Paying it forward in honour of Gavin Leong

Gavin’s story is one that I’ve been following through his mom’s blog for sometime now. Although I didn’t know Gavin personally, I learned a lot about him and his family and the kid that he was becoming through the blog. I was completely heartbroken to read a few days ago that Little Gavin was admitted to the hospital and things were looking quite grim. Sadly, Gavin officially passed away a couple of hours ago. His organs are being donated to help other people in need. Gavin was a superstar and made a huge impact on so many people’s lives. Gavin’s mom has requested that people pay-it forward in Gavin’s honour. Do something nice for another person in honour of Gavin, here’s what Kate wrote about it on her facebook page:

Ed and I will be announcing our choices for “in lieu of flowers” donations to honor Gavin in a few days, but today is my birthday and this is all about me. I’ve come up with a special, totally FREE way to honor my sweet son who could inspire the most profound emotion without ever saying a word. I’m asking you to help someone… document it with words and or a photo… and place it on the Chasing Rainbows Facebook Page. Then be sure to check the page often to get inspired by the outpouring of love. Here are some great ideas for you… Find a special needs classroom in your community. These are usually low funded and always looking for donations. Perhaps you have toys your kids don’t play with anymore that could be used in the classroom or during therapy. Random crayons that are laying around. I know we always needed rug gripper to place under Gavin’s behind when he sat – that’s a good need. Do you know a special needs Mom in your neighborhood? Church? School? Tell her you’d like to make dinner for her family. What night would work? Then tell her the only requirement is they have to give a “cheers toast” to Gavin during dinner. Help someone struggling to unload groceries into their car in the rain. Donate clothes to a women’s shelter. Check with your local children’s hospital for volunteer opportunities – even if it’s just for two hours of your life. Save all of your magazines and bring a big stash to your local hospital. You have no idea how helpful that is to parents who spend days, weeks or months (as I did when Gavin was a baby) sitting in their child’s hospital room. These are just some ideas… be creative! And think of Gavin when you do it. Share his story with the person you are blessing. Tell them that Gavin Leong changed the world with little acts of courage, determination and a sweet smile… without ever saying a word. And then ask them to pay it forward to honor his legacy. This would be the best birthday gift you could give me. There is no time frame – you could post something today or a year from now or five years from now. Thank you for helping me to honor my amazing little boy. And feel free to share this anywhere you want! 

xoxo, kate.
Chasing Rainbows

Please keep Gavin’s mom and dad and little brother, Brian in your thoughts tonight. Pay-it forward for Gavin’s legacy.

Rest in Peace, kiddo. ♥ 

Read about Kate and Ed’s day here (and read more about their story): http://www.kateleong.com/2013/04/gavin-david-leong.html#.UWtsf79hdAQ 

Check out their Facebook page here: Chasing Rainbows 

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Reduced and Free Apps in Celebration of Autism Awareness Month

556081_10152575970120424_1933361654_nIn celebration of Autism Awareness Month, many Special Needs App developers have reduced the prices on their apps. There are reduced prices on all different kinds of apps, communication, ABA, flashcards, social skills, sensory activities and more! Some of the developers have even completely cut the cost of their apps to $0. There are some really innovative apps that are available at an extremely low cost.

Today only (April 10th 2013, urTalker Pro, regular $99 is available completely free of charge. This is a really cool and high quality communication app. It’s available for all apple touch products (iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad/iPad mini)

You can download it here: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/urtalker-pro/id533018709?mt=8

In addition, to different daily deals there are all also deals and price reductions that are available for the entire month of April.

Here’s a link to a good chunk of the the apps reduced and free: http://www.smartappsforkids.com/2013/04/apps-free-and-reduced-for-autism-awareness-month.html

There are some pretty GREAT apps available!

Special Hockey International Tournament 2013!

I know this is a little late but; here it is!

The theme for the tournament “Yes I Can” with a video featuring some of my amazing players.

Last week I had the opportunity, actually, honour to participate in the best hockey event and one of the best Special Needs events I’ve ever had the opportunity to participate in. The Kitchener Ontario, Special Hockey International Tournament 2013! As many of you know, i’m a huge advocate for Special Hockey International (SHI), it highlights true friendships and real sportsmanship while building confidence all in an extremely supportive environment. I coach the Guelph Giants and it remains to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Each year SHI holds an international tournament and one of the teams hosts this. This year a local team, The Kitchener Ice Pirates, hosted the tournament and it was amazing. Absolutely amazing. We has sixty teams from thirty communities, almost one thousand players, playing in this tournament. Every single aspect of the tournament was well thought out and planned. The hours and hours and hours and hours of work that went into planning this tournament were very evident. It was accessible and accepting to all individuals and really showed what Special Hockey is all about. The SHI league focuses on fun and friendships and this tournament was no different. All players and fans cheered when someone scored a goal, no matter who’s team they played on. Refs set-up goals so that everyone would have the opportunity to score. Penalty shots were given just for an extra chance for someone to experience scoring a goal. Some games, the goalie even took penalty shots! The Ice Pirates did an amazing job hosting the tournament and the organizers, organized an amazing three days. I was very proud to be a part of amazing organizations like Special Hockey International and the Guelph Giants.

