Brave Kids: October Newsletter

Brave Kids: October Newsletter

Staying Safe This Halloween

Dressing up in costumes, trick-or-treating, and eating lots of goodies makes Halloween a special time for kids. And by following a few simple safety tips, Halloween can be a night enjoyed by all.

  1. Costume safety- be sure the costume is made from flame retardant materials, fits properly, and is hemmed short enough to avoid trips and falls. Use reflective tape on the costume so drivers will easily see your child. Any costume accessories, such as wands or swords, should be soft, short and flexible.
  2. Trick-or-Treating safety- children should walk in groups accompanied by adults and carry identification in case they get lost or separated. Stick to familiar neighborhoods and carry a flashlight with new batteries. Everyone should stay on the sidewalk and cross only at intersections. Never stop at dark houses or enter a house unless you know the people. Enjoy the neighborhood decorations but avoid flames in Jack-O-Lanterns.
  3. Goodie safety- when your child gets home be sure to inspect all candy and treats for tampering. Throw away any candy that is unwrapped or has loose wrappings, holes, or is homemade. If your child is very young, eliminate any hard candy that may cause choking. Check all candy for ingredients that your child may be allergic to.
  4. Limiting candy intake- limit the amount of candy you child consumes at a time or in a day. In this way, you can avoid upset tummies and let them enjoy their Halloween treats for days to come!

For more Halloween safety tips visit these websites:


October is National Bullying Prevention Month

The Parent Advocacy Coalition for Educational Rights (PACER) Center launched the National Bullying Prevention Month campaign in 2006, and since has succeeded in uniting communities and people nationwide to join the movement and raise awareness about the harmful effects of bullying. With this years message: The End of Bullying Begins with Me, PACER’s is hoping that everyone takes an active role in helping educate the population and understand how devastating bullying can be.

Bullying is known to cause horrible effects such as: school avoidance, loss of self-esteem, increased anxiety and depression. Education is a valuable resource that can help raise awareness to the horrible truths about bullying. Throughout the month PACER’s set up events that bring together schools, businesses and organizations to show support  for bullying prevention and raise funds for the cause. To get involved and for more information about bullying prevention check out PACER’s website.

New From the Medical Director’s Desk

Dr. James Blackman, Medical Director of the Cerebral Palsy International Research Foundation (CPIRF) and Professor of Pediatrics, Emeritus, University of Virginia, addresses the topic of the placebo effect in considering whether a new treatment’s benefit is due to positive expectation, or an actual inherent benefit for the targeted symptom in his latest research brief.

The placebo effect is when a patient believes a treatment will bring beneficial results, and it is the belief (not the treatment) that makes it so; moreover, the perceived benefit translates to actual benefit. For persons with disabilities the placebo effect is something to be wary of. If a patient with cerebral palsy believes a new drug will minimize spasticity, then that perceived belief can in fact bring about short-term beneficial physiologic changes in the body. The question to ask is: Will this treatment bring lasting functional benefits for the patient? How can a consumer for such treatments make an informed decision that will minimize cost and maximize long-term benefits for the patient? To find answers to these questions, read the full article here.


Brave Kids–August Newsletter

Does Having a Pet Change Your Child’s Behavior?

Think twice before telling your child “no” the next time he or she begs you for a furry friend. A new study evaluated the association between the presence or arrival of pets in families with an individual with autism and the changes in his or her social behaviors and development. While animal assisted therapies are used widely but their relevant benefits have never been scientifically evaluated. Read more from DisabiltyScoop about the study.



Are Apps on Your Back to School List?

Transitions back to school are always tough with new teachers, classrooms, classmates and routines. But as with most things, there’s an app for that. Which app is right for you and your child? One collection of apps, made by Panther Technology, are built around principles of Universal Design – to foster inclusion in education through access. Panther apps incorporate innovation and intuitiveness while focusing on the fundamentals of reading, writing and arithmetic. To learn more about Panther apps click here.

Or check out some other recommendations for elementary, middle school and high school apps.   


World Cerebral Palsy Day and Challenge

This September United Cerebral Palsy, Brave Kids’ parent organization, will be celebrating the first-ever World Cerebral Palsy Day-a kick off to the World CP Challenge, a global campaign promising nothing short of changing the world!

