Friday, August 31, 2012

Para Olympics! Carrying the torch

Carrying the flame!

Judith, 35, takes centre stage in Paralympic flame relay

TORCH BID: Judith Cooling from Queens Park carried the Paralympic flame through HarrowTORCH BID: Judith Cooling from Queens Park carried the Paralympic flame through Harrow
AN INSPIRATIONAL Bournemouth woman took centre stage during the Paralympic torch relay yesterday.
Judith Cooling, 35, from Queen’s Park, was chosen to carry the flame through the streets of Harrow in London after being nominated by the Sainsbury’s store at Castlepoint .
She travelled to the capital with her mum Maureen.
Family friend Tracy Reid. 46, from Petersfield Road, Bournemouth, told the Daily Echo: “Judith wasn’t carrying the torch until 4.45am but they had to get up at 12.30am after staying in Harrow overnight.

“Judith was the leader of her group who lit the torch. I spoke to her mum after the procession and she was so proud.
“Judith is absolutely wonderful. She is representing GB in the Down’s Syndrome Olympics this autumn.
“As well as swimming, she also runs.”
Despite being born with Down’s Syndrome and a hole in her heart, Judith developed into a world class swimmer and also devotes her spare time to improving the lives of children with special needs.

She coaches swimming at her old school Linwood and also runs with the Bournemouth Special Olympic Athletic Club.
After being chosen to carry the Paralympic flame, she told the Daily Echo: “I am so excited and really honoured to be taking part in a momentous occasion for both the UK and 

Bournemouth; I can’t wait.”
The torch’s 24-hour relay from Stoke Mandeville in Aylesbury ended at the Olympic Park in Stratford, East London before it ignited the start of the Games.
A wheelchair dancer who took part in last night’s opening ceremony is moving from London to set up home in Poole tomorrow.
Despite suffering a fractured pelvis just days earlier, Diana Morgan-Hill was determined that the show should still go on, with the help of a stand-by medi

Be gentle.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Learning to dance....... while rocking their extra chromosome

Enjoy this wonderful love story..........

Couple with Down syndrome learns the art of dance

Aaron Coleman, 26, of Hobe Sound smiles as he holds hands with Krystal Sims, 26, of Stuart as they begin to practice their dance routine in front of their dance instructor Travis Scott at the Fred Astaire Franchised Dance Studio in Stuart on Tuesday.
HOBIE HILER/SPECIAL TO TREASURE COAST NEWSPAPERS Aaron Coleman, 26, of Hobe Sound smiles as he holds hands with Krystal Sims, 26, of Stuart as they begin to practice their dance routine in front of their dance instructor Travis Scott at the Fred Astaire Franchised Dance Studio in Stuart on Tuesday

