Thursday, August 11, 2016

Signing Time Digital Sale!

Signing Time is having a huge Digital DVD sale!  All individual Signing Time Digital videos regularly priced at $9.99 will be just $5 each when you use code "5dollars". This includes videos from Baby Signing Time, Signing Time Series One or Two, Potty Time, Rachel and the TreeSchooler, Bible Fun or the new Signing Time Sentences.  There is no limit on how many you can get but the sale coupon code does not apply to pre bundled sets. You can get all 4 vidoes from the Baby Signing Time set, individually, for just $20.  I have never seen such a great sale.
 I just wrote a post the other day on in the Baby Center DS Community page about why the digital videos are a much better investment than the physical DVD's and now with this sale they are an even better deal!   This special pricing only lasts until Saturday August 13, 2016. Here is a  if you are interested. 
link to shop

2016 NDSC Convention

The 2016 NDSC convention was held last month in Orlando, Florida.  We were once again fortunate to be able to go as a family and take advantage of the many learning opportunities offered to us. Every time I go to a convention, I learn something or meet someone who completely changes how I think about  Down syndrome and the possibilities for Ben's future.

This year was no different.

For me the conference is a working vacation, I was again able to share Signing Time with the families at the convention.  The most rewarding part about being an exhibitor is when families of older kids come and tell me how important Signing Time was for their child growing up, and them thanking me for coming and being a resource for young families.  I was also able to share some tips and trick about learning and teaching ASL to children with Down syndrome at an hour and a half session called Jumpstarting Language and Learing using Sign Language with my friend Cyndi Johnson from Indiana.  This year I also provided some entertainment at Kids Camp.  It turns out, this is way different from doing a class, because at classes, parents are there to help wrangle kids in a typical 's class.  In the 3-4 year old room I had them all stand up to sing along with a song and they all ran off and took my speaker and ipad that I was using to play songs.  It was certainly a learning experience for me!

Our booth was next to Gabe's Glass Creations.  Gabe is a self advocate from Santa Fe, New Mexico and does beautiful work with glass.  Gabe took a shine to Noah and they quickly became friends. Making connections with other families is one of the best parts of the convention.

Something else that was new for me was taking along some of the buttons that Ben and I made before the convention.  It was great that Ben showed an interest in making buttons, but it does take much longer at this point to have him involved in the process. All the time we invest now might just be of a benefit later if Ben decides to go into the button business. You may be hearing more about Benjamin's Buttons in the not so distant future.  For now, we sold a lot of buttons and all proceeds will be donated to Down Syndrome Advocates in Action Nebraska, so it was a great fundraiser.


One of the highlights of the convention was the cast of the A&E show Born this Way.  Megan and Sean's had booths just down the aisle from me and it was so fun to see the cast reunion happening live in the Exhibit hall on the first night when everyone arrived.  I even got Steven and Megan to take a photo with Hopkins for our #whereishopkins campaign this summer.


Randy did not get to go to as many sessions this year since he had to help me work in the Signing Time booth while I was entertaining at Kids Camp, but he really enjoyed the sessions he attended.  He chose sessions on technology and came out of both sessions he attended very energized.  We are excited that this year all participants at the conference will get recordings of the different sessions, so I am excited to listen to many of the presentations I missed.


We also got to spend a couple days before and after the convention at Universal Studios.  I was absolutely amazed at how well Ben did on the rides.  But it was a lot of walking.  Just walking up to the gate the first day made us realize that we would need to get him a stroller.  He just did not have the stamina to go the long distances.  I can tell already that he is going to be a roller coaster junkie, just like his Dad and big Brothers.  He went on everything he was tall enough to go on, and even stood on his tip toes to get into one of the Harry Potter rides.  I felt him shaking as Voldemort pointed his wand at us and shouted a curse, but as soon as we were done he would say, "Let's go again".












The special needs pass did come in very handy and made the park much easier to deal with. If a ride had a 60 minute wait, we still had to wait that amount of time, but we got to spend half of that time out of line.  Once we figured out the system, we would sign up for a return time, then go use the restroom and get a drink.  When we came back they would let us in the express line and the wait was much shorter.  If you have a loved one with special needs, it is definitely worth it to get the disability pass.

