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Children's Book About Special Needs - Blog

 

 

Filtering by Category: ACCESSIBLE LIFESTYLE

The Kids Are All Right - How The Girl Scouts Came, Saw, and CONQUERED

Adiba Nelson

My. Cup. Runneth. OVER. 

WAY OVER. 

There is so much happening in our world today that gives us pause when it comes to our kiddos. So much that makes us hug them a little bit longer when we drop them off at school or read one more story when we put them to bed at night. We have to worry about our kids being shot at trying to get to school or being shot at once they're at school. Will they follow the crowd and bully kids that are different from them, or will they remember the things we've taught them and be leaders? 

Well, if what I experienced with 25 Girl Scouts is any indication, I want you to know that the kids are all right. Really, they are. 

Last Saturday I had the honor of leading the Girl Scouts For ALL Inclusion Program, and it was INCREDIBLE. Twenty-five girls from all different troops, ranging in age from 5 to 14, all working together to understand what inclusion is, what it looks like, and how to make it a part of their own lives. It was amazing, eye-opening, and at times lump-in-my-throat inducing. These girls get it - in so many ways. And if they are our future, I assure you that good things are yet to come.

These girls were kind, generous with eachother, but most of all CREATIVE. They thought so far outside the box when asked to adapt toys and games so that every kid could play with them. One little girl even called my bluff when I put supplies out that didn't go with the activity - she adapted those too! And it was all adapted with either super-glue or sticky tabs!

I could wax poetic for hours about how great the program and kids were, but I'd rather show you. Check out this AMAZINGNESS!

Behold, an ordinary Etch-a-Sketch and some hooks.

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Put them together you get THIS magic! Now someone who has poor fine motor control, or issues with dexterity/low muscle tone can turn the knobs more easily and make etch-a-sketch masterpieces! 

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On their own, a bouncing ball, a rattle and a puck light are just that -  a bouncing ball, a rattle and a puck light. 

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But put them all together and VOILA! Now you have a ball that makes sound (for our visually impaired friends) and a ball that lights up (for our hearing impaired friends)!  Who says kids with special needs can't play ball?!

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They also added a "handle" made out of pipe cleaners so that someone could pick up and throw the ball if they wanted to, but maybe couldn't use both hands!

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This next one was my absolute favorite! It involved SO MUCH creativity and ingenuity! I think we have a future Occupational Therapist in our midst, folks! I presented the girls with a simple, fun Fisher Price Doodle Pro and informed them that if someone didn't have hands, or had a hard time controlling their movements they might have a hard time clearing the screen, or holding it on their lap. Well let me tell you - they knocked my socks off! Here is what they started with:

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Now watch this AMAZING video to see how they adapted it!

They also turned a brush upside down to hold a bow-making kit, added pipe cleaners to sidewalk chalk to aide in holding it in your hand, and came up with a whole list of ways you can play with a jump rope that don't involve jumping (for our friends using mobility devices)! 

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So you see, the kids are all right. They are brilliant. They are kind. AND if we keep doing our part, they will remain inclusive. HUGE thank you to the Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona for allowing me to turn a once negative encounter into an incredibly beautiful event where we all came out better in the end. What are some ways you and your kiddos have adapted toys or games so that everyone could participate? I'd love to see what you've come up with!

If you'd like to bring the Girl Scouts for All Inclusion Patch program to your troop, send an email to info@clarabelleblue.com, and we'll be in touch with you soon!

Gifts For EVERYONE On Your List!

Adiba Nelson

It's no secret. 

The holidays are hands down the most FAVORITE time of year for the ladies of RCP. The baking, the caroling, the yards and yards and yards of wrapping paper - it's all just wonderful! What we love most though, above anything else - GIFT GIVING!  I think we can all admit that there is nothing better than watching our little ones tear open gift after gift exclaiming  "WOW!" time and time again. It's the best, right?

Well, this year we thought it would be great to compile a little list of companies that have gifts that kids of ALL abilities can enjoy - from toys to clothes and everything in between! We'll highlight a few that we think are particularly amazing, and provide links to others, but all in all, we hope that you just enjoy scrolling through, making your shopping lists, and spreading a little bit of inclusive holiday cheer!

First up....

STORYTIME

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1. Meet ClaraBelle Blue by Adiba Nelson

You didn't think we'd leave our book off the list, did you?

Meet ClaraBelle Blue is the debut children's picture book by Adiba Nelson and the first book of The ClaraBelle Series. Loosley based on Nelson's daughter, Meet ClaraBelle Blue is told through the voice of ClaraBelle's mom, Viola. In this funny, sweet, beautifully illustrated book we get to see how like the other kids ClaraBelle truly is, and children reading it will come to find that what ClaraBelle's mom says in the book is true - "she's ClaraBelle Blue, and she's just like YOU!"

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2. We're Not So Different After All by Lissette Lent

We're Not So Different After All introduces us to the sweet, precocious, always fashionable Maggie Hope. Told through the eyes of her older brother, we learn that just because Maggie has some special needs, and wears red glasses, that doesn't mean that she doesn't love to play and have fun - just like other kids! Don't miss the great conversation starters at the end of this book!

