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New Parents Expo – Fun For All Families! October 15-16, 2011

September 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Even though this isn’t specifically geared toward special needs families, I am looking forward to the New Parents Expo taking place October 15 and 16 at Pier 92. This event for expectant and new parents in the New York/Tri-State area is expected to attract 5,000 families over the course of the weekend.

Between its array of products, services and expert help, plus speakers like Dr. Harvey Karp, Dr. Sears and Liz Lange, the New Parents Expo will cover everything from pregnancy to preschool. When I emailed to inquire about the event, I was told that “none of the vendors/exhibitors that will be present deal exclusively with special needs, but many of them surely make products that would be useful to parents who have children with disabilities. Over 80 exhibitors will be in attendance, and one of the main reasons we are hosting this event is so parents can talk with reps from these companies to get advice and share their thoughts–you could raise this exact question and find out which brands really care about special needs products.”

There are too many exhibitors for me to list here, but if you visit www.newparentsexpo.com there are full lists of sponsors, vendors, and speakers (some big names in the lineup, check it out!)

As a special bonus for Foorce readers, to redeem a 20% discount on admission please use code FONPE when checking out online.

Since I have babies, toddlers and special needs children this is definitely worth a look for me. Of course, there is always the issue of childcare – sometimes bringing the kids to these things is a huge hassle. But when I emailed to ask about bringing kids, I was told that “parents can choose for themselves to bring their kids or find a sitter, but we’re designing the show to be as kid-friendly as possible. The Big Apple Circus will be there with face paint, balloons, and other fun stuff, and one of our exhibitors, Tegu, will have a whole play area set up with toys for little ones. Strollers are more than welcome, and there will even be a “pit stop” area where a team will fix broken parts and steam clean them! There will also be a relaxation area for parents to sip a cool drink and rest their feet.”

Sounds good to me! But, alas, not for James. Key words being “circus” and “balloons.” So I will be there, babies in tow, while James has a nice day out with grandma. Hope to see you there, but if you can’t make it you know I will be back with the scoop (eventually, some night at 3am).

Tool Kits For Caregivers, School Communities, and Friends, Courtesy of Autism Speaks

September 22, 2011 Leave a comment

I just added http://www.autismspeaks.org/family-services to the Websites and Resources page – it is bursting full of resources, guides, personal stories and news headlines re: the autistic community and I wholeheartedly recommend browsing through it at least once.

More specifically, I wanted to make mention of a really neat feature on the site – tool kits. There are School Community Tool Kits, Transition Tool Kits, Grandparents Guide to Autism Tool Kits, 100 Day Tool Kits (for newly diagnosed families), even Dental Tool Kits. You can download each kit online or request hard copies (though they are hundreds of pages long).

Thanks, Kim, for sharing this great resource!

Whole Foods Coupon – 24 Hour Sale

September 13, 2011 Leave a comment

Sometimes our little group meets informally at the Whole Foods on 97th and Columbus, which as you know if you’ve been there is the ideal meeting space, especially if you have kids in tow like me. But, ideal is not cheap. If you think you might join us for a WF coffee meeting this year, or if you just like Whole Foods and also like to save $$, click here to get $20 worth of groceries at Whole Foods for only $10. No strings attached, and good at any Whole Foods location listed. I just bought one myself and thought I’d share it since there is a WF so close to our monthly meetings!

Parent to Parent and Other Social Networks for Special Needs Families

June 22, 2011 1 comment

One of the more difficult aspects of raising a special needs child can be the isolation. It is easy to feel alone when dealing with the exciting, horrifying, exhilarating, terrifying, disgusting or unheard of situations that special needs children can uniquely find themselves in (see Airing the Dirty Laundry).

Thanks to the internet, you now only have to feel isolated in person. Online, you can be the social butterfly of the Special Needs Wildnerness! Below are just a few of the online resources (listed alphabetically) that offer parent matching, discussion boards, chats, social events and more.

Big Apple Oranges: bigappleoranges.com. A resource created by a special needs mother – includes a blog, parent events and steps on getting the services you need.

iVillage Special Needs forums: http://forums.ivillage.com/t5/Special-Needs/ct-p/iv-specialneedz I used to visit these forums when I was pregnant with James but these days I spend most of my time in the Special Needs forums. There are over a dozen board categories with thousands of post topics and replies by parents everywhere. Beware: this site is a time suck once you get reading!

Match Konnection: matchkonnection.com. A non-profit created by parents for high-functioning young adults with LD, ADHD/ADD, ASD or Aspergers. Weekly classes and events are held in NYC to facilitate social opportunities. There is also an online dating link on the site!

Parent to Parent: http://www.parenttoparentnys.org/Regional/nyc.htm – a place where special needs families (and the professionals who support them) can meet and share information. There is a very cool online form you can fill out to request a personal Parent Match. The site also has NY news, events, education, health and housing information for the special needs population.

Something Special Magazine: somethingspecialmagazine.com – though based in Georgia, this magazine appears to be the Parenting mag of the special needs world, with special needs recipes, sibling essays, ask the expert sections and about 40 pages of other neat stuff.

Yummy Coffee: yummycoffee.org – A new way to enjoy a cup of coffee with someone! Yummy Coffee is artisan roasted fresh daily, by hand in small batches. 100% of the profits generated after taxes are donated to various organizations that serve the autism community. Visit the site for more information on fundraisers, events and places you can enjoy this coffee!

I hope you enjoy the sites and meet the parent of your dreams. Feel free to list any resources you’ve found helpful in the comments section!


PlayAbility Toys Discount for Foorce Readers!

June 15, 2011 1 comment

I’m very excited to be able to share a 15% discount from PlayAbility Toys with my blog readers! The best part is that you can use the code as much as you like for an entire year! I’ve already started my shopping – there are some good summer supplies and gift ideas on their site for the special needs child in your life. Even if you don’t have a special needs child in your life, I encourage you to check out their site, http://www.playabilitytoys.com, to see some of the unique items they offer.

Below is a little more about the company and their products (info provided by Playability Toys):

PlayAbility Toys encourages children to learn, laugh, and play!  Our award-winning toys and games are designed specifically for children with targeted special needs.  We are dedicated to working in partnership with special needs families, therapists, teachers and supporting organizations to develop and offer the highest quality and most entertaining toys possible!  The positive impact PlayAbility toys have been making on the community is clear from the awards received for the Rib-It-Ball and See It & Sign It, as well as, Buddy Dog as a “Parent’s Choice” winner and “Best Toy” for children with autism spectrum disorders.Children of all abilities love the multiple sensory experiences they get from our toys and we are confident yours will too!

We are pleased to offer a special 15% discount on all purchases made through our website.  Please enter code “PlayToys15” at checkout.

Happy Shopping!