Archive for July, 2010|Monthly archive page

Connor Doran in Las Vegas for America’s Got Talent Final Auditions

We first wrote about Connor Doran back in June when he auditioned for American’s Got Talent with his Indoor Kite Flying. Doran suffers from severe epilepsy, a condition which doctors diagnosed him with at the age of four with the grim prognosis that he would eventually need to be institutionalized.

Connor received three votes from the America’s Got Talent judges at the Portland auditions, sending him through to the next rounds of auditions in Las Vegas. The video below is Doran’s follow up performance in Las Vegas, where contestants competed for one of 48 spots in the Hollywood finals. [Note: This video contains all the auditions in the Kid’s Category. The video is only 5 minutes long and chock full of talented kids, but if you would like to just skip forward to Doran’s performance, his audition begins at 2:24 in the video reel.]

Vodpod videos no longer available.

KId Category America’s Got Talent Las Vegas Aud…, posted with vodpod

Doran did not go through to the Hollywood round. While the judges do not tell the express reason for why they did not choose to send Doran through to the next rounds of competition, it was a little discouraging to hear their “concerns” about sending Doran through — questioning whether or not he could “handle going live.” While their concern may be sincere, the potential that they worried that Doran’s condition — the very same condition that brought him to his extraordinary talent — was a hinderance to his performance rather than an asset is the exact opposite reaction that they should have had. Their concern also seems a bit uneducated — that perhaps they don’t truly understand epilepsy — being that he performed in front of a huge live audience during his Portland audition.

Well, perhaps while auditioning in Vegas he was seen by some Cirque du Soliel fairy godmother and we’ll be seeing him in one of their infamous shows.


Navigating Your IEP

Navigating Your IEP Talk about some talented and proactive youth. The Florida Youth Council and The Advocacy Center for Persons with Disability have provided the resources for a second printing of FAAST’s IEP guide book, Navigating Your IEP: Are You on the Right Track for Success? The guide book is written for youth, by youth, and provides helpful advice on how a student can go from being a passive observer in their IEP meeting, to leading the discussion and taking charge of their educational and life planning program.

Hard copies of Navigating Your IEP: Are You on the Right Track for Success? are available upon request by contacting Alex Brown at (this eamil address is being protected gtom spambots so you will need JavaScript enabled to view it) or by phone at (850) 224-4670.

A PDF version of Navigating Your IEP: Are You on the Right Track for Success is available by clicking here, or visit the official reprinting page at

While this guide is originally written for youth, by youth, anyone who is new to any one of the resource programs available from the state of Florida, such as Vocational Rehabilitation where you will be creating an IEP, will benefit from reading this guide.

Florida Spinal Cord Injury Resource Center of FAAST Terminates Contract


Image via

As of June 30, 2010, the Florida Department of Health, Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Program (BSCIP) contract with the Florida Alliance fro Assistive Services and Technology, Inc (FAAST) was terminated. Because the contract was not renewed, the Florida Spinal Cord Injury Resource Center (FSCIRC) services provided through FAAST have also been terminated.

For the official letter of this action, click here, or visit the FAAST at

The Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Program is still in effect. Visit the Brain and Spinal Cord Injury home page through the Florida Department of Health, or visit their FAAST Sponsor Link.

HHS Announces New Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan

Pre-Existing Condition Protest Sign

Pre-Existing Condition protest sign available at

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced (July 1, 2010) that establishment of a new Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) that will offer coverage to uninsured Americans and U.S. citizens residing in the United States legally who have been unable to obtain health coverage because of a pre-existing health condition.

PCIP will be administered either by the state or by HHS, and will provide a new health care coverage for Americans who have been uninsured for at least six (6) months and have been unable to get health insurance because of a pre-existing health condition.

Created under the Affordable Care Act, PCIP is a transitional program until 2014, when insurerers will be banned from discriminating against adults with pre-existing health condititions. Furthermore, individuals with small businesses will have access to more affordable private insurance choices through competitive Exchanges. In 2014, Members of Congress will also purchase their insurance through Exchanges.

The plan (PCIP) is designed to give adults with pre-existing health conditions the same insurance coverage as healthy individuals.

The Affordable Care Act provides $5 billion in federal funding to support PCIP in every state. As for whom will administer the program, some states have requested that the U.S. Department of HHS run the plan while others have requested that they resume control to run the program themselves.

For more information about how the plan is being administered where you live, how to apply, and to learn more about the PCIP options available in your state, visit the new HHS consumer website at

An imformation pamphlet on the PCIP can be found at

You can also read the official HHS news release here. The information obtained for this post came from this press release.

