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Rae’s First Day * Totally Heartwarming Plus Empowering For Differently Abled People

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Rae’s First Day * Totally Heartwarming Plus Empowering For Differently Abled People

Rae is like many five-year-old’s with one BIG exception: she has a super-secret superpower. It’s her 1st day of school & her classmates are in need. Will she keep her power hidden, or help her friends? KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Dominic D. comments, “. Everybody should read this book. Not only is it totally heartwarming, but it empowers people who have disabilities to be the very best they can be. We are all super in our own way. My favorite part of the book is when Rae uses her superpowers to save the day by clearing the rain so that recess could be held outside.” Alma K. adds, “Rae’s First Day is a wonderful representation of kids with disabilities and how being different makes you super. Rae’s First Day is the first story in the Capables series showing how differences not only make you unique (because if everyone was the same it would be boring), but how differences make you super.” See their full reviews below.

Rae’s First Day
Dominic DiGravio, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12



The theme of Rae’s First Day is very appealing; it’s about the inclusion of all people no matter how different they are. Everybody should read this book. Not only is it totally heartwarming, but it empowers people who have disabilities to be the very best they can be. We are all super in our own way. My favorite part of the book is when Rae uses her superpowers to save the day by clearing the rain so that recess could be held outside.

This book displays acceptance and embraces differences. The theme, the story, and the illustrations are extremely engaging for a young audience.

This book is an easy read. It has some slightly difficult vocabulary for younger readers but overall the story flows nicely, has great content and is somewhat suspenseful, which makes the reader wanting to read on. Not only is this a perfect book for younger readers, but it’s also a great family read. Whether families are sitting around a table, the campfire, or lounging in a living room, this is a great book to share.

Rae’s First Day models some of the very best characteristics. It is such a package deal for displaying courage, perseverance, kindness, acceptance and so much more within the many character interactions. There are many teachable moments. Problem-solving can be seen throughout the book. Rae’s parents question the readiness of Rae starting school, the interaction she may have among her peers, and whether Rae will stay strong. Rae also questions her abilities to get through the day. Both Rae and her parents are able to problem solve by just trusting themselves. Negative thoughts ran through their heads, yet they problem-solved by simply facing the world head on. All ages can relate to having the courage to face any struggles. The concepts are exceptionally easy to follow. The vocabulary, for the most part, is easy to understand, although some terminology may be difficult for younger readers. For example, the words instance, daily affirmations, villainous and illumination are suitable for older readers.

The colorful, glossy pages and illustrations made me want to delve right in and read the book and I was super excited for the last page that reads, “…to be continued.” I’m eager to read more about Rae and her capabilities!

Rae’s First Day is highly educational and has great merit. In a world that can sometimes be very cruel, reading about Rae and how her difference makes her super is a must read for all ages. This book should perhaps land itself in classrooms around the globe as its value is priceless. I will be sharing this book on my social media accounts as it such a worthy book.

Like Rae, many children across the globe have disabilities which often affect them, both physically and socially. Rae’s bravery needs to be shared with the world. Books such as this can only serve to make the world a better place.

I give Rae’s First Day 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults, especially educators. It can be found now wherever books are sold.

Rae’s First Day

By Alma K., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12


Rae’s First Day is a wonderful representation of kids with disabilities and how being different makes you super. Rae’s First Day is the first story in the Capables series showing how differences not only make you unique (because if everyone was the same it would be boring), but how differences make you super. Make you special.

Rae is a five-year-old starting her first day of kindergarten and she is worried that all the kids will treat her differently. You see, Rae was born with only one bone in her right forearm while most kids are born with two. Because of this, Rae’s right hand is shorter than her left and only has two fingers. But (as her dad says ALL THE TIME!), Rae is smart and strong and capable! Because she is capable; because she is different – unlike her limb difference that all can see – she has a superpower she’s never shown anyone.

The Capables are a group of super-capable kid superheroes who all have a cape or super capability. That cape or superpower is activated through empowerment. The author, Danny Jordan, is following this cause because it hits home. His daughter Emerson Rose is just like Rae, a superhero in her own right who has an upper limb difference. Danny created The Capables to put children like his daughter in the hero role and also to encourage readers to be more understanding when it comes to disabilities and more inclusive. The illustrations are by Agustina Perciante and are beautiful and very accurate to the story.  The book has lots of pictures with lots of color which definitely make the book engaging for young kids. There’s even a word-search with one of the kids playing that readers can actually play. And the words — smart, strong, unique, capable – all supports ideas related to the cause and message of the book such as, “Agustina possibly draws better than me.” I think that this is an amazing educational, engaging and entertaining children’s book with a focus on the inclusion of those with disabilities, which is a great cause that doesn’t get enough attention. It’s Danny’s hope (and now mine too) that this book will turn into a series – one that strongly believes that being different is a superpower.

