Just Kids - Emory WorkLife Resource Center
Atlanta’s Family Guide to Special Needs
The Skinny on
Center and Marcus
Brought to you by
Atlanta Parent Magazine
Current through November 2010
Child in Mind
Information and Resource Guide
14 Food Allergy 411
An Atlanta Parent Magazine Publication
18 Centers Making
Parents share their
strategies for making
a possibility for all kids.
10 Meet Our Cover
The Shepherd Center and
Marcus Autism Center mend
broken bones and open locked
minds. Meet the founders and
some of the people they helped.
Kid and Finalists
This year’s Cover Kid
contest found us four
Read their stories and
you’ll know why they
won us over.
How two Atlanta area families
take cerebral palsy on and
discover the good life.
32 Summer Fun
Read our roundup of Atlanta
area all-abilities playgrounds
13 Moms of
27 Spotlight on
22 Life With Cerebral Palsy
Parents and experts dish on
the dangers and challenges of
raising kids with food allergies.
(Businesses share their stories in
this special advertising section.)
Find out 20
37 Resource Guide
If you’re seeking medical services, day camps,
support groups and everything in between, our directory
contains the most comprehensive listings
of local resources for your special needs child.
learn more at www.siskin.org
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4 justkids magazine
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Golden Kids, Gold Award
We’re inspired by the children and families we
meet. Some are special children, like this issue’s
covergirl, 5-year-old Lydia Engel, who races up to
strangers with her shiny gold walker and makes a
new friend, or cover finalist 8-year-old Kendall Butler,
whose progress with autism is almost as limitless as
Our Just Kids magazine and our quarterly special
sections in Atlanta Parent grew out of my own
experience with special needs children, and my belief
that they are just like other children, with the same
hopes and fears and joy – and a few challenges to
overcome along the way to adulthood. As a child,
when I played with a relative’s son who was born
with Down syndrome, I realized not all children were
just like me. Later, my Girl Scout troop’s special project
in the seventh grade was working at a Cerebral Palsy
clinic, assisting the kids on field trips or helping them
with motor skills. That experience led to a career
as a special education teacher, then as director of
therapeutic recreation programs. My focus always
was looking at the whole child, at the things he could
do, not just his limitations.
Now, in publishing, I continue to nurture these
children who have a special place in my heart. Just
Kids has been part of Atlanta Parent almost since the
magazine’s inception. We’ve aimed to provide a
resource and support for families and to acknowledge
in every issue that special needs children have
dreams, too. So many families have told us they
appreciate our efforts and that’s so gratifying. This
year, we also received unexpected praise, a Gold
Award of Excellence from the Magazine Association
of the Southeast and a Bronze Award for feature
writing from the Parenting Publications of America for
the Fall issue of Just Kids. Those accolades encourage
us to continue our mission of making sure no family
lets a label of “special needs” define who their child
is, what their child can accomplish or how big their
child can dream.
Parenting and educating a child with special
needs can be a challenging and sometimes
overwhelming responsibility. Just identifying
a child’s special needs and finding the right
services and supports to meet those needs
can be difficult and time consuming. Just Kids
is the annual resource guide for parents and
caregivers of children with special needs in
the metro Atlanta area. We define special
needs broadly to include physical, mental and
emotional disabilities, sensory impairments,
learning differences, developmental delay and
Our mission is to provide you with useful
articles and information on local and national
disability organizations, schools and summer
camps, medical facilities, agencies and
businesses that best meet your special needs.
Just Kids is not only about children, it’s about
families. It is also our hope that this magazine
supplies the information and inspiration you need
for your very special family.
Mail: 2346 Perimeter Park Drive, Atlanta, GA 30341
justkids is published biannually by Atlanta Parent, Inc. All rights reserved. Any reproduction in part or in whole is prohibited without written permission. ©2010
10 Tips for Happier Events
by Ellen Notbohm
Special events are the stuff of happy memories for
most of us, but for children, especially those with special
needs, those occasions can mean a departure from
routine and an avalanche of social expectations in
an unfamiliar setting full of strangers. In other words –
potential disaster. A full-blown dress rehearsal at home for
important occasions such as weddings, parties or formal
dinners is worth the effort. An hour before Cousin Emma
walks down the aisle is not a good time to find out that
your son’s suit pants ride up his bottom when he sits, the
Be honest about whether
your child is ready to attend
such an event. If he truly can’t
keep all four legs of his chair on
the floor, gets easily overloaded in
a room full of people and noise,
still thinks a fork is for combing
hair, and eats applesauce with
his fingers, it may be kinder to all
involved to call in the sitter.
Visit the venue – restaurant,
house of worship, etc. – beforehand
to give him a visual image.
Explain what will happen
at the event, whether wedding,
bar mitzvah, birthday, anniversary,
or family reunion. What will she be
expected to do? Sit quietly during
the service, sign a guest book,
get food from a buffet? And don’t
6 justkids magazine
clip-on tie bothers his throat, the dress socks are too tight,
and the shirt cuffs are too short.
Being realistic about clothing is a good start to ensuring
that your child enjoys a dress-up affair. “Real” ties that slip
under the collar will lie smoothly and allow the top button
of the shirt to be left open, short sleeve shirts are fine, and
so are any kind of socks that keep him comfortable – who’s
going to be looking at his feet anyway?
Here are 10 more tips that will help see your special
child through that special event:
assume that your child understands
the significance of the event. Children
as young as 2 or 3 begin to
understand the meaning of a birthday
– “one year older.” But what is a
graduation? An anniversary? A baby
shower? Take the time to provide a
simple explanation; talk about how
celebrations are occasions that mark
joyous milestones of our lives. These
events may look quite different to a
child. The following cycle actually
happened to us a few summers ago,
and this is how our son saw it:
n Graduation. What does it
mean to “graduate?” What are those
funny flat-top hats they’re wearing?
What happens to cousin Evan now
that he is 18 and done with high
n Anniversary. Grandma and
Grandpa have been married for 50
years. There’s a towering cake and
lots of old pictures. Oh my goodness,
they weren’t always old!
n Wedding. Our former nanny
is getting married. She is simply
stunning in beaded gown and
veil; her new husband is cool. The
dancing is a blast, but the speeches
n Baby shower. No, this party
is not in the bathroom. Aunt Betsy’s
tummy is huge; the new cousin
is almost here. Mom makes a
centerpiece cake out of … diapers!
If possible, arrange
seating where she
will be able to see
the event. It is unrealistic
to expect her to sit quietly
while voices she may or
may not understand drone
on somewhere beyond her
immediate view. If you think
your child may not make it
through the entire thing, sit
where she can be taken out
Preview the menu.
If it is not appropriate for
your child, ask the hotel
or restaurant for a special
meal; most are glad to do
it. Offer to pay separately. If
special arrangements are not
possible, bring something for
your child as inconspicuously
as possible, or feed her
beforehand so she is not
ravenously watching everyone
else eat. When you’ve done
what you can, don’t sweat it
further. Holidays and events
are so exciting for children that
many don’t eat much anyway.
Teach him a simple
introduction and, if he can
tolerate it, a handshake.
Cont’d on page 8
Preparation is the Key
Atlanta parents of children with special needs know how important
being prepared is when it comes to special events. We talked with
four parents who shared their strategies and experiences.
Lisa Lucier, Marietta
Daughter Katherine, 12, has cerebral palsy
“My daughter, Katherine, is now 12
and in the sixth grade. One of her favorite
social gatherings she likes to remember was
the wedding of our family friend, Stacy. In
preparation for the big day, Katherine and
I talked about what would happen and
what she might hear and see while in the
church. Katherine is a drama queen and
she prepared herself by asking questions of
everyone she knew about any weddings they
had gone to. She had herself worked up
toward the big day with more excitement than
the bride, I think.
One thing we battle as a family of a
special needs child is that of handicapped
accessibility. Katherine has cerebral palsy and
drives a power wheelchair. As her mom, I
often prepare myself by checking out if there
is ample handicapped parking with a ramp
lane, can she easily get through the doorways
and anticipate what might be needed while
at the event [such as the bathroom].”
Sabrina Long, Decatur
Son Trenton, 8, has autism
Katie McKoy, Newnan
When a special event comes up, Sabrina
Long gets him prepared. Before a birthday
party, for instance, she’ll talk about what will
be happening and tell him, “There are going
to be a lot of children there, and you may not
know some of their names. Go up to them and
talk to them.” Then she’ll check on the menu in
advance and bring food or snacks for Trenton,
who follows a gluten-free diet, and enough of
whatever she brings to share with the other kids.
Dealing with change is difficult for Trenton,
but it’s gotten easier because the Longs have
learned to discuss events in advance. “We
try to get as much information as we can and
tell him the night before so he’s prepared,”
Sabrina said. “We don’t guess at anything,
because if we tell him something will happen,
he expects it to happen.” And they’ve taken
some cues from educational materials. Sabrina
often reads Carol Gray’s My Social Stories
book with Trenton, uses School Box Emotion
Cards, and together they watch videos such as
Teach2Talk and Baby BumbleBee. “Sometimes
we draw pictures for him on what’s going to
happen, like a little schedule of events. That
helps him understand.” And they’ve learned a
“two-minute” transition rule that helps Trenton
anticipate a change that’s about to occur.
Sabrina will say, “In two minutes, we’re going
to…” and Trenton knows he’ll be expected to
adjust to the coming change, whether leaving
church at the end of a service or waiting
quietly while his mother handles a phone call.
Trenton has made great progress, his
mother says, and Trenton and his brother,
Trevor, 5, have bonded through Learning on
the Log, a sensory-based program that teaches
children to enjoy the outdoors through hiking
“If it is an event like a wedding where people sit still and it is generally not
friendly towards small children, if we cannot find childcare, we usually do not go.
We realize that it is simply overwhelming for our kids in those situations and a recipe
for disaster. We also do not want to ruin a special event like a wedding by having
one of our kids act out.
If we are attending something like a casual family function, my husband and I
drive separate cars so that one parent can leave with the child who is having issues
and the other can stay with the rest of the kids for the rest of the event.”
Her children, ages 5, 4 and 1, all have special needs
Susan Patterson, Dunwoody
Son Jennings, 23, has autism
“As long as my child knows ahead of
time, he’s pretty OK. Our problems are
more when it’s a surprise event he doesn’t
know about. He wants to know what
we’ll be doing and how long we will be
there, and then he’s pretty compliant.
He’s learned over the years that in
some situations like weddings or church
services he needs to sit and be quiet.”
Recently, when Susan’s mother-in-law
died unexpectedly and the family had
to travel to Florida for her funeral, Susan
and her husband, Brooks, decided to
let Jennings stay behind. Jennings knew
and loved his grandmother “Meme”
but didn’t fully understand the concepts
of death and grieving. “My son was
visiting my parents in South Georgia
when Meme died,” Susan said. “It was
Friday night and he was to be there
through Monday. All he could see was
that going to Florida would disrupt his
plans for the weekend. He did not get it
at all. Clearly it was the thing to do [to
let him stay with her parents], given the
situation that we would be out of town
for several days and not able to return
to our house at night. But his father and
I were disappointed he couldn’t come
10 Tips for Happier Events
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8 justkids magazine
Let him know there will
be lots of people there,
but he doesn’t have to hug or
kiss anyone if he doesn’t want
to, especially strangers. Then
stay close to support him. “Josh
prefers not to hug,” delivered in
a pleasant, unapologetic tone of
voice is perfectly acceptable.
If you fear that this stance
will offend affectionate Aunt
Edith, let that be her problem,
not your child’s. Remember that
today’s children are growing up
in an age where they are taught
to resist unwanted touch from
strangers. Your child is too young
to interpret the mixed message
that some unwanted touches from
strangers are OK and some are
not. Besides, there are too many
of us out there whose overriding
memories of childhood special
events include being smothered
by well-meaning, colognemarinated relatives, male and
female. Aunt Edith doesn’t really
want to be remembered in that
manner anyway, so declining
that hug is a kindness to her as
well as to your child.
Give appropriate 15-, 10and 5-minute warnings,
then leave while he’s still having
fun and the memories will be
good. In other words, before the
Have him tell the host
“thank you for inviting
me” before leaving.
It helps him put a nice closure
on the event.
And finally, a word to the
wise: Never forget that
many children will call
it just the way they see
it – or the way they hear
it from you. Refrain from
wondering aloud in the car on
the way to the party if Uncle Joe
will over-imbibe as usual, unless
you want to hear little Hannah
check in later with “I want to sit
with Uncle Joe so I can see if he
really does drink like a fish!” JK
Ellen Notbohm is author of four award-winning
books on autism, including 1001 Great Ideas
for Teaching and Raising Children with Autism or
Asperger’s (with co-author Veronica Zysk), from
which this article is adapted.
Using Social Stories
to Prepare Children
by Melanie Wagner
Victor is now
participating in class,
and hugging dad.
His ability to regulate his internal
processes was very poor! He just couldn’t
trust the world around him because he
didn’t trust his own body responses.
Children’s Therapy Works initially
provided a one-month intensive therapy
program, continued with additional
therapy and finished with another
intensive therapy program. Victor is now
participating in class, showing empathy,
hugging dad, and spoke on the phone to
his grandparents for the first time ever. He
converses and plays with other children
and the behaviors are gone. According to
mom, CTW “has worked miracles”! She
never dreamed seven months ago that this
transformation was possible.
Call For Your
Free Consultation Today!
• Autism • ADHD • Learning Difficulties
• Speech Delay • Cerebral Palsy
• TBI • Down Syndrome
the Gray Center’s
Books about Social
Stories are available
on the site.
ictor was 5 when he came to
Children’s Therapy Works in October
of 2009. Some of his major issues were that
he could not participate in school because
of his behaviors. He “acted out” and did
not participate in the classroom. He was in
a Montessori environment with the hope
that this type of structure would give him
a sense of freedom to control his behavior
and his learning. He was not socializing
with his peers and his behaviors were not
At that time the family was
working with a social worker to address
the behaviors. Children’s Therapy
Works evaluated Victor in all areas of
development – occupational, speech and
It turned out that Victor had significant
sensory processing difficulties – he was
defensive to touch and sound, struggled
knowing where his body was in space and
did not interpret instructions adequately.
n For more
A Success Story
any parents who have children with
autism and other related disorders
rely on an intervention known as
Social Stories to help prepare their children
for challenging or confusing social situations.
The method was defined in 1991 by Carol
Gray, director of The Gray Center for Social
Learning and Understanding in Grand
Rapids, Michigan. Gray formerly taught
children with autism spectrum disorders.
Social Stories can help teach children
appropriate social skills and prepare them
for new experiences. They provide accurate
information about confusing experiences and
serve as a model to help children process
information and form reactions, to avoid any
unpleasant behavior or surprises on the day
of a big event.
Dr. Catherine Trapani, director of the
Early Intervention program at the Marcus
Autism Center, has used Social Stories with
several children in the program. She has used
the method with children preparing to fly on
a plane and stay in a hotel for the first time,
and for children whose parents are having
“Social Stories help build a framework
for kids and let them see themselves in
these situations,” Trapani says. “They set
boundaries so kids know what to expect and
what is appropriate.”
Social Stories are written using the child’s
name and specific details for his upcoming
event – for example, a child preparing to fly
on a plane would read a story that showed
his family leaving the house together, going
through security at the airport, and boarding
the plane. The stories also include pictures
of the child and of each situation he will
Trapani advises parents to speak with
their child’s teacher or therapist before using
the method. This is to ensure the appropriate
elements are included and to get the best
results. “Though there has been little research
done on Social Stories, there is a definite
need for them,” Trapani says. “The method
has been successful in enabling kids to go
places and do things they wouldn’t have
been able to before.” JK
Humana Preferred Provider
Georgia Medicaid & Peach State Provider
Your child’s obstacles
don’t have to be roadblocks.
Meet Some Special Kids
by Melanie Wagner
Age 5, Griffin
ydia Engel makes her presence known when
she enters a room. The sprightly, spunky little
blonde has a thing for shoes, and today
she’s sporting a pair of bedazzled, glittery
pink sneakers. Lydia, who was diagnosed with
cerebral palsy two years ago, uses a shiny
gold walker (decked out with “Girl Power”
stickers) for half the day. She much prefers the
mobility of the walker to using her wheelchair,
and she will run over your toes if you’re not
Judy and Terry Engel adopted Lydia when
she was 8 months old, but Judy has known
the little girl since the day she was born. “I
was her nurse in the neonatal unit,” Engel
says. “She was born at 26 weeks, weighing
only one pound, 12 ounces.” At the time of
the adoption, Lydia could only move one arm
and roll her head to one side. But it didn’t take
long for the little firecracker to start catching
up – by the time she was 3 she was using the
walker. Lydia is finishing up Pre-K at Crescent
Elementary in Griffin, where she was named
“Cougar of the Month” and “Character of the
Month” for being an inspiration to other students.
“The other kids at school are so sweet to her,”
Engel says. “She makes friends very easily.
They take turns pushing her when she uses her
Lydia receives physical, occupational and
speech therapy twice a week at the Spalding
Regional Rehabilitation Center. She also has
physical and speech therapy at school once a
week. On a recent visit to the physical therapist,
a young patient in his 20s stopped Engel to
tell her, “Every time I feel like complaining
about how much [physical therapy] hurts, I look
at you and think, if you can do this without
complaining, then so can I!” Lydia is learning
to walk using assistive walking sticks.
In her downtime, Lydia loves watching what
she calls SpongeBob “Underpants,” doing
puzzles and playing soccer with her siblings.
When she asks for permission to do
something from her parents, she tends to
answer herself with “Well, I guess so” before
anyone has the chance to respond. “Lydia is
a very hard-headed, stubborn child,” says
her father, Terry. “But that’s what kept her
alive. She’s a little fighter, and definitely
a miracle child.”
Age 4, Alpharetta
hen Colin McCullough bats his
long-lashed brown eyes, ladies
young and old swoon and beg for
the little heartbreaker to blow a kiss their way.
“Colin’s teacher has voted him as the ‘most
likely to be a ladies’ man when he grows up,’”
laughs his mother, Sharon McCullough. Colin
doesn’t shy from the attention. He delights in the
frequent “oohs” and “aahs” from his perch on
Colin was born with a developmental
delay and later developed absence epilepsy.
By 15 months he had learned five words, but
he lost them over the next three months. Colin
is nonverbal now but uses approximations for
several words, including cat, bike, ball, tired
and more. His therapists are unsure whether he
has verbal apraxia, a developmental delay of
speech. As a baby, he was also late to coo,
crawl, walk and talk. Today he can walk, though
hyperextension of his knees and a wide gait
make getting around difficult without the help of
10 justkids magazine
foot braces that provide stability.
This summer, Colin will begin an individualized,
one-on-one program at Jacob’s Ladder, a neurodevelopmental school. “At Jacob’s Ladder, they will
start Colin with the very foundations of learning
and build from there,” McCullough says. In the fall,
Colin will split his time between the special needs
Pre-K program at Cogburn Woods Elementary and
Thankfully, Colin’s seizures (known as petit mal
seizures) are now mostly controlled by medication.
“Colin’s teacher at Babies Can’t Wait shared my
concern that something else was going on with
Colin and was the first one to notice that he was
having seizures when he was 2,” McCullough
says. “They would only last about 2-3 seconds,
and his eyes would roll to the side.”
Though hypotonia (low muscle tone) and his
knee issue prevent Colin from playing many sports,
he enjoys riding his tricycle, which was fashioned
so the pedals move with his legs when someone
pushes the handle. Last summer, he taught himself
to hold his breath underwater and now loves the
pool. Colin lives with his mother, father Darrin and
6-year-old sister in Alpharetta
This year’s Cover Kids winner and finalists include an Olympic athlete, a ladies’ man, a shoe
fanatic and a dog lover. After sifting through tons of submissions, we chose four special kids
from around Atlanta. Meet our winner, Lydia Engel, and three equally inspirational kids.
Age 8, Powder Springs
anyika Butler says from the minute her daughter
Kendall was born, the energetic little girl gave
her a run for her money. Today Kendall is clad
in a fuchsia T-shirt under an electric-yellow dress,
her hair split into curly pigtails with as much bubbly
bounce as the girl they are attached to. With a
smile that seems to stretch from one pigtail to the
other, her joyful mood is infectious.
When she was 18 months old, Kendall was first
diagnosed with the pervasive disorder PDD-NOS,
which has some characteristics of autism. After about
two months of tests, evaluations and head scratching
by her doctors, an autism diagnosis was confirmed.
“Even though it took what felt like forever to diagnose
Kendall, we’re lucky that we figured it out when she
was so young, so we could start therapy early,” Butler
says. Kendall immediately began an intense therapy
schedule – including physical, occupational and
speech therapies – six days a week.
“The thing we were most apprehensive about
was teaching Kendall sign language, because at
2 she was nonverbal,” Butler says. “We were really
hoping that she would start speaking.”
Thankfully, waiting worked. Two years later
Kendall spoke her first word – “cup.” She continues
to increase her vocabulary and is now able to hold
conversations with her teachers at school.
Kendall, who lives with her mother, father Richard
and older brother Julian, will enter third grade at Kemp
Elementary School in Cobb County next year. “Our goal
is to get her out of the small group setting by the time she
leaves elementary school,” Butler says.
Kendall follows a gluten- and casein-free diet to
improve her focus and clear her mind. “Some autistic
children have trouble breaking down the proteins in
gluten and casein,” Butler says. “Instead, their bodies
treat them like opium drugs. When Kendall eats
something with gluten or casein, she has difficulty
sleeping and focusing.” Butler says she has seen a
definite improvement in her daughter’s behavior on
In May, Kendall competed in the spring Special
Olympic Games at Emory University, where she
won a silver medal in the 50-yard dash. At the
2009 fall games, the athletic 8-year-old won a
gold medal in bowling and also was chosen to
be a torch runner.
Cont’d on page 12
Tender Ones Therapy Services
Pediatric Physical Therapy
Speech Therapy Intensive Therapy
Stay up to speed
on the latest
P: 770-904-6009 F: 770-904-2357
2089 Teron Trace, Ste. 120 Dacula, GA 30019
12 justkids magazine
COMPLETE EVENT LISTINGS
Age 13, Acworth
emetri Landell has fallen in love with a
blonde named Hedwig. For Hedwig,
a canine assistant golden retriever, the
feeling is mutual. The two have known each
other for only a few months but already have
formed a close bond. The sound of his voice
immediately calms her down.
When Demetri was 4 years old, his
doctors diagnosed him with sleep apnea.
But frequent and chronic illnesses sent him
back to the doctor for further testing, and at
age 6 high-functioning autism and seizure
disorder were added to his list of ailments.
Since the Landell family adopted Hedwig
in September, however, Demetri has not
experienced a grand mal seizure. Specially
trained canine assistants can be therapeutic
for people with autism and seizure disorder.
Demetri has also been diagnosed
with ADHD, intermittent explosive disorder,
ulcerative colitis, dyslexia, sensory integration
disorder, insomnia, obsessive-compulsive
disorder and schizoaffective disorder.
But beyond the list of diagnoses,
Demetri, like other 13-year-old boys, loves
baseball. He likes to boast of his ability to
hit a home run. He plays Miracle League
baseball in the spring and fall. “He’s very
artistic and creative,” his mother, Serena
Albright, adds. “He’s the kind of kid who
can make a sailboat out of a pile of sticks
and never has to read the directions before
Last year, Demetri began experiencing
severe migraines that left him bedridden for
days. A neurologist discovered that he had
developed fluid on the brain, a condition
called Papilledema, and he was admitted to
the hospital for a spinal tap. The recovery has
taken nearly a year and forced Demetri to
become home-schooled for several months. In
February, Demetri returned to seventh grade
full time at Woodstock Middle School.
“Demetri is such a trooper,” Albright says.
“He doesn’t like special attention. What he
wants more than anything is to be treated
like one of the guys.” JK
Top 20 Reasons
Moms of Kids with
Special Needs ROCK
Because we never thought that “doing it all” would mean
doing this much. But we do do it all – and then some.
Because we’ve discovered patience we never knew
Because we are willing to do something 10 times,
100 times or 1,000 times if that’s what it takes for our
kids to learn something new.
Because we have heard doctors tell us the worst, and
we’ve refused to believe them. Take that, naysaying
doctors of the world!
Because we have bad days and breakdowns and
bawl-fests, and then we pick ourselves up and keep
right on going.
Because we gracefully handle the stares, the comments,
the rude remarks. (Well, mostly gracefully.)
Because we manage to get ourselves together and get out
the door looking pretty damn good. Heck, we even make
sweatpants look good!
Because we are strong. Man, are we strong. Who knew
we could be this strong?
