Mother’s Day – Andee’s Story

Mother’s Day was created by Anna Jarvis in 1905 and first celebrated in 1908. She wanted to honor her mother by continuing the work she started as a peace activist and to set aside a day to honor all mothers because she believed a mother is “the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world“.

To honor this Mother’s Day tradition, we want to share the stories of two incredible mothers who love their children with everything they have. Today we are highlighting Andee.


Andee Cooper’s life changed in September of 2011 when her three-year-old son, Kannon, began having his first of thousands of seizures. In a matter of weeks, Kannon was experiencing more than 110 seizures every day and tests soon diagnosed her once healthy son with epilepsy. Although many kids grow out of childhood onset epilepsy, Kannon’s hundreds of seizures per day began affecting his brain.

After two weeks at the Mayo Clinic, Kannon was diagnosed with Lennox Gastaut Syndrome, a complex, rare and severe childhood-onset form of epilepsy characterized by multiple and concurrent seizures and cognitive dysfunction typically extending into adulthood.

Immediately, Andee began a journey she never thought she would experience. She and her little boy who was already potty-trained, could count to twenty and sing the sweetest songs, were now facing a new future foreign from his first three years of life.

One of the first places Andee turned to for help was TARC. With consultation from Sherilyn Walton, TARC’s Family Support Coordinator, Andee received recommendations on school systems, therapies, sensory integration techniques and most importantly how to serve as an advocate for her son.

As Kannon started school, Andee worked with TARC to find resources so she could move to a new home in the Jenks School district with a school nurse on staff and a distinguished special education program. An on-site nurse is critical to Kannon’s care so he can receive his daily seizure medication or rescue medicine when needed. And when behavioral issues emerged, Sherilyn and Andee met with educators to find a solution.

Now a ten-year-old student in Jenks Public School’s Special Education Program, Kannon has been through more testing and has more battle wounds from seizures than one child should have to endure in a lifetime. With an IQ of 41, Kannon’s cognitive function is that of two-year-old, despite his physical appearance of a typical ten-year-old healthy boy.

“My son is often misunderstood because he looks healthy,” said Andee.

Andee has learned how to enroll in services that have helped ease the financial burden for her family, including providing services for Kannon with physical therapy; access to in-home services through a Medicaid waiver; and enrollment in SoonerCare which covers the medication Kannon needs to prevent seizures, an adaptive wheelchair, and some of her family’s monthly medical expenses. We are grateful that Andee reached out to our team at TARC and that she continues to work with us as she devotedly advocates for her son and others with disabilities.

As any parent, Andee will experience ups and downs and bumps along the way, but TARC’s Family Support Programs will be there to support Andee and Kannon long after his school years have ended.

As a single parent, an ally has been especially important for Andee and she credits Sherilyn and TARC for the progress she’s seen in her son as well as in her own professional career.

“I owe her everything—all of my positive outcomes and successes I have because of her help,” said Andee. “She has taught me how to be the voice for my child.”

While TARC did help Andee and will continue to do so, it was because of her initiative and advocacy that Kannon has the life he does today.


Andee is the mother that every child should have. She is wonderful in her advocacy and support of her child. That is how every parent should be. Every child should feel as loved as Kannon does. Thank you to all mothers out there!

If you have a story like Andee’s, share it with us and show everyone how spreading love can be life-changing.

Mother’s Day – Cheryl’s Story

 

Mother’s Day was created by Anna Jarvis in 1905 and first celebrated in 1908. She wanted to honor her mother by continuing the work she started as a peace activist and to set aside a day to honor all mothers because she believed a mother is “the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world“.

To honor this Mother’s Day tradition, we want to share the stories of two incredible mothers who love their children with everything they have. Today we are highlighting Cheryl.


Imagine receiving a phone call at 28 weeks pregnant saying the ultrasound you just received shows your child has Spina bifada, water on the brain, a hole in his spine, and will never walk.

For Cheryl, a diagnosis such as this before the birth of her son Christian shaped her life as a mother like nothing else could and sent her down an entirely new path.

