Resources & Services for Special Needs Adults in NJ

SMILE prides itself as a collective on trying to assist adults with special needs in any way that we can. We want you to be able to use us as a reference point in any and all inquiries, information, and resources to assist you, a family member, or loved ones. We have compiled a list... Read more

My Son With Down Syndrome Can

An inspiring story by Linda Bierrman from The Mighty My Son With Down Syndrome Can From the time my son was very young he had an idea of what he wanted his life to look like. He had dreams, just as any other child has dreams. The stumbling block for me was “the list” in... Read more

The Mighty

The Mighty: We face disability, disease and mental illness together. Check out The Mighty's website and sign up for their newsletter for inspiration, encouragement, and helpful information.

17 Ways to Encourage Communication with your Special Child

Link to Original Article Communication is fundamental to a child’s development. It is at the heart of relationships – it’s how we get to know each other – and it’s essential for learning, play and social interaction. So what happens if your child has a communication impairment? The following tips for encouraging communication have... Read more

What an Individual with Special Needs Can Teach Us About True Love

Link to Original Article In Ethics of our Fathers (Chapter 5 Mishnah 16) it says, “Any love that is dependent on something–when the thing ceases, the love also ceases. But a love that is not dependent on anything never ceases.” Some simple examples of love based on something that is fleeting would be loving someone for money,... Read more

10 Types of Recreational Therapy to Help Your Child with Special Needs

Link to Original Article If you’ve been singing the therapy blues, maybe it’s time to try a different tactic.  Maybe it’s time for therapy to become fun. Recreational therapy is based on the idea of increasing a person’s independence and ability to function through participation in creative arts, dance, sports, adventure programs and puzzles... Read more

13 Ways a Parent Teacher Association Can Help a Student with Special Needs

Link to Original Article The National Parent Teacher Association (PTA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the education of students in the United States, from preschool through high school.Thousands of public and private schools have local PTA units adapted to the unique needs of each school Every unit is run by unpaid volunteers.... Read more

3 Books on Sensory Processing Challenges: For Kids Who Feel TOO Much

Link to Original Article Temple Grandin, Ph.D. has written, “One of the most debilitating symptoms for some children and adults with autism is sensory oversensitivity, for example to loud noises or fluorescent lights. These oversensitivities make it impossible for a child or adult with the disorder to participate in normal activities …” Many of... Read more

The Top Ten Special Education Blog Posts

Link to Original Article Over the past four years there have been close to 200 blog posts related to special education. Here are the 10 most read and shared special education blog posts of all time. 1. The Top 10 Challenges of Special Education Teachers The attrition, or “burn-out,” rate for special education teachers is extremely... Read more

5 Preschool Activities for Children with Special Needs

Link to Original Article During preschool, kids experience structured time together that is both fun and educational.  They learn how to bond with their peers, follow directions and stick to a schedule; all skills that prepare them for school.  For children with special needs, there are certain pre-school activities that work particularly well to... Read more

Special Needs Parenting: 12 Good, Great and Awesome Days

Link to Original Article What’s your definition of a good day? Parents of children with special needs are always looking for the next developmental milestone, the next “teaching moment” for life skills, the next cause for gratitude.  By looking on the brighter side during times of hardship, it’s possible to see a definite pattern... Read more

What you need to Know About Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum

Link to Original Article When my wife Sarah was 20 weeks pregnant, we had a routine ultrasound and the doctor told us that it appeared the baby had Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum (ACC). The Corpus Callosum is the main bridge of nerves in the brain that connect the right and left sides of... Read more

5 Ways to Encourage Auditory Processing and Listening Skills

Link to Original Article Are you constantly repeating yourself? Is no one listening? Or do you have a child who is startled by noise? Auditory processing or listening skills involve more than just hearing. It is a sensory process that uses the mechanics of hearing while integrating sound. Ever heard the expression “music to... Read more

13 Viral Special Needs Parenting Posts You Need to Read!

Link to Original Post Recently, this blog published post number 1,000! There are currently over 1,000 blog posts providing tips, resources, product information and much more to the special needs community. In commemoration of this milestone we will be sharing our most viral blog posts (divided by category) over the next several weeks. Enjoy! Over... Read more

