Eva Longoria Supports the 2011 Toys”R”Us Differently-Abled Catalog

Toys “R” Us releases their special needs toy guide for 2011.

For nearly 20 years, Toys“R”Us, Inc. has provided parents of special needs children, caregivers and gift-givers with reliable toy recommendations for the children that have special needs in their lives through the Toys“R”Us Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids®. Continuing that tradition, today the company announced the launch of the 2011 edition of the Guide featuring actress and philanthropist Eva Longoria on the cover, alongside Elijah De La Cerda, a 5-year-old boy with Down syndrome from Fresno, CA.

The toys that are pictured in this special needs toy guide are great to help with gross motor,  fine motor skills, auditory, social skills and more.

Occupational therapists, as well as physical therapists use a lot of the toys suggested in this catalog for their therapies.  It features specially selected toys that encourage play for children with physical, cognitive or developmental disabilities.  These special needs toys can help children with fine motor planning, strength, stability and much more.

Go to this page to see the different categories that are being addressed by these special needs toys.

The holidays are around the corner so you can help buy the perfect gift for your child, grandchild, niece or friend that has special needs by purchasing a gift that can really help with their development and the joy, by purchasing from the Toys”R”Us Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids.

Is The “Little Mermaid” Play An Age Appropriate Field Trip For Kingergartners?


Today I went with my son on his first Kindergarten field trip, and it was to see the high school performance of “Little Mermaid.”  I have to say I was a little disappointed that this was their field trip.  I didn’t really know what to expect, but I was very taken back.  I didn’t feel it was an age appropriate field trip for 5 and 6 year olds, probably not for 7 and 8 years as well.


I looked around about midway through the show and there were kids crying or scared, because it was at times scary, dark and it was somewhat violent. The word “stupid” was used by Ursula which really bothered me since I have a child with Down Syndrome.  We try to teach our kids about words that are hurtful and here are high school kids using it in a play.


Yes I know it’s a play and it wasn’t real but since it was a field trip parents, were not there to talk to their kids or just make sure they were okay.  I can’t say their was a really great message that it was giving either to these impressionable minds.


Now don’t get me wrong I love Disney, in fact we are taking our family there for springbreak.  However, I think there are better productions that Disney has created that are simple, fun and have some educational meaning to them.


I brought this up to our PTO tonight and a parent asked me well do you have any better suggestions, and I said “yes I know there was no cost to the parents but why don’t we take them to the Humane Society and they can clean the animals, walk them and feed them, teaching them about responsibility or the youth orchestra can come to the school and perform or the choir can sing.  There are definitely better options out there than this.”  I said that” if this was the only option then I would rather they not go, or look at the entire audience of children attending these kinds of events, because there were some older children and make a better judgement if it’s appropriate for all.”


We have to learn how to protect our children or we can’t complain about the behaviors they demonstrate if this is what they see and hear.  I guess I just expected better judgement on the part of the school.




I dedicate this poem to my beautiful son who is truly a blessing sent to us from God.  We are thankful everyday that we were chosen to be the parents of  heaven’s very special child.


by Edna Massionilla

A meeting was held quite far from Earth

It was time again for another birth.

Said the Angels to the Lord above –

“This special child will need much love.

His progress may be very slow

Accomplishment he may not show.

And he’ll require extra care

                                        From the folks he meets down there.

                                         He may not run or laugh or play

                                     His thoughts may seem quite far away

                                      So many times he will be labeled different, helpless and disabled.

                                        So, let’s be careful where he’s sent.

                                       We want his life to be content.

                                    Please, Lord, find the parents who

                                     Will do a special job for you.

                                     They will not realize right away

                                   The leading role they are asked to play.

                                 But with this child sent from above

                                Comes stronger faith, and richer love.

                               And soon they’ll know the privilege given

                                In caring for their gift from heaven.

                              Their precious charge, so meek and mild

                             Is heaven’s very special child.”


As my husband and I sat in church this weekend with our son, our parish was announcing the confirmation class.  My husband mentioned to me that he wanted our son to have the opportunity to live a religious life and take part in a religious education class.  We still have some time as our son is only 5 1/2 but we wondered if our church would be able to work with us in helping to prepare him.  Then I came across this product and I thought wow what a wonderful thing.

I wanted to share this with all of you in case any of you may be wondering the same thing.  I plan to purchase this and will share with you our experience.  But here is information on the Adaptive First Eucharist Preparation Kit.  The story behind this is truly inspiring.  It began as 14-year-old Brian Rizzo’s 2008 Eagle Scout Project as he developed a special needs library at his parish, inspired by his younger sister Danielle who has autism. Working with his parents, they developed a series of learning tools to be used by children preparing to celebrate First Eucharist. The tools help catechists to ensure that children with special needs meet the USCCB requirements for First Eucharist which are the ability to distinguish the Holy Eucharist from ordinary food and to receive the Eucharist reverently. Loyola Press proudly and happily developed the Adaptive First Eucharist Preparation Kit based on Brendan’s work.




