Friday, November 30, 2012

My Boy Started Stuttering

My little three year old boy started stuttering recently. I am not talking about an occasional stammer, I mean he sometimes repeats a word or syllable 10 or 20 times until the rest of the sentence finally comes exploding from his lips. I remember the moment, just a couple of weeks ago when it started, I looked at my wife and she looked back at me and we both had the same puzzled expression. Neither of us said much. First it was just a few words like You-You-You and then it got to be more and more noticeable. Some days he can barely make a sentence, some days it is hardly noticeable at all. But all of this started just two or three weeks ago.

We began to wonder if we did something that caused his stuttering. We questioned everything, from family related stress to traveling to a fever he recently had. Of course we searched online about toddlers who stammer and everything we read reassures us that stuttering in toddlers, particularly boys, is quite frequent and often goes away after a few months. Apparently stuttering in childhood often happens because the babies' language abilities are developing faster than the language center of their brains can handle. On the otherhand, I know that stuttering is something that the medical world knows next to nothing about. What causes stuttering? What is the best approach to stuttering? Will my baby stop stuttering? No one can answer these questions yet. So for now we do not know if this is a temporary thing or the beginning of a long journey.

We have discussed with his pediatrician and soon we will visit a specialist. But I suspect the final answer will be to watch and wait.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Swiss Scientists Teach Paralyzed Rats To Walk

Swiss Scientists used a mixture of devices, drugs, training and therapy to get paralyzed rats to walk and even run again.

What happened to the rats?

Ten rats were paralyzed at the beginning of the study. Their spinal cords were partially severed at two separate but neighboring sites.

What did the scientists use to get the rats to walk?

  • Serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine were injected into the spinal cord.
  • A set of electrodes supplied a continuous flow of electrical energy near the site of the break in the spinal cord to stimulate the regrowth of the neural cells. Another device supported the rats and taught the legs to move.
  • A training course was used as therapy.

What was the result?

Amazingly after 10 weeks, all ten walked again!

Read more about this study, or read about exoskeletons for wheelchair users.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Angel Faces : For Girls With Severe Facial Burns

 Although this blog is dedicated to wheelchairs and wheelchair users, sometimes I come across another disability issue that is so important, I feel compelled to help spread the word. Recently I stumbled upon an organization called "Angel Faces" which " is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide healing retreats and ongoing support for adolescent girls with burn/trauma injuries".

The head of Angel Faces, Lesia Cartelli, was burnt on 50% of her face and body from a gas explosion at the age of nine. Lesia organizes retreats for young girls who have also been burned. The purpose of these retreats is to help girls, aged 11-19 to become more self-confident and improve their self-image. You can read more about Angel Faces in this article in  Washington Post or by watching an interview with Leisa:

Or by visiting the Angel Faces Website. You can also help Angel Faces achieve their goals without spending any money at all. Simply use Good Search and nominate Angel Faces as your beneficiary. For every Good Search you do, Angel Faces will receive 1 cent!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Wheelchair Bound: An Offensive Term?

For years many have written that the term "wheelchair bound" is offensive. The BBC did a survey and found that "wheelchair bound" is one of the top 10 offensive words used to describe people with disabilities. Yet journalists continue to use it daily. Don't believe me? Simply do a Google News search. Why does the situation never change? Perhaps not enough people really care? Do You? Read this article about "Wheelchair Bound" and voice your opinion.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Wheelchair Rain Ideas

What does a wheelchair user do when it rains? They get very, very wet. It is difficult for manual wheelchair users to stay dry in the rain because a wheelchair users hands are busy pushing the wheelchair and can not hold a standard umbrella. There have been several unique products invented to keep wheelchair users dry when it rains. But they most typical are ponchos designed for wheelchair users and hands-free umbrella holders. Both are discussed in this article about wheelchair rain ideas.