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3. Wonder by RJ Palacio

Wonder, the book that was just made into a major motion picture starring Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson, has remained in the Amazon Top 10 for most of 2017. And it's no surprise. The story of Auggie being the new kid in school is one that all kids can relate to; except that Auggie isn't just the new kid. He's the new kid who looks a little different from the other kids.  Pick up Wonder for the young reader in your life, and then just let the conversations flow. 

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4. Out Of My Mind by Sharon Draper

Written from the viewpoint of Melody Brooks, a young girl with spastic cerebral palsy, who is also non-verbal, Out Of My Mind offers keen insights to the thoughts of someone who cannot communicate in traditional ways. So often people equate physical disability and being non-verbal with lower intelligence.  This book dispels that notion, as well as serves to potentially break down the wall of communication between typically abled, verbal children, and those who are not.  

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5. Decibella and her 6-inch Voice by Julia Cook

Oh Decibella, Decibella. It's hard sometimes to control ourselves in social situations. We don't always know how to act, where to go, or even how loud or not-so-loud to be. This hilarious book is perfect for your little one who might have some issues around social interactions. Decibella and her 6-inch Voice  is sure to be a bedtime favorite!

FASHION FORWARD

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TARGET

Target has SO MANY cute choices in adaptive fashion, for such AFFORDABLE prices! Their new CAT & JACK Adaptive Styles are adorable AND functional. Pullover sweatshirts with hidden openings for easy abdominal access (perfect for feeding tubes, ostomy bags, and insulin pumps), tagless, flat seam tees for our friends with sensory issues, and easy-dress pajamas and jackets! Snap closure, side access and removable sleeves make Target a natural go-to for holiday shopping that won't break the bank! Click each photo for a larger view. PRICE RANGE: $4.50 - $39.99

TOMMY HILFIGER

If you've got some wiggle room in your wallet, check out the new TOMMY ADAPTIVE line from fashion magnate, Tommy Hilfiger. Popular in the mid-late 90's for his classic, easy style, he's back, and thinking about fashion for ALL. With button down shirts that hide magnet closures, and adjustable width pant legs that make room for AFO's (ankle-foot orthotics), the line is as inclusive as it is cute! Click on the images for larger views. PRICE RANGE: $11.99 - $100.00

NIKE/CONVERSE

If your kiddo wears AFOs (Ankle Foot Orthotics) you know how difficult it is to find cute shoes that actually FIT the braces. The ones they give you with your braces are not what we would call....fashion forward...or even sports friendly. However Nike and Converse (coincidentally both under the same parent company), have designed quite a few styles that work incredibly well for fitting AFOs, and also allow for independent dressing! SO RAD! Click the pictures for a larger view. PRICE RANGE: $29.97 - $90.00

#PLAYALLDAY

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So, we could dedicate an entire blog post to JUST toys that work in a gazillion different ways for all of our friends and their various needs, but luckily we don't have to! Toys 'R Us has already done all the work for us! Click on the image below to be taken directly to their Toy Guide for Differently Abled Kids, and search for toys that fit your kiddos specific needs - from social to sensory to language and motor. It's all in ONE PLACE! Scroll down a little further and you'll find their recommended apps! We just love this guide so much, we had to share it with you!

And there you have it - our handy guide that will *hopefully* help with your holiday shopping! Have a wonderful, WONDERFUL holiday season!

Nike Adds Accessible Shoes To Their Legacy

Adiba Nelson

I'll admit it. I was a bumbling, crying, can't see through my mascara MESS while watching this video. As a lover of fashionable shoes, I have always shunned the shoes Hanger tried to hand me when my daughter would get new ankle-foot orthotics. Ugly. Clunky. Not matching with ANYTHING. 

There was no way my daughter would be caught dead in those shoes. 

So when she got her first AFO's, she also got her first pair of Converse Chuck Taylor Slip on Sneakers. And we have continued down this vein of lightweight fashionable sneakers that could accommodate her braces - most of them coming from Target. However, with age comes a strong desire for independence. In short, Miss E is ready to dress herself, so imagine my surprise when the video of the NIKE FlyEase came across my Facebook feed! 

Finally, a shoe she could put on and take off by herself! She could put her little finger through the loop on the zipper, unzip the heel, slide her foot in, zip it up and secure the velcro tab across the front and VOILA - SHOES ON! This made me wonder if other shoe companies were FINALLY starting to notice our babies, and making accessible shoes for independent living. 

Sure enough, Converse has added to their slip on shoe for toddlers with an older kid shoe called the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Block Party Satin High Top (for girls) and the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Simple Step Americana (for boys). Both models allow for easy on and off, as well as independent dressing (not to mention EASE of independent dressing) through the use of either zippers or velcro.

We are over the moon about these snazzy new shoe finds (even if we are late to the game), and we just had to share them with you! If you've found other accessible clothing or shoe companies, drop their link in the comments! We'd love to check them out and share the news!