Introducing Your Special Needs Child to the School Community

School has already started for us, but in some states your school may be just beginning.  So have you thought about how you can share your child with school personnel?  Ok well what do I mean by that.  Let’s say your child has an instructional aide or some person who supports them during school.  What happens if that aide is absent or goes on vacation and the school brings in a new aide that has never met your child.  What plan do you have in place or does that teacher have in place to acquaint the substitute to your child?

I came across this very situation the other day.  I always walk my son to his classroom and get him ready for his day while waiting for his aide.  But today I noticed there was a new girl that came to the classroom looking like a deer in the headlights, and the teacher asked her who she was.  She said she was the substitute aide.  So the teacher proceeded to ask her if the aide left her any notes about my son and she replied “no”.  So it got me thinking well there needs to be a piece of paper that tells about my son’s routine, schedule, personality, likes/dislikes.

I talked to an advocate who has helped me in the past with my case conference if she knew of anything that people have used, and she forwarded me the attached. FAST -introducing your child to the school community

Here is a blank form for you to fill out and give to your child’s aide, teachers, school personnel etc.  Just save it on your computer and fill it out as needed. Student Snapshot

I think this is a great form to fill out and either keep in your child’s backpack or have the teacher keep in a folder in the classroom.


Hope you find it helpful.

Eva Longoria Supports the 2011 Toys”R”Us Toy Guide for Differently Abled Kids

As a company that loves all kids, Toys”R”Us, Inc. has a long history of supporting the special needs community. For nearly 20 years, they have published the annual Toys”R”Us Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids, an easy-to-use resource featuring specially selected toys that encourage play for children with physical, cognitive or developmental disabilities.

You may click here to view the 2011 catalog online.

After viewing the catalog it’s nice to see that some of the toys my son has are in the catalog and I see a few that I have already put on his christmas list.

Thanks Toys”R”Us for making such a wonderful catalog that parents of children with special needs can feel confident about the toys that they purchase are reviewed by experts and have specific benefits that they provide our children.  Whether it be from a gross motor perspective or from a social skills level.  We can feel confident that if Toys”R”Us is recommending them then they have to have to be good.

Great choice for your cover love it.

“Advocating For Others” Webinar on WEGO Health

I have been asked to be apart of a wonderful webinar entitled “Advocating For Others” as a guest panelist.  The webinar will take place on Monday, August 29th at 8pm EST.

Being the mother of a child with special needs I learned very quickly of my other job, that of being an advocate for my child.  We are their voice.

Some of the topics we’ll be discussing are how to:

* Educate yourself as a caregiver for your child
* Empower yourself to advocate for someone else
* How to advocate for others as a caregiver
* Prepare yourself (and your child) for the outside world – school, other people, etc.
* Make a difference but stay healthy yourself
* Go from caregiver to activist

This Webinar is free and open to anyone who advocates for others, may have to advocate for a child in the future, or who just wants to learn more.

You can register for this webinar here.  Hope you can join me!

Want to be a member of a great community?

Looking to connect with other like-minded moms with similar life experiences?

Want to become a member of an online community that will empower you personally and professionally?

 

SpecialMoms Entrepreneur Club is an online community of mothers, businesswoman, caregivers and neighbors who want the choice of being the mother, caregiver and advocate to their child with special needs, but still want to be empowered to follow their dream of financial flexibility.  Here we want to empower you personally and professionally.  As a member of the SpecialMoms Entrepreneur Club you have the ability to:

  • network and share same life experiences, challenges, frustrations and milestones with other mothers
  • explore different ways to advocate for your child
  • share different resources, services or products that will benefit families and or a child with special needs
  • learn how to be a successful stay at home, mom entreprenur
  • share tips and tricks to running a business while balancing the demands of being a mother

 

“Click Here to Register for Free Membership”

Learning Disabilities and the Arts

Have you ever thought about how the Arts can open the doorway to your child’s learning?