"You have to feel the beat," Aaron Coleman tells me.
The 26-year-old is leaning back on a leather couch at Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Stuart, waiting for his lesson to begin.
A month after he started learning ballroom dance, he sounds like an old pro.
Aaron scans a catalog of dance shoes while his girlfriend, Krystal Sims, tries on a dress for their upcoming stage debut.
Actually, Krystal is more than his girlfriend now.
At the end of dance practice two weeks ago, Aaron popped the question. Krystal said yes, just as she had when Aaron proposed a couple of weeks earlier.
He keeps asking her, and her answer is always the same.
"She'll blush in the face and everything, every time," says Aaron's mother, Sandy Coleman.
Both of them are in love, clearly.
And both of them have Down syndrome, a genetic condition that interferes with development of the body and brain.
Aaron, who lives in Hobe Sound, loves music. Broadway musicals are one of his passions. When I ask him to name his favorite, he rattles off several — then lands on "Little Shop of Horrors" and "RENT."
He's also a big Michael Jackson fan.
"You should see his moonwalk," Aaron's dance instructor, Travis Scott, says.
Travis has been working with Aaron and Krystal twice a week since mid-July, choreographing a modified rumba to Garth Brook's song "The Dance." They will perform it Sept. 8 at the Fred Astaire studio.
The event is a kickoff fundraiser for the Treasure Coast Down Syndrome Awareness Group's fifth annual Buddy Walk, scheduled for Oct. 13 at Indian RiverSide Park in Jensen Beach.
The goal for the walk is to raise $15,000, says Sandy, who is president of the nonprofit awareness group. The money would go toward a library and a book club for locals with Down syndrome.
"Because what happens is when these guys graduate from high school, they get lost," she says.
People with Down syndrome and other developmental disabilities are allowed to stay in high school through age 22. After that, educational programs are scarce.
That's particularly frustrating since so many people with Down syndrome have a thirst for knowledge and a creative spirit. They also tend to be very kind.
Aaron is a perpetual joker and a stealthy tickler. Several times during his Tuesday dance practice, he came after Travis with his arms outstretched.
He also planted several gentle kisses on Krystal's forehead as they danced.
"To me, they are here for a reason. They are a special population," Sandy says. "They bring compassion to us ... a lot of love."
In 2006, Sandy and Aaron cofounded a self-advocacy group for people with developmental disabilities called Stand Up for Independence. Aaron and others in the group travel to Tallahassee and around the country to speak to lawmakers on issues that matter to them.
Sandy launched the group because she needed support.
"It's other moms that pull you up out of that slump (and say), 'It's not all that bad,'" Sandy tells me.
And Aaron, who graduated from high school in 2005, needed friends.
After Sept. 8 and Oct. 13, Aaron and Krystal will have another date to focus on.
They plan to marry on Feb. 14, 2021.
That leaves plenty of time to perfect their first dance as husband and wife.
Eve Samples is a columnist for Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers. This column reflects her opinion. Contact her at 772-221-4217 or
Be gentle.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Giving an opportunity to Special People

An opportunity to shine.  Not all eployers will give someone who is differently-abled the chance.  A Medford,New Jersey pet store aptly named Pride Paws does just that.  Read on and enjoy learning about this wonderful store.  If you happen to be in Medford, stop by and say hi!

 Medford pet store helps developmentally disabled get work experience

Kevin Riordan, Inquirer Columnist

Bagging dog treats at Pride Paws are (front, from left) Michael Hoffman, Alec Ritzel, and Alicia Headley. Watching from behind are (from left) manager Sara Steinmetz; Suzanne Link, Hoffman
Bagging dog treats at Pride Paws are (front, from left) Michael Hoffman, Alec Ritzel, and Alicia Headley. Watching from behind are (from left) manager Sara Steinmetz; Suzanne Link, Hoffman's mother; manager Renee McCormac.

At Pride Paws, homemade dog biscuits are hot items.
"Sometimes we sell them as fast as we can bake them," says manager Renee McCormac.
The biscuits helped launch the nonprofit Medford retailer, which offers developmentally disabled young adults a place to work and prepare for "the next, better job," says founder Joe Ritzel.
He and his wife, Linda, of Marlton, are part of a close-knit group of Special Olympics parents who established Pride Ventures Inc. Joe is its board president and Linda is a trustee.
The parents set up the organization in 2009 because their kids were nearing graduation from the Lenape Regional School District. Private-sector jobs were becoming less available for everyone, but particularly for young people with autism, Down syndrome, and other disabilities.
Joe notes that some big retail chains that traditionally hired the disabled had shifted toward offering them only unpaid positions.
After brainstorming and networking - which led to several Cherokee High teachers volunteering to develop a training curriculum - the parents came up with the Pride Paws concept.
"We thought a pet store would be a friendly environment for the kids," Linda says.
Specializing in accessories and treats made on the premises ("we grow the catnip out back," she notes), Pride Paws opened in a former dress shop on Main Street in September 2011.
Since then, about 30 developmentally disabled people between ages 18 and 29 have worked there part-time. Most live in Burlington County and are referred by local school districts, private schools, or community organizations. They earn minimum wage after a 200-hour training program.
Only one has secured an outside job so far - at a South Jersey supermarket. But the trainees, most of whom work one or two five-hour shifts a week, are enthusiastic.
"I love it so much. I love the people and the dogs who come in," says Alicia Headley, 22, of Marlton.
Alec Ritzel, 21, carefully enumerates what he considers the best elements of his job. Cashiering is number one, followed by waiting on customers, making biscuits, and washing the display window.
Michael Hoffman, 21, of Medford Lakes, especially enjoys greeting customers. So much so that he's been given the honorary title of "mayor" among some in the neighborhood.
Unfortunately, despite the township's promotional efforts for Main Street, foot traffic can be on the light side.
"The store is losing money, although it does bring in some revenue," Joe says, adding that Pride Ventures raises most of its $150,000 annual budget from donations.
The store, which is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, also gives back. It hosts a monthly "adoption Saturday" featuring animals available at local shelters.
It sells merchandise to benefit the K-9 program of Evesham Township police. And Pride Paws makes free shipments of its biscuits - an eight-ounce package retails for $5 - to U.S. military guard dogs serving at the American embassy in Afghanistan.
A flag flown over the embassy was sent to the store in appreciation and is among the items that Hoffman, a.k.a. the mayor, is eager to point out to a visitor.
Lynn Headley, Alicia's mother, apologizes for tearing up as she describes what a difference Pride Paws has made for her daughter.
"If she wasn't here, she'd probably be at home, not working," Headley says. "She always wanted to work with animals, and it's been a wonderful experience for her.
"She meets people in the community. She meets old friends, and she's made new friends.
"She'd work here six days a week if she could."

