Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Author and singer Marcus Sikora's latest book

There is a new book out that we think you should read.  It is called Black Day: The Monster Rock Band.  Not only does it have a great storyline and really cool art, but there is a cool song too.  You know what would be great – if you could hear from the author.  Wouldn’t that be great?  Well read on and then listen in.

The author is Marcus Sikora, a 25 year old creative soul who has Down syndrome and lives in Omaha, Nebraska.  We got a chance to talk to him and his dad, Quinn Sikora.  We heard about everything from the creative process to book release and all that goes with it.

Hopefully it is not a spoiler, but the book is about a band.  So they decided to have fun with it and form the band (at least to record the title song).  So if you listen in, you also get to listen to the song!  We really liked the song but what was super cool was the reaction that my son Luke had – He could not sit still and listen because he had to dance.  Now every time you say ‘We are the Band’ to Luke he shouts ‘Black Day!’

Hear the interview:

Find out more at

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

If I Could See Through Your Eyes

You probably already saw it but if not then spend a couple minutes watching this new music video from The Costa Crew called "If I Could See Through Your Eyes" a song about seeing life through the eyes of people who are differently abled. 

And here's a great article from The Mighty on the song.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

First Indian athlete to compete for NZ at World Summer Games

from Indian Weekender, IWK Bureau:
The 36 Special Olympics New Zealand athletes and 17 volunteers taking part in the Special Olympics World Summer Games 2015 in Los Angeles, are set to depart for the competition in just a couple of weeks.
Amongst them is Special Olympics North Harbour athlete Pratima Patel, who is the first New Zealand athlete of Indian origin ever to compete at the Special Olympics World Summer Games.
The Special Olympics World Summer Games 2015, known as “LA2015”, will see 7000 athletes from 170 countries compete at the event being held from 25 July 2015 to 2 August 2015. The New Zealand delegation includes 34 athletes with intellectual disabilities, two ‘Unified Partners’ (athletes without an intellectual disability), and 17 coaches, managers and support staff. The athletes will compete in aquatics, athletics, basketball, bocce, equestrian, golf, powerlifting, and tenpin bowling.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Boy defies Down syndrome, begins 320-mile walk

by Haley Warwick from
Hardin County, Ky. —Be on the lookout for a boy walking the Lincoln Trail through Aug. 2. 
Josh Kimble, 17, geared up for Dream Walk 2.
This 320-mile, 32-day adventure is intended to help change the world for 49 million families facing disabilities in the United States.
Kimble has Down syndrome, but said it doesn't have him.
He had walked 98 miles to the Capitol steps in Frankfort, Kentucky in 2013.
Dream Walk 2 started at Abe Lincoln's birth place in Hodgenville, Kentucky, and will end at his resting place in Springfield, Illinois.
Friday, he walked through Hardin County, Kentucky.
The theme for the walk is "Honoring Our Heroes."
Kimble wants everyone to participate in making his dream come true by providing a place where everyone can "Honor Our Heroes" online.
To learn how you can honor your very own hero, go to

Friday, July 3, 2015

County settles with family of boy with Down Syndrome for $1million

from: ABC 10 News by: Christina Severance
VISTA - The County of San Diego has agreed to pay the family of Antonio Martinez $1 million to settle a lawsuit against the Sheriff’s Department and Deputy Jeffrey Guy.
The settlement stipulates the $1 million payout and that Sheriff Gore will meet with the Martinez family and attorney.
Martinez, 22, has Down syndrome and lives in Vista with his family. He functions at the level of a 7-year-old, according to doctors and his school records.
The Martinez family filed a lawsuit against the county and Guy after alleging excessive use of force, a violation of Antonio Martinez's constitutional rights, and questioning how law enforcement interacts and deals with mentally disabled people.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

A new app for basic number skills and concepts

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DSE Logo

Announcing See and Learn Numbers
We are delighted to announce a new addition to our See and Learn resources. See and Learn Numbers is designed to help parents and educators teach children basic number skills and concepts. It will be available soon as apps and kits.

Find out more
See and Learn First Counting
See and Learn Numbers is designed to teach young children to count, to link numbers to quantity, to understand important concepts about the number system and to calculate with numbers up to 10. It also teaches early mathematical concepts important for understanding space, time and measurement - including colour, size, shape, ordering, sorting and patterns.