Cheryl contacted TARC more than ten years ago before Christian entered kindergarten. Christian was a non-verbal student and his mom was anxious about him starting school and what his future would hold.

Helping her navigate her emotions, Cheryl worked with Sherilyn Walton, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker at TARC to secure an educational framework that has helped Christian develop into the young man he is today.

“Christian benefits from the decisions I make, but he also suffers if I make a wrong one,” said Cheryl. “If you would have told me in kindergarten this is where we would be, I don’t know that I would have believed you.”

Christian, now 19 years old, is a senior at Jenks High School and is transitioning into adulthood, a scary time for all parents. The skills his mom learned from TARC have taught Cheryl how to navigate and advocate for services for her son. After 24 surgeries, it is Christian’s confidence that gives Cheryl her greatest hope for his future.

“Will he go to tech school? Is he going to college? Is he going to work? Of course he is,” added Cheryl. “So, I’ll be graduating from Sherilyn to another person at TARC who handles transitioning into adulthood. Christian will have access to self-advocacy groups that teach him how to get on a bus, how to apply for a job and how to live to his fullest potential.

“I owe Sherilyn my life and my son’s life. I’m so grateful he has not only survived elementary and middle school but now we are in high school, and now I have an organization that I can trust with Christian’s adult life as well. He’s perfect. He is the best human on the planet!”

Cheryl’s words, “He is the best human on the planet”, perfectly show the never-ending love she has for her son. Cheryl actively advocates for Christian and loves him through the good and the not-so-good. The “not-so-good” just helps them grow as a family and as advocates.


Cheryl is the mother that every child should have. She is wonderful in her advocacy and support of her child. That is how every parent should be. Every child should feel as loved as Christian does. Thank you to all mothers out there!

If you have a story like Cheryl’s, share it with us and show everyone how spreading love can be life-changing.

 

 

Drug Shows Promise in Socialization For Those With Autism

There is new research suggesting targeting a hormone may lead to improved socialization and behavior in those with autism. The hormone known as vasopressin is being studied in both adults and children and there is reason for cautious optimism.

The children’s study looked at 30 kids ages 6 to 12 with autism and after randomly assigning some children to take a vasopressin nasal spray and others a placebo, parents and researchers observed greater increases in social abilities in those who took vasopressin. Along with showing less anxiety, the children showed improved performance on lab tests designed to measure social capabilities.

From the Science Translational Medicine journal, researchers found improvement was greatest among kids who had the highest levels of vasopressin before the study began. The treatment also appeared to diminish restricted and repetitive behaviors.

A separate study looked at 223 adult men with moderate to severe autism. A drug called balovaptan, which affects the brain’s response to vasopressin, was given to the men at four varying doses of balovaptan or a placebo for 12 weeks. While the adult trial showed no meaningful gains when the men were assessed using the Social Responsive Scale, two groups that received higher doses of the drug showed gains on a second scale examining socialization, adaptive behavior and daily living skills compared to those who received the placebo.

“Both drugs were well tolerated and had an acceptable safety profile, suggesting that modulating the vasopressin pathway may be a useful therapeutic strategy for ASD,” researchers behind both studies wrote in the journal. However a senior author of the study cautioned the public that larger trials are necessary to make sure the treatment is safe.

Click here to read more about the science behind the study.

 

 

May At-A-Glance

Happy May!

“May, more than any other month of the year, wants us to feel most alive.” – Fennel Hudson

If April was the month of the growing season, when trees and flowers begin to “open”, that must mean May is the month of living and flourishing as a result of our new growth!

The birthstone of May, the emerald, is a symbol of success and love. All things seem possible in May!

There are a lot of holiday celebrations in the month of May and we wanted to take the time to share some of them with you.

 

May National Month Observations:

At the beginning of each month, we will be sharing a list of National Days that you can observe during that given month. At the beginning of every week, we will provide a more detailed explanation of the Awareness Days observed in that week.