Because we aren’t just moms, wives, cooks, cleaners,
chauffeurs and women who work. We are moms, wives,
cooks, cleaners, chauffeurs, women who work, physical
therapists, speech therapists, occupational therapists,
teachers, researchers, nurses, coaches and cheerleaders.
Because we work overtime every single day.
Because we also worry overtime, but we work it through.
Or we eat chocolate or gourmet cheese (which aren’t
reimbursable by insurance as mental-health necessities, but
Because we are more selfless than other moms. Our kids
need us more.
Because we give our kids with special needs endless love,
and then we still have so much love left for our other kids,
our husbands, our families. And our hairstylists, of course.
Because we inspire one another in this crazy
blogosphere every single day.
Because we understand our kids better than
anyone else – even if they can’t talk; even if
they can’t gesture; even if they can’t look us in
the eye. We know. We just know.
Because we never stop pushing for our kids.
Because we never stop hoping for them either.
Because just when it seems like things are going
OK, they’re suddenly not OK, but we deal.
Somehow, we always deal – even when it
seems like our heads or hearts might explode.
Because when we look at our kids, we just
see great kids – not kids with cerebral palsy/
Because ... well, you tell me. JK
– Courtesy: Love That Max blog from www.momlogic.com
Keeping kids safe from foods they are allergic
to can be a lifelong battle, but one they can win
when armed with knowledge and vigilance.
by Melanie Wagner
14 justkids magazine
Owen Moncino was 8 years old
when he said goodbye to pine nuts.
The family was enjoying dinner at a
neighborhood restaurant and Owen had
been given permission to order shrimp
off the “grown-up” menu. Owen’s mother,
Dr. Kathleen Sheerin, an allergist with
the Atlanta Allergy and Asthma Clinic, is
allergic to shrimp, so her son gave her a
goodnight kiss before sampling his dinner.
But when Owen vomited on the car ride
home, Sheerin mistakenly assumed he had
inherited her allergy.
After Sheerin analyzed all of the
ingredients in the meal’s pesto sauce,
it turned out that pine nuts had caused
Owen’s reaction. “Allergies are not always
what they seem. He could have avoided
shrimp for the rest of his life if we hadn’t
tested him,” she says.
A food allergy is the immune system’s
response to food proteins that the body
identifies as harmful. The physical reactions
that accompany an allergy – hives, eczema,
vomiting, diarrhea, breathing problems, even
anaphylaxis (which can cause respiratory
failure due to a drastic drop in blood
pressure) – are caused by the release of the
chemical histamine. Food particles need only
to enter the body once before the immune
system’s antibodies learn to recognize them.
Though allergists don’t know exactly what
causes a person to develop an allergy, they
know it runs in families. If both mom and dad
have an allergy, their children have a 40-60
percent chance of developing some type of
allergic disease, though not necessarily the
same as either parent.
The eight most common allergenic foods
are milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts (walnuts,
almonds, etc.), fish, shellfish, wheat and soy.
The most common allergens in children are
milk and eggs; in adults, peanuts, nuts and
seafood. Luckily, 85 percent of kids outgrow
their milk or egg allergy by age 16, with
8 being the average age, Sheerin says.
Only about 25 percent of kids outgrow their
Ezra Mahle, a 6-year-old from
Dunwoody, is allergic to peanuts, nuts,
soy and garlic. He already has outgrown
allergies to wheat, milk, eggs and fish.
“Ezra had breathing problems while nursing
as a baby, which was the first clue that
something was wrong,” says his mother,
Ezra’s pediatrician put him on a
hypoallergenic formula, but it wasn’t until he
broke out in hives from just touching a spoon
with peanut butter that they sought out an
allergist. Ezra has come into direct contact
with peanuts only that one time, but just
sitting on an airplane with people eating
peanuts makes him itch or even break out
A common misconception is that
any physical reaction caused by food is
an allergy. Sometimes celiac disease or
intolerances to lactose or MSG can be the
culprits. Lactose intolerance occurs when the
lactose enzyme is missing in the digestive
tract, which causes bloating and abdominal
discomfort whenever dairy is consumed.
Celiac disease, as opposed to a wheat
allergy, occurs when wheat gluten damages
the intestinal mucosa and causes the body to
What happens during
an allergy test?
During a skin test, the allergist will insert small
amounts of food particles into the skin and observe
the reaction – a mosquito bite-like hive indicates an
The RAST (radioallergosorbent test) will produce
a “score” ranging from zero to 100 (though some
scores do reach above 100), with higher numbers
predicting the presence of a true food allergy.
n FYI: Interpreting the RAST is not easy. Different
foods produce different scores to determine the
likelihood of a reaction. An egg-allergic person will
have a score close to six or higher, which means they
have a 95 percent chance of having a reaction to
egg. For soy, the score will be close to 24, 14 for
peanut, and 15 for milk. Keep in mind children can
have reactions with lower scores.
To determine if the problem is a food
allergy, an allergist will typically perform
two tests – a RAST (or blood test) and a skin
prick/scratch test. Unlike allergies to dust
mites, pet dander and pollen, which can be
treated with allergy shots and medication,
the only treatment for food allergies is to
avoid trigger foods.
That has become easier thanks to the
abundance of allergy-friendly foods now
available at many grocery stores and health
food stores. And many local restaurants offer
choices to people with dietary restrictions
as well. Pizza Fusion, Sugo and South City
Kitchen, as well as chains such as Outback
Steakhouse, Chili’s, Doc Chey’s Noodle
House and Maggiano’s offer allergen-free
and gluten-free dishes. Once Ezra Mahle
outgrew his wheat, milk and egg allergies,
restaurant meals became an easier option
for his family. Now Sumner can sidestep her
son’s challenging garlic allergy by bringing
a jar of garlic-free pizza sauce to Mellow
Mushroom, which the restaurant gladly uses
so Ezra can enjoy pizza like the rest of his
“Ezra’s allergies affect our whole
family’s lives,” Sumner says. “I’m lucky he
doesn’t have a serious illness, but I worry it
will get harder as he gets older and goes
to parties where eating is supposed to be
social and fun. There is a constant vigilance
about knowing what to look for and what
is safe to eat when you have a child with a
Children should be re-tested every 6-12
months to see if they have outgrown an
allergy. Allergists also may perform food
challenges – giving patients a normal
portion of a trigger food under the doctor’s
supervision to see if they can tolerate it.
“Sometimes we find that milk- and eggallergic patients can eventually eat baked
goods containing those foods,” says Dr.
Luqman Seidu of the Georgia Allergy,
Immunology Asthma Center. “It’s a huge relief
to think that kids can go to birthday parties
without worry and supervision.”
But since 6-year-old Brandon
Boettinger still has to leave a party before
cake and ice cream – he is allergic to milk,
eggs and peanuts – his mother Jennifer treats
him to a Starbuck’s hot chocolate and “Dr.
Lucy” cookie (free of gluten, milk, eggs,
peanuts and tree nuts). When Brandon
was a baby, his dry skin and inability to
transition from nursing to bottle-feeding led
his pediatrician to recommend avoiding
milk and other dairy products. But it took
a severe allergic reaction to soy cheese to
correctly diagnose Brandon with his allergies
(he also tested positive for fish, tree nuts,
mustard and strawberry allergies, all of which
he eventually outgrew). The soy cheese
contained the milk protein casein, which
Boettinger and her husband did not know to
Children with food allergies are covered
under Section 504 of the Americans with
Disabilities Act. Brandon’s mother struggled
to get his preschool teacher to understand the
importance of keeping unsafe foods out of
the classroom and supervising what Brandon
touched. “You think it is pretty manageable to
avoid milk, egg and peanuts until you realize
that something as small as a cracker or a
packet of taco seasoning can have milk in
it. It is very overwhelming!” she says.
Cont’d on page 16
Living With Food Allergies
Now that Brandon is in kindergarten at
Hillside Elementary in Fulton County, he has
a 504 plan that the school recommended.
The school put Brandon in a class with other
children with food allergies. According
to the plan, all of Brandon’s classmates
must wash their hands or clean them
with a soapy wipe when they enter the
classroom – antibacterial hand sanitizer
does not rid hands of food proteins. Before
lunch, a teacher wipes down his seat in
the cafeteria, and Brandon does not drink
from the water fountain (there is no way to
monitor how many peanut buttery hands
have touched the handle). To limit exposure
to allergens, Brandon does not ride the
bus. Just in case he does come into contact
with a trigger food, his teacher and the
school nurse also have an auto-injectable
epinephrine (EPIPEN) handy, which is used
to avoid anaphylaxis. A medical bag with
an extra EPIPEN and Benadryl travels with
Brandon from teacher to teacher throughout
the school day.
“The school has been so great about
adapting so that Brandon is safe and can
be a normal student,” Boettinger says. “His
teacher works with me behind the scenes
to make sure that he can participate in all
food-related activities – for example, on
a recent project that involved food, she
suggested switching from using M&M’s and
goldfish to Skittles and Teddy Grahams.”
A dietician or nutritionist can help
families adjust to the new and sometimes
overwhelming allergen-free lifestyle.
Dieticians can help provide families with
alternative, nutritional options to make sure
kids get the recommended daily amount of
each food group.
“Visiting a dietician is especially
important when children younger than 2 are
diagnosed with allergies,” says Bailey Koch,
a board-certified pediatric dietician and
food allergy specialist with Atlanta Pediatric
Nutrition. “Children this young need a diet
that consists of 40-50 percent fat, and
typically this comes from cow’s milk. So
if parents of milk-allergic children begin
using a fat-free substitute like rice milk, it
will deprive kids of those much-needed
nutrients.” Koch recommends enriched hemp
milk (available at most health food stores)
for milk-allergic children.
Is it smart to keep common
allergens like peanuts out of a
child’s diet, or to avoid them while
breastfeeding to lower the child’s odds
of developing an allergy? Allergists
say no. Don’t limit your diet during
pregnancy and lactation, and don’t
wait until children are older to introduce
allergenic foods. However, if there is a
family history of a food allergy, discuss
a plan for adding foods with your
pediatrician and allergist.
n FYI: In a study that compared
peanut tolerance in Israeli children
and British children, the Israeli children
in the study began eating peanuts
around 10 months, while the British
children were much older. The number
of peanut allergies in the Israeli children
was much lower.
Dieticians also teach parents how
to read food labels and identify the key
words that signify the presence of food
proteins – for example, milk-allergic people
learn to avoid casein, whey, ghee and
many other ingredients.
to you by
h May 2010
Their Stories Share
A Golden Moment
Just Kids Magazine was awarded
a Gold Excellence award
by The Magazine Association of
The judges commented that Just
Kids addresses parents of special
needs children with a joy and
optimism that still doesn’t overlook
the realities they face. The issue
combines critical advice with
profiles that treat the children
like the stars they are!
To advertise, call 770-454-7599
16 justkids magazine
Deciphering food labels became
easier in 2006, when the U.S. Food and
Drug Administration began requiring all
domestic and imported foods (excluding
meat, poultry and some egg products)
to list all ingredients on the package.
The label will also list the source of
ingredients (what all those tongue-twisting
words really mean) if they are derived
from the eight most common allergens.
When Boettinger’s daughter Clara,
now 3, was born, doctors recommended
Boettigner avoid nuts, peanuts and
shellfish while nursing because of
Brandon’s allergy history. However, they
recommended she keep drinking milk
and eating eggs to maintain a nutritious
diet for her and her daughter. Ironically,
Clara developed allergies to milk and
Boettinger now attends a support
group for parents whose children have
food allergies. “You have to find your
own comfort level as an allergy parent,”
she says. “I’ve been chastised within my
parent support group for feeding my kids
popcorn, which they worry could contain
butter, by the same parents who call the
manufacturer for every new food they
give their kids.” Boettinger hopes that
Burger King’s plain burger and fries will
be on the horizon for Brandon soon. JK
Educating Students with
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A Different Approach
Makes All the Difference
The Boettinger family
A dietician or nutritionist
can help families
adjust to the new and
Resources for Parents
Books: These books will answer your
questions and amp up your weekly menu
n Food Allergies for Dummies
by Robert A. Wood, M.D.,
with Joe Kraynak
n Wheat-Free, Gluten-Free
Cookbook for Kids and Busy
Adults by Connie Sarros
n The Allergen-Free Baker’s
Handbook: How to Bake
Without Gluten, Wheat, Dairy,
Eggs, Soy, Peanuts, Tree Nuts
and Sesame by Cybele Pascal
n Sophie-Safe Cooking: A
Collection of Family Friendly
Recipes that are Free of Milk,
Eggs, Wheat, Soy, Peanuts,
Tree Nuts, Fish and Shellfish by
For up-to-date research and information, try…
n Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network:
Information about food allergies, support
groups, current research and managing allergies in
school and camp settings.
For recipe and shopping help,
For kids with more than one
food allergy, try the brand Enjoy
Life Foods (enjoylifefoods.com). All
products are free of the eight most
common allergens and are made
in a factory where none of those
foods are present. The brand offers
cereals, cookies, granolas, bagels,
trail mixes, snack bars and sweets.
FYI: Parents who think
they’ve discovered an
undeclared allergen can
send the suspect food in its
original packaging (and in a
Ziploc bag) to the University of
Nebraska’s Food Allergy Research
and Resource Program (farrp.
org) for free testing. Parents must
also notify the FDA and the food
manufacturer, and the FDA will
help track information on negligent
manufacturers and provide
validation of contamination.
For Children With Learning Disabilities
The Bedford School is a nine-month day
school for students in grades one through
nine. Students receive proper academic
remediation in a small class setting, as well
as specific help with physical skills, peer
interaction and self-esteem.
770-774-8001 • 770-774-8005 (fax)
5665 Milam Rd.
Fairburn, Georgia 30213
The Bedford School maintains a non-discriminatory
policy concerning admissions, scholarships, use of
facilities and employment on the basis of race, color,
national origin, sex or creed.
RS Goldring Inc.
Pediatric Speech Therapy
Services for children of all
ages and abilities.
We accept most insurance and Medicaid.
Centers of Help and
by Melanie Wagner
Raising a child is
hard work. And
the care their
kids need, the
journey can be
right in our own
backyard – The
Autism Center –
that work hard
to make the job
18 justkids magazine
The Shepherd Center: Specializes in treatment and
rehabilitation for people with spinal cord and brain injuries
n 1973, during a round-the-world backpacking
trip to celebrate his graduation from the
University of Georgia, native Atlantan James
Shepherd crashed headfirst into the ocean floor
while bodysurfing in Rio de Janeiro. He sustained
a spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed from the
After five months in a Brazilian hospital and six
more months in a Colorado rehab center, Shepherd
learned to walk with a cane and leg brace.
When he returned to Atlanta, however, he was
disappointed with the lack of care for patients with
spinal cord injuries. With support from his parents,
he founded a six-bed unit in a Northwest Atlanta
hospital. “I wanted to provide Atlanta with what we
had to leave to find,” Shepherd says.
In 1982, the modest-sized Shepherd Center
moved to its current home on Peachtree Street in
Buckhead. Today, after several expansions, the
main campus has 132 beds and serves more than
15,000 people annually through inpatient, outpatient
and day programs. U.S. News & World Report ranks
Shepherd among the nation’s top 10 rehab hospitals.
Luckily, Matt Sanchez didn’t have to travel far to
receive the top-notch care that saved his life.
Sanchez just looks like an athlete. The 21-yearold University of Georgia student is tall and lean
with close-cropped hair. Ask him and he’ll (modestly)
tell you about the eight triathlons, one marathon and
4,300-mile bike ride he’s completed in the past
He’s collected his share of injuries over the years –
he stopped counting the number of bones he’s
broken after hitting 15. But there’s no avoiding the
6-inch zipper-like scar that runs down the back of
When Sanchez played football for Our Lady
of Mercy High School in Fairburn, he broke his
neck – his fifth cervical vertebrae to be exact –
after colliding head first with the opposing team’s
running back. “When we hit, my legs flew out
from under me,” Sanchez says. “I felt an intense
pain, and then nothing. When I tried to jump back
up, nothing moved.”
The other team’s physician held Sanchez’s head
in traction to keep his spine straight for nearly an
hour until a rescue helicopter arrived. “The scariest
part about that night was when the school priest
came onto the field and performed the last rites,”
Doctors at Atlanta Medical Center told Sanchez
he would be lucky to make it through the night. And
if he did, he likely would never walk or use his arms
again. Given the severity of the injury, the doctor
assigned to Sanchez said the surgery needed was
beyond his ability and advised moving him to the
While waiting for the swelling around the
shattered vertebrae go to down, Sanchez lay
motionless for two days, with screws in his head
providing traction and keeping his respiratory
system functioning. The surgery took about eight
hours. One plate, a wire, four screws and a
piece of bone from a cadaver’s leg held his neck
together. Again, doctors warned Sanchez that
he would likely not regain movement below his
neck. Less than one percent of patients with a
break like his fully recover.
Shepherd’s adolescent and young adult
rehab program serves patients ages 12 to
21. “We have a different kind of attitude with
adolescent patients,” says physical therapist Cathi
Dugger. “We take kids who are on ventilators,
kids who can’t walk and we show them they can
still do whatever they want to do. So you’re sitting
down now. Big deal. We’ll get you through it.”
But almost immediately, Sanchez was able
to move his right hand. One week later, he
was ready to start therapy. Sanchez’s physical
therapist sent him to the gift shop and on other
daily “errands” to get him accustomed to life in
a wheelchair. But he was soon out of the chair,
re-learning to walk using parallel bars for support.
Five weeks after the accident, Sanchez
walked out of the Shepherd Center on his
own. “Being at Shepherd was one of the most
positive experiences of my life,” Sanchez says.
“Despite the conditions that the doctors and
therapists work with, they maintain a positive
attitude about everything. They don’t let you feel
sorry for yourself.”
In 2009, Sanchez and three friends biked
4,300 miles across the country and raised
nearly $20,000 for Shepherd’s SHARE Initiative
to benefit Iraq and Afghanistan war casualties.
“I am just so lucky. Sometimes I think it is just not
fair how lucky I got,” Sanchez says. “I wanted
to give back to Shepherd because if I had been
treated anywhere else, I may not have been
walking now. The ride was a testimony to what
Shepherd can do.”
Marcus Autism Center Executive Director, Don Mueller, and Home Depot founder Bernie Marcus.
Marcus Autism Center: Provides comprehensive
support services for children and adolescents with autism
and other developmental disabilities
hen 5-year-old Jackson
Hurley successfully completes
a lesson in his language
and learning classroom at the Marcus
Autism Center, he is rewarded with a
wagon ride around the room. Jackson’s
teacher will count to two, but she won’t
move the wagon until Jackson says,
“Three!” Jackson doesn’t say a lot of
words – but hearing the cheerful little
blond boy speak is a great success to
everyone who has worked with him.
Jackson was diagnosed with autism
at 2. The family’s pediatrician suggested
taking him to Marcus for an evaluation
and to get him on the list for the
appropriate program. Jackson waited
about 10 months before a spot opened
up in the Language and Learning
Clinic, which specializes in one-on-one
When Jackson first arrived, his
communication with parents J-Jaye and
Ryan was limited to signing “more” and
“all done.” Now, a little more than a
year later, Jackson can communicate
20 words and is quickly becoming
proficient at signing. “The teachers and
therapists at Marcus don’t let kids get
stuck,” says Jackson’s mother. “They will
try 100 different ways of teaching the
same thing until a kid gets it.”
In 1991, Atlanta philanthropists
Bernie and Billi Marcus founded what
is now the Marcus Autism Center after a
co-worker had to quit her job to take care
of her special needs child, Bernie Marcus,
founder of Home Depot, couldn’t believe
that a city like Atlanta was so lacking in
For the first 12 years, the nonprofit
center operated at Emory University out
of trailers behind the pediatrics building,
then moved to its current location on
Briarcliff Road. Two years ago, the center
partnered with Children’s Healthcare
of Atlanta and changed its name from
Marcus Institute to the Marcus Autism
Center to better identify its mission.
Children as young as 6 months come
for a diagnosis and treatment. Over the
past two decades, the center has served
more than 30,000 children whose
conditions include autism, mental illness,
cerebral palsy, learning disabilities,
Cont’d on page 20
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• Developmental delays
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or at our clinic location
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458 Ponce de Leon Ave., Atlanta, 30308
470 S. Hill St., Buford
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20 justkids magazine
feeding disorders and disruptive behavior
problems. About 70 percent of the 4,000
children served annually are on the autism
spectrum. The goal is to help them attend their
Marcus also operates nine outreach clinics
across the state. Families whose children
need psychiatric services can hold video
conferences with the center’s doctors. A
school consultation program began recently
to help educate and train special education
teachers in Georgia public schools. About
25,000 children statewide have autism —
most of them will be educated in the public
“There is no typical path for a child who
comes to Marcus to follow,” says John Floyd,
the center’s director of development. “The
underlying goal of most of our programs is to
teach these children how to communicate with
the outside world.”
Hurley says one of the clinic’s most
amazing accomplishments has been potty
training Jackson by using special flashcards.
Jackson can now use the cards at restaurants
and the doctor’s office.
Jackson is also enrolled in Marcus’
outpatient feeding program, which helps
children with both autism-related and other
feeding disorders learn to eat a balanced
diet. Jackson will now try peaches, pears and
chicken nuggets (he avoided protein before).
He currently is waiting for a spot in Marcus’
full-day Early Intervention program and will
attend a special needs kindergarten at Baker
Elementary School in Acworth this fall.
“Marcus has been a life-changing
experience for our family,” Hurley says.
“I know everyone there is working hard for
Jackson to succeed.”
Plus: A Lawyer Who Fights for Children
Attorney Don Keenan:
Specializes in personal injury
and wrongful death cases
All About Kids
Therapy Services, Inc.
Success in those cases prompted Keenan to
create a law center that represents abused and
neglected children, mostly pro bono.
In 1993, Keenan founded the Keenan’s
Kids Foundation that heads up nine annual
safety projects, including ranking the safest (and
most dangerous) toys. “We decided from day
one to be a very niche foundation and to try to
do something no one else was doing,” Keenan
Earlier this year, foundation volunteers
graded the safety of 28 DeKalb County
playgrounds (all of which failed inspection
in at least one area). Asked if Atlanta has
any completely safe playgrounds, Keenan
laughs. “Well, Greenville, South Carolina,
has a bunch,” he says. “You’re more likely to
find a safe playground [in Atlanta] at Burger
King, Chick-fil-A or a national childcare chain.
When the government [county parks and
recreation departments] gets involved, you lose
the accountability. You can’t rely on them for
upkeep and safety issues.”
Keenan is also the author of 365 Ways to
Keep Kids Safe, which uses real-life examples
from cases he has fought to detail ways that
kids can get hurt.
For six years after Elisabeth’s attack, the
Leakes logged countless hours with Keenan
and his legal team. The family also was in the
throes of the criminal case against Elisabeth’s
assailant. Keenan and his team were with them
every step of that process.
The Leakes lost the lawsuit against the
school system. “I don’t regret for a second any
step we took throughout the whole process,”
Sandy Leake says. “The worst thing we could
have done would be to fade away into the
night. We brought this issue of safety in our
schools to the public’s attention, so that if
anything like this happens again, the legal
result will be different.” JK
on Keenan, Atlanta’s most well-known
child advocate, should wear boxing
gloves with his tailored suits. Always
up for a good fight, Keenan has squared off
against school systems, the state’s foster care
system, drunken drivers and county parks
departments during his 30 years of practice.
His cases primarily deal with child injury
and wrongful death resulting from medical
negligence or unsafe products or places,
including one local elementary school.
Elisabeth Leake entered 2002 a bright,
energetic and gifted fifth-grader. But that
February she became the victim of a brutal
attack at her school, Gwinnett County’s
Mountain Park Elementary. Elisabeth was third
in a single file line behind her teacher when a
man walked through the school’s front doors,
pulled a claw hammer out of his pants and
clubbed Elisabeth in the back of the head. The
man, who was mentally ill, left the hammer in
Elisabeth’s head and fled.
A group of paramedics only minutes away
called for a helicopter and Elisabeth was in
Egleston Hospital’s trauma room less than
an hour later. Remarkably, she survived and
healed better than her doctors could have
imagined despite the gravity of her brain
injuries. Elisabeth graduated from high school
After the attack, Alan and Sandy Leake
focused on their daughter’s recovery. “We were
County would do
the right thing and
system-wide to the
safety and security
in its elementary
Park improved its
security, but other
schools did not
follow suit. So the Leakes went to Don Keenan.
