Monday, April 25, 2016

Self-Employment Educational Retreat for Families with Developmental Disabilities

Reserve your spot today: http://www.picassoeinstein.com/#!project-family-retreat/qa95o


Unicorn Children’s Foundation WINS BIG with the Help of Hair by Scott & Co.

Hair By Scott & Co. held a Grand Drawing on April 10, 2016 to win incredible vacations, jewelry, rounds of golf, and other spectacular prizes. The salon helped raise over $7000. Proceeds will provide scholarships for students with special needs to attend Unicorn Village Academy. The Foundation is so fortunate to have partnered with this generous salon in the community.

Unicorn Village Academy is an individual, strength-and interest-based educational model that allow students to achieve educational, personal, and career goals in an environment highlighted by self-determination and self-advocacy. The program integrates academics with speech/language, occupational therapies, counseling, social skills training, work-readiness preparation, activities of daily living and community based employment experiences. Unicorn Village Academy empowers students to cultivate respect for themselves and others by offering opportunities for life-long personal and social development.

With 1 of every 6 children affected by some form of intellectual or developmental disability, most of us have experienced the challenges first-hand or know someone who has. Every single person, from the high powered executive to the stay at home mom, can make a positive impact and help a child/family in need.


Monday, April 18, 2016

Creating Compassionate Children

Children with special needs are an easy target for bullies because of their desire to fit in and make friends coupled by their challenges in understanding social cues. More and more doors to inclusive opportunities are opening for individuals with special needs, but these very doors may also make them more vulnerable to bullying by their peers. Creating Compassionate Children TM is an international campaign designed to help students build a culture of understanding, acceptance, inclusion, and most importantly, respect. By educating children at an early age about differences and including children with special needs as friends in their social environments, research has shown that we can foster caring peer support and eliminate bullying.

Men with Caring Hearts Kick-Off

Congratulations to our President, Gregory Fried who we honored at the Men with Caring Hearts Kick-Off on Friday night at Excell Auto.
The 15TH Annual MEN WITH CARING HEARTS awards luncheon, benefiting Florence Fuller Child Development Centers will be held on Friday, May 6th at 11AM at Boca West Country Club.
Come out and support our Simply Spectacular nominee. Tickets are $125 each and can be secured through 4/22. Contact sharon@eunicorn.org for more details or call 561-620-9377.







Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

2016 - 2017 Season Kickoff

Yesterday afternoon, we had a walking tour of The Wick Theatre & Costume Museum, followed by a sit down lunch to discuss Unicorn's upcoming season. During the lunch, we inducted Gale Wechsler into The Visionary Society. We have so many exciting plans that we can't wait to share with all of you!!

View all photos



Monday, April 11, 2016

In Loving Memory of Mike Rosenbloom

Mike Rosenbloom, of Westmount, QC and Boca Raton, FL, died on April 9, 2016, in Boca Raton, FL. He is survived by his wife, Valeria Wlusek Rosenbloom, four children, Evelyn Duhard, Mark, Barry and Richard Rosenbloom, stepchildren Andrea Bucovetsky Rich and Jeremy Bucovetsky, grandchildren Vicky and Jessie Duhard, Sarah-Eve, Ruby, Samuel, Alexa, Matthew, and Michael Rosenbloom, Sophia and Charlie Rich, and Gabriel and Nathaniel Bucovetsky. He is also survived by his sister-in-law, Bess Rosenbloom, and numerous nieces and nephews. Mike Rosenbloom formed Globe Communications Corp., an international publishing company that produced not only supermarket newspapers Globe, Examiner and Sun, but also a series of other publications that included Bridal Guide Magazine, Cracked, the Globe "Mini-Mags" and a host of other products that were distributed not only at supermarket checkouts in the United States and Canada, but also at newsstands and shops worldwide. For many years, the company was based in Boca Raton, FL. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Mike and Valeria Rosenbloom Foundation, 1350 Sherbrooke St. W., Ste. 700, Montreal, QC H3G 2T4 or the Unicorn Children's Foundation, http://www.unicornchildrensfoundation.org/

New Website Launched

Our BIG news is.... *drumroll*

Our BRAND NEW website has officially been LAUNCHED!