Starting July 1st, the plan was opened to applicants in 21 states where HHS is operating the program. All states which are operating their own PCIP will begin enrollment by the end of the summer, though some began their enrollment on July 1st as well.

Defining the New American Dream Video Contest

To commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the American’s with Disabilities Act, the National Disability Institute (NDI) has launched a nationwide video contest encouraging persons with disabilities and their families to capture their American Dream and how they are working to achieve it on video.

The American’s with Disabilities Act is a landmark piece of federal legislation that opened up services and employment opportunities to Americans with disabilities. The Defining the New American Dream video contest is a meaningful way for veterans and other Americans with disabilities and their families to share their powerful stories and showcase their economic self-sufficiency, happiness, and hopes for the future, says Michael Morris, JD, Executive Director of the National Disability Institute in Washington D.C., “Our goal with this contest is to highlight the positive impact the Americans with Disabilities Act has had on the lives of the more than 54 million Americans with disabilities and on society at large.”

Participants are encouraged to submit a three-minute video that tells the story of how they are working to achieve their American Dream. The video contest begins July 1, 2010 and all entries must be received by August 13, 2010.

One grand prize winner will receive $1,000 and a trip to Washington D.C. for their winning video to be viewed at NDI’s Real Economic Impact Tour’s National Kick-off.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Defining the New American Dream Video Contest, posted with vodpod

To learn more about the Defining the New American Dream video contest, go to

Real Economic Impact,National Disability Institute Launches Nationwide Video Contest to Commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

Closed Captioning on Camtasia

Camtasia StudioSome of us here at GCCC were super excited when the college bought the software license for Camtasia. The screen video capture program published by TechSmith offers a whole new dimension possible to teaching in the classroom, and especially for online classes and/or online demonstrations provided for students on ANGEL.

But as wonderful as the teaching possibilities are with Camtasia, the demonstrations can be rendered particularly useless, and even frustrating, to the hearing impaired. However, this problem can be easily remedied with Camtasia’s easy to use Synchronized Text & Audio tool. Added benefits of captioning your Camtasia are that your videos can be easily understood by students who may not have the ability to listen to audio, and you can even create subtitles and onscreen translations for non-native speackers — perfect for our ESOL program and college Spanish classes. Captioning also helps those students who learn best by reading.
Easy to follow directions on adding captions to your Camtasia videos can be found here, on TechSmith’s official site. Its as easy as a click, a copy/paste, and a press of the ole Start button. [Instructions here]

For those who’d rather not read instructions, the site also offers a Video Tutorial at the top of the page.

Oral Drugs for Multiple Sclerosis

Oral Drugs

Image via disaboom. Found in Google search.

A half million American’s may soon be able to put aside the needles and injections necessary for maintenance of symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS), and possibly even for the controlling of the disease’s progression all together.

The Food and Drug administration has approved its first ever oral MS drug, called dalfampridine. In clinical and drug trial tests, Dalfampridine has shown to have considerable effect on MS symptons. As many as 70 percent of people with MS have been shown in studies to have difficulties with mobility. Dalfampridine enchances nerve function, which can have great effect on the gait of MS sufferers.

Dalfampridine is considered a systomatic therapy, not a disease-modifying drug. It does not effect the immune system, as do the other federally approved MS drugs, and may not alter the course of the disease. These immune system altering drugs have only been able to be administered through injections, as oral forms have caused gastrointestinal problems. Scientists have been working diligently to find an oral medicine that did not come with these problems, and until recently have been unsuccessful.

Hot on the heals of the FDA’s approval of dalfampridine for treatment of MS symptoms are five potential oral drugs currently being considered by the FDA for treatment of MS at the altering immune system level. Two of the more promising drugs are fingolimod and cladribine.

Even with approval from the FDA, there are still some concerns about dalfampridine’s adverse effects — particularly seizures. The FDA has recommended that the drug not be used in patients with a history of seizures or with moderate to severe kidney disease.

For more information on the drugs discussed here, their research findings, and the potential risks and gains of the drugs, read “Oral Drugs for MS” by Jamie Talan in Neurology Now May/June 2010 (Vol. 6 Iss. 3), also available here. A PDF version of the article may also be printed from this page.

Also, an article written by Allen Bowling, MD, PhD. on these drugs and others in the race for an oral treatment for MS can be read here at disaboom.

Talan, Jamie. “Oral Drugs for MS.” Neurology Now 6.3 (2010): 35-36. Print.

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