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Disabilities Are Not “Special Needs”
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Are You Happy? If Not, Why?
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25 Quotes About Parenting A Child With Disabilities
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It’s Important To Protect Your Blog
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A Trip To The Mall That Meant So Much More
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Special Gifts For Special Families
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Dear Parent Of A Newly Diagnosed Child…
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Dealing With Conflict—The Story Of An Empath
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Happy Planet Soup Will Make You A Souper Star!
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Childhood Report Card Comments Still Stand Today

Disabilities Are Not “Special Needs”

It’s taken a decade of research into genetics and specific diseases and disabilities for me to gain even a fraction of understanding of my daughter’s syndrome. I still have no idea what I’m doing half the time. And I make plenty of mistakes.  Case in point—until recently I didn’t even realize that the label “special needs” was outdated and unacceptable. I’m immersed in this community, yet I was unaware. And if missed this, maybe you did too? I’m not easily offended. I curse, I make gross jokes. I try not to take what people say too seriously and I try to cut people some slack when they say the wrong thing. We all slip up. Words don’t tell the whole story. Our actions and intentions define who we are.  But, when we are told point-blank that something is offensive, we should pay attention. Isn’t it our responsibility as compassionate citizens to do no harm whenever possible? And seriously, updating our vocabulary costs us nothing. Let’s take the r-word for example. I’ve written about it quite a bit over the years. The word itself is harmless. It means late or delayed. When used appropriately, it should cause no harm. But it does.[…]

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Are You Happy? If Not, Why?

If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands. What, no clapping? Aren’t you happy?!  Well, don’t let that make you sad because not many of us are consistently happy. According to the studies anyway. Science has us pegged as a sad sack of SOBs just trying to make it until cocktail hour.  My daughter however, she’s perpetually happy. She gleefully claps her hands all the time for no apparent reason. It’s like a happiness explosion where her joy just can’t be contained and the sudden burst of happy claps is a way to let it out.  I consider myself a very happy person, but I can’t say I feel “happiness explosion happiness” in adulthood very often. But alas, nobody is as happy as Avery. She doesn’t fit the typical mould. She doesn’t worry. She doesn’t know fear. And there’s zero hate in this kid’s world. It just doesn’t exist for her. I’d say she’s 90 per cent happy—9 per cent ‘meh’, when she’s tired or told, “No, you can’t host a play date right now.” And 1 per cent legitimate sorrow, usually when she’s missing a loved one. The rest of the time, bliss.  I get the sense[…]

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25 Quotes About Parenting A Child With Disabilities

Here are a few quotes about parenting that never fail to deliver a ray of sunshine on the difficult days. Feel free to leave a comment with a favourite quote that inspires you. 1. “Motherhood is about raising and celebrating the child you have, not the child you thought you would have. It’s about understanding that they are exactly the person they are supposed to be and that, if you’re lucky, they just might be the teacher who turns you into the person you are supposed to be.” ~ Joan Ryan 2.  “One of the great things that any community can do is not teach tolerance, but live tolerance, not talk respect, but live inclusivity.” ~ Michael Pritchard 3.  “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.” ~ Helen Keller 4.  Don’t focus on what she can’t do. Focus on what she can do. Like a boss. ~ Lisa Thornbury 5.  “Parents of children with special needs create their own world of happiness and believe in things that others cannot yet see.” ~Unknown 6.  “Sometimes the things we can’t change end up changing us.” ~ Unknown 7.  “Listen[…]

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It’s Important To Protect Your Blog

You might not be a Blogger (not all of us are, it just seems like it) but chances are you’ve journaled, or kept a diary or calendar of milestone moments, or made a photo album to preserve special times. That’s what this blog is for me.  Yes, I write the occasional sponsored post and get paid to heave my “digital social influence” around here and there, but this space isn’t about that. It’s personal. Personal, yet shared publicly across the internet. I started blogging shortly after our daughter was born, ten years ago. I blogged before most people knew what a blog was. I started writing about what life was like as a parent of a child with complicated medical issues and uncharted special needs. I was scared and looking for answers. Writing helped connect me with other parents going through the same thing.  It was also a way for me to keep track of significant milestones—surgeries and illnesses, and firsts, and major accomplishments, and all the feelings. It’s funny, I’ll look back at an old post and be all, “Wait what? She had Scarlett Fever? I totally don’t remember that!”  As the years passed, this blog became a way[…]

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A Trip To The Mall That Meant So Much More

This post isn’t intended to be political, but his electoral “win” makes me worry about my daughter’s future. He who shall not be named doesn’t even try to hide his distain for people with disabilities. It makes me wonder if her life will be more difficult because he’s giving people the message that it’s okay to be intolerant and cruel. However, there’s a kindness army rising up against hatred and discrimination. Kids are being raised to believe in equity and love and compassion. We’re surrounded by it, basking in their warmth and inclusion.  My daughter’s school and neighbourhood friends treat her like the important person she is, worthy of respect and friendship.  Avery’s been asking to go shopping with friends for weeks. She doesn’t actually care about buying anything. It’s about the experience. And her purse. She brings it with her on special outings. Inside you’ll find her lip balm, her pretend debit card, her (bicycle) driver’s license and a handful of coins.  I drove my daughter and her two friends to our local mall to do some Christmas shopping.  I tried to stay in the background to give Avery the feeling of shopping on her own with her friends like[…]