  • National Mental Health Awareness Month
  • National Foster Care Month
  • National Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month
  • National Blood Pressure Education Month
  • National Stroke Awareness Month
  • National ALS Awareness Month
  • Better Hearing and Speech Month
  • Brain Tumor Awareness Month
  • Community Action Awareness Month
  • National Golf Month
  • Military Appreciation Month
  • Mobility Awareness Month
  • National Smile Month (UN)
  • National Better Sleep Month

 

May National Week Observations:

The first full week of May is:

  • National Teacher Appreciation Week
  • National Pet Week

The second full week of May is:

  • National Williams Syndrome Awareness Week
  • Public Works Week

The third full week of May is:

  • Emergency Medical Services Week

 

May National Day Observations:

At the beginning of each week, we will be posting a day-to-day list that details all of May’s National Day Observations. It will include what the holiday is for and how you can observe it.

May 1st: May Day/Silver Star Service Banner Day

May 3rd: National Specially-Able Pets Day

May 5th: National Silence the Shame Day/National Childhood Stroke Awareness Day/Cinco de Mayo

May 7th: National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day/National Foster Care Day/National Teacher Appreciation Day

May 8th: National School Nurse Day

May 10th: National Provider Appreciation Day

May 11th: Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive Day

May 12th: Mother’s Day

May 14thNational Decency Day

May 15thPeace Officers Memorial Day/International Families Day (UN)

May 16th: National Do Something Good for Your Neighbor Day

May 18thNational Learn to Swim Day/National Armed Forces Day

May 20th: National Rescue Dog Day

May 21st: National American Red Cross Founder’s Day/ Global Accessibility Awareness Day 

May 22nd: Emergency Medical Services for Children Day

May 27th: National Memorial Day/World Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Day

May 29th: National Senior Health & Fitness Day

May 30th: World Multiple Sclerosis Day

May 31st: National Smile Day

April: Week Two

Welcome to the second week of April!
April is the month of the growing season, when trees and flowers begin to “open”. So that means April is the month of GROWTH!
April is a hopeful month which promises good and beautiful things in the future.

There are a lot of holiday celebrations in the month of April and this week is dedicated to National Student Employment Week and National Volunteer Week.

 

National Student Employment Week sheds light on how student employment offers students career-enhancing opportunities, the ability to develop skills relevant in any career, better preparation for the job market upon graduation, and a way to help pay for their education. Many students can earn a significant portion of their college expenses, thus avoiding the debt burden so familiar with college graduates today.

The reason this week is special to TARC is because of the vocational collaboration we are part of that provides Self-Advocacy and Self Determination Training for high school students and staff as part of Goodwill’s Transition Work Adjustment Program. Our overall goal is to help students be actively involved in their decision-making process regarding education, vocation and advocacy services available to them once they graduate high school and enter college.

How to Observe

Organizations that employ college or high school students are encouraged to mark the week with ice cream socials, billboards, or special meals to show their appreciation.

You can also use #StudentEmploymentWeek or #NSEA on social media to show your admiration of student employees!

 

National Volunteer Week  is an opportunity to thank the thousands of volunteers across the country who keep many organizations running, communities safe and provide the services that otherwise would not exist without volunteers. It’s also a time to consider volunteering or providing support to those organizations vital to your community.

We cannot wait to shine a light on all of our amazing volunteers this week as we thank them for their hard work.

How to Observe

Click here or call us at 918.582.TARC (8272) to see how you can be a TARC volunteer.

Visit www.pointsoflight.org to find out more about National Volunteer Week and find out how you can make a difference. Use #NationalVolunteerWeek to share on social media.

 

 

April National Day Observations:

Tuesday, April 9th is dedicated to a very fun and entertaining activity  National Name Yourself Day.

National Name Yourself Day 

To celebrate this fun national day, you are allowed to give yourself a new name for one day only.

If you have ever wondered what it would be like to have a different name, this would be the day to find out.  If you like your name and do not want to play along, you can try a nickname instead. The nickname might just stick with you.

