Bumbo Chair for Children

March 8, 2010

I’ve been getting some questions about the Bumbo Chair (when I blogged about it in an earlier article on Top Toddler Toys: Best and Worst Equipment For Your Baby (part 2 of Best and Worst Equipment For Your Baby over here). These questions have prompted further research onto the details of the Bumbo Chair and whether it’s safe or not.

Over two years ago, there was an investigation by ABC 7 On Your Side on the Bumbo Baby Sitter. In the past, there have been issues with babies toppling over on the Bumbo and falling and hurting themselves, especially from high places. A news release by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission in the same year announced a recall on the Bumbo Baby Sitter Seats; however, these recalls were for a new safety stickers and not for a retrofit or new chair. Although post-recall, there have been noticeably fewer complaints or issues mentioned on the Internet, I’ve noticed that there have still been reports on Bumbo chair incidents in 2008 from ConsumerAffairs.com. Some reports state that your child will be safe as long as the chair is placed on the floor and not on an elevation, but there are still some incidents (in the previous link) which mention injuries from babies falling off the chair while on the floor. If your child will be using the Bumbo Chair, please be sure to monitor him or her.

If you have any questions on the Bumbo Chair or would like further information on the product, you can view the contact section of the Bumbo website here.



March 4, 2010

A quick update for our readers, you can now subscribe to be a member of the Developmental Disabilities online. It’s done on PayPal (you don’t need an account) and it costs only $15. Members:

  • Show their support for the services DDA provides to your loved one
  • Are given voting rights at DDA’s Annual General Meeting
  • Receive DDA’s quarterly newsletter – The Star
  • Influence the direction of the organization into the future
  • Receive DDA’s Annual Report
  • Are invited to participate in any DDA advocacy strategy and campaigns
  • Contribute to expanding DDA’s circle of support throughout Vancouver and Richmond
  • Are invited to participate in special events
  • Receive access services and resources offered to members only as well as relevant information and resources

If you’d like more information on membership, feel free to email memberships@develop.bc.ca.

Autism versus Autistic

March 3, 2010

A few months back I (along with our Executive Director, Alanna Hendren), had the pleasure of speaking with Tamara Taggart over lunch. Outside of Tamara’s busy personal life and work life, she is also a strong advocate for people with developmental disabilities and an active member and role model for our community. One of the key messages I remember Tamara sharing over lunch, was the importance of recognizing the appropriate vernacular. “It’s not a ‘Down syndrome child’,” Tamara said, “but a child with Down syndrome. In the same way, children with autism shouldn’t be labelled as an an ‘autistic child’, but a child with autism.” Tamara recognizes as a child first and foremost, and not by their disability. Similarly, people should be recognized as a person first and foremost, and not by their disability. I had honestly never considered the subtle differences between “autistic child” and “child with autism”, but it’s a good point to see the “child” before the syndrome. Children are children, people are people, and labels remain labels. Needless to say, lunch with Tamara and Alanna is always enlightening.

For more readings on this topic, there is a book by Ellen Notbohm that highlights the above, in addition to nine other points. The book is called Ten Things Every Child With Autism Wishes You Knew (click link for an excerpt).

Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games

March 1, 2010

Congratulations to all the stellar athletes that competed in this years Winter Olympics, and congratulations to the US for having the highest total medal count, and our Canadian athletes for coming out top with the highest gold medal count of 14 golds. A full medal count can be viewed at the Vancouver 2010 website here.

Vancouver 2010 Olympic Cauldron

Photo credit: GillTy (on Flickr)

Although plenty of the international athletes and visitors have left, and Vancouver is no longer buzzing with the same Olympic fervor, I’m excited for the upcoming 2010 Paralympic Winter Games that will be happening from March 12 – 21.  Historically, Canada has consistently been placed as one of the top 10 country’s for the Winter Paralympic Games, and currently totals 96 Paralympic medals in total. With Vancouver welcoming an additional 1,350 athletes to compete in this year’s Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games, I’m sure the medal count will change for many countries.

It’s a little bit disappointing to have many of the international pavilions and attractions closed during the Paralympic Winter Games, but there’s a great list of events and sights that will still be up and available during that time, posted courtesy of Miss604.com.

