Monday, April 27, 2015

Spring is here?

Spring Flowers clip artHey Connect-Ability students,  Hope Spring has come to your neighborhoods. The winter was way too long. We are planning a summer time get together to focus on Sharon Draper's book, Out of My Mind. You all received a copy at our last get together in the fall. Our editor Isabel gave you a questions to think about as you read the book. The questions were connected to the Common Core Leaning Standards for English Language Arts. I'm looking forward to hearing what you thought of the book. Remember our Connect-Ability themes when you're reading and answering your question:

  • Inclusion of students with disabilities
  • Yes we Can attitude
  • Kids with disabilities are like kids without disabilities in most ways
  • Accommodations allow access
Tom and I will be back to you soon on the new dates for our next workshop. Send me any ideas that you have at


Thursday, December 11, 2014

snowflakeHappy Holidays to all of the Connect-Ability students who have helped with the blog all year long. We'll be back together soon to take on our 2015 activities to spread the disabilities awareness message and promote inclusion of people with disabilities. Happy New Year!

Monday, December 1, 2014

High and Mighty Therapeutic Riding and Driving Center

Connect-Ability would like to thank High & Mighty Therapeutic Riding and Driving Center, Inc. for welcoming Connect-Ability members and teaching us about therapeutic riding. Located in Ghent, NY, this beautiful stable provides horseback riding lessons to meet each rider's unique needs. They emphasize the many benefits of horses to children and adults with disabilities through very fun activities. If you want to learn more about High & Mighty, please visit their website:
           Thanks so much for having us visit! We'll be back!

Oxytocin? What is it?

Love your Dog
Interactions with animals can increase everyone's health. Studies have shown that levels of the hormone oxytocin are raised as a result of this. Oxytocin leads to feelings of relaxation and trust and can even allow the body to better adapt to highly emotional situations. Immune systems are also strengthened when people grow up with pets. Because animals such as dogs carry with them germs and dirt, people's bodies can learn to fight off these allergens at an earlier age. The chances of heart disease are also reduced from owning an animal, since animal-owners exercise while walking and playing with them. People with and without disabilities have many commonalities, such as this similar relationship with animals. Isabel K.

Therapeutic Riding

A day in the life of Thomas By Forest Daisy

I have a very important job. I am a Norwegian Fjord therapy Horse, which works at the High and Mighty Stables. My work is very important as I cater to all kinds of people with and without disabilities. I offer people a chance to do something they haven’t done before. Whether that is standing still and calm as they learn to groom me, or strapping into my harness and pulling my carriage for people with mobility problems to take them on a ride. What might seem small is not. As much as I enjoy being groomed, stroked, and loved, it is just as fulfilling to be the one giving the love. The people I help see my trust and I the trust in them. A lot can come from a simple stroke of my nose. The trust begins on the ground and grows to the high and mighty height from my back as I ride them through the obstacle courses, to all the mailboxes on the trails, or around the paddock. A day in the life of this 7 year old Norwegian Fjord they call Thomas is very important and fulfilling after all I help others find something in themselves that they themselves might have lost sight of. No matter what a person can help others, get help, and find a way to do what everyone else has the option to do. Like I said I have a very important job. Welcome to a day in the life of Thomas.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Hippo therapy is cool

Connect-Ability students visited the High and Mighty Therapeutic Riding and Driving Center in Ghent NY on November 7, 2014 as part of their two day fall writing workshop. We learned about the benefits of therapeutic riding for students with and without disabilities. The care and riding of horses can be a sport, an educational experience, a form of therapy, and a wonderful recreational activity. Three cheers to Laura Corsun and her staff and volunteers at High and Mighty who welcomed us, taught us and inspired us to write about hippo therapy and other kinds of animals that assist and support people with disability. Look for our blog postings and make your comments. We want to know what you think.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Americans With Disabilities Act

 I have never heard of the Americans with Disabilities Act until yesterday, and I am blind! Disability is defined by the ADA as "...a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity."  The Americans with Disabilities Act was passed in 1990.  The Americans with Disabilities Act was created to protect individuals with different disabilities.  The law prohibits employers from discriminating against people with disabilities.   People with a disability can apply for jobs and have equal opportunity for any employment. It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications.  Researching the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, I have learned that the ADA protects individuals’ rights, freedom, and equal opportunity!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Camp Abilities Saratoga

Last week was my  best week all summer long!  It was the First Campabilities 2014 held at Skidmore College in Saratoga NY.  From  Sunday, August 3rd, through  Saturday, August 9th was Campabilities Saratoga 2014.  There were 21 students there altogether.  At the end of the week, we all became friends.  I became friends with  Louis who attended the program at the Northeastern Association of the Blind at Albany NY.  He was also blind.  By going to a one week camp, you can gain your independence in different sports activities, and socializing with many different friends.   By going away to camp, you have self confidence and independence because you can do things on your own.  The camp is used for people who are blind and visually impaired to help them gain independence,  build friendships, and learn different sports activities.  What have you learned from going to a sleep away camp?