How to Observe

Create a new name for yourself and use #NationalNameYourselfDay to post on social media.

This is such a fun way to change up your day and add a little fun to your normal routine.

 

Wednesday, April 10th is dedicated to a great holiday for some  National Siblings Day.

National Siblings Day 

National Siblings Day is a day created to honor our brothers and sisters.

Siblings. Sometimes they are our best friends and sometimes our worst enemies. At times, siblings will provide us with our biggest competition, strongest encouragement and remind us of our most embarrassing moments.

For individuals with disabilities, their siblings can be their biggest source of comfort and strength. We would love for you to share stories about you and your siblings with us.

How to Observe

To celebrate this fun national day, post about your sibling on social media with the tag #NationalSiblingsDay. You can use this as the perfect opportunity to embarrass them for all they have done to you in the past, or to thank them for always being by your side when you need them.

 

 

Friday, April 12th is dedicated to a very important awareness campaign, National Day of Silence.

National Day of Silence

National Day of Silence was formed as a student-led movement to protest bullying and harassment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students and those who support them. The Day of Silence illustrates to the schools and the colleges how the intimidation, name calling and general bullying has a silencing effect.  Participating students take a day-long vow of silence.

TARC wants to spread awareness of this day of silence in respect for anyone who has been bullied and felt intimidation from others because they are different. Being different doesn’t make you unimportant, it makes you special with unique gifts and talents. It would be boring to be just like everybody else.

How to Observe

Show your support for National Day of Silence by using #NationalDayofSilence on Social Media to bring awareness to this special day. Tell the world why you are choosing to be silent — for those who have had their voice taken away as a result of bullying.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take a look at National Day Calendars website to learn about more fun or important days that you can participate in!

Support the IDEA Full Funding Act


Last week, a group of bipartisan U.S. Senators and House of Representatives introduced the IDEA Full Funding Act (S.866/H.R.1878). The purpose of this legislation is to bring the share of funding for special education up to 40%, the amount committed when the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) law was first enacted in 1975. Currently, the federal government is meeting only 14% of these costs.

Introduced last Tuesday, March 26th, this bill is in the first stage of the legislative process. It is expected to be considered by the Senate Appropriations Committee before hopefully moving to the Senate and then the House for a full vote. TARC is very supportive of this legislation.

To track this legislation, click here: https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/116/s866.
Once you click on the link, the top of the page will have a green button so you can have emails sent to you. Once you do that you can receive updates and learn of major action on this bill. There is also a blue link to its right, allowing you to insert your zip code to get your legislators’ contact information so you can have your voice heard.

If you are interested in more information about how the IDEA Act addresses access to education and the program’s guidelines, please visit, https://sites.ed.gov/idea/about-idea/

April: Week One

Yesterday kicked off the first week of April!
April is the month of the growing season, when trees and flowers begin to “open”. So that means April is the month of GROWTH!
April is a hopeful month which promises good and beautiful things in the future.

There are a lot of holiday celebrations in the month of April and this week is dedicated to National Public Health.

 

National Public Health Week encourages people to become a part of a growing movement to create a healthy nation. The first full week of April is a time to recognize the contributions of public health while highlighting issues that are important to improving the health of the nation.

This week, let’s focus on prevention and reducing unhealthy activities in our community.

How to Observe

In 2018, Oklahoma ranked 47th in health after being evaluated by historical and comprehensive set of health, environmental, and socioeconomic data. Find out more by going to the American Health Ranking website. Download the Center for Disease Control Health IQ App to Your Smartphone. Follow on Facebook and share health facts and information using #PublicHealthWeek.

 

April National Day Observations:

Tuesday, April 2nd is dedicated to two very important awareness campaigns, World Autism Awareness Day and SAAM (Sexual Assault Awareness Month) Day of Action.

World Autism Awareness Day 

April is World Autism Month, and World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD) aims to put a spotlight on the hurdles that people with autism – and others living with autism – face every day.

