Wednesday, February 25, 2015

10-year-old disabled boy left on bus for four hours

by Randy Escamilla from Fox 29 San Antonio:

PLEASANTON, Texas -- Pleasanton Independent School District officials scrambled Tuesday to find out how a 10-year old disabled 4th grader with Down's syndrome was left behind on a school bus for four hours in 43-degree weather.

The incident happened Monday. According to the grandmother of Ethan Ramos, 10, a maintenance worker cleaning the bus found the boy.

Ethan suffers from numerous disabilities including Down's syndrome, sleep apnea, heart disease, and asthma.

"He could have died. Simple as that," said Ethan's grandmother Anna Lisa Alvarez.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Inspiration found at Special Olympics Winter Games in Whitefish

Dax VanFossen - MTN News Kalispell KPAX 8 .com:

WHITEFISH - Athletes with disabilities have been able to show their strengths through the power or sports at the State Winter Games in Montana for two decades, but the games inspire more than just the athletes.

You'd be hard pressed to find a better backdrop than Whitefish Mountain Resort for the 20th annual State Winter Games for Special Olympics of Montana. And while the competitions are very important to the athletes, we found out they are extremely important to the family members of the athletes as well.

"It's a game changer, it's added a piece to our life that has a ripple effect that you wouldn't be able to describe. But the experience has been life altering for both our family and Abbie's experience of being in the world," explained Mamie Flinn, whose daughter has Down Syndrome.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Those with disabilities now ABLE to save, celebrate the passage of bill

WASHINGTON — Sara Wolff's life story aptly took her to the White House on Tuesday.
There, she joined two others from her hometown of Scranton — Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Sen. Bob Casey — to celebrate passage of a bill that enables families of disabled children to save money for their needs.
“I never could imagine such a great experience than being here with the champions that pushed this bill across the finish line,” Wolff, 32, who has Down syndrome, said as she stepped up to the podium. “Wow, and I get to be here with the vice president of the United States!”
Casey invited Wolff, a former intern in his Scranton office, to attend the event marking the years of work that went into the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act, or ABLE law, that President Obama signed in December.
The bill, co-sponsored by Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., allows people with disabilities to save up to $100,000 in 529-type accounts without jeopardizing government benefits. Recipients can withdraw the money tax-free to pay for medical costs, employment training, housing, education and other qualified expenses.
“This bill goes to the heart of what the president and Republican and Democrat colleagues want for all Americans: to be given an even chance,” Biden said.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Mother Defends Herself Against Claim That She Abandoned Son With Down Syndrome

by Kennedy Ryan from KTLA 5:
A new mother accused by her husband of abandoning their child after learning the boy was born with Down syndrome went public this week to tell her side of the story.
Leo Forrest was born in Armenia on Jan. 21, to Ruzan Badalyan and Samuel Forrest.
Despite the diagnosis, Forrest considered his son to be “perfect,” he said in an interview with ABC News.
His wife, however, had “refused to even look at or touch the newborn,” according to a GoFundMe fundraising page set up to support Forrest and his son.
Badalyan was afraid “of getting attached in a society where defects are not accepted, often bringing shame on the family involved,” the GoFundMe page stated.
But speaking out for the first time, Badalyan claimed the decisions she made concerning her family’s future were the “hardest moments” of her life, according to a recent Facebook post obtained by ABC News.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Teen with Down syndrome makes big impact at part-time job

Dallas News |
A Highland Park high school student is making an impact at his part-time job.

Nick Jones' task is to make sure every car on his dealership's lot is perfect, and his work is making a bigger impression than he may realize.

One thing that sets 18-year-old Nick apart from many is how happy he is to go to work.

Nick also has Down syndrome and sometimes struggles with words. Otherwise, he's just one of the guys at Park Cities Ford in Dallas.

“This is a big step for Nick to have this opportunity and experience being a contributing member in his community,” said his mom, Katie Jones.

For the past year, the Highland Park senior has worked Monday through Friday after school, checking for unlocked doors.

The best part is that it's his dream job, working near his dream car – the Ford Mustang.

He gets excited every time he sees one.

His mother says things haven't been easy for Nick.

Back in the day, as they say and thinking he didn't have much of a future because that's what you're told,” said Katie. “That's what the doctors tell you. That's what everyone around you tells you.”

Saturday, February 14, 2015


from World Down Syndrome Day:

Below is a list of our WDSD NATIONAL MERCHANDISE PARTNERS who may be able to offer our range of LOTS OF SOCKS logo socks and t-shirts, or WDSD t-shirts, subject to availability.
If you are based in one of these countries, please contact them first for WDSD Merchandise. If not available there, go ahead and purchase from our ONLINE SHOP.

