top of page

PRCIL Newsletter

June 2018 Edition

“I was slightly brain damaged at birth, and I want people like me to see that they shouldn’t let a disability get in the way. I want to raise awareness – I want to turn my disability into ability.” ―Susan Boyle

Summer Camps for Children with Special Needs

Camp Blessing

Brenham, TX

What is Camp Blessing?

Camp Blessing makes an iconic childhood summer camp experience available to children with special needs whose challenges prevent their participation elsewhere. Camp Blessing is a residential Christian summer camp offering love, acceptance and fun to children and young adults with special needs and their siblings. We believe that our amazing campers, regardless of ability level, should have all of the fun of summer camp. Everything is customized to make camp accessible, from our specially trained staff, facility and activities, to our menus and clinic. We are custom-designed to meet the varying needs of campers diagnosed with intellectual and developmental disabilities who may also use wheelchairs, walkers or crutches. All they have to do is show up and be treated like rock stars. Our goal is for campers to be engulfed by God's love and to have the time of their lives!

Camp Summit

Dallas, TX

Providing a residential camping experience for people with disabilities since 1947

Camp Summit is a one-of-a-kind camp for individuals with disabilities where the emphasis is on the campers' abilities rather than their disabilities. Traditional camp activities are adapted to each individual and are provided in our barrier-free facilities and implemented by trained, caring staff. Our campers are grouped by age, providing the opportunity to make friends within peer groups while having fun and experiencing new adventures.

Charis Hills Camp

Sunset, TX

Charis Hills … a Christian Camp for kids that learn differently!


Charis Hills is a Christian Summer Camp for kids with learning differences and social difficulties such as ADD, ADHD, High-Functioning Autism, Asperger's disorder, and other special needs.  Our goal is to provide a positive camp experience for kids while sharing the good news about Jesus Christ. The camp is located in the Cross Timbers or North Texas Hill Country area, northwest of Dallas and Fort Worth, near Decatur.

Please reload

Pathways to Adulthood
Transition Program


The Texas Parent to Parent Pathways to Adulthood program supports families and helps them envision a good life for their children with disabilities.  The support, information, and tools for carrying out this vision assists parents to provide a good life for their sons and daughters after graduation.

Pathways to Adulthood offers free, 5-hour workshops across Texas on all major transition topics: funding and long term supports, public school services, legal issues, medical transition and a creative approach to building opportunities for work, an independent home, and networks of support.


The workshops are led by parents of youth and adults with disabilities who share their experiences throughout the day. Parents can connect with other experienced parents who provide emotional support and advise on issues of guardianship, applying for SSI, managing school services, and other topics of interest.

For more information on these services call 866-896-6001 or email Cynda Green at

Tips for Traveling with a Disability


Here are seven tips for making the most of your next adventure:

1. Choose the Right Destination

“People might be surprised to learn you can take an accessible trip to Machu Picchu, the Galapagos Islands or the Amazon rainforest,” said Timothy Holtz, the group travel coordinator for Flying Wheels Travel, an agency specializing in accessible trips. On his recent travels, Holtz saw the addition of ramps at temples in Japan, a wheelchair stair climber lift at the Acropolis in Athens and an elevator at the Roman Forum.

The world is a big place and many destinations are making huge strides to become barrier-free. In 2014 Germany launched a nationwide accessibility standard and certification program. The country is heavily promoting nearly 185 accessible things to do and places to visit in its online brochure, “Enjoy with Ease.”

Cities that are hundreds of years old will naturally be more difficult to navigate. But do not make the mistake of assuming a destination is inaccessible. Instead, consult with a travel agent, especially when considering a multi-country trip or cruise.

2. Do Your Research

Individuals who opt to orchestrate their own trips will need to ask specific questions. For example, inquire about the width of hotel elevator doors; some are not wide enough for a wheelchair. When booking a cruise, review the cruise line’s policies regarding accessibility; some require passengers with disabilities to travel with a companion.

Begin researching destinations by visiting official tourism offices online. Be aware the terminology varies from one place to another. When conducting Internet searches, try a variety of terms, such as “barrier-free,” “disabled,” “reduced mobility” and “special needs.”

3. Hire a Pro

Planning a trip abroad is a time-consuming task. Specialized travel agencies can book flights, cruises, accommodations, tours, shore excursions and transportation. Some will even arrange for a travel companion, rental of medical equipment and the purchase of travel insurance.