We were a bit worried about how we would feed Ben and completely avoid gluten, but we were excited to find many gluten free options on quite a few menus.   One thing that really helped was that we traded our Branson time share for a condo just 5 minutes from the convention, and it had a full kitchen.  We were able to eat a safe breakfast every morning, which gave us a good start to the day. The condo really was beautiful and had a couple pools, a basketball court and a put put golf course, so there was plenty to keep us busy.  Having a child with Celiac Disease certainly makes us appreciate the Time Share so much more.

It was an awesome conference/vacation and we look forward to Sacramento next summer.  




Monday, March 21, 2016

Happy World Down Syndrome Day!

Here is a little video I made to help celebrate World Down Syndrome Day 3-21.  A huge thank you to my friends in the Nebraska Down syndrome community, and the on-line Down syndrome community who shared photos of your precious kiddos so that I could make this video.  Feel free to share it to spread positive Down syndrome awareness.




At school we are celebrating with blue and yellow cupcakes that have festive Birthday balloons and sprinkles since Ben celebrated his 8th Birthday yesterday.  He was super excited to go to the pot luck for the High School Boys Basketball team to celebrate their C2 State Runner Up Basketball season.

In addition to cupcakes, each kid will get a coupon for a free Subway cookie attached to a Random Acts of Kindness cards

Everyone have an awesome World Down Syndrome Day!



Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Congratulations EM Knights Basketball

Congratulations to the EM Knights for earning a spot in the Nebraska C2 Championship game, by beating Winnebago.  The game on Friday night was one for the record books.  We enjoyed watching and cheering for the team.  This article says it all.  WAY TO GO BOYS!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Bible Fun

What do you do when you love Signing Time, and your church service reminds you of the Bible Fun Signing Video?  Well, you stand up, pretend you are Rachel Coleman and start teaching the whole Church ASL from the back.  As you will be able to hear, the pastor's sermon did not slow him down a bit.  We finally had to take him out that day, but not until I captured a couple of video clips. Ben sure does keep life interesting!  #Signingtimeinstructorskid

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Spread the Word to END the Word Day

Today is Spread the Word to END the Word Day.  In 2008, Special Olympics launched the www.r-word.org website to combat the inappropriate use of the R-word.  

Many people think it is OK to use the word retard or retarded if they are not referring to an individual with a disability.  I admit, that before Ben came along, I said it about myself on occasion, when ever I did something stupid. Since I did not have a personal connection with anyone who had a disability, I did not realize how hurtful this word was.  

But the word does hurt.  It hurts a lot!  When you say the word in a derogatory way, it puts down people with disabilities, whether you are referring to them or not.   It says you don't want to be like them.  It makes them less.

Most people, when confronted (or educated), apologize right away and really try not say the word again.  But believe me, speaking up in person, is not an easy task.  There are times I have let it go because I did not think it would be worth the fight, and times that I turned on my Mama bear and took the lesson way to far.  It is much easier to sit behind my computer and type this than it is to confront someone face to face.  But I am committed to being an advocate for Ben, and because of that, I have to speak up.  


But there are some who when confronted, start talking about the right to free speech, about how every group wants certain words banned, and how we should not be so sensitive.   Do you have a right to say that word?  Sure.  You have every right to be a jerk and put down other people. People with disabilities are an easy target because they are less likely to defend themselves.  But individuals with disabilities have feelings, and are hurt by word as much if not more than everyone else. Families have feelings

If you are still confused.  Here is handy flow chart.  


There is an easy solution.  Don't be a jerk.  Don't say things that put others down.  Make them feel like more, not less. Be someone who helps people up. Be respectful.  Advocate for those with special needs when you hear someone say the word and ask them to stop.  Take the pledge http://www.r-word.org/  


Finally, if you still need convincing, this sheet from KC Down Syndrome Guild sums it up nicely. Click to make larger.
 http://www.kcdsg.org/files/content/r%20word%20flyer.pdf