Be gentle.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Pupdate A dose of cuteness

An extra pupdate this week.  The pups are so cute right now, playful and full of energy.  Enjoy.

Be gentle.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Saturday Smile..... First day of 7th grade

This week was the first day of 7th grad for my boys.  Time goes by way too quickly.

Be gentle.

Friday, August 24, 2012

It's here! The 2012 Toys "R" Us Differently-Abled Catalog!

As a child, I always looked forward to the "Wish Book" to come in the mail.  The Wish Book was a time to dream and learn about all of the wonderful new toys that Santa might bring to my house on Christmas morning.  Now, as a parent of a child with Special Needs, I have wanted a Wish Book to help me understand what toys and games my son would enjoy and learn from.  Oh how I wished for this Wish Book to help my son.

One day I received a catalog in the mail.  I was used to getting lots of catalogs in the mail, since I had twin boys and somehow my name ended up on every single kid targeted catalog in the whole universe.  But this catalog really caught my attention.  It had a special child on the cover.  I opened it and it had more special kids in it.  AND the toys were described by where the child was developmentally and what skills they would encourage and enhance.  I love this catalog.  I see all these beautiful smiling children.  I see toys that are developmentally appropriately labeled.  I see a chance for me as a parent to help my child play and learn without giving him a toy that is not appropriate for him.  I see a company that continues to support the special needs community.  Thank you Toys "R" Us for continuing to give to children play and learning.

Aug. 23, 2012, 11:00 a.m. EDT

Toys"R"Us® Unveils 2012 Edition Of The Toys"R"Us Toy Guide For Differently-Abled Kids® Available Now In Its Stores Nationwide And Online

TV Host, Mom and Philanthropist Nancy O'Dell Appears on Cover of Company's Trusted, Toy-Selection Resource Published Annually for Parents of Children with Special Needs