An IEP Refresher: Everything You Need to Know About an IEP

Link to Original Article We often hear discussion about IEPs and the good, the bad and the ugly that surrounds them. Many times there is confusion as to what the IEP and its process is all about. From time to time it is important to review the basics of an IEP and how it... Read more

5 Ways to Make Book Reading a Sensory Experience for Your Child with Special Needs

Link to Original Article Reading a picture book aloud can be an active and engaging activity for your child with the use of some simple strategies. Here are five ways how you can make reading a picture book aloud to your child more of a sensory experience 1. Add texture to the book Add... Read more

Three Special Needs Parenting Books That Inspire and Guide You

Link to Original Article The moment you become a parent, life as you know it will never be the same. When you learn you have become the parent of a medically fragile child it must be a jarring, surreal, numbing time. Parenting a child with special needs is a challenge and cannot be done... Read more

5 Ways to Teach an Older Child with Special Needs about Hygiene

Link to Original Article As a speech language pathologist who works with young adults, I often use the topics of hygiene, community and daily living to help facilitate speech and language goals. Many older children, teenagers, and young adults are challenged with how to maintain good hygiene and have a decreased awareness. These individuals... Read more

4 Digital Tools That Can Help Children With Special Needs in 2015

Link to Original Article The month of January is a great time to really get down to business when doing lesson plans, therapy sessions, or homework with children with special needs. Especially those who can certainly use the practice! During this month, many of us really get into “learning mode” and buckle down, especially if we... Read more

Does Your Child Need Early Intervention Services?

Link to Original Article Experts tend to advise parents to give their children the freedom to develop at their own pace and not compare them to others in regard to developmental milestones.  While some children may take longer to walk, others may skip crawling altogether and go straight to walking.  However, it is important... Read more

17 Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Organizations and Resources To Know About

Link to Original Article Every year over 40,000 infants are diagnosed with a completely preventable syndrome. Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) are a group of conditions that can occur in a person whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. FASDs are completely preventable if a woman does not drink alcohol during pregnancy. Unfortunately many women are either unaware or... Read more

Does God Give Us Only What We Can Handle?

Link to Original Article In March of 2013 Karen Wang wrote an article on this blog with the title 15 Reasons Why Its Hard To Get Along With Special Needs Parents. During this time we had over 120,000 individuals read this article, 32,000 people share this post and 293 readers leave a comment. One of the... Read more

10 Helpful and Compassionate Comments Heard at an IEP Meeting

Link to Original Article During most discussions about IEPs, we talk about the times that things went wrong and disgraceful things were said.  But not all IEPs are like that!  Recently a commenter on the Friendship Circle blog wrote, “Instead of ridiculous and offensive comments, why don’t you write about helpful and compassionate things... Read more

Toys for Children with Special Needs: What to look for and where to find them

Link to Original Post Black Friday is here and that means the shopping season has begun. While most of the U.S. is looking for the latest gadget or the newest toy, families of children with special needs maybe looking for something very different. Many of the common toys available hold no interest or are not... Read more

5 Beautiful Picture Books That Educate Children About Special Needs

Link to Original Article Are you a teacher or a parent looking for a resource to help foster understanding and acceptance of children with disabilities? Books are a wonderful tool for parents to use to teach their children about the world around them and the many different children they might meet in their neighborhood,... Read more

Debunked: 4 Myths About Disabilities and Employment

Link to Original Article “It’s not fair to make accommodations for one worker and not for other workers.” “All those extras add up – why should the firm spend so much on one employee?” “He has a disability, and even though I am not judging him based on his disabled status, I’m looking at... Read more

A Guide to Underwear For Individuals With Special Needs

Link to Original Article Most of us don’t talk about underwear unless it becomes a problem. Specialized undergarments are often necessary for special needs. If underwear is a problem for you or someone you love, then be assured that you’re not alone: someone has already designed a solution. Here’s a sample of undergarments created... Read more

10 Ways Your Child With Special Needs Can Benefit From a Trip To The Library

Link to Original Article Every day, 4.2 million Americans visit a library.  Are you one of them? Almost every town in America has a public library, but many families of children with special needs shy away from libraries, often for behavioral reasons.  These are the families who could benefit the most from the library!... Read more

89 Things Special Needs Moms are Always Doing

Link to Original Article One of the most amazing things about being a special needs parent is realizing that you’re capable of doing many things at once. While many of us thought that we were multi-taskers before, we learn quickly that we weren’t coming close to our ability to get things done. Here are... Read more

