Tag Archives: special needs activities

Naples Equestrian Challenge Summer Camp


This camp teaches typically developing children to work and learn along-side special needs.  This is my sons’ favorite week of the summer.

NEC Summer Camp Consists of Riding, Horse Care, Groom, Tacking and Daily Arts and Craft Activity

Paragon Flight Training’s Flights For Kids

Monday—February 6 3:00—7:00 p.m.
Where: Paragon Flight Training…511 Danley Rd., Fort Myers, FL 33907—239-274-3170

Fun day for the kid’s battling disease in our area!

Twinkle Toes the Facepainter, The Game Guys, Let’s Bounce bounce houses, Carrabbas food and drink, police and fire Department and prizes for the kids!

RSVP johnc@floridaeverblades.com by
Friday, February 3!!

John Curtis
239-948-7825 ext. 1500

Auditions for Youth Advocates with Disabilties

Sharing the Voice of Diversity and Youth:  Auditions for Youth Advocates with Disabilities!!!

*Sharing the Voice and Diversity of Youth: *

*Auditions for Youth Advocates with Disabilities*

Be a part of an exciting Global Disability Advocacy and Education Project! If you are between the ages of 12-30, you are eligible to be part of a global education project. You may be selected to share your voice in a user generated disability etiquette video. For more information please contact Elizabeth Pope Program Coordinator, World Enabled/Pineda Foundation for Youth at: liz@pinedafoundation.org

After signing up you will receive instructions on how to audition. The Deadline to Apply is: *February 10, 2012.* The Online application can be found here:


Sharing Freedom Through Boating for Special Children

September 29, 2010


“Special needs basically means the Loss of Freedom: Loss of the senses… smell, taste, hearing, feel/touch, sight. Freedom Waters Foundation gives our blind, deaf, and paralyzed child his senses back,” wrote John Buck, Father of Riley Buck, age 8. “The smell and taste of the salt water air; the vibration (hearing) of the motor or gentle rocking of the waves; the touch of the sun and wind in his hair. As for sight, the organization gives us something to look forward to every time we participate. For a moment in time, our son/family, are “normal” and a part of something very special.”

(Photo above, John and son, Riley Buck, Age 8 )

Zach, 7, who is on the most part non-verbal, sometimes has a hard time adjusting to new places or situations and although he has been boating before with FWF, his last trip was on a different boat, from a different marina and he approached with great trepidation and many tears. With a great deal of affection, comfort and support, Zach slowly adjusted to his new surroundings and we left the dock. Soon there after, he wanted and did explore the vessel, helped at the helm, and he was smiling with the joy of his boating experience.

By the time the boat returned to the dock, Zach was so relaxed that he nearly fell asleep.

“Freedom Waters Foundation allows children, whose lives are full of therapy and work to be free. The water allows them to just be a kid for a day, not a kid with special needs ormultiple problems. Just a kid, who can set sail and relax in the sun. To see them laugh and feel the wind on their faces is such a wonderful sight. As a mom I take great joy in seeing my son sail on the open sea! His joy brings me joy and for that I am thankful!” stated Rebekah Aldridge, Zach’s Mom. She even wrote a little poem:

Water is so much fun,
then you add a little sun,
A little sail and special friends,
and the fun just never ends!

(Photo Above – Zachary Aldridge, 7 and Volunteer, Donn Schulte)

Today’s discovery:

Christmas Cards from About the Small Stuff

Christmas cards featuring disabled children: Janet Harrold of Painting for Hailey

PATCH Saturday


On Saturday, the boys and I along with Ronan’s playmate enjoyed a morning of art therapy with P.A.T.C.H., Project Art Therapy for Children’s Health.  We were joined by several other PIC and Candlelighter families.

Article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about a friends nephew: Wheelchair accommodations open a family’s home to disable friend.

New online magazine discovery: http://www.editions.complexchild.com/current.html
Here is a developmental resource page from Complex Child: http://www.complexchild.com/developmental.html

Stunning video: http://vimeo.com/terjes/themountain

Another Saturday

Created for Special Needs Kids and Young Adults
Ballet and Tae Kwon Do at Special Kids Dance & Performing Arts is new in Fort Myers, FL
Annie saw this and thinks he looks like Ronan!!!

Your Ideas for Topics from Disability.gov

Each month, White House staff who work on disability-related policies host a public, live-captioned conference call to keep the public better
informed about important developments on many different disability issues.  These calls also connect you to leaders in the federal government who work on these issues. Over the past several months, monthly conference calls have featured discussions on accessibility, employment, education, technology, emergency preparedness, transportation, healthcare and the federal budget.
The White House is now offering the opportunity for you to suggest topics you’d like discussed during these calls. Send in your ideas about subjects for discussion, as well as the federal officials you’d like to hear from on these subjects, by visiting https://www.disability.gov/WHQuestion

Today’s Creative Outlet

Give it a try at http://www.drawingforkids.net/how-to-draw-the-crab-step-by-step-for-kids/


Tuesday Night at Fred’s – Guest Post by Donna Lee

Tuesday night at Fred’s is the place to be.  The one and only Omar donates his time and talent, entertains us and keeps us dancing all night long. The kids adore him and wait from week to week to come to his show.

Tony, the owner and head chef, graciously opens his heart and establishment to the FFDD (Floridians for the Future of the Developmentally Disabled)members and guests, making sure all our whims and fancies are met.

