Category - Special Needs

1
How Early Intervention Helped Our Daughter Walk And Talk
2
Financial Assistance For Specialized Dental Needs
3
Letting Our Son Care For His Sibling With Special Needs
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You Want A Child With A Disability In Your Kid’s Class
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When Your Child’s First Pet Dies

How Early Intervention Helped Our Daughter Walk And Talk

Raising a child with intellectual or physical challenges is well, challenging. That’s why getting the support you need early on is crucial. Despite doctors telling us there was nothing wrong, we knew otherwise. Parents always know. We feel it in our gut. Mother’s instinct—it’s real and it’s powerful. Though her birth was unremarkable, when she was a few months old we started having concerns. Our already tiny baby girl was losing weight and the milestones that mark healthy development weren’t being achieved. True fear kicked in when our daughter stopped feeding. We were losing her and we fought to make doctors listen. By the time they did, our baby was in full “failure to thrive.” It was at this time, when Avery was eight months old and living full-time in the hospital, that we got a diagnosis. We heard the words, “Chromosomal Translocation Disorder” and “Rare Syndrome” and “We are so sorry.” We fed her through a nasal gastric tube and she began to gain weight and the colour came back to her cheeks. With her health and growth on track, we turned our attention to her development. What would a disorder like this mean for our child? What would[…]

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Financial Assistance For Specialized Dental Needs

When I was a kid my teeth were a hot mess—think skinny jack-o-lantern with a spiral perm. So, thanks mum and dad for shelling out the big bucks to fix my janky buckteeth.  I knew early on that both of my children would also require orthodontics. My son’s teeth were an easy fix. One year of braces and his smile is now movie star quality.  My daughter on the other hand…  Her teeth were crowded and twisted and coming in at all kinds of wonky angles. Not only did she inherit my dental disaster genes, her own genetics added an additional yikes factor. She has a small jaw and a very high, misshapen palate.  One of her front adult middle teeth was angled out in such a way that one fall could easily knock it out. Our dentist recommended extractions and then follow up with an orthodontist for the first round of braces.  Both of my kids would be receiving orthodontic care at the same time—convenient in terms of double teaming appointments, but… cha-ching.  Our first task was finding the right orthodontist. We needed somebody who would be exceptional with a child with exceptional needs.  The story about the dentist who terrified my daughter[…]

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Letting Our Son Care For His Sibling With Special Needs

Today was a Professional Development Day in our school district, so both my high schooler and middle schooler had the day off. Phew! The poor kids have been back at school for nine gruelling days. Time for a much-needed break.  I didn’t realize the kids would be home and I had a fitness class booked for that morning. A good friend was coming to try her first class and I didn’t want to miss it, so I decided to let my son look after his sister. He’s sixteen and more than mature enough to babysit for an hour. But I hesitated (understatement).  He’s fully capable. The cog in my helicopter parent propeller is the idea of putting so much responsibility on his shoulders, broad as they may be. If something serious should happen—a seizure, or choking, or a fall (all possible occurrences), it’s all on him. That’s a lot to put on a child. Okay, a man-child, but you know what I mean. I struggle with letting my son take control, letting them figure things out, and letting my daughter have a break from me breathing down her adorable neck.  Chances are high that absolutely nothing dramatic will happen. But it’s the[…]

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You Want A Child With A Disability In Your Kid’s Class

Every parent should hope there’s a student with a disability in their child’s class. Your response to this might be, “Obviously. Being exposed to differences will help my child develop compassion and empathy.” It’s a no-brainer, I agree. But not all parents feel the same. Earlier this week I sat on a bench at a playground watching my daughter. At first glance you wouldn’t know she has special needs. It’s not until you hear her speak that her differences are revealed. But while she was running with the other children she blended in and I remained undetected as the special needs mom. This is probably why the woman next to me spoke openly to her friend about her displeasure at having a “special ed kid” in her son’s class. She didn’t name the grade, but I’m assuming by scanning the playground that her kid is in fourth or fifth grade. She complained that this student was disruptive. She said it was unfair that he required so much of the teacher’s attention. I don’t know the classroom situation so I can’t comment on that except to say that yes, when a child has behavioural challenges, it can be tough for everyone involved. And now larger[…]

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When Your Child’s First Pet Dies

There are many life changing things about including a pet in your family. When you have a child with disabilities, pets can make a marked difference to their quality of life. Pets are more work in a “get off the couch and walk these ding dongs and change that litter and fill that food bowl…” sort of way, but I can’t imagine life without an animal by my side or under the covers. (Even though they should be in their crate. I know, I know…) The only true downside to pets, aside from mild annoyances like the occasional whining to go out for a pee at 5am, or fur on your favourite black yoga pants, is the ultimate downside which is of course the death of your best fur friend.  That’s the part that almost makes me never want to love an animal again. We become attached and they become family. Watching them go is hard. If you’re a pet person, you understand this completely.  Some losses are harder than others. When our guinea pig Ernie died from a seizure we were sad, but we’d had him less than a year and our connection wasn’t as deep as it was with other[…]

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