This new site is very interactive, and has a lot of new features we know you're going to love!

You now have the ability to create Personal Campaigns. You can create your own personal fundraising page in honor of someone, for your birthday, or just to spread awareness. You will be able to see a real-time thermometer, send emails to your friends, and get notifications when someone donates for you.

Another new feature is Personal Logins. After you make a donation online, you will be asked to create an account. From here, you can download PDF receipts that are always kept, you never have to keep filling out your personal information everytime you donate, and you can access exclusive resources, including fact sheets.

Everything is mobile friendly, safe, and up-to-date.

If you have any questions, please contact Amy at amy@eunicorn.org or 561-620-9377 x 304.

Enjoy!


Thursday, April 7, 2016

Unicorn Children's Foundation Participating in the Great Give

On May 3, 2016, from midnight to midnight, Unicorn Children's Foundation is participating in the Great Give Palm Beach & Martin Counties, a 24-hour online giving event led by the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin CountiesUnited Way of Palm Beach County and United Way of Martin County. Great Give 2016 is designed to raise as much money as possible for local nonprofits in just one day as part of a nation-wide program called Give Local America. Last year, thanks to generous donors like you, we raised $3.1 million collectively and ranked 7th in the nation! This year, we know we can do even better – will you join us?

This community-wide event celebrates the spirit of giving and the collective effort it takes to strengthen our community while raising critical funds for hundreds of local nonprofits serving every need. Plus, each donation made during the 24-hour period will be amplified by bonus pool dollars and hourly prizes!

Your donation will go a long way in helping us build communities of support, acceptance, and opportunity for individuals and families challenged by neurodiversity. We hope you will consider donating to Unicorn Children's Foundation through www.GreatGiveFlorida.org. on May 3, and please remember – 24-hours CAN change our community!




Raffle Winners April 4, 2016- Boca West Foundation

1st Prize, Saks Fifth Avenue $7,500 Shopping Spree: Daniel Vahab
2nd Prize, 8- Day European Cruise “Scenic Opal”: Helene Golden
3rd Prize, 7-Nights St. James Club Antigua: Marc Avram

All winners have been contacted and prizes have been confirmed.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Monday, April 4, 2016

Over $30,000!

Great night! Thank you to Boca West Foundation and our golfers who raised over $30,000 to support scholarships for children with special needs. 




Michael Israel at Boca West Foundation's Charity Golf Tournament

Unicorn Village Academy's Evelyn Falconer at Boca West Foundation with the incredibly talented Michael Israel, and Unicorn Children's Foundation's Sharon Alexander at Charity Golf Tournament. Looking forward to his performance tonight!

Boca West Foundation Charity Golf Tournament Today!

At Boca West Country Club for the Boca West Foundation Charity Golf Tournament benefitting many local charities including Unicorn Children's Foundation and Unicorn Village Academy!

Friday, April 1, 2016

New CDC Autism Data Highlights Importance of Long-term Services and Supports, Cultural Competency