ALBANIA - Jonathan Center
GRENADA - Grenada Down Syndrome Association
GEORGIA - Association of Professionals and Parents of Children with Down Syndrome "Our Children"
IRAQ - Down Syndrome Association of Iraq (Hiba Centre for Down Syndrome)
IRELAND - Down Syndrome Ireland
LUXEMBURG - Trisomie21.Lu
MACAU (CHINA) - Macau Down Syndrome Association
NIGERIA - Down Syndrome Foundation Nigeria
SINGAPORE - Down Syndrome Association Singapore
SOUTH AFRICA - Down Syndrome South Africa
SOUTH KOREA - Korea Down Syndrome Society
UNITED KINGDOM (England & Wales) - Down's Syndrome Association
UNITED KINGDOM (Northern Ireland) - Down's Syndrome Association

If you are not able to make contact with the organisation in your country, please contact Down Syndrome International for assistance.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Law boosts ability of those with disabilities to save

by Ellie Silverman from McClatchey Washington Bureau Sun
WASHINGTON — When Kayla Kosmalski was 6 months old, her parents realized they weren’t allowed to save for her future. Family members could give Kayla only small amounts of money as birthday or graduation presents.This realization shocked her parents, Amy and Rick Kosmalski of Delaware. To them, Kayla is an “amazing and beautiful and intelligent” girl who “just happens to have Down syndrome.”But the law didn’t see it that way, until the bipartisan passage in December of the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act, known as the ABLE Act. President Barack Obama subsequently signed the bill into law. To celebrate the new financial freedom for families such as the Kosmalskis, Vice President Joe Biden and a bipartisan group of lawmakers, including Sens. Richard Burr, R-N.C., and Bob Casey, D-Pa., gathered Tuesday at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.Previously, a person with a disability had a $2,000 limit on assets. If there were more, they would lose their Medicaid and Social Security benefits.Burr called the measure a “common-sense” piece of legislation.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Delaware family celebrates new law for disabled

Rick and Amy Kosmalski of Bear wanted their 8-year-old daughter to be able to save for her education and other needs, just as their son could.
But a Medicaid rule prevented Kayla, who has Down syndrome, from having more than $2,000 in her name. Unlike her 2-year-old brother, Logan, Kayla couldn't use a tax-advantaged account to save money she received as gifts from relatives.
A new law changes that rule – and Kayla's future. On Tuesday, Kayla's family participated in an event hosted by Vice President Joe Biden to celebrate passage of the ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) Act.
"She'll be able to save for and pay for the things that she needs to be the best person she can be," said Rick Kosmalski, a marketing manager at JPMorgan Chase & Co. "That's really what the ABLE Act does. It gives her more financial freedom in her life."
Amy Kosmalski said, "Now we'll finally be able to save for her future."

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Ohio considers Down syndrome abortion ban - what are your thoughts?

by Jackie Borchardt from and Northeast Ohio Media Group:
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- An Ohio woman who learns her unborn child has Down syndrome would not be allowed to terminate the pregnancy under legislation sought by the state's largest anti-abortion group.
A yet-to-be introduced bill would prohibit abortions sought because a pre-natal screening or diagnostic test showed the fetus could have Down syndrome, also known as trisomy 21. The genetic disorder causes developmental delays and intellectual disability of varying degrees.
Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life, said details such as how the law would be enforced are still being determined as the bill is drafted. Gonidakis said any penalties would be for the physician, not the woman, consistent with other legislation the group has supported.
"Everyone wants to be born perfect and none of us are, and we don't think we should devalue life based on a false sense of perfection," Gonidakis said.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

White House Marks Passage Of ABLE Act

by Michelle Diament from Disability Scoop:
More than a month after enacting a law allowing people with disabilities a new way to save money, the White House is celebrating what’s being hailed as landmark legislation.
Vice President Joe Biden will host members of Congress and disability advocates Tuesday afternoon at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building for an event marking the passage of the Achieving a Better Life Experience, or ABLE, Act.
The law, signed by President Barack Obama in late December, paves the way for people with disabilities to open special accounts where they can save up to $100,000 without jeopardizing eligibility for Social Security and other government benefits.
Tuesday’s event is expected to bring together advocates who lobbied for the ABLE Act and more than a half-dozen lawmakers instrumental in passing the legislation including U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., and Rep. Ander Crenshaw, R-Fla.
Sara Wolff, who has Down syndrome and testified before Congress about the significance of the ABLE Act, is expected to speak at the White House ceremony.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Proposed Minnesota law would help parents save for disabled children’s future

by Doug Bleden from St. Paul Pioneer Press:
Leslie Sieleni found out her son had Down syndrome when he was 5 days old.
Now 14, Sean Sieleni talks about driving a car, going to college, living on his own and getting a job. His mom supports those dreams, but she worries.
“He’s going into 10th grade next year. I’m starting to hyperventilate a little bit about what is he going to do after school,” said Leslie Sieleni, of White Bear Lake.
One thing that eases her mind is the prospect of Minnesota authorizing a new kind of savings plan that gets its first committee hearing Monday in the state Senate.
So-called “ABLE” accounts — which stands for Achieving a Better Life Experience — allow parents to sock away money for blind or disabled children in the same kind of tax-advantaged 529 account they now can set up to pay for higher education for their college-bound kids.
Currently, disabled people can lose eligibility for public benefits once they reach $2,000 in savings.
With an ABLE account, contributions of up to $14,000 per year are allowed under current rules. The account could grow to $100,000 before Social Security Supplemental Security Income would be suspended.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Brush and Spit! Helping Kids with Special Needs Keep Their Pearly Whites Smile-Ready

