This is Eli – on Eli Day! Yes, today’s the day Variety KC delivered Eli’s new ipad and communication apps. I know he will be excited about it when the balloon pops! His parents, Mark and Megan are excited, and so is his grandmother Kimberly. They are thrilled for Eli to be able to tell them exactly what he wants or needs. Eli can use some sign language and is pretty good at getting his point across, but being able to accurately communicate will mean a world of difference in the classroom setting – with his family members – and with his friends.
I was honored to be Eli’s “Magic Maker” – the Variety KC Volunteer who delivers life-enhancing equipment and devices to area kids with special needs. Hanging out with Eli and his amazing family was a great way to spend part of the afternoon. If you’re interested in helping to brighten a child’s day…and life….ask about becoming a Magic Maker. For me, the magic was Eli! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org. And yes…the Variety KC heart was first base in this ballgame 🙂
Meet Jack: Jack is a two year old boy with Global Developmental Delay and Mixed receptive/expressive language delay. Jack struggles with joint attention/eye contact and has some behavioral issues due to his inability to communicate his wants and needs. An AAC device would truly give Jack “a voice” of his own! His mom believes the ability to communicate will make it easier for Jack to learn and grow. So Variety KC is giving this gift to help Jack and his family communicate together. Now Watch Jack Flourish!!! Thank you Variety KC and all our supporters for believing in kids like JACK!
Skylar’s family describes him as a blessing. “He is the youngest of six and the Star of our Crew. We did not find out until after birth about his genetic syndrome. T9M. It’s so rare (less then 200 worldwide) that most of his doctors really had no information to give us about his prognosis for life. We spend everyday letting him surprise us with what he can do. They did not believe he would ever walk or be able to communicate…although he hasn’t accomplished either yet, he is working so hard on both!! Skylar can scoot around the floor and LOVES to try to keep up with his two brothers. He also LOVES being outside, but his hands and bottom get so scratched up from scooting around that it quickly becomes not so fun for him. Having this tricycle to allow him to play with his siblings and all the other kids on our street would make his life so much more enjoyable!”
When Variety KC receives letters like this, how can we NOT help? Skylar has so much drive and dedication, we just had to find a way to fund an adaptive tricycle for this amazing little guy! When programs provide appropriate accommodation and support to meet the needs of all children and their families, everyone benefits. Despite several protection laws, many children with special needs and their families continue to face challenges accessing inclusive high-quality early childhood programs. Implementing a cultural of inclusion for children with special needs will take the involvement of all early childhood programs and services.
In toddler care, inclusion means making the benefits of high-quality care available to all children, including those with identified disabilities and those who require additional help or support because of behavioral, health, or developmental issues. Including these children, with appropriate accommodation and support, allows all children to have full active program participation.
Research shows that individualized, high-quality experiences during toddlerhood support early brain development and peer interactions and provide a strong foundation for development and learning for all children. Meaningful inclusion benefits all children and supports children with disabilities in making significant developmental and learning progress.
The children who are included in programs offer important opportunities for building peer-interaction, communication, and problem-solving skills. Research on typically developing children shows positive developmental, social, and attitudinal outcomes in inclusive environments.
Making sure Skylar is included means – everybody wins! Help all kids to Be Active, Be Social and Belong. Donate today at varietykc.org! Thank you.
A Variety Mom explains how growing kids are a physical risk for caregivers and parents:
“Liam has always struggled with walking and as he has gotten older and bigger, his strength and coordination have been declining. He had hip surgery in June of 2017 to help him, as both of his hips were 30-40% out of the sockets. He unfortunately contracted staph infection immediately following the surgery and spent a full year recovering from this. He needed 5 additional surgeries to clean out the wounds and spend a full year on antibiotics to keep the staph infection at bay until the bones were healed and the metal plates could be removed in May of 2018. Since then, he has been having PT and pool therapy every week and he is not back to his baseline prior to surgery yet. He is growing bigger and heavier. We currently have a Honda van that we lift him into and out of. I have been in treatment for chronic neck pain for about a year, as all of the lifting is taking a toll on our health. Our physical therapist is concerned that the transfers into and out of the van are not safe for Liam and the caregivers. She has recommended that we get this motorized seat for Liam. We first went to United Access to add this to our current van and the cost was $10,000. Our van is not very new, so we didn’t feel this would be a good investment. Someone told us about Toyota vans that have an option to be equipped with this seat and we think this is the best value for us.”
Help us to make sure all kids and parents are kept safe! Donate today at varietykc.com.
When is a bike, not a bike? When it goes beyond the joy of riding and helps a young lady named Pholet, gain strength, increase range of motion, help with coordination, and improve her gait pattern and balance. But to Pholet, it’s the adaptive bike that will allow her to be outside playing with the neighborhood kids she sees through the window.
Variety partners, donors and sponsors know that the gift of mobility is also a gift of health. To join this generous team of caring Variety supporters, visit www.varietykc.org
Olivia is a six-year-old kindergartener who has been using a motorized wheelchair since she was a toddler. The problem with her power chair is that it isn’t able to navigate stairs or even the simplest step into someone’s house. That means that if Olivia wants to go into a friends house to play or for a birthday party, she has to rely on her parents lifting her in a manual wheelchair. Once inside, she can’t navigate as well. There is a device that converts a manual wheelchair into a temporary power chair. Lightweight and portable, it would allow Olivia greater Social inclusion and help her transport her more easily. This product is made in Canada and Olivia’s will be the first in the United States! Another first from Variety KC – and just the start of so many new adventures for Olivia! Help us to help other kiddos like Olivia, donate today at www.varietykc.org!