Special Needs Family Hour

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Special Needs Family Hour

2019-07-21 Portico Chorus-Ministry of Various Faiths, Ages, Cognitive, Physical, & Musical Abilities

Special Needs Family Hour - 7/21/2019 12:00:00 AM

Our guests are Diane Barber, the Director of the Portico Chorus, and Members of the Portico Choir.

The Portico Chorus is an all-volunteer music ministry. "While God has given each member different and special gifts and abilities, they all share the same commitment to making God's love real through the presentation of inspiring interactive musical performances throughout our community."

On this show, you will be inspired, learn about this ministry, how to join the chorus, and information to start your own musical ministry.

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2019-7-14 Tahni Cullen author of Josiah's Fire: Autism Stole His Words, God Gave Him a Voice.

Special Needs Family Hour - 7/14/2019 12:00:00 AM

Our guest this week is Tahni Cullen. She is the author along with Cheryl Ricker of the book "Josiah's Fire". "Josiah's Fire". It is an amazing true story of family, hope, and hearing God's voice through a speechless boy with autism.

Tahni and her husband Joe were thrust into a nightmare when their two-year-old-son, Josiah, a typical toddler, suddenly lost his ability to speak, play, and socialize. The diagnosis was Autism Spectrum Disorder. Five years later, Josiah, who had not been formally taught to read or write, suddenly began to type on his iPad profound sentences about God, science, history, business, music, strangers, and his heavenly encounters.

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2019-06-30 Vivian Shudde the CEO of the Brookwood Community in Texas discusses their God-centered educational, residential, and entrepreneurial community for adults with disabilities.

Special Needs Family Hour - 6/30/2019 12:00:00 AM

We are discussing: the Brookwood Story; the Brookwood Philosophy; the Brookwood Facility; the Brookwood Business/Social Enterprises; and the Brookwood Center for Learning their Education/Outreach program for others who hope to create their own Brookwood.

There are places available for adults with disabilities to live but very few places that will provide a nurturing environment where they will continue to grow educationally, vocationally, and spiritually. Finding a job for an adult with a disability is akin to trying to fit a square peg into a round hole since there are not many places adults with functional disabilities may work.

Brookwood’s purpose is: To provide opportunity through education so that Brookwood citizens will:

 *             Acquire meaningful job skills and hold real jobs in the Community’s own business enterprises

*             Experience the pride that accompanies the ability to contribute to one’s own support

*             Grow socially, emotionally, and spiritually

Brookwood is the whole package. They have built a sustainable model that has the support of the local community. They provide residential, to include ageing related care needs. They also have on site medical and dental care. It is important to read the book Everyone Has A Seed to Sow by Yvonne Strait, the founder of Brookwood to truly appreciate what has been accomplished at Brookwood.

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2019-06-23 Gigi’s Playhouse Tampa_An organization that empowers individuals with Down syndrome and their families

Special Needs Family Hour - 6/24/2019 12:00:00 AM

This week's show will feature GiGi's Playhouse, a network of Down Syndrome Achievement Centers. GiGi’s Playhouse is an organization that empowers individuals with Down syndrome and their families by providing no cost programs to those in Hillsborough and surrounding counties.

Their mission is to change the way the world views Down syndrome through community campaigns, educational programs, and by empowering individuals with Down syndrome and their families. Gigi’s Playhouse Tampa will make a lifetime commitment to support and empower families from prenatal diagnosis, birth, and through to adulthood by offering no-cost therapeutic, educational and career development programs. GiGi's Playhouse is located at 3611 W Hillsborough Ave, #200; Tampa, Florida, 33614. Contact info: Phone number is 813-544-8000 and website is [email protected].

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2019-06-16 Publix Super Markets, Inc.: Discuss their philosophy of showing no preference when it comes to hiring employees who are differently-abled.

Special Needs Family Hour - 6/16/2019 12:00:00 AM

Our guest is Brian West the Media and Community Relations Manager for Publix Super Markets. As Brian says, "We look at what a person is able to do, not what they aren't able to do."

Publix has been hailed as the No. 1 supermarket for customer satisfaction, one of FORTUNE's "100 Best Companies to Work For," and as an inspiration for its sustainability efforts and community involvement.

Publix has supported Special Olympics since 1972 when it's founder George Jenkins realized that Florida Special Olympians could not afford to go the National Competition in Los Angeles. Mr. George paid for all of the Florida Olympians to fly to Los Angeles. Today, Publix Super Markets has over 800 employees who are Special Olympics Athletes in Florida. Each year in January, Publix associates and customers come together to raise awareness and funds for Special Olympics. In 2019, Publix customers and associates contributed more than $4.8 million to the Special Olympics to ensure athletes were able to train and compete free of cost. This brings Publix total donation since 1993 to $51.3 million.

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2019-06-02 MacDonald Training Center's Supported Living, Employment, and Community Living Programs

Special Needs Family Hour - 6/2/2019 12:00:00 AM

Our guest is Karenne Levy the President & CEO of the MacDonald Training Center. An organization known for empowering those with disabilities to lead the lives they choose. We will be discussing their Supported Living Services, Employment Services, and Community Services.

