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Teaching Google to Hear Them

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People With Down Syndrome, Frustrated by Voice Devices, Are Teaching Google to Hear Them

FCB Canada and its advocacy client launch Project Understood. This Project Understood from the Canadian Down Syndrome Society is helping Google’s voice platform understand those with Down syndrome. Voice-controlled devices could be life-changing resources for people with Down syndrome or other developmental disabilities, but there’s one obvious obstacle that often holds them back: being understood.

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Dental Resource Guide to Help Special Needs

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Recently, my sister in law had to take my nephew, who has Down Syndrome, into the dentist and it was not a very good experience for either of them! My nephew has a fear of new people, and can get confused really easily so he did not understand what was going on. My sister in law didn’t know how to explain the situation very well, so they were both upset and scared throughout the entire experience.

I work with Dr. Greg Grillo here at Dentably and when I told him about my nephew’s experience he decided to do something to help my sister-in-law and others who are going through the same thing.

Together, we created a thorough resource guide to help other families with special needs children, teens or even adults who have gone through rough experiences at a dental office. We have also included an option to print this resource guide to share with families, along with a printable guide with questions to ask your dentist before the appointment. There is also a link to a Spanish version on there as well.

Down Syndrome & Dental Care – A Guide for Caregivers and Family Members

Take Care, Jami Brown

Special Needs Scholarship

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The Gardiner Scholarship helps families customize education plans for their children with special needs.

The Gardiner Scholarship is available for qualified Florida students beginning at age 3 through 22 or high school graduate, whichever comes first. To qualify students must be diagnosed with one of the following: autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, muscular dystrophy, Phalen McDermid syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, Spina bifida, Williams syndrome or an intellectual disability (severe cognitive impairment). Also, students who are deemed “high risk” due to developmental delays and who are not older than 5 on Sept. 1 may be eligible for the year they are applying.

The Gardiner Scholarship allows parents to direct their scholarship funds toward a combination of approved programs and providers they think will best meet their children’s unique needs. These include approved private schools, therapists, specialists, curriculum, technology— even a college savings account.

We are currently accepting applications for the Gardiner Scholarship for the 2017-18 school year. Scholarships are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. To apply for the Gardiner Scholarship for the 2017-18 school year, please click here.

Please note: Scholarships are awarded to eligible students on a first-come, first-served basis once their applications are completed. Please be sure to advise families early, in order to receive a 100% award scholarship students must be deemed eligible no later than August 1st.

Another option is the Income-based Florida Tax Credit Scholarship (FTC), a program that empowers low-income families to find the K-12 school that best meets their children’s learning needs. Families may choose between two scholarship options: one that helps cover private school tuition and fees, or one that assists with transportation costs to attend a public school in another county. If a family’s household income qualifies for the free or reduced-price school lunch program (185 percent of the federal poverty guidelines), or, if the family receives SNAP (food stamps), TANF, or FDPIR, the student may be eligible.

We are currently accepting applications for the Income Based Scholarship for the 2017-18 school year. Scholarships are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. To apply for the income-based scholarship for the 2017-18 school year, families may click here.

Please note: Income-based scholarships for new students are limited. Scholarships are awarded to eligible students on a first-come, first-served basis once their applications are completed. Please be sure to advise families early, as we anticipate going to a waitlist much earlier than usual.

Children who are in foster care or out-of-home care, or who are homeless may also be eligible for either of these TWO scholarships.

To learn more about the scholarships, please visit www.StepUpForStudents.org.

You may also view our current flier at www.StepUpForStudents.org/flier.

Thank you for helping us reach children who may benefit from our two K-12 scholarship opportunities.

Courtney Studios Donates Photography to Gold Coast

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Meet Courtney Ortiz


Hi! I’m Courtney. Mother, wife, photographer, and owner of Courtney Studios. I started Courtney Ortiz Photography when my son Owen was 10 months old. I was an elementary school teacher for the 6 years before kids and the idea of starting a business to give me more flexibility and time to be with my son was exciting. Fast forward eight years and 3 kids later, Courtney Ortiz Photography is now Courtney Studios — a gorgeous natural light portrait studio located in the heart of downtown Hollywood, and voted “Best Family Photographer” by South Florida Parenting Magazine 2014 & 2015. Since the studio began in 2007, I still hold strong to the ideal that portrait photography is an art that should be enjoyed in your home, in the rooms where you feel the most love.