Tag - special needs

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Pandemic Parenting When You Have A Child With Special Needs
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The Kindness Gene
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How Early Intervention Helped Our Daughter Walk And Talk
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Financial Assistance For Specialized Dental Needs
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Because She Was

Pandemic Parenting When You Have A Child With Special Needs

I just had a full blown pandemic panic attack. I haven’t had one in years. A general panic attack I mean—pandemic specific panic attacks are a new thing.  If you’ve never experienced a panic attack, they’re pretty awful. It’s a slow build that can also feel like an out of the blue gut punch. It’s hard to breathe. Picture a floundering fish, gasping for air. There’s sweating, a racing heart, and a tightening in the chest significant enough to question whether or not to call 911. There’s also a sense of doom. Big time foreboding. There can also be tears. A lot of them. It’s nothing I would personally recommend.  During the SARS outbreak in 2003 I was busy giving birth to my first child and fairly oblivious to the hysteria. I was, from what I can remember, pretty chill for its entirety.  But pandemics are clearly panic proliferating. I mean, have you been to a grocery store in the past three days? The frozen food FOMO is enough to set anyone enough off. But I think what I experienced earlier today is rooted in something above and beyond the regular “I don’t have enough toilet paper and sandwich bread” panic. […]

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The Kindness Gene

We were in line at a coffee shop when an older lady ahead of us spilled her change purse. Without hesitation my daughter leaped forward. On her hands and knees she collected the scattered coins and happily handed them over to the appreciative woman.  When it was time for us to order, the cashier leaned in to my daughter and whispered, “Thank you for being so kind.” My daughter shrugged and said, “No problem. I love to help.” And she meant it. She’s the sort of person who would give the shirt off her back. Or the shoes off her feet. The other morning she told me a girl in her class didn’t have gym shoes, so that’s why she was stuffing an extra pair of hers into her backpack.  When we left the restaurant a man waited to hold the door open for us. As we passed through my daughter said, “Awww, thanks!” while she looked up at him, beaming.  As we walked to the car it dawned on her. “Mum, I did something nice for that lady. Then that man did something nice for us. I get it.”  Watching my child articulate such a revelation was pretty moving. In[…]

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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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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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Because She Was

When I first met Shelley Brouwer on Instagram I felt her warmth instantly. She was genuinely interested in my daughter and happily cheered on each of Avery’s little victories. At the time I had no idea what Shelley had been through. Then one day she messaged me to say she had written a book about life with her daughter. She asked if she could send me a copy of Because She Was. I was hesitant to read it at first—through Shelley’s beautiful Instagram posts and blog, I’d already discovered the ending. I brought the book with me on a road trip and read it from cover to cover in a few short hours. I couldn’t put it down. As my husband drove and the kids were busy with tech and snacks in the backseat, I read and cried intermittently along with the windshield wipers. At one point my husband said cautiously, “Lis, I don’t know if you should be reading this…” He was worried because of the tears. And yes, parts of the story are heartbreaking, but I was completely drawn in. Shelley’s beautifully written story weaves forward and back in time, outlining the history of her family’s remarkable life. And though[…]

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