WAYNE, N.J., Aug. 23, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Today, Toys"R"Us, Inc. announced the release of the 2012 edition of the Toys"R"Us Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids®, an easy-to-use toy selection resource for those who know, love and shop for children with special needs. Published annually, this complimentary guide is available now in Toys"R"Us® and Babies"R"Us® stores nationwide and online, in both English and Spanish, at This year, mom, TV host and philanthropist Nancy O'Dell appears on the cover alongside Saskia Vogt, an 8-year-old girl with Down syndrome.
"I have a strong personal connection and commitment to the special needs community, so I am proud to partner with Toys"R"Us in supporting this valuable resource," said Nancy O'Dell. "Growing up, my best buddy was my Aunt Ellen, who was born with Down syndrome. Because of my memories of her, to this day, she remains my inspiration for promoting inclusion for individuals of all abilities. In raising awareness of the Toys"R"Us Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids, I hope to help moms, dads, aunts, uncles, siblings and friends of differently-abled kids create magical play moments like those I shared with my own Aunt Ellen."
Nancy O'Dell has long served as an advocate for those affected by physical, cognitive and emotional challenges through her involvement in charitable organizations like Best Buddies, as well as Muscular Dystrophy Association and National Down Syndrome Society. Now, with the launch of the 2012 edition of the Guide in "R"Us stores nationwide and through her partnership with Toys"R"Us, O'Dell has yet another avenue through which she is able to support differently-abled individuals.
History of the Guide and Its Impact on Families of Children with Special NeedsFor nearly two decades, the Guide has served as a trusted resource for family, friends and caregivers of children with special needs, providing a carefully selected assortment of toys that can help kids explore new worlds and achieve personal victories. Each of the nearly 100 toys featured in the 64-page resource has been selected in partnership with National Lekotek Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to making play accessible to children of all abilities. Each item featured helps children with physical and cognitive disabilities develop critical skills through the power of play, including fine and gross motor, visual, language, creativity and more.
In addition to toy recommendations, parents will also find value in the Guide's "Top Ten Tips for Buying Toys," prepared by the National Lekotek Center, as well as "Safe Play Tips for Children with Special Needs," which were created with guidance from leading safety and special needs organizations to help avoid playtime injuries.
"It's a wonderful thing to bring joyful play experiences to children of all abilities, whether it's helping them become an amazing superhero, an adorable princess or a fearless ninja through the magic of play," said Sloane Lucas, Director, Corporate Philanthropy, Toys"R"Us, Inc. "The Toys"R"Us Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids is a labor of love for the Toys"R"Us family that we're proud to have provided to our customers for nearly two decades. We're so excited to share the 2012 edition."
Shop by Skill In-Store or at Home to Alleviate GuessworkSince 1994, Toys"R"Us has partnered with the National Lekotek Center to assess the play value of toys for differently-abled children. The organization assigns at least two skill-building icons to each toy that appears in the Guide. These color-coded symbols help users easily identify toys most suitable for the child they're shopping for by signifying the specific benefits of each item. Following are select examples of toys featured in the 2012 Guide, corresponding to each of the ten skills:
Auditory: Fijit Friends(TM) from Mattel®
Creativity: Duplo® Creative Cakes from LEGO® Systems, Inc.
Fine Motor: Color Wonder Metallic Paper from Crayola
Gross Motor: Imaginarium® Deluxe Pounding Bench from Toys"R"Us®
Language: Barbie Voice Changing Rockstar Boombox from KIDdesigns®
Self Esteem: Imaginarium® Wooden Ramp Race from Toys"R"Us®
Social Skills: Mr. Bucket from Hasbro®
Tactile: Lalaloopsy(TM) Silly Hair Doll(TM) from MGA Entertainment®
Thinking: Light n' Sound Busy Giraffe from Toys"R"Us®
Visual: Zibbies from Toys"R"Us®
Toys"R"Us Leverages Digital and Social Channels to Reach ConsumersAt, shopping by skill is even easier, as visitors can narrow the selection of nearly 100 toys featured in the print edition of the Guide to those more appropriate for the special needs child in their lives by simply clicking on any of the ten skill-building icons. The application will then show users a refined list of toys that can help a child develop that specific skill. Also, for shoppers who prefer to browse the Guide from the comfort of their own home, this dedicated microsite offers a digital, flippable version in both English and Spanish.
Additionally, through its various social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest, Toys"R"Us will provide its fans and followers with product highlights from the Guide throughout the year, as well as safe play and toy-buying tips for children with special needs. The company will also offer exclusive and engaging content, including special video messages from Nancy O'Dell, behind-the-scenes footage and photos from the cover shoot, toy trivia and more.
Company's Ongoing Commitment to the Special Needs CommunityThrough the Toys"R"Us Children's Fund, a public charity affiliated with the company, Toys"R"Us, Inc. has long supported the special needs community. Organizations that receive support include: American Society for Deaf Children, Autism Speaks, Best Buddies, Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Eva's Heroes, HollyRod Foundation, Muscular Dystrophy Association, National Down Syndrome Society, National Lekotek Center, National Organization of Parents of Blind Children, Special Olympics, Spina Bifida Association and United Cerebral Palsy.
To download behind-the-scenes b-roll footage of the 2012 Guide cover shoot, please click here and to download high-res photos, including the cover image, please click here.  
About Toys"R"Us, Inc.
Toys"R"Us, Inc. is the world's leading dedicated toy and juvenile products retailer, offering a differentiated shopping experience through its family of brands. Merchandise is sold in 873 Toys"R"Us and Babies"R"Us stores in the United States and Puerto Rico, and in more than 625 international stores and over 145 licensed stores in 35 countries and jurisdictions. In addition, it exclusively operates the legendary FAO Schwarz brand and sells extraordinary toys in the brand's flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York City. With its strong portfolio of e-commerce sites including,, and, it provides shoppers with a broad online selection of distinctive toy and baby products. Headquartered in Wayne, NJ, Toys"R"Us, Inc. employs approximately 70,000 associates annually worldwide. The company is committed to serving its communities as a caring and reputable neighbor through programs dedicated to keeping kids safe and helping them in times of need. Additional information about Toys"R"Us, Inc. can be found on Follow Toys"R"Us, Babies"R"Us and FAO Schwarz on Facebook at, and and on Twitter at and
SOURCE Toys"R"Us, Inc.