The Paralympic Winter Games are an important part of the games as they represent diversity and epitomize the Developmental Disabilities Association’s motto of “overcoming obstacles, encouraging abilities”.

For more information on the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games, you can check out the official website here.

Down Syndrome, Family Guy, and Andrea Friedman

February 26, 2010

On a recent Valentines Day episode of Family Guy, one of the main characters is shown dating a girl named Ellen, a young lady with Down syndrome. During this date, Ellen is asked what her parents do. Ellen responds, “My dad’s an accountant, and my mom is the former governor of Alaska.” Former governor of Alaska (who’s son Trig was born with Down syndrome), Sarah Palin, responds to this episode of Family Guy by calling it “another kick in the gut”. However, Andrea Friedman, who was born with Down syndrome and was the voice actor for Ellen on Family Guy, has something else to say. Ellen’s response (taken from Palingates), is highlighted below:

My name is Andrea Fay Friedman. I was born with Down syndrome. I played the role of Ellen on the “Extra Large Medium” episode of Family Guy that was broadcast on Valentine’s day. Although they gave me red hair on the show, I am really a blonde. I also wore a red wig for my role in “Smudge” but I was a blonde in “Life Goes On”. I guess former Governor Palin does not have a sense of humor. I thought the line “I am the daughter of the former governor of Alaska” was very funny. I think the word is “sarcasm”.

In my family we think laughing is good. My parents raised me to have a sense of humor and to live a normal life. My mother did not carry me around under her arm like a loaf of French bread the way former Governor Palin carries her son Trig around looking for sympathy and votes.

Personally, I’m not inclined on commenting on either side of the story, but what I would like to highlight is Andrea Friedman’s remarkable courage, and her ability to overcome obstacles. I’m not blogging on this topic to emphasize the controversy, but to bring light to Andrea’s significant accomplishments and her perseverance in the face of difficulties. Andrea speaks on this, and her episode on Family Guy below:

I appreciate how Andrea takes the time to carefully think of her answers before speaking. It’s an emotional topic for her, and you can definitely tell from her YouTube video. If you’d like some more information on Andrea, you can visit her IMDB page, which has a lists of all the movies and shows she’s played a role in. In 2003, she was even nominated for an Emmy Award. What an amazing young lady!

The First Olympic and Paralympic Athlete

February 24, 2010

This is an excerpt from the Modern Mom on the “First Olympic and Paralympic Athlete“. Strongly encourage you to read the entire article. It’s well thought out and very motivating!

Brian McKeever is a special winter Olympian. He is a cross country-skier representing Canada and the first athlete to compete in the winter Olympics and Paralympics.

McKeever lost most of his vision in his late teen years. He explained in a press conference that in a span of four months he went from being able to read the board from the back of a 400 person college lecture hall to having to squint in the first row. According to Reuters, he suffers from Stargardt’s disease and is now legally blind. He has 10 percent of his vision left, but it is peripheral. McKeever stated, “most of my races are mass start events and I will be able to follow other people in those events. So there will be lots of guides, you just have to be aware that they are not racing with you, they are trying to beat you.”

Continue reading entire article…

The Star – Spring Newsletter

February 22, 2010

We’ve just released our latest edition of the Developmental Disabilities Association’s newsletter, the Star. This is our first edition for 2010 and features many exciting articles. You can read it online by visiting the Developmental Disabilities Association’s resources section.

Our feature cover story article is about Ed Kaufmann (one of our residents from our Worthington home) and his visit with Prime Minister Stephen Harper. PM Stephen Harper was talking about the Registered Disabilities Savings Plan (which has been a hot topic for our blog as seen by our many RDSP blog posts), and Ed was lucky enough to get the chance to speak with Stephen Harper. Although I wasn’t at the actual event, I heard Ed also gave Stephen Harper a long laundry list of things that he’d like to see changed for people with disabilities! If you’d like to read up on the rest of Ed’s meeting with Stephen Harper, you can read the Spring edition of our Star newsletter over here. You can also sign up for our newsletter over here.