How to talk to kids about special needs!

It is easy for us to be uncomfortable around people or situations that are “different.” Often we think it best to pretend the disparities don’t exist, but this doesn’t serve anyone well.

So how do we talk to kids about people with special needs?!

1. Kids with disabilities are also the same as other kids.

In fact, the same can be said for adults. Talk to your child about things he/she and the child with special needs have in common: Do they both have eyes, hair, and hands? What about things you can’t necessarily see? Do you think that little boy/girl has feelings? What do you think he/she likes to play? Some children and adults may have a disability, but they don’t want to be completely defined by it.

SmartKnit AFO socks

2. People with special needs or disabilities are not necessarily sick.

Sometimes it’s hard to come up with the right vocabulary to tell your kids about special needs. Let me gently suggest avoiding the words “sick”—as in “That boy has a sickness that makes it harder for him to talk to people.” Some people are born with special needs, and other disabilities happen as the result of an accident or previous illness. The disability itself, though, is not a sickness or something bad. Nor is it something other kids can “catch” — an important distinction to make when explaining disabilities to children.

3. Words matter.

Name calling and jokes at another person’s expense (whether or not that person has a disability) is not acceptable. In fact, words like “retarded” are extremely hurtful, whether you are using them as a direct slur at a child with special needs or using it as slang. It’s Okay to teach children the right words to talk about our differences: disability, special needs, even the names of specific disabilities, like Down syndrome and Autism. In addition to words like “sick” and” wrong,” try to replace the word “normal” with “typical”—as in, ”A typical child might walk at 12 months old, but Joey didn’t walk until he was almost 3 years old.” We know our kids are different, but comparing them to “normal” kids just makes us feel like you’re calling them “weird” or “bad.”

SmartKnitKIDS Sensitivity Socks

4. It’s OK to ask questions.

Kids are naturally curious, and that is wonderful! Don’t feel like you have to shush a child who asks questions about disabilities. If you don’t know the answer, that’s Okay too! Don’t put all of the pressure on yourself, but feel free to pass the questions on to the child’s parent. After all, it’s no secret that moms love to talk about their children. Please ask us. We would love to help bridge the gap between our kids and yours.

Everyone has something that makes them different! Some are just not as obvious as others! Celebrate our differences with kindness and acceptance!

 

Fun DIY Sock Bouquets!

As both a Mom and a Daughter, I completely believe in homemade Mother’s Day gifts.  I love getting these sweet gifts from my kiddos and I totally love giving them to my mom and my mother-in-law.  Sometimes the creativity is just not flowing, though, and I look all around for new ideas.  This year the Knit-Rite/Therafirm team got some inspiration from our own products.  The best part is, we were able to use products from several of our brands to create these adorable sock bouquets.  They’re cute and easy enough for the kiddos to do, too.  Watch our demonstration video below!

List of Supplies Needed:

• Socks of multiple colors, shapes and sizes
• A pair of tights, pantyhose or a piece of fabric of similar size and length
• Rubber bands
• Safety pins
• Your favorite vase

We used some discontinued colors of our Preggers and Therafirm brands, as well as current colors of TheraSport, SmartKnitKIDS, SmartKnit and Therafirm.  Happy bouquet making!

National Limb Loss Awareness Month!

April is a National Limb Loss Awareness Month!

There are people living with limb loss around us every day, many more than we realize. They live full and active lives.

What is Limb Loss?

Limb Loss is the loss of all or part of an arm or leg due to trauma, infection, diabetes, heart disease, cancer or other diseases and accidents.

According to the Amputee Coalition of America, there are nearly 2 million people living with limb loss in the United States, and more than 500 Americans will lose a limb each day. Among those living with limb loss, the main causes are vascular disease – including diabetes and peripheral arterial disease – trauma and cancer. Sadly, nearly half of the individuals who have an amputation due to vascular disease will die within 5 years. This is higher than the five-year mortality rates for breast cancer, colon cancer, and prostate cancer.