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Special Gifts For Special Families

What do exhausted, stressed out parents really want? What’s an age appropriate gift for a child with autism? Is there an inexpensive toy suitable for a child with fine motor delays? Can certain games help with speech and language development and if so, are they actually fun? All good questions I’ll try to answer below—my merry gift to you this retail festive season. Parents, especially those parenting a child with special needs, rarely take the time to pamper themselves. The holidays are a perfect opportunity for you to gift them something that forces them to take a moment. Yes, I said “force them.” I know this from experience. #stubborn Presents To Pamper Parents:           Special parents can be painfully practical. Since we’re often at a loss for time, practical and useful is always appreciated. Practical Presents for Parents:         Sometimes it’s hard to know what to buy for a child with physical or developmental needs. When in doubt, ask the parents what might be appropriate. Here are a few ideas.  Gifts for Kids With Cognitive, Motor, and/or Speech Delays:               Happy gift giving!  Feel free to message me[…]

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Dear Parent Of A Newly Diagnosed Child…

The early days when you suspect something might be wrong with your child completely suck. Literally—the fear and worry sucks the life out of you to the point where you wonder if you have the strength to actually go on. But the day you hear the words, the actual diagnosis, is the worst day. It’s indescribably (though I’ll try) horrendous.  When we got the phone call that confirmed our daughter has a chromosomal disorder I was dumbstruck. I couldn’t make sense of  what was happening. There was a loud ringing in my ears that made it hard to think. I fled outside and gasped for air. I couldn’t breathe. I eventually came back in and sat quietly on the couch beside my husband and we cried.  A few months later our daughter ended up in hospital which is a despicable story in itself (doctors are wonderful people, but they don’t always see what you see. When a medical professional tells you that it’s all in your head, listen to your gut and do what needs to be done.) This is when further genetic testing revealed the extent of our child’s chromosomal deletion/duplication. The first few weeks with this new knowledge[…]

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Dealing With Conflict—The Story Of An Empath

Conflict turns my stomach. It makes my chest tight and uncomfortable. I feel legitimately sickened by it.  I avoid arguments, and negativity, and pot stirring, and drama as best I can—not because I’m a high road walker. It’s more about self-preservation. I wasn’t kidding when I said conflict makes me sick.  As a sensitive, over thinking, soft-hearted, earnestly reflective, people pleasing, peace making empath, it’s a struggle for me to let it go. Why can’t I be more like Elsa?! I take hurtful words or actions to heart. I absorb them and replay them in my mind. That’s the tricky part about being a “highly sensitive empath“. It eats me up.  When friends in my life are in a bad place, I absorb it like a mushy sponge. Instead of spitting an insult back at the insulter, I swallow it. This is not to say I swallow people’s spit. Only my own.  Somebody told me once that this makes me weak. So I slapped her hard across the cheek and kicked her squarely in the crotch. Okay, not really. But I really gave it to her… but only in my head. Don’t get me wrong, if you mess with one of[…]

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Happy Planet Soup Will Make You A Souper Star!

Did you ever imagine adult life would be this busy?? We could easily compare who’s busier, but that would take time and frankly I just don’t have any extra to spare. If you’re not too busy, I whine more about that HERE.  It doesn’t help that I’ve never been great at time management. Did you see my grade school report card post? Spoiler alert…I got an Improvement Needed in “Makes Good Use of Time.” Now that I’m a parent of busy kids this impediment has only gotten worse. My kids have full schedules—rep sports and lessons and classes every day. It’s capital B busy.  I’m not complaining (out loud). I happily accept my duty as a parent to deliver my children to these things. Since I work from home I’m also in charge of starting dinner most nights. And most nights I do. But some days (you know the ones) I throw my arms in the air and wail, “I don’t wanna!”  That’s when I’m temptated to veer into the nearest drive-thru. Never underestimate the allure of french fries wafting into hangy nostrils. I try to remain strong because as great as it smells, I know McFried food isn’t the best choice. When I’m[…]

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Childhood Report Card Comments Still Stand Today

My daughter is in grade five this year. She’s a Chatty Cathy who “sometimes” gets distracted in class by friends and fun. I have NO idea where she gets this from.  Oh wait, yes I do.  When my auntie Marg was visiting from B.C. this week, she brought along some old photos and report cards she found when she was sorting through boxes at my grandpa’s house.  She grinned expectantly when she handed me the report card. As I read it, I could see why.  “Reading and writing above grade level.” Can I add that to my freelance writing resume? “Mature attitude.” Well maybe for fifth grade. But I still have the same fifth grade attitude now.  “Accepts new challenges readily.” Do I? Do I really? Because I think I’m more of a, “Fine I’ll try but I don’t really want to” kinda gal.  “Lisa has become a little chatty in class.” This made me howl but it doesn’t surprise me. This was neither the first nor the last time a comment like this appeared on my report card.  “In mathematics, Lisa must learn to check her answers for careless errors.” Ha! Tell me about it. Numbers continue to mock me daily. This[…]

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