The message of this book is that different is super. It’s a beautiful message we need to hear more often in our world today. The only thing I don’t like is that Rae doesn’t tell her parents about her superpower. She says maybe someday but now – no way. Keeping secrets from parents isn’t the best message for young kids.

Rae’s First Day is great and I rate it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 8 (for younger kids, parents can read it aloud). It is available for purchase now at Amazon.com, the capables.com and other places where books are sold.

Differently Able – So Very Special by Marie-Helene Tourenne

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7th Wave
Differently Able – So Very Special by Marie-Helene Tourenne

This episode is devoted to my path as a special parent, what it means to me, how it made me grow and see things differently.

My guest Paul Morehead is a young artist who has interacted with our son for a number of years since he was a preteen and he will share with us what this experience has done for him as well.
Please join me, I hope that by the end of this episode of Blooming in the Light you will have discovered a broader, richer and fuller picture of humankind.

How Craniosacral Therapy Alleviates Pain, Disability, and Dysfunction by Hemda Mizrahi

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How Craniosacral Therapy Alleviates Pain, Disability, and Dysfunction by Hemda Mizrahi

Tracy Lin

Physical Therapist and Craniosacral Therapy (CST) practitioner Tracy Lin joined me on “Turn the Page” to talk about how CST goes beyond treating the physical symptoms of pain, disability and dysfunction, to address causes that are rooted in the psyche and emotions. If you’re still exploring ways you can regain your health and mobility post-injuries, illness, surgeries, or other issues, CST might be one of your “missing links.”

Craniosacral Therapy complements most healthcare modalities, both mainstream and alternative, such as acupuncture, psychology, chiropractic care, and dentistry. It can be integrated as one of a host of other interventions used to address complex medical problems and needs.

After the show, Tracy shared the following three scenarios to further illustrate the benefits of CST. Perhaps you can find yourself, or someone you know in the presenting issues.

The patient slipped on the floor while her foot was caught in the ground. She experienced pain when getting in and out of a cab, and when she was on her feet for more than two to three hours or with quick changes in direction. She also had pain while lying on her back, when bringing her left knee toward the opposite shoulder (with her foot positioned outward, which is an internal rotation of the hip).

Tracy says, “In a typical PT session, I would have focused on strengthening and stretching both of her legs, emphasizing her left hip, along with some manual therapy. However, after guiding her through basic stretches and functional strengthening exercises that she could do at home, I primarily treated her with Craniosacral Therapy with intermittent therapeutic dialoguing. She opened up about a lot of stressful situations, both work-related and personal. Her left hip pain diminished over the course of weekly or bi-monthly sessions over a span of twelve to fourteen weeks. The pain subsided altogether when we discussed her relationship with her mother, which we discovered was a primary source of stress in her body. Although she was a stoic woman, she released some emotions (e.g. teary eyes) while speaking about her mother. Her craniosacral rhythm stopped during this outward expression of emotion, indicating that a source of health-related issues was surfacing from her unconscious to her conscious mind.

Although she was pain-free for the last few weeks I saw her, she requested to continue CST “just in case the pain was to came back.” Recently, I spoke with her and she stated that she has had only a “slight twinge,” but is pain-free as far as she’s concerned.”

“The patient did not tolerate stretching or soft tissue massage of her neck by another physical therapist using “conventional PT treatment,” since it was “too painful,” and caused her to be even more “tense.” Given that the patient was consistently teary-eyed and reported that stress was causing stiffness in her neck, she was referred to me by my colleague, who thought she required a “gentler and sensitive” approach.”

“The patient enjoyed a combination of light touch and therapeutic dialoguing. She felt more “relaxed,” with less pain after the sessions, and her range of motion, along with the soft tissue tightness in her neck, improved. I was consistently drawn to the tissues around her upper left thorax region, just below her collar bone. Over time she revealed that her husband was sick and now in a wheelchair. While her husband had a home health aide five days a week, for four to six hours, the patient was very attentive to his needs. Steering his wheel chair created a lot of strain on the weak muscles in her arms and neck. The patient talked about feeling insignificant in her marriage. Her husband frequently yelled at her and had numerous affairs early in their marriage. Given his lack of respect, she felt guilty and sad in anticipating the relief and freedom she might feel when he died. She realized that she had neglected herself, sacrificing her own needs to accommodate those of her children and husband. Ultimately, she failed to recognize her own self-worth.

