Category: special needs

Five Ways to Make Holidays Happier for Children with Different Abilities

Five Ways to Make Holidays Happier for Children with Different Abilities

By Dr. Ben Spitalnick, Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society, Board of Directors

Every parent wants the holiday season to be a special, joyous time for their child, and parents of children with different abilities or special needs usually have to take a couple of extra steps to ensure the holidays are just that.

To help along the way, the Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society offers five tips to help make the holiday season run smoothly and keep your kids happy.

1. Prepare Your Child
Your child wants to know the plans for the holiday season as much as you do. To reduce stress and prepare your child for upcoming activities, explain what you’ll be doing, who will be there and what the schedule is for the day. Write down the schedule for them and include pictures.

2. Prepare Your Family
Remind your family of the needs of your child. If there are other little ones, ask their parents to talk to them about your child’s differences. This can help reduce confusion and will foster a sense of understanding. It might help, a few days before everyone gets together, to send family members an informational email with 10 things to know about your child.

3. Bring Familiar Toys
The holidays are a chaotic time. Familiarity will help your child remain calm and feel comfortable. Bring his or her favorite toy, book or something that soothes your child at home. When things get a little too crazy, that may help your child feel comfortable.

4. Ask For Help
Don’t feel guilty for asking for help. Every parent needs help, and you do too. Explain the needs of your child to another family member or two and ask them to step in when you need a break. Explain to your child, too, that this person will be playing with them or watching them for a few minutes while you are busy.

5. Let Your Child Help
Preparing for the holidays can be stressful, but if you let your child help, you can create family traditions and keep everyone a little happier. Give your child a task such as greeting everyone at the door or stirring the sauce. This will keep your child focused, reduce his or her stress levels and give you an extra hand.

To create a happier time of celebration, we encourage all parents of children with different abilities to prepare their little ones a bit extra this holiday season. These small proactive measures can do a lot to help your child adjust to large crowds, new situations and days off-schedule. We hope this will make your holiday season a little jollier.

Dr. Ben Spitalnick is managing partner of Pediatric Associates of Savannah and currently serves as Representative for the Savannah area to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Spitalnick is from North Atlanta and is a graduate of the University of Georgia, received his medical degree from MCG, and did his Pediatric Residency at Memorial Health University here in Savannah. He serves on the board of directors for the Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society.

LDSS

Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society

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Matthew Reardon Center for Autism to Host Open House in Savannah on Nov 15

Matthew Reardon Center for Autism to Host Open House in Savannah on Nov 15

WHO: Matthew Reardon Center for Autism, Inc. (MRCA)

WHAT: Open House and Tour of Expanded School

WHEN: Wednesday, November 15, 2017, 5:30 PM – 7 PM

WHERE: 6602 Abercorn Street, Suite #200

CONTACT: Patti Victor Phone: (912) 355-9098

NOTES:
MRCA has recently expanded their existing 5,000 square foot facility by 1,000 square feet, allowing the organization to increase enrollment to 22 students. The Matthew Reardon Center for Autism operates southeast Georgia’s only accredited year-round day school for children with autism, ages 5 to 18-years-old, ADVANCE Academy (AA).

MRCA offers a multi-therapeutic, communication-based approach to academics, and social and life skills education using Applied Behavior Analysis methodology. Additionally, all students receive Speech, Occupational, Physical and Music therapy as part of their curriculum.

Accredited by the Georgia Accreditation Commission, ADVANCE Academy’s teachers communicate with parents daily. Student progress can be monitored by parents through their online system. Parent training workshops are held four times a year in addition to quarterly parent conference and annual IEP conferences. MRCA advocates work with families, both at AA and throughout the community, to ensure they obtain needed support services needed, such as IEP planning and development, SSI, Medicaid and extra-curricular activities.

Student to teacher ratio is 2:1 in elementary and 3:1 in the middle and upper school classrooms. Teachers and staff members have special certifications, including Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) and GA Professional Standards Commission Certification. All staff members are Safety-Care Certified and CPR Certified. A master’s degree is required for all lead teachers, and a bachelor’s degree required for all teaching assistants.

Teachers will be available for questions at the open house. Refreshments will be available for guests.

Annual tuition is $9,350 for the 12-month school term. Students at MRCA participate in the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Program, with limited additional tuition assistance available through the GA Tax Credit Scholarship Program.

QUOTE:
“Decades of research data clearly demonstrate that the earlier intervention support begins, the better the outcome for the child and for the entire family,” said Patti Victor, President and CEO of MRCA.

