Top 10 Christmas Wish List 2011

Please take a peek as the first “Top 3″ items won’t take a bite out of your money budget – Just a small bite out of your time budget!

  1. Share the Different iz Good website , Facebook page – facebook.com/DifferentizGood and our Gift a Voice Project with your online community.
  2. Donate any used cell phone, smart phone, iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad for the Foundation’s Gift a Voice Project.
  3. Host a Gift a Voice Cell Phone Drive.
  4. Apple Gift Cards
  5. iTunes Gift Cards
  6. Amazon Gift Cards
  7. New iPod Touch or iPad
  8. Buy stuff from the Different iz Good store
  9. Cash Donations – Any Amount (Cash, Credit Card or PayPal)
  10. Sponsor a person with communication disabilities:

Approximately $600 will buy one NEW iPod Touch, Proloquo2Go (or similar) AAC Application, iMainGo speaker/case or similar and a cover (exact cost will depend on needs of recipient).

Approximately $1,200 will buy one NEW iPad, Proloquo2Go (or similar) AAC Application,  speaker and a case/cover (exact cost will depend on needs of recipient).

If you’d like more information about our Wish List items please comment below, comment on our Facebook Page or send an email to list @ differentizgood . org.

Thoughts from a Momentary Perspective

(Guest post by Sara Jackson Johnson –  Sara blogs at Sara in Between)

Sara Jackson and her Family

I’ve been struggling with some genetic results I received this week for my youngest, which told us that in fact he has two rather than just the one extremely rare genetic disorder. I’m pretty sure this takes him from one in few thousand to one perhaps on his own and while that’s kind of cool, it’s also quite lonely from where I’m sitting, not yet with the head space to learn the new stuff.

So I’ve done some hibernating, ruminating and finally blog-style tantruming and now I’m quietly trying to calm my feelings.

What has helped is catching up on an amazing TV programme shown here in England on BBC1. It was about surgeons at the Oxford Craniofacial Unit who use their skill to operate on children with disorders, malformations and life-threatening conditions affecting their skulls and faces.

These amazing professionals are leaders in their field, with extraordinary skills and techniques and the stamina to perform 7 hour operations. They are artists in helping to break and reform bones in the skull to allow room for brains, to help attach muscles to allow a smile reflex, to perform an extraordinary operation, then attach a brace and turn it a milimetre a day to gradually change the shape of a head and reduce pressure in the brain. What they do in these operations somehow didn’t seem gruesome, because of the humanity with which they held themselves, and the effect is nothing short of miraculous.
What is amazing is that they carry out their duties with an amazing humility and kindness, knowing that what they are doing is saving lives, but also helping people to look less different. To feel less obvious and blend a little more and as such have a slightly easier time of life.

What really struck me was something that the one of the surgeons said and understood about his patients. That parents struggle with these huge decisions while their children are young and have no choice when things are life threatening. But at some point these children become older and often decide that enough is enough. After countless operations the danger is over and only the cosmetic remains which is why some of them arrive at the conclusion that they are who they are. Job done.

I watched with admiration and tears at the humanity of these surgeons, the strength and pain of the parents and the amazing resilience of these kids.

Still days after I’ve watched them I’m carrying around the lessons that they didn’t know they were teaching me when they agreed to be filmed by for once what appeared to be an emotionally intelligent TV crew.

Difference and all it embodies is often far too complicated to put into words, but today to help me concentrate on renewing my perspective, I’ve enjoyed looking around the edges.

{Did you enjoy this post? Feel free to “like” it below and share with your Facebook Friends by pressing here! Thanks y’all -Camilla}

About Guest Blogger

This post was written by a guest contributor.  Please see their details on our Contributors page.  If you’d like to guest post for Different iz Good check out our Write for DIG page for details about how YOU can share your stories and tips with our community.

A Poem for Special Teachers!

(Guest post by Monica McDivitt – Monica blogs at Like a Butterfly)

Sam and One of Her Awesome Special Ed Teachers

Teacher Appreciation Week is around the corner. Though I believe ALL teachers are invaluable, I am giving extra props to special education teachers. Surprise, surprise! :)

They aren’t just teachers. They are physical therapists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, researchers, nurses, and our children’s cheerleaders! Their patience, creativity, organization, ability to accept and understand the differences in each of our children and their ability to motivate, identify, appreciate and celebrate small victories are what make them different from the rest! Few things are more rewarding than knowing you have made an impact on the lives of children who are struggling to reach their full potential.

Two years ago I wrote this poem for Sam’s LIFE Skills teacher and paraprofessionals, printed it, framed it and gave it to them as a gift. It was written from Samantha’s perspective. I hope you like it:

You greet me every morning with a great big smile
Help me out of the car
Even if it takes a while

I am a little girl who cannot hear or speak
But still you understand me,
Week after week.

I have more challenges than most other people, you know
But you never give up on me
Even if my progress is slow

You help me with my daily life skills
Help me to succeed
Teach me how to sing and play
Adapt it to my special needs

I am strong and happy
I like to giggle and tease
Sometimes I may even drop down on my knees

You work very hard everyday,
Help me learn and grow
You are patient, kind and loving

This I wanted you to know
It takes a special person to be a teacher like you
And my Mommy and Daddy are grateful
For everything you do!

Happy Teacher’s Appreciation Week!

{If you loved this as much as I (Camilla) did and want to share with your Facebook Friends, just go here to do that!! Thanks y’all!}

About Guest Blogger

This post was written by a guest contributor.  Please see their details on our Contributors page.  If you’d like to guest post for Different iz Good check out our Write for DIG page for details about how YOU can share your stories and tips with our community.