“Don Keenan is…the ultimate child
advocate,” Leake says. “Everything he does
starts with a child getting hurt. Where most of
us sit back and wait for someone else to do
something, Don Keenan stands up. I think it’s
incredibly rare to find someone like that.”
Two of Keenan’s most famous cases
centered on children abused in Georgia’s foster
care system — one was a 5-year-old beaten
into a coma, the other a 5-year-old starved
and beaten to death. The cases helped ratchet
up the safeguards of children in foster care.
• Providing PT and OT services
in natural environment, in
Metro-Atlanta area and our
• Use of TheraSuit™
• Universal Exercise Unit
• Intense Strengthening
• 3, 4 and 12 Week Programs
Serving Children for Over 12 Years
Intensive Therapy Center of Georgia, Inc.
in the right
A Special Place for Children with Learning Differences
■ Serving students PreK – 8th grade
■ Use of Multi Sensory techniques
■ Integration of established
• Wilson - Orton-Gillingham –
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■ Group Speech
■ Occupational Therapy for
• Sensory Processing
• Motor and Visual Skills
■ Music Therapy and Art
■ Physical Education each day
■ Comprehensive Evaluations
■ Integrated Listening Systems
■ Before and After School Programs
Living With Cerebral
by Ann Hardie
he thing that Parr Burton likes most about herself
is her ability to make others laugh. “I’m funny,”
the 9-year-old from Sandy Springs communicates
by manipulating the screen on her talking computer.
(She once got busted in kindergarten for telling
knock-knock jokes during story time.)
When Parr isn’t cracking others up, she is reading
the Magic Tree House series, going to Lake Rabun
with her parents and black lab Roz, and watching
movies – Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland is the
obsession of the moment. Last year she took home
the “Best First Year Camper” award at the Easter
Seals summer camp in Alabama and Parr jumps at
the chance to ride a horse, float in an inner tube
and cruise down a zip line.
Asked if there is one thing that she
wants to do but can’t, Parr answers, “Ride
a bike.” The hemorrhage she sustained
at 28 weeks in utero resulted in brain
damage and a life with cerebral palsy,
a group of disorders that affects muscle
control and mobility. An estimated 3 to
4 of every 1,000 school-age children
in metro Atlanta have cerebral palsy,
according to the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention. More than 80
percent of those with cerebral palsy
developed it before they were born or
turned a month old. The lasting effects
run the spectrum, from clumsiness to the
inability to walk or talk.
For Parr, cerebral palsy destroyed her
balance, so she has to use a walker, or a
wheelchair if she is going long distances.
The muscles in her mouth also don’t work
right – she can say about 20 discernible
words. However, Parr, who understands
everything and has been integrated into a
typical classroom since pre-K, is quite the
chatterer on the computer that talks for her.
The 114 buttons allow her to put together
ideas and sentences.
“She moves through that thing with
the speed of light,” says her mother, Beth.
Although the cutting-edge technology
gives Parr a voice, it also can be a
source of frustration. It is heavy, so she
needs someone to tote it around. During
the school year, Fulton County Schools
provides an assistant who shadows Parr at
Spalding Drive Charter Elementary. If she
22 justkids magazine
doesn’t have the device, she struggles to
Still, Parr does not view herself as
disabled, but rather just another kid
making her way in the world. She has
dreamed of being a veterinarian as long
as anyone can remember. “The child has
no confidence problems at all,” her mother
says. She attributes that to her husband,
Jon. “I probably coddle Parr too much. He
would not let her feel sorry for herself,” she
People with cerebral palsy do not need
pity, they need help focusing on the things
they can do, says Joan Rizzo with United
Cerebral Palsy of Georgia. “Everybody
has abilities, everybody has challenges,”
Rizzo says. “We work with people to help
maximize their potential and get the fullest
life experience possible.”
UCP of Georgia, established in 1962,
Still, Parr does not view
herself as disabled,
but rather just another
kid making her way
in the world. She has
dreamed of being a
veterinarian as long as
anyone can remember.
currently operates an after-school program
in Lawrenceville for children with severe
physical and mental disabilities so that
their parents can work. Some children with
cerebral palsy have other diagnoses such
as autism and epilepsy that also require
treatment. The nonprofit also provides inhome services as well as group homes
and young adult care services.
Early intervention is essential to helping
people with cerebral palsy grow up to
live independent and productive lives.
There is no cure for cerebral palsy, but it
also does not worsen over time. “It can’t
get worse, but it can get better with early
intervention,” Rizzo says.
J.B. McWhorter has been getting
treatment ever since he developed
cerebral palsy after contracting a stomach
infection at a month old. Now 6, J.B. uses
a walker and wears braces to help control
his legs that “scissor,” or cross. He also
has very limited communication skills. “It
is very frustrating for him,” says his mom,
Lacey McWhorter. She describes her son,
who loves cars, baseball and working on
things, as “all boy.”
For five years, McWhorter brought
J.B. to Atlanta for treatment since so few
pediatric specialists lived near their south
Georgia home some 150 miles away.
J.B. requires speech, occupational and
physical therapies. He also gets Botox
injections every few months to help relax
his contracting muscles.
Cont’d on page 24
Understanding Cerebral Palsy
“Cerebral” means having to
do with the brain and “palsy”
means weakness or problems
with using muscles. Cerebral
palsy is a group of disorders
that affect a person’s ability to
move and keep their balance
and posture as a result of an
injury to parts of the brain, or
as a result of a problem with
brain development. Often
the problem occurs before or
shortly after birth.
The signs of cerebral palsy
vary greatly because of its
many types and levels of
disability. The main sign that
your child might have cerebral
palsy is a delay in reaching the
motor or movement milestones.
At 2 months, a child with
cerebral palsy might:
n Have difficulty controlling his
head when picked up
n Have stiff legs that cross or
“scissor” when picked up
At 6 months:
n Continue to have a hard time
controlling his head when picked up
n Reach with only one hand while
keeping the other in a fist
At 10 months:
n Crawl by pushing off with one
hand and leg while dragging the
opposite hand and leg
n Not be able to sit up by himself
At 12 months:
n Not be able to stand without
n Not crawl
At 24 months:
n Not be able to walk
n Not be able to push a toy with
In general, the earlier the treatment
the better the chances that children
with cerebral palsy have of overcoming
their disability or learning new ways
to accomplish tasks. Treatment may
include: physical, occupational and
speech therapies; drugs to control
seizures, relax muscle spasms and
alleviate pain; surgery to correct
anatomical abnormalities or release
tight muscles; braces and other orthotic
devices; wheelchairs and rolling
walkers; and communication aids
such as computers with attached voice
synthesizers. Sources: Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention; National Institute of Neurological
Disorders and Stroke; United Cerebral Palsy
ADD, ADHD, ASD, Autism, Sensory Integration, Dyslexia,
Dyspraphia, LD ...and more
Individual & Group therapy sessions available
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At the corner of North Main St. and
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The Adaptive Learning Center
Building Communities Through The Inclusion of
Children With Special Needs & Their Families
Lacey McWhorter and J.B.
ALC offers an inclusive preschool program
in partnership with Peachtree Presbyterian
Preschool, First Presbyterian of Atlanta
Preschool, and the 2 preschools of the
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To find out more or schedule an
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Ser ving all of metro Atlanta and Georgia
Recycle this Magazine
24 justkids magazine
Eight months ago, McWhorter, a single
mother, moved with J.B. to Dacula to have
more access to the specialists in the metro
area. Although the move was not something
that she had mapped out in her life plan,
neither was having a child with cerebral
palsy. She currently is working on getting a
master’s in education.
“Maybe J.B. has gotten me places that I
would have never thought about,” McWhorter
says. “I have a strong faith and I look on this
as something God had in store for me. I have
learned to take the small things and rejoice
in them.” A few months ago, J.B. started
crawling “commando” style. He also has
developed a vocabulary of “five or six good
words,” McWhorter says. One is particularly
melodious and sweet sounding – “Momma.”
“I thought he would never say ‘Momma,’”
she says. “Now that is the one word he says
all the time.” JK
For more information:
Centers for Disease Control and
Easter Seals: www.easterseals.org
National Institute of Neurological
Disorders and Stroke: www.ninds.nih.
United Cerebral Palsy of Georgia:
Autism: Critical Tips
Every Parent Needs to Know
by Dr. Bob Sears
utism has become one of the most widespread childhood epidemics in
history. According to the latest studies, autism now affects an astounding
1-in-100 children (1-in-58 boys). It can strike unexpectedly; a healthy infant
can suddenly regress into autism between age 1 and 2. Some toddlers simply stop
progressing through normal social and language milestones. Some infants display some
characteristics right from the start that eventually lead to a diagnosis.
Thousands of researchers are spending hundreds of millions of dollars trying to
unravel this mystery, but we still don’t have the answer. Yet amid the uncertainty and
confusion, there is so much we do know about how to treat autism and how to help
children recover. Did I say recover? Yes. As many as 30 percent of children (or more)
recover to the point where they no longer have autism. I am going to share important
steps every new parent can take to get started down the road to recovery.
Know the Signs
For some toddlers, the signs of autism
are obvious: No language, no eye contact,
obsessive-compulsive behaviors, self-injurious
behavior, extreme tantrums, etc. But these
are the severe cases. Autism more commonly
begins with more subtle signs.
Here are signs, both obvious and subtle,
that suggest there may be a problem:
n Lack of eye contact. Babies
should be quick and eager to engage a
parent (and even a stranger) with focused
and prolonged eye contact. And it should be
n Side glancing. Babies should
look directly at people or objects. Frequently
studying objects from the corner of the eyes
may be a concern.
n Focus on spinning objects.
Children with autism are obsessed with staring
at spinning objects, such as fans or wheels.
n Lack of babbling. By 7 months a
baby should begin using consonant sounds,
and by 12 months should be spouting off
phrases of gibberish. A quiet 1-year-old who
is still only cooing and gooing is delayed.
n No words by 18 months.
While many late talkers won’t go on to have
autism, a toddler who has not said that first
“mama” or more by 18 months warrants a full
n Solo play. Toddlers should crave
and seek out play with parents and other kids.
Those who prefer to play alone may have
delayed social development.
Cont’d on page 26
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26 justkids magazine
Autism: Critical Tips
Every Parent Needs to Know
n Parallel play. This refers to a toddler
who likes to play alongside others, often
mimicking them, but doesn’t actually play
with the other kids.
n Obsession with certain toys.
Toddlers should be interested in engaging with
a wide range of toys and objects. Those who
obsess with only one or two main toys (it is often
trains) may have some delay.
n Plays inappropriately with toys.
Toddlers should feed their dolls, animate their
stuffed animals, zoom their cars around, and
bounce or roll balls back and forth. Those who
line up their cars, treat their dolls or animals as
simple objects, or simply look at a ball may have
n Repetitive, obsessive actions.
Repeatedly turning lights on and off, opening
and closing doors and drawers, or arm flapping
and toe-walking can be a concern.
n Sensory aversions. Toddlers who
are overly annoyed by wearing shoes and socks,
or can’t stand having sticky hands or a messy
face, or who are freaked out by large crowds
and noisy places might have sensory problems
associated with autism.
n Lack of joint attention. Children
should normally want to share interesting objects
and experiences with their parents (such as
pointing at a dog or fire truck). A child with
autism will often study things by himself.
Some children with autism don’t display
enough obvious symptoms early on. It’s
important for doctors and parents to also look
for the following signs in preschoolers:
n Out-of-context language. Children
should engage in back-and-forth conversation
that fits in the context of a situation. If a child
frequently answers questions, or spontaneously
blurts out whatever’s on his mind, in ways that
don’t fit the conversation, this may be a concern.
n Unusually advanced language
skills. If a child is able to say the ABCs, recite
nursery rhymes, list numerous famous composers,
or talk incessantly about one or two primary
topics in a manner that far exceeds his peers, but
won’t converse about more simple and general
topics, this may be a concern.
n Answering a question with a
question. If you ask a child, “What is your
favorite color?” and the child answers, “What
is your favorite color... green,” that may be a
n Missing social cues. A child may
understand language, but if he doesn’t pick up
on sarcasm, humor, teasing or lying, this is a
n Unaware of personal space. A
child with autism may hug strangers and stand
very close to other children in an unusual way.
n OCD tendencies. A child with
autism may display some obsessive-compulsive
behaviors, such as demanding all doors remain
closed (or open), keeping food items separated
on a plate, arranging toys or objects in lines, or
wearing only certain clothes.
Detect a Problem Early
Pediatricians (myself included) used to
think that it didn’t matter what age a child’s
autism was diagnosed since there wasn’t
much we could do about it. We now know
that the complete opposite is true. The
earlier a problem is detected and the earlier
intervention is started, the better the chance of
recovery. The most popular screening test is
called CHAT (Checklist for Autism in Toddlers).
The first part comprises nine developmental
questions that are answered by the parent to
make sure a toddler is meeting all the usual
milestones. In the second part, a pediatrician
will make sure the child makes sustained eye
contact, shows interest in something when the
doctor points, plays appropriately with a toy
cup or doll, and stack some blocks.
Begin Intervention at the
Earliest Possible Age
The single most important thing for
every parent to know is that developmental
therapy should begin as soon as a significant
developmental problem is suspected. Parents
should absolutely not wait until a diagnosis
is confirmed. Most children don’t meet all
the criteria until at least age 2, and often not
until 3 or older. But autistic symptoms may be
noticed as early as 1 year of age or even
younger. If a parent waits until diagnosis,
they’ve likely wasted a year or more of
potential therapeutic time.
Join a Parent Support Group
You are not alone. There are hundreds, if
not thousands, of other families in every major
city who have already gone through the same
thing you are. Seek their help. Numerous
groups have been established across the
country to offer help to families with autism. JK
Dr. Bob Sears is a
pediatrician and author of
The Autism Book: What
Every Parent Needs to
Know About Early
Recovery, and Prevention.
Special Needs Resources
Adaptive Learning Center’s Inclusive
Preschool Program for Children with Special Needs
he Adaptive Learning Center (ALC) serves families of
children with special needs who ask for flexibility, choices
in programming, coordinated therapy and social interaction
for their children. ALC is a nonprofit organization maximizing the potential of young children with disabilities and
creating awareness and acceptance between typical children
and children with disabilities through:
• Early intervention programs integrating therapy and
education in warm, nurturing, inclusive preschools.
• Support services helping family members understand
and cope with issues related to raising a child with
• Education and consultation to help build resources to
foster acceptance and support of people with differences.
ALC provides therapy and education for infants and young
children with, or at risk for disabilities such as Autism, Down
syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Fragile X, or are medically fragile.
ALC provides an inclusive preschool program, outpatient
speech and occupational therapy, developmental evaluations,
and parent support.
ALC is a model program that consults with early childhood
programs that seek to integrate children with disabilities
through inclusion. These critical programs offer socialization
with peers, and support to parents of children with special
Together, ALC facilitators and partner preschool teachers
support children at the ALC Inclusive Preschool Program
at Peachtree Presbyterian Preschool, First Presbyterian
Preschool and preschools of Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta: Sunshine School at Shirley Blumenthal Park,
and Weinstein School at Zaban Park.
In partnership with these preschools, ALC’s inclusion
program supports children with disabilities, enabling them
to learn and play alongside their typically-developing peers.
Since 1982, ALC has served more than 8,000 children with
special needs and their families.
For information please contact ALC at 770-509-3909 or
Atlanta Public Schools
Child Find Services
Children’s Special Services, LLC
he Atlanta Public Schools (APS) Program for Exceptional
Children offers comprehensive special education
services for children from
birth through age 21 years
through Child Find Services.
Child Find is a component of
Individuals with Disabilities
Education Act (IDEA) that
requires all states to identify,
locate, evaluate and refer all
children with disabilities.
Children from birth to age three with disabilities will be
referred to the appropriate agencies for services. All referrals
are considered confidential, and services are provided at no
cost to the family.
APS Child Find services can open a window of hope for
a brighter future for infants and toddlers who are at risk of
developmental delay. A free, appropriate, public education
with a full continuum of services is available to all eligible
children. If you know a child who resides within the city of
Atlanta and may have a problem with learning, speech, vision,
hearing, or who has physical, cognitive or health impairments,
please encourage his or her parents and/or guardians to
contact the APS Child Serve Specialist at 404.802.1695. For
more information, visit www.atlantapublicschools.us.
usan Orloff heard stories from parents about how they
couldn’t get proper occupational therapy for their children
in public schools settings, so she did something about it.
She started the Modified Developmental Preschool through
the company she founded and leads as its CEO, Children’s
Special Services, LLC.
The mission is to serve children ages 3 to 5 in a sensorybased preschool environment that integrates them into the
mainstream preschool activities while preparing them to
transition into elementary school situations.
In addition to the preschool, her occupational therapy
practice specializes in the Handwriting (W.I.N.TM Write Incredibly NowTM), the Social Skills program (P.O.P.TM Personal
Options and Preferences TM), S.H.I.N.E.TM (Sensory, hiking,
independence, novel experiences group outdoor sensory
group) and Programs for groups & individual sensory-developmentally based therapeutic interventions.
Complete evaluation and screening services, seminars,
consultation and IEP assistance are available. Children’s
Special Services, LLC is intent on helping each child successfully reach their full potential. CSS works with children
with mild to moderate issues, inclusive of, but not limited to.
Asperger’s, PDD, ADD, ADHD, Autism, motor and sensory
delays, sensory integrative dysfunction, and more.
The Director, Susan N. Orloff, OTR/L, a former resource
teacher, has been an occupational therapist for over 35
years. She is the author of the book, “Learning Re-Enabled,”
endorsed by the National Education Association and the
International Learning Disabilities Association.
For more information, call 770-394-9791 or visit www.
[ Special Advertising Section ]
Special Needs Resources
Brain Balance Centers Help
Children Overcome Autism, ADHD Symptoms
Over the last ten years,
amilies facing a diagnosis
of autism, ADHD, or any
the Brain Balance™ proof the Autism spectrum disgram has helped hundreds
orders, often find their lives
of children become more
falling to pieces.
focused, improve their acaBrain Balance™ helps
demic performance, and enfamilies put the pieces back
hance their communication
together and gives children
and social interaction skills.
the chance to achieve their
Rather than relying on drugs,
medical procedures, or psyWith centers in Peachtree
chotherapy, Brain Balance™
City and Suwanee, and a
uses a comprehensive, inNorth Fulton center opening
in November, Brain Balance™
dividualized program that
incorporates a unique multiTammy Leigh Norris works with Jacob Bender at the Peachtree City Brain Balance™ Center.
integrates physical (sensory
faceted approach to assess
and motor) activities, cogniand develop individualized intervention plans for children tive exercises, and supportive nutritional initiatives to achieve
affected by Neurobehavioral/Developmental Disorders. These
optimum brain and body function.
disorders include autism, ADD/ADHD, Asperger’s, Tourette’s
The goal is to correct a fundamental imbalance between the
syndrome, PDD, processing disorders, dyslexia, and other
hemispheres of the brain — a “communication breakdown”
results in a range of negative symptoms and behaviors.
The Brain Balance Program™ is an achieveThe Brain Balance centers offer free educational seminars
ment program rather than a medical treatment center. Based in Long Island, New York, the program was for parents on Tuesdays.
For information call 770-631-3033 in Peachtree City,
founded by Dr. Robert Melillo, author of Neurobehavioral
Disorders of Childhood.
770-614-4790 in Suwanee or 770-650-8010 in North Fulton.
Georgia Community Support and
eorgia Community Support
and Solutions (GCSS) is
a non-profit organization that
provides supports and services
to individuals 3 years and older
with developmental disabilities
in Metro Atlanta. GCSS has
provided services for over 10
years and currently operates
13 programs that range from Richards Respite Home
summer camps, to behavioral
support services to respite care.
Their summer camp program consists of nine fun-filled
weeks of community excursions, field trips, art and music
therapy, sporting events, cooking, swimming and more for
youth 12 years and older.
For parents of children with special needs 3 years and
older, there are also respite weekends available. Parents and
caregivers often need relief or support for family illnesses,
vacations, special events and stressful times. At GCSS, they
understand that not all families have the same needs. GCSS
is unique in that families can choose what types of respite
care works best for them whether it is in-home support, host
home care, or facility based services.
For more information on GCSS and the services they
provide, call 404-634-4222 or visit www.gacommunity.org to
request information for a free phone consultation.
28 justkids magazine
Michael P. Healey, D.D.S., P.C.
ediatric dentist Dr. Michael Healey has been in private
practice in Sandy Springs since 1982. A graduate of the
Case Western Reserve School of Dental Medicine, Dr. Healey
began his career with a year of oral surgery training and two
years general practice in the
U.S. Army. He later attended a
three year pediatric residency
program at the University of
Connecticut. Since moving to
Atlanta, he has been an active
staff member at both Scottish
Rite and Egleston hospitals.
At Dr. Healey’s practice, each Thursday morning is
dedicated to special needs patients. Versed sedation is offered
where applicable in office, and parents are encouraged to
be with their children for all visits. Hospital treatment is
scheduled on an as-needed basis. Orthodontic care is available
as cooperation permits. All non-discounted insurance plans
are accepted and filed electronically. Unfortunately, Medicaid
and Peach Care are not presently accepted as payment.
Dr. Healey’s features a fully-restored, 1928 Parker Carousel,
attached to the office in a carousel house. This county-fair style
carousel has 20 jumping horses and two carriages. It is open
for rides twice annually.
Dr. Healey’s practice is located at 1145 Hightower
Trail, off exit 6, Ga. 400. See www.dochealey.com or call
770-993-9395 for details.
[ Special Advertising Section ]
Special Needs Resources
Hearts and Hands Therapy Services, Inc.
Kid’s Creek Therapy
earts and Hands Therapy
offers occupational and speech
therapy services to children with
various special needs. Services
target skills needed for coordination,
self-help, safety, play/social
interaction, eye-hand coordination,
focus, attention, school readiness/
performance, sensory processing,
calming/regulatory behaviors, articulation difficulties,
pragmatics, augmentative communication devices and more.
Children develop these necessary skills so their transition
into adulthood becomes a path to an independent, rewarding
life. Some of the reasons your child may need occupational
therapy include: defensive to textures, poor attention,
poor/immature fine and gross motor skills, difficulty selfcalming, exaggerated behaviors, limited play skills, poor
social development, limited independence in self-care skills,
difficulty transitioning/accepting change in environment or
routine. Handwriting Without Tears, Therapeutic Listening
Program, AAC device training/programming, sensory
integration, fine motor skills development, coordination/
gross motor skills, oral motor & feeding, and Interactive
Metronome are offered.
The treatment rooms and innovative equipment are
designed to mirror playful activities to the child, yet the
therapist draws upon extensive training to provide challenging
activities aimed at developing greater capabilities/skills.
They are located at 341 Creekstone Ridge, Woodstock, GA
30188. For more information, call 678-462-1342, visit www.
ope, expectations, and dedication are what parents
will find at Kid’s Creek Therapy. Kid’s Creek is a
specialized pediatric therapy clinic in the Johns Creek
community in Suwanee, offering speech, occupational, and
physical therapy services for children with special needs.
Kid’s Creek is dedicated to providing children, parents,
and physicians with the highest quality services available.
Therapists apply the latest strategies and techniques with a
caring and enthusiastic attitude, so each session is stimulating and productive.
The facility provides approximately 6,000 sq ft in a colorful,
fun and engaging atmosphere. It is complete with three therapy
gyms, sensory integration room, specialized oral motor room,
multiple individual treatment rooms, music therapy room,
waiting room for family, and a therapeutic aquatic area.
Kid’s Creek provides a quality therapy environment where
both the needs of the individual child and the child’s family
are met. In addition to traditional individual therapy, the
clinic now offers special programs like feeding therapy groups,
social skills groups, Lindamood Bell, hippotherapy, aquatic
therapy, myofunctional therapy, therapeutic listening, Fast
Forward, Handwriting groups, and P.R.O.P.M.T. technique
in speech therapy.
For more information, please visit www.kidscreektherapy.
com or 3905 Johns Creek Court, Suite 250, Suwanee, Georgia
David Kurtzman, DDS
Gentle Care for Special Needs
ffering occupational, speech and physical therapy, and
now, in clinic applied behavior analysis (ABA), Kiddos’
Clubhouse is designed to provide a safe, structured and
stimulating environment for children with special needs.
Kiddos’ Clubhouse promotes an image of fun, friendship and
acceptance to help children overcome the boundaries of their
circumstances. Children with various diagnoses, including
Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism, sensory integration
dysfunction and feeding disorders are able to have their
needs met in an environment unlike any hospital or clinic
setting. In addition to therapy rooms, hands-on equipment
and sensory integration equipment, the facility includes an
actual clubhouse – all situated in a bright, energizing and
Kiddos’ Clubhouse promotes a philosophy that emphasizes
treatment of the whole child on an individual basis. Our team
of therapists is skilled in a broad spectrum of treatment modalities that permit them to offer each child an individualized
therapy plan. Kiddos’ Clubhouse therapists offer many unique
strengths, including certifications in P.R.O.M.P.T. and extensive training in sensory integration techniques.