AUTISM STATISTICS:
The CDC estimates that 1 in 66 children in Georgia will be diagnosed with autism. This equates to more than 38,000 school-aged children in Georgia, more than 2,000 of whom live in the Coastal Empire community. One percent of the population of the USA has autism.

ABOUT THE MATTHEW REARDON CENTER FOR AUTISM (MRCA):
MRCA operates southeast Georgia’s only accredited year-round day school for children with autism. They have provided advocacy and outreach services to more than 800 families across southeast Georgia and have hosted professional training and instructional opportunities for more than 4,000 family members, educators, health professionals and self-advocates. The organization was incorporated in 2000 and currently serves 22 students through ADVANCE Academy. They have 11 full-time employees and operate in a 6000 sq foot suite located at 6602 Abercorn St #200, Savannah, GA 31405. Website: http://www.matthewreardon.org/

DIRECTIONS TO MRCA:
The center is located off the Northeast corner where Abercorn St. intersects with Jackson Blvd. (just north of Chucky Cheese), 2nd floor.

Matthew Rearden Center for Autism Open House

CONTACT
Patti T. Victor, President and CEO
The Matthew Reardon Center for Autism, Inc, and Advance Academy
912-355-9098 (office)
912-352-2460 (fax)
pvictor@matthewreardon.org
www.matthewreardon.org

MEDIA CONTACT
Cynthia Wright
Carriage Trade Public Relations
912-856-9075
cynthia.wright@carriagetradepr.com
www.carriagetradepr.com

Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society Held 12th Annual Buddy Walk

Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society Held 12th Annual Buddy Walk
National Down Syndrome Society President Honored as Grand Marshal

(SAVANNAH, GA) The Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society (LDSS) held their 12th annual Buddy Walk in Forsyth Park. The event was open to all ages and abilities; LDSS encouraged those in wheelchairs, carriages and strollers to attend.

This year’s event welcomed thousands of participants raising awareness and support local programs that benefit people with Down syndrome and their families. The president and CEO of the National Down Syndrome Society, Sara Hart Weir, made a special visit to Savannah for the event and served as the Grand Marshal.

Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society Buddy Walk in Savannah

(LEFT TO RIGHT) John Bogardus, LDSS Board Member; Micah Allen, Performer; Candy Bogardus, LDSS President; Sara Hart Weir, National Down Syndrome Society President and CEO; Fr. Jason Adams, St. James the Less Catholic Church; and Brian Hussey, LDSS Board Member.

Immediately following the walk, there was a family-fun festival with activities such as face painting, pumpkin painting, princess and pirate booths, bounce houses, games, music and refreshments.

“October is National Down Syndrome Awareness month,” said Candy Bogardus, President of LDSS. “Each year we celebrate by promoting acceptance and inclusion. Our mission with this walk is to positively influence local and national policies and practices towards people with Down syndrome.”

Proceeds from Savannah’s Buddy Walk help sponsor LDSS events such as the Night of Champions, Camp Buddy and many other services.

Families of Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society under the arch during the Buddy Walk in Savannah

Families of Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society under the arch during the Buddy Walk in Savannah.

For more information, contact John or Candy Bogardus at 912-728-8505, jcbogardus@gmail.com or visit www.ldssga.org.

MORE ABOUT THE LOWCOUNTRY DOWN SYNDROME SOCIETY
The Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society (LDSS) is a family support group to benefit people with Down syndrome and their families through local leadership, outreach, education, and advocacy to champion and celebrate acceptance and inclusion. Meetings are held every 4th Tuesday of the month, typically with a guest speaker and social time for families to meet and interact with one another. LDSS encourages people to bring their children. LDSS is an affiliate of the National Down Syndrome Society. For more information about LDSS, visit http://www.ldssga.org/

CONTACT
Candy Bogardus
jcbogardus@gmail.com
912-728-8505

MEDIA CONTACT
Cynthia Wright
Carriage Trade PR
cynthia.wright@carriagetradepr.com
912.856.9075

Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society Announces Annual Buddy Walk To Be Held On October 7

Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society Announces Annual Buddy Walk To Be Held On October 7

(SAVANNAH, GA) The Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society (LDSS) will hold their 12th annual Buddy Walk in Forsyth Park. The event is open to all ages and abilities; LDSS encourages those in wheelchairs, carriages and strollers to attend. Pets are welcome too.

LDSS

Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society

Last year’s event welcomed over 5,000 participants. This year, LDSS hopes to have even more of the community come out to raise awareness and support local programs that benefit people with Down syndrome and their families.

Tickets for the walk will be $15.00 per person or $50.00 for a family of four. Registration includes a T-shirt, lunch and admission to the family-fun festival.

