I love a good success story about a child with dyslexia as much as the next person. Unfortunately, my job is to fix wrongs and I spend most of my time with my mouth hanging open and my hand covering it. I spend my time in total and utter disbelief at either what I am reading on an IEP, school testing or listening to yet another story about the downright negligent behavior by the schools when educating a child with dyslexia. I sit in IEPs silently while I allow the school to showcase their lack of training about dyslexia and patiently wait my turn. If you’ve ever met me you know I am not a particularly loquacious person, so I keep my comments short and sweet, but meaningful and I try to show little to no emotion. Today was different. Today I was moved to tears and moved to share the story of one family with you so that you can begin to forgive yourself or lend support to a parent who is struggling with this process. Read the rest of this entry →
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Over the years, there have been many famous quotes about the responsibilities of a father. As Father’s Day approaches this Sunday, the three that speak to me the most are:
“Any man can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a Dad.” (Anne Geddes);
“I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection.” (Sigmund Freud); and
“It is a wise father that knows his own child.” (William Shakespeare) Read the rest of this entry →
Finding Virtual Learning Technology Answers. Parents and teachers are finding a proliferation of virtual remediation to acceleration brain training programs promising fast and optimum gains in learning reading, math, and science that are research based. It is difficult to believe these promises, as most often the program designers do not have a background in classroom implementation let alone e-Learning implementation, which is totally different form pure classroom teaching.
Many virtual learning entrepreneurs come from backgrounds of scientists and somewhat related fields to education like optometry (testing vision), psychiatry, psychology, and medicine pediatrics (medically treating the whole child, and prescribing stimulant medications). Others are business and technology product development entrepreneurs who have never worked in a classroom, and understand technology delivery parameters, but not how children/adults actually learn and retain information so that it will transfer into real life productivity. Read the rest of this entry →
Attention special needs parents. I want to share with you two things you can do today to decrease your stress and worry.
But first, want to acknowledge that if you are like most of the parents I know raising a child with special needs, you are stressed and you are worried.
And you have good reason to be stressed. You have good reason to be worried.
So before we talk about skills and strategies and ways to manage the big challenges on our agendas let us first say that whatever you are thinking and feeling about the situation you find yourself it is likely extremely reasonable.
When our children struggle, we struggle. Often our children need us to be cheerleaders and advocates but we are also scared and anxious. We are worried about the future and we may be struggling in the present. Read the rest of this entry →
I just came across an article called “The 5 Best Tips for Parenting Special Needs Children.” Tip #2 was Get a Dog. Forgive me for not jumping on the warm and fuzzy bandwagon of running out to get a dog. Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely love dogs and the article is right: pets do help with stress release and learning responsibility. And yet, THAT made Tip #2?
My reaction is caused partly by the thought that if family life is already stressed and parenting is a difficult challenge, then bringing in another family member might not be such a good idea right at that time. It’s important to make sure that the current family members are living respectfully together before a new member is added.
Here are 5 ideas to incorporate into parenting a special needs child – before you start looking for a puppy. Read the rest of this entry →
For those of you who beginning the IEP process, I just wanted go through some common misconceptions parents have regarding IEP’s. They are not magic and do not make all your child’s problems disappear. It is merely a tool to help your child be more successful in school and receive an appropriate education; as a result, your child will have the opportunity to lead an independent adult life in the future. Read the rest of this entry →
Applying for Disability Benefits for Your Child
Caring for a special needs child can be a full time job—at home research, medical appointments, and finding trustworthy supportive care may cause parents to reach unexpected financial and emotional obstacles. If you or a loved one can no longer financially support a child with an illness or disability, it may be time to explore the Social Security Disability options available to you. Read the rest of this entry →
With Valentine’s Day upon us I thought it was important for me to try and explain the love I have for my family. My life changed 18 years ago when I met my wife and again almost 11 year ago when I had my son. These two moments in time are not just mere events in my past but have become a part of me. Since I am not as eloquent as E.E. Cummings the best way to explain this feeling is by reading his poem, I Carry Your Heart With Me:
i carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart) i am never without it (anywhere i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling)
i fear no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true) and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows (here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide) and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)
I think this poem has meaning for anyone in love, or with a family, but it seems to especially ring true for families raising children with special needs. Every day I go out into the world, I carry my family’s heart. A heart so big it changed who I was and what I was capable of doing.
Every time I encounter ignorance, prejudice and social bias against individuals with disabilities I think about my family and my response is guided by their heart. Because, just like in the poem I carry their heart (I carry it in my heart).
Every time I see a child having a meltdown in the grocery store or a restaurant I think about my family and I show a little understanding and compassion. Because, just like in the poem I carry my family’s heart (I carry it in my heart).
Every time I see a Mom crying at an IEP meeting I try to help her to the best of my abilities. Because, just like in the poem I carry my family’s heart (I carry it in my heart).
Every time I see a child who cannot hit or catch or shoot a basket I tell their parents to keep looking because every child has strengths and they will find what they are good at just as my son found swimming. Because, just like in the poem I carry my family’s heart (I carry it in my heart).
Every time I see a parent who is just about at their wits end, I tell them it’s okay and that we have all been there. Just continue to move forward and don’t worry if sometimes you need to move one step backwards in order to move two steps forward. Because, just like in the poem I carry my family’s heart (I carry it in my heart).
These are all things I was not capable of in my youth. Before I met my wife and had my son. Before I carried their heart with me everywhere I go. You see I am changed forever, first by my wife and later by my son. My wife’s strength and compassion coupled by my son’s love for life shaped who I am today the same way a river shapes the landscape around them. Because, just like in the poem I carry my family’s heart (I carry it in my heart).
Originally Published February 14, 2012
As I was perusing the Los Angeles Times website this morning I came across the L.A. Affairs column which chronicles romance and relationships. Normally, I would just move on but the first paragraph caught my attention:
My daughter Peyton is nonverbal and severely challenged by autism. I once believed she’d never experience a meaningful romantic relationship. Then, at a monthly workshop in Los Angeles for people who communicate via keyboard, she met Gabriel, a young man who traveled from Ventura with his support team. Dressed in preppy khakis and a plaid sport shirt, he seemed to turn a few heads, including Peyton’s. Read the rest of this entry →
We all know it takes a village to raise a child and to make sure that child receives a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE); the two most important components in making that happen are the parents and the school. In order to do that, everyone needs to do be responsible for their role in educating that child as well as work together to address all their areas of need. I know it’s not an easy task to accomplish; however, the student will have a better opportunity to receive FAPE if both parties work together instead of spending their time working against each other. Here are some tips that might help to achieve a good working relationship between parents and schools. Read the rest of this entry →