In one session, she pictured her chest as a black, heavy object that was “pushing her down,” preventing her from moving. Through therapeutic dialoguing and imagery that elicited feelings of contentment, she felt lighter and freer in her chest, and began to feel the spark of a yearning to “live her life.” She envisioned attending church on a regular basis and joining the choir, which had not been possible given her care-giving responsibilities and guilt. As she spoke about her “happy place,” my hands were drawn to her heart, and the patient expressed that the “heaviness” was releasing. She eventually established a positive and confident view of herself, committing to doing something that made her happy at least once a day without guilt, while her husband was in the care of the home health aide. As her self-assurance strengthened, the patient’s neck muscles became softer, with less to no report of stiffness.”

The patient was referred to PT due to increasing leg spasms that disturbed her balance and gait. She had chronic, intermittent back pain, constant bilateral knee pain from arthritis, and headaches. She walked with a cane, with a slow gait and small uneven steps due to the pain in her knees, and expressed a strong fear of falling.

I initially treated her with “conventional” PT, focusing on balance and gait activities, gentle stretching of her legs, functional strengthening with energy conservation techniques, and instruction on home exercises. In one session, the patient shared that she didn’t do most of the home exercises so that she could conserve her energy for doctor’s appointments. She reported an increase in leg spasms that “threw her balance off” and an even greater fear of falling. As she described that her left leg, from her hip down to her knee, was in spasm, I noticed that she was walking much more slowly and carefully than usual. Inviting her to lay down on the mat and relax, I tuned into her craniosacral rhythm, noticing that it was “sluggish,” especially on her left side, below her rib cage.

After performing gentle hands-on techniques at her left hip and thigh, pelvic region, the full length of her spine (the dura mater, which is the membrane that surrounds the brain and spinal cord), her craniosacral rhythm improved in its rate and was more symmetrical with the left and right side. The patient noted that my hands felt very warm, and her tissues and some parts of her body were more “relaxed.” After the session, she stated that her left leg spasms had decreased considerably. When she stood up to walk, she reported being much “steadier.” As she departed, I observed that she was walking a little faster with more confidence, and a smile.

Depending on her fatigue level, the degree of pain in her knees, and left leg spasms, I continued to treat this patient with CST (versus conventional PT) for about 80% of our sessions for another seven to eight weeks, twice a week. After each CST session, the patient left with diminished pain and spasms, improved vitality in her craniosacral rhythm, and consequently, more energy. As a result of decreased pain and leg spasms, her balance and gait felt more “grounded.” During her last session she reported having “more good days than bad days” as a result of more developed mind/body awareness.”

Tracy shared that while patients with particularly complex health issues such as MS and chronic pain would benefit from further treatment, many are unable to continue their sessions for financial reasons. She notes however, that patients generally emerge from the course of treatment with tools and insights that result in much improved self-care.

Tracy suggests the Upledger Institute website (www.upledger.com) as a referral source for CST practitioners, in addition to “word-of-mouth” recommendations from trusted healthcare providers.

In assessing whether or not a particular Craniosacral Therapist is a good fit for you, she advises: “Find out if a practitioner is certified, or how many courses he/she has taken, in addition to the number of years the therapist has been in practice. Ask if the practitioner is comfortable with treating your condition, and if he/she has treated similar issues. Many highly skilled Craniosacral Therapists are not certified but have substantial experience and training in CST. Without seeking perfection, trust whether or not you feel comfortable with the CST practitioner during the initial visit or treatment. A good CST therapist will assess whether or not he/she is best suited to treat you and may refer you colleagues who might better assist you.”

Learn more about the benefits of CST by listening to my conversation with Tracy

Tracy invites you to contact her at www.iahp.com/Tracy-Lin to discuss your questions about CST, and explore your interest in experiencing this “light touch” therapeutic technique firsthand.

The Bender Virtual Career Fair on 3.15.16 by Joyce Bender

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The Bender Virtual Career Fair on 3.15.16 by Joyce Bender

The Bender Virtual Career Fair: Employment for People with Disabilities on  Tuesday, 3/15/2016  provides an opportunity for employers and job seekers with disabilities to connect online and network from the convenience of their home computers and offices.  The Virtual Career Fair is free for job seekers with disabilities and is open to students and alumni from 2 and 4 year colleges and universities across the United States.  Register and upload a resume today  at www.careereco.com.  Additionally, Employers seeking to recruit from a talent pool of individuals with disabilities as a part of their diversity and Section 503 compliance outreach initiatives can learn more about the event and also  register at  www.careereco.com .

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