Disability Connection Newsletter — June 2016
10 Things to Know about Summer Fun & Safety
- Summer Reading. Summer is time for a well-deserved break from school. However, taking a complete break can cause students, including those with learning disabilities, to fall behind in their studies. But there are ways that parents can keep children reading all summer long and help them have fun while doing it! Great Schools has strategies to get kids excited about reading, including reading together and playing word games that help create positive associations with reading. LD Online offers additional suggestions like keeping a variety of books and magazine around the house, reading aloud with your child and exploring audio books. Reading Rockets has a list of websites with information for parents, and recommendations for apps and other technology tools for kids. These online tools can provide children with structure while teaching them important media literacy skills. The National Center for Learning Disabilities also has a summer reading list to help parents and educators better understand learning disabilities and attention issues.
- Camps for Kids with Disabilities. Going to summer camp benefits children and youth with disabilities by providing opportunities for them to develop friendships and participate in physical activities. There are many types of camps, including those run by organizations like Easter Seals and camps for kids with specific types of disabilities or health conditions, such as Tourette syndrome or limb loss. How do you find the right camp for your child? Read these tips from My Child Without Limits to help choose a camp that fits your child’s needs and interests. If cost is a consideration for your family, check with the camp you’re interested in to see if scholarships are available. In addition, local chapters of organizations like the National Down Syndrome Societyand Autism Society, as well as state Developmental Disability Service Offices, may offer grants for recreational activities like summer camps. Be aware that applications for financial aid are usually due several months before camps starts. Visit Disability.gov to find more information on summer camps for kids with disabilities.
- Accessible Summer Sports. Summer sports can be healthy and fun activities for everyone, including people with disabilities. Disabled Sports USA holds adaptive sporting events throughout the country during spring, summer and fall. Check out their events calendar or contact your local chapter for information on adaptive sports opportunities for youth, adults and wounded warriors with disabilities, including sailing andwaterskiing. Swimming is a great way for both children and adults with disabilities to be active during the summer. USA Swimming has information on adaptive swim classes, videos about Paralympic swimmers and alist of organizations that have events for swimmers with disabilities. Learn about Wilderness Inquiry’sCanoemobile program, which offers opportunities for youth in urban areas with and without disabilities to participate in canoeing, camping, hiking and other outdoor activities. Find out when the Canoemobile program is coming to your city. Life Rolls On offers adaptive surfing and skateboarding programs for young people with spinal cord injuries. Other nonprofit organizations that offer adaptive summer programs include Adaptive Adventures, the National Sports Center for the Disabled, Adventures Without Limits, the United States Adaptive Recreation Center and the Adaptive Sports Center.
- The Great Outdoors. Explore the outdoors this summer and enjoy the beauty of a national park. The National Park Service (NPS), which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this August, offers an Access Pass for people with disabilities. This is a free, lifetime admission pass that you can apply for if you’re a U.S. citizen or resident who has a permanent, documented disability. Fill out this application to request an Access Pass. There are manybenefits to the Access Pass, including free entry to federal recreation sites. To learn more about theaccessibility of a specific park, use the NPS Find a Park tool. Once you’ve find the park you’re interested in, select “Plan Your Visit” and then “Accessibility” from the drop-down menu. If you want to stay overnight in a national park, you can reserve an accessible camping location. If you have trouble with disability access in a national park, you can file a complaint with the NPS. Read the NPS Accessibility Strategic Plan to learn more about what the NPS is doing to ensure the accessibility of national parks.
- Preparing for Summer Weather. Summer weather can be unpredictable, bringing extreme heat, drought andthunderstorms. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has tips for preventing heat-related illnesses, including heat stroke and heat stress in older adults. Summer storms can mean lightning, thunder and power outages. People who use medical devices that require electricity should take extra precautions in case of power outages. Find lightning safety tips, including what to do if you’re outside when a storm hits.Hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30. Hurricanes and tropical storms can cause high winds, flooding and heavy rain. If your summer travel plans include areas often affected by hurricanes, check out the State Department’s “Tropical Storm Season – Know before You Go” guide. The CDC also offers information about preparing for and recovering from hurricanes and tropical storms, including videos in American Sign Language. Visit the National Hurricane Center’s website or follow the center on Twitter to stay up to date on current hurricane activity. Download the American Red Cross’ Emergency App to get real-time severe weather alerts.