Located in Alpharetta, Kiddos’ Clubhouse is dedicated to
helping children with special needs and their parents gain
the confidence and motivation needed to do anything they set
their mind to do. For more information on Kiddos’ Clubhouse,
please visit www.kiddosclubhouse.com or call 678-527-3224.
evelopmentally Disabled kids (and young adults) can get the
dental care they need! From cavities and gum disease to dental
abscesses to pain – everyone requires good dental care and special
attention. Dr. David Kurtzman is proud to provide dental care to
kids and families with special needs.
For over twenty years, Dr. David
Kurtzman and Martha Wallace have
been caring for Developmentally
Disabled citizens in Georgia. Even
the most extreme patients are served
effectively using modern dental
technology in the Kennestone Hospital.
Dr. Kurtzman handles patients with a variety of mental and
physical limitations including Cerebral Palsy, Autism Spectrum
Disorders, Down syndrome, Fragile X Syndrome, Fetal Alcohol
Syndrome, Mental Retardation and Brain Stem injuries.
Scores of kids and their parents have found the gentle,
empathetic and understanding care they want and need. Martha
provides a personal and caring touch as well as detailed support
around insurance, finances and scheduling.
Each patient’s safety is attended to not only by Dr. Kurtzman
and Martha but by the highly trained Physicians and Staff of the
hospital operating room. Taking care of these very special kids is
our mission and joy.
For more information and an appointment call 770-592-1711.
Serving all of metro Atlanta and Georgia. 611 Campbell Hill St.,
NW, Ste. 101, Marietta, GA 30060.
[ Special Advertising Section ]
Special Needs Resources
The Meyring Law Firm
he Meyring Firm provides legal counsel in Estate
Planning and General Practice Matters.
Areas of Practice include Last Will and Testaments,
Trusts, Probate Litigation, Special Needs Planning, Asset
Protection, Civil Litigation, Business Litigation, Land
Disputes, Contract Disputes, DUI Defense, Misdemeanor
Defense, Consumer Advocacy and related general practice
matters. The Meyring Firm treats the legal issues of each
individual with complete care and concern.
The Meyring Firm is committed to the highest standards of ethics and professionalism in the delivery of all
services. The Firm’s primary goal is to provide insightful
advice to enable clients to make informed decisions. They
strive to assist the family and small business in business
and legal matters. They pride themselves on providing
close personal attention to clients. Service standards and
the experienced staff make a positive difference in your
life, family and business.
The Meyring Firm’s office serves greater Atlanta and all
Georgians and is located in Vinings Village at 2931 Paces
Ferry Road, Atlanta, Georgia. A second office for northeast Atlanta residents has been opened in Doraville near
Spaghetti Junction. To find out more about the practice,
call or explore their website at www.meyringfirm.com.
The Firm offers free 10 minute phone consultations at
orter Academy’s mission is to educate
children Pre-K through 8th grade that
have not been successful in a traditional
classroom setting. They serve children, who
have difficulties with attention, sensory
processing, language processing, auditory
discrimination, dyslexia, motor skills, visual
processing, social interactions and self-esteem.
Students undergo comprehensive standardized evaluations in
order to measure academic, functional, and social progress. All
students receive group occupational therapy, speech therapy, music
therapy, art, and daily PE. The occupational and speech therapists
also consult with teachers to integrate therapeutic activities into
their classrooms on a daily basis.
Porter Academy now offers Integrated Listening Systems (iLs)
with the capability to incorporate this program into each student’s
day. iLs combines auditory training with movement and visual
activities to improve vestibular function and auditory processing
skills. Visit: www.integratedlistening.com.
Porter Academy utilizes various academic programs including
Orton-Gillingham, Wilson, Lindamood Bell, Saxon, Math Their Way,
Touch Math, MILE program, and other multi-sensory approaches
to teaching. Founder, Claudia Porter stated, “We help students
realize their strengths and build self-confidence, which serves as
a foundation for lifelong success.”
For more information, go to www.porteracademy.org or to take
a tour, call: 770-594-1313.
Southern Behavioral Group
Tender Ones Therapy Services
outhern Behavioral Group is the regional leader
in behavioral services for children with autism,
developmental disabilities, and other special needs throughout
the Atlanta-metro area. Services include early intervention,
ABLLS-R assessments, language-based interventions,
verbal behavior programs, early intensive behavioral
interventions, functional behavior assessments, behavioral
treatments, discrete trials teaching, and more. Southern
Behavioral group offers all
of its services in the location
that best fits your needs.
All services are available
in your home, community
or in your child’s school.
More options allow families
to take advantage of the
setting and behavioral
solution that best fits their
child, family, and schedule.
More choices mean more
convenience to parents seeking the best behavioral services
for their children.
Morning, afternoon, evening and weekend appointments
are offered. Southern Behavioral Group’s office is located at
2470 Windy Hill Rd. Ste. 300, Marietta, GA 30067.
For more information, call 678-921-2811. Visit the
website at www.southernbehavioralgroup.com or email:
30 justkids magazine
ender Ones Therapy Services is a complete pediatric
therapy center providing Physical, Occupational and Speech
Therapy. A multi-disciplinary approach is used where therapists
coordinate sessions and treatments for children. Services are
provided as weekly sessions or through a customized Intensive
Therapy Program consisting of three- four hours of Therapy per
day, five days a week for two or three week sessions.
Physical Therapists are specially trained to provide Suit
Therapy using the Therasuit. Many Occupational Therapists
are SIPT certified or collaborate with the SIPT certified
therapists to provide quality Sensory Integration Therapy.
An Aquatic Physical Therapy program will begin this fall and
reservations for appointments are available now.
Services are provided in a state of the art facility that
boasts two Universal Exercise
Units providing “spider” therapy,
a separate spacious Sensory Gym
that is utilizes multiple suspension
pieces of equipment, two LiteGait
Systems for Partial Weight Bearing
Treadmill training, the Interactive
Metronome and more. A well
equipped facility allows therapists
to maximize time during a treatment session with children.
Tender Ones provides an exceptional level of Pediatric
Therapy to a wide range of diagnoses. Located off of I-85 at exit
120 in Dacula. For more information visit www.tenderones.
com or call 770-904-6009.
[ Special Advertising Section ]
Just Kids F.Y.I
Mark Your Calendar
Fri., 11 a.m.-5 p.m.;
Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.;
Sun., 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Cobb Galleria Convention Center
The annual Abilities Expo hits Atlanta in
October for a weekend of free workshops, fun
events and great shopping. The Expo offers
engaging activities for both kids and adults,
including sports, crafts and games. Workshops
and speakers cover topics such as finding the
right car for all abilities, making your home more
accessible, emergency preparedness and parenting
disabled children. The Expo also includes an artist
market, a wheelchair obstacle course and dance
performances. Visit abilitiesexpo.com/Atlanta for a
complete schedule of events and to register for free.
Lack of sleep [insomnia] may affect how your child feels during the day. There are currently no
drugs approved to treat childhood ADHD-related insomnia.
There is a clinical research opportunity that may be available for your child:
Websites Worth Visiting
A clinical research study is being conducted nationwide to evaluate a sleep drug currently
approved for adults 18 and older but is investigational for children ages 6-17.
Clinical Research Study Now Enrolling
This clinical study is assessing an investigational drug
for children and teens who meet the following criteria:
Exceptional Family TV is a weekly Web series
and online forum for parents of children with special
needs. Founded by Nathan Charlan, whose son
has cerebral palsy, and Susan Stephens, whose
grandson also has CP, the site covers a range of
special needs topics. Beyond the weekly Web TV
series, parents can join discussion forums, read
parent blogs, shop for products and toys, and join
the online book club. Find resources, support and
inspiring stories on this exceptional site.
• Diagnosed with ADHD
• 6-17 years of age
• Experiencing sleep problems for
at least 3 months
• Sleep problems that specifically cause
- Falling asleep
- Staying asleep
This study offers:
• Study-related care, clinic visits, sleep tests
and medical assessments at no cost to you
• Study drug [or inactive placebo] at no cost
• Study-related monitoring by research
health care professionals
• Possible reimbursement for time and travel
• An opportunity to learn more about your
child’s sleep problem
If ADHD is robbing your child of sleep:
NeuroTrials Research, Inc.
Call Now! 404-851-9934
Or Visit: www.ADHDsleepStudy.net
Low Student to Teacher Ratio
Dr. Lynda Boucugnani-Whitehead, Ph.D.,
Consulting Neuropsychologist, and CEO Strategic
Learning Connections, Inc. – Developer of Strategic
Cut the paper trail and corral your family’s
medical records with Capzule – a handy app for
your iPhone, iPod or iPad. For $6, parents can
keep track of paperwork, enter vaccination records,
recall medications and allergies, document doctor
visits, and keep insurance information stored all in
one safe, password-protected place. Say goodbye
to the mad scramble to find your kids’ shot history
before summer camp. Users can edit their records
and upload files on their home computer and easily
share information with the rest of the family. JK
Use of the Dir® Floortimetm Approach
Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes®
On-Site Occupational Therapist
Full Computer & Science Labs
Smart Boardtm Interactive Whiteboard
Georgia Special Needs Scholarship
Get out and play!
What’s summer without a trip to the pool or a hot afternoon spent on the playground?
These accessible options make swinging, sliding and splashing a possibility for every kid.
These playgrounds feature
ramp access to all levels of
the structure, adaptive swing
sets and smooth surfaces for
All-abilities playgrounds are
cropping up around town, making
play a possibility for every kid.
n Resurgens Charitable Foundation
Resurgens Orthopaedic Group. After its
inception, the foundation began raising
money to build specially designed all-abilities
playgrounds for Atlanta children. Over the
past nine years, Resurgens has funded the
construction of nine such playgrounds in the
n Acworth Sports Complex
4000 South Main St.
Resurgens-built, with ramps that allow children
in wheelchairs to reach different levels, soft
surfaces for easy swing access, adaptive
swing sets and covered decks.
n Boundless Playgrounds
Boundless Playgrounds is a private not-for-profit
organization that builds inclusive playgrounds
across the country. Since its inception in 1997,
Boundless has built nearly 200 playgrounds in
31 states and Canada, including four in the
metro Atlanta area.
n Boundless Playground at
Wesley Coan Park
1530 Woodbine Ave.
Equipment for toddler, elementary and middle
school-aged children of all abilities. Slides,
bridges, crawl-through spaces and safe swings
for disabled children.
n John Howell Park Playground
801 Virginia Ave.
Poured rubber surfacing, several structures are
accessible to all children.
n Mayor’s Grove Boundless
Playground at Piedmont Park
10th St. and Piedmont Ave.
Interactive, all-abilities playground in the center
of Atlanta’s largest park.
n All Children’s Playground at
Centennial Olympic Park
265 Park Ave.
Low-reach panels, skid-resistant rubber surfaces
and wheelchair-accessible glider swings.
n Rosel Fann Boundless Playground
365 Cleveland Ave.
Soft rubber surface, wide ramp access to the
top of the main structure, umbrellas and shade.
n Daniel L. Stanton Park
213 Haygood Ave.
Just south of Turner Stadium, this revamped
park became an all-abilities playground thanks
to Resurgens. The new space has soft surfaces
and several slides of varying heights.
n North Park Adapted
13450 Cogburn Rd.
Multi-level, wheelchair-accessible playground
with interactive panels and adapted softball
fields with rubber surfaces and flat bases.
32 justkids magazine
n Rockdale County Miracle League
Field and Playground
1249 S. Main St.
Playground is adjacent to the Miracle League field.
Complex includes typical baseball fields.
n Luther Holt Memorial All
151 Willowbend Rd.
On the shores of Lake Peachtree, this all-abilities
playground features interactive game boards,
slides and shaky bridges, plus high-back swings
n Kedron Park Playground
202 Kedron Dr., Peachtree City
Facility also includes a pool, basketball and
volleyball courts and a game room.
n Unity Place at Bay Creek Park
175 Ozora Rd.
Resurgens-built, features rubberized surfaces,
supportive swings, wide slides and a wheelchairaccessible sandbox. There’s also a wheelchair
accessible ball field at the park.
n All-Abilities Playground at
Lithia Springs Park
2922 South Sweetwater Rd.
Resurgens-built, includes special playscapes and
structures for all children, including ramp access
and adaptive swings.
n All Play Playground at East Cobb Park
3322 Roswell Rd.
Resurgens-built structure with ramps to provide access
for children in wheelchairs, plus soft surfaces and
Peachtree Ridge Park and Playground
n Hammond Park
705 Hammond Dr.
Resurgens-built small, wheelchair-accessible
structure with rubberized flooring and image
panels with dozens of sign language words.
n Peachtree Ridge Park
3170 Suwanee Creek Rd., Suwanee
Resurgens-built all abilities park and playground.
Park also has a wheelchair accessible ball field.
n Children’s Playgarden
3200 Clinton Rd.
High-back swings with five-point harnesses, rubber
flooring and ramps connecting all levels, plus an
n Playground at Clinton
8270 Ephesus Church Rd.
Fully accessible, adaptive swings, soft surfaces.
These pools are accessible for
children and adults of all abilities.
Most feature zero-entry “beach
access” – a gently sloping entry
to the pool’s shallow end. Several
pools have chair lifts or ramp
access into the pool. Our roundup
includes indoor and outdoor pools.
n Grant Park Pool
625 Park Ave.
Zero-entry access and splash fountains. Ample
shade provided by awnings. Adults, $4; children
ages 6-16, $2; 5 and under, free.
n Piedmont Park Aquatic Center
Piedmont Ave. and 10th St.
The newly renovated outdoor pool features easy
beach access. Adults, $4; children 16 and
younger, $2; free admission hours are 3-5 p.m.
n South Cobb Aquatic Center
875 Six Flags Dr.
Indoor pool features zero-entry beach access.
Adults, $3.18; children, $2.12.
Piedmont Park Aquatic Center
n Bogan Park Aquatic Center
2723 North Bogan Rd.
Indoor leisure pool with zero-depth entry.
Gwinnett County residents, adults, $5; ages
4-10, $4; 3 and under, $2. Non-resident,
adults, $10; ages 4-10, $8; ages 3 and
n Mountain View Aquatic Center
2650 Gordy Dr.
The center’s indoor instructional pool features
zero-entry access, a portable handicap lift and a
second stationary lift for getting in and out of the
pool. Adults, $3/18; children 17 and younger,
$2.12; under 2, free.
n McKoy Pool
534 McKoy St.
Zero-entry sloping access makes it easier for
handicapped people to enter the outdoor pool.
Splash fountains for kids and an accessible
bath house. Adults, $3; children 13 and
younger, $2; under 2, free.
n Best Friend Park Pool
6224 Jimmy Carter Blvd.
Outdoor leisure pool with zero-depth entry, plus
a water slide and water play structures. Gwinnett
County residents, adults, $5; ages 4-10, $4; 3
and under, $2. Non-resident, adults, $10; ages
4-10, $8; ages 3 and younger, $4.
n Bethesda Park Aquatic Center
225 Bethesda Church Rd.
Indoor leisure pool has zero-depth entry,
giant water slide and hydrotherapy benches.
Gwinnett County residents, adults, $5; ages
4-10, $4; 3 and under, $2. Non-resident,
adults, $10; ages 4-10, $8; ages 3 and
n West Cobb Aquatic Center
3675 MacLand Rd.
Indoor pool features zero-entry beach access.
Adults, $3.18; children, $2.12.
n Collins Hill Aquatic Center
2200 Collins Rd.
Outdoor leisure pool with zero-depth entry and
a river channel. Gwinnett County residents,
adults, $5; ages 4-10, $4; 3 and under, $2.
Non-resident, adults, $10; ages 4-10, $8;
ages 3 and younger, $4.
n Rhodes Jordan Aquatic Center
100 East Crogan St.
Outdoor pool with zero-entry beach access,
a river channel and a water slide. Gwinnett
County residents, adults, $5; ages 4-10, $4;
3 and under, $2. Non-resident, adults, $10;
ages 4-10, $8; ages 3 and younger, $4.
n Lenora Park Pool
4515 Lenora Church Rd.
Outdoor leisure pool with zero-depth entry.
Gwinnett County residents, adults, $5; ages 4-10,
$4; 3 and under, $2. Non-resident, adults, $10;
ages 4-10, $8; ages 3 and younger, $4.
n Mountain Park Aquatic Center
1063 Rockbridge Rd.
Outdoor leisure pool has a zero-depth entry and a
bubble bench. Gwinnett County residents, adults,
$5; ages 4-10, $4; 3 and under, $2. Nonresident, adults, $10; ages 4-10, $8; ages 3 and
Cont’d on page 34
Get out and play!
Accessible YMCA Pools
To visit the YMCA, pool-goers will need a
membership. Monthly membership fees vary
from $10-$70/month depending on the number
of people. See ymcapass.com/rates.pdf for a
complete list. If you want to check out the Y for
a week before joining, ask your branch about
receiving a free 7-day guest pass.
n Ashford Dunwoody YMCA
3692 Ashford Dunwoody Rd., Atlanta
770-451-9622. Chair lift in the indoor pool.
n Bransby Outdoor YMCA
at Rock Chapel
1185 Rock Chapel Rd., Lithonia
770-484-9622. Zero-entry access to outdoor pool.
n Carl E. Sanders Family YMCA
1160 Moores Mill Rd., Atlanta
404-367-4815. Outdoor pool features zero-entry
access; the indoor pool has a chair lift.
n Ed Isakson/Alpharetta Family YMCA
3655 Preston Ridge Rd., Alpharetta
770-664-1220. Chair lift for the indoor pool;
zero-entry access for outdoor pool.
n G. Cecil Pruett Community Center
151 Waleska St., Canton
770-345-9622. Indoor and outdoor pools feature
G. Cecil Pruett Community Center Family YMCA
n J.M. Tull – Gwinnett Family YMCA
2985 Sugarloaf Pkwy., Lawrenceville
770-963-1313. Outdoor pool has a shallow
entry and a lift; indoor pool has a lift.
n McClesky-East Cobb Family YMCA
1055 East Piedmont Rd., Marietta
770-977-5991. Ramp access for wheelchairs
into the indoor pool.
n Summit Family YMCA
165 East Hwy. 34, Newnan
770-254-9622. Chair lift in the shallow end of the
competitive pool and in the warm water therapy
pool – both indoors.
n Northwest Cobb YMCA
1700 Dennis Kemp Lane, Kennesaw
770-514-4365. Ramp with a water
wheelchair in the indoor pool.
n The Villages at Carver YMCA
1600 Pryor Rd., Atlanta
404-635-9622. Zero-entry access in the
indoor pool. JK
Need to Know Before You Go:
BlazeSports offers some tips on
taking your children with special
needs to the pool this summer.
Consult with your doctor if your child is on
medication to make sure it does not make
your child sensitive to sunlight and is not
a respiratory inhibitor. Also check for any
possible allergies to pool chemicals.
Pools have different temperatures.
Temperatures vary even from one section
of a pool to another. If your child has
temperature regulation problems be careful
of such fluctuations.
34 justkids magazine
Be careful when lowering and lifting children in and
out of the water. Scrapes and bumps can happen
on the side of the pool or from the gutters. Also be
care of shoulder joints that may not be used to being
pulled in and out of the water.
Children with disabilities should have swim lessons
before enjoying the fun and excitement of a
community pool. Consider contacting the Therapeutic
Recreation staff of your community parks and
recreation office for information on swim lessons.
Apply and reapply waterproof sunscreen,
especially to body parts that are not often
exposed to the sun.
For children who use wheelchairs, parents
should consider swim shoes or booties to
protect the sensitive skin on the feet from
being scraped on the sides or bottom of
Lift and lower with care.
Be careful of the sun.
Protect sensitive skin.
n Robert Fowler YMCA
5600 West Jones Bridge Rd., Norcross
770-246-9622. Zero-entry access to the indoor pool.
If your child cannot swim, make sure you purchase a
U.S. Coast Guard approved flotation device that your
child wears in the water at all times.
Make a site visit first.
Take time to visit the pool first to review
accessibility issues of locker rooms, restrooms, etc.
Avoid surprises on the day you are there to swim.
For children who use crutches and walkers, be
mindful that pool decks will accumulate water
and may be very slippery.
Don’t forget to keep up the fluid intake before
dehydration becomes a problem.
Use the buddy system.
Have your child swim with a buddy, especially in a
Let them have fun.
If your child has had swim lessons and is independent
in the pool, let them do just that! Let them experience
the fun and excitement of the pool like any other child
Source: BlazeSports America offers sports training,
competitions, summer camps, swim lessons and other
recreational opportunities for youth and adults who use
wheelchairs or have visual impairment, amputation or
neurological disabilities. www.blazesports.org.
Please Mail to: Just Kids Reader Survey, Atlanta Parent Magazine, 2346 Perimeter Park Drive, Atlanta , GA 30341
justkids Reader Survey
It is our mission to give parents of children with special needs the resources
they need along with informative and engaging articles. We’d like to know
more about you and what you need to know. Take a few moments to fill out
this survey. It’s your input that helps us improve justkids.
Please provide the following information:
Name: Mrs. Ms. Mr.
Where did you pick up your copy
Rate the usefulness of the following
sections of justkids from 1-5.
❏ School ❏ Medical Office
❏ Friend or Support Group
❏ Other _____________________
(5 is most useful; 1 is not useful at all.)
❏ Feature articles
❏ Resource directory
How would you improve justkids?
How long will you keep it?
❏ A week or less ❏ About a month
❏ Will save it for references
Indicate the type(s) of special needs
your child (children) has (have):
(Check all that apply)
What types of article would you like
to see in the next justkids?
❏ LD ❏ Giftedness ❏ Physical Disability
❏ Mental Retardation
❏ Developmental Delay
❏ Life-threatening Illness
❏ Psychological Disability ❏ Blindness
❏ Deafness ❏ Autism
What is your annual income?
Where does your child with
special needs go to school?
❏ Home schooled
❏ Attends a special school
❏ Attends public school
❏ Other: __________________________
Was it easy to find the information
you needed? ❏ Yes ❏ No
❏ Up to 25,000 ❏ 26-49,000
❏ 50-80,000 ❏ 80-110,000
❏ 110,000 and up
Would you be willing to participate
in a focus group for justkids
publication? ❏ Yes ❏ No
List any disability resource or
organization justkids should
feature in advertising or editorial
sections. Please include the name of
the organization, its phone number
Have you read our monthly publication,
Atlanta Parent Magazine?
❏ Yes ❏ No
Would Your Child Benefit
from a Specialized School?
Cumberland Academy of Georgia
specializes in the needs of
children with learning
disabilities. Our educational
programs are designed for
students with ADD, ADHD
and Asperger’s Syndrome.
• Accredited non-profit
• SB10 Approved
Hou h • 4th through 12th grade
• Rolling Admissions
“Wher e Ever y Child Can Succeed”
650 Mt. Vernon Hwy. NE • Atlanta, GA 30328
To complete this survey online, go to: www.atlantaparent.com
Specialists for Children with Special Needs
Following is a list of health professionals with whom you may find yourself working or consulting
in conjunction with your child’s special needs.
Adaptive Physical Education
education practitioner with
additional training in adapting
activities to the needs of children
with disabilities and/or special
Assistive Technology Specialist:
Advanced level professional
who is knowledgeable about
compensatory strategies and
devices, including computer
technology, that are used to
increase, maintain or improve
functional capabilities of a
child with a disability in school,
home and/or other community
professional trained in the
evaluation and rehabilitation
of persons with disorders of
hearing, including services such
as comprehensive audiologic
testing and design, selection
and fitting of hearing aids and
classroom amplification systems.
Pediatrician with special training
in the prevention, detection
and monitoring of disorders of
emotional, social, motor and
cognitive development in infants,
young children and adolescents.
Early Intervention Specialist:
with education and/or
nursing background providing
diagnostic, and intervention
services to high risk infants,
toddlers and preschoolers
and their families aimed
at enhancing potential
Genetic Counselor: Health
professional trained in advising
families on what is know about
hereditary conditions; conducts
history taking and acts as a
resource to support services;
may specialize in pediatrics and
works closely with a geneticist,
the medical specialist.