Why recognize Limb Loss Awareness Month?

National Limb Loss Awareness Month is an excellent opportunity to raise awareness about the limb loss community, and the various causes – both accidental and medical – of limb loss.

But, it is also a great opportunity to empower people affected by limb loss to live full and active lives and to achieve their full potential.

Have a wonderful month and check back with us for more information.

Tanya

 

 

…3 Days Post The Liberty Hospital Half Marathon

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Here I am before the race all smiles!

 

Last weekend I was honored to run the Liberty Half-Marathon. It was my first time running this race, but I now have my 5th half-marathon overall in the books! It was a heck of a race – from lots of hills to even stronger winds! Gotta love Missouri and its weather! Hills are never my favorite and I knew this was going to be a hilly run. However, I did not expect to have all the wind and attempting to run up the hill against the wind. It was definitely a challenge and an excellent mental workout!

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Mid-Point of the race starting to struggle a little.

 

At mile 6, I started doubting myself; I am hurting, struggling with this wind and I am barely halfway there! Part of me wanted to say “I hate running!” or maybe I was just getting hangry! I asked myself, “Why am I doing this to myself, forcing my body to do something that not many blade runners are capable of doing! There is a reason why there are only a few long distance runners who wear 2 prosthetic legs.” As I was walking-running, I got a thumbs up from a stranger, and a “you got this” from another stranger. I started getting my positive energy back and boom, I was at mile 8! It is amazing how I am usually the one who encourages others, but this time it was others encouraging me and giving me that boost of energy that I was lacking in this run. As I came to the last mile, I had a friend of mine pushing me along until the end! My back was in so much pain, my hips and legs didn’t want to run anymore – but my mind just wanted to be done with this race! What I am trying to say is, having positive runners around you is important! 
I didn’t PR in this race – but it was not my worst time! I would consider this to be one of my hardest races I’ve ever done, but I would gladly do it again because it challenged my mind more than my body! We forget that we are capable of so much more!

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Finally finishing the race.

 

In a month I am doing my first ever marathon – the St. Louis Marathon! Doing the Liberty Half Marathon was my way to prepare for a full marathon! From what I’ve heard, the St. Louis Marathon is nowhere near as hilly as the Liberty Half-Marathon. However, it is a full marathon, so there will be more mental training! In the next month, I’ll be increasing my running mileage, improving my nutrition and continue lifting. I am so nervous but super excited! I’ve dreamed of doing a full marathon for more than 4 years now and I’ll be doing it in just one month!

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Knit-Rite/TheraSport was a Silver Sponsor at the race.

 

Huge shot out to Liberty Hospital Half Marathon for a wonderful organized race. Thank you to Knit-Rite for your support, Doyle, my prosthetist at Decker IO&P for always making sure my legs are ready to run, Dr. Jim from Fit Muscle and Joint Clinic for making sure my body is in place, and finally, my family, friends and everyone else for all of your patience with me and my crazy running journey!

St. Louis Marathon, I’m coming for you!

 

Top 10 Things I Wish People Knew About Amputees!

Hey guys, its Tanya again! Being an amputee is part of my everyday life, but there are a few things I wish people knew about me and other amputees! So… here it is, my top 10 Things I Wish People Knew About Amputees!