It’s the Little Things

(Guest post by Geri Kochis – Geri blogs at EmilyAnn)

As a warning – This post is my own opinion and I apologize upfront if I offend anyone.

In the Geri dictionary, Cheerleader would have had following description: cliquish, flexible (body), high energy, lot’s of makeup, crazy parents, revealing clothing, and popular (kids/teen/adults).

Emily joined a special needs Cheerleading squad in October/November of 2010 (Idaho Cheer Spirit). This was a competition squad, so they did more than just practice. I wasn’t sure how it would turn out and really concerned she wouldn’t perform well enough. The kids not on the special needs squad also worried me. Most of children (even adults) don’t know how to react to Emily. It is not uncommon for her to walk up to strangers and say she likes their shirt or shoes, or just say random things. To make it worse, Emily has bi-lateral hearing loss along with 18p- so her speech can be hard to understand at times. The response to Emily is usually, umm.. ok and then a confused look directed at me. I didn’t think Emily would fit in with her traits combined with my thoughts on Cheerleading. Here were are 5 months out and a National Championship later and I can admit I was wrong about everything.

Not only did Emily’s squad welcome her with open arms, but so did the entire gym (Idaho Cheer). No one cared that she would say random things, or sometimes get distracted by the other squads tumbling. The promoters/producers of the competitions made the squad feel special and they always received at least medals. The support from all the parents (different gyms, states) at the competitions was great. I can’t think of once where the entire crowd wasn’t cheering for our girls. The spirit squad had great coaches that always encouraged the girls to do their best without discouraging.

Idaho Spirit has had junior coaches. These coaches were girls from another squad with an age range of 11-15 (maybe a little order/younger). I have never in my life encountered girls that age who were so accepting of differences and truly cared about the girls. The parents of these girls should be proud.

This past weekend Idaho Cheer Spirit earned the title of National Champions (along with 4 other special needs teams) in Anaheim California. Cheerleading has made such a difference in Emily, and me as well. The Geri dictionary has definitely changed.

{Wanna share this awesome story with your Facebook Friends? Go here! Thanks!}

H2O at Home Fundraiser

I am surrounded by amazing, spectacular and giving people! My friend Allison Edwards contacted me on Saturday and asked, “Is it okay if I have a fundraiser next week for Different iz Good and the Gift a Voice Project through my H2O at Home online store?”  It warms my heart to witness how having faith and pursuing your passion bring the right people and situations into your life!

I’m going to let Allison tell y’all in her own words about this (taken from her newsletter sent out on Saturday).

In my effort to focus on “giving back” in 2011, every month this year I am going to choose one week in which a local organization will receive 20% of all of my online sales. I hope that my efforts will not only raise money for these important causes, but also awareness of the various organizations.

I am very proud to announce Different Iz Good as the first featured cause of 2011!  My friend, Camilla Downs, founded this amazing organization in 2010 to provide speech generating devices (SGD) to children and adults with communication disabilities for communication purposes, to guide affected individuals in making a career or entrepreneur path and to advocate for those that are different due to disabilities.  In a few short years, she has made amazing strides and I am so happy to support Different Iz Good.  Here is a great article about how Different Iz Good came to be about & how recycled iPhones are giving a voice to speech-impared kids.  You may also want to check out this amazing video that I am sure will touch your heart!

From January 15-22nd, I will donate 20% of all online sales to Different Iz Good!  Shop now to support this amazing cause.  If you are having any troubles or have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call me at 775.223.3097

With Gratitude,

Allison Edwards

Founding Group Leader, H2O at Home

My favorite is the laundry ball y’all!  Check out their stuff – especially if you have family members who are sensitive to traditional cleaning products and the chemicals they contain.

Here’s an easy way to share with your Facebook Friends!  If H2O at Home isn’t for you, the next best action you can take is to share, share, share!  Thanks Allison and everyone else for your continued support!!

Happy Holidays and Thank You

Thank you for your support, donations and sharing of the website and facebook page.  Because of YOU the Different iz Good movement and the Gift a Voice project have taken off like a rocket!

Please enjoy this beautiful card we created for you, your family, friends and online community.  We encourage you to share the “card” as much and as often as you would like.

Thank you from me, Camilla, and from the Different iz Good community!!

November 13th is World Kindness Day

World Kindness day is HERE!  You can read more about World Kindness here.  Practicing kindness is a great way to bring families, friends and neighbors together. Here are some ideas for your celebration  (Ideas for this were excerpted from this World Kindness Day post.)

1. Leave something special on the neighbor’s doorstep. Flowers, a baked good, an invitation to share a meal.

2. Make your kid’s bed. Do the one chore your kid hates the most for him/her.

3. Make a contribution toward the Turning Views Foundation and Different iz Good movement. Change and one dollar bills from piggy banks count too. Don’t forget about the Different iz Good store!

4. Write a thank you or draw a picture for someone you love. Tell them what you love about them and thank them for being themselves.

5. Pay the bill for the car behind you at the coffee or fast food drive thru, let your child give the money from the back window.

6. Pick up some trash. Spend an hour cleaning up a park, school, or even your neighborhood.

7. Post on a Friend’s Facebook why you are grateful to have them in your life.

8. Smile at 10 people today.

9. Visit a grandparent or elderly friend.

10. Call a friend or family member just to say “Hey” and tell them you are grateful to have them in your life!

Come on over and add to our list and also share with us how your World Kindness Day celebration went in the comments.