Find out more
See and Learn First Counting

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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

10 Things Parents of Children with Developmental Disabilities Should Know


(From left to right) A photo of a woman with spina bifida; a young man with Costello Syndrome; a man who was blind; & a woman with a hidden disability

10 Things Parents of Children with Developmental Disabilities Should Know

June 2015
  1. Understanding Developmental Disabilities. Developmental disabilities are a group of conditions with a variety of causes that include language, behavioral, physical and mental impairments. About 15 percent of children aged 3 through 17 years old have one or more disabilities that began during the developmental period of a child’s life and will usually last through their lifetime. Developmental disabilities are divided into specific conditions, including: Autism spectrum disorders, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, Down syndrome and others. These types of disabilities may cause limitations in major life activities such as caring for oneself, learning or living independently. Kids with developmental disabilities experience delays in reaching milestones such as taking first steps, smiling and learning to speak, or show other signs. Children should be monitored by their parents and primary care providers for possible developmental disabilities. If you or your child’s doctor has concerns about the child’s growth, he or she should be screened for developmental disabilities at 9, 18 and 24 or 30 months old.
  2. Essential Early Interventions. While not all children meet each developmental milestone at the same pace, extreme delays in reaching these markers may be a sign of a developmental disability. Parents should learn the signs of childhood development so they can act early if they are concerned. Families on Medicaid can take advantage of the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment program. Seeking services as soon as possible about possible developmental disabilities means your child will receive essential early interventions. Early interventions are intended for infants and toddlers who have a developmental delay or disability that is determined by evaluating the child. When the early intervention system receives a referral about a child with a suspected disability or delay, there are 45 days to complete critical steps. Learn how your state defines developmental delays so you can get the best possible treatment as soon as possible. Find your state’s early intervention contact to get the process started and familiarize yourself with key terms and language.
  3. Special Education and Related Services. Students with developmental disabilities may be eligible for special education and related services that provide Individualized Education Programs (IEPs). The Center for Parent Information and Resources breaks the IEP process down into 10 basic steps. A teacher, parent or doctor noting that a child struggles in the classroom will kick off the referral process for an IEP, during which the student is evaluated with parental consent. The update to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) made parents a member of their child’s education team. Now, within 30 days of your child becoming eligible, you can partner with the school to develop an IEP that outlines goals and supports to help your child succeed. Assistive technology is often used in the classroom to benefit students of all ages with a developmental disability. For more information,’s extensive section on school and learning has details on your child’s rights in the classroom, choosing or changing schools, tutoring and more. If you still have questions about special education read “Questions Often Asked by Parents about Special Education Services.”

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Police Make Video to Help Teen with Down Syndrome Battling Cancer Meet Taylor Swift

By Kathy Ehrich Dowd from People:

Taylor Swift, we hope you're reading.

A 13-year-old superfan who has Down syndrome and is battling cancer really wants to meet her idol, and a police department that knows a thing or two about the power of the Internet has made a video that they hope will make her dream come true.

Delaware's Dover Police Department made international headlines in January when Officer Jeff Davis was recorded jovially lip-synching to "Shake It Off" while driving his cruiser.

The viral smash earned the approval of the pop star herself, who re-Tweeted the department's video. Her record company even sent the department tickets to the upcoming Taylor Swift concerts in Philadelphia on June 12 and 13.

Fan letters poured into the police department from all around the world, but one standout note hit close to home: The mother of Victoria Marsh of Middletown, Delaware, wrote to the officers and told them about her daughter, a dedicated Swiftie who has Down syndrome and was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer, in December.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015



The U.S. Departments of Education and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently released a draft policy statement on the inclusion of young children with disabilities in high-quality inclusive early childhood programs, and they are seeking public comment.  This policy statement will send a message to states and districts that inclusive early education provides significant benefits to all young children, both with and without disabilities. This argument may also be extended toward inclusiveness in all phases of a person’s lifespan.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Princess Diana and her godchild Domenica

from Hellow Magazine:
Princess Diana would be thrilled to have a granddaughter, according to her close friend Rosa Monckton. Shortly after hearing the news that Prince William and Kate Middleton, had welcomed a baby girl, the British businesswoman and campaigner took to Twitter to say how much her late friend would have loved the new arrival.

"How Diana would have loved a grand daughter," she simply wrote to her 2,280 followers.

The 61-year-old, who was the CEO of Asprey & Garrard until 2002, went on to retweet and respond to those who agreed with her on the social media site.

Rosa also uploaded a photo her daughter Domenica Lawson, who has Down's Syndrome, and who Diana was a devoted godmother to until her death in 1997.

This is not the first time that Rosa has spoken about the kind of grandmother Diana would have been. Back in July 2013 when William and Kate became parents to Prince George, Rosa wrote a piece for the Daily Mail saying Diana would have "relished the role."