Meet Our Featured SpecialMom – Ali Foley Shenk

I would like to take this time to introduce to you our Featured SpecialMom of the Month – Ali Foley Shenk.

Ali is a work-at-home mom living in Richmond, VA, with her husband and our 3 boys – Cole (5), Dean (3.5), and Emmett (21 months).  She is an editor and writer, and volunteers for the Foundation for Prader-Willi Research.

Her son Dean, who will be 4 this year, was diagnosed with Prader-Willi Syndrome.  Prader-Willi syndrome is a congenital (present from birth) disease. It affects many parts of the body. People with this condition are obese, have reduced muscle tone and mental ability, and have sex glands that produce little or no hormones.

Ali is a great example of a SpecialMom, let me share with you her interview.

Domeo iPad Case Covers: Loft Folio Review and Giveaway

My husband just recently purchased a new iPad for me since I plan to attend more blogging conferences, which I was very grateful for.  However, I realized at my last blogging conference that the iPad was so low and I wished there was a way that I could prop it up so I didn’t have to look down the whole time, causing me to get a neck ache after awhile.  I also wished that I had a wireless keyboard to streamline my blogging experience.

Well I guess a little elf heard my wishes, because this Christmas my husband gave me an Apple Wireless Keyboard ~ love it! 

It’s makes typing with an iPad so much easier, more comfortable and basically streamlines your typing experience.

My husband told me that he got it at Best Buy for $69.99.  A great buy!

Then I was introduced

 Caregiver Cards

Caregiver Cards is a series of 146 illustrative and descriptive cue or prompt cards used by caregivers for communication, prompts and cues with individuals who may have Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or related memory and/or speech disorders.

Barbara’s daughter was diagnosed with Autism. The PECS (Picture
Exchange Communication System) helped give her a voice.

 Barbara stated: “Caregiver Cards has surprised us at the versatility of its functions.  We have had a few people purchase them for adults with
developmental disabilities.”

 Here is my son using the cards:




Parking Pal Magnet

Created by a mom for moms!


  • Help reduce injuries to children in parking lots
  • Heighten awareness of the dangers in parking lots

Parents, grandparents, day-care providers, aunts, uncles, friends, or whoever is caring for a child can be easily distracted in parking lots. Loading or unloading packages, rifling for keys, tending to the baby, or helping elderly parents can take precious attention away from our children, leaving them vulnerable to a number of dangerous situations.

Your child will discover that the Parking Pal is their safe spot, and they will know where to go the second they are outside the car. It also helps teach them that parking lots are no place to play.

Here is a video I took of my son using his Parking Pal in his school parking lot:

It’s up to us to teach our children parking lot safety you can’t depend on the other drivers to watch out for your kids.  Between being in a rush, and getting on their phones they don’t even think about the others in the parking lot.

You can find more unique products like this one in the SpecialMoms Special Needs Holiday Gift Giving Guide by clicking here.



The CHAT Bag is a our Featured Product from the SpecialMoms Special Needs Holiday Guide.

We had the great pleasure of reviewing this product from Lori Holbrook.  This bag makes carrying an Ipad or certain tablets easy and accessible for special needs children who rely on a communication device to speak.

The CHAT Bags currently fit Apples IPads 1, 2, 3 and 4 but if you don’t have an IPad you can special order a bag.

It allows the child to carry their IPad with them and have the screen accessible to them.

There are a lot of great fabrics and she is still coming up with some unique ways to use the bag.

Here is my vlog about the bag:

Be sure to look at more wonderful products in our SpecialMoms Special Needs Holiday Gift Giving Guide.

Let us know what products you like?

Announcing the first annual SpecialMoms Special Needs Holiday Gift Giving Guide. With gift ideas for children with all abilities and ideas for the families that care for them. Helping to make gift giving for children with special needs easy and practical. Enjoy!

Click here to view the guide.  Please share with other families who you feel will find this guide beneficial.

Thank you to the small business owners, Etsy shop owners and mom entrepreneurs for participating in our first annual guide.  I wanted to bring to you a guide that shows some really unique and practical gifts for families with special needs children.

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Music: Darius Rucker “Candy Cane Christmas”

Book – “Leah’s Voice” by Lori DeMonia – $12.95

Leah’s Voice is a story that touches on the difficulties children encounter when they meet a child with special needs such as autism.

Children who have a brother or sister with special needs may find it difficult to explain to their friends, or feel disappointed when their friends aren’t more understanding. Leah’s Voice tells the story of two sisters facing these challenges. Through her kindness and devotion, one sister teaches by example the importance of including everyone and showing acceptance.

Mom’s Choice Award Recipient for children’s books for developing social skills.  Mom’s Choice Awards honors excellence in family-friendly media, products and services.

Wanted to share another person’s review of the book:

Book Review

Reviewed by Kristie Ingerto for Readers Favorite

“Leah’s Voice,” written by Lori DeMonia and illustrated by Monique Turchan, is a great story about accepting each and every person and treating everyone with respect and kindness. Logan’s older sister Leah is on the autism spectrum; however, Logan does not realize this or really think about the differences and the problems it may cause until she has a play date. Abby has never met anyone like Leah and is not willing to understand or make exceptions for how she thinks things should be. For example, Abby does not want to play a game with her and Logan as she cannot sit and play. She takes her turn, gets up and leaves and then returns when it is her turn again. After an article is published about Leah and the art that she creates, Abby realizes that she was not acting nicely toward her and learns that she needs to treat Leah as she would anyone else.

