Category - Special Needs

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Security Measures For Families With Young and/or Special Needs Children
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Ten Tips for Playdates With Kids of All Abilities
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Beware The Snapping Turtle
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When Your Child Is Shunned
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Independence: Aisle 4
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2 smart ways to keep kids with special needs safer
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Whispers Behind Her Back
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A Brother Shows His True Colours For His Special Sister
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Kids These Days….
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Taking Back The Word Retarded

Security Measures For Families With Young and/or Special Needs Children

Early this morning a 3-year-old boy went missing from his home in Toronto. Elijah was captured on his apartment building’s security cameras stepping out into the bitter cold at 4:20 a.m. He appeared to be on his own, wearing only a t-shirt, diaper and boots. His family discovered he was missing when they woke three hours later. He was found shortly after 10 a.m. only a few hundreds metres from his apartment and was taken to hospital in life threatening condition. Poor, poor baby. Why did he wake and decide to wander? Was he sleepwalking? Some children do. I did. My son had terrible night terrors as a toddler. Whatever the reason, it’s a horrible tragedy. This story has struck a chord with parents everywhere—our collective parental hearts go out to this family. Life will never be the same for them again. It also resonates with our family personally—as parents of a child with special needs who has a significant history of wandering off, silently, Elijah represents a legitimate fear for many special needs parents. When our daughter gained the ability to open doors, we immediately installed door alarms that chime when any door in our house is opened. We[…]

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Ten Tips for Playdates With Kids of All Abilities

My daughter has a personalized CD from Name Your Tune that she just loves. She plays her favourite song “Oh How I Want To Go” over and over. Her brother always laughs at the last line saying, “Mum, that’s like SO inappropriate. They just called Avery special!” Ha. Well, she IS special. In many so ways. The song goes… “They tell me down at your house, it’s always so much fun. You laugh out loud and play a lot and skip and dance and run. Oh I just want to go to Avery’s house. Oh how I want to go… to this house I know… back to my special friend’s home.” Avery is a special friend who may have special needs, but this doesn’t mean she isn’t interested in socializing with her atypical peers. Just the opposite—this girl is one of the most social people I’ve ever met. For many parents, the idea of having a special kiddo to their house for a play date, can be a little scary. In the early days, I accompanied Avery to friend’s houses or to a party. If a parent is nervous, I’m always happy to do it. But honestly, parents don’t have to be[…]

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When Your Child Is Shunned

Conversations like these with my eight-year-old special girl make me want to scoop her up in my arms and then storm down to the playground, finger wagging, to kick some rude kid butt. Me: How was school today? Avery: Good. I made you a card. I did my letters.  Me: Who did you play with at recess? Avery: Katie and Susanna. But Katie say, “Go play with your own friends.” Me: What?! Avery: She say to me, “Go away.”  Me: Silence. Stewing. Blood pressure rising.  Me: So what did you do? Avery: I want to play with Susanna, but Katie say, “Play with your own friends.” Me: So who did you play with? Avery: I just walked around by myself. Avery adores Katie (not her real name). We’ve had her over to our house a lot. But things have changed. Katie who was new to the school last year and didn’t speak English, has friends now—friends she’s not willing to share. This isn’t a post about “mean girls.” It’s old news that kids can be little a-holes. It’s also a fact that kids who are different are often excluded. Different is not “cool” in elementary school. No, this isn’t anything[…]

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Independence: Aisle 4

Just look at the joy on this child’s face. She LIVES to shop, but the poor kid is saddled with a mother who detests shopping. However, I have to wear clothes (in public anyway) and feed my family, so shopping is a necessary chore. I’ve tried pawning it off on my spouse, but he can’t shop himself out of a paper (or plastic, or cloth reusable) bag. I sent him to the grocery store one morning for apple juice, bread, and milk and he came home with grapefruit juice (what kid drinks grapefruit juice??), bagels, almond milk, and a pie. Close, but yet so frightfully far. I’m coming to embrace the whole grocery delivery thing. I fought against it at first, concerned it would it cost more. Turns out I spend less since I don’t end up with $50 worth of impulse purchased potato chips, too good to pass up deals, and whatever else I might have a craving for in the moment. When I’m organized and on the ball, I plan ahead and get groceries delivered. Other times, I hit the supermarket so Avery can revel in her shopping happy place. She and I both push our own carts.[…]

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2 smart ways to keep kids with special needs safer