Before hiring an accessible travel agent, ask about his or her experience.

John Sage, the founder of two accessible travel companies — one focused on Europe (Sage Traveling) and one on the Caribbean (Accessible Caribbean Vacations) — spends days scouting destinations. Sage, who was injured in a snow skiing accident and uses a wheelchair, has visited 42 countries on four continents. Common obstacles he finds in foreign countries include a lack of ramps at curbs, steps at the entrance to buildings and narrow bathroom doors.

His thorough first-hand exploration informs clients on details like how many feet it is from their hotel to the nearest bus stop, routes that avoid cobblestones and how to access the elevator at the Eiffel Tower.

4. Prepare for Air Travel

One of the biggest hurdles for people with mobility disabilities is flying. Maneuvering large airports, carrying medical equipment, and navigating security can be exhausting. Passengers needing extra assistance should inform the airline when booking a reservation and upon arrival at the airport.

Most airlines board wheelchair users first, but these passengers will exit the plane last. Allow plenty of extra time to catch connecting flights — 90 minutes is usually sufficient. Wheelchairs and scooters are frequently damaged by baggage handlers. To help prevent this, carry any detachable parts, such as a seat cushion, onto the plane.

5. Book Hotels Wisely

Make room reservations early at hotels located in the city center and near major sights.

“You are competing with the rest of the people who have disabilities from around the world for a handful of rooms. The longer you wait, the worse the location and you will have to take a bus or taxi to see the attractions,” said Sage, whose Sage Traveling business typically reserves European hotels nine months in advance.

6. Plan How You’ll Get Around

Transporting mobility devices usually requires getting around in an accessible vehicle. In London where the black cabs come with small ramps built into the floorboards, it is fairly easy to hail an accessible taxi. Other destinations may have only a small number of accessible taxis and frequently must be booked 24 hours or even days in advance.

Typically, subways are not a good choice for wheelchair users, since elevators are nonexistent or inoperable. Many cities do have accessible city buses with ramps.


7. Be Flexible

Traveling has given Witt a new feeling of independence. Along the way, she is learned it is OK to ask others — even strangers — for assistance. “Having a disability makes you resourceful and you learn to adapt to your physical environment,” she said. Now, she knows traveling requires pacing herself. Sometimes, she opts to stay on the tour bus and view the sights from afar. “I am stressed before I go, but I feel really good when I get back — I have seen the world,” she said.

Heat Exhaustion vs. Heatstroke

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on average, over 600 people die from complications related to extreme heat each year in the United States - more than tornadoes, hurricanes, flooding, lightning or any other weather event combined.

Heat-related deaths and illnesses are preventable, but it is important to identify the warning signs and to react swiftly and appropriately when they arise.


What’s the difference between heat exhaustion and heat stroke?

Heat exhaustion is the precursor to heatstroke and is a direct result of the body overheating. 

According to Mayo Clinic, heat exhaustion is identifiable by heavy sweating, rapid pulse, dizziness, fatigue, cool, moist skin with goose bumps when in the heat, muscle cramps, nausea, and headache.

These symptoms may develop over time or come on suddenly, especially during or following periods of prolonged exercise. When heat exhaustion is not addressed, heatstroke can follow.

Heatstroke is the most severe heat-related illness. Without emergency treatment, it can lead to death. It results when your body temperature rises to 104 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.

At this temperature, your brain, heart, kidneys and muscles can also become damaged, leading to serious complications or death.

In the case of heatstroke, seeking medical attention is an absolute must.

In addition to high body temperatures, the symptoms of heatstroke include altered mental state or behavior, nausea and vomiting, flushed skin, rapid breathing and racing heart rate.

If heat exhaustion is suspected, you are advised to remove the sufferer from heat and cool them down, if possible. This can be done by getting out of the sun and removing or loosening tight clothes, misting the body with water or placing ice packs in the armpits and groin.

Rehydration is the key. Consume plenty of water and avoid beverages that contain alcohol, caffeine or high amounts of sugar.

If you or someone else is experiencing heatstroke, seek immediate medical attention. 