Friday, July 25, 2014

Disabilities That Are Invisible

There are disabilities that we don’t see such as Learning Disabilities.  A learning disability is a struggle where people have trouble with reading, writing, and math.  Some of these learning disabilities are: dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalcula. Dyslexia refers to difficulty in reading. People with dyslexia have trouble with reading, writing, and spelling.  The words that the students and adults are reading get all jumbled.  Dysgraphia refers to difficulty in writing. Some examples of dysgraphia are bad handwriting, holding a pencil awkwardly, trouble organizing thoughts on paper.   Dyscalcula refers to a struggle in math. Dyscalcula can affect people differently at different stages of life.  The two main areas of weakness in math learning disabilities are visual – spatial, and language processing. Visual spatial is a person having trouble processing what the eye sees.  Language processing is defined as a person having trouble processing and making sense of what the ear hears.  People with physical disabilities and people with learning disabilities have more in common than what appears.  Do you know anyone with a learning disability? If so, what are their accommodations?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Causes of Down Syndrome

There are 3 causes of Down Syndrome.  These causes are: Trisomy 21, Mosaic Down Syndrome, and Translocation Down Syndrome.  About 95% of the time, Down Syndrome is caused by Trisomy 21.  The Child has 3 copies of chromosome 21 instead of the 2 copies in all cells.  In Mosaic Down Syndrome, children have some cells with an extra copy of chromosome 21.  This mosaic of normal and abnormal cells are caused by abnormal cell division after fertilization.  Translocation down syndrome cane occur when part of chromosome 21 becomes attached (translocated) onto another chromosome, before or at exception.  These children have the usual copy of chromosome 21, but they also have additional material from chromosome 21 attached to the translocated chromosome.  I have a friend who has Down Syndrome.  I learned that there are 3 types of Down syndrome.  What do you know about Down syndrome that you can share with me?  For more information, you can visit syndrome

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Anti-Bullying Week

Each year in the spring, some schools will hold a Bullying Prevention Day.  This a day to bring awareness to people with and without disabilities who are being bullied.  The students who participate in the prevention day awareness have to be silent.  By being silent during this day, the silence is “telling” other students to be aware of bullying.  Not everyone chooses to participate in this program.  It is an option if you want to sign up for the program.  You would get a sticker that represents anti-bullying. Some students choose to sign u p the week before the Anti-bullying.  At the end of the day, you are allowed to talk.  What does your school do for Anti-bullying?  Do you participate in this program? 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Different Types of Hearing Loss

                There  are 4 types of hearing loss: Conductive hearing loss, Sensorineural hearing loss, a mixed hearing loss, and central hearing loss.  Conductive hearing losses are caused by diseases or obstructions in the outer or middle ear.  Sensorineural hearing loss is caused by the damage to the delicate sensory hair cells of the inner ear.  A mixed hearing loss refers to a combination of sensorineural hearing loss or conductive hearing loss.  A central hearing loss results from damage or impairment to the nerves or the nuclei of the central nervous system.   Do you have a hearing loss?  What type of hearing loss do you have? What type of accommodations do you use?

Monday, July 21, 2014

Campabilities Saratoga

Beginning August 3rd, it is the week of Campabilities Saratoga, held at Skidmore College.  Campabilities is a camp for blind/deaf children between the ages of 10 and 19 years old. 

Some of the  activities that we do at camp are rowing, horseback riding, track and field, and swimming.  Other  sports includes Beep Baseball,Beep Kickball,  and Judo.  Beep Baseball is a ball with a sound.  You hit the ball, and you hear a noise when it bounces off the tee.  You have to take the pin out to get the sound going.  Beep Kick ball is a ball with sounds in it.  You kick the ball and it makes a beeping noise.  Judo is a sport that orriginated from Japan. Judo is where you can also apply  joint locks, chokeholds and  other martial art techniques.At Campabilities, there is a talent show which includes comedians, singers, and dancers or any other special talent. Each night at Campabilities, there are different activities planned such as the dance party, talent show, bowling, and a BBQ at Saratoga State park.To learn more about Campabilities Saratoga, visit their website at   Tell me your experience in a sleep away camp. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Picnic Fun 2014

Yesterday, we had our Connect-Ability picnic at the Crossings Park in Colonie, NY.  Lizzie, Catharine's niece,  was at the picnic with us.  Forest was also there.  Ashley and Theresa came late because Ashley was working.  Ashley is a summer camp counselor at Central Park  in Schenectady,  NY.  Both Ashley and Theresa have cerebral palsy.  Forest also came yesterday and she has a learning disability.  She was involved in Connect-Ability in 10th grade.  Now she is a junior in college.  Isabel is a student who is going into 10th grade and she is volunteering with  Connect-Ability.  Her sister Olivia is going into her junior year of high school, is also volunteering with  Connect-Ability.  Isabel, Olivia and I went for a walk around the park.  After our walk, we had a late lunch.  We played Scatteregories.  We also went on an adventurous walk on the tree maze (labyrinth) - high hedges, or tall trees that have an intricate pattern in which is dificult to find your way out.  Here is a picture of our picnic.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Visual impairments

People with visual impairments have a magnifying glass to look at large print text.  They can also turn on zoom on their apple devices.  They can learn braille.  People with visual impairments can use a large remote to look and change channels on TV.  People with visual impairments have an Optical Viewfinder.  It is a special camera that a visually impaired  person can use.  Do you know anyone that has a disability to where they need special equipment to go about their daily life?