The family-fun festival will take place in the park immediately following the walk. Participants can expect activities such as face painting, pumpkin painting, princess and pirate booths, bounce houses, games, music and refreshments.

“October is National Down Syndrome Awareness month,” said Candy Bogardus, President of LDSS. “Each year we celebrate by promoting acceptance and inclusion. Our mission with this walk is to positively influence local and national policies and practices towards people with Down syndrome.”

Proceeds from Savannah’s Buddy Walk help sponsor LDSS events such as the Night of Champions, Camp Buddy and many other services.

For more information, contact John or Candy Bogardus at 912-728-8505, jcbogardus@gmail.com or visit www.ldssga.org to register online.

MORE ABOUT THE LOWCOUNTRY DOWN SYNDROME SOCIETY
The Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society (LDSS) is a family support group to benefit people with Down syndrome and their families through local leadership, outreach, education, and advocacy to champion and celebrate acceptance and inclusion. Meetings are held every 4th Tuesday of the month, typically with a guest speaker and social time for families to meet and interact with one another. LDSS encourages people to bring their children. LDSS is an affiliate of the National Down Syndrome Society. For more information about LDSS, visit http://www.ldssga.org/

CONTACT
Candy Bogardus
jcbogardus@gmail.com
912-728-8505

MEDIA CONTACT
Cynthia Wright
Carriage Trade PR
cynthia.wright@carriagetradepr.com
912.856.9075

Joe Marchese of the Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society to Present at Chamber

Joe Marchese of the Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society to Present at Chamber

Joe Marchese to Present on Integrating Workers with Different Abilities at Savannah Chamber of Commerce September ‘Power Hour’

(SAVANNAH, GA) Joe Marchese, of the Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society (LDSS), will be the keynote speaker for ‘Power Hour,’ presented by the Savannah Area Chamber’s Small Business Council on Tuesday, Sept. 12. His presentation will highlight the “Top Ten Ways to Contract and Utilize Workers with Different Abilities.”

Marchese, who is a past president and one of the founding members of LDSS, owns Marchese Construction and has more than eighteen years experience in the construction industry. He is also an accredited professional through the United States Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Program.

Marchese’s professional experience, in combination with his involvement with LDSS, has given him a unique perspective on hiring and working with people of different abilities.

“People with different abilities can bring diversity, a fresh perspective and growth to any community,” said Marchese. “I am excited to have the opportunity to communicate this important message to Savannah’s leaders and business influencers.”

LDSS strives to create a community that accepts and includes all of its members, including people with Down Syndrome and their families. Its activism extends from the Camp Buddy summer program for children with different abilities to the Buddy Walk and Night of Champions.

Savannah’s Small Business Council hosts the Savannah Area Chamber Power Hour each month, offering an opportunity for guest speakers to present topics relevant to small business owners and employees. For more information on the Chamber Power Hour, visit: http://www.savannahchamber.com

This month’s Chamber Power Hour will be held from 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. in the Savannah Morning News Auditorium, 1375 Chatham Parkway. The meeting will include a lunch catered by Vincenzo’s Italian Restaurant & Catering. Chamber members and guests can RSVP by emailing Stephanie Painter at spainter@savannahchamber.com.

Joe Marchese Low Country Down Syndrome Society

Joe Marchese of the Low Country Down Syndrome Society

ABOUT THE LOWCOUNTRY DOWN SYNDROME SOCIETY
The Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society (LDSS) is a family support group to benefit people with Down syndrome and their families through local leadership, outreach, education and advocacy to champion and celebrate acceptance and inclusion. Meetings are held every fourth Tuesday of the month, typically with a guest speaker and social time for families to meet and interact with one another. LDSS encourages people to bring their children. LDSS is an affiliate of the National Down Syndrome Society. For more information about LDSS, visit https://www.ldssga.org/

CONTACT 
Candy Bogardus
Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society
912-728-8505
cbogardus@ldssga.org

MEDIA CONTACT 
Marjorie Young
CarriageTrade PR
912-844-9990
marjorie@carriagetradepr.com
www.carriagetradepr.com

The Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society Holds Ninth Annual Camp Buddy in Effingham and Chatham Counties

The Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society Holds Ninth Annual Camp Buddy in Effingham and Chatham Counties

(SAVANNAH, GA) The Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society (LDSS) held their ninth annual Camp Buddy summer camps in Effingham and Chatham Counties.

The camp curriculum was designed by occupational, physical, special education and speech therapists with the goal of helping the children retain the educational milestones they achieved over the course of the past school year.

“We strive to help the children in our program bridge the gap created over summer,” said Savannah Camp Buddy Director Pam Hussey. “They will be better equipped to begin the new school year with the skills they gained in the previous year fresh on their minds.”