  1. No two legs are the same! Our prosthetic sockets are carefully and meticulously molded to each of our stumps. Test sockets are made, things are shaped and cut down and built up and re-molded so no, we can’t switch for fun. 16831170_1373635402704030_4721812029784467144_n
  2. Not all amputees are the same! There are Above-Knee, Below-Knee, Bilateral, Double, Congenital, and many other types of amputations!
  3. We don’t all know each other! Just because your grandson is an amputee, doesn’t mean I know him. I mean, we don’t event live in the same state.
  4. Helping is okay! Yes, I need help sometimes, but just talk to me like a normal adult who spills chocolate milk on herself just like you.
  5. I am Lucky! Even though I am missing both legs and some fingers, I still consider myself incredibly lucky. I have a great career, I have wonderful friends, and I do this blog for fun.
  6. We really, really, REALLY appreciate our ability to walk. Most of us try extremely hard to avoid resorting to wheelchair use, unless we absolutely have to.
  7. We are not all heroes! Yes, some amputees are veterans and lost their limbs during their service and we are so thankful for them! However, not all of us are veterans! Some of us are congenital amputees, some are cancer survivors, some are victims of unfortunate accidents, and some are just paying for careless mistakes. You ask why? Well, thanking us for our service that we did not do makes us feel guilty and different.
  8. We can and do lead normal lives! No, really, like we still have normal jobs, pay bills, have hobbies and argue with families. J Most normal activities people take for granted, we can do too! Watch us and you will see what we can and can’t do. …because like I stated before, there are a few things we ALL can use help with, whether we are amputees or not.
  9. If you have a question, PLEASE just ask. Being stared at hurts. And that hurt starts to build up inside, when the gawking is all we get. It gets exhausting. But we’re understanding- and I cannot stress this enough- all you have to do is talk to us. We’re all human.
  10. I am not inspiration just because of prosthesis! I wear prosthetic legs, but that doesn’t mean I am inherently inspiring. I am inspiring because I am living my life to the fullest.14907232_1248073238593581_9222515081476148964_n

Introducing: ‘Rite on Point With Tanya

Just a little bit about me… My name is Tanya and I am a congenital double amputee, which means I was born that way. Five years ago, I began my running journey at the age of 21 and it has changed my life in a tremendous and exciting way. It opened my eyes and made me realize that I am strong and capable of so much more. The first time I tried on my running blades, I felt like I was flying.  And, that feeling of flying, I wanted to feel over and over again. If you ask me why I run today, it’s simple – I run because I can.

2017

My goal for 2017 is to run my first marathon! Last year was a good year for me from an athletic stand point! I reached my personal record in my half marathon, 10K and a 5K! But my hard work lead to a minor injury that I am still paying for today! Injury is just a little setback telling us slow down and calm down! 🙂

I am excited for this 2017 year because I want to take that challenge of running a marathon and truly challenge my mind. Let’s be honest – running a marathon is not a joke, even for a fully-abled athlete!

We all have goals, dreams and we all have responsibilities! I have three challenges for you for 2017.  The first is that I challenge you all to have a goal that is possible to do but you have to work for it, like really work hard on it. It can be a simple one or one that is more of a challenge, but choose something you will be proud of in the end, such as a non-stop mile run or getting all A’s in school!

The next challenge is to accept help when you need it! Accepting help is a huge problem for many because it feels like you are worthless, which we all know is not true! Accepting help means you are ready for something different and you just need somebody else to help you with it.

But accepting help leads to giving back, which is my final challenge to you. Giving back is an excellent way to say thank you to all who have helped and supported you! I challenge you all to give/do one kind act each day! It can be as simple as paying for stranger’s coffee to giving your time and volunteering with kiddos.

There are so many ways we can challenge our body, mind and spirit! There are so many ways we can give and receive!

I can’t wait to run my first marathon. It will be pursuing my big goal of doing something so difficult for me, but also encouraging others who are in need of little push to get moving and get excited about life. This is true no matter how many limbs you have or don’t have!

Join me on this journey by following my story and let’s encourage each other as we work toward our 2017 goals.

 

Looking at Life 100 Years Ago

Emma Morano was born on November 29, 1899 in Italy and is currently the oldest living person on Earth.  At just two months short of 117 years old, she is one of the world’s roughly 450,000 centenarians.  A centenarian is someone who has lived to be 100 years old or older – something that Ms. Morano did back in 1999.

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Nearly 117-year-old Emma Morano.  Photo from people.com.