36 justkids magazine
Licensed Clinical Social
Worker (LCSW): Professional
who assesses, diagnoses
and treats social, mental
and emotional disorders in
individuals, groups, couples
Neurolinquist: A professional
with advanced training who
specializes in linguistics as a
subspecialty of neuroscience;
concerned with understanding
the relationship between
brain function and language,
including the areas of reading,
auditory processing, written
language and verbal memory.
Professional with specialty postdoctoral fellowship training in
how problems and disorders of
the brain may affect learning,
behavior and social functioning.
Health professional who helps
people learn or relearn the
occupations of daily like,
such as writing, eating and
dressing, evaluates functional
skills and teaches adaptive
activities towards self-care;
may specialize in children with
doctor expert in the evaluation,
treatment and surgical
correction of disorders of the
eye; may specialize in children.
Optician: Specialist who fills
prescriptions for eye classes and
Orthodontist: Dentist expert
in evaluation and treatment of
abnormally positioned teeth.
Orthopedist: Medical doctor
focused in prevention and
correction of deformities of
bones, joints, muscles and
connective tissues; may
specialize in the care of
Orthotist: Specialist in design
and application of devices
to straighten, correct or assist
Pediatrician: medical doctor
specializing in total care of
infants through adolescents;
many with subspecialities such
as allergies, behavior, learning
disorders, endocrinology, etc.
Pediatric Neurologist: Medical
doctor devoted to evaluation
and treatment of children with
conditions affecting the nervous
Pediatric Nurse Practitioner:
An advanced practice RN
specializing in routine well-child
care, treatment of minor illness
and management of some
chronic disorders for infants
through young adults; may work
in practice with a physician or
Pediatric Physiatrist: Physician
specializing in physical
medicine and rehabilitation who
focuses on restoring function
to injured infants, children and
Pedodontist: Dentist specializing
in the care of children’s teeth.
Physical Therapist: Health
professional concerned with
movement dysfunction and
the evaluation and treatment
of orthopedic and neurologic
conditions, performing such
functions as assessing joint
motion, muscle strength and
endurance, and providing
therapeutic exercise towards
performance of activities of daily
Psychiatrist: Medical physician
specializing in the treatment and
prevention of mental disorders;
frequently medical consultant to
mental health counselors, such
as psychologists and social
Recreation Therapist: Licensed
and/or certified professional
that selects and provides
recreational activities designed
to improve function in persons
with mental, physical or
specialist who applies
knowledge and skills to the
development of assistive
devices for people with
physical disabilities; works
closely with adaptive
Respiratory Therapist: Health
professional trained to conduct
diagnostic tests, provide
treatment and maintain life
support for patients with heart
and breathing problems.
Physical Health Care Nurse:
RN providing comprehensive
well-child services in schools
and specialized interventions
for children with chronic
School Psychologist: Mental
health professional serving
as a consultant to teachers
and parents to help in
understanding how children
develop and learn; assesses
and tests for child’s abilities,
and adaptive behavior; and
towards maximum functioning.
(Related to child psychologist.)
Special Education Teacher:
Educator with a certified
designated speciality of
teaching children with
Pathologist (SLP): Licensed
professionals who evaluate,
treat and prevent disorders
of communication and
swallowing in infants through
adults, including work with
language, memory and
Note: Professionals may be
school-based, agency employees
or independent consultants.
Whatever your needs, you’re sure to find it in our
comprehensive resource guide. Within its pages
are listings of local and national special needs
organizations, including support groups. There’s
also information on adaptive equipment, advocacy
organizations, education resources, private and
public schools, summer camps, therapy services
and specific disabilities. Keep the justkids
resource guide nearby to help you find everything
from schools to recreation programs to therapists.
Adaptive Equipment &
Education Support Programs
Independent Living & Respite
Parent & Sibling Support
Park & Recreation Programs
Public School Systems
Recreation & Enrichment
Special Needs Publications
Summer Day & Overnight Camps
Evaluations & Medical Services
General Therapy Services
Support Groups and Resource Organizations
The following organizations offer
information about various special
needs and disabilities.
CHADD (Children and
Adults with Attention Deficit/
Hyperactivity Disorder). Offers
monthly meetings for parents
of children in the Atlanta area,
and has lending libraries with
books, cassettes and videos on AD/
HD and co-occurring disorders.
Feingold Association of the
United States. Offers informational
materials, online/telephone support,
and resources. Helps families
implement low-additive dietary
programs for children with learning/
behavior problems and chemically
sensitive adults. 554 E. Main St.,
Ste. 301, Riverhead, NY. 800-3213287. www.feingold.org.
Learning Disabilities Association
o f A m e r i c a . O ff e r s s u p p o r t
programs for parents, an information
and referral network, legislation and
school program development. 4156
Library Rd., Pittsburgh, PA. 412341-1515. www.ldaamerica.org.
Learning Disabilities Association
of Georgia. Offers information
and a referral hotline for children
and adults, advocacy, family and
individual support, resources and
more. 2566 Shallowford Rd., Ste.
104, Atlanta. 404-303-7774. www.
A JAO ( A m e r i c a n Ju v e n i l e
Arthritis Organization). Provides
informational materials, referrals to
local resources, national advocacy
efforts, research funding and more.
1330 W. Peachtree St., Ste. 100,
Atlanta. 404-872-7100. www.
Autism Society of America. Provides
services in the areas of advocacy,
education, awareness and research.
7910 Woodmont Ave., Ste. 300,
Bethesda, MD. 800-328-8476. www.
Bartow County Parent Support
Group. Meets the first Thursday of
each month at 7 p.m. Cartersville
Medical Center. 958 Joe Frank Harris
Pkwy. SE, Cartersville. 404-4016385. www.autisminbartow.com
C h e ro ke e S p e c t r u m S u p p o r t
Group. Meets the second Thursday
of each month at 7 p.m. New Victoria
Baptist Church. 6659 Bells Ferry Rd.,
DeKalb County Parent Support
Groups. Two monthly meetings held
in various locations in Atlanta and
Lithonia. First Wednesday of the
month meeting is at Marcus Autism
Center from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Contact Moshe Manheim at 404-7859400. Second meeting of the month
is on the first Thursday at various
locations from 6:30 to 7:00 p.m. For
information, contact Karin Barineau
at 678-676-2129. For details, call
Discovery Toys. Toy kits targeted
for children with Autism and their
parents, and professionals. 404-6364648. www.discoverytoyslink.com/
D o n ’ t D e l a y. P r ov i d e s o n l i n e
information and resources for parents
who have children with PDD or
Gwinnett County Autism Support
Group. Meets the first Thursday
of each month at 7 p.m. Stonemill
Church. 855 Northbrook Pkwy.,
Maximum Potential Kids.
O ff e r s i n s t r u c t i o n a l DV D s t o
parents, and coaching to school
professionals. 877-629-7654. www.
North Fulton Parent Support
Group. Offers a message board and
monthly meetings at Cobblestone
Therapy Group. 11111 Houze Rd.,
Ste. 101, Roswell. 770-998-9599.
Arthritis Foundation, Georgia
Chapter. Offers wellness programs,
h e a l t h fa i r s , p u b l i c f o r u m s ,
research support, and information
on swimming classes, self-help
courses, exercise and more. 2970
Peachtree Rd., NW., Ste. 200,
Atlanta. 404-237-8771. www.
Southside Support Group for
Parents of Autistic Children. Meets
the first Saturday of each month at 10
a.m. Moose Lodge. 1595 Battle Creek,
Jonesboro. Contact Dale Crissy at
678-463-6661 or [email protected]
Arthritis Foundation, National
Office. Provides literature on all
types of arthritis and an information
line (404-965-7888). 1330 W.
Peachtree St., Ste. 100 Atlanta.
American Sudden Infant Death
Syndrome Institute. Research,
reduce the risks education, and family
support. 509 Augusta Dr., Marietta.
770-426-8746. www.sids.org. Email
38 justkids magazine
BIRTH DEFECTS AND SIDS
CHADD (Children and
Adults with Attention Deficit/
A nonprofit dedicated to serving and supporting
parents and caregivers of individuals affected with
AD/HD by providing up-to-date information and
research about the disorder. CHADD offers free
monthly support group meetings in the Atlanta area,
an informative website, Attention! Magazine, a current
events newsletter and other publications geared
toward the needs and interests of people affected by
AD/HD. The organization also operates the National
Resource Center on AD/HD, which provides the latest
evidence-based information on the disorder. For
more information, call 301-306-7070 or find a local
chapter by visiting www.chadd.org.
Georgia Sudden Infant Death
Project. Offers support services
for families, training in SIDS
risk reduction and infant injury
p r eve n t i o n e d u c a t i o n . 2 3 0 0
Henderson Mill Rd., Ste. 410,
Atlanta. 678-342-3360. www.
M a rc h o f D i m e s . P r ov i d e s
educational materials on preventing
birth defects, premature birth and
infant mortality. 1776 Peachtree St.,
Ste. 100, Atlanta. 404-350-9800.
American Diabetes Association,
Georgia Area. Provides financial
assistance for children to attend
summer camps, advocacy and
wellness programs. 17 Executive
Park Dr., Ste. 115, Atlanta. 404-3207100. www.diabetes.org.
The Georgia Comprehensive
Sickle Cell Center. Education
for patients and medical
professionals about news,
research updates and resources.
80 Jesse Hill Jr. Dr., Atlanta.
Hemophilia of Georgia, Inc.
Provides a wide range of services
to people with hemophilia, von
Willebrand’s Disease and other
inherited bleeding disorders. 8800
Roswell Rd., Ste. 170, Atlanta.
Juvenile Diabetes Research
Foundation, Georgia Chapter.
Offers support and programming for
families of children with diabetes,
provides education for caregivers and
hosts fundraising events for diabetes
research. 3525 Piedmont Rd., Bldg. 6,
Ste. 300.Atlanta. 404-420-5990. www.
Sickle Cell Foundation of Georgia,
Inc. Provides screenings, counseling,
emergency financial assistance,
after-school tutoring and summer
camp. 2391 Benjamin E. Mays Dr.
SW, Atlanta. 404-755-1641. www.
BRAIN AND SPINAL
American Spinal Injury Association.
Provides information to families,
patients and healthcare professionals
on spinal injuries. 2020 Peachtree Rd.
NW, Atlanta. 404-355-9772. www.
Brain Injury Association of Georgia. Offers 25 support groups for
survivors of traumatic and acquired
brain injury, their families and their
caregivers. Programs include a national brain injury information line
(800-444-6443), providing information, outreach and referral services.
Camps for ages 18 and older offered.
Peer Visitors program visits 11 Atlanta
area hospitals. 1441 Clifton Rd. NE,
Atlanta. 404-712-5504. www.braininjurygeorgia.org.
Support Groups and Resource Organizations
B r a i n Tu m o r Fo u n d a t i o n fo r
Children, Inc. Provides emotional
and informational support to families,
public education and awareness, and
fundraising for research. Program
includes the Butterfly Fund which
provides financial assistance for families
in need. 6065 Roswell Rd. NE, Ste.
505, Atlanta. 404-252-4107. www.
Shepherd Center. A rehabilitation
hospital that specializes in treatment
of spinal cord and acquired brain
injuries, multiple sclerosis and
other neurological conditions. 2020
Peachtree Rd. NW, Atlanta. 404-3522020. www.shepherd.org.
American Cancer Society. Provides
medical information, referrals and
treatment decision tools. Offices
located throughout metro Atlanta.
Association of Cancer Online
Resources. Offers access to mailing
lists that provide support, information
and community to persons affected by
cancer. 173 Duane St., Ste. 3A, New
York, NY. 212-226-5525. www.acor.org.
Candlelighters Childhood Cancer
Foundation. A membership
organization that offers support,
advocacy, services and education
for families of children with cancer,
survivors and medical professionals.
10400 Connecticut Ave., Ste. 205,
Kensington, MD. 800-366-2223. www.
CURE Childhood Cancer. Offers
educational and support programs for
families of children with cancer. Helps
fund research for cancer. 1835 Savoy
Dr., Ste. 317, Atlanta. 770-986-0035.
Tree House Gang. A support group
for children of cancer patients led by
a child therapist and oncology nurse.
Sessions held quarterly at the Cancer
Center of DeKalb Medical Center. 2665
N. Decatur Rd., Ste. 130, Decatur. 404501-5701. www.dekalbmedical.com.
United Cerebral Palsy of Georgia.
Provides support services to individuals
with cerebral palsy and other
developmental disabilities including
therapy, employee training and placement,
after school care and summer camps. 3300
Northeast Expressway, Bldg. 9, Atlanta.
Children’s Craniofacial Association.
Offers information, support and
financial assistance to patients and
their families, and education for health
care providers. 13140 Coit Rd., Ste.
517, Dallas, TX. 800-535-3643. www.
Georgia Lions Lighthouse
Foundation, Inc. Provides vision
and hearing services, including
glasses, eye care, corrective surgery
and hearing aids for financially
needy legal Georgia residents. 1775
Clairmont Rd., Decatur. 404-3253630. www.lionslighthouse.org.
Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation
of America, Georgia Chapter.
Education and support services for
those affected by Crohn’s disease
and ulcerative colitis including
summer camps, special events and
informational workshops. 2250 N.
Druid Hills Rd., Ste. 250, Atlanta.
National Federation of the
Blind. Affiliated with the National
Federation of the Blind of Georgia;
this membership organization
for parents and friends of blind
children provides support, advocacy,
free and low-cost literature,
scholarships and more. Atlanta.
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation,
Georgia Chapter. Provides public
and professional education materials,
fundraising events and support groups
for patients and families. 2302
Parklake Dr. NE, Ste. 210, Atlanta.
Emory University Cystic
Fibrosis Center. Offers inpatient
and outpatient care, social service
support, nutritional information and
other resources. 1547 Clifton Rd.
NE, Atlanta. 404-727-5728. www.
International Dyslexia Association.
Offers information on products, an
online store, conferences, support
groups and more for children,
teens, college students, parents and
educators. 40 York Rd., 4th Fl.,
Baltimore, MD. 800-222-3123. www.
International Dyslexia Association,
Georgia Branch. Provides outreach
activities, an online newsletter, a
lending library, workshops and
fundraising events. 1951 Greystone
Rd., Atlanta. 404-256-1232. www.
Epilepsy Foundation of Georgia.
Provides public awareness, support
groups, referrals, specialty camps
for children and adults, and more.
6065 Roswell Rd., Ste. 515, Atlanta.
HEARING AND VISUAL
Alexander Graham Bell Association
for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing,
Georgia Chapter. Provides legal
advocacy, educational seminars,
fundraising, scholarships and support
programs. Atlanta. 404-233-5332, ext.
American Foundation for the Blind,
National Literacy Center. Provides
referrals, educational materials,
advocacy, literacy initiatives, and
resources on Braille, assistive
technology and low vision. 100
Peachtree St., Ste. 620, Atlanta. 404525-2303. www.afb.org.
Vision Rehabilitation Services. Offers a
low vision clinic, vision rehabilitation, a
media center, employment assistance and
more. 3830 S. Cobb Dr., Ste. 125, Smyrna.
Center for the Visually Impaired. A
rehabilitation facility for individuals of all
ages who are blind or visually impaired.
739 W. Peachtree St. NW, Atlanta. 404875-9011. www.cgi.org
Cook Vision Therapy Center. Vision
therapy for reading and learning problems.
1395 S. Marietta Pkwy., Bldg. 400, Ste.
116, Marietta. 770-419-0400. www.
Foundation Fighting Blindness, Georgia
Affiliate. Provides public awareness,
funds for research and a support group
for individuals with visual impairments,
retinitis pigmentosa, macular degeneration
and other retinal degenerative diseases.
385 Waverly Hall Dr., Roswell. www.
Georgia Council for the Hearing
Impaired, Inc. Provides advocacy, job
readiness, summer camp for teens and
youth, GED preparatory classes and more
with offices throughout Georgia. 4151
Memorial Dr., Ste. 103-B, Decatur. 404292-5312. www.gachi.org.
G e o rg i a C o u n c i l o f t h e B l i n d .
Information, referral and advocacy
including scholarship assistance to postsecondary students, and public education
and awareness training. 999 Gaines School
Road, Athens. 877-667-6815 or 706-8574221. www.georgiacounciloftheblind.org.
Georgia Library for Accessible
Services. Thirteen sub-regional libraries
statewide provide free library service
including circulating fiction and nonfiction books and magazines (in Braille
or on tape) for individuals with a visual
or physical disability. 1150 Murphy
Ave. SW, Atlanta. 404-756-4619. www.
Georgia PINES (Parent Infant
Network for Educational Services).
A statewide early intervention
program offering free services
to families of children birth to 5
years with hearing and/or vision
impairment. Services provided in
the home. 890 N. Indian Creek Dr.,
Clarkston. 404-298-4882. www.
Georgia Sensory Assistance Project. Services for children and youth
from birth through 21 years with
deaf blindness, including in-home
and school consultation, family support and networking, referrals, workshops, and equipment and materials
for loan. Georgia State University, Dept. of Educational Psychology and Special Education, Atlanta.
G e o rg i a S p e e c h - L a n g u a g e Hearing Association. Offers a
directory of Georgia speech, language
and hearing professionals, facilities
and resource services. 20423 State
Rd. 7, Ste. F6-491, Boca Raton, FL.
National Federation of the Blind.
Parent support and networking,
resources and a national pen pal
program for youth. 1800 Johnson
St., Baltimore, MD. 410-659-9314,
National Library Service for the
Blind and Physically Handicapped.
Administers a free program that loans
audio and Braille books, magazines,
music scores and specially-designed
playback equipment to U.S. residents
who are unable to use standard
print materials because of visual
or physical impairment. 1291
Taylor St. NW, Washington, D.C.
Northside Hospital Audiology.
Comprehensive evaluations of
various auditory needs including
all basic audiological assessments
and auditory processing testing for
all ages. Atlanta, Alpharetta, and
Johns Creek. 404-851-6743. www.
Support Groups and Resource Organizations • General Resources
P reve n t B l i n d n e s s G e o rg i a .
Statewide volunteer health agency
providing free vision screenings
for pre-kindergarten classes. Vision
screening training for school staff,
pediatric offices and volunteers. Eye
health and safety resources. 455 E.
Paces Ferry Rd., Ste. 222, Atlanta.
Sensory Processing Disorder Parent
Connections (SPD-PC). This parentrun organization’s members support
each other through regular meetings
that feature group discussions,
education and guest speakers.
Understand that Sensory Processing
Disorder is a disorder of the brain,
not something that was caused by a
parent, and that treatment options are
available. [email protected]
HEART AND LUNG
American Heart Association, Georgia
Affiliate. Community events and
educational materials available on
prevention, diagnosis and treatment
of heart disease and stroke. 1101
Northchase Pkwy., Ste. 1, Marietta.
American Lung Association,
Southeast Region. Provides educational
programs and services, advocacy and
an overnight camp for children with
asthma. 2452 Spring Rd., Smyrna. 770434-5864. www.alase.org.
American Kidney Fund. Provides
financial assistance for transplants and
kidney patients on dialysis, patient
services, public education, clinical
strategies, research, summer programs
for children and more. 6110 Executive
Blvd., Ste. 1010, Rockville, MD.
National Kidney Foundation of
Georgia. Programs in research,
public information, professional
training, organ donation and patient
services including summer camp,
health fairs and financial assistance.
2951 Flowers Rd. S, Ste. 211, Atlanta.
Division of Mental Health,
Developmental Disabilities and
A d d i c t ive D i s e a s e s . P r ov i d e s
treatment, support services. Georgia
Dept. of Human Resources, 2 Peachtree
St. NW, 22nd Fl., Atlanta. 404-6572273. www.mhddad.dhr.georgia.gov.
Atlanta Turner Syndrome Society.
Support with meetings several
times a year. 770-483-5194. www.
and LENDING PROGRAMS
Mental Health America of Georgia.
O ff e r s a d vo c a cy s e r v i c e s a n d
educational resources for families,
health care providers and the public.
100 Edgewood Ave. NE, Ste. 502,
Atlanta. 404-527-7175. www.ciclt.
National Alliance on Mental Illness
(NAMI). National support group with
online discussion groups, advocacy,
support and more. Colonial Place
Three, 2107 Wilson Blvd., Ste. 300,
Arlington, VA. 703-524-7600. www.
NAMI Georgia. Provides emotional
support and education for families,
public awareness, a statewide helpline
( 8 0 0 - 7 2 8 - 1 0 5 2 ) a n d a d vo c a cy
services. 3050 Presidential Dr., Ste.
202, Atlanta. 770-234-0855. www.
Right in the Community. Provides
for the needs of families who have
children with mental retardation or
other developmental disabilities.
Support groups, workshops, group
homes, day camps, more. 770-4278401. www.rightinthecommunity.org.
The Arc of Clayton County. Offers
support, advocacy and information/
referral to existing services for people
with developmental disabilities. 404363-8494.
Abilitations. A children’s therapy
catalog providing a complete inventory
of movement, sensory integration,
positioning, classroom solutions,
adapted play, resources, aquatics,
specialty environments and more. P.O.
Box 922668 Norcross. 800-850-8602.
Muscular Dystrophy Association.
Provides informational materials,
n e t wo r k i n g , r e f e r r a l s t o l o c a l
resources, summer camps and an
equipment loan program. 2193
Northlake Pkwy., Bldg. 12, Ste.
104, Tucker. 770-939-3636. www.
Myasthenia Gravis Foundation,
G e o r g i a C h a p t e r. P r o v i d e s
information to patients, physicians
and the general public. Atlanta. 770973-3269. www.ga-mgfa.org.
Prader-Willi Syndrome Association
of Georgia. Provides information,
education and advocacy, conferences
and workshops, and individual and
family support. 652 Lakeland Plaza,
Ste. 327, Cumming. 770-886-2334.
The Arc of Newnan and Coweta
County. Helps intellectually disabled
adults live as independently as
possible by providing job training,
transportation, housing arrangements,
money management, recreation and
other services. The Rutledge Center,
61 Hospital Rd., Newnan. 770-2531189. www.rutledgecenter.org.
Down Syndrome Association of
Atlanta. Offers public education,
advocacy and support to parents
of children with Down Syndrome
including information, outreach
programs, social events and financial
assistance to parent groups. 4355 J
Cobb Pkwy., Ste. 213, Atlanta. 404320-3233. www.atlantadsaa.org.
Tourette Syndrome Association of
Georgia. Provides training, referrals,
advocacy services, newsletters for
children and young adults and free
educational materials. Fall family retreat
partnership with Camp Twin Lakes.
Summer camp also available. 706-2489784. www.georgiatourette.org.
Fragile Kids Foundation. Provides
medical equipment not covered by
private or government sponsored
insurance. 3350 Riverwood Pkwy.,
Ste. 1400, Atlanta. 770-951-6111.
National Down Syndrome Congress.
Provides informational materials,
referrals to local resources, national
conferences and advocacy efforts.
1370 Center Dr., Ste. 102, Atlanta.
Lupus Foundation of America,
Georgia Chapter. Offers support
g r o u p s , c h i l d r e n ’s p r o g r a m s ,
education and counseling referrals.
1850 Lake Park Dr., Ste. 101, Smyrna.
40 justkids magazine
Spina Bifida Association of Georgia.
Provides educational materials and
programs, mentoring, prevention
programs and advocacy. 1448 McLendon
Dr., Ste. B, Decatur. 770-939-1044.
AMS Vans, Inc. Provide quality preowned minivans with a brand new
10-inch lowered floor conversion
for wheelchair accessibility. 5555
Oakbrook Pkwy., Ste. 555, Norcross.
Apria Healthcare. Provides durable
medical equipment and IV infusion
therapy. Conyers, 678-775-7000; Duluth,
678-775-7000; Gainesville, 770-5030764; Marietta, 678-775-7000. www.
Center for Assistive Technology and
Environmental Access (CATEA).
A research center that promotes
participation of people with disabilities.
Projects are focused on workplace
policy, distance education, accessible
IT, and wheeled mobility and seating.
490 Tenth St., Atlanta. 404-894-4960.
www.catea.org or www.assistedtech.net.
Dunamis, Inc. Provides advice on
purchasing decisions, curriculum
adaptation services, and training
and workshops in the application
of technology used to help people
with special needs and learning
differences. 3545 Cruse Rd., Ste. 103,
Lawrenceville. 770-279-1144. www.
East Hall Branch and Special Needs
Library. Leisure reading, magazines,
large print books and audio described
and closed captioned videos. 2435 Old
Cornelia Hwy., Gainesville. 770-5323311, ext. 161. www.hallcountylibrary.
Friends of Disabled Adults and
Children, Too! Non-profit organization
providing free wheelchairs and home
healthcare equipment for the disabled.
