Tag - disability

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Awful Skater, Awesome Brother
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Disability Awareness
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Why We’ve Chosen At Home Learning This Year—Our Interview With CBC
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How Early Intervention Helped Our Daughter Walk And Talk
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How Amazon Alexa Helps With Speech Development

Awful Skater, Awesome Brother

We wanted our kids to learn to skate. I mean, can you even call yourself Canadian if you can’t glide on “blade boots?” For several years we constructed a practise rink in our backyard. Sadly, that ended after what will now forever be known as, “The Great Thaw and Neighbour’s Yard Flood” of 2012. Our son enjoyed the rink while it lasted (though mostly on his knees which will make sense as you read on). His little sister longed to join him on the ice. However, teaching her to skate wasn’t a priority. We needed to get her walking without falling down all the time first. She tried skating for the first time with a local organization called ErinOakKids in their skating program for kids with disabilities. I wrote about that HERE. Let’s just say, skating with Avery aka “Spaghetti Legs” had its challenges. My husband didn’t skate as a child. He taught himself just a decade ago. He won’t win any medals, but he’s decent considering he learned so late in the game. Avery’s older brother never excelled on the ice either. But it wasn’t from lack of trying. We signed him up for lessons when he was four[…]

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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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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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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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How Amazon Alexa Helps With Speech Development

When our daughter was a baby we were told she would likely be non-verbal. We used ASL with her from an early age. Slowly she gained sounds, then words, and then short simple sentences. She is still profoundly speech delayed, but is developing new words and phrases every day.  Speech therapy, activities and games that promote language development, and simply chatting with her every day casually modelling speech, have helped tremendously.  Smart technology is the latest helpful tool. Before I go into how much we’re loving our new family member, Alexa, let me start by admitting that I’m fundamentally against Google Home and Amazon Echo and all these smarty pant eavesdroppers. In fact, I’m so turned off by the invasion of privacy that I made my husband return the Google Home unit he bought me for Christmas. I made quite the stink about it, ranting about how they’re always listening and how wrong and insidious the whole thing is.  Flash forward to the week we spent at my brother’s house over New Years. They have an Alexa Echo and I fell for her, madly. This digital gal knows pretty much everything about anything. She can make life not only easier, but[…]

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