If your child is diagnosed with a learning disability (LD), it can be very frustrating and confusing for them, their parents and their teachers.  Why?  Learning disabilities are often complex and confusing issues, because the term learning disability has different meanings.  A person with LD can have problems with different skills used for learning, like in areas of reading, writing, speaking, listening, doing math and reasoning because of the way their brain processes the information.

People often get confused that a person with an LD are not as smart as them, but really a person diagnosed with a learning disability is just as smart or smarter than their peers.  While they have difficult in mastering reading, writing, etc they often excel in the arts.

For children participating in the arts can be fun, but for children with a learning disability it can also be a very useful way to teach them.

Creative Teaching and Learning

The arts are intellectual disciplines; that require complex thinking and problem solving skills.  Learning through the arts offers children important opportunties to construct their own understanding of the world, while at the same time utilizing their strengths.  Traditional teaching often requires children with LD to expand their understanding, by calling on their weaknesses, which can be very overwelming and frustrating.  For children who may struggle academically and behaviorially, they may excel in creative expression.  This is true for my son.  He struggles often with counting or shapes, but when you put music on he can perform and sing, and use his mind in such an imaginary way that may be hard for people who are academic achievers.

However, there are many benefits of teaching through the arts, that help children develop cognitive skills they may otherwise struggle with.  For example:

  • Drawing and painting develop fine motor skills and eye-hand coordination.  But it can also teach your child with math as it helps them to understand spatial relationships, shapes and sizes.  It can also help them to understand the basics of colors.
  • Music is a great way to teach them rhythm, sound and pitch and teaching them to use beats and rhymes are excellent pre-reading skills.
  • Dance and movement are good way to teach children about sequencing, rhythm, counting and following directions, but it also helps with their coordination and motor control.
  • Drama helps to teach children with concepts and themes that build creativity and out of the box thinking, but it helps them to express the way they may understand or have learned something, but it also helps them to build confidence.

Parents and teachers have to use these different tools to help a child with a learning disability learn, grow and build self-worth.

Celebrating 4th of July Safely with Your Special Needs Child

4th of July can be a very beautiful, patriotic experience for any family.  But if your child has special needs it can be a very nerve-racking event.

For a child with special needs there are several things that can cause your child stress, the sound of the fireworks, the constant flashing of the fireworks, the crowds can all be overwelming to a child that has sensory issues.  Not including the safety and knowing that they don’t start the fireworks until it gets dark, you may go through lugging blankets and chairs through crowds, dodging misquotes for your child to fall asleep.

 So how can you enjoy 4th of July peacefully with your family?

Well if your local town is celebrating find a location that you can watch from the car. Maybe your local radio station is airing the event with patriotic music.   Bring some snacks and drinks and celebrate in the quiet comforts of your car.

Or maybe you can even find it being celebrated on the television.  For example Independence Day celebration at the White House, New York , some of the bigger cities may be airing their show on tv.  This way you don’t have to go out and fight the crowds.  Your children can decorate your tv room with red, white and blue paper chains or decorations.  You can make patriotic colored snacks and lay a blanket down on your carpet and celebrate in the quiet comforts of your house.

Happy 4th of July, stay safe!

Dealing With Disaster When You Have A Special Needs Child

(Sample picture) Disaster occurs all the time and it happens when we are least prepared for it.  It doesn’t schedule an appointment, and can happen when there really isn’t many people or family members around to help you.  So what do you do when a disaster happens and you are a parent of a special needs child?

I’m typing this post today, because I experienced just this.  On Thursday, May 12th I woke up with my son who is 5 and has Down Syndrome to a nice clear, cool morning after we had just had the night before a horrible thunderstorm.

As I had started opening the windows I heard a rather strange sound, and I thought our air conditioner was starting to go since I had not been upstairs to shut it off yet.  I went upstairs and made sure all the fans were off both upstairs and downstairs.  But when I came back to my office to see if the noise had stopped I realized it didn’t.  Still not knowing exactly what this was I was starting to get nervous.  My little guy was watching Barney so he was occupied.  So I went down to our finished basement to see if this is where the sound was coming from.