Other services include ramp building,
vehicle lift installation and more.
4900 Lewis Rd., Stone Mountain.
Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance. Hosts
educational meetings, support groups
and family events. 3337 Hinsdale
Ln., Buford. 770-945-1393. www.
gTRADE.Georgia Tools for Life.
Online database of assistive technology
items for sale. 1700 Century Cir., Ste.
300, Atlanta. 800-497-8665 or 404-6380390. www.gtradeonline.org.
Bright From the Start:
Georgia Department of
Early Care and Learning
Bright From the Start provides early care and
education programs for Georgia’s children and their
families. The agency also offers assistance, training
and support to families and caregivers of children
with special needs. The department’s website has a
section that offers information to help promote the
inclusion of children with disabilities in early care
and learning programs. Resources are available
statewide. For more information, call 404-656-5957
or visit decal.ga.gov.
Handicapped Driver Services,
Inc. Modifies vans for wheelchair
accessibility and customized vans
for sale. 1310 Kennestone Cir. NW,
Marietta. 770-422-9674. www.
Lekotek of Georgia, Inc. An adapted
toy lending library with educational
materials and computer equipment
for children with disabilities from
birth through age 21. 1955 Cliff Valley
Way, Ste. 102, Atlanta. 404-633-3430.
Level Four Orthotics and Prosthetics.
Creators of the STARband, a soft helmet
used to reshape misshapen infant heads
in a safe and effective manner. 3672
Marathon Cir., Ste. 140, Austell. 678738-7380. www.levelfour.us.com.
Project ReBoot. Provides hands-on
training in information technology,
a lending library with assistive
technology and adaptive equipment
for loan to parents and a model home
demonstration that shows how tools
can assist individuals to maintain
independence and health. 4508 Bibb
Blvd., Ste. B-10, Tucker. 770-9348432. www.gatfl.org/reboot.
R&R Mobility Vans and Lifts, Inc.
Offers a large inventory of wheelchair
accessible vans in the Southeast,
including new and used handicap vans.
Buford, 678-730-0220; Conyers, 770483-0767. www.rrvan.com.
Tech-Able. Assistive technology
resource center that offers a lending library, demonstrations, training
classes and referrals. 1114 Brett Dr.,
Ste. 100, Conyers. 770-992-6768.
Three Wishes, Inc., Wishes on
Wheels. Makes electric power
wheelchairs available to nonambulatory senior citizens age
65 and up, and the permanently
disabled of any age. Specializes in
power wheelchairs and provides
medical products to qualified
disabled patients with medical
necessities. 800-535-3063. www.
Wheelchair Getaways. Provides
custom vans and mini vans with
wheelchair lifts on a daily, weekly
and monthly rental basis. Serves all
of Georgia and northern Alabama.
800-554-6893 or 770-457-9851.
American Civil Liberties Union.
Provides private, non-profit legal
assistance regarding disabilityrelated rights. Legislative advocacy.
70 Fairlie St., Ste. 340, Atlanta. 404523-5398. www.acluga.org.
The ARC of Georgia. Unified
advocacy for people with cognitive,
intellectual and developmental
disabilities providing parents with
education, support and referrals to
resources. 678-904-1967. Atlanta.
Atlanta Alliance on
D ev e l o p m e n t a l D i s a b i l i t i e s .
Provides advocacy, collaborative
recreation programs, referrals,
transportation services, life skills
training for students, fetal alcohol
syndrome training and more. 1440
Dutch Valley Pl., Ste. 200, Atlanta.
Citizen Advocacy of Atlanta and
Dekalb. Citizen advocates are
matched with an individual who
has a developmental disability for
the purpose of providing protection
and advocacy. 376 Oakdale Rd.
NE, Atlanta. 404-523-8849. www.
Disability Link. Provides advocacy
skills training and support, disability
awareness and sensitivity training,
information and referrals, community
outreach, education and other
services. 755 Commerce Dr., Ste.
105, Decatur. 404-687-8890. www.
Disability Resource Group.
Provides information, resources
and advice on disability rights issues.
Disability Rights Education and
Defense Fund. Monitors legislative
and educational efforts, conducts
research and training programs, and
educates people on laws. 2212 6th
St., Berkeley, CA. 510-644-2555.
Pacer Center. A national training and
information center on the Individuals
with Disabilities Act and related topics
for families of children and youth with
all disabilities. 8161 Normandale Blvd.,
Minneapolis, MN. 888-248-0822. www.
Parents Educating Parents and
Professionals. Offers parent advocacy
training on national legislative projects
and resources on local and national events.
Woodright Industries. Self-advocacy
group that meets monthly. Woodright
Industries. 1595 Hwy. 411 NE,
TASH. Advocates for inclusive
education and family/community
support. 1025 Vermont Ave., 7th Fl.,
Washington, DC. 202-263-5600. www.
Family Voices. Advocates in the
areas of health care, financing,
medical care, Medicaid and
insurance. 888-835-5669. www.
Adaptive Learning Center. Therapeutic preschool offering developmental
assessments, speech therapy, special
education, case management, summer
camp and other services. Program sites
in Atlanta, Dunwoody and Marietta.
G e o r g i a A d v o c a c y O f fi c e .
Advocacy assistance, legal advocacy,
training. 150 E. Ponce de Leon Ave.,
Ste. 430, Decatur. 404-885-1234.
Atlanta Child Care Guide.
Resources for home- and centerbased childcare. 3975 Covington
Hwy., Decatur. 404-288-8980. www.
Georgia’s Unlock the Waiting List
Campaign. Advocates working to
eliminate waiting lists for home- and
community-based services for people
with disabilities. 1440 Dutch Valley
Pl., Ste. 200, Atlanta. 877-924-8547.
CareBest Family Care Solutions.
Companion caregiver, nanny referral
and home management services.
Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities. Creates systems
of change for people with developmental disabilities and their families. 2 Peachtree St. NW, Atlanta.
Keenan’s Kids Foundation. An
Atlanta-based foundation that
primarily raises awareness on child’s
safety issues. 404-223-5437. www.
National Council on Disability.
Independent federal agency making
recommendations to the President
and Congress to enhance the quality
of life for all Americans with
disabilities and their families. 1331
F St. NW, Ste. 850, Washington, DC.
National Disability Rights
Network. Referrals to programs
i n e a c h s t a t e a n d t e r r i t o r y.
Advocates for the rights of people
with disabilities. 900 Second St.
NE, Ste. 211, Washington, DC.
Challenged Child and Friends, Inc.
Offers a center-based, school-year
early intervention program, infant
stimulation, therapy, and nursing and
family support. Integrates typical peers
ages 6 weeks to 6 years old. 2360
Murphy Blvd., Gainesville. 770-5358372. www.challengedchild.org.
Childtime Child Care. Childcare
services for developmentally delayed
children. Five locations around Atlanta.
Early Childhood School. Center-based
services with an educational focus for
individuals with mild developmental
delays. Second-Ponce de Leon Baptist
Church. 2715 Peachtree Rd. NE,
Atlanta. 404-266-8111. www.spdl.org.
Easter Seals of North Georgia. Special
needs childcare center, pediatric therapy
services. 1200 Lake Hearn Dr., Ste.
250, Atlanta. 404-943-1070. www.
Elaine Clark Center. Inclusive program
with individualized curriculum for all
disabilities. 5130 Peachtree Industrial
Blvd., Chamblee. 770-458-3251. www.
Family Private Care, LLC. This
caregiver registry provides private
care referral services for consumers
in hospitals, assisted living facilities,
nursing homes and private residences.
6065 Lake Forrest Dr., Ste. 170,
Sandy Springs. 404-252-9005. www.
The Frazer Center. Offers an inclusive
child development center, adult day
services, family and community based
services, research and training. 1815
Ponce de Leon Ave. NE, Atlanta. 404377-3836. www.thefrazercenter.org.
St. Jude’s Child Development
Center. Provides day and after school
care, and summer camp for children
including those with special needs
ages 6 weeks to 12 years old. St. Jude’s
Episcopal Church. 220 Windy Hill Rd.
SW, Marietta. 678-309-3871. stjudes.
Stepping Stones. A preschool
program at the Atlanta Speech
School for children ages 3 to 4 with
speech and/or language difficulties.
It incorporates education and therapy
with a speech-language pathologist,
learning disabilities specialist and
occupational therapist. 3160 Northside
Pkwy. NW, Atlanta. 404-233-5332.
DDD Foundation, Inc. Dentistry for the
developmentally disabled. 52 Executive
Park South, Ste. 5203, Atlanta. 404-9420086. www.dddfoundation.org.
Dental Hygiene Department,
Georgia Perimeter College. Dental
hygiene services for special needs kids;
appointments are longer in length at this
educational facility. 2101 Womack Rd.,
Bldg. C, Dunwoody. 770-274-5140.
Dr. Michael P. Healey. Serves
children with special needs. 1145
Hightower Trail NE, Atlanta. 770993-9395. www.dochealey.com.
Dave Kurtzman, DDS. Provides
full service specialized dental care
to developmentally disabled and
physically challenged clients. 661
Campbell Hill St. NW, Ste. 101,
Marietta. 770-980-6336. www.
Post Oak Pediatric Dentistry. Rhea
M. Haugseth, D.M.D. Sensitive
to needs of special children. 2155
Post Oak Tritt Rd., Ste. 450,
Marietta. 770-971-5536. www.
The Amit Program. An agency that
offers a school program and support
services for children with learning and/
or developmental special needs. 6255
Barfield Rd., Ste. 100, Atlanta. 404-9619966. www.amitatlanta.org.
42 justkids magazine
Dream House for Medically Fragile
Children. Temporary, therapeutic
foster homes for medically fragile
children. 2092 Scenic Hwy., Ste.
B, Snellville. 770-717-7410. www.
Georgia Congress of Parents and
Teachers. Services for parents and
teachers of all children. 114 Baker
St. NE, Atlanta. 404-659-0214. www.
Georgia Department of Education,
Division for Special Education Service
and Support. Helps local school systems
provide special education and related
services. 1870 Twin Towers East, Atlanta.
Georgia Learning Resources Systems.
Offers training, information and
resources to parents and educators
of children with disabilities. Atlanta,
678-676-2412; Smyrna, 770-432-2404.
South DeKalb Association for
Super Special Youth, Inc. Offers
support programs and assistance with
employment placement, promotes public
awareness and hosts social events.
Decatur. 770-969-9571. www.geocities.
Georgia Community Support and
Solutions. Provides communitybased services for families and
individuals with developmental
disabilities for 3 years old and older.
MTL Consulting, Inc. Provides speech
recognition training to children and
adults, specializing in students with
special needs including dyslexia and
dysgraphia. Alpharetta. 770-442-9325.
VSA Arts of Georgia. Provides access
to the arts for people with disabilities and
those with low income. Art exhibitions,
programming and a summer institute. 57
Forsyth St. NW, Ste. R-1, Atlanta. 404221-1270. www.vsaartsga.org.
Quality Care For Children. A childcare
referral agency that works to ensure
infants and young children are nurtured
and educated. We offer support to parents
and child care providers caring for
children with special needs. 50 Executive
Park South, Ste. 5015, Atlanta. 404-4794200. www.qualitycareforchildren.org.
Bright from the Start. Georgia
Department of Early Care and Learning
program providing technical assistance,
training and support to families and
child care providers for children
with special needs. 10 Park Place S.,
Ste. 200, Atlanta. 706-353-0459 or
Atlanta Ronald McDonald Houses.
Provide temporary housing and emotional
support to families of critically ill and
injured children who must travel to
Atlanta area hospitals. 404-315-1133 or
404-847-0760. Atlanta. www.armh.com.
Cerebral Matters. Program offering
assessment and cognitive remediation
to address learning differences. Summer
training programs available. 6100 Lake
Forrest Dr. NW, Ste. 108, Atlanta. 404493-0962. www.cerebralmatters.com.
Club Z! In-Home Tutoring Services.
Provides one-on-one tutoring in the
homes, schools or daycares of students
with disabilities. Covers all subjects
and grade levels. 866-448-8867. www.
Dyslexia Institutes of America. Provides
dyslexia psychoeducational evaluations
and individual instruction for children
and adults. 7000 Peachtree Dunwoody
Rd., Bldg. 11 Ste. 100, Atlanta. 678-7319414. www.dyslexiaga.org.
Lindamood-Bell Learning Center.
Offers individualized instruction in
reading, math, spelling, critical thinking,
comprehension and more for children
with severe learning disabilities and
the gifted. 3200 Cobb Galleria Pkwy.,
Ste. 228, Atlanta. 770-850-0612;
3400 McClure Bridge Rd., Bldg. C,
Ste. A, Duluth. 770-476-7066. www.
Department of Labor, Rehabilitation
Services, Vocational Rehabilitation
Program. Provides employment,
independent living and specialized
services for ages 16 and up that
help prepare for work and personal
independence. 1700 Century Cir., Atlanta.
Destiny’s Child, Inc. In-home personal
support for assistive living for adolescents
and young adults with developmental,
emotional, and psychological disabilities
and needs. 2221 Peachtree Rd. NE, Ste.
D-621, Atlanta. 404-696-4400. www.
Hope House Children’s Respite
Center. Provides onsite respite care
for medically fragile children and
a Saturday “We-Care” program for
non-medically fragile children. 7225
Lester Rd., Union City. 770-969-8354.
Institute for Child Health Policy.
Supports improved healthcare
systems for children with special
needs. Focus is on the transition of
youth with special needs to work,
independence and the adult health
care system. 1329 SW 16th St., Rm.
5130, Gainesville, FL. 352-2657220. www.ichp.ufl.edu.
Living Independence for Everyone.
Offers information and referrals, helps
in locating funding, peer support,
independent skills training and
advocacy. Also provides specialized
adaptive equipment purchase, home
accessibility modifications in some
rural areas. 912-920-2414. www.
M e t ro A t l a n t a R e s p i t e a n d
Developmental Services. Offers
respite services, as well as an early
intervention program, inclusive
childcare center and therapy services.
1335 Kimberly Rd. SW, Atlanta.
Pediatric Services of America.
PSA HealthCare provides quality,
cost-effective home care services
to pediatric and adult patients and
their families. A registry with over
3,500 skilled nurses and respiratory
therapists throughout 20 states.
310 Technology Pkwy., Norcross.
Disability Resource Center. Provides
advocacy, independent living skills
training, peer support and information
and referral. Assists with nursing home
and high school transitions. 470-A
Woodsmill Rd., Gainesville. 770-5346656. www.disabilityresourcecenter.org.
Statewide Independent Living
Council of Georgia. Provides
individual and systems advocacy, peer
counseling, independent living skills
training and information and referrals.
755 Commerce Dr., Ste. 415, Decatur.
Douglas County Retardation
Association, Inc. Home-based and
group home services for individuals
with mental retardation, cerebral palsy
and autism. Offers day programs and
weekend respite. 6497 E. Strickland
St., Douglasville. 770-942-1131. www.
Walton Options for Independent
Living. Offers advocacy, assistive
technology services, Braille
instruction, community education,
computer training, independent living
skills training and other services. 948
Walton Way, Augusta. 706-724-6262.
Living Program. Residential
program for adults ages 21 and older.
Services include transportation,
respite services and more. 4549
Chamblee Dunwoody Rd., Atlanta.
Charles A. Randall, P.C. Provides a
full range of legal services including
special needs trusts. 3355 Lenox Rd.,
Ste. 750, Atlanta. 404-250-3205.
The Elder and Disability Law Practice of Robert M. Goldberg and Associates. Provides legal and disability
services including special needs trusts,
family care agreements, health care
proxies and living wills. 1553 Williamson Rd., Griffin. 770-229-5729.
Keenan Law Firm. Specializes in
handling complex damage cases
including birth and day care center/
playground injuries. 148 Nassau
St., Atlanta. 404-523-2200. www.
Law Offices of Mark E. Biernath,
P.C. Providing comprehensive,
customized estate-planning utilizing
wills, trusts, powers of attorney
and special needs trusts. Offices
in Alpharetta, Atlanta, Buckhead,
Doraville, Dunwoody, Kennesaw
and Smyrna. 770-455-0535. www.
Medical Insurance Empowerment
Program, SNAP. National advocacy
group that provides information
for parents to determine how to
approach insurance companies for
authorizations or reimbursements for
therapies, medical equipment or other
items found “medically necessary.”
MetLife’s Division of Estate
P l a n n i n g fo r S p e c i a l K i d s .
Helps with financial and legal
issues concerning lifetime
care for special needs dependents.
The Meyring Law Firm. Wills,
trusts, probate, medical directives,
special needs trusts and more. 2900
Paces Ferry Rd. Bldg. C, Ste. 200,
Atlanta. 678-217-4369 ext. 3. www.
The Pollan Law Firm. Providing
parents of disabled children with
special needs planning advice and
services including: planning for longterm care, special needs trusts, wills,
Medicaid appeals, child and adult
guardianship and conservatorship.
1801 Peachtree St. NE, Ste. 150,
Atlanta. 678-510-1358. www.
E x c e p t i o n a l Fa m i l y M e m b e r
Program. Army community services
center helps families find community
resources. Information and referral
services. Darling Hall. Bldg. 33720,
Ste. 224, Fort Gordon.706-791-3579.
Family Action Network, Special
Olympics Georgia. Parent
organization that offers support and
activities for families. 4000 DeKalb
Technology Pkwy., Bldg. 400, Ste.
400, Atlanta. 770-414-9390. www.
Families of Children Under Stress
(FOCUS). Provides emotional,
physical and informational support
to families who have children with
disabilities or chronic/terminal
illnesses. 3825 Presidential Pkwy.,
Ste. 103, Atlanta. 770-234-9111. www.
Georgia Children’s Network. A
listserv for parents and grandparents
of special needs children to connect
with other parents, advocates,
special education attorneys
and service providers. 1105
Rock Pointe Look, Woodstock,
Georgia Parent Support
Network, Inc. Provides support
and referral services, technical
assistance in maintaining and
starting parent groups and more.
1381 Metropolitan Pkwy., Atlanta.
National Center for Family Support.
Provides training and technical
assistance for families with children
or adults who have developmental
disabilities. 7420 Bridgeport Rd. SW,
Ste. 210, Portland, OR. 503-924-3783.
Parent to Parent of Georgia. Offers
a parent match service to connect
parents who have children with the
same diagnosis. Also features an online
resource guide with information on
advocacy, therapy, camps, education
and more. 3805 Presidential Pkwy.,
Ste. 207, Atlanta. 770-451-5484. www.
Sensory Processing Disorder Parent
Connections. Run by parents, support
offered through regular meetings
that feature group discussions,
education and guest speakers.
Sibling Support Project. A national
program that supports the interests of
brothers and sisters of people with
special needs. 6512 23rd Ave. NW,
Ste. 213, Seattle, WA. 206-297-6368.
Support and Solutions
A nonprofit committed to providing communitybased services for families and individuals with
developmental disabilities. The organization has
different program options catering to families and
individuals with special needs in order to facilitate life
in the home and in the community. Family Ease is a
residential program offering alternative support living
to individuals who want a more independent living
situation. For more information, call 404-634-4222
or visit www.gacommunity.org.
PARK AND RECREATION
Atlanta Parks and Recreation,
Therapeutics. Offers a therapeutic
camp for children ages 6-21 with special
needs. City Hall East. 675 Ponce de
Leon Ave., 8th Fl., Atlanta. 404-6586381. www.atlantaga.gov.
Clayton County Parks and Recreation
Therapeutic Division. Offers year-round
recreational and leisure activities for ages
6 and up, and summer camp for ages 6
to 21. 2300 Hwy. 138 SE, Jonesboro.
Cobb County Parks Therapeutic
Recreation. Offers social clubs, field
trips, Special Olympics and a summer
camp for ages 7 to 21. 555 Nickajack
Rd., Mableton. 770-819-3215. www.
DeKalb County Parks and Recreation.
Offers youth and adult sports and
recreational activities. Mason Mill
Center for Seniors and Disabled. 1340-B
McConnell Dr., Decatur. 404-679-1349.
Gwinnett County Parks and
Recreation. Offers inclusive
recreational programs and summer
day camps for children ages 6-12 with
all levels of ability. 75 Langley Dr.,
Lawrenceville. 770-822-8840. www.
North Fulton Therapeutics. Provides
therapeutic recreational services, outdoor
education, field trips and summer camps.
6005 Glenridge Dr., Atlanta. 404-3036181. www.co.fulton.ga.us.
Rockdale Country Therapeutic
Recreation. Focuses on involvement
in recreation, adaptive sports, Special
Olympics programs, Blazesports and
the Miracle League. 1781 Ebenezer
Rd., Conyers. 770-278-7249. www.
Roswell Parks and Recreation.
Year-round adult programs for
individuals with special needs
including dancing, art and
tennis for ages 18 and up. Adult
Recreation Center. 830 Grimes
Bridge Rd., Roswell. 770-6413950. www.roswellgov.com.
Alexsander Academy. Caters
to children with sensory
processing issues, ADHD,
autism, Aspergers and others
in a small, group classroom.
2009-2010 school year will
serve 4th-7th grade. 562 N. Main
St., Alpharetta. 770-777-0475.
Atlanta Area School for the Deaf.
Full-day instruction for students
in preschool through high school.
890 N. Indian Creek Dr., Clarkston.
Atlanta Speech School.
Therapeutic and educational
centers for children and adults
with speech, hearing, language
or learning disabilities. Academic,
clinical and community programs
available. 3160 Northside Pkwy.
NW, Atlanta. 404-233-5332.
The Bedford School. Nine-month
day program designed for children
with learning disabilities. 5665
Milam Rd., Fairburn. 770-7748001. www.thebedfordschool.org.
Brandon Hall School. College
preparatory classes for traditional
learners and those with learning
issues in grades 4-12. 1701
Brandon Hall Dr., Atlanta. 770394-8177. www.brandonhall.org.
Brookwood Christian Language
School. Offers classes specializing in
language-based learning differences
for students in grades 1-12. 4728 Wood
St., Acworth. 678-401-5855. www.
The Lionheart School.
Relationship-based education for
school-age children on the autism
spectrum or with other disorders
of relating and communicating in a
transdisiplinary and comprehensive
learning environment. 180 Academy
St., Alpharetta. 770-772-4555.
Center Academy. Provides accredited
college preparatory environment to
students who have fallen behind or who
want to get ahead. 3499 South Cobb
Dr., Smyrna. 770-333-1616. www.
Mill Springs Academy. Small
private school for children with
LD, ADD/ADHD. 13660 New
Providence Rd., Alpharetta. 770360-1336. www.millsprings.org.
Clearwater Academy. Provides sensory
learning-based education for children in
grades K-12 with learning differences.
210 Greencastle Rd., Tyrone. 770-6313650. www.clearwateracademyga.org.
The Cottage School. Serves students
in grades 6-12 with ADHD and
special learning needs. Curriculum
focuses on developing academic, time
management and interpersonal skills,
and career planning. 700 Grimes Bridge
Rd., Roswell. 770-641-8688. www.
Cumberland Academy of Georgia.
Provides tailored learning for Asperger’s
Syndrome, ADD, ADHD and children
who need a small class environment. 650
Mt. Vernon Hwy., NE, Atlanta. 404-8359000. www.cumberlandacademy.org.
Eaton Academy. Offers customized
academic services for students in grades
K-12. Enrichment, distance learning,
individual study and other programs
available. 1000 Old Roswell Lakes
Pkwy., Ste. 110, Roswell. 770-6452673. www.eatonacademy.org.
F u r t a h P re p a r a t o r y S c h o o l .
Accredited curriculum for children
who benefit from intensive phonics
and intervention in reading and writing
instruction. 5496 Hwy. 92, Acworth.
Gables Academy. College preparatory
for students with learning disabilities
in grades 4-12. 811 Gordon St., Stone
Mountain. 770-465-7500. www.
Georgia Academy for the Blind.
Education services to Georgia students
with visual impairments or multiple
disabilities, including assessments and
individualized programs. 2895 Vineville
Ave., Macon. 478-751-6083. www.
Georgia School for the Deaf. Provides
day and residential programs for hearing
impaired students. Support services
include educational evaluations,
hearing/vision screenings and more.
232 Perry Farm Rd. SW, Cave Spring.
The Governess School. A private
Christian school specializing in the
education of children from middle
to high school with lower cognitive
abilities. P.O. Box 2709, Duluth.
44 justkids magazine
The Orion School. Offers monthly
thematic units for students
between the ages of 5 and 10 who
have ADHD and co-occurring
conditions. 458 Ponce de Leon
Ave. NE, Atlanta. 404-551-2574.