World Cerebral Palsy Day, on 4 September 2012, has the theme ‘Change my world in 1 minute’. People with CP, their family and friends suggest ways to improve the quality of life of people with CP. Each idea is posted on the website as text or video and will only take one minute to read or watch. During September, everyone is encouraged to go online, review the ideas and vote for the concepts that will have the greatest impact on people’s lives. At the end of September, the World Cerebral Palsy Day Panel will select the best ideas, solutions and inventions for people with cerebral palsy. In the following few months social activists, researchers, inventors, and innovators propose how they would make these ideas a reality and financial assistance will be provided to a selected few to assist their project. Check out the World Cerebral Palsy Day website to make a suggestion or to vote on other people’s ideas. 

On September 4 — World CP Day — United Cerebral Palsy is launching an exciting four-week team activity called the World CP Challenge, and we want you to be part of it! It’s a fun and healthy way to improve your fitness while improving the lives of people with cerebral palsy.

The World CP Challenge is a perfect activity for your family, your coworkers or anyone who’s interested in getting fit and supporting United Cerebral Palsy. When you register, you will receive a “Challenge Kit” that will include a pedometer to track your daily step count. Your aim is to climb a “virtual mountain” with your team, and reach the summit by the end of the four weeks. Your progress will be charted on our interactive website.

It’s not just about “walking” your way to better health – you can run, bike, or swim to reach your daily step target. There are more than 40 activities you can convert to steps, including activities suitable for people with a disability. It’s an easy and a fun way to get fit while raising much-needed funds for people with cerebral palsy. Register today.

Resouces for Parents & Family

Happy Friday to all our UCP-OC blog enthusiasts!

This post stems from a conversation with a parent, who although is a part of our Parent Email Network was not aware of a number of very valuable resources for a parent with special needs. Below we will cover 3 resources,

  1. Brave Kids (A new resource that is especially for siblings, parents and the child with disabilities.)
  2. (A website that focuses on early intervention for children ages 0-5.)
  3. CP Research News (A weekly newsletter highlighting new CP research)

Do you have a resource that other parents should be aware of? Share it by leaving a comment on this post or on our Facebook page! If you would like to join our Parent Email Network you can email Kathleen McFarlin at
If you would like to receive the UCP-OC newsletter you can sign up on our website or email Elizabeth Wylie at

1. Brave Kids:

Brave Kids, a new initiative of United Cerebral Palsy (UCP), serves children with disabilities and chronic/life-threatening illnesses by providing a support community, information and resources on numerous medical conditions like genetic diseases, autism, cancer, cerebral palsy, etc.

At the heart of the new Brave Kids website and community is a belief that people with disabilities and chronic/life-threatening illnesses should be able to live a life without limits. This site contains two primary components:

  1. An authoritative directory of information of interest to parents of children, ages 6-17,  with disabilities and/or chronic/life-threatening illness; including a special “Kids Zone” section written for children and young adults, ages 6-17;
  2. A social networking community that links parents and caregivers to others raising children with disabilities and/or a chronic/life-threatening illness.

You are also welcome to sign up for a monthly Brave Kids newsletter, at

2. My Child Without Limits:
This second website we have featured both on our blog and in our Spring/Summer ’12 Newsletter. It has been created by UCP to be an authoritative early intervention resource for families of young children ages 0-5 with developmental delays or disabilities, and professionals looking for a single, trusted, aggregate source of information that relates to their needs and interests. All medical information is reviewed by the My Child Without Limits Medical Advisory Board, a panel composed of doctors in the fields of developmental disability and delay.

Designed to be introduced as a web site, will offer information in three basic areas:

  • Understand – this section will explain how children develop as they grow and provides parents with easy to understand milestones that they can use to help track their child’s development. This section also provides information about disabilities such as autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, muscular dystrophy, and Rett syndrome.
  • Plan – this section offers guidance on where to go for early intervention services, treatments and therapies, assistive technologies, and working with experts;
  • Act– this section explores issues surrounding disability awareness, advocacy, and lifespan planning.

There is a community section where parents can communicate with each other, ask questions of professionals and service providers, and receive support through the critical period of initial diagnosis. 

The site includes a national Resource Locator where visitors can find local service providers, community organizations and government agencies. All this is intended to inform and support parents/caregivers at a time when too much information can be overwhelming and too little can be frustrating. also has a newsletter that you can sign up for at Also on this site, you can sign up to receive a Welcome Pack, which contains a sippy cup, bib, stuffed animals, and information from the site’s sponsors.

3. CP Research News
A free weekly bulletin of the latest published research in cerebral palsy, compiled and distributed by Cerebral Palsy Alliance. To subscribe to this free weekly bulletin, please complete the online form at