Category - Special Needs

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Her Voice
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Honk, Honk
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The R-Word
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Rising Star
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Use These Potty Training Incentives To Achieve Toiletting Triumph
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Let Them Eat Cake—Her Very First Party
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Holiday Concert: Tears and Toots
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Invited—When Your Child With Special Needs Gets A Birthday Invitation
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Class Photos
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Dragon Dictation APP

Her Voice

  We all want our daughters to have a voice. I need my daughter to have one.  I won’t always be around to speak for her – to explain to others why she may not understand, or to make her understood. Before my daughter was born, deep down I worried there was something wrong. All the prenatal testing indicated she was fine, but sometimes a mother just knows. When she was born, and I held her in my arms, I saw only perfection. I still do. We soon discovered our girl was special. In fact, she’s so unique there isn’t a name for her particular syndrome. She has come miles further than we were told she could. Her future is bright, yet shadowed by developmental and medical challenges. Our daughter doesn’t understand the rude looks or ignorant questions. A stranger’s comment about her “walking funny” results in a carefree smile. Teasing, from a neighbourhood kid earns him a giggle. One day, she will understand and feel the sting of hurtful words and actions. The most important thing I can do to prepare her is to help her to find her voice. My girl is a mess of blonde curls, big brown eyes and pouty pink lips. She’s beautiful. People want[…]

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Honk, Honk

My husband helped run a March Break Sports Camp, which our son attended. They brought home some truly wonderful father/son memories but also, some weird bronchial virus. A week later Avery caught it. Her soft voice was soon replaced by what we call her “Jazz Singer” voice. My initial fear was that she had Cholera. What? She had been playing in the yard, frolicking and splashing in stagnant pond water. I thought maybe she had ventilated some bacteria. Sigh. I tend to jump to the most extreme circumstances.   It was just a virus. Mind you, a temperature of 105 is something to be taken seriously.  Also, when your child has a seizure disorder, any illness suddenly becomes extra alarming. What if this fever triggers another seizure? What if it’s a big one? These are thoughts that never go away once you’ve experienced the worst.  So whenever Avery is sick, we follow protocol. Daddy ships out of our bedroom and Avery moves in with me, and I assemble the “Medi Ready Over-Night Kit” — a plastic shoebox filled with supplies including: pre-dosed meds (because who can read the dosage in the middle of the night?), pen and paper to write[…]

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The R-Word

  March 7th, 2012  is Spread The Word To End The Word Day, part of a campaign started by The Special Olympics to educate people about the offensive nature of derogatory terms like “retard.”  I signed the pledge and proudly display the badge on my blog. I’ve written about my feelings about the r-word and many others have blogged about it too. It boggles my mind that people (some who I’ve quietly un-friended online) continue to use the word, in jest. It’s not funny.  The r-word is “hate speech.” End of story.  Love that Max (written by Ellen Seidman) is a favourite link on my blog roll. In a recent post, Would You Call My Child A Retard Ellen offers up some of the idiotic comments people have made in defensive of using the word retarded. Unbelievable. In answer to your question, Ellen… ….no. I would not call your child a retard. I would call him Max. And it breaks my heart to think somebody would look at my child and without even knowing her, call her retarded. Her name is Avery. This is Ellen’s video. Please watch. 

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Rising Star

When I was little, my mom signed me up for ballet classes. I wasn’t very good, but what I lacked in talent, I made up for in enthusiasm and cute legwarmers. When my little girl was born, I imagined her pirouetting upon a stage one day…   However, Avery’s developmental delays prevent her from participating in a regular dance class, so all pirouetting seemed to be on hold until… I heard about a dance studio that offered adaptive dance classes.   Avery with her partner Lindsay    Adaptive Dance Class Avery attends class once a week, and has been paired with a young ballerina (whom she adores!). “Without the assistance of these volunteers, this program would not exist. They are great kids and their parents and the community should be proud of them.” shares the studio owner.   This is Avery’s second year in the program. She was slightly reluctant at first, but now she is so excited about ballet, she can hardly wait to put on her leotard and skirt and get to the studio! She also LOVES to practice her “moves” at home in front of an audience (which usually consists of her doll, her brother, and the[…]

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Use These Potty Training Incentives To Achieve Toiletting Triumph

  My girl likes to potty all the time, potty all the time, potty all the tah-hime! Well, NOW she does anyway. For the first 51/2 years of her life she wasn’t on board with the whole toilet sitch.    Potty training ANY child takes time and patience and patience. Did I mention patience? Potty training a child with developmental delays is even more “special.”  I wrote about past Herculean efforts to get this girl out of diapers and into some stylin’ Dora underpants here (tricks like these generally work wonders for most kids). Alas we tried, we failed, and we did a sh*t load of laundry. She just wasn’t ready. Over the Christmas holidays we tried again. This time instead of sinking into the bowels of hell, we were triumphant. It’s slightly ridiculous, but here’s what worked: We choose a quiet week where we would be at home most of the time. I told Avery there were lots of babies who needed diapers and asked if it would be okay to give them hers? Of course, she said NO!  This girl has a serious Pull-Up addiction. When I hid her diapers anyway, she tore the house apart looking for them.[…]