Introducing Your Special Needs Child to the School Community

School has already started for us, but in some states your school may be just beginning.  So have you thought about how you can share your child with school personnel?  Ok well what do I mean by that.  Let’s say your child has an instructional aide or some person who supports them during school.  What happens if that aide is absent or goes on vacation and the school brings in a new aide that has never met your child.  What plan do you have in place or does that teacher have in place to acquaint the substitute to your child?

I came across this very situation the other day.  I always walk my son to his classroom and get him ready for his day while waiting for his aide.  But today I noticed there was a new girl that came to the classroom looking like a deer in the headlights, and the teacher asked her who she was.  She said she was the substitute aide.  So the teacher proceeded to ask her if the aide left her any notes about my son and she replied “no”.  So it got me thinking well there needs to be a piece of paper that tells about my son’s routine, schedule, personality, likes/dislikes.

I talked to an advocate who has helped me in the past with my case conference if she knew of anything that people have used, and she forwarded me the attached. FAST -introducing your child to the school community

Here is a blank form for you to fill out and give to your child’s aide, teachers, school personnel etc.  Just save it on your computer and fill it out as needed. Student Snapshot

I think this is a great form to fill out and either keep in your child’s backpack or have the teacher keep in a folder in the classroom.

Hope you find it helpful.

Eva Longoria Supports the 2011 Toys”R”Us Toy Guide for Differently Abled Kids

As a company that loves all kids, Toys”R”Us, Inc. has a long history of supporting the special needs community. For nearly 20 years, they have published the annual Toys”R”Us Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids, an easy-to-use resource featuring specially selected toys that encourage play for children with physical, cognitive or developmental disabilities.

You may click here to view the 2011 catalog online.

After viewing the catalog it’s nice to see that some of the toys my son has are in the catalog and I see a few that I have already put on his christmas list.

Thanks Toys”R”Us for making such a wonderful catalog that parents of children with special needs can feel confident about the toys that they purchase are reviewed by experts and have specific benefits that they provide our children.  Whether it be from a gross motor perspective or from a social skills level.  We can feel confident that if Toys”R”Us is recommending them then they have to have to be good.

Great choice for your cover love it.

“Advocating For Others” Webinar on WEGO Health

I have been asked to be apart of a wonderful webinar entitled “Advocating For Others” as a guest panelist.  The webinar will take place on Monday, August 29th at 8pm EST.

Being the mother of a child with special needs I learned very quickly of my other job, that of being an advocate for my child.  We are their voice.

Some of the topics we’ll be discussing are how to:

* Educate yourself as a caregiver for your child
* Empower yourself to advocate for someone else
* How to advocate for others as a caregiver
* Prepare yourself (and your child) for the outside world – school, other people, etc.
* Make a difference but stay healthy yourself
* Go from caregiver to activist

This Webinar is free and open to anyone who advocates for others, may have to advocate for a child in the future, or who just wants to learn more.

You can register for this webinar here.  Hope you can join me!

Learning Disabilities and the Arts

Have you ever thought about how the Arts can open the doorway to your child’s learning?

If your child is diagnosed with a learning disability (LD), it can be very frustrating and confusing for them, their parents and their teachers.  Why?  Learning disabilities are often complex and confusing issues, because the term learning disability has different meanings.  A person with LD can have problems with different skills used for learning, like in areas of reading, writing, speaking, listening, doing math and reasoning because of the way their brain processes the information.

People often get confused that a person with an LD are not as smart as them, but really a person diagnosed with a learning disability is just as smart or smarter than their peers.  While they have difficult in mastering reading, writing, etc they often excel in the arts.

For children participating in the arts can be fun, but for children with a learning disability it can also be a very useful way to teach them.

Creative Teaching and Learning

The arts are intellectual disciplines; that require complex thinking and problem solving skills.  Learning through the arts offers children important opportunties to construct their own understanding of the world, while at the same time utilizing their strengths.  Traditional teaching often requires children with LD to expand their understanding, by calling on their weaknesses, which can be very overwelming and frustrating.  For children who may struggle academically and behaviorially, they may excel in creative expression.  This is true for my son.  He struggles often with counting or shapes, but when you put music on he can perform and sing, and use his mind in such an imaginary way that may be hard for people who are academic achievers.

However, there are many benefits of teaching through the arts, that help children develop cognitive skills they may otherwise struggle with.  For example:

  • Drawing and painting develop fine motor skills and eye-hand coordination.  But it can also teach your child with math as it helps them to understand spatial relationships, shapes and sizes.  It can also help them to understand the basics of colors.
  • Music is a great way to teach them rhythm, sound and pitch and teaching them to use beats and rhymes are excellent pre-reading skills.
  • Dance and movement are good way to teach children about sequencing, rhythm, counting and following directions, but it also helps with their coordination and motor control.
  • Drama helps to teach children with concepts and themes that build creativity and out of the box thinking, but it helps them to express the way they may understand or have learned something, but it also helps them to build confidence.

Parents and teachers have to use these different tools to help a child with a learning disability learn, grow and build self-worth.