MacDonald Training Center is a private – 501(c)(3) non-profit, established in 1953 by J. Clifford MacDonald, as one of the first pre-schools in our nation for children with disabilities. MTC has transformed lives through innovations in educational advancements, vocational training, employment services, residential supports and life enrichment opportunities for more than 6 decades.

Vocational education focuses on Certificate based technical skills with elevated life skills development to assure employers that the candidates have the talents and skills needed for employment and the emotional intelligence to navigate an inclusive, neurodiverse workplace.

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2019-05-26 ZooTampa at Lowry Park with Jennifer McLachian Vice President of Education at Zoo Tampa. We will be discussing their Autism Friendly Initiatives and other zoo programs.

Special Needs Family Hour - 5/26/2019 12:00:00 AM

ZooTampa is an organization that is all inclusive when it comes to individuals with special needs. They have worked with the Center for Autism & Related Disabilities at University of South Florida to become an autism friendly organization. There are social stories available to families at the park and online. The main social story explains the park in its entirety. Then there are specific social stories explaining special experiences such as the petting zoo and how to feed a giraffe. There is even an autism friendly map where families can plan their activities at the park for the day.

ZooTampa also works with a Vocational Rehab provider that places individuals with disabilities in jobs at the zoo. Some docents/volunteers are on the autism spectrum. ZooTampa has gone to great lengths for individuals with guide dogs to be able to enjoy the zoo experience. To include training the zoo animals to be comfortable when a guide dog is present.

They also have a child care center for children who are 12 months to 5 years old. There are 100 children to include some with disabilities and on the Autism Spectrum. They utilize the positive behavior support program that was developed by the University of South Florida.

Their mission is to: Rescue, rehabilitate and care for animals; create exceptional personalized experiences that connect people with wildlife and each other in fun, immersive ways. They truly to do this for everyone!

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2019-05-19 Specially Fit Foundation - Marky Oliver, the CEO and Founder of the Specially Fit Foundation. He is also a Coach of the Specially Fit Athletes. Their motto is “Changing the community one rep at a time.”

Special Needs Family Hour - 5/19/2019 12:00:00 AM


Specially Fit Foundation intends to spread the awareness that anyone can participate in exercise despite perceived limitations. By bringing together individuals such as those with special needs or children living in foster homes to join their team, they hope to make a difference in the community by changing lives through health, fitness and love.

Specially Fit Foundation’s goal is to inspire others to believe in themselves. Through their events and programs, they aim to enhance the lives of their participants by providing them the opportunity to grow their health, fitness and independence. By expanding their programs, they are opening more doors to expanding the possibilities for these individuals. Specially Fit Foundation offers the following activities: Fitness Classes for Individuals with Disabilities and At Risk Individuals; Group Home/Day Care/Foster Home Fitness Classes; Individual Fitness Programs; Power Lifting Programs; and Various Special Olympics Programs.

Specially Fit relies on private support through grants, corporate and individual donations to include volunteering of time to continue providing their services to individuals in Tampa, Florida with developmental disabilities. Through your donation, they can make an impact on hundreds of individuals with special needs.

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2019-05-12 Arts4All Florida – Is a non-profit that conducts art education programs in schools, Department of Juvenile Justice facilities, and community centers. They promote the accomplishments of artists with disabilities

Special Needs Family Hour - 5/12/2019 12:00:00 AM

Our guests are Wendy Finklea, the Director of Arts4All Florida, and Jennifer Sabo, the executive director of Arts4All Florida. We also have artist Dani Bowman and Janalyn Peppel. Dani Bowman is an animator and entrepreneur who founded her company, DaniMation Entertainment, at age 11.  She has worked professionally in the animation industry since 14. Janalyn Peppel is a graphic designer and entrepreneur from Gainesville specializing in art & 3D printing.

The mission of Arts4All Florida is to provide, support and champion arts education and cultural experiences for and by people with disabilities. Their vision is to create a world in which the arts are universally accessible.  They do this by:

Conducting art education programs in schools, Department of Juvenile Justice facilities, and community centers

Promoting the accomplishments of artists with disabilities through their artist registry, exhibitions, and performance.

Increasing access to the arts through professional development workshops

Arts4All Florida is headquartered in the College of Education at the University of South Florida.

Arts4All Florida Art Camp Programs

Registration is open for Arts4All Florida summer camp programs!  All camps are inclusive and socially oriented, teaching creative expression led by professional artists, art teachers, certified instructors, and disability experts that specialize in music, dance/movement, theatre, and visual art for students of all ages and abilities.

Animation Gets Real – Tampa <https://arts4allflorida.org/arts4all-florida-presents-arts4all-florida-summer-camp-animation-gets-real

Animation Gets Real – Miami  <https://www.miamidadearts.org/education/arts4all-florida-animation-gets-real-miami-summer-camp>

Artfully Fun – Tampa  <https://arts4allflorida.org/artfully-fun-summer-day-camp-macdill-air-force-base

Camp SpARTan – Tampa <https://arts4allflorida.org/camp-spartan-blast-fun

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Special Needs Family Hour

2019-05-05 Guardianship with Emma Hemness Special Needs Lawyer. We discuss the process of becoming your developmentally disabled child’s guardian and why it is important.