Symptoms of heat exhaustion:

  • moderately high core temperature (the temperature of the body's internal organs, best measured with a rectal thermometer) of up to 104°F

  • cool, pale, clammy skin

  • muscle cramps

  • headache

  • nausea or vomiting

  • fatigue and weakness

  • dizziness or lightheadedness

  • possible fainting, but can be revived

  • thirst

A person suffering from heat exhaustion will usually sweat profusely. This is the body’s way to attempt to get rid of excess heat. The person will display normal behavior and cognition.


Symptoms of heat stroke:

  • confusion, strange behavior

  • hallucinations

  • seizure

  • extreme weakness

  • extremely high core temperature, above 104°F

  • hot, red, dry skin

  • rapid pulse

  • rapid, shallow breathing

  • headache

  • possible loss of consciousness


How can you prevent heat-related illness?

Though it is important to know how to identify heat exhaustion and heatstroke, both are preventable illnesses.

Being able to recognize your own symptoms and either go to a cool location/rest or ask for help is imperative.

Additionally, understand that the body does acclimatize to heat, but it will take days to do so. If it has been weeks or months since you have been in the heat, your body may not handle it very well.

Proactively hydrating will help keep the body at a safe temperature. A rule of thumb is to drink more than you think you should. When you begin to feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated.

If you begin to feel sick, you need to act. Get out of the sun and find somewhere that has cool air blowing to help lower your body temperature.

Heat stroke is a medical emergency. Learn to recognize the symptoms listed above and take the appropriate action. The heat stroke victim needs to go to the emergency room as soon as possible, but the first step is to get the core temperature under control.


A Sanctuary for Families Facing Autism


Elijah’s Retreat nurtures attachment for families facing autism through outdoor adventure and the interaction with therapeutic animals.  


Elijah’s Retreat strives to create a beautiful, peaceful setting for families to disconnect from schedules and simply see the world through their child’s eyes as they explore nature and animals with new excitement.  We provide comfortable cabins and numerous opportunities for families to relax, reconnect and create lasting memories.  


Elijah’s Retreat
257 CR 3110
Jacksonville, Texas 75766 


Texas Talking Book Program

Are you a person with a visual, physical, or reading disability?  Crockett Resource Center for Independent Living (CRCIL) is now a demonstration site for the Texas Talking Book Program (TBP).  The Texas TBP is a free library service for people who cannot read standard print because of disabilities, whether permanent or temporary.

Although young, school age readers participate, most readers of the Texas TBP are over 65 years old, which includes patrons who are 100 years or older.  It is estimated that 1.4% of the total population is eligible and with 24 million Texans, there are approximately 300,000 additional Texans eligible for this service.

Books are available in large print, Braille, recordings, and downloads.  TBP provides players to use with recordings.  Examples of people who utilize the TBP include:

  • A person with macular degeneration reads magazines on cassettes

  • A person who cannot hold a book reads short stories on digital cartridges

  • A person who is blind reads Braille books for pleasure

  • A student downloads novels for English class to their computer, transfers them to a flash drive, and reads them on the TBP digital player


All equipment and services are free.  Many books and magazines are available in Spanish.  Special preferences are given to Veterans.  To find out more about Texas TBP or to apply for services, contact PRCIL locally at 903-729-7505.



A cerebral vascular accident (CVA), also known as a stroke, is a serious killer and cause of disabilities.  It is the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S. and is the second leading cause of death in the world.  Stroke symptoms can be frightening and include numbness, weakness often on one side, confusion, vision problems, slurred speech, trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance, loss of coordination, and severe headache.  People surviving a stroke are often left with long term disabilities and many unanswered questions.  Finding and participating in a support group is a very important part of stroke recovery.

Palestine Resource Center for Independent Living (PRCIL) is hosting a monthly support group for people who have had a stroke.  This support group provides support, education, and social interaction for the individual who has had a stroke, their families, friends, and caregivers.  Each support group meeting will have a designated topic to address aspects of life after stroke.  These meetings offer an opportunity for individuals to share experiences, discuss concerns and get advice from others affected by a stroke.

The next meeting will be held on Thursday, June 14, 2018 at 2:00 p.m.  Adriann Sbrusch, RN with Encompass Health Rehab will be the facilitator.  PRCIL is located at 421 Avenue A in Palestine.  For more information, contact PRCIL locally at 903-729-7505.

bottom of page