For information about SHI (I would highly recommend finding a team in your area): http://www.specialhockeyinternational.org

For highlights and information from Kitchener 2013: http://www.shikitchener2013.ca

And since I’m biased when it comes to my Guelph Giants: http://www.guelphgiantshockey.ca

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Walk Now for Autism Speaks- Waterloo 2013

Hey Party People! 

I will again be participating in the Walk Now for Autism Speaks this year. But this year in a more local area; Waterloo! woo! 

If anybody is in the area and would like to join our team or would like to donate to our team, please feel free!! It’s going to be another really good time raising Autism awareness!!

http://events.autismspeaks.ca/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.team&teamID=6839

that’s the link to our team’s page! 

A new Special Olympics swim program!

Hope everyone is having a super day!

I’m looking for some advice today.

Since the broken leg, I’ve had a lot of spare time plus I’ve been able to go to my Special Olympics Swim Team (Go Fergus Phantoms!). Since I have all of this extra time, I’ve decided to make some changes to our adapt program. The adapt end is for our non (traditional) competitive swimmers. Those who are still learning to swim or still working on swimming independently. 

I’m looking for ideas for activities to do with my athletes in the pool. If you were sending your child or person you support to this program, what would you want to see? If you’re an athlete; what kind of activities would you want to do? If you’ve coached; what did you do? any main skills you focused on?

Any ideas would be awesome! 

Please pass this along to anyone you think would have some input and check us out on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stories-from-the-Sandbox/252057948257316

Have an awesome rest of your day! 🙂

 

Accessibility Matters!

For those of you who don’t know, I broke my leg and my ankle two weeks ago. Here’s the story:

It was a dark and stormy day in Elora, Ontario… The great Almighty Alix decided to take her little sister and brother skating before she returned to the land of the never-ending snow, Timmins. They travelled to the outdoor rink and played a rough and tough game of hockey. As Alix went to make the game changing goal she noticed a baby worm trying to cross the ice and dove to save it from the incoming power puck (from the strength of her shot, of course), unfortunately she tripped and broke her leg and ankle in an attempt to heroically save the baby worm. 

That’s a trick, I actually went to take my skate off (not even off the ice) and fell and managed to smash my ankle and break my leg. I have two wires and three pins in my ankle and had twenty-five staples removed yesterday. I also got a new cast yesterday. Here’s a fun picture of my new cast:

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As for my schooling, because of the severity of the break; I am unable to return to Timmins. But, I am able to continue taking my courses online. So that is a MAJOR plus.

Anyway, back to the point of this post; Accessibility! Because of this break, I have been using crutches and on occasion, a wheelchair. Accessibility is something that I always generally pay attention to and look for. This helps me make decisions as to what kinds of places I bring the people I support to. If it’s not accessible, we likely won’t go. Through the need to use crutches I have been paying even more attention to the need for accessibility. Through my experiences I have learned that SO many places are not accessible. They look as though they are, but they really aren’t. Especially in the winter, in Canada. I never really though much before about people using canes or crutches but a slippery floor in a store or restaurant could result in a very dangerous fall. Wheelchair ramp, while they look great, can often times be quite unsafe. Steep and not taken care of. I am lucky to have awesome friends (special shout-out to Neal, Leona and Jeramy here, you guys rock) who very kindly assisted me through the day, wheelchair and all and even with someone helping me, the accessibility was limited. Often times I focus more on the invisible differences as opposed to the more visible ones but I’ve now realized how difficult it can be to manouver around an area and I have a whole new respect for those with mobility differences. The lack of accessibility needs to change. We need to be accessible and inclusive for all people. Be it, a child with Down Syndrome who just wants to eat lunch with his family at a restaurant (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=tYbxEoCl_Vg), an individual who uses a wheelchair on a regular basis or someone who broke their leg because they can’t take off a pair of skates (haha). I am thankful for the fact that I broke my leg and ankle as it has given me the opportunity to open my eyes and see things in a different way.

Let’s work together to create a safe and accepting world for all. We are more alike than different.

 

and we have a facebook page!

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stories-from-the-Sandbox/252057948257316

Here is a link to the “Stories from the Sandbox” facebook page! 

A place for story sharing and easier access! Come check us out! 

 

🙂

 

“We are more alike than different”