I Can’t Wait to See You Bloom

I Can’t Wait to See You Bloom

I have made the best friends through social media – Really amazing and inspirations children and parents. One of my closer online friends Jamie posted this narrative the other day: Last fall I sprayed vegetation killer on a small area in our backyard. I then placed these red bricks for a makeshift very-cheap patio. (It was a really ugly area, so even a cheap patio was better than what we had). I hadn’t thought much about this area until I looked outside and saw these daffodil’s sprouting a few weeks back. Even then, I still didn’t give it much thought because I figured they wouldn’t make it very far, what with 20 pound bricks on top of them. When I got home from vacation I looked outside and noticed they were still growing, despite the odds. They don’t seem to care that I *literally* tried to kill them. They don’t seem to care that there is a brick on top of them. They aren’t detoured. Do you see how crooked those bricks are? They were in perfectly straight rows before those daffodils started blooming. That means that the daffodils, which weigh, what, an ounce??? Are pushing those bricks out of their way.  Snow, wind, storms and every other weather condition had been unable move them. But the tulips did. The daffodils have one job and the bricks are in the way, so the only solution for the daffodil is to simply move the bricks. I’m sure their little daffodil friends mocked them when they said they were going to move the brick out of its way. But they didn’t listen to the mocking, they...
Why Autism Awareness Matters

Why Autism Awareness Matters

April is Autism Awareness month. Chloe is on the autism spectrum. I rarely list autism as one of her diagnoses because it’s more of a symptom of other diagnoses. However, I recognize autism as part of our lives and am always studying how to help her deal with the sensory and social issues that go along with that. We also have a nephew with Aspergers. He is such a sweet kid and is extra sweet and sensitive with Chloe. We sure love him. There are so many conditions and issues to be “aware” of, it’s hard to know when and how it can matter to you or what you can actually do about it. Well, I would suggest that autism awareness matter to everyone. Why? Because it is prevalent and the numbers are rising. There are over 70 million people with autism worldwide. That means understanding is crucial and research is important. That means many children and their parents are in need of support. Being aware and showing support means we can have more conversations about autism: about what it looks like, how it affects those with autism and their families, how legislation can be reformed to facilitate much needed community changes for those with autism, and how anyone can include and celebrate a child with autism without overstimulating them. “Not everything that steps out of line, and thus ‘abnormal,’ must necessarily be ‘inferior.” – Hans Asperger So what can you do? How can we help in the vast sea of many needs bring about change and conversation about autism? My suggestion is this: anything! What I plan to...
Deciding to Have More Children After Your Special Needs Child

Deciding to Have More Children After Your Special Needs Child

Deciding to have more children is something that weighs very hard on the parents of children with special needs. Can you ever have enough time, will you be able to work with them, can they reach their full potential when you are spread thin? Is it fair to even consider it? Overwhelmingly the answer for people who have continued on to have more children was that they were glad that they had more children. For many reasons. Here are a few: No matter what life brings, your special needs child will never be alone. Not only are we reassured of this as parents but the child knows that everything they do, they will have a sibling beside them to help and encourage them. My children are still young, but I have seen so many examples of protective caring siblings that I can’t wait to see how their relationships will develop. Having a special needs sibling is good for typical children. Many families talk about how their other children are far more patient, quiet and caring for others because of their experience with their special needs sibling. They are often quicker at developing that ability to think outside of their own needs. The extra stimulation is good for children with special needs. Our house is crazy, it’s noisy, there are toys everywhere, kids everywhere. Dylan is always trying to ‘catch’ the other kids, she wants to be where they are and will try as hard as she can to get there. That is motivation that a therapist cannot provide on their own! Logistics work themselves out – One mother asked...
Angelina Jolie Pitt Nails It

Angelina Jolie Pitt Nails It

Yesterday, this New York Times article was getting a lot of attention on social media so I decided to read it. I’m glad I did. I admire Angelina Jolie Pitt’s courageous choices to not only prevent cancer, but to share her experience and bring awareness to others, I am fascinated and grateful at the strides that have been made in identifying these markers that give patients preventative options, and I just really, really liked this quote: The beautiful thing about such moments in life is that there is so much clarity. You know what you live for and what matters. It is polarizing, and it is peaceful. This struck me and seemed to transport me to moments, though different than hers, when I faced similar fears about myself, my daughter, and other loved ones. And I think she nailed it. Though terrifying, it is peaceful. Though tough decisions have to be made, they are easy because there is so much clarity about what really matters. These moments are polarizing, clearing out all the minutia and making room for peace. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to draw a direct comparison from a mother facing cancer to a child with special needs, but I think anyone facing a severe, life threatening health concern within their family can relate to what she said and understand those feelings. And that’s why it matters that she is willing to talk about it in such a public way and spread awareness. And that’s why I think it matters that we are all willing to talk about our stories. You never know the impact you...
Everyone Needs a Best Friend

Everyone Needs a Best Friend

There is something I come across a lot in special needs support groups, too often. It’s that special needs parents have a hard time connecting with people. You see, shortly after our special needs child is born or diagnosed, it becomes very clear who is going to stick with us, and who is not. Whether it be our difficulty in getting out or our lack of desire to (germs!), or our busy schedules, I often see special needs mom’s post their desire to connect with people. We all have casual acquaintances, but I mean really connect, have a best friend. I have a theory, I think they might be afraid to share the concerns and joys of their children for fear that we might think they are petty. Yep that’s it, I’ve said it. It’s kind of an elephant in the room. Are your concerns, comparing your struggles with ours, what is keeping our relationship from developing? I have seen it, parent starts with “He is a little behind in his reading…” only to have there sentence drown out an a look come across your face “Oh, well… it’s not at all like what you are dealing with.” Heck, I even see this with other special needs moms who say “I know this is nothing like what many of you deal with but…” And then proceed with their question and concern.What? How many have just not asked for fear that it doesn’t compare with what the rest of the group is dealing with? Let’s get it off the table. Parenting is not easy regardless of if you are raising a typical child, or...
3 Reasons I Don’t Mind When Young Children Point and Stare at My Child With Special Needs

3 Reasons I Don’t Mind When Young Children Point and Stare at My Child With Special Needs

I might be making several generations of special needs parents angry by saying this, but it’s true. I don’t mind when young children point and stare at my child with special needs. In fact, I like it! I’m such a rebel, I know. ‘Don’t point’ and ‘don’t stare’ are pretty basic social recommendations for people of all ages. But let me explain my deviant way of thinking by sharing two examples from the happiest place on earth…you guessed it. Disneyland! Example one. I was waiting with Chloe for the rest of our party to get off a ride that Chloe wasn’t able to go on. We were sitting on a bench and a very cute family was sitting next to us. The mom was passing out snacks and planning their next stop when one of her sons, probably 4 or 5 years old, kept looking at Chloe and/or her wheelchair. His mom noticed and told him it was not nice to stare. Then slowly but surely, he wiggled his way closer and, pointing at Chloe’s pink wheelchair, asked me, “Why is she sitting in that?” I smiled a big grin, excited to talk about how we all have differences and planned to encourage him to chat with Chloe because, well, she loves making friends! Before I got a single word out, his mom went in to panic mode. I’m sure she was thinking, ‘Oh no. He was staring, now he’s pointing and asking questions. He is breaking social protocol. What an embarrassment!’ She grabbed him and angrily told him how it is not nice to point, stare, and annoy strangers....