You’re No Burden, I Assure

You’re No Burden, I Assure

One day running errands with Chloe in her wheelchair and carrying my baby Sam, a very nice lady stopped me to chat about Chloe. She ended by saying, “thank you for carrying such heavy burdens and still being such a happy person.” I know she meant that with all the compassion and empathy in the world and I certainly wasn’t offended, but for Chloe’s sake I wanted to just shout from the rooftops that she is not a burden! These lyrics came to mind: You may need me to carry all your weight, but you’re no burden, I assure. You tide me over with a warmth I’ll not forget and I can only give you love....
Special Needs Swimming Tips and Gear

Special Needs Swimming Tips and Gear

Summer’s here and the living is easy  hot! Let’s be honest, there’s just nothing better than cooling off in a pool, lake, or ocean when those temperatures creep up! And for those with special needs, swimming is also a great way to get exercise in a weightless environment as well as much-needed sensory input. So let me share a few things that work for us with Chloe’s unique needs and I’ll share a few other awesome ideas I’ve seen around the internet that might work for your needs! Use a bath chair. Since we already have a bath chair for Chloe’s bathing needs, I love this idea because it didn’t mean spending any more money! Especially since I never know for sure what will and won’t work for Chloe, anything that is cheap or free is definitely preferred! We love using her bath chair at the beach or at pools because it keeps her safe when I have to use my hands for something else, but still lets her feel the water and be included in what everyone else is doing. In a pool, I put her in her bath chair in the shallow end and other kids love to come and play around her. So even though she isn’t actually swimming, she’s participating and having fun in the pool! I also give her beaded necklaces to hold in her hand and she loves to hit those on the water and make a splash. On the beach, this is also great to let her experience the waves rolling in and out. She LOVES it (as you can see below)! I’ve also...
Toys We Love

Toys We Love

I know not all special needs children will want or need the types of toys Chloe loves, but I have been excited about a couple recent finds and wanted to share! This “Mirror Chimeabout” is Chloe’s latest favorite toy! It is reflective, noisy, and easy to spin. She loves to take beads or a keychain and use them to put it in motion and/or make noise. It was pretty expensive for a toy, but for us, it is worth it! This inflatable sensory tray is another hit at our house! I put anything sensory on it and let Chloe go to town. She especially loves things that make a giant mess like water, shaving cream, and rice. The edges come up just enough to keep things from spilling too much and the material doesn’t bother Chloe’s skin. And the price! You cannot beat this price. If you’ve looked up trays like this before, you will flip over the price this is on Amazon. Worth every penny! Another recent hit is this LED animated light show fan. I got this for Chloe to have for entertainment at a recent hospital visit and I was so glad we had it! At night, I’d turn the lights off, clip this on the bed rail, turn it on, and Chloe would go wild. We’ve also used this on evening walks and in her bedroom. It is always a hit! If your child likes visual sensory input, you can’t beat this toy for the price! Chloe fell in love with a bell carousel at a physical therapy session so I ran home to find it...
Cerebral Palsy Is So Limited

Cerebral Palsy Is So Limited

A few years ago, I had been feeling overwhelmed and victimized by Chloe’s special needs. I was feeling a little bit like Chloe’s diagnosis had stolen the life I had planned and completely taken over everything. I felt like everything I had ever wanted had been indefinitely delayed because of Chloe’s developmental delays and I did not like feeling as though I had no control in my own life. Well, I learned long ago that when I start to feel like a victim, I have to dig deep and find a way to become the victor instead. In this case, I was stumped…. I felt defeated. But I didn’t stop trying. I kept seeking a way to overcome these feelings. My answer finally came when I was looking for something to uplift a friend who is battling cancer. I found this print: What Cancer Cannot Do. Its message spoke to me. Please don’t misunderstand. I’m not trying to compare Cerebral Palsy to cancer. Cancer is undoubtedly a much different battle. But I believe the underlying message of that inspirational print works with many diagnoses. When I read it, the victim within me was quickly diminished by a new sense of empowerment. Yes, Cerebral Palsy has changed things, but it has not won and it will not win. It has given Chloe disabilities that have affected our lives, but it has not and will not disable our ability to live a happy and fulfilling life. It has not and cannot take away anything that really matters! In honor of this new-found sense of empowerment, I created this word art. The words are very similar to...
Talking to My Special Needs Child About Her Special Needs

Talking to My Special Needs Child About Her Special Needs

A few years ago, I got thinking about how Chloe is unable to move or communicate like she’d like to and all the frustration and behavioral issues that go along with that. I got thinking it might be nice for her to know why she’s unable to do those things. I realized that when other severe challenges come up in life, i.e. abuse, death, etc, the recommendation is for a person to go to counseling and talk about it. Shouldn’t that same principle apply with Chloe? So I sat her down and told her “the story.” I had told her pieces of the story before then and I always explained what was going on in the moment, but I had never sat down and explained everything. This time, she got the full scoop. I told her how sorry I was that this happened to her, but how grateful I am that she is so strong and brave through it all, that I am grateful to be her mom, and that she is an inspiration to me and many others. It was a very tender time. I didn’t just tell the story, I told parts, then asked her to talk to me about it. Even though she is “non-verbal,” she is very expressive and communicates in her own special way. And talk she did, in her own little Chloe babble language. Although I don’t know exactly what she said, I’m sure she was just getting out some feelings, and I’m sure that felt good for her. After all, we all need to vent now and then, right? Even with non-verbal...