- Keeping Your Skin Sun Safe. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer, but you can take steps to stay safe while having fun in the sun. A leading cause of skin cancer is too much exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. Follow these skin cancer prevention tips, which include staying in the shade and wearing protective clothing and sunscreen, to help prevent skin cancer. Clothing such as hats and long-sleeved shirts can help keep your skin safe. Choose the best sunscreen to protect your skin by learning about different sunscreen options.The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends that you do a monthly self-exam to check for signs of cancer on your skin and visit a dermatologist annually for a full-body skin exam. There are two main types of skin cancer– melanoma and non-melanoma. Learn about the symptoms and signs of both, and the treatment optionsthat are available.
- Protect Your Picnic. Summer often means outdoor meals like cookouts, barbecues and picnics. But all that fun in the sun can be dangerous for the food you’re serving or eating. Follow these seven steps to summer food safetyto make sure you and your guests don’t get a foodborne illness such as E. coli or Salmonella. Remember to cook all meat thoroughly, keep dishes with mayonnaise in them out of the sun and wash your hands frequently. Read the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s fact sheet on food safety for barbecues to learn more. Food safety is especially important for older adults, young children and people with certain health conditions like diabetesor HIV. Read “Food Safety for Older Adults” for more information. Foodsafety.gov offers information aboutkeeping food safe, including a video about food safety at cookouts (video is also available in Spanish). Learn about the symptoms and causes of food poisoning and find information about food recalls and alerts. Visit the Partnership for Food Safety Education website for more tips on keeping your food safe all summer long.
- Theme Park Accessibility. A popular summer vacation is a trip to an amusement park. Read the Amputee Coalition’s fact sheet on amusement park accessibility before you head out to the park. The United States Access Board also has a summary of accessibility guidelines for amusement rides and other park facilities. To plan your amusement park adventure, take a look at these 39 parks with access passes, including the accessible and wheelchair-friendly Morgan’s Wonderland in Texas. Find out about accessibility at popular theme parks likeDisneyland, Disney World and Universal Studios. Check out these tips for visiting a theme park with children who have autism. Service animals are allowed in theme parks, but there may be some restrictions on where they can enter and if they can go on rides. It’s best to check the website of the park before you plan your trip. Some amusement parks, such as Six Flags Great America, are making changes to be more accessible for people who use service animals. The park, located outside of Chicago, has recently added relief areas for service animals inside the park.
- Splish, Splash! Before you hop in the deep end of the pool this summer, remember that water safety is important for swimmers of all ages and abilities. PoolSafely.gov encourages Americans to take the Pool Safelypledge and practice water safety skills. The American Red Cross provides information on water safety, whether you’re at the pool, a river, lake or the beach. Get the facts on drowning and learn to recognize thesigns of a swimmer in need of help. Even after a person has left the water, “dry drowning” can occur if they’ve inhaled water while swimming. Teach children with disabilities water safety facts and watch this video on water safety with your kids. Children with disabilities should also have swimming lessons – find a nearby YMCA location that offers them. This year, water safety and training organizations around the nation are hosting The World’s Largest Swimming Lesson on June 24 to stress how teaching children to swim helps prevent drowning.Find a location where you and your family can participate. For information about Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations related to swimming pool accessibility, visit the Access Board’s website.
- June is National Pet Preparedness Month. It’s important to include the needs of pets and service animals in your family’s emergency plan. The Humane Society of the United States has a five-step disaster plan for your pets. Make sure you have a way to identify your pets and service animals in case they’re separated from you. There are two common types of identification – identification tags and microchips. You should also put together anemergency preparedness kit that includes items such as your animal’s food, water, medicine and toys. If your family needs to leave your home to stay safe in an emergency and you cannot bring your pet with you, visit the Humane Society’s website to find your local animal shelter. The ADA protects the right of people who useservice dogs to stay in emergency shelters during disasters. If the temperature is very high, follow these tips to keep your animal safe in the heat. For information on helping your pet or service animal during different types of emergency situations, download the American Red Cross Pet First Aid mobile app.
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