This is a great story that discusses children with special needs. All children should read it as it can be difficult for children to play together if someone has special needs. This story provides examples of situations that may arise and cause tension so that children cannot be happy. For example, Logan missed out on seeing a movie as Leah could not handle going into the theater. The lesson shared at the end of the story is an important one for children to learn and one that adults should also remember day after day. The illustrations throughout the book are well-done as they are bright, filled with detail and go along with the text nicely.

You can order Lori’s book directly through Amazon by clicking here.

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Make sure to stop by Lori’s Facebook page and reference you found her book on the SpecialMoms Special Needs Holiday Gift Giving Guide.

Parking Pal Magnet – $7.99

How many of you have sports or school magnets on your cars? I know I do and my son definitely knows they are there because whenever we go to the car wash he knows he has to pull them off.

So what an ingenious idea to create a Parking Pal Magnet, a magnet that is specifically used to keep your kids safe in parking lots.

Well I was so excited when I got the opportunity to review the Parking Pal Magnet.

* Help reduce injuries to children in parking lots
* Heighten awareness of the dangers in parking lots

How many times have you walked though the school parking lot with your child and you just feel like you need a leash because there are cars coming from every where and your child just happens to be the one that doesn’t want to hold your hand and wants to race to the car?   Well I know that’s my child.  So to prevent him from getting hit, I give him the keys thinking if I give him something to do it will distract him from running in the parking lot.  Great it works, but what happens when you go to open the door to put his book bag in and he’s running around waving the keys.  Even if I take the keys away there is still time for him to dance around.

So why is the Parking Pal Magnet so helpful?

Parents, grandparents, day-care providers, aunts, uncles, friends, or whoever is caring for a child can be easily distracted in parking lots. Loading or unloading packages, rifling for keys, tending to the baby, or helping elderly parents can take precious attention away from our children, leaving them vulnerable to a number of dangerous situations. Other drivers can’t see when they back up because the car next to them is too large or they’re distracted by their cell phones, or blind spots make it easy for them to overlook small children who may be behind them. And children, well, they don’t always do what they’re told or stay where they should. It only takes one second for tragedy to strike.

Here is a story of a fatality of a 3 year old boy darting from his family in a Chuck E Cheese parking lot.  Click here.

So I was happy to learn about this magnet.  It’s like playing a game “let’s see how long you can keep your hand on your parking pal?”  (See my son play this game with his Parking Pal Magnet)

So why a Parking Pal for Children with Special Need?

As a mother of a child with special needs taking my son out in public can be rather challenging at times.  My son has Down syndrome and loves to hug people especially when he sees babies or smaller children, so he tends to run more than I would like him to.  Along with that he can also be very stubborn and does not want to hold my hand especially in busy parking lots.  He doesn’t like to wear a safety harness and honestly I just don’t like them myself, so when we tried the Parking Pal it worked magic.  He loves to put his hand on the magnet and we count to see how long he can keep it on there.

Any child can be a runner or likes to play the “hide and seek” game, but when you are in a busy parking lot this is not the time to play games.  We need to teach our children parking lot safety and the Parking Pal Magnet may be just the right thing for your child.  Especially when there is a reward for good behavior associated with it.


Let me share with you a testimonial:

“Being in the public safety field, I have always been concerned with what to do with my 3 year old while I get my 1 year old out of the car. My sister found your product on and bought it for us. We have been using it for a couple weeks now and it is fantastic! Our 3 year old loves to give his parking pal a “high 5″ and is so proud when we praise him after we are done getting Hailey out of the car. I was so pleased with your product that I gave the information to our daycare center director at Kindercare and she shared it with all the parents. Parking pal is such a simple idea that takes a load off of my mind!”

– Matt, Erie County Department of Public Safety

These don’t only have to be used on your car, but what about in public bathrooms like restaurants or even the airport?  Simply carry a Parking Pal Magnet in your diaper bag or purse and place it on the door to keep your little ones from touching “yucky” things.

So you love the Parking Pal, well guess what they have a “Penalty Pal”removable wall decal .  Yes, designed to help with timeouts.  The Penalty Pal helps direct parents, educators and children towards a positive outcome by being a colorful reminder that when we are happy then we can interact in our environment in a more positive manner.  Notice the frown on the clock (below) how it progresses from a frown to a smile.  It can be used to remind kids that they need to stay in their time-out till they are “happy.”

The nice thing about these is they come in different colors with different designs.

So how do you order the Parking Pal and Penalty Pal, by clicking here.

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Drop them a comment on Facebook, and don’t forget to mention you found them through the SpecialMoms Special Needs Holiday Gift Giving Guide.


Disclaimer: I received the above product(s) at no cost to me by the company or representing PR agency. All opinions are my own. You may read more of my disclosure here.