Saturday, December 24, 2011

TSA helpline for travelers with disabilities

Below is a letter I was forwarded that I thought was worth posting.  Here's to more accessibility and understanding in all manners of local and international travel!

Forwarded from MD Family Networks:

The Transportation Security Administration has launched TSA Cares, a new helpline number designed to assist travelers with disabilities and medical conditions.

Travelers may call TSA Cares toll free at 1-855-787-2227 prior to traveling with questions about screening policies, procedures and what to expect at the security checkpoint. TSA Cares will serve as an additional, dedicated resource specifically for passengers with disabilities, medical conditions or other circumstances or their loved ones who want to prepare for the screening process prior to flying.

The hours of operation for the TSA Cares helpline are Monday through Friday 9 a.m. รข€“ 9 p.m. EST, excluding federal holidays. Travelers who are deaf or hard of hearing can use a relay service to contact TSA Cares or can e-mail

If you would like to make advance arrangements for screenings at airports, travelers can contact TSA using Talk To TSA, a web-based tool that allows passengers to reach out to an airport Customer Service Manager directly, and the TSA Contact Center, 1-866-289-9673 and, where travelers can ask questions, provide suggestions and file complaints

In this busy travel season, you are invited to please share this widely.

Happy holidays,
Peggy (Margaret V.) Hathaway
Public Policy Manager
National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities
202-420-8040 (mobile)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Gili is a big sister!

"Little Bro" is now six weeks old. He's having a tough time gaining weight, which I didn't realize right away because I couldn't imagine having two "special" kids.  G-d willing he's just struggling with the viruses the kids are bringing home and he'll catch up soon.  In the mean time I'm weighing him at least twice a week, giving him bottles of pumped milk, and some formula.

Yesterday Gili visited the eating clinic in Schneider Children's Hospital.  My husband took her because I needed to stay home to nurse and pump.  He felt it was a waste of time.  They let her make a huge mess with the food and decided that she does not have a swallowing problem, but she has a very high palette.  They think that having her be more hungy will help her eat.  They prescribed a vitamin to add to her bottles and recommended making ehr bottles more concentrated - one scoop in 50 mL of water instead of 60 mL.  We will go back in three weeks with Gili's occupational therapist, Ruti.

Today we celebrated Gili's second birthday in school (only a month late)!  She had a rough night and was pretty tired and dazed during the party.  She's been frequently waking up in the middle of the night and crying hysterically for up to an hour.  She enjoyed her party at home with the neighbors more.  She was more in the moment and really enjoyed all the attention and happiness.

Gili's teacher, Adina, and I have both noticed that her cross eyes seem to be getting worse.  We might try to start seeing a doctor in the local clinic because we're not that impressed with the optical care Gili gets in Schneider.

Gili's school, Eliya, only accepts kids up to age three if their main issue is not vision.  In January we will begin the process of getting her into the special needs elementary school system.  First she will see the child development specialist in Schneider, who will write a developmental report.  Then we will have a meeting with committee members to decide which special needs system she will be in.  If (when) they determine that she has a global delay, we will have another meeting in Jaffa-Tal Aviv.  They will designate her a level of "retardedness" and determine which school she will go to next year.  It seems the most likely scenario is that she will go to "Akim," a special needs elementary school in another neighborhood of Petach Tikva.

So, what has Gili been up to? She is putting food in her mouth by herself, but she usually drops or spits out most of it.  Basically, she just drinks baby formula.  She can pull up to her knees, and I hope that will soon turn into pulling up to standing.  Adina says she's started responding to her name, but I haven't witnessed it.  It's slow going, but we love her!