program in Baltimore, Md. is an example of a program that gives children with disabilities including cerebral palsy, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, cancer and amputated limbs and paralysis the chance to ice skate. Adaptive ice-skating makes use of equipment such as adaptive ice skates, walkers, ice sleds and helmets to make it possible for skaters to participate safely.

“When I learned to skate,” Hamill told the folks at the KKI, “the motion of gliding on the ice and the fresh air on my face felt like heaven. And learning to handle yourself on the ice, mastering something difficult gives you a sense of pride. I want to give that experience to these children so they will be able to say ‘I can skate.’” 

For information about adaptive ice skating programs in your area, visit Gliding

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

New Year’s Resolutions for Caregivers

Whether you’re a parent of a child with special needs, a special educator, occupational or physical therapist, it’s safe to say that you expend a tremendous amount of time and a great deal of physical and emotional energy caring for others. When that’s the case, it’s easy to neglect your own needs. Doing so may be more detrimental to your physical and mental health than you realize.

According to the Child Mind Institute, “Studies show that parents of children with developmental, psychiatric or learning disorders are far more likely than others to experience anxiety, depression, insomnia, fatigue and marital problems.”

Furthermore, a British study, on the psychosocial, endocrine and immune consequences of caring for a child with autism or ADHD found parents of children with ADHD and autism who experience chronic stress on a daily basis, are more susceptible to physical maladies.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Strategies for Transitioning to Mainstreaming

It sounds too good to be true. After years of slow but steady progress, hours of speech, occupational, physical and psychotherapies, at last you’ve been told that your child with special needs is ready to be mainstreamed. While the news is encouraging and both you and your child are thrilled, this transition can feel a bit overwhelming. After all, you’re in unchartered territory.
What can you do to ease the transition? We’ve combed through a variety of sources to come up with a list of strategies you can utilize to prepare your child, his new teacher and his future classmates for this momentous step forward.

Consult with the special educators at the school your child previously attended.
With the exception of her parents, no one knows your child’s capabilities, strengths, weaknesses and learning style better than her former teacher. Have an exit interview with teachers and therapists at the school and document all of their educational, social and behavioral recommendations.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Holiday Greetings from Seth Kanor

Dear Friends:

It was about this time last year when I first joined Enabling Devices as the company’s CEO. My father, Dr. Steven E. Kanor, the company’s founder, had recently passed away, and I found myself rummaging around in his office. The desk was covered in notepads bursting with ideas, the drawers were stuffed with prototypes for communication devices; the bookshelves, packed with manufacturing supply catalogs; and scattered everywhere, still more prototypes for devices he thought might make somebody’s life better. There was also a lot of unopened mail, mostly from the many charities he supported: charities devoted to making somebody’s life, somewhere, better. That was his life’s mission. And standing in his office, surrounded by the very tangible evidence of that mission, I felt a duty, not only to honor his legacy, but also to move Enabling Devices ahead, embracing new technology and, as my father had always done, finding innovative ways to serve the people who use our products.

As I look back over the past year, I am pleased to report that the company is thriving. I only wish my dad could be here to see all the exciting developments that took place during 2016 and are in the works for 2017. Here are some of the highlights:

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Choose the Perfect Gift!

Ready for the holidays? If you haven’t completed your Christmas or Hanukkah shopping, there’s no need to panic. Enabling Devices will help you choose the perfect gifts and get them to you in the (Saint) Nick of time!
Not sure how to go about choosing a gift for that special someone? The Enabling Devices sales team is happy to help. We asked team members for their best advice on gift selection and here’s what they had to say.

1. Starting points
Before beginning the gift selection process, our sales staff recommends answering the following questions: What does the child enjoy doing? Does she like using her iPad? Is he a board-game lover? Perhaps she enjoys sensory stimulation. If purchasing a gift for a child who’s not well known to you, ask his parents what he might like. On a budget? Our new gift guide includes toys under $50.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Gift of Music

With so many gift options, how can you determine the best choices for your loved one? Enabling Devices’ new gift guide can help. Organized by category, the guide features our most popular toys and products to make holiday gift-buying decisions a breeze. Though our sales team members are always available for individual consultations, you can also benefit from their comprehensive knowledge of our products right here.

This week, we talk with Sales Associate Robin L. Robin is a big fan of Enabling Devices’ musical toys. It’s no wonder! Data confirming the many health benefits of music as well as its capacity to bring people together is mounting every day. Below, Robin gives us a rundown on her favorite musical toys.

 Ring Around Bells (#2202)
Whether you’re buying for your own child or for use in an inclusive classroom, Robin highly recommends the updated, bestselling Ring Around Bells toy.  This toy is extremely versatile and can be used in several different ways. Colorful bells twirl around and play the musical scale when activated either by the attached switch or an independent capability switch, while the multi-colored LED lights blink; bells can be twirled by hand or can be detached and distributed so that many people can play them together. Ring Around Bells is a great toy for improving listening and grasping skills as well as eye-hand coordination. “The toy comes with a music card you can follow or you can compose your own music,” says Robin. The Ring Around Bells toy is perfect for the holidays since the bells sound like Christmas!

Young music lovers will be transfixed watching the multicolored glitter inside the twister twirl around and around. At the same time, the twister plays music. “The shiny glittery confetti has a holiday feel and is really attention-grabbing,” says Robin. In addition to being great fun, this toy also improves visual attention and listening skills!

This toy is ideal for your budding musician. This toy is more like a musical instrument. Children can ring the precision-tuned bells and play familiar songs including Twinkle, Twinkle and Mary Had a Little Lamb. They can also compose their own melodies or play along with seven additional pre-recorded songs including Old MacDonald and Row Your Boat. ”This is an amazing toy that turns your child into a live-in DJ!” says Robin. It’s also great for helping children to learn their colors and improving their listening skills.”

Great for children, teens and adults, this musical device works great as a backlight for tracing and as a light source for people with low vision. It also develops visual attention and is useful for practicing writing skills.

“I really like all of our inclusive music items if you can’t guess,” says Robin. “They teach how to follow along, they are pleasing to the ears and the eyes and most of all, they promote inclusion. They make children with disabilities feel that they are part of the group, not looking in from the outside.”

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Enabling Devices: Access for Everyone

While this blog usually focuses on topics pertaining to children with disabilities, their parents, teachers and therapists, Enabling Devices also creates, adapts and sells innovative devices for teens and adults. Now that the holiday shopping season is officially under way, you need look no further for gifts that will truly improve the quality of life for loved ones with disabilities.

Capability switches are a great choice since they open up a world of possibilities for people with disabilities. Thanks to these gadgets, even individuals with the most profound mobility and neurological challenges are able to access a range of devices including computers, communicators, toys, wheelchairs and environmental controls, independently.    
Sady Paulson a video editor with cerebral palsy was recently featured in a video shown on Apple’s new accessibility website. In a recent interview with Mashable’s Katie Dupere, Paulson said that switch technology “has been instrumental in allowing her to pursue her passion for video creation. ‘Before Switch Control, there were limitations to what I could do and how long it would take me …These were physical limitations that held me back from realizing my dreams. But I knew all along that I had the ability, the creativity and the passion. Switch Control has removed those barriers and empowered me to access my abilities and pursue my passion.’"