Toy Like Me

Toy Like Me

Have you heard of Toy Like Me? It’s a campaign for ran by parents of children with disabilities promoting change in the toy industry to better represent disabilities. And the toy industry better watch out because if there is a group of people who are patient, persistent, and willing to never stop fighting for what they want, it’s special needs parents! And what a great idea! According to an article on Upworthy, three parents came together and decided their children (one in a wheelchair, one who is deaf and visually impaired, and one who is blind) decided their children needed their assistive accessories to be represented in the toy world to make them feel comfortable and promote positive self image. They made a prototype doll with a cochlear implant, which they shared on social media. The image was shared enough that one week later, a toy company contacted them to take their idea and run with it! There are dolls and a current push for Lego to catch on to the idea. Read the full Upworthy article here. Both of my children, Chloe with special needs and Sam who has no special needs but has a sister with special needs and is exposed to special needs often, love to see pictures of children in wheelchairs in books or toys with special needs equipment (we have a teddy bear with a wheelchair), or when there are children with special needs on one of their favorite shows (Sesame Street does a pretty good job of featuring children with special needs in their episodes). Whenever there is something that reflects those unique aspects...
Just Because

Just Because

Sam has recently become obsessed with this book, Just Because by Rebecca Elliott. It’s about a little blonde hair blue eyed boy whose older sister is in a wheelchair. The little boy loves to lay by his sister, laugh with her, look at books with her, be outside with her, pretend with her, and dream with her. The boy doesn’t know why his sister is in a wheelchair and doesn’t talk and has curly hair….just because. Sam makes me read it to him at least 10 times a day. I recently found him sitting on the couch hugging it…..just because. Chloe also loves the book and gets excited when the brother and sister pretend the wheelchair is a rocket and go up into space! Rebecca Elliott has another book about the same siblings and hospital visits the sister has to make, Sometimes. It is also a very sweet book and both of my kids like it a lot. I think these books will become more and more important as Sam matures and understands the many things that make his sister different and can see pictures that look a lot like his life in a fun, happy book. I’m grateful he already understands it enough that reading the books is important and special to him. I can’t recommend these books...
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...
All About Your Heart

All About Your Heart

This is not the first song I’ve shared and it won’t be the last. Enjoy! All About Your Heart by Mindy Gledhill   I don’t mind your odd behavior It’s the very thing I savor If you were an ice cream flavor You would be my favorite one My imagination sees you Like a painting by Van Gogh Starry nights and bright sunflowers Follow you where you may go Oh, I’ve loved you from the start In every single way And more each passing day You are brighter than the stars Believe me when I say It’s not about your scars It’s all about your heart You’re a butterfly held captive Small and safe in your cocoon Go on you can take your time Time is said to heal all wounds Oh, I’ve loved you from the start In every single way And more each passing day You are brighter than the stars Believe me when I say It’s not about your scars It’s all about your heart Like a lock without a key Like a mystery without a clue There is no me if I cannot have you Oh, I’ve loved you from the start In every single way And more each passing day You are brighter than the stars Believe me when I say It’s not about your scars It’s all about your heart     Heart image courtesy...
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....