Meet the Kids – J. Isaac!

J. Isaac was born with down syndrome. He really strives every day to make his muscles stronger, each step in which he triumphs is a victory for us because that shows that he feels the support of us, his family and he shows us that in life there are no obstacles. He is requesting and adaptive bike. This gift will be part of his daily life to further strengthen his body. He has really shown us many things mentally and physically the same, but he still wants to show us more physically and this incredible device will help him achieve his physical goal.

 

#varietykc

 

Meet the Kids – Ernest!

 

 

Ernest has been such a joy to our family and a special blessing to all he meets. Physically and verbally, he is very limited, but he is able to express so much delight and enjoyment through his beautiful smile and laugh. Because of his many physical and neurological barriers, finding a consistent way to communicate with him has been a real challenge, but yet I can tell in sweet little things he does, special coos and broad grins, that he does understand more than we realize. His therapists at school have been testing a wide variety of different buttons with him and it’s such a joy to see his great excitement when he is able to successfully choose even the most simple things. We really feel like this technology will open a whole new door for our son with how he is able to interact with us and his siblings. It will open a window of independence for him that otherwise he may never have been able to achieve.

Ernest Diagnosis is: Cortical visual impairment secondary to cerebral atrophy in the occipital and parietal lobes due to a possible stroke in utero. Ernest is also on a ketogenic diet to control seizures.

Ernest is a nonverbal communicator that is unable to rely on his speech for his communication needs. Currently, he is dependent on his family, teachers and peers to interpret his wants and need based on his facial expressions, vocalizations and body language. We know Ernest has so much sweet personality and love to share with us and a gift of an iPad, money to support a communication app, and a mount for his wheelchair would provide Ernest and his family with the tools and the amazing gift to communicate as a family.  #varietykckids

Variety KC Inclusive Pay Zone at KCI

Flying has become more of a priority as families spread out across the country and travel is more highly valued. Millennials are the most active of travelers, and unlike Gen X and Boomers, their travel plans include kids. However, many of our Variety KC parents felt flying was impossible, “what if their kids acted out or became scared?”
Variety KC serves children with special needs and their families. Our experience tells us that including our kids in travel plans just takes some adaptations and extra planning. In Variety’s drive to make KC the most inclusive city in the country, when plans for a new airport were announced…we knew it was the next challenge in our #inclusionrevolution.
Variety KC is proud to announce inclusive plans for the new airport. Travelers flying into and out of our inclusive city will have a sensory area for children to decompress, or to gather themselves if overwhelmed. Sensory kits will be available and “trial runs” of the airport will be encouraged (a strategy used by many with children on the Autism Spectrum).
Best of all…the family restrooms will have universal changing tables so older kids and adults would not have to be changed on the floor.
Join us on this journey to make travel more inclusive!

2020 and now 2021 will be the years that brought you:
The virtual cocktail party
The virtual job place
Virtual birthdays and weddings
Now brings you: the year of virtual gifts!
No wrapping, no shopping, no in-person exchange. The safest way to give is online. And the greatest gift is a gift for all! All kids play at Variety KC’s inclusive playgrounds and splash pads. All kids engage with inclusive access to the arts.
These times won’t last forever – and when we can safely gather and play again, let’s make sure EVERYONE is included!
Your monthly gift to Variety can honor everyone on your gift list! It’s a gift of hope, a gift of caring, and a gift for ALL! Help us build for the future together. Make a holiday donation at VarietyKC.org

Variety Champion- Heather Hall

A few years ago, Variety KC set out to make our community the most inclusive city in the country.
We found a supportive champion in Councilwoman Heather Hall, and soon collaborated on a number of inclusive projects and parks. This year the mayor honored us along with Parks and Rec as they pledged to make all park properties inclusive.
Variety has chapters across the global and Variety KC consults on projects across the country… we know that this inclusive pledge is both impressive and rare.
When plans for the KC airport were in the works, Variety again reached out through Councilwoman Hall and asked for an opportunity to speak with the airport committee. We saw it as an opportunity to portray KC as the most inclusive city from the moment travelers landed. For the families in the KC area, it was an opportunity to make travel more comfortable for all families. Having an inclusive play area along with other targeted plans, makes it possible for parents of children with special needs to have a place to decompress and to be introduced to the experience they are about to have. This will have a calming effect and potential reduce any issues once in the air.
This is important for two reasons. First, one out of four families has a member with some form of disability. That is a large portion of the population who may be reluctant to travel for various reasons. Why not remove the barriers or hesitations that we can? Second, millennials are the most frequent traveling age group and more likely to travel with children.
A communication board to help facilitate questions and determine wants and needs will be posted. A universal changing table will make restroom stops safer while offering dignity.
Thank you to our Variety CHAMPION- Heather HALL!

Just A Few Things We DO

  • We have created two adaptive baseball fields
  • Nine inclusive playgrounds
  • 21 adaptive grocery carts at Hy-Vee stores
  • First Inclusive Play Area at a Zoo
  • Partnered with Kauffman Performing Arts Center to become inclusive
  • Worked with B&B Theatres for kids to check out sensory kits at ALL B&B theatres nationwide
  • Created communication boards for non-verbal kids in community area’s
  • Built 300 Variety Go Baby Go Modified Cars,
  • Posted inclusive parking signs in over 2,000 parking lots
  • We’ve introduced adaptive walkers and sled hockey equipment in KC
  • Created the first adaptive exercise videos for kids
  • Introduced lake access transportation for kids in wheelchairs
  • Challenged facilities to think about “potties” – providing dignity by installing adult size changing tables in several facilities.
  • Introduced pop up harnesses to Children’s Therapy Centers
  • Introduced the first full building harness track system and now two Variety KC Cafes to offer employment skill opportunities for kids with disabilities.