Living to be 100 years old is quite a feat, but one that is becoming more common with increases and health care and living conditions.  In fact, according to www.thecentenarian.co.uk, centenarians are the fastest growing segment of the population.  Since National Centenarian Day is today, September 22, this got us thinking about how much our industry, as well as the world around us, has changed in 100 years.  The comparison is mind blowing!  Check it out below:

1916 for Industries Served by Knit-Rite and Therafirm

  • Knit-Rite and Therafirm were not yet in operation.
  • Nylon was not used for stockings until the 1930s. In 1916, stockings were made of cotton or silk.
  • Amputations resulting from WWI during this time brought the importance of technology and development of prostheses to the attention of the US Surgeon General of the Army. This led to the formation of the American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association (AOPA) the year following in 1917.
  • Medical compression was used to treat some conditions, such as varicose veins, but due to the lack of today’s chemical fibers, materials used included laced stockings, elastic bands and tight bandages with resin.
  • Use of gradient compression was still a half a century away.prosthesisA look at prosthetic devices from the past. Photo from prosthetic-limbs.yolasite.com.

1916 Cost of Living

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A postage stamp from 1916. Photo from vistastamps.com.

(Costs are averages) 1916 2016
Postage Stamp $0.02 $0.49
Coffee (per pound) $0.30 $7.94
Sugar (per pound) $0.04 $1.74
Eggs (per dozen) $0.38 $1.33
Bread (per loaf) $0.04 $1.98
Car $360 $33,560
Gas (per gallon) $0.22 $2.21
Home $3,000 $379,800
Gold (per ounce) $20.67 $1,272.50
Movie Ticket $0.07 $8.17

The average income in 1916 was roughly $700 per year for men and $350 per year for women.

1916 US Politics and History

  • The 33rd US Presidential election was held on November 7, 1916. Incumbent President and Democrat Woodrow Wilson beat the Republican challenger and Supreme Court Justice Charles Evans Hughes.campaign-buttonCampaign button from the 1916 election. Photo from britannica.com.
  • The Democrats held a majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.
  • Speaker of the House was Democrat Champ Clark. The House had 435 voting members.
  • The Senate, led by President pro temp. James Clarke, had 96 Senators.
  • Chief Justice of the Supreme Court was Edward Douglass White.
  • The US population was 101,961,000.
  • The American flag had only 45 stars even though the US had 48 states.
  • The first woman to serve in the US Congress, Jeannette Rankin, a 36-year-old Republican from Montana, was elected.
  • The Reserve Officer Training Corp – ROTC – is established.
  • Louis Brandeis becomes the first Jewish justice of the Supreme Court.

1916 World Events

  • The world was embroiled in World War I (then known as the Great War) between Allied Powers, led by France, the British Empire and Russia, and the Central Powers, led by Germany and Austria-Hungary. The US would later join the Allied Powers in 1917.
  • Paris, France was first bombed by German zeppelins.
  • The Battle of Verdun, one of the largest and longest battles of WWI, was fought in France between February 21 and December 18, 1916.World War One, Battle of Verdun. French trench on the front lines, 1916. (Photo by Roger Viollet/Getty Images)Front line trenches, Battle of Verdun, 1916. Photo from history.com.
  • US President Woodrow Wilson sends 12,000 troops across the US-Mexico border to pursue Pancho Villa during the Mexican Revolution.

1916 Sports

  • The Professional Golfers Association of America (PGA) was created.
  • The World Series was won by the Boston Red Sox. Babe Ruth, then a 21-year-old pitcher, won game 2.  The Red Sox would go on to win the series again in 1918 before suffering an 86-year drought.babe-ruthBabe Ruth during the 1916 baseball season. Photo from libaseballmag.com.
  • The Chicago Cubs played their first game in Wrigley Field (then called Weeghman Park). Wrigley is currently the second oldest active MLB ballpark, opening in 1914.  The Cubs have never won a World Series during their 100 years playing at Wrigley, and are now in their 108th year since a title and 71st year since an appearance in the World Series.
  • The Super Bowl was still 51 years away from existing. The NFL, which began as the American Professional Football Conference, was still 4 years away from its inaugural season.
  • The first Tournament of Roses football game (Rose Bowl) was played between Washington State University and Brown University. The Rose Bowl is the oldest American college football bowl game.
  • The Summer Olympics was scheduled to be held in Berlin, Germany, but was cancelled due to World War I.