March 31, 2016

Today the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released data from its Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network indicating that 1 in 68 school-aged children are on the autism spectrum. In announcing the rate, which is unchanged from 2014, the CDC called attention to the critical role services and supports play in helping people with autism reach their full potential. 
Autistic children, like people with all types of disabilities, need more avenues to gain independence. From an early age, they need to learn life skills that will enable them to fully participate in the community and to be actively and meaningfully involved in planning for their own transition to adulthood.  
We need to have higher expectations for people with disabilities, in everything including academic achievement. We must empower them to do more than stay at home or work in non-integrated settings, like sheltered workshops. We also must take action to structure our communities and workplaces to embrace neurodiversity and benefit from these individuals' strengths.
 To achieve this, we must ensure services are available to support children with autism through all stages of life – from early childhood and the school years, as they look toward college and employment, and ultimately as they live independently as adults.
 To that end, the nation's 67 federally-funded University Centers for Developmental Disabilities (UCEDDs) are playing a leading role in conducting research, developing and testing cutting edge practices, and connecting families with services and supports.
For example, the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Waisman Center demonstrates the effectiveness of starting early and establishing high expectations for all children. Its supportive learning environment for a developmentally diverse group of children between the ages of 1 and 5 offers a model of promising practices for other schools and organizations.
UCEDDs also have been key partners in the CDC’s Learn the Signs. Act Early. campaign, which aims to improve early identification of children with autism and other developmental disabilities so children and families can get the services and support they need.
 State Councils on Developmental Disabilities also are playing a role. Many participate in Project SEARCH, a program which uses real-life work experience to help youth with disabilities make successful transitions from school to adult life with jobs in integrated settings with good wages. State Protection and Advocacy systems often work with children with autism and their families on the development of – and adherence to -- appropriate Individual Education Plans. 
 The CDC report also notes that black and Hispanic children are less likely to be identified as being on the autism spectrum, and they receive developmental evaluations at a later age than white children. This is a serious problem because a late or missed diagnosis can cause children and their families to miss out on services and supports that can help them thrive.
 Although there is no single definitive explanation for the disparity in diagnoses, there are a number of factors that research suggests might play a role.
·         Black and Latino children on the autism spectrum are more likely to receive incorrect diagnoses such as ADHD or conduct disorders. Signs that black and Latino children may be on the autism spectrum are often dismissed and attributed to other social or cultural factors or other disabilities.
·         Black and Latino families may not have the same level of access to health care services, particularly specialized services.
·         Linguistic barriers can impact families for whom English is not a first language. For example, a study in California found that only 10% of surveyed primary care pediatricians could provide Spanish-language Autism screenings.
·         Particularly in black communities, a lack of trust in the medical profession because of historic abuses like the Tuskegee experiments, may cause parents to avoid seeking a diagnosis or treatment.
·         Greater stigma associated with developmental disabilities in black and Hispanic communities also may play a role in preventing parents from seeking assessments for their children.

And there may be other factors at play. Consequently, there is no single answer to the problem. However, there are efforts underway to help. For example, Birth to 5: Watch Me Thrive!, a coordinated federal effort to encourage universal developmental and behavioral screening for children, includes a number of Spanish-language screening tools.
Additionally, 43 Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) programs operate across the country, often working alongside a UCEDD. These programs, funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration, train professionals from diverse disciplines to diagnose autism and other developmental disabilities and use evidence-based interventions. Many of these programs have focused specifically on outreach to underserved communities. 
Multiple projects at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) also are focusing on outreach, working with the Hispanic community. The UIC UCEDD runs a clinic offering comprehensive interdisciplinary assessments in Spanish and/or English for individuals of all ages who believe they may have a developmental disability. One of the program’s specialties is autism. In addition, through a grant from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research at ACL, UIC is evaluating a training program for Latino parents of children with autism delivered by health educators, or promotoras, who themselves are parents of children with autism.
Such programs are necessary because research suggests that racial disparities impact families' experiences long after a diagnosis is made. For example, a national study found that black and Latino parents of children with developmental disabilities such as autism "were significantly less likely than white parents to report that their health care provider spent enough time with their child, or was sensitive to the family’s values and customs." For families for whom English is not a first language, language barriers can result in inaccessible services and make it even harder to navigate a system of services and supports that can be overwhelming for any family.
Given the many challenges, it is critical that cultural and linguistic competency be a part of every program and system that supports people on the autism spectrum and their families.
Recent efforts to address this challenge include the Diversity and Inclusion Toolkit developed by the Association of University Centers on Disability with guidance and funding from AIDD, to highlight specific strategies and resources that UCEDDs, national organizations and federal agencies can use to promote diversity and inclusion. In addition, with National Training Initiative grants from ACL/AIDD, 14 UCEDDs are developing diversity fellowship programs to support recruitment and retention of diverse trainees and build cultural and linguistic competence within their centers.
Tomorrow marks the start of Autism Awareness Month. This year – and going forward even after the month ends -- let’s focus on more than awareness.  Let’s work toward true acceptance.  Let’s raise expectations, both for people with autism and for the world we live in.

We all benefit when everyone has the opportunity to contribute and participate – let’s commit to working even harder to ensure that opportunity fully includes people with autism.