PRIVATE SCHOOL BOARDING
Stone Mountain School. Long-term
residential school specializing in preadolescent and teens with learning disabilities, ADHD, emotional issues and
behavioral problems. 126 Camp Elliott
Rd., Black Mountain, NC. 888-6315994. www.stonemountainschool.com.
Vanguard School. A remedial, coeducational boarding school for
students who have learning disabilities.
22000 Hwy. 27, Lake Wales, FL. 863676-6091. www.vanguardschool.org.
PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEMS
Atlanta City Schools. Exceptional
Children, 404-802-2602. www.atlanta.
Buford City Schools. Denise
Swanson, Director of Special
Education. 770-945-5035, ext. 109.
Greenfield Hebrew Academy’s M’silot.
A program for children with mild learning
differences. Focuses on general and Judaic
studies, and remedial strategies. 5200
Northland Dr., Atlanta. 404-843-9900.
The Pathways Academy. Offers
a multi-sensory, phonics-based
program for children with
dyslexia and learning disabilities.
4010 Canton Rd., Ste. 120,
Marietta. 770-973-5588. www.
Heart of Hope Academy. Offers a
full day program and after care, and
provides academics and functional
learning to students with developmental
disabilities. 5130 Peachtree Industrial
Blvd., Chamblee. 770-458-3251. www.
Porter Academy. Provides a
learning environment for speechlanguage processing issues,
dysgraphia, dyslexia and attention
difficulties. Grades PreK-8th. 200
Cox Rd., Roswell. 770-594-1313.
Hirsch Academy. The non-profit school
for children with learning differences,
ages 5-12 years, focuses on relating
and communicating, self-regulation and
social thinking. 404-378-9706. www.
The Schenck School. Special
needs school that serves children
with dyslexia. Full-day academic
setting for grades 1-6. 282
M t . Pa r a n R d . N W, A t l a n t a .
Coweta County. Gina Murray,
Special Education Director, 770-2542810. www.cowetaschools.org.
Hope Springs Learning Center. Small,
upgraded classes for learning-disabled
students ages K-8. Includes one-on-one
NILD therapy. 1239 Braselton Hwy.,
Lawrenceville. 678-442-8785. www.
Sophia Academy. Non-denominational Christian school for children
with learning differences. Grades
K-8. 2880 Dresden Dr., Atlanta.
DeKalb County. Department of
Exceptional Education and Support
Services, 678-676-1800. www.dekalb.
Howard School. Personalized programs
to meet individual learning styles. Grades
K-12. 1192 Foster St., Atlanta. 404-3777436. www.howardschool.org.
Special Needs Schools
of Gwinnett. Educational
and therapeutic programs for
preschool through high school
students as well as young adults.
Focuses on academic and skill
development. 660 Davis Rd.,
Jacob’s Ladder Neurodevelopmental
Learning Center. A school and clinic
for children ages 2 - 18 established to
provide services kids need to realize
their full potential. 407 Hardscrabble
Rd., Roswell. 770-998-1017. www.
Joseph Sams School. Individualized
special education plan for children from
birth to 22 years old. 280 Brandywine
Blvd., Fayetteville. 770-461-5894. www.
Kaleidoscope ABA School. Private school
for children 2-10 years of age with Autism
and related disorders. 1:1 ratio using
applied behavior analysis instruction, full
and half day programs provided year round.
Canton, moving to north Fulton by 2011.
Stepping Stones Educational
Therapy Center. A therapeutic
and educational center for children
with special needs. 141 Futral
Rd., Griffin. 770-229-5511. www.
The Swift School. Serves
children with language-based
learning differences and dyslexia.
Offers a full day program with a
complete curriculum for grades
1- 6. 300 Grimes Bridge Rd.,
Roswell. 678-205-4988. www.
Cherokee County. Dr. Susan Zinkil,
Special Education Director, 770-7218501. www.cherokee.k12.ga.us.
C l a y t o n C o u n t y. B e h av i o r a l
Intervention Program and Special
Education Department, 404-362-3810.
Cobb County. Carol Seay, Director
of Special Education, 770-426-3320.
Decatur City Schools. Exceptional
Student Services, 404-370-4400, ext.
Douglas County. Special Education
Office, 770-651-2135. www.douglas.
Fayette County. Chris Horton,
Director of Exceptional Children’s
Services Department, 770-460-3990,
ext. 260. www.fcboe.org.
Forsyth County. Sarah Taylor,
Department for Exceptional Students,
Fulton County. Department for
Exceptional Children, 404-763-5600.
Gwinnett County. Department of
Special Education and Psychological
Services, 678-301-7110. www.
Henry County. Special Education
Department, 770-957-8086. www.
Marietta City Schools. Department
of Special Services and Educational
Support, 770-427-4631. www.mariettacity.org.
Juvenile arthritis is considered one of the most
frequently occurring diseases affecting children in the
United States – more than 9,200 Georgia children have
it. The National Arthritis Foundation, headquartered in
Atlanta, provides public health education and conducts
evidence-based programs to improve the quality of life
for those living with the disease. For more information,
call 404-872-7100 or visit www.arthritis.org. The
foundation’s Georgia chapter raises money through an
annual walk. Every summer it also offers a free camp
for children, ages 6 to18, with the disease. For more
information, call 678-237-4450 or visit www.arthritis.
Newton County. Dr. Paulette Bragg,
Director of Special Education
Department, 770-787-1330. www.
Paulding County. Exceptional
Students, 770-443-8030. www.
Rockdale County. Learning Support
Services, 770-860-4231. www.
Access To Recreation. Provides exercise
and recreational equipment for people with
disabilities. 8 Sandra Ct., Newbury Park,
CA. 800-634-4351. www.accesstr.com.
ALTA Foundation Wheelchair Tennis.
Offers free instructional clinics in spring
and fall at Blackburn Tennis Center. 6849
Peachtree Dunwoody Rd., Atlanta. 770399-5788. www.altatennis.org.
American Association of Adapted
Sports Programs. School-based wheel
chair sports for kids with physical
disabilities in elementary through high
school. Atlanta. 404-294-0070. www.
Ameri-Kan Karate. Individualized
karate instruction stresses balance,
coordination, discipline, focus, physical
fitness and social skill development. 3020
Edwards Dr., Conyers. 770-388-9858.
BlazeSports. Sports training,
competitions, summer camps,
healthy lifestyle programs and other
recreational opportunities for youth
and adults who use wheelchairs or
have visual impairment, amputation or
a neurological disability. 280 Interstate
North Cir., Ste. 450, Atlanta. 770-8508199. www.blazesports.org.
Boy Scouts of America. Provides
an educational and social program
for boys and young adults. Children
with special needs are placed in
inclusive troops. 1800 Circle 75
Pkwy. SE, Atlanta. 770-989-8820.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro
Atlanta. Provides prevention and
intervention for disadvantaged youth,
youth development and recreational
activities. 21 full-time clubs in 11
metro counties. www.bgcma.org.
B’Yachad. A buddy program that
allows young people with special
needs to develop friendships in social
and recreational settings. Monthly
programs for middle and high school
age kids. North Atlanta. 404-9619966. www.amitatlanta.org.
Camp Fire USA, Georgia Council.
Children with special needs are
taken on an individual basis.
Clubs, summer programs, selfreliance courses, outdoor skills and
environmental education, and more.
92 Camp Toccoa Drive, Toccoa. 706886-2457. www.campfireusaga.org.
Camp Sunshine. Year round
program for children who have
cancer and their families. Archery,
horseback riding, crafts, water
activities. Held at Camp Twin Lakes.
Rutledge. 404-325-7979. www.
Compeer Atlanta. This recreation
organization matches non-disabled
individuals, groups and families
with individuals with disabilities to
provide a relationship of friendship
and support. Ages 18 and up. 1903
N. Druid Hills Rd., 678-686-5918.
Dance and Arts Showcase. Jazz,
ballet and tap for children with Down
Syndrome. Children must be able to
walk. Atlanta, Snellville. 770-9345010. www.danceandarts.com.
D a n c e Fo r F u n . C h i l d r e n ’s
Healthcare of Atlanta at North Druid
Hills offers a dance program for
special needs children led by physical
and occupational therapists. Children
learn balance and coordination
skills. 1605 Chantilly Dr. NE, Ste.
200, Atlanta. 404-785-8181 (Cathy
Decatur Yoga and Pilates. Offers
a Grounded Kids Yoga program
to help children with a variety of
disabilities, from autism to ADD.
431 West Ponce De Leon Avenue,
Decatur. 404-377-4899. www.
Georgia Gymnastics Academy, Inc.
Offers professionally tailored and
directed programs for every age group
at every ability level. 98 Patterson Rd.,
Lawrenceville. 770-962-5867. www.
Girl Scouts of Northwest Georgia.
Helps girls self value, social and
volunteering skills through troop
service. Inclusive and exclusive
troops available. 1577 Northeast
Expressway, Atlanta. 404-527-7500.
Physical and Leisure Activities
for Youth (PLAY). Swimming
and skill and fitness development
for children with disabilities.
During semesters at Kennesaw
State University. Dr. St. Pierre.
1000 Chastain Rd., Kennesaw.
S h e p h e r d C e n t e r. O f f e r s
a program that combines
education classes with leisure
outings and skill instruction.
A sports team program, fitness
center and therapeutic recreation
specialists with expertise in
aquatics, arts, horticulture,
music, outdoors and sports.
2020 Peachtree Rd. NW, Atlanta.
Special Abilities Karate.
Specialized Karate class for
children ages 4-19 who have
c e r e b r a l p a l s y, m u s c u l a r
dystrophy and any other physical
disabilities. Satori Martial Arts
a n d H e a l i n g C e n t e r. 1 1 2 3 5
A l p h a r e t t a H w y. , S t e . 1 1 8 ,
Roswell. 770-521-1152. www.
Good Shepherd Therapeutic
Center. Provides therapeutic riding
services to persons with physical
disabilities. 390 Barrest Ranch Rd.,
Warm Springs. 706-655-2354. www.
Special Olympics Georgia.
Offers year-round sports training
and athletic competitions in 23
individual and team Olympictype sports for children and adults
with intellectual disabilities. 4000
DeKalb Technology Pkwy., Bldg.
400, Ste. 400, Atlanta. 770-4149390. www.specialolympicsga.
Little League Challenger Division.
Program within Little League Baseball
that pairs able-bodied children with
kids who have disabilities to play
baseball together. 570-326-1921, ext.
Swim Atlanta. Inclusive
swimming programs for children
of all abilities. Lawrenceville,
678-442-7946; Suwanee, 770232-7227. www.saswimschool.
Marcus Jewish Community Center
of Atlanta. Offers special needs
camps, Special Olympics afternoon
recreation and theater performances
with disabled actors. 5342 Tilly Mill
Rd., Dunwoody. 770-396-3250. www.
TOPSoccer, North Atlanta
Soccer Association. A soccer
program for young athletes who
have cognitive, emotional or
physical disabilities. Ages 8-19.
Metro North Park. 4645 Paper
Mill Rd., Marietta. 770-9558700. www.nasa-ga.org.
Marietta Enrichment Center.
Offers a day program for
individuals with developmental
disabilities. Art, sign language,
music therapy, social events, health
and fitness, and other activities.
1395 S. Marietta Pkwy., Bldg. 700,
Ste. 700, Marietta. 678-354-9144.
Miracle League Association.
Children play baseball with a buddy in
a custom-designed baseball complex
with turf that accommodates all
abilities. 1506 Klondike Rd., Ste.
105, Conyers. 770-760-1933. www.
YMCA Happy Club. Yearround social activities for teens
and adults with developmental
disabilities ages 16 and up. Dance,
bowling, arts and crafts, sporting
events and more. Program offered
in Atlanta, Decatur, Hoschton and
YWCA of Greater Atlanta.
Provides after school programs,
educational and recreational
activities, youth outreach and
prevention programs. 957 North
Highland Ave., Atlanta. 404-8923476. www.ywcaatlanta.org.
ADDitude Magazine. Seasonal
lifestyle magazine for individuals with
ADD/ADHD. 39 W. 37th St., 15th Fl.,
New York, NY. 888-762-8475. www.
Attention! Bimonthly magazine
for families and adults with ADHD
sponsored by CHADD. 8181
Professional Pl., Ste. 150, Landover,
MD. 800-233-4050. www.chadd.org.
Exceptional Parent Magazine. Monthy
support, ideas, encouragement and
outreach for parents and families
of children with disabilities and the
professionals who work with them. 877372-7368. www.eparent.com.
Disabled Dealer Magazine of the
Southeast. Monthly magazine resource
for new and used adaptive equipment,
and accessible homes and vehicles.
800-417-9697 or 770-457-9697. www.
JustKids. Published semi-annually
by Atlanta Parent Magazine. Includes
local articles, advertising and a
comprehensive resource guide for
parents of special needs children. 770454-7599. www.atlantaparent.com.
SUMMER DAY CAMPS
ABCs Winners Camp. Summer day
camp for children with ADD/ADHD,
behavior disorders, emotional issues,
learning disabilities and oppositional
disorders. Focus is on self-esteem, social
skills, study skills, impulse control, selfmonitoring skills and anger management.
300 W. Wieuca Rd. NE, Atlanta. 770-9711085. www.ypsychology.com.
Agape Ranch. Summer recreation
program for teens and adults with PDD
or autism. Children ages 10 and up enjoy
arts and crafts, swimming, music, games,
sports, bowling and picnics. Cleveland, GA.
Atlanta Parks and Recreation, Special
Recreation Services. One-week
sessions. June-July. Summer day camp
for children ages 6-21 with physical
and mental disabilities. 1530 Woodbine
Ave. SE, Atlanta. 404-371-5008. www.
Camp Extraordinaire. Reading,
computers, arts and crafts,
outdoor sports, games and more.
Porter Academy. 200 Cox Rd.,
Roswell. 770-594-1313. www.
Camp Happy Hearts. Children
w i t h m i l d d i s a b i l i t i e s e n j oy
swimming, arts and crafts, games,
sports, field trips and more.
405 Cumming St., Alpharetta.
Camp Kingfisher. Chattahoochee
Nature Center. Nature camp for
children ages 5 to 14. Hikes, crafts,
animal demonstrations, canoeing
and swimming. Accepts children
with special needs. 9135 Willeo Rd.,
Roswell. 770-992-2055, ext. 222.
Camp Sunshine. Serving children
with cancer ages birth-23 years
and their families by providing
educational, recreational and support
programs year round. Summer
camp held at Camp Twin Lakes.
Rutledge. 404-325-7979. www.
Camp Wannaklot, Hemophilia of
Georgia. Summer camp for children
with bleeding disorders. Camping,
canoeing, golf, swimming and more.
Held at Camp Twin Lakes. Rutledge.
Cecil B. Day Sports and Fitness
Center. Tumbling and gymnastics
camp for children ages 4 to 12.
Dunwoody Baptist Church. 1445 Mt.
Vernon Rd., Atlanta. 770-280-1210.
Children’s Special Services Summer
Camps. Handwriting and social skills,
hiking, rock climbing, swimming
and non-competitive games. Held at
clinic and several metro Atlanta locations. 770-394-9791. www.childrensservices.com.
Circus Arts Social Summer. Circus
program that includes juggling,
trapeze, rope climbing and more
designed for children with special
needs. 206 Rogers St. NE, Ste. 214.
Beyond Words Social Skills Camp.
Lessons in basic social and nonverbal
communication skills enriched with
art and sports. 1762 Century Blvd.,
Ste. B, Atlanta. 404-633-0250. www.
Clayton County Therapeutic
Recreation Day Camp. Camp
for mild to moderately disabled
children. Skating, swimming, arts
and crafts, and field trips. Carl
Rhodenizer Recreation Center, Rex.
BSO Camp Chai. Jewish-based camp
for students in kindergarten through
8th grade. Serves all campers including
those with Spectrum autism. Activities
include swimming, horseback riding,
golf and canoeing. Shirley Blumenthal
Park. 2509 Post Oak Tritt Rd., Marietta.
The Cottage School Summer
Success Program. Summer study
program for middle and high school
students with subjects such as math,
reading, art, SAT prep, social studies
and more. 700 Grimes Bridge Rd.,
Roswell. 770-641-8688. www.
46 justkids magazine
Great Beginnings Camp. Summer camp for children ages 18 to
35 months. Designed to provide
controlled tactile and vestibular
stimulation, facilitate large and
fine motor development, and
develop language and cognitive
skills. 660 Davis Rd., Lawrenceville. 678-442-6262. www.
High Meadows Camp. Offers
a full inclusion day camp for
campers with developmental
disabilities ages 6-18.
Swimming, arts and crafts and
more. Atlanta. 404-816-3967.
Lekotek Summer Computer
Camp. Campers with physical,
c o g n i t iv e a n d / o r s e n s o r y
disabilities learn alongside
siblings and peers to play
using adaptive and innovative
technology. 1955 Cliff Valley
Way, Ste. 102, Atlanta. 404-6333430. www.lekotekga.org.
Mark Trail Summer Alternative
Camp (ADD, LD). Focuses on
organizational and interpersonal
skill development, visual and
auditory perceptual training and
more for children ages 6 to 17.
Mill Springs Academy. 13660 New
Providence Rd., Alpharetta. 770360-1336. www.millsprings.org.
MJCCA Camp Billi Marcus.
Swimming, arts and crafts,
music and more for infants
to Pre-K. Shirley Blumenthal
Park. 2509 Post Oak Tritt Rd.,
Marietta. 770-578-7501. www.
Project Work. A program
for special needs middle and
high school students. Provides
job readiness skills including
computer, career research, resume
writing, marketing, cooking and
finances. Cottage School. 700
Grimes Bridge Rd., Roswell.
Sonrise Camp. Horse, music
and day camps for special needs
children. 3012 Simpson Park
Rd., Gainesville. 678-450-6905.
Spina Bifida Summer Program. Focuses on independent
living, mobility, social and cognitive skills. Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite.
1001 Johnson Ferry Rd. NE,
Atlanta. 404-785-2490. www.
Towne Lake Arts Center. Offers
writing and dramatics summer
programs and year-round classes
and plays for children with
special needs. 6576 Commerce
Pkwy., Woodstock. 678-4944251. www.tlaclive.org.
BlazeSports Georgia Blaze Camp.
BlazeCamp is a five-day, four-night
residential summer camp that provides
youth aged 8-18 with a physical disability
an opportunity to become involved in sport
and recreation activities including: floor
hockey, swimming, bowling, quad rugby,
cycling, wheelchair basketball, soccer
and much more. 280 Interstate North Cir.,
Ste. 450, Atlanta.770-850-8199. www.
Camp ASCCA, Easter Seals. Oneweek sessions for children with
disabilities. Aquatic activities, arts
and crafts, canoeing, ropes course,
horseback riding and more. Jackson’s
Gap, AL. 256-825-9226. www.
Camp Barney Medintz. An overnight
camp celebrating Jewish culture.
Features the Chalutzim (Pioneers)
Program for children with developmental
disabilities. Cleveland, GA. 770-3963250. www.campbarney.org.
Camp Lee Mar. A private, co-ed camp
for special needs children and young
adults ages 5 to 21 who have mild to
moderate developmental disabilities.
Traditional camp activities, academics,
vocational preparation, speech and
language therapy, and more. Pocono
Mountains, PA. 215-658-1708. www.
Camp Sparrowood. Christian camp
for the high functioning, mildly
mentally disabled. Nature activities,
cookouts, crafts, games, overnight
campout, swimming. Dahlonega. 706864-6181. www.campglisson.org.
Camp Sky Ranch. Camp for children
and adults with special needs. Arts
and crafts, boating, horseback riding,
s w i m m i n g a n d m o r e . B l ow i n g
Rock, NC. 828-264-8600. www.
Camp Sunshine. For children who
have cancer and their families.
Archery, horseback riding, crafts,
water activities. Held at Camp Twin
Lakes. Rutledge. 404-325-7979. www.
Camp Walk-n-Roll. An overnight
camp for children with muscular
d y s t r o p h y. A r c h e r y, c e r a m i c s ,
swimming, fishing and more. Camp
Twin Lakes. Rutledge. 770-621-9800.
Camp Yofi at Camp Ramah Darom.
A weeklong camp for Jewish families
with children who have autism. Clayton.
Florida Diabetes Camp. Traditional
camp in various parts of Florida, with
swimming, sports, arts and crafts
and diabetes education. Medical
care provided. 352-334-1323. www.
General Resources • Therapy and Medical Services
Siskin Children’s Institute. Four
centers for children that specialize
in education, outreach, health
care and research. The centers
diagnose, treat, educate, research
and provide support for children
with developmental disabilities
and their parents. 1101 Carter St.,
Chattanooga, TN. 423-648-1708.
Tommy Nobis Center. Services
include vocational and work
evaluations, employment services
and skills training. 1480 Bells Ferry
Rd., Marietta. 770-427-9000. www.
Georgia Lions Camp for the Blind.
Campers must have a visual loss of 20/70
or greater. Indoor and outdoor activities,
field trips and swimming. Ages 4 to adult.
Waycross. 888-297-1775. www.glcb.org.
SOAR Summer Adventures. Highadventure programs for LD and ADHD
youth. California, Costa Rica, Florida,
North Carolina and Wyoming. 828-4563435. www.soarnc.org.
Squirrel Hollow Camp. Five-week
program for children with learning
difficulties. Instruction in reading, math
and writing skills. Fairburn. 770-774-8001.
Talisman Camps and Programs.
Summer programs for children ages 8 to
17 and young adults ages 18 to 22 with LD,
ADD and ADHD, Asperger’s Syndrome
and high functioning autism. Zirconia, NC.
Young Adult Living and Learning Skills
(YALLS). A five-week summer program
focusing on socialization, communication
and job skills. Ages 18 and up. 660 Davis
Rd., Lawrenceville. 678-442-6262. www.
DeKalb Community Service Board.
Programs include outpatient mental
health counseling, acute stabilization and
detoxification, psychosocial rehabilitation
and residential services, and more. 445
Winn Way, Decatur. 404-294-3834. www.
Jewish Family and Career Services.
Provides services to people with
developmental disabilities and their
families in the areas of employment,
residential services, family support,
transportation, information and education.
4549 Chamblee Dunwoody Rd., Atlanta.
The MENTOR Network. Serves
developmentally disabled and at-risk
youth. Programs include host home living,
therapeutic foster care, education support
and crisis intervention. Decatur, 770-4965500. www.thementornetwork.com.
Many professionals in the metro
area offer a variety of treatments,
including occupational therapy,
physical therapy and speech therapy,
as part of their practice. Look under
Therapy Services for professionals
who primarily offer OT and PT
services. Separate categories have
been made for hippotherapy, music
and speech therapy.
Atlanta Holistic Medicine. Aims
to provide women and children with
comprehensive health solutions
through conventional medicine and
healing practices from around the
world. 2556 Apple Valley Rd., Ste.
175, Atlanta. 404-814-9808. www.
Babies Can’t Wait, Easter Seals
of North Georgia. Provides early
intervention for infants/toddlers with
developmental delays or disabilities.
Evaluations and recommendations
are given. A lending library with
therapy equipment, adaptive toys is
available. 1509 Atkinson Rd. Ste.
2200, Lawrenceville. 770-822-9115.
Behavioral Medicine Institute of
Atlanta. Provides psychological
evaluations and counseling for
groups and individuals. 1401
Peachtree St. NE, Ste. 140,
Atlanta. 404-872-7929. www.
C h i l d re n ’s C a r d i ova s c u l a r
Medicine, P.C. Offers pediatric
cardiology diagnostic services.
61 Whitcher St., Ste. 4140,
Marietta. 404-943-0289. www.
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
Pediatric healthcare system
providing evaluations, therapy
services and more with two hospitals,
19 satellite locations, and physicians
with various specialties. 404-2505437. www.choa.org.
Children’s Medical Services (CMS).
A statewide program that provides
or arranges for specialty medical/
family services for children birth to
age 21 with chronic conditions. 404657-2726. www.health.state.ga.us/
C l a y t o n C e n t e r. P s y c h i a t r i c
evaluations and treatment for
children and adolescents with mental
health disorders, ADHD, PDD and
depression. 6315 Garden Walk Blvd.,
Riverdale. 770-991-7420. www.
DeKalb County Board of Health.
Offers a service called Children
with Special Needs, which provides
assistance to children requiring special
care. 445 Winn Way, Decatur. 404294-3700. www.dekalbhealth.net.
Emory Autism Resource Center.
Provides information, referrals,
evaluations, medication consultations,
family support/training. Preschool
services and applied behavior analysis
therapy. Emory University, 1551 Shoup
Ct., Atlanta. 404-727-8350. www.
