Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Halloween Costume Ideas & Last Minute Halloween tips.

Halloween is just around the corner! I have a few last minute ideas in case procrastination has gotten the best of you. I've be seeing a lot of pins (on Pinterest) and articles about converting wheelchairs into really fantastic Halloween costumes so I had to share. Our friends over at have a lot of fun posts about costume ideas for kiddos in wheelchairs as well as ideas for kids who use white canes plus some fun Halloween songs. Go check out the fun over at!

 Ivan in his hot air balloon wheelchair costume

I also decided to do some other searches of other fun ideas and found these:
This one was my favorite!!

A lot of these ideas came from this site:

A few reminders about the Halloween scene:  Remember that most Halloween-type activities are usually with really low lighting and strobe lights so plan ahead for visual over stimulation. Pre-teach as much as possible and discuss what Halloween related words are. For example, talk about what haunted houses, floating ghosts, etc. are like before you go there so your kids can anticipate what is going on. Another idea is to make sure you as the parent are wearing something easily seen by your child so if you get separated, they can find you quickly. 

I know this next tip seems a bit lame but it can be useful for brand new trick-or-treaters who want to go out with their friends (like most typical kids): role play how to go up to houses and follow friends. Your kids may buck at the idea but let's face it, the more pre-teaching we can do with our kids, the more independent they can be. Practice at home where no one can see. Teach your child how to follow and keep up with their friends instead of always making the friend wait for your child. If our kids learn how to communicate with their friends and how to follow them, it dispells the myth that our kids "always need a guide". Teaching our kids how to communicate and keep up is a life skill they will use over and over as they get older. I know a lot of parents don't like that line of thinking but trust me, kids that have those skills are far better off with being truly independent. 

I've pinned some fun ideas for Halloween and fall. I am looking for more ideas for all the holidays. Find me on Pinterest (my board is This Works for Blind Kids, too!!) and refer to my older posts from previous years. This is my favorite time of the year because there are just so many fun activities to do with kids of all abilities. Feel free to share your ideas with me, too!!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

White Cane Day Highlights

 Holy cow did we have a BLAST at White Cane Day 2013!!! Major thanks to Old Navy West Hartford for providing us the space and the love to host our bash. They were a great staff led by Emrah and totally supported our cause. They kept our fliers out on their registers for a month. Our events included simulators, assistive tech demos (with our very own tech guru John--from my post about the tech whiz), mobility activities, Braille fun and our first ever White Cane Day CT art contest. It just doesn't get better than that (well, there is always next year and who knows what we will do next year....). I hope wherever you live you were able to celebrate White Cane Day. I am so excited for next year!!
          Our assistive tech table led by John                   Frank Rosetta, art contest winner                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
 We also had an awesome fashion show put on by our students!! That was SO fun!! We were also lucky to have our friends from Fidelco Guide Dogs come out with their dogs-in-training. Freedom Guide Dogs and Fidelco also had some families come that were raising guide dog puppies come out as well. I loved watching my students proudly wearing their "I Heart White Cane" t-shirts stand outside of Old Navy and talk to complete strangers about White Cane Day. 

Above: I love my supportive family. We all heart white canes :)

Fidelco trainer, Jamie, with our students at White Cane Day 2013 
My husband, Todd, loved his time with the guide dog puppies. 

 Brother and sister Jimmy and Celeny modeling their fashion right before the fashion show.

Winning White Cane Day 2013 submission by Frank Rosetta

Holiday Braille Items are Ready!

I am not one to jump the gun and go from summer to Christmas but these two little items are fun to plan for. First, Starbucks will be offering Braille gift cards all year long (are you thinking Thanksgiving or Halloween gift ideas?). Let's give snaps to our friends at Starbucks for offering a bit more accessibility to the world!
starbucks braille gift card
Here's a write up from "Starbucks began offering Braille gift cards during the month of October a couple of years ago to highlight disability employment awareness month. Now, according to Consumerist, Starbucks plans to offer the cards year-round. The gift cards say "Starbucks" in Braille on the front to help customers differentiate between the cards in their wallets. On Starbucks' Ideas In Action blog, the company explained that the new offering was established because of a customer request: "It's that same spirit of innovation that drives us to constantly look to MSI for inspiration on how to come up with solutions — that have the potential to vastly improve the experience for a huge community. For better readability we've adjusted the font and print sizes on our menus. We also created Braille & large print menus, and large print & picture menus. And for the third year in a row we are offering a Braille Starbucks gift card in the store. Thanks to a customer request, it's now available year-round."

The other fun holiday item are Braille holiday cards from Hadley School for the Blind. I don't want to rush away Turkey Day or Halloween but let's face it, I am planning my Christmas card (I love making my family wear coordinating outfits...ha ha). These cards are quite popular and allow you to have a photo card. 

Here's the link with more information:


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Join Me!

This particular post isn't going to be groundbreaking to those of you seasoned TVIs but it was new to me so I thought I would still give it a share. I don't spend a lot of time in the classroom with academic subjects but I am fascinated by the SmartBoard. It's a nice teaching tool but it can be tricky for our kids. Enter the iPad and the Join Me app. The iPad has completely helped our kids access a ton of material and linked with the Join Me app, it allows our kids to access the SmartBoard with ease. The general ed teacher needs to download the app and give the student the passwork/log in information. Join Me allows the iPad to display the SmartBoard display. I spoke to several TVIs and they commented that Join Me is simple to use and several of their students were taking advantage of it. I did look up some articles specific to our kids using it. Here's what I found: This article has a one time use of Join Me but from what I understand, you can reuse your password with the teacher. Now is a good time for my personal disclaimer that I am not a guru at AT. But nevertheless, I wanted to post about this cool app that truly does make being in the general ed classroom one step easier.