Category - Special Needs

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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
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Singing and Signing
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Linguini Facial
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Sometimes
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The Lies We Tell As Special Needs Moms

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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Singing and Signing

  My daughter is not a fan of long car rides. Our saving grace is music. As they say, music soothes the savage beast. Not that Avery is at all beastly, but strap her into her car seat and drive for more than half an hour and she definitely becomes a little savage-esque.   Her favourite CD is Name Your Tune. She can (and has) listened to it a thousand times. Children are egocentric. They LOVE hearing their name in the context of the songs. Truth be told, if I heard a few “Lisas” thrown in, I’d dig it too.   My friend Erica (head mummy over at The Yummy Mummy Club) did a voice over for Five Little Monkeys – Avery’s most requested tune. It’s strange hearing Erica’s familiar voice serenading us in our mini-van. When she sings, “I can seeeeeee you,” Avery gasps and says, “She sees me??” Makes me smile every time. Later, when Erica says, “Be very careful,” Avery responds, in a whisper, “Very careful.”   Shout out to our friend Scott too! He’s the manly voice in the Monkey duet.    Thanks Candace for making such an amazing product. I’m putting “Name Your Tune2” on[…]

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Linguini Facial

I made a healthy, home-freaking-made-from-scratch meal and I was ready to impale myself on a dull spoon midway through dinner. My little girl eats like a bird. A baby humming bird.   Lately we’ve made great strides, both in food diversity and in weight gain. It’s a roller coaster—good days and bad. I’m okay with that. But, when your child refuses to eat something she normally loves, it’s irritating. For the love, who refuses linguini??   I tried everything. All of our usual tricks. Even our latest and greatest… paying off each bite with a butterscotch CHIPIT.   I can handle a little food refusal. What I can’t handle is when my child wrestles her dish (which was suction cupped to the table for stability) with such furry and determination that it launches suddenly upwards, flinging the entire meal like an aerial assault by an army of searing hot saucy snakes, into her mother’s face. I enjoy a facial, but I draw the line at a pesto prima vera treatment.    I threw in the towel, after wiping away the sauce with it, and retreated to my office, leaving daddy to deal with the pasta shrapnel. Tomorrow would be a[…]

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Sometimes

Sometimes when you have too much to say, you end up saying nothing at all. I’ve tried to write many times this week. But instead of writing a word, I clicked “close” every time.   Sometimes when life is too hard, you shut yourself off. You assure everyone around you that everything is fine and you try to believe it.    I feel guilty because others have struggles much harder than my own. I have a child with special needs. So what? So do many, many other parents. Our story is not unique. Avery is healthy and happy and beautiful and I should feel lucky. Or so I have been told. But some days, instead of lucky, I feel frightened, frustrated, angry or sad.   I’ve always had the attitude that everything will be okay. This is our normal and life is good. It’s not perfect, but it’s good. It seems you can only go on for so long fooling yourself into thinking your life isn’t hard.  My life is hard. Avery is funny and loving, but she’s difficult. She doesn’t understand “danger.” She is always at risk and it’s taxing living in a constant state of fight or flight.[…]

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The Lies We Tell As Special Needs Moms

I told a lie about my child. You’re probably expecting a joke or a silly pun right about that. Not today.    I brought my daughter with me to the drugstore to buy eye drops (and shampoo and lip balm and a travel sized hairspray and milk. I need to get this impulse buying thing under control). As I stood in the skin care aisle (I also bought hand cream) Avery picked up various bottles and tubes and chattered away. Then she spontaneously hugged the guy who was stocking shelves next to us. She’s tactile and a hugger without boundaries, obviously.    All the while a young female clerk was casting glances our way. Later at the checkout that same clerk was organizing the magazines. She asked, “How old is she?” An innocent question, but one I’ve come to hate nonetheless. I understand why people ask. ALL THE TIME. They’re just trying to figure Avery out. She looks her age-ish physically, but her social graces and immature speech patterns make her appear much, much younger. “How old is she?” is an attempt to make sense of the disparity.    “How old is she?” asked the clerk. “She’s four,” I answered. […]

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