1916 Achievements, Inventions and Other Firsts

  • The first blood transfusion was performed by British Royal Army Medical Corps.
  • The Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, at 984 feet, was the world’s tallest building. The tallest building in 2016 is the Burj Khalifa in dubai, UAE at 2,723 feet.eiffelThe Eiffel Tower in 1916. Photo from warbirdinformationexchange.org.
  • Albert Einstein completed his formulation of a general theory of relativity.
  • Claude Monet painted his Water Lilies series of paintings.
  • The light switch was invented.
  • The Saturday Evening Post published its first cover featuring a Norman Rockwell painting.
  • Actor Charlie Chaplin signed with Mutual Studios earning $10,000 per week.
  • The tow truck was invented by Ernest Holmes, Sr.
  • The first supermarket, Piggly Wiggly, opened.pigglyThe first supermarket, Piggly Wiggly, in 1916. Photo from historic-memphis.com.
  • The hamburger bun was invented by a fry cook named Walter Anderson. He later founded White Castle.
  • The first Boeing aircraft, a Bluebell seaplane, made its first flight.
  • Lincoln Logs were invented by John L. Wright. His son Frank Lloyd Wright grew up to be a famous architect.
  • German automobile company, BMW was founded.
  • President Woodrow Wilson signs legislation creating the National Park Service.
  • The first 40-hour work week begins at the Endicott-Johnson factories in New York.

1916 Miscellaneous

  • Only 6% of Americans had graduated high school.
  • The US had only 230 reported murders.
  • Life expectancy was 49.6 years for men and 54.3 years for women.
  • Only 14% of homes had a bathtub.
  • The population of Las Vegas, Nevada was 30.
  • The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.
  • 90% of all doctors had no college education.
  • Marijuana, heroin and morphine were available at local drugstores over-the-counter.
  • The leading causes of death were pneumonia, influenza, and tuberculosis.
  • Margaret Sanger opened the first birth control clinic in the country.
  • The first fortune cookies were produced in Los Angeles, California.
  • “Somewhere a Voice is Calling” by John McCormack was the number one song title.
  • 8% of American homes had a telephone.

1916 Notable Births

  • Jackie Gleason, American comedian, actor and musician
  • Dinah Shore, American singer
  • Gregory Peck, American actor
  • Beverly Cleary, American author
  • Robert McNamara, former US Secretary of Defense
  • Roald Dahl, Welsh-born author
  • Walter Cronkite, American television journalistcronkiteWalter Cronkite was born in 1916. Photo from blogs.uoregon.edu.
  • Kirk Douglas, American film actor
  • Betty Grable, American actress

Things have changed dramatically in 100 years.  Imagine how different life will be by the next 100.

Sources:

www.thecentenarian.co.uk

http://thecircular.org/sixteen-differences-1916-2016-100-years-change/

http://www.infoplease.com/year/1916.html

http://www.cleveland.com/entertainment/index.ssf/2016/01/1916_sports_famous_firsts_achi.html

http://www.cleveland.com/entertainment/index.ssf/2016/01/1916_facts_famous_firsts_birth.html

http://dailygenius.com/facts-about-the-year-1916/

http://kimberleykoz.com/a-look-at-one-hundred-years-ago-1916/

http://www.amputee-coalition.org/resources/a-brief-history-of-prosthetics/

http://unyq.com/the-history-of-prosthetics/

http://www.stockingirl.com/HIST.html

http://www.twistcollective.com/collection/107-articles/1776-hosiery-history

http://www.hidez.com.au/?route=information/information&information_id=4

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compression_stockings

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2016/05/13/shes-only-person-left-born-1800s/84321322/