Emory’s Children’s Center. Medical
services for pediatric patients, including
an emergency shelter home for
newborns with special medical needs.
2015 Uppergate Dr., Atlanta. 404-7787777. www.emoryhealthcare.org.
Emory University Psychological
C e n t e r. B e h a v i o r c o n s u l t a n t
services, counseling and psychology
services, developmental evaluation
and assessment services, disability
organization, education consultations,
pediatric diagnostic and evaluation
services. 1462 Clifton Rd., Ste.
235, Atlanta. 404-727-7451. www.
Learning Evaluation Clinic. Provides
psycho-educational evaluations for
children ages 4 to 18. Atlanta Speech
School. 3160 Northside Pkwy.
NW, Atlanta. 404-233-5332. www.
Marcus Autism Center. Services
include evaluations, a pediatric feeding
disorder program, the Marcus Behavior
Center, speech language pathology
and a mental health psychotherapy
clinic for children birth to age 22 with
developmental or learning disabilities.
1920 Briarcliff Rd. NE., Atlanta. 404419-4000. www.marcus.org.
May Institute-Southeast Region.
Provides community-based behavioral
healthcare, educational and rehabilitative services. Serves individuals with
autism, pervasive developmental
disorder, developmental disabilities,
mental retardation, brain injury and
behavioral health needs. 280 Interstate North Circle, Ste. 430, Atlanta.
The Shepherd Center. Programs
provide intensive care, speech,
language, physical and
occupational therapies, as well
as extensive family education and
training. 2020 Peachtree Rd. NW,
Atlanta. 404-352-2020. www.
Southern Behavioral Group.
Behavioral and psychological
services for children with autism,
developmental disabilities and other
special needs. 2470 Windy Hill, Ste.
300, Marietta. 678-921-2811. www.
Wo o d l a w n D e v e l o p m e n t a l
Pediatrics, P.C. Private medical
practice that provides assessments
and monitoring of children and
adolescents with a variety of
3535 Roswell Rd., Ste. 44,
Services, Inc. Occupational and
physical therapists, and speech
language pathologists in clinical
and non-clinical environments.
413 Indian Hills Trail, Marietta.
All About Kids Therapy
Services, Inc. Pediatric physical
and occupational therapy. 545
Old Norcross Rd., Ste. 100,
Lawrenceville. 678-377-2833. www.
Assessment, Behavior Change,
and Counseling Center. Social
skills training, play therapy and
sand play for children with ADD/
ADHD and ODD. Also provides
p a r e n t t r a i n i n g i n b e h av i o r
management. 300 W. Wieuca Rd.,
Bldg. 2, Ste. 314, Atlanta. 770971-1085. www.psychology.am.
Associated Therapies, Inc.
Provides pediatric occupational,
physical and speech therapy
in a home or clinical setting.
1244 Clairmont Rd., Ste. 224,
Decatur. 404-728-9766. www.
Atlanta Rehabilitation Center.
Atlanta Medical Center. Provides
services for a variety of
conditions. 320 Parkway Dr. NE,
Atlanta. 404-265-4634. www.
Behavioral Innovations. This
in-house therapy center features
hands-on treatment practices
f o r c h i l d r e n w i t h p e r va s ive
developmental disorders. 8777 5 0 - 0 2 2 2 . w w w. b e h av i o r a l innovations.com.
Therapy and Medical Services
Beyond Words Center for Social
Skills Training. Provides social skills
assessment and training, parent training
and psychotherapy. 1762 Century
Blvd., Ste. B, Atlanta. 404-633-0250.
B.L. Boyd and Associates, P.C.
Offers early intervention, special
instruction, service coordination,
counseling, psychotherapy, and
marriage and family therapy. Also
provides assessments and evaluations
for all conditions and ages. 404325-1020.
Cherokee Pediatric Therapy.
Offers occupational and physical
therapy, speech and language
pathology, advanced behavioral
analysis, animal assisted therapy and
a sensory integration clinic. Homebased therapy services available in
Cherokee and Cobb counties. 770841-3154. www.childrehab.com.
Comprehensive Therapy Children’s
Center. A multidisciplinary outpatient
facility specializing in speech
language therapy, physical therapy
and occupational therapy for children
with special needs. 212 Riverstone
Dr., Canton. 770-345-7796. www.
Connections Counseling and
Development Center. Provides
individual, family and group counseling
services, along with learning disability
and stress management aid, from highly
trained health professionals. 2801 Buford
Hwy., Atlanta. 404-321-1800. www.
Devereux Georgia Treatment
Network. Community and residential
programs for children and adolescents
diagnosed with severe emotional
behavioral disorders. 1291 Stanley Rd.
NW, Kennesaw. 770-427-0147. www.
Children’s Special Services.
Handwriting, sensory integration,
motor development and self-esteem
therapy for children who learn
differently. Atlanta. 770-394-9791.
Easter Seals of North Georgia.
Pediatric therapy services in-home,
at childcare centers or at Easter Seals
locations. 1200 Lake Hearn Dr., Ste.
250, Atlanta. 404-943-1070. www.
Children’s Therapy Works. Offers
occupational, physical and speech
therapy. Also handwriting and social
skills groups. 11940 Alpharetta Hwy.,
Ste. 150, Alpharetta. 770-754-0085.
Excellence in Therapy. Aquatic,
occupational and physical therapies for
children and adults. Also provides NDT,
CST and MFR therapies. 345 Ridge Ct.,
Circus Arts Institute. Coordination,
balance, strength and flexibility
development for children, teens and
adults with attention difficulties,
behavioral and emotional issues, and
physical challenges. 206 Rogers St.
NE, Ste. 214, Atlanta. 404-549-3000.
Clay White, LLC. Activity-based
and sensory-driven therapeutic
programs including “Outdoor
Sensory Adventures,” “PEOTSI,”
an adaptive physical education
program, the “Social Club Program”
and “Super Saturdays,” a summer
program for children with sensory
processing disorders. Norcross. 770393-3939. http://claywhite.us.
Cobb Pediatric Therapy Services,
Inc. Offers services in speech,
occupational and physical therapies
for families and children. 3104
Creekside Village Dr., Ste. 404,
Kennesaw. 770-218-6274. www.
Services of Atlanta. Trained and
experienced doctors help children
and adults with ADHD, behavioral
problems, school difficulties, mood
disorders, eating disorders, PDD,
anxiety disorders, psychotic disorders
and more. 57 Executive Park South,
Ste. 360, Atlanta. 404-636-0054.
48 justkids magazine
Functional Physical Therapy, Inc.
Provides physical therapy services for
infants to young adults in clinic and
non-clinic settings. 2530-B Mountain
Industrial Blvd., Tucker. 404-456-3717.
Greater Atlanta Speech and Language
Clinics, Inc. Offers comprehensive
evaluations, occupational therapy, speech
and language therapy, physical therapy,
and hippotherapy. Suwanee, 770-8312313; Marietta, 770-977-9457. www.
Gwinnett Pediatric Therapy Center.
Speech therapies offered. 500 Medical
Center Blvd., Ste. 130, Lawrenceville.
Hearts and Hands Therapy Services,
Inc. A pediatric private practice clinic
that provides occupational and speech
therapy. Serves children from birth
through adolescence with autism,
cerebral palsy, Down syndrome
and more. 341 Creekstone Ridge,
Woodstock. 678-462-1342. www.
Helping Hands Pediatric Therapy,
Inc. Occupational & speech therapy. 470
South Hill St., Buford. 678-482-6100.
In Harmony Pediatric Therapy.
Offers physical, occupational, speech,
music therapy and Kindermusik®
programs. 310 Papertrail Way,
Ste. 302, Canton. 770-345-2804.
Interactive Children’s Therapy
Services. Home- and clinic-based
occupational therapy for newborns to
young adults. 2959 Hwy. 154, Bldg. C,
Ste. C, Newnan. 770-683-0250. www.
Kiddo’s Clubhouse. Occupational,
physical and speech therapies for
children with special needs, including
sensory integration and assistive
technology. 11539 Park Woods Cir.,
Ste. 502, Alpharetta. 678-527-3224.
Kid’s Creek Therapy. A pediatric
rehabilitation clinic offering speech,
occupational and physical therapy. 3905
Johns Creek Ct., Ste. 250, Suwanee. 770888-5221. www.kidscreektherapy.com.
K i d s p l a y T h e r a p y C e n t e r.
Occupational, physical and speech
therapies. Mother’s Morning Out, music
therapy, consultations/evaluations. 311
Cooper Rd., Loganville. 678-205-5437.
Kool Kidz, Inc. Physical therapy up
to age 21 in a non-clinic environment.
Aquatic therapy, therapeutic dance,
treatment and sensory integration.
M a r i e t t a . 7 7 0 - 5 1 7 - 2 4 8 0 . w w w.
Parallel Play, Inc. Provides occupational
therapy and physical therapy through
gymnastics. Yoga, karate and Therapeutic
Listening also available. 4680 Morton
Rd., Alpharetta. 5955 State Bridge Rd.
Ste 110, Duluth. 770-886-6800. www.
Parkaire Consultants. Diagnostic/
treatment services for children, adolescents/
adults needing therapeutic intervention for
neurological disorders. Neuropsychologist,
counselors, ADD and Life coaches,
educational consultants, speech/language
pathology, occupational therapy and tutors.
4939 Lower Roswell Rd., Marietta. 770578-1519. www.parkaireconsultants.com.
Pediatric Rehab Center, DeKalb
Medical Center. Specially trained
pediatric therapists maximize each child’s
independence at home, school and play.
5900 Hillandale Dr., Lithonia. 404-5018800. www.dekalbmedical.com.
Reinforcement Unlimited. Clinical and
behavioral consultants specializing in
autism spectrum, assessment program
diagnosis, behavioral evaluation, ABA,
ABLLS and VBA. Offers in-home
services, social skills groups, workshops
and training. 335 Parkway 575, Ste.
220, Woodstock. 770-591-9552. www.
Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute
for Rehabilitation. Offers educational,
medical, pastoral and vocational
services. Aquatic therapy, recreation
and assistive technology available.
Warm Springs. 706-655-5000. www.
Sensations Therafun. Provides an
additional place for parents, children
and their therapist to interact; features
climbing walls, monkey bars, swings,
private meeting rooms, after school
and summer programs and more. 1704
Chantilly Dr., Atlanta. 404-634-3500.
Tender Ones Therapy Services.
Physical therapist owned pediatric
rehabilitation company that offers
physical, occupational, and speech
therapy to children from birth through
age 21. 2089 Teron Trace, Ste.
120, Dacula. 770-904-6009. www.
Therapy on the Square. Pediatric
occupational and speech therapy –
evaluation and treatment.
sensory integration, Therapeutic
Listening. 920 Holcomb Bridge Rd.,
Ste. 350, Roswell. 770-642-0670.
T h e r a p y Wo r k s , P. C . O ff e r s
occupational, physical therapy services,
neurodevelopment treatment and sensory
integration. Handwriting and social skills
groups, Mother’s Morning Out available.
Lawrenceville, Norcross. 770-995-2379.
Village of St. Joseph Counseling
Services. Advocacy services,
education workshops, and individual
and family counseling for all ages
with ADD/ADHD, mental illness, and
emotional, behavioral and learning
disabilities. 600 W. Peachtree St.,
A t l a n t a . 4 0 4 - 8 8 5 - 7 4 2 5 . w w w.
Walter’s Rehabilitation Therapies,
Inc. Offers alternative options to parents
and caregivers of individuals suffering
from brain injury with a unique training
and teaching process that can be learned
and administered in the home. Mariposa
Landing-Century Lake Office Complex
1784-B Century Blvd NE, Atlanta.
Chastain Horse Park Therapeutic
Program. NARHA Premier Accredited
Center. Offers year-round equestrianassisted activities and therapies for
children with physical, cognitive and
emotional challenges. 4371 Powers
Ferry Rd., Atlanta. 404-252-4244, ext.
Coweta Organization for Riding
R e h a b i l i t a t i o n a n d L e a rn i n g
( C O R R A L ) . NA R H A P r e m i e r
Accredited Center. Free lessons for
students with a wide range of disabilities
in Coweta County School System
Special Education classes. 52 Oliver
Potts Rd., Newnan. 770-254-0840.
Therapy and Medical Services
Creative Therapy, Inc. Provides
occupational and physical therapy
services that specialize in the movement
of the horse and horse activities to
meet therapy goals. 1 McGarity
Rd., Canton. 770-360-9183. www.
DreamPower Therapeutic Equestrian
C e n t e r, I n c . NA R H A P r e m i e r
Accredited Center. Offers group and
private therapeutic riding sessions. 1840
Antioch Rd., Cumming. 678-456-8082.
Driving Magic. Operating on a 680
acre working farm in Hoschton,
offers therapeutic carriage driving
lessons. Duluth. 404-358-4129. www.
H o r s e Ti m e . NA R H A P r e m i e r
Accredited Center. Offers year-round
physical therapy, psychotherapy,
recreational riding and horsemanship
for people with special needs. 10385
Hwy. 278 E., Covington. 770-784-9777.
Parkwood Farms Therapy Center, Inc.
Offers hippotherapy and therapeutic riding
sessions. 2519 Parkwood Rd., Snellville.
Reece Center for Handicapped
Horsemanship. Recreational equestrian
therapy services. 8280 Wilkerson Mill
Rd., Palmetto. 678-423-0858. www.
Ride a Wish. Therapeutic horseback
riding for children and young adults to
enhance their cognitive, emotional and
physical special needs. 14770 Wood
Rd., Alpharetta. 404-457-8518. www.
Under Musical Construction, Inc.
Uses music therapy as aid for changing/
enhancing behavior and developmental
stages of growth and learning. 1569
Cove Creek Cir., Norcross. 770-6301356. www.musictherapy.com.
ABC Nutrition. Offers medical nutritional
therapy by Registered Dietitians to children
and adults with special nutritional needs
including developmental disabilities,
mental health, ADHD, autism and
other medical diagnoses. Assessments
include a comprehensive evaluation,
recommendations and education to
caregivers. P.O. Box 117, Flowery Branch.
Life Grocery and Cafe. Natural foods
market featuring healthy foods for
allergies and special dietary needs.
Specializing in additive-free, glutenfree, dairy-free, wheat-free, sugar-free,
and yeast-free options. 1453 Roswell
Rd., Marietta. 770-977-9583. www.
Speech-Language Pathology and
Audiology Clinic. Offers diagnostic
testing and therapy for children and
adults on an outpatient basis. Atlanta
Speech School. 3160 Northside
Pkwy. NW, Atlanta. 404-233-5332.
Anne Ledbetter Photography.
Specializes in photographing
portraits of children, babies, families
and pets. 770-431-0646. www.
Speech Pathology Services, Inc.
Occupational, speech and language
therapy services. 750 Hammond
Dr., Atlanta. 404-459-9192. www.
Haigwood Photography Studios.
Children’s portraiture. 565 S. Atlanta
St., Roswell. 770-594-7845. www.
Therapy Solutions of Georgia,
Inc. Offers pediatric speech,
language, feeding, oral-motor,
augmentative and communication
therapy services. 3615 Braselton
H w y. , S t e . 1 0 3 , D a c u l a .
Atlanta Area Stuttering Specialists.
Offers evaluation and treatment of
fluency disorders. 1874 Independence
Sq., Ste. B, Dunwoody. 770-399-5455.
TheraBeat, Inc. Provides music
therapy services that focus on motor,
communication, adaptive, social
development and cognitive skills. 310
Papertrail Way, Ste. 302, Canton. 770345-2804. www.therabeat.com.
RS Goldring Inc. Offers pediatric
speech therapy. 415 Fairford
Ln., Johns Creek. 404-509-6303.
Return to Eden. Organic market
featuring gluten-free, wheat-free and
dairy-free products. 2335 Cheshire
Bridge Rd., Atlanta. 404-320-3336.
Smith Portrait Design, Inc. Family and
children’s photography. 770-469-5305.
Music Therapy Services of Greater
Atlanta. Individual and group music
therapy, adaptive lessons for piano,
voice and guitar and programs for
toddlers and young children. 114
Bulloch Ave., Roswell. 678-277-2632.
PediaSpeech Services, Inc. Offers speech, language, feeding,
oral-motor, augmentative communication and reading therapies.
Decatur, Lawrenceville, Suwanee
and Norcross. 770-209-9826. www.
Assoc., Inc. A private practice
in speech and language offering
diagnostic and therapeutic treatment
programs for children and adults.
Laurie K. Botstein, M.S./C.C.C.SLP. 3137 Kings Arms Ct., Atlanta.
Sonora Farms. Therapeutic riding
programs offered year-round and summer
camps for children with special needs.
1937 Gaddis Rd., Canton. 770-569-9118.
Metro Music Therapy. Provides music
therapy services to children, adolescents
and adults to help address goals in
social skills, speech and language skills,
academic concepts, behavior and more.
Locations in Buckhead, Dunwoody
and Loganville. 404-579-8070. www.
The Language Group. Provides
speech and language therapy,
comprehensive evaluations and
more. 3756 LaVista Rd., Ste. 104,
Tucker. 404-477-9400. www.
Auditory-Verbal Center. Provides
audio-logical services, auditory verbal
therapy, early intervention services,
mainstreaming consultations and more.
1901 Century Blvd., Ste. 20, Atlanta.
Cobblestone Therapy Group. Specializing in speech/language therapy. 11111
Houze Rd., Ste. 101, Roswell. 770-9989599. www.cobblestonetherapy.com.
First Words Speech Services, LLC.
Provides speech therapy and special
instruction to children with autism and
complex communication disorders, from
infants to early school-age children.
1800 Lake Park Dr. Ste. 102, Smyrna.
Brain Balance Achievement Centers. Services for Neurobehavioral/
Developmental disorders such as AD/
HD, Autism, Asperger’s, Tourette’s
syndrome, Processing Disorders,
Dyslexia and learning disabilities.
357 Hwy. 74 N. Ste. 5, Peachtree City.
770-631-3033; 3525 LawrencevilleSuwanee Rd., Suwanee. 770-6144790; 30 E. Crossville Rd. Ste.
150, Roswell. 770-650-8010. www.
The Center for Research and
Expansion of Assistive Technology
Excellence (CREATE). Training,
consulting, tutoring, customized
software, IEP support. 3423 Fowler
Blvd., Lawrenceville. 770-923-3202.
Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention. Public health education,
training and research. 1600 Clifton
Rd., Atlanta. 404-639-3534. www.
Childkind. A foster and foster-toadopt agency for medically fragile
children. 3107 Clairmont Rd. NE,
Ste. A, Atlanta. 404-248-1980. www.
Foundation. Provides mini-grants
for families of individuals needing
assistive technology, informational
speaking for support groups and
churches, and adapted Bible study
materials. 3545 Cruse Rd., Ste.
103, Lawrenceville. 770-279-1144.
Network. Provides statewide
special education services for
students with autism and severe
emotional disturbance. Programs
include diagnosis, instruction, parent
support, social work and psychiatric
American Association of People
with Disabilities. Membership
benefits include a discount mail order
prescription service, digital credit
union and quarterly newsletter. 1629
K St. NW, Ste. 503, Washington, DC.
Institute for Behavioral Medicine.
A research study center for
behavioral disorders. Conducts
clinical trials and adolescent research
studies for autism, schizophrenia
and bipolar disorder. 4015 South
Cobb Dr., Ste. 120, Smyrna.
Angel Flight of Georgia. Provides
free air transport to people who
need to travel for specified medical
treatment or therapy that is potentially
life saving and not available in their
local area. 2000 Airport Rd., Ste.
227, Atlanta. 770-452-7958. www.
Institute on Human Development
and Disability. Performs research to
improve the quality of life for people
with disabilities and their families.
University of Georgia. 850 College
Station Rd., Athens. 706-542-3457.
Benefits Navigator Program, Georgia. A free service that provides work
incentive information for people who
receive either Supplemental Security
Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or both based on
a medical condition. Shepherd Center.
2020 Peachtree Rd. NW, Atlanta. 866772-2726. www.bpaoga.com.
Keeping Your Children Safe.
Specializing in “baby proofing”
and child safety services for your
home and business. Safety gates,
fireplace hearth pads, drawer
and cabinet latches, deck mesh
and other products available.
2890-A Hwy. 212, Ste. 156,
Conyers. 678-596-3710. www.
Know the Lingo
hen parents first
learn that their child
has a disability,
they suddenly find themselves
entering a world with new
challenges and a language
of its own. In order for you
to decode what your child’s
doctors and therapists are
saying, we’ve compiled a list
of terms and definitions you
need to know.
Acquired after birth, accidental.
Activities of daily living
Everyday skills a person needs
to learn to function: eating,
dressing, bathing, hygiene skills,
Children who could, under some
circumstances, develop problems
that will affect their learning
Sudden onset and lasts a short
period of time.
How a child compares to
other children the same age
in regards to such things as
motor development, speech and
language skills, daily living skills,
ADA – Americans With
A civil rights law passed in 1990
that prohibits discrimination
against people with disabilities in
employment, public service and
An individual’s ability to act
appropriately in social situations
and to take care of their personal
Physical education or sports
programs designed to meet
the needs of special education
A medical condition exhibited
by poor attention, distractibility,
impulsivity and hyperactivity.
50 justkids magazine
A person who helps take action
on behalf of someone who is not
The ability to move around without
Technology used to help a person
Special devices that provide an
alternative for spoken language.
Difficulty in learning in the areas
of reasoning, comprehension and
A repetitive act that an individual
cannot consciously control.
A condition that is present at birth.
A record of the child’s growth in
areas such as walking, learning
A child who acquires skills after
the expected age.
A physical or mental problem that
prevents someone from functioning
at a normal rate.
Early intervention services
Identifying and treating children
before the age of 3.
Free, appropriate public
A requirement that all schoolaged children with disabilities be
provided services in the public
Coordinated movements of
all body parts.
Children with disabilities receive
services in their neighborhood
schools and are placed in the
same classrooms with typical
A yearly education plan
written by teachers, therapists,
psychologists, etc. and the
child’s parents for school age
children with disabilities.
Service Plan (IFSP)
An education and therapeutic
plan written by teachers,
therapists, psychologists, etc.
and the child’s parents for a
child, birth through 3 years old,
Difficulty understanding and/or
A child with average or
that has difficulty learning
in one or more areas (such
as reading or math) and
exhibits a severe discrepancy
between their ability and
An educational setting that
gives students with disabilities
a place to learn to the best
of their ability and also have
contact with children without
Some or all of the child’s day is
spent in a regular classroom.
The level of intellectual
functioning based on the
average for children of the
same chronological age.
The child’s intellectual level is
measured below the average
range, usually below 70 on IQ
The ability to move effectively
within the environment.
Norm referenced tests
A child’s performance is
compared to others the same age.
Range of motion
The amount a person is able to
move their joints and limbs.
Understanding spoken and
written communication as well as
Other support services that a
child with disabilities requires such
as transportation, occupational,
physical and speech pathology
services, interpreters and medical
A classroom specifically for
special education students.
Tense contracted muscles usually
seen in people with cerebral
A child who has disabilities or
who is at risk of developing
disabilities that may require
special education services.
Child overreacts or avoids any
kind of touch.
Educating deaf students with a
combination of speech and sign
Telephone service for the deaf/
Ability to detect differences in
objects, forms, letters or words.
How well a person perceives an
object or letter from 20 feet.
Eyesight that cannot be corrected
Don’t Miss Atlanta’s
Atlanta Parent Magazine’s
Entertainment • Food • Music
Interactive Games & Activities
Sat. October 9
10 am - 4 pm
More than 50
• Food • Exhibitors
• Much More!
Admission: $5 per person
Children 2 and under FREE
Admission includes 3 activity tickets
our 2010 beneficiaries:
To participate contact Laura Powell at 678-222-1915 or [email protected]
Side Entry: $24,900
Side Entry: $16,980
New van / new conversion keeps prices
high and difficult to finance.
Pre-owned van / new conversion keeps
costs down, reduces depreciation, and
makes financing easier to obtain.
Both sides of the unibody chassis frame are
cut and could reduce structural integrity.
Complex after-market equipment like kneeling
systems and computer integration increase the
risk of breakdown and necessary repairs.
Serviced only by conversion mobility dealers
who are often difficult to locate and charge
high repair rates.
Driver side chassis unmodified thus
increasing strength and structural rigidity.
Simple design reduces incident of breakdown while still meeting the needs of
at least 80% of accessible van users.
Easily serviced by ASE certified mechanics
found in every town within minutes of home.
Mention “JUST KIDS” to get free Q’straints with your AMS Conversion purchase.
Call: (800) 775-8267
Email: [email protected]
Discover the AMS Difference.