I was in complete and utter shock.  A pipe hard burst, and it punched about a 8 inch hole in the drywall and was spraying water every (picture of my wall) where.  It was so forceful the best way for me to describe it was, it was like the way it looks when the fire department opens a fire hydrant.  There was just water every where.  I paniced needless to say.  My husband wasn’t home he was traveling and my son was up stairs.

So I ran upstairs to get the phone and a flashlight because there is no light in that small room behind the bathroom.  I called my husband, freaking out asking him “what knob do I turn off because the irrigation pipe broke and tore a hole in the wall which is spraying water all over the basement.”  I told him to call the company while I tried to turn off the water, even though I was terrified.

I could see now that my son was starting to get nervous himself because he saw my stress.  I didn’t want to leave him because I didn’t know what he would do, so I brought him downstairs with me but told him to stay by the steps so he didn’t come in the water.   Well of course being scared and curious he didn’t listen and followed me to the spraying water.

Nervously I started turning the valve every direction just to see if I could get it to stop.  Finally after about 5 minutes of turning in one direction and now being completely soaked I was able to get it to a point that it was not spraying so forecfully, but I couldn’t turn it anymore.  So I kept it as it was and contacted the irriga tion company to send out a plumber to get this thing turned off.  The stream that was coming out was a steady enough stream to still cause a lot of flooding.

Well in all this chaos my poor son was saying “a shower mom, a mess!”  And I had to laugh because I was about ready to cry as I looked around at all this water in my basement thinking what the heck happened.

As I am on the phone making calls to the water emergency company, the insurance, my husband and the irrigation people, I’m trying to take pictures and trying to keep my son as calm as I possibly could, because he really couldn’t understand what happened.  All he knew was mommy was stressed out.

Thankfully my nanny showed up and I told her to just take him to the library since it was going to be a lot of people walking in and out of the house and it was going to be loud.  I felt better knowing he was away from the chaos so not to cause him anymore aniexty.

When they did get home I wanted to show him what happened and what the loud noise was, now that I had 13 blowers drying up water in my basement.  I could see he was scared, he doesn’t like loud noise.  So I held him and explained to him that they were going to help dry up the water.  And he says “vaccum” and I said “yes, honey clean up.”

After I was able to get this all under control the stress had finally set in.  I thought to myself what would I have done if my nanny wasn’t there to help me with my son.  I have no family in the area, and my husband was traveling.

So the point of this post is to really have as much of a backup/emergency plan as you can have.  Identify people you trust that you can bring your kids to, so they can be safe while you are taking care of the disaster back at your house.  Have a plan with your child’s medication and medical equipment, do you have a list of what they take, the number for your pharmacy or medical equipment store?  There is so much on your mind during a disaster that it is hard to think it all through.

Here is a great article to reference on how to create an emergency preparedness plan.  But mostly I learned to stay as calm as you can under the circumstances because your children feed off your fear and stress.

Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day!

This is my Mother’s Day gift to all of you. I came across this link to “Love Notes for Special Momshttp://specialchildren.about.com/od/needinspiration/ig/Notes-of-Encouragement/ and I wanted to share it with all of you Special Moms.   Click on the link above, the notes are very empowering and inspirational.  I have printed down several and have hung them in my office.  This one printed below really hit home with me today for many reasons.  This is just a sample of these great notes:

You Make A Difference

 Your child’s progress might not be that easy to see on a day-to-day basis, but when you reflect from time to time on how far he or she has come, give yourself some credit: Would that progress have happened if you hadn’t been planning, praying, pushing for it? Everything you do for your child — every appointment, every therapy, every intervention, but also every smile, every hug, every conversation — makes a difference. But you’re also making a difference in the world. Every time you give information about your child’s disability to an educator, you make a difference for the next child. Every time you give advice in a support group or online forum, you make a difference for that parent and family. You are a force for good.

 

Happy Mother’s Day all you Special Moms!!!!