By Dr. Robert Rada, Illinois Dentist and American Dental Association Member from Disability Blog:
February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, yet many people fail to understand why dental health is so important for children.
Tooth decay is the most common, chronic childhood disease in the U.S. In fact, it’s five times more common than asthma. It causes kids to miss 51 million school hours and their parents to lose 25 million work hours annually. It also impacts children’s self-esteem, concentration and social development, so dental disease should not be ignored.
The good news is that simple things, like brushing your children’s teeth for two minutes twice a day and visiting your dentist regularly, can help greatly decrease the risk of painful cavities and other dental disease.
In children with special health care needs, regular brushing is also critical to help ease the effects that some medication may have on their dental health. Always supervise children while brushing to make sure they are using the right amount of toothpaste (and that they spit it out when done). Help them brush and make sure they’re not doing it too hard. To learn more about the right amount of fluoride toothpaste to use, visit and read the section called, “Cleaning Your Child’s Teeth.” You can also watch this video to “brush up” on how to brush.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT) Market expected to reach $1.97 billion by 2020

Transparency Market Research has published a new report titled "Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT) Market (BambniTest, Harmony, informaSeq, MaterniT21 PLUS, NIFTY, Panorama, PrenaTest, verifi and VisibiliT) - Global Industry Analysis, Size, Volume, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast, 2014 - 2020" to its report store.

Albany , NY (PRWEB) February 04, 2015
According to a new market report published by Transparency Market Research “Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT) Market - Global Industry Analysis, Size, Volume, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast, 2014 - 2020,” the global NIPT market was valued at USD 0.53 billion in 2013 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 19.8% from 2014 to 2020, to reach an estimated value of USD 1.97 billion in 2020.
Over the past two years, the global prenatal testing market is witnessing a paradigm shift towards the growing demand for non-invasive prenatal testing over the conventional prenatal screening and diagnostic methods such as maternal serum screening, nuchal translucency (NT) scan, amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling (CVS). It is mainly because of advantages associated with NIPTs such as safety, accuracy, and no risk of miscarriage during the genetic screening test for the common chromosomal abnormalities (trisomy 21, trisomy 18, trisomy 13, monosomy X, etc.).
Browse the full Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT) Market Report :

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The ABLE Act—Uses and Limitations for Persons with Disabilities and Their Families

At the end of the 2014 Congressional session, Congress passed, and the President signed, the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act, otherwise known as the ABLE Act. The plan was first introduced into Congress in 2006, and was intended to substantially mirror, for persons with disabilities, the provisions of 529 Plans which provide for individuals who attend post-high school education programs. However, in the years before the ABLE Act became law in late 2014, the original Act was amended in a many significant ways which are critical to understanding the limitations and proper uses of ABLE Plans.
The primary advantage of the law is that contributions grow tax–free until withdrawals are made for specific “qualified disability expenses”, such as education, housing, transportation, wellness, legal fees, administrative fees, financial planning, funerals and “oversight” expenses. These permitted ABLE expenditures may, in some instances, be more narrow than under a Special Needs Trust. At the same time, however, there are limitations or differences from 529 Plans which will significantly limit the use of ABLE Plans in special needs/estate planning.
For example, the total annual contribution permitted by all individuals under the ABLE Act is only $14,000 per year, which will be adjusted each year slightly for inflation. The total aggregate contributions (that is, the contributions for all years by all persons) cannot exceed more than $100,000 without losing Supplemental Security Income, and while Medical Assistance may continue, it remains to be seen how states will act when the total aggregate sums reach the level (often a higher level than $100,000) set by the state’s 529 Plan. A payback to the state Medicaid agency exists under the ABLE Act, thus meaning that any sums remaining in the account after the death of the disabled beneficiary are subject to payment to the state Medicaid agency to repay that agency for Medicaid provided to the beneficiary after the account was created. States which establish ABLE accounts must periodically submit an electronic report regarding each account to the Social Security Administration to reflect the amount in the account and its uses. No such payback or reporting requirement exists with a Third-Party Funded Special Needs Trust which is used in a typical estate plan for families with a loved one with a disability.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Blue Valley North wrestler makes his way without special treatment

by Beth Lipoff from The Kansas City Star:
Patrick Chapman loves a good challenge.
Whether it’s signing up for the school junior varsity wrestling team without any experience — and without telling his parents —or attaining the rank of Eagle Scout, he’s ready to tackle whatever lies ahead.
The 19-year-old Blue Valley North senior doesn’t let Down syndrome stand in the way of any of his goals.
His parents, Dan and Lauren Chapman, were worried that the sport might be too much for their son to handle, but they’re happy to have been proven wrong.
Related “It’s hard to do, because wrestling is pretty challenging to me,” Patrick said.
Lauren likes the values Patrick learned from his teammates and coaches.
“Even though it’s an individual sport, (the boys are) really close,” she said. “He makes better social connections through sports than other things, because he spends so much time with the same individuals.”
Although Patrick has some additional challenges his teammates don’t, he doesn’t want — and doesn’t get — special treatment.