As a growing global health issue owing to its increasing exposure in the press and common knowledge, autism is an issue that is only gaining more understanding – and WAAD activities are planned every year to further increase and develop world knowledge of children and adults who have autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

How to Observe

Wear blue to spread awareness, understanding, and acceptance of those with autism. AutismSpeaks is inviting friends and neighbors around the world to come together to pledge to go blue to increase global understanding and acceptance of people with autism. We hope you’ll join us by pledging your support for a more inclusive world and staying involved all month long!

 

SAAM Day of Action

Nationally recognized in the United States and observed annually as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), SAAM Day of Action provides a day to focus awareness on sexual violence prevention.

Since 2004, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center has promoted a day dedicated to ending sexual violence against women. Their campaign is ongoing. 

How to Observe

Use #SAAMDayOfAction to post on social media.

For more information on sexual violence prevention and awareness, visit www.nsvrc.org.

 

Wednesday, April 3rd is also dedicated to two awareness campaigns, Childhelp National Day of Hope and National Walking Day.

Childhelp National Day of Hope

During National Child Abuse Prevention Month the first Wednesday of April has been dedicated to a Childhelp National Day of Hope.  Everyone across the country is asked to make a life-long commitment to joining the fight to end child abuse and neglect.

How to Observe

Lighting a 5 wick candle and observing a 5-minute silence represents the approximately 5 children who die every day as a result of abuse in the United States. Fight to end child abuse and use #ChildhelpNationalDayOfHope to post on social media.

To learn more, visit www.childhelp.org.

 

National Walking Day

The first Wednesday in April is National Walking Day.  The American Heart Association sponsors this day to remind people about the health benefits of taking a walk.  

How to Observe

Wear your sneakers (or take them with you) to work, and at some point in the day, take a 30-minute walk. Use the hashtag #HealthyForGood when posting on social media.

Click here to get more information and resources on how to stay active and healthy.

 

 

Saturday, April 6th is dedicated to two awareness campaigns, National Student-Athlete Day and National Love Our Children Day.

National Student-Athlete Day (NSAD)

NSAD provides an opportunity to recognize the outstanding accomplishments of student-athletes.

It was created to honor high school and college student-athletes who have excelled in academics and athletics and who have contributed to their communities and schools in a significant way.

How to Observe

Support student-athletes and use #StudentAthleteDay when posting on social media. Share stories about your student in the Special Olympics detailing how it has impacted your family.

 

National Love Our Children Day

Love Our Children USA sponsors and promotes this day annually on the first Saturday in April as part of National Child Abuse Prevention Month. This day honors all children and encourages us to develop loving, respectful relationships with our children.

This day focuses on the prevention of child abuse and violence against children as well bringing awareness and helping put in place support tools and resources for communities.

How to Observe

Take time to make the life of a child better. Educate yourself on the prevention of child abuse. Use #NationalLoveOurChildrenDay to share on social media.

For more information, visit loveourchildrenusa.org

 

April At-A-Glance

Happy April!

April is the month of the growing season, when trees and flowers begin to “open”. So that means April is the month of GROWTH!

April is a hopeful month which promises good and beautiful things in the future.

There are a lot of holiday celebrations in the month of April and we wanted to take the time to share some of them with you.

 

April National Month Observations:

At the beginning of each month, we will be sharing a list of National Days that you can observe during that given month. At the beginning of every week, we will provide a more detailed explanation of the Awareness Days observed in that week.

  • National Autism Awareness Month
  • National Month of Hope
  • National Parkinson’s Awareness Month
  • Sexual Assault Awareness Month
  • Stress Awareness Month
  • National Volunteer Appreciation Month
  • Occupational Therapy Month
  • National Child Abuse Prevention Month

 

April National Week Observations:

The first week of April is:

  • National Public Health Week

The second full week of April is:

  • National Student Employment Week
  • National Volunteer Week

The third full week of April is:

  • Boys & Girls Club Week

The fourth full week of April is:

  • Every Kid Healthy Week

 

April National Day Observations:

At the beginning of each week, we will be posting a day-to-day list that details all of April’s National Day Observations. It will include what the holiday is for and how you can observe it. 

