Tag - special needs

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Security Measures For Families With Young and/or Special Needs Children
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Friends Supporting My Kids—It Takes Village
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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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Life Lessons Learned From Loss
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Independence: Aisle 4
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How Do We Protect Our Daughters With Disabilities From Abuse?
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2 smart ways to keep kids with special needs safer
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Protecting The Pearlies—Dental Care For Kids

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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Friends Supporting My Kids—It Takes Village

I wrote a story recently about how one of Avery’s school friends shoed her away on the playground and hurt her little heart in the process. The very next day when we arrived at school, my friend Pat was there waiting at school drop off with this sweet calendar in hand for Avery to cheer her up. (Avery hung it beside her bed and adds a sticker every night before she goes to sleep to mark the days. Sweet AND educational. Gotta love that.)       Then I shared a story with tips for including children with special needs in play dates. The next day this Facebook message appeared. A few private messages back and forth and bam! We have a very special play date on Avery’s new calendar.   I’m not saying you have to be a mom to care about other people’s kids. My friend Ali loves my kids and takes a genuine interest. She has the cutest banter going with Sebastian. She is constantly threatening to “take him down” on the Wii playing field. He laughs and rolls his eyes and loves it. He loves her too. And so does Avery. When I told her Ali had invited[…]

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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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Life Lessons Learned From Loss

  2014 was a year flanked on both ends by grief. Our family lost close family members in February and December. There was also the death of a pet in the middle (insignificant in comparison, but try telling that to a sobbing child who has only just recently had his first experience with losing a loved one). I’ve written about how death has affected our children. Insecurities, anxiety and fears have been addressed by talking about our feelings honestly, but age-appropriately. For the most part, the kids are coping and moving forward. Our daughter Avery, eight years old, but cognitively closer to age four, is still struggling with the loss of her Grandie. She talks about her daily. When she’s particularly sad, she makes an “I miss you” card to add to the collection whose intended recipient will never see. Avery dreams about her Grandie a lot and the mornings following those dreams are hard. She’ll cry and ask “why?” There’s really no good answer to that. So she’ll squeeze her eyes shut like her granddad taught her and say, “Grandie is in my heart.” And of course, it breaks my heart. Avery answered the phone last week (her new[…]

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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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How Do We Protect Our Daughters With Disabilities From Abuse?

We allow men of authority into our lives because why wouldn’t we? Celebrities, clergy, teachers, doctors—all intelligent, successful, well respected, and charming men—why wouldn’t we trust them? It’s hard to believe it when they turn out to be monsters. I have to wonder what happened to make them this way? You know that something happened. Somewhere along the way an incident or prolonged exposure to something dark or painful twisted them away from normal and decent. Despite what happened to them in their formative years, what they are inflicting upon others now is not okay. More than that, it’s humiliating and hurtful. It’s a hateful cycle that needs to end.  All women are at risk, but our daughters with disabilities are exceptionally vulnerable.  My daughter is beautiful, inside and out. She’s kind and loving and completely naive. She could easily fall prey to a monster disguised as a human man. How do I protect her online and in daily life? How do I teach her to respect and trust adults whose job it is to keep her safe at school and in activities and programs, but also council her to be cautious? How can she be wary when her eyes[…]

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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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Protecting The Pearlies—Dental Care For Kids

  Whether we’re talking about kids with special needs or little ones who haven’t quite yet mastered the skill of brushing, flossing and… SWISHING (that’s a tough one), dental care is a skill that needs to be taught. Cavities WILL happen if we’re not vigilant in our fight against the “Plague Monster!” I prefer, “Sugar Bug” but Plaque Monster seems appropriate this month. October is Dental Health Awareness Month AND Halloween. Coincidence??  I’m on dental hygiene with my kids like braces on a tween, like taffy on braces, like Chapstick on winter lips, like white sludge on your tongue after a night of drinking….you get the idea. I’m on it.    NOT because I’m winning at parenting or anything. I’m hyper hygiene aware, dentally speaking, because I have to be. If Avery requires any kind of dental work, she needs to be put under. Like, fully sedated in a hospital and obviously, that scares the crap out of me.   She won’t stay still long enough for the dentist to do his thing, and due to a breathing issue, she can’t be quieted with gas so…   ….when the dentist tells me they’ve found a cavity, I need to be quieted with gas. Saying goodbye to your child as she’s[…]

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