Special Needs Family Hour - 5/5/2019 12:00:00 AM


Emma Hemness is our family attorney for Guardianship, Special Needs Trust, and Estate Planning. She is a trusted advisor. Her law practice is The Elder Law Office of Emma Hemness, P.A. 

Many of the same laws affecting older adults are of special relevance to persons with disabilities, whether they are children, young adults or seniors. Advising families about the intricacies of SSI and Medicaid programs for persons with disabilities is a key area of practice in Elder Law. Families with special needs members are also counseled on appropriate legal documents and processes, such as Special Needs Trusts and Guardian Advocacy, respectively.

Emma Hemness Special Needs Lawyer is a state and nationally recognized Expert in Elder Law. She is one of only 100 board certified elder law attorneys in Florida. She was the 2011 Florida Elder Law Attorney of the Year, 2011 Top 50 Women Lawyers in Florida, and Florida Super Lawyer in Elder Law 2008-Present.

Emma Hemness is dedicated to serving the needs of persons with disabilities and their families as an integral part of her Elder Law practice.  Emma is a member of the Special Needs Alliance (SNA), an invitation-only national organization of special needs trusts attorneys. She has had the pleasure of serving as an ambassador of the SNA to both the Autism Society of America and the National ARC in recent years.

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2019-04-07 Social Security Benefits and Supplemental Security Income with Liz Montefu

Special Needs Family Hour - 4/7/2019 12:00:00 AM

We discuss Social Security Disability benefits and Supplemental Security Income coverage with Liz Montefu, the President and Founder of Montefu Consulting. 

Liz has been guiding individuals through the rough waters of Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income claims for over 25 years. She is experienced in benefit coordination and can help – whether you are filing for benefits for the first time or you are preparing to go before an Administrative Law Judge at a hearing.

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Special Needs Family Hour

2019-03-31 Ric Edelman discusses providing for your Retirement and your Child with Special Needs

Special Needs Family Hour - 3/31/2019 12:00:00 AM


Ric has devoted his career to improving financial literacy. Barron’s has ranked him the #1 independent financial advisor in the nation three times. His firm, Edelman Financial Services, is now one of the largest financial planning firms in the country, managing $18 billion for more than 30,000 clients nationwide. Ric is an award-winning radio and television personality, and a #1 New York Times bestselling author. In this broadcast, we focus on the family with a member who has special needs.

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Special Needs Family Hour

2019-03-24 Champions for Children - Join us as we discuss their various programs from Positive Parenting, Playgroups & Screenings to Child Abuse & Bullying Prevention with their Associate Director, Nikki Daniels.

Special Needs Family Hour - 3/24/2019 12:00:00 AM


Champions is a nationally-accredited agency working to prevent abuse & neglect by providing evidence-based and research-informed resources, education and support to parents and caregivers. Champions offers various programs including Classes and Individualized Support, Playgroups & Screenings, Home Visiting Services, Child Abuse & Bullying Prevention.

Each year, Champions for Children’s programs serve nearly 40,000 children and parents. CFC is committed to serving families with children from birth to 18 years old, with a special focus on the critically important 0-5 year-old range. The families they serve represent the full socioeconomic diversity of the Tampa Bay Area. In order to ensure all families, have access to services, CFC is committed to providing all services at no charge or, in very limited circumstances, a low fee.

Note: Hillsborough County consistently ranks as the highest in the state for the most reported and confirmed cases of child abuse and neglect. Children who are abused or neglected are significantly more likely to face impaired socioemotional development, poor physical health, substance abuse, and an array of emotional and psychological issues. They are also 3 times more likely to continue the cycle of abuse later in life.

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2019-03-17 Easter Seals 100th Anniversary Celebration. America’s largest nonprofit healthcare organization helping 1.5 million people annually with comprehensive health and wellness programs locally and nationally.

Special Needs Family Hour - 3/17/2019 12:00:00 AM

Our guest is Susan Ventura, the President and Executive Officer of Easter Seals Florida.

We discuss their services to include: early intervention, inclusive childcare, medical rehabilitation and autism services for young children and their families; job training and coaching, employment placement and transportation services for adults with disabilities, including veterans; adult day services and employment opportunities for older adults – in addition to a variety of additional services for people of all ages including mental health and recovery programs, assistive technology, camp and recreation, care giving support including respite – and much more. 

Note: More than 89 cents of every dollar spent supports local services for people with disabilities and special needs.

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Special Needs Family Hour

2019-03-10 Successful Parents Program helping with mental health and other needs identified by families

Special Needs Family Hour - 3/10/2019 12:00:00 AM


Our guests are with Success 4 Kids & Families. It is an organization that offers community based services for families in Hillsborough County. They have been offering a helping hand to parents and families when kids begin to experience problems in school, at home, or even with the law since 2005. We will be discussing their successful parents program which addresses mental health and other needs identified by the family.

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