Previous years catalogs.

Eva Longoria
Actress and Philanthropist
Holly Robinson Peete
Actress, Author
and Philanthropist
Whoopi Goldberg
Comedian/Host of The View
Meredith Vieira
Host of Who Wants to be a Millionaire
Maria Shriver
Author and First Lady of California
Dionne Quan
Voice of Kimi
on the Rugrats
John Ritter
Mattie J.T. Stepanek
Poet/Author/2002 Muscular Dystrophy
Association Goodwill Ambassador
Maria Shriver
Author and First Lady of California
Chris Burke
Actor, Spokesperson for the National Down Syndrome Society
Doug Flutie
Buffalo Bills Quarterback
Marlee Matlin
Heather Whitestone
1995 Miss America
Jim Abbott
Major Leagur Pitcher

Be gentle.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Pupdate. Puppies, puppies, puppies everywhere. 7 weeks

Puppies, puppies, puppies everywhere!  I can not believe how fast time has flied?  And the puppies are growing so fast.  I really have to admit that we all spend so much time playing with them and just watching them, everything else, including house work, is getting ignored.  Yes, the kitchen is a mess lately.  There is clean laundry piles that need to be folded and put away.  But, who cares?  It is too much fun loving on these wonderful puppies.

I hope you enjoy these photos as much as we did taking them.  And it is really hard to get a good photo of these wiggling pups.  Yes, there are little pieces of foam in their ears to support the ears standing while the pups are growing so fast.

A couple of these babies are still looking for their forever homes.  Please contact me if you are interested.

Coated black tri male

Coated Brown boy
Coated Brown girl

Rainshadow Shen Hairless boy #3
Rainshadow Sonko aka Hairless boy #1
Hairless boy #2 no markings on chest

Hairless female #1

Hairless female #2


Be gentle.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

"The Senior Prank" Inspiring, empowering. NO MORE BULLYING

Teasing, Taunting.  Bullying.  No matter what words you use, it is still harmful and sometimes deadly.  And a parent's worst nightmare.  I am sure we all worry about our child being bullied, but I know I worry more about children with special needs.  We all know they can easily become the target of bullying and it is very hard for them to defend themselves.  It is up to us to advocate and educate.

The numbers continue to rise every month...

