Service Monkeys

Service Monkeys

Recently, I saw a man with a service monkey at the airport. Is your jaw on the ground? Because mine was, in amazement! I had to look it up right away and what I learned was amazing! Service Monkeys According to monkeyhelpers.org, “The most obvious difference between capuchin monkeys and other service animals is their dexterous hands and amazing fine motor skills. This enables them to perform tasks such as: turning pages scratching itches retrieving dropped objects inserting straws into bottles turning on buttons/switches for remotes, phones, computers, etc. repositioning limbs on a wheelchair Other differences include: their long life span of 30-40 years small size which allows them to cuddle in their human partner’s lap or nook of their neck monkeys have hair, like humans, which helps to alleviates problems with fur-related allergies Monkeys also have a strong sense of hierarchy which provides the motivation to care for and be cared for by their human partner. Helping Hands trainers and placement staff utilize this natural hierarchy to create a mutually beneficial and nurturing relationship between the monkey and the recipient.” Then I found this video showing a service monkey in action and helping this amazing young man. You have to watch this! Other service animals include miniature horses and pigs. And if you’re wondering, most airlines do let them on planes to serve people with disabilities....
Sibling Troubles? Helpful Tips From Parents!

Sibling Troubles? Helpful Tips From Parents!

We posted a couple weeks ago how you shouldn’t let having a chronically ill or child with special needs hold you back from having more children. Overwhelmingly people who have gone on to have more children are happy that they did and feel like it was the best decision for their family. But, it’s not easy. How do you go about making sure their siblings get as much attention as your more demanding child? It’s easy for mom and dad guilt to creep in, to think that you aren’t doing enough even though you might be. Here are some ideas from the experts, special needs parents. Take them on errands by themselves – Even short trips like the home improvement or grocery store, or even to the gas station, will provide them moments of one on one attention with a parent. It will make them feel special and listened to. Plan a date night (Or a date day!) – A few parents recommended this. Give each sibling a night a month, let them choose what to do, where to go, and have both parents go on the date. Getting away from the distraction of a high needs sibling is crucial to building a relationship – even if it’s only for a few hours a month. Late nights – Have a special night where the sibling gets to stay up a little later and spend time with mom and dad. Remember how cool it was staying up past your bedtime when you were younger? It’s great! And time spent snuggling with mom and dad make it even more special. Find them...
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...
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...
Alternative Therapies for Special Needs: Personal Experiences

Alternative Therapies for Special Needs: Personal Experiences

I love Chloe exactly as she is, which is why I often struggle with the idea of trying to “fix” her. Obviously, though, anything – or almost anything – we can try and see if it helps her, we are and always have been willing to do. I say almost anything because of the possible risks associated with different alternative therapies and, unfortunately, what it usually comes down to is the cost. So if something appears to be not too risky and is something we can afford, and especially if I have seen or heard of something helping someone else, then we will most likely try it for Chloe. Here is an overview of what we have tried and a few that are on the radar to try if/when we can afford it. Each therapy type is linked to an external website providing additional information. Anat Baniel Method (ABM) : According to their website, ABM, “rather than try to force children into developmental milestones they are not ready to do successfully, which can groove in their limitations even deeper, [this] method wakes up the child’s brain to create new connections, often at a staggering rate, leading to spontaneous, often extraordinary breakthroughs in movement, thinking, self-regulation, and connection with others.” I had heard a lot about this method through different online support groups and it couldn’t be ignored that this therapy was working wonders for other special needs children. So, despite significant financial constraints at the time, we decided we at least needed Chloe to try it once. One half hour session later, I was  convinced this could be a game changer...