Wednesday, June 04, 2008

No charges to be filed in drowning of 5-year-old girl | autistic girl

No charges to be filed in drowning of 5-year-old girl | | The Desert Sun

There is a petition at

The family is going to be meeting with the head District Attorney, who can overrule the previous decision not to press charges. It sounds like there is ample room for discussion with him about the needs of autistic children. Who thinks that it's a good idea to leave a non-verbal child with the cognitive development of an 18-24 month old
alone in a pool?

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ZAC Browser - Zone for Autistic Children

Very cool! A grandfather developed a special web browser for his autistic grandson, and it's now available for free.

From an article about it:

The Zac Browser greatly simplifies the experience of using a computer. It seals off most Web sites from view, to block violent, sexual or otherwise adult-themed material. Instead it presents a hand-picked slate of choices from free, public Web sites, with an emphasis on educational games, music, videos and visually entertaining images, like a virtual aquarium.

Other programs for children already offer that "walled garden" approach to the Web. But LeSieur's browser aims to go further: It essentially takes over the computer and reduces the controls available for children like Zackary, who finds too many choices overwhelming.

For example, the Zac Browser disables extraneous keyboard buttons like "Print Screen" and turns off the right button on the mouse. That eliminates commands most children don't need anyway, and it reduces the chance an autistic child will lose confidence after making a counterproductive click.

Children using the Zac Browser select activities by clicking on bigger-than-normal icons, like a soccer ball for games and a stack of books for "stories." The Zac Browser also configures the view so no advertisements or other flashing distractions appear.

"We're trying to avoid aggressive or very dark or complicated Web sites, because it's all about self-esteem," LeSieur said from Las Vegas, where he lives. "If they're not under control, they will get easily frustrated."

It sounds like a great idea for some kids!

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Monday, June 02, 2008

Down Syndrome dolls

Wonderfully Unique Dolls

I honestly have no idea how to feel about these dolls. At first I thought "Great...more inclusion, dolls like real kids, etc." Until someone brought up the point that they might be used for other purposes. I hate second guessing myself, but I do it constantly.

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So daughter #2 came home from school today

They watched Planet Earth Seasonal Forests in school today. The conversation went something like this:

"It was an okay day. We watched Planet Earth- Seasonal Forests."
Me: "Did you see the part about the Taiga?"
Her: (with some scorn in her voice) "NO. Seasonal forests, not the Taiga."
Me: "Was it good?"
Her: "There was one part where one dog got a part caught inside another dog.
Me: "Okay. Was it interesting?"
Her: "Well, they got stuck together." (Big pause).

"That must be kind of awkward."

Me: "Hmmm." (Sometimes I'm just caught off guard).

I love puberty.

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70 Famous Dyslexics

70 Famous Dyslexics

It's an extremely pink site, but this is a great list. Dyslexia is no fun at all- it's nice to see some role models.

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What Happened to Ricky

What Happened to Ricky -

Family finds son 40 years after he is institutionalized. Thank God things aren't still like this. (Much more information in the article).

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YouTube - Surfwise: The Amazing True Odyssey of the Paskowitz Family

The children certainly do not seem enthralled with their experience. 9 children in a 24 ft. trailer?

And a fascinating interview with them, which is more positive than the documentary makes it seem. It's definitely an interesting family!

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