- It is estimated that 160,000 children miss school every day due to fear of attack or intimidation by other students. Source: National Education Association.
- American schools harbor approximately 2.1 million bullies and 2.7 million of their victims. Dan Olweus, National School Safety Center.
- 1 in 7 Students in Grades K-12 is either a bully or a victim of bullying.
- 56% of students have personally witnessed some type of bullying at school.
- 15% of all school absenteeism is directly related to fears of being bullied at school.
- 71% of students report incidents of bullying as a problem at their school.
- 1 out of 20 students has seen a student with a gun at school.
- 282,000 students are physically attacked in secondary schools each month.
- Those in the lower grades reported being in twice as many fights as those in the higher grades. However, there is a lower rate of serious violent crimes in the elementary level than in the middle or high schools.
- 90% of 4th through 8th graders report being victims of bullying
- Among students, homicide perpetrators were more than twice as likely as homicide victims to have been bullied by peers.
- Bullying statistics say revenge is the strongest motivation for school shootings.
- 87% of students said shootings are motivated by a desire to “get back at those who have hurt them.”
- 86% of students said, “other kids picking on them, making fun of them or bullying them” causes teenagers to turn to lethal violence in the schools.
- 61% of students said students shoot others because they have been victims of physical abuse at home.
- 54% of students said witnessing physical abuse at home can lead to violence in school.
- According to bullying statistics, 1 out of every 10 students who drops out of school does so because of repeated bullying.
- Harassment and bullying have been linked to 75% of school-shooting incidents.

Bullying can take many forms but it usually includes the following types of behavior:
• Physical – hitting, kicking, pinching, punching, scratching, spitting or any other form of physical attack. Damage to or taking someone else’s belongings may also constitute as physical bullying.
• Verbal – name calling, insulting, making racist, sexist or homophobic jokes, remarks or teasing, using sexually suggestive or abusive language, offensive remarks
• Indirect – spreading nasty stories about someone, exclusion from social groups, being made the subject of malicious rumours, sending abusive mail, and email and text messages (cyber bullying).
• Cyber Bullying - any type of bullying that is carried out by electronic medium. There are 7 types including:
1. Text message bullying
2. Picture/video clip bullying via mobile phone cameras
3. Phone call bullying via mobile phones
4. E-mail bullying
5. Chat-room bullying
6. Bullying through instant messaging (IM)
7. Bullying via websites

Bully Related Suicide

Suicide remains among the leading causes of death of children under 14. And in most cases, the young people die from hanging. (AAS)
A new review of studies from 13 countries found signs of an apparent connection between bullying, being bullied, and suicide. (Yale School of Medicine)
Suicide rates among children between the ages of 10 & 14 are very low, but are "creeping up." (Ann Haas, Director of the Suicide Prevention Project at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention)
The suicide rate among young male adults in Massachusetts rose 28 percent in 2007. However, that does not reflect deaths among teenagers and students Carl's age. (Massachusetts Dept. of Public Health, in a report released April 8, 2009)
• Since 2002, at least 15 schoolchildren ages 11 to 14 have committed suicide in Massachusetts. Three of them were Carl's age. ("Constantly Bulled, He Ends His Life at Age 11," by Milton J. Valencia. The Boston Globe, April 20, 2009)
• Suicide rates among 10 to 14-year-olds have grown more than 50 percent over the last three decades. (The American Association of Suicidology, AAS)
• In 2005 (the last year nationwide stats were available), 270 children in the 10-14 age group killed themselves. (AAS)

In a 2007 study, 86% of LGBT students said that they had experienced harassment at school during the previous year. (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network -- GLSEN)
Research indicates that LGB youth may be more likely to think about and attempt suicide than heterosexual teens. (GLSEN)
In a 2005 survey, students said their peers were most often bullied because of their appearance, but the next top reason was because of actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender expression. ("From Teasing to Torment: School Climate of America" -- GLSEN and Harris Interactive)
According to the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network 2007 National School Climate Survey of more than 6,000 students...
• Nearly 9 out of 10 LGBT youth reported being verbally harassed at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation
• Nearly half (44.1 percent) reported being physically harassed
• About a quarter (22.1 percent) reported being physically assaulted.
• Nearly two-thirds (60.8 percent) who experienced harassment or assault never reported the incident to the school
• Of those who did report the incident, nearly one-third (31.1 percent) said the school staff did nothing in response

It is everywhere.  And those who are bullied need us to advocate, educate and support the end of bullying.