I have grown to love these “kids.”  I say kids because I truly feel they are my own kids. They are young adults, with full lives, activities and jobs, just like my own children.  I look forward to seeing them, chatting with them and hearing what occurred that week, how their work and lives are going. I have never enjoyed dance partners more than with these fantastic lovers of movement and song.  Ron knows every lyric of each song. Mark entertains us with his beautiful voice.  Erica dances in her wheelchair and teaches me sign  language in between sets.  Every one is an intricate part and personality, making this group very special and unique.
Jen, who took these great photos, is our phone tec. She owns and drives her own car and  is an expert when it comes to working an Iphone.  Gloria and her husband supervise and chauffeur . Maureen is a usual, like me.  Paul is our head bar tender and comic. His smile and attitude is purely love. He makes us giggle and smile with his jokes and adorable comments, making each and everyone of us feel even more welcome .
The high point of the evening is desert with Ralph. This has become a tradition for he and I.   It is well worth the calories and is usually a contest who can eat fastest, before one finishes the others’ portion. This night Paul made us a Strawberry Chocolate Ice Cream special. I could taste the whole hearted attention Paul put into it. Thanks Paul.
Fred’s is one of the only dog friendly establishments in Naples. Om and I visit it, as so do many local dog lovers.
In other words, Fred’s is the hot spot of Naples. It’s a special kind of place, with special owners and employees, that I have grown to appreciate and I thank you ALL. I invite one and all to come and experience a Tuesday night at Freds.

B’ahava Nameste


Friday evening on the Princess with Freedom Waters


The weather on Friday evening was perfect, making the waters calm and the skies beautiful from aboard the Naples Princess. This is my first time “cruising” with Freedom Waters. Knowing many of the volunteers from different venues, I felt right at home. Stacie and the gang joined us, including Grandmom Kathy.  Ronan was full of energy and excitement, charming, as always.
Riley was very comfy on mom’s lap, sipping on his almond milk, interrupted by leg tremors, that were obviously painful, seen on his face and felt in the raised muscle tone. After massaging a flexing his little foot, he found some relief.
Ronan proceeded to investigate the ship, discovering the upper deck. The view was magnificent, especially when the sunset and the stars began to appear and glow. The summer breeze was comforting and the happy sounds of the group filled my heart as we were gliding on the waters with ease and breeze.
We headed back to port and our two tired boys needed to go home and be put to bed. The excitement and sea air tiredus all.  Being on board with the sailors was a pleasant first encounter for me. I am looking forward to next season and being out on the waters with Freedom Waters, watching the participantsfaces and bodies react to the pleasures of boating.



Yacht’s, Cook Off’s, Markets and Diving

Isolation has not been an issue this weekend.  It has been quite a full weekend and we did do it all.
Below, John shares his fossil bed site for The Shark Tooth Guy collections.
The Shark Tooth Guy, aka John, set up shop yesterday for the last day of the season for The Market at 6000 Goodlette.  Organizer Lesley does a terrific job managing this art and farmer’s market.  It has been a wonderful venue for introducing The Shark Tooth Guy to Naples and many seasonal folk.  We are hoping to grow even more in the next year.  John took the kayak out again today to dive about 1 mile offshore in hopes of building our inventory.  Our first prehistoric horse foot rests on my table now.
 The boys, my mom and I had the opportunity to board Lady Serenity yesterday as Freedom Waters Foundation (FWF) hosted The Division of Blind Services.  It was the perfect day to be out yachting around Naples and the volunteers on board catered to each of us.  I do wish more than one other family had taken FWF up on this gift.  I understand the challenges of pulling together a special needs family for any outing, let alone one that requires extra preparation.  However, it is also an opportunity to enjoy our families and ourselves we rarely get the time to appreciate.
After our lovely outing, I dropped my mother and boys off at home.  Riley is quite a handful, I am asking a lot of my mom to do this for an hour.  She does this happily when she is available however.  Strangely, we do regularly find another body helping when we return home.  This is not a problem… yet I do need to establish why this happens.  Does this happen because my mother immediately seeks help for handling Riley?  Or does this happen because she takes the opportunity to visit with the other person.  Should it in fact be the case that this happens for help then I should no longer seek for my mom to be alone with Riley for any length of time at all.  If it happens for company… then I should be alright with it and know that my mother just likes to visit.  Which it is I may never really know.
My next stop, Rodes Fish House for the Chili Cook Off.  John had brought my entry to the bar right after he finished with the market.  His very rare appearance in a bar did not appear to make him the least uncomfortable.  The bartender was somehow under the impression that the lovely young woman seated next to John was his wife and had added her to John’s tab.  When I appeared the very confused bartender had such a laugh, hmmm – how insulted should I be – I’m actually not so no worries – John ended the afternoon with a tab of $1.  I really missed something good.  I had a lovely and very much appreciated surprise that my emails and FB posts produced four people to come vote and enjoy the event with us.  Unexpectedly, my bar appearances being quite rare, I was even recognized by another patron as “Kathleen’s daughter… Ronan’s mom.”  He turned out to be Todd the tennis pro from my mom’s club, quite out of his usual buttoned down appearance with the chili entry right next to mine.  How fun was that that he could place me so far away.  I wish I was so good at placing people.  It can be a small world.  I did not win… my chili had the great offense of containing beans… but it was fun.
Now for Sunday, it is a day to recover because all that activity is like taking from Riley’s bank.  A little extra coddling for Riley and stretching and he can handle it are in order before launching into the week of school and therapy.  Ronan is also quite anxious that I learn to play chess with him.  We will stay home, our day will be full enough.
So dear readers… I am loving that you have found my strange little niche blog from Russia, Denmark, U.K, and even Saudi Arabia among others.  Are you all special needs families as well?  You are more than welcome to tell us about your day.  I, among others, would enjoy hearing about it!
Quite the rambler today.  Enjoy your Sunday!  Stacie Wiesenbaugh

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