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Let Them Eat Cake—Her Very First Party

The girl who had never been to a birthday party can finally say, “I partied.” She’s been talking about going to her friend’s birthday party since the day she opened the invitation. Which was a very good day by the way.    She excitedly joined right in with the other girls. With a *teeny* bit of mummy’s help, she made jewelry with her friends—a tiara fit for a princess.      A jewelry box, coloured orange, dotted with gems     And a bracelet which she refuses to take off.       Curious about the Princess cake, before I could stop it, she stuck a tiny finger in the icing.      The picky eater who eats like a bird, happily sat (in one spot!) and ate a whole slice of pizza and beamed.     Then out came the cake. And where there is cake, there are bound to be candles. This kid loves the flicker of a flame.      Not like Drew. Birthday candles come with the promise of good times.     As the birthday girl got ready to make a wish, Avery inched closer…     …and closer     ….until she had positioned herself[…]

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Holiday Concert: Tears and Toots

  At Avery’s holiday concert, as I sat surrounded by beaming faces, the parental pride was palpable. The children marched in, class by class and took their place on stage. Avery stood near the back, so I couldn’t see her but I cried anyway. It’s the music. Gets us every time. After the last song, Avery’s Ed Assistant lifted her up so her head was above the rows of other Kindie heads. Avery’s eyes met mine and she shouted, “Hi Mummeeeeeeee!” as loud as she could, waving frantically.   Later that night as we lay in her bed reviewing the day, she asked, “See me Mummy? My show. See me?”Yes I saw you. You were amazing. A star, in fact.   The next day, Avery and I attended her big brother’s concert. Cloaked in a forest green bed sheet, he played the role of one of the Three Wise Men. I may be biased, but I’m pretty sure he was the wisest of the lot.  Then during a quiet moment in the play, a very loud toot broke the silence. No, not a horn or flute from the play. I’m talking about a big ol’ fart.    Others only heard it,[…]

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Invited—When Your Child With Special Needs Gets A Birthday Invitation

It happened. Finally, joyfully, my five year old atypical child received her first ever invitation to a typical peer’s birthday party. She tore open the envelope and exclaimed wide eyed, “I party!” “I so happy,” she said while I cried big, sobby tears. “Mummy sad?” she asked, looking concerned. No my sweet girl. I’m not sad. I’m thrilled for you. You deserve so much—fun and parties and all the great things that come with having friends who love you, for you. I want to tell this *mother, the one who sent the invitation, how much this means. I’m sure she has no idea. Avery has carried the invitation around with her all morning and won’t put it down. And now she wants to go out, like right now, and buy her friend a “bir-day pwsent.” The happiness on this child’s face and the excitement pulsing through her body reminds me, because sometimes I forget, that life is truly a celebration.  Party on big girl. *I sent the mom an email to explain how much this invitation meant to us and to sincerely thank her. I also hugged her (hard and possibly a tiny bit too long) at the party.   […]

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Class Photos

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but the words may not always speak the truth.   Case in point, my kids’ class pictures.   My son’s photo depicts him as a social butterfly surrounded by hordes of adoring fans, the consummate centre of attention. In reality, he’s a quiet guy who keeps a small handful of friends close.   My daughter’s picture (below) on the other hand, tells the tale of a child on the perimeter of acceptance. She is the blondie at the end on the first row. A solitary loner at the end of the bench.   In this picture, my daughter may be set apart from her peers, but unlike her brother, she is a social butterfly. She is fully integrated in her classroom. There is no judgement among her peers and she is accepted for who she is.   At first glance, this photo could be unsettling for a family unaware of their child’s scholastic journey.  And not just because of the creepy masks I Photoshopped on my daughter’s classmates due to privacy issues.  Avery adores her teacher, her wonderful EAs and her loving classmates. She is made to feel like a valuable member[…]

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Dragon Dictation APP

  If I don’t jot down a blog idea or an important phone number or date immediately, it’s gone by the time I blink twice. Memory like a sieve.   This is why I love this cool free APP – Dragon Dictation. You simply dictate and it records and translates your voice into text. You can then email the note to yourself, post to Facebook or tweet it.   It’s not perfect. There are some epic autocorrects, so you’re best not to hit “send” until you make any corrections. However it’s great if you just want to send yourself a reminder or fire off an email handsfree (preferably to someone who won’t be offended by rudely unintentional *or so you claim* errors).   This app is also excellent for kiddos with speech/language/learning delays. It can be used effectively in a number of ways. For kids who have trouble writing, talk to text is a good option. For kids like mine who have significant speech delays, we use the app to practise speaking in slow, short and precise sentences.    Check it out and let me know how the app helps you. 

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