As you might have noticed, I have not produced a newsletter since March 2006. The reason for this is that I’ve been planning some exciting and new changes to the site. I’ve also been taking the time to re-think and refocus our business model to provide more information and support to our families and make the Web site more interactive and meaningful. I will be implementing these changes over the course of the next month. Since I need to switch my content to another server to carry out these changes, my Web site and E-commerce might be off line for about 24 hours during the switch. I project that this will happen sometime during the first or second week of July. Please stay tuned!
It’s also been a very busy time in the marketing department. I spoke in April with Julie Bernas-Pierce, Executive Director of the Blind Babies Foundation in Oakland, California about our services to families. The Blind Babies Foundation was the first agency to provide early intervention services to blind and visually impaired children aged birth to 3. It provides information, support, parent education, and visual assessments to about 400 families in Northern and Central California, including the bay area. This organization has some of the leading national experts in the area of early intervention and a pamphlet on Septo Optic Dysplasia on its Web site, so just communicating with Julie Bernas-Pierce was very exciting.
Julie Bernas-Pierce took an immediate interest in my services and agreed to allow me to conduct a presentation by teleconference to the Blind Children’s Center’s entire staff at a day-long retreat on June 7, 2006. All staff and some other professionals attended my presentation. I’m been asked for references and hope to work with this organization in the future. I received some excellent feedback and recommendations about the Web site content and our services. A very heartfelt thanks to Julie Bernas-Pierce for including us on the agenda for this retreat and taking the time to allow me to participate by telephone.
On June 1, my mother and I attended the annual conference of FOCUS Families at the Spring Hill Suites in Baltimore, Maryland. Of particular interest were presentations on hippotherapy by Maryland Therapeutic Riding and Developmental Optometrist Dr. Stanley Appelbaum on vision therapy and the impact of vision on other body systems.
On Friday, Maryland Therapeutic Riding brought on a physical therapist, an occupational therapist, and a speech /language pathologist to discuss the impact of therapeutic riding on children with sensory processing differences. Since I had already referred one of my customers to a similar program near her community, I was especially interested in what they had to say.
The presentation was centered on the very positive impact that hippotherapy has had in assisting children to develop communication, self-regulation, and social skills. These are all challenges that many with ONH struggle with on an ongoing basis. The gist of this presentation is that riding a horse under therapeutic conditions can greatly enhance a child’s level of comfort with his /her environment. The organization is part of the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA). NAHRA is the national accrediting organization for facilities offering hippotherapy in the United States. It provides local contact information for anyone interested in equine-assisted therapies on its Web site at http://www.narha.org. Some families have been able to have this support covered by insurance carriers, so I would encourage anyone to check out this valuable resource for our kids.
Dr. Stanley Appelbaum, a developmental and behavioral optometrist, presented on vision therapy and the impact of poor visual processing on many areas of functioning. He sited research that suggested that Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), sensory integration difficulties, and many behavioral challenges stem from poor visual processing.
Central to his presentation was his reference to the difference between eye sight and vision. Eye sight is the actual ability for the eyes to receive information, while vision refers to the ability of the eyes, the brain, and other related body systems to interpret and respond to this information.
Dr. Appelbaum has two practices in Maryland and works with his wife, an occupational therapist. He is the Webmaster of one of the primary information portals on the World-wide Web on vision therapy, located at http://www.visionhelp.com.
During the conference, my mother and I were privileged to have dinner with Rosalinda Mendiola from the Blind Children’s Center in Los Angeles. Rosalinda is the lead author of “A Unique Way of Learning” which is one of the only information booklets available that even begins to address strategies of teaching children with ONH /SOD and how we react to the challenges of the classroom. My mom, Rosalinda and I took the Baltimore light rail into downtown and ate at a lovely Irish restaurant at the Inner Harbor. The Oriels were playing the New York Yankees that night, so there were lots of people. The Inner Harbor is a beautiful place, and there is lots of shopping and dining. We had an excellent time talking about our experiences with ONH, and Rosalinda enjoyed meeting the children and their families who attended the FOCUS conference immensely.
I hope all of you who are reading this newsletter are having a wonderful summer and I thank you for your continuing support and patronage of ONH Consulting.
ONH Consulting, LLC