April 1st: April Fools Day

April 2nd: World Autism Awareness Day/SAAM Day of Action (Sexual Assault Awareness Month)

April 3rd: Childhelp National Day of Hope/National Walking Day

April 6th: National STUDENT-Athlete Day (NSAD)/National Love Our Children Day

April 7th: National Handmade Day/World Health Day

April 8th: National Zoo Lovers Day

April 9th: National Name Yourself Day

April 10th: National Siblings Day

April 11th: Parkinson’s Disease International Awareness Day

April 12thNational Day of Silence

April 15th: National Education and Sharing Day.

April 16th: National Healthcare Decisions Day/National Stress Awareness Day

April 18th: National High Five Day

April 19th: National Oklahoma City Bombing Commemoration Day

April 22nd: National Earth Day

April 23rd: National Take a Chance Day

April 25th: National DNA Day

April 26th: National Kids and Pets Day

April 27th: Show your Metal Day

April 28th: National Superhero Day

ABLE Program Looking to Expand

Legislation was introduced earlier this month to increase access to the ABLE Program, (Achieving a Better Life Experience) designed to enable individuals with disabilities to save for and pay for disability-related expenses. Set up in 2014, ABLE accounts permit people with disabilities to save up to $100,000 without risking eligibility for Social Security and other government benefits. Under ABLE rules, Medicaid is maintained no matter how much is saved in the accounts, up to the $100,000 limit. What is being changed as of this month’s ABLE Age Adjustment Act, S. 651, is those with disabilities that present by age 46 could open these types of accounts. The current law limits ABLE accounts to those with disabilities that present prior to age 26.

 

This change will increase the number of account holders and is necessary in order for this program to promote sustainability. At the end of last year, 34,707 ABLE accounts were open across the country with $171.7 million in assets, according to Strategic Insight, a consulting firm tracking ABLE account trends. However, according to the National Association of State Treasurers, which represent state ABLE administrators and program managers, 390,000 accounts are needed by June, 2021 for ABLE programs to achieve sustainability. The senators behind the bill said that another 6.1 million people are estimated to be eligible for ABLE accounts if the ABLE Age Adjustment Act is approved.

 

Currently S.651, ABLE Age Adjustment Act has been referred to the Senate Committee on Finance and has been reintroduced in the House (H.R. 1814) where last week it was referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means. This will need to pass both the Senate and the House of Representatives before going to the President to become Law.

To have your voice heard, contact your legislators at https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/116/s651/comment and you can refer to the Senate’s bill at  https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/116/s651 and the House’s bill at https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/1814/cosponsors

 

To learn more about Oklahoma’s program, called “Oklahoma STABLE”, click here: https://okstable.org/

 

Budget Proposal Cuts Will Impact Those With Disabilities

The most recent fiscal 2020 budget proposal unveiled for the federal government proposes cuts to social programs including $1.5 trillion in cuts to Medicaid over the next 10 years. Among the cuts include an $845 billion reduction to Medicaid and Medicare spending over the next decade, with additional cuts to the Social Security Disability Insurance program and a $26 billion decrease in Social Security spending over the next 10 years.

 

One proposal sure to affect people with disabilities is for the federal government to provide a fixed dollar amount to states each year for Medicaid services. It is believed this would jeopardize states ability to fund services to people with developmental and intellectual disabilities.

 

The Arc of the United States, of which TARC is an affiliated chapter, put it this way:

Trump’s budget request “would put the lives of people with disabilities at risk.” Adding, “the proposal includes deep cuts to Medicaid, the core program providing access to health care and home and community-based services for people with disabilities.”

 

Numerous other programs call for cuts including state councils on developmental disabilities, independent living programs and respite care efforts, a $51 million cut to address autism and other developmental disabilities, and cutting all funds for Special Olympics’ educational programs.

 

You can let your US House of Representative and US Senator know how you feel by contacting their offices at: https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative and https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm?State=OK