Mother's plea after young boy with Down syndrome publicly teased on social networking site Facebook

FAIR GO: Josh Finters enjoys time with his dog and is unaware of the taunts young children have been directing at him. Source:Quest Newspapers
Bayside mother Julie Finter has spoken out about a bullying incident directed at her son Josh who suffers down syndrome. She claims children filmed their taunts and then put the footage on Facebook
The serious nature of her complaint to the community needs to be told, and what better way to do it than through the eyes of a mother.
Julie has five children and her middle son Josh was born with down syndrome 23 years ago.
When I met the family on Monday I noticed Josh's cheeky and trusting nature, along with a big passion for playstation and riding his bike.
He has no idea the three young girls who filmed him were teasing him about his disability. And he especially doesn't understand they uploaded the footage on Facebook.
Julie says by exposing this incident she hopes to encourage parents to talk to their children about respecting others.
``Most people are really good with Josh but this latest incident has really concerned my family and this is why I came forward,'' she said

While Julie applauds the school involved and believes the incident has been resolved she still wanted to go public.
``Josh hasn't got a mean bone in is body and I wanted to get him out there to give him an identity.''
``I want people to realise this has happened and not just hide this away.''

A soon to be released film, "The Senior Prank" hopes to educate about the harmful ways of bullying.

'The Senior Prank' Movie Filmed at Great Harvest Bread Co. in Lorton

Director Donald Leow, of Clifton, tackles bullying and redemption in the independent film.

Actor Frank Stephens and Director Donald Leow after filming a scene for "The Senior Prank", at Great Harvest Bread Co. in Lorton on Monday, Aug. 20, 2012. 
On Monday, Lorton's Great Harvest Bread Co. hosted "The Senior Prank," a new independent film about high school bullies who, as the ultimate prank, set up a girl with Down Syndrome to be the homecoming queen.
The scenes were shot just outside the coffee shop and inside at the counter. It was a near-perfect day for shooting — overcast and cool. The film crew worked from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., and at the end of the day, the work will amount to less than five minutes worth of footage. 
'The Senior Prank' Plot 
New student Cara Jarvis (Stacey Bradhaw) wants to be popular, but feels that her new friendship with Grace (Amber House), a student with Down Syndrome, is holding her back. In the struggle to get the guy and win popular friends, Cara sets Grace up to be the homecoming queen as a senior prank. But the plan backfires and Cara is humiliated. 
"This is more a movie about bullying than it is about Down Syndrome," said director Donald Leow, of Clifton. "The finished product will be 90-100 minutes long, and if a major distributor picks up this film, I feel like a few acting careers will go far."
The message of the film is universal, said executive producer Steve Woolwine. "I think that everyone has been bullied in some form or another throughout their lives," he said. "The trouble with our society is that you can be a bully even if you don't stand up and say that it's wrong. You might not be committing the act, but you're with the crowd who does."
Monday's scenes involved a conversation between Cara and her mom, Sharon (Kera O'Bryon) outside the shop, and then inside at the counter with Great Harvest Baristas Quinn (Sara Cicilian) and Ben (Frank Stephens). Ben has Down Syndrom, and Quinn openly mocks him in front of customers. 
"Yeah, my character basically has no shame," said Cicilian, "but she turns over a new leaf by the end of the film. I'm definitely not this mean in real life." 
Great Harvest employees had the opportunity to be background actors. "We were walking up to check things out and the guy with the blue shirt asked, 'Are you my extras?' and we said, 'We are if you want us to be!'" said Lynn Schmauder who was filmed along with her 16-year-old daughter, Jill. 
"I didn't think there would be so much equipment!" said Great Harvest co-owner Jeff Connelly to Patch. "We're usually closed on Monday, but we're actually doing pretty good business." 
Six months from now, "The Senior Prank" will be edited and ready for distribution. The seemingly innocent conversations that will go on for less than five minutes took about eight hours to film on Aug. 20, 2012. 


Be gentle.