4 Ways individuals with Special Needs Can Enjoy Life Without ‘Pretending to be Normal’

Link to Original Article Are you fighting against disability or working with it? “Pretending To Be Normal” is the title of a memoir by Liane Holliday Willey, and it’s a phrase that describes the experience of many adults with disabilities.  Because people without disabilities seem to have a radar for social differences, it can... Read more

How to Teach the Concept of Time to Young Children with Autism

Link to Original Article Fall is in full swing and that means a change in season for many of us. It also means changing of the clock and seeing it get dark earlier. It’s a time of transition, something that can be difficult for young children with Autism, leading to challenging behaviors and inconsistent comprehension... Read more

Six Alternative Seating Options in the Classroom for a Child with Special Needs

Link to Original Article When most of us think of a classroom, we envision children sitting at their desks and a teacher at the front of the room explaining a concept or teaching a lesson. If you’re my age, you may even have visions of that little schoolhouse from Little House on the Prairie. Although that vision... Read more

17 Tips to Help Your Child with Special Needs Fall Asleep

Link to Original Article One of the top topics of conversation on our online community is sleep… how to encourage your child to settle, how to stop them waking in the night, and how to make sure you’re getting enough yourself. So, we recently decided to run a Q & A with Scope’s sleep... Read more

Richard Bernstein to Become First Blind State Supreme Court Justice

Link to Original Article Voters answered Richard Bernstein’s call to blind justice on Tuesday, November 4th, with his election as Michigan Supreme Court Justice. With his election a transformational message was sent to America’s disability community, and to the nation as a whole, that the fundamental rights of people are to be expanded. Bernstein... Read more

Five Tips to get an Older Child with Special Needs to Eat Healthy

Link to Original Article Getting any child to eat healthy on a regular basis can be difficult for most parents. This task can be even more challenging when it comes to older children with special needs due to increased rigidity, sensory issues, behavioral issues, etc. I have worked with adults with developmental disabilities for many years and... Read more

Incredible dancer with Down syndrome pushes toward greatness

Link to Original Article Mikayla Holmgren has been dancing since she was a little girl. When she's dancing, she's in her element. Just like any other dancer, she's pushed to be great, and her instructor says there's nothing she can't do. She has Down syndrome, and that's simply not a barrier in front... Read more

Disney Urged To Include Characters With Disabilities

Link to Original Article An online petition with more than 31,000 signatures is asking Disney to include characters with Down syndrome in its animated films. (Thinkstock) In the history of human storytelling, the flawed hero is as old as the story of Achilles that the ancient Greeks once told one another... Read more

First Annual Light the Path 5k

Link to Original Article RANDOLPH, NJ- Randolph Rotary Club and Research Down Syndrome Foundation proudly present their first annual Light the Path 5k Run/Walk.  The event will take place on Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014, at 10 a.m. at the Randolph High School, 511 Millbrook Avenue, Randolph, NJ. T-shirt pick-up and race day registration will... Read more

10 Things my Child with Down Syndrome has Taught Me

Link to Original Article Written by Bleigh Ahl Garcia It has been 1 year since Tristan was born, and 360 days since I received he news that he has Down Syndrome. As I sit here in amazement at the whirlwind of a year we have had with Tristan in our lives, I just wanted... Read more

Coah Board Rejects Rule Proposal

Agrees With Over 3,000 Commenters that New Fair Housing Rules Deeply Flawed, Need Reworking  From Fair Share Housing Center In a deadlocked 3-3 vote this morning, the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) Board rejected the Christie Administration's proposed fair housing rules. The rules, which drew over 3,000 public comments, the vast majority in opposition, relied... Read more

10 Back to School Tips for Kids with Autism and Special Needs

It may feel like mid summer but schools are revving up for a new school year. Whereas summer may mean a more relaxed schedule, time to explore different interests and meet new friends; school brings more structure, routine and a steady pace. If you haven’t already, you will soon be receiving school supply lists... Read more

Families of Disabled Angered by Vetoes

Source: The Star Ledger County News Author: Susan K. Livio Despite gaining overwhelming legislative support, two bills that would have given families more say where family members with developmental disabilities live and their level of care and supervision have been rejected by Governor Chris Christie. The governor conditionally vetoed one bill that would have halted... Read more