The Effingham Camp Buddy was held over one week at the Rincon Elementary School, located at 501 Richland Avenue in Rincon, GA. Chatham Camp Buddy was held over a two-week period at Marshpoint Elementary School, located at 135 Whitemarsh Island Drive in Savannah, GA.

Camp Buddy is sponsored by the Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society and is made possible through the generosity of the community, friends and family of LDSS and events such as the Buddy Walk and Night of Champions.

For more information about Effingham and Chatham Camp Buddy, contact campbuddy@ldssga.org. For more information about LDSS, visit https://www.ldssga.org/

Pictured left to right: Thomas Nyce, Darcy Davis and Whitley Divine build friendships at Chatham Camp Buddy

Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society Camp Buddy 2017

LDSS Camp Buddy 2017

Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society Camp Buddy 2017

LDSS Camp Buddy 2017

Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society Camp Buddy 2017

LDSS Camp Buddy 2017

Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society Camp Buddy 2017

LDSS Camp Buddy 2017

LDSS Camp Buddy 2017

Camp Buddy 2017

ABOUT THE LOWCOUNTRY DOWN SYNDROME SOCIETY
The Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society (LDSS) is a family support group to benefit people with Down syndrome and their families through local leadership, outreach, education and advocacy to champion and celebrate acceptance and inclusion. Meetings are held every fourth Tuesday of the month, typically with a guest speaker and social time for families to meet and interact with one another. LDSS encourages people to bring their children. LDSS is an affiliate of the National Down Syndrome Society. For more information about LDSS, visit https://www.ldssga.org/

CONTACT
Candy Bogardus
Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society
912-728-8505
cbogardus@ldssga.org

MEDIA CONTACT 
Marjorie Young
CarriageTrade PR
912-844-9990
marjorie@carriagetradepr.com
www.carriagetradepr.com

The Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society Holds Ninth Annual Camp Buddy in Effingham County in June and in July in Chatham County

The Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society Holds Ninth Annual Camp Buddy in Effingham County in June and in July in Chatham County

(SAVANNAH, GA) The Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society (LDSS) will host their ninth annual Camp Buddy summer camps in Effingham and Chatham Counties this summer.

Effingham Camp Buddy will take place from Monday, June 26, to Friday, June 30. Chatham Camp Buddy will take place from Monday, July 10 to Friday, July 21.

The camp curriculum is designed by occupational, physical, special education and speech therapists with the goal of helping children retain the educational milestones they achieved over the course of the past school year.

“We strive to help the children in our program bridge the gap created over summer,” said Savannah Camp Buddy Director Pam Hussey. “They will be better equipped to begin the new school year with the skills they gained in the previous year fresh on their minds.”

Details for EFFINGHAM Camp Buddy
Effingham Camp Buddy is held over one week:
Dates: Monday, June 26 through Friday, June 30
Time: 8:30 – 11:30 a.m. for kids ages 3-7 and 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. for kids over the age of 7
Location: Rincon Elementary School, 501 Richland Avenue in Rincon, GA.

Details for CHATHAM Camp Buddy
Chatham Camp Buddy is held over a two week period on Monday’s, Wednesday’s and Friday’s:
Dates: Week One: Monday, July 10; Wednesday, July 12; Friday, July 14
Week Two: Monday, July 17; Wednesday, July 19; Friday, July 21
Time: 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. for kids ages 3-5 and 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. for ages 6-9
Location: Marshpoint Elementary School, 135 Whitemarsh Island Drive in Savannah, GA.

Camp Buddy is sponsored by the Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society and is made possible through the generosity of the community, friends and family of LDSS and events such as the Buddy Walk and Night of Champions.

For more information about Effingham and Chatham Camp Buddy, contact campbuddy@ldssga.org. For more information about LDSS, visit https://www.ldssga.org/

ABOUT THE LOWCOUNTRY DOWN SYNDROME SOCIETY
The Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society (LDSS) is a family support group to benefit people with Down syndrome and their families through local leadership, outreach, education and advocacy to champion and celebrate acceptance and inclusion. Meetings are held every fourth Tuesday of the month, typically with a guest speaker and social time for families to meet and interact with one another. LDSS encourages people to bring their children. LDSS is an affiliate of the National Down Syndrome Society. For more information about LDSS, visit https://www.ldssga.org/

CONTACT
Candy Bogardus
Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society
912-728-8505
cbogardus@ldssga.org

MEDIA CONTACT
Marjorie Young
CarriageTrade PR
912-844-9990
marjorie@carriagetradepr.com
www.carriagetradepr.com