Items of Interest

Dental Help! Thank You All!

The response has been overwhelming to an FVDD mom's request for dentist for her special needs son (in S.E. Florida). Here is a compilation of dental resources coming from FVDD and other members - please note that this is not an official endorsement by FVDD of any of the dentists on the list - for your resource list only.

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F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Families Raising Inspiriting, Educating, & Networking for Down Syndrome Tampa. FDST is offering four new scholarship programs for members to help with covering the costs of Conferences, Recreational activities, Educational programs, and The Down Syndrome Center in Hope Haven evaluation fee.

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Canine Companions

Founded in 1975, Canine Companions for Independence is a non-profit organization that enhances the lives of people with disabilities by providing highly trained assistance dogs and ongoing support to ensure quality partnerships.

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NIH - Autism Spectrum Disorder and Complementary Health Approaches

This issue of the digest provides information on the evidence base of several commonly used complementary health approaches for ASD.

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15 Airports That Offer "Rehearsal Programs" for Individuals With Autism

Taking a child with autism on a plane requires some advanced planning and preparation. Thankfully there are now programs in place at many airports that that provide children with autism a flying experience without ever lifting off the ground.

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Your Guide to an IEP That Works Webinar

To register for this webinar, being held on Thursday, February 11, 2016 at 10:00 a.m., please click here:

For any additional information, please contact Clara at 239-265-3442.

Autism in Early America

Please find a link to the article entitled "Autism in Early America" published in this month's Smithsonian Magazine - "It's considered a 20th century phenomenon - but a surprising new historical analysis suggests that a pioneering doctor was examining people with autism before the Civil War." The article was written by John Donvan and Caren Zucker.

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Securing Thier Future

Create a plan for adult children with disabilities to guarantee their financial well-being after you're gone.

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Canine Companions for Independence is a nonprofit organization founded in 1975 in Santa Rosa California. CCI provides dogs to people with Disabilities completely Free of Charge. To Apply for a dog or to become a puppy raiser visit

Koreys Krew is a nonprofit organization that provides differently abled youth and young adults the opportunity to attend music concerts, festivals and sporting events. Korey's Mission is to provide differently abled youth and young adult's joy and friendship. To learn more visit

Royals DJs,Inc is a nonprofit organization that provides the opportunity for youth and young adults the opportunity to learn how to DJ. Our mission is to spread acceptance, inclusion and positivity and to provide a fun entertaining love of music to others. Music is a universal language that everyone understands!!! To find out more about us visit at

Affordable Care Act Tip Sheet

Find more information on how to apply for Open Enrollment. Remember, the main purpose of the Affordable Care Act is to ensure that health insurance is available to everyone.

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Revised Alert for Developmental Disabilities Home and Community Medicaid Waiver Providers:
Medicaid Coverage and Prior Authorization of Applied Behavior Analysis for Children Under 21 with Autism Spectrum Disorder

This alert includes information for Developmental Disabilities Home and Community Medicaid waiver providers. Information for other qualified provider types can be found in the applicable provider alert. This revised alert supersedes the information specific to Developmental Disabilities Home and Community Medicaid waiver providers in previous alerts posted on 4/2/12, 4/17/12, 5/17/12, 6/15/12, 7/6/12, 9/6/12, and 1/10/14.

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Step Up For Students

Step Up For Students is a state-approved nonprofit scholarship funding organization that helps administer TWO scholarships for Florida schoolchildren: the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program (FTC) for low-income families and the Personal Learning Scholarship Accounts (PLSA) for children with certain special needs.

May we ask you to please share this information with others, so they may apply for the 2015-16 school year. Families may click here to apply.

Family Cafe 2014 Question & Answers Book

Every year the Family Cafe collects questions from their participants and their families. The Family Cafe annual Q&A book is now available. The book includes information from The Agency for Health Care Administration, The Agency for Persons with Disabilities, CareerSource Florida / Department of Economic Opportunity, the Department of Children and Families, the Department of Education, the Department of Health, the Division of Emergency Management and the Division of Vocational Rehabiliation. To download the book click

Pathways to Independence has an immediate opening for a Direct Care Staff Manager.  For more information, click to

BARC Housing in Davie has one residential opening for a female adult at BARC Housing, a 36-bed ICF/DD that provides an extensive array of intensive specialized services. 

If you have any questions or would like a tour, please contact Mike Zantua at (954) 474-5277 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).  

Florida Austism License Plate - Helping support austism just got easier! 

The Autism Services Grants Council was created by the Florida Legislature in 2009 to implement and oversee a grants process for the distribution of funds generated from the sales of the Florida Support Autism Programs Specialty License Plate. By purchasing a license plate, you can help provide services such as:

• early intervention
• speech/language therapy
• specialized respite services
• specialized after school and summer programs
• residential services
• applied behavior analysis (ABA)

For more information go to:

ASL Interpretation of Pharrell Williams', "Happy": Supported by Developmentally Disabled Community

The American Sign Language (ASL) Deaf Film Camp at Mark Seven are making headlines with their interpretation of the mega-hit song, "Happy" by Pharell WIlliams.

A group of teenagers at the Deaf Film Camp 2014, filmed the music video to prove that you don't need to hear to be able to feel the groovy beats of Williams' feel-good hit of the summer. These campers have fully embraced their disability and are proud to be able to put forth this video to enable other developmentally disabled people to break barriers of the social norms. Many supporters of the video have rallied behind the campers to show their support. One supporter exclamed appreciation for the video explaining her son, whom has Autism, uses ASL to communicate. 

Take a peak at the video and then visit Camp Mark Seven's website to learn about these artist and what the camp is doing for the developmentally disabled accross the nation.

Autism Speaks: Overcoming Barriers to Success

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    Having a child or family member with a developmental disability can be a challenging, yet rewarding experience. Consequently, many who are affected incur barriers to get to those rewards as they are constantly faced with daily challenges.In a recent blog post, Autism Speaks highlights the success and failures a grandmother of twins (one of whom has autism) has experienced. 

    Jane Springer breaks down her roadblocks into two separate categories: behavioral and bureaucratic. To Jane, these two roadblocks are constant, although the phases and levels of the barriers often change and grow with her grandson. From her grandson pushing his boundaries  to school officials, Jane credits perseverance to be the answer to most of the roadblocks her family has faced. 

    Follow the link below to learn and relate to how Jane and her daughter have overcome their own roadblocks when facing Autism head-on. 

    How My Family Faces Roadblocks, by Jane Springer (courtesy of