Tag Archives: Down Syndrome

Applied Behavior Analysis ABA – Revisiting SPC Episode 15

Applied Behavior Analysis. ABA.

In January of 2014 we posted episode 15 of Special Parents Confidential, in which we learned about Applied Behavior Analysis ABA. Our guest was Conny Raaymakers, who is a board certified behavior analyst. Her interview has become our most downloaded and listened to episode, with nearly double the listens of any other episode we’ve done. It’s even been cited in a text book on applied behavior analysis.

What Is ABA?

Applied Behavior Analysis or ABA is a term parents of special needs children hear a lot in schools, doctors offices, therapy centers, and just about anywhere our kids interact with people. Studies have shown that ABA can be used to help children as early as 18 months learn to cope with everything from social settings to the educational environment. ABA has been proven to be successful especially for children with autism and can be used to help kids with other disabilities and disorders.

New Contact Information.

However, since that interview took place, Conny has had some changes in her career. She is now the Director of ABA services at Developmental Enhancement Behavioral Health. Conny is a Behavior Analyst and Limited Licensed Behavioral Psychologist.  She talks about the history of Behavior Modification, the decades of research that has been done to study the effectiveness of the treatments, and clears up the misconceptions people have about Applied Behavior Analysis. Conny also discusses the drawbacks and problems with using alternative or ‘fad’ treatments, how to watch out for misleading claims and how to spot phony success stories.

Updated Links & Information

Developmental Enhancement Behavioral Health

Conny Raaymakers Profile Page

Email: craaymakers@debh.org 

Association for Behavior Analysis International

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Special Parents Confidential Episode 34 Down Syndrome

Down Syndrome. Myths and Facts.

Down Syndrome is one of the most well known of all disorders and disabilities. The common facial characteristics of Down Syndrome, along with certain physical challenges make the disorder easy to recognize. Yet, for all the familiarity, most people know very little about Down Syndrome and how it affects those who have the disorder.

Despite many years of progress and improvements in medical research of it’s causes, most of “what we know” about Down Syndrome is rooted in beliefs that are out of date by many decades. Often, parents who’s child has been given a diagnosis are told to expect a very bleak future, with many medical challenges, along with physical and cognitive difficulties for their child. While that can be true to a certain extent, in most cases the future for someone with Down Syndrome is nowhere near as bad as some people believe.

Fortunately many organizations across the United States, and around the world, have come out to help parents, families, educators, and even the medical community gain a better understanding of Down Syndrome and how it affects those who have it. One such organization is the Down Syndrome Association of West Michigan. They offer a variety of programs and services to help and inform everyone who has interest in Down Syndrome. 

We’re pleased to interview Meredith Lange, Community Relations Specialist of DSAWM, who talks about the common misconceptions about Down Syndrome and provides the facts. She also talks about what life is like for children and adults with Down Syndrome and how most of the misunderstandings cause more harm than good. People with Down Syndrome can do well in school, can have successful careers, even becoming business owners and executives.

Links to Websites mentioned in the podcast:

National Down Syndrome Society 

National Down Syndrome Congress 

Down Syndrome Affiliates in Action 

Global Down Syndrome Foundation 

As always a reminder that if you like this episode of Special Parents Confidential or any episode we’ve done, please share our site with your friends, family, and all your connections on social media. You can do this easily with the social media buttons located right below this paragraph. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, add us on Google Plus, Tumbler, Linked In, Pintrest, Stumble Upon, Reddit, or other social media sites that you prefer. You can also sign up for our email service and have new posts and podcast episodes delivered right to your inbox the moment they’re available online. That form is located to the right of this text. We’re also on iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIN, and Poddirectory as a free subscription and if you have a moment, feel free to write a review about our podcast on either of those sites. Anything you can do to help spread the word about Special Parents Confidential will help us be able to continue these podcasts.
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Special Parents Confidential Episode 16 Gigi’s Playhouse Part 1

Special Parents Confidential Episode 16 Gigi’s Playhouse

For many parents one of the challenges in raising a child with special needs is finding the right therapy for your child. Sometimes we get lucky and find the right kind of therapy right near where we live. Unfortunately for some people there’s nothing nearby that can help. Travel can be an option depending on distance, and financial ability.  But for many the only option is to simply wait and hope that the therapy will someday come to them.

Then there are those who don’t wait. They decide that they will do what it takes to bring the therapy to their area to help others as well as themselves. Our guest on this episode of Special Parents Confidential is someone who is doing that right now.

Mika Vuto is the mother of a young girl with Down Syndrome. Although there are therapies available in her town of Gainesville, Florida, there was one group she had heard about, Gigi’s Playhouse, that looked like an incredible asset that could help many people… because they offer their services for free. Unfortunately the closest Gigi’s Playhouse was in Atlanta, Georgia.

Finally Mika decided to open her own franchise of Gigi’s Playhouse in Gainesville. She talks to us in this episode about her journey from a mom looking for help to a community leader who wants to make a difference for her daughter and many other families with members affected with Down Syndrome. She also talks about the services Gigi’s Playhouse offer to children and parents.

The Gainesville Florida Gigi’s Playhouse is scheduled to open in 2015. You can find out more about them and learn how to make a contribution to help by visiting their Facebook Page. You can also learn about their progress on their blog.

As always a reminder that if you like this episode of Special Parents Confidential or any episode we’ve done, please share our site with your friends, family, and all your connections on social media. You can do this easily with the social media buttons located right below this paragraph. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, add us on Google Plus, or any of the other sites like Tumbler, Linked In, Pintrest, Stumble Upon, Reddit, and others. You can also sign up for our email service and have new posts and podcast episodes delivered right to your inbox the moment they’re available online. That form is located to the right of this text.  We’re also on iTunes and Stitcher and if you have a moment, feel free to write a review about our podcast there. Anything you can do to help spread the word about Special Parents Confidential will help us be able to continue these podcasts.

Thanks for your support!