Category - education

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Disability Awareness
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I Lied To My Child About Back To School For A Good Reason
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Why We’ve Chosen At Home Learning This Year—Our Interview With CBC
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Pandemic Parenting: Back to School or Not?
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Mind What You Say To A Highly Literal Child

Disability Awareness

The hashtag #disabilityawareness is a curious one. I mean, if you have a disability or love someone who does, you are well aware. But alas, making others aware is the point of such social campaigns. You might think you understand what it’s like living with an intellectual or physical disability. But, unless it’s your reality, you don’t know. Not truly. Last week was the “International Day of Persons with Disabilities.” It’s a day, primarily on the internet, created as a means to celebrate differences and to educate about life with disabilities. It’s also an opportunity to discuss what it means to be ableist. As the parent of a child with a disability, I’m learning to embrace the words disability and disabled. I’m of the “special needs mom” generation. But, it turns out you can teach an old dog new tricks. Yes, I referred to myself as an old dog in this scenario. Avery’s class honoured the day by each sharing a bit about their particular disabilities. Here is what my daughter proudly shared. While you’re here, I wrote this a few years ago about why disabilities are not “special needs.”

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I Lied To My Child About Back To School For A Good Reason

Today may have been a mistake. Maybe it wasn’t? But it certainly felt wrong at the time. But maybe it ended up okay after all?? I’m second guessing the crap out of my parenting choices these days. We’re keeping our youngest home from school this fall. We were rock solid in our decision. But now I’m not as sure. Our daughter should be entering her first year of high school in a Community Pathways Program (aka Spec Ed/Lifeskills) this year. We’re keeping her home for obvious reasons—health risks, what about masks, social distancing is difficult for her, I’m home anyway, blah blah etc.  This cohort of grade nines who will be Avery’s classmates for the next seven years seem friendly and funny and full of spunk and personality. These kids are destined to become Avery’s “people” and it breaks my heart that we’re keeping her from them. Of course, that’s my heart speaking. My brain knows her place is safe at home. And when the time is right, she’ll go to school and it’ll be perfect.  A few weeks back Avery was invited to attend a virtual tour of her new high school. We declined. I mean, why rub salt in[…]

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Why We’ve Chosen At Home Learning This Year—Our Interview With CBC

📷  Spencer Gallichan-Lowe/CBC Avery was on the 6 o’clock news last week. The title of the CBC news segment was, “Why some parents of kids with special needs are making the ‘heart-breaking’ choice of at-home learning.” You can read the full story on the CBC website HERE and the video segment that aired is below.  When the reporter called to talk to me about our decision to opt out of in person learning, I had a lot to say. When she asked if I’d appear on camera to elaborate, I agreed (even though I was in “active wear” and hadn’t washed my hair in um, awhile). The news van would be at our house in an hour so I scrambled to shower and find something to wear. As an aside, the camera really does add 20+ pounds, so high waisted pants that tie at the midriff, paired with a tight tank that belongs to your daughter is not the most flattering wardrobe choice. But I digress… As I got dressed, I braced myself for a difficult discussion. We had given ourselves a deadline of September 1st to tell our daughter she wouldn’t be attending school in person. I dreaded breaking this news to[…]

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Pandemic Parenting: Back to School or Not?

Last August we were deciding what school backpack to buy and whether or not to sign up for the school lunch program. This year we’re deciding whether or not to send our children back to school in the midst of a contagious virus. It feels surreal (word of the year right there). This isn’t a choice anybody imagined having to make. Though everyone is saying, “Whatever your decision, we support you, no judgment,” that’s not entirely true. People are judging. Though it’s not really about other people’s choices, but about justifying and feeling secure about our own. But here’s the thing. PANDEMIC. There is no security, and the uncertainty brings out the worst in some people. Imagine a single working mom who has no option for childcare and who would absolutely keep her kids home if she could. Then imagine she scrolls through her Facebook feed and sees the following comment: “If you’re sending your kids back to school, you better update your will.” What an awful thing to say. It’s dramatic and mean. An insensitive and ignorant comment like this compounds the guilt and distress she is already feeling. If you were sitting down with this mom over coffee masked[…]

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Mind What You Say To A Highly Literal Child

My daughter is literally the most literal person I know. Her brain is just wired that way.  If she asks for an extra big scoop of pasta and I say, “I hope your eyes aren’t bigger than your stomach,” she’ll say, “Nope. My eyes are normal size.” Or if you tell her, “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” she’ll ask, “Which bridge? Are we driving or walking over it? Can I pack a snack?”   Until recently, if I snuggled her and said, “You’re so delicious, I could just eat you up,” she’d wriggle away in protest and exclaim, “I’m not food!” She understands now that it’s an expression of affection, and that I won’t actually come at her with a fork.  I love a witty figure of speech, a pun, or clever turn-of-phrase, and use them often. As a rule, I think this is the best practise. How else will a child learn to communicate effectively if we don’t introduce modern vernacular and push the language bar? This morning I inadvertently pushed the bar too high. The horrified expression on my sweet girl’s face is burned on my brain; because her literal brain mistook my “tech specific” language for something alarmingly[…]

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