  Children wander. Some more often and farther than others… If I could microchip my daughter like a pet, I would. Wait, can I?! Our cat has a teeny chip the size of a grain of rice between his shoulder blades. If he’s found far from home, the finder will be able to return him to us. Mental note: ask sister in law the vet to micro chip Avery. Children with special needs may have trouble identifying themselves or asking for help. My daughter doesn’t know her phone number or address so I ordered this bracelet for her from Etsy. It’s stainless steel so she can wear it 24/7. My cell number is on the reverse side so if she wanders (just typing it makes me queasy) she’ll be more easily “returned to owner.”       When we’re out and about—visiting a theme park, hiking, playing at the park or taking a walk in the city, Avery wears a GPS fob. My friend gave us this one by T R I P LE  C.  The funky fashion forward fob is synced with your iPhone which allows you to locate your most valuable possessions (computer, pet…and yes, even your child!) You can[…]

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Whispers Behind Her Back

  You can barely hear them. She can’t hear them at all, and I like it that way. They’re soft and intermittent and I can almost always ignore them. Sometimes I can even silence them with a look or an explanation or sometimes with just a tiny shot of snark. Mostly they’re the whispers of strangers and who cares what they think? She doesn’t notice them and even if she did, she wouldn’t understand them. If she did, she’d probably just smile and reach out her hand because she’s gentle and kind and forgiving like that. Sometimes I also want to reach out my hand. But in a more, “come over here so I can slap your head” kind of way. Though my daughter has many friends, last year she made a new friend and this relationship was special. This little girl had just moved to Canada with her father while her mother remained overseas. Her new friend came over to our house often to play and attend parties and she called Avery on the phone. How excited my little girl was to have the phone ring—for her. Between Avery’s delayed speech and her friend’s broken English, it was the[…]

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A Brother Shows His True Colours For His Special Sister

You know when people comment on a video or a blog post saying, “This brought me to tears” or “This made me bawl”? Sometimes it’s true. But more often it’s merely a sentimental response to an emotional topic. When I watched this video however, I literally sobbed. I cried out loud, which I have to say is both cleansing and bloody exhausting. And now through red swollen eyes I’m attempting to share this amazing tribute by a brother to his sister. This sweet and crazy talented young boy of eleven, the same age as my son, wrote and performed this song (a cover of True Colours by Cindy Lauper) about his sister, eight years old, the same age as my special little girl. Sarah was born with Down Syndrome, but her big brother Matt doesn’t see her as different—he sees her as special in all the best ways. My son loves his sister more than anything. He made a video about her to help explain her differences to his peers at school. I guess this one of the reasons why this story touches me so deeply.  If you watch anything online today, you must watch this video below. It’s simply[…]

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Kids These Days….

Our little girl turned eight last week. Eight, not eighteen, but from her recent behaviour the line is somewhat fuzzy. First we caught her hot tubbing in mixed company. Don’t let the water wings fool you, she’s a wild woman. Later that night we found her elbows deep in coins, playing the slots, drinking (apple juice) like a sailor on leave.   Then we spotted her wandering around Chicago, coffee in hand (she was probably exhausted from a late night of gambling) mixing with the locals and painting the town red.   The next thing we knew, she was on her first date playing coy. Ha! It’s a ruse. She’s such a cheeky little monkey—I’m sure I spotted her playing footsies under the table. Kids these days…   Kidding aside, Avery has grown up so much this year. SO. MUCH. Things we never imagined she’d be able to do, she’s doing like a boss. Running, turning a perfect somersault, swimming, talking a blue streak, traveling—the girl knows how to pack a suitcase and has a wanderlust to rival that of any explorer. As for dating, she really did meet her “boyfriend” in Chicago —a  sweet ‘younger man’ who up until now, we’ve[…]

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Taking Back The Word Retarded

  As the parent of a child with developmental challenges, delays, cognitive disabilities… however you want to label it, I often flip-flop between two perspectives. 1. Wanting to let my fists fly (which is pretty hysterical if you’ve ever seen me try to punch something) on anyone who uses the word retarded. 2. Simply allowing the word to bounce off me and ricochet back at them. People who use the word retard are outing themselves as people I’d rather not know. Their word choice says everything about them and nothing about my child or anyone with special needs. I seem to be juxtaposed between violence and a “so be it” attitude so instead of choosing a perspective, I’m creating a new one. I’m going to take back the R-Word. Others have done it—taken a word used to discriminate and have claimed it as their own. By doing so they’ve taken the wind out of many biggoty sails. My daughter is retarded… Okay wait, I need to ease my way into this because just typing that made me squirm. Those seven letters pack a punch. Retard means delayed or slow. By definition, my daughter is slow. She’s slow to anger. She’s[…]

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