It’s Here Our 4th Issue of The SpecialMoms Parenting Magazine

SMPM tablet cover November 2014 Welcome To The Fourth Issue of“the SpecialMoms Parenting magazine”.  I am so excited to share this issue with you!

I can’t believe this is our fourth issue of the SpecialMoms Parenting magazine. It has been an extreme honor sharing the stories of these inspiring women who are making an impact in the community. 

Over the last year we have interviewed over 20 motivating women and men who are advocating for their child with special needs, while becoming entrepreneurs! 

We shared with you over 30 articles from business, health, education, advocacy and more!

This FREE digital magazine was designed to celebrate the contributions of women, mom entrepreneurs who are making an impact in the special needs community. 

To start receiving your free online copy of the magazine, please subscribe here!

In this FREE download, you will:

  • meet 5 inspiring moms who are making a difference not only in the special needs community but for their child as well.
  • learn how these motivating women try to find balance and harmony in their lives, while juggling the demands of caring for their families.  All while creating awareness and advocating for their child, running a business, blogging or even writing a book!
  • we wanted to spotlight a few of the SpecialMoms that we interviewed in the past and see where their businesses are at now
  • read more about “Smith-Magenis Syndrome” from a Mom Advocate  and more!

So are you excited to meet these wonderful moms?

landing page

 

Here’s a peek at the feature articles inside this issue:

    • Charitable Giving At The Holidays: by: Tawni Reller
    • Surviving The Holidays With Food Allergies by: Lauren Kossack
    • The Amazing Benefits of Yoga by: Helene Shafer
    • Business Briefcase: Networking To Promote Your Work From Home Business by: Marla Murasko
    • Occupational Therapy Corner: Top Toys For Children With Sensory Process Disorder by: Cara Koscinski
    • Passing the Torch: Life changing conversations every special needs parent needs to have by: Lenore Vassil
    • Look Where They Are Now! (Spotlight on some past SpecialMoms) by: Marla Murasko
    • and more!

I love seeing comments like:
Lauren's testimonial on magazine Kerith's testimonial

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

indy car at ndsc

Welcome to the 42nd National Down Syndrome Congress Convention Recap!

This was the first time that a convention like this was so close to home for me, and I was excited that my family was going to be able to take part in it with me.  Sure we went to Bloggy Con last year at Cedar Point which was fun, but that was geared towards bloggers.  The NDSC Convention boasts the largest annual gathering in the world of self advocates, parents, siblings and professionals associated with Down syndrome.  This convention is designed for parents, other family members, caregivers and professionals alike to network, inform, educate and share experiences about caring for and living with a loved one with Down syndrome and I was excited to be able share it with my 8 year old son with Down syndrome and my husband.

After our 1 1/2 hour drive to Indianapolis we pulled up in our hotel the Residence Inn on the Canal.  We have stayed here before and enjoyed it.  The hotel sits right on a man made canal that is perfect for walks, boat rides and feeding the ducks.

residence inn on the canal

Since my son is an experienced traveler, he knows the process of unpacking his clothes as you can see, he’s making himself at home.  unpacking at NDSC
After we unpacked we got dressed to head out to a wonderful dinner at the Oceanaire.   It was a fabulous dinner, but pricey.  There was a lot going on in the city.  We noticed another large group that was also in town for a convention.

When dinner was done, we walked over to the Convention Center, where unfortunately I thought the convention was going to be.  My husband and son walked back to the hotel as I was going to take advantage of the pre-conference, register and start visiting with some vendors.  But as I walked the very large convention center I realized that I was in the wrong place.

After I got to the right location, I noticed  the place was bustling with thousands of families, registration was clicking and families were excited to see old friends.

As this was my first time attending this conference I was eager to get my registration material and head up to visit some of the vendor booths.

My first stop was The TV Teacher.  My son is struggling with writing and The TV Teacher, LLC produces award-winning programs that teach children how to write the alphabet, numbers, shapes & more! It’s visual, It’s fun. It’s effective!  Excited by the material I purchased some of her dvds and white board.

Then I moved on to the exhibit hall.  Boy there were so many wonderful exhibitors.  There was something for everyone.  Book vendors, non profit organizations, colleges, athletic exhibitors, authors and more.

I got the wonderful privileged to meet Sean McElwee and his mom, the author of the book “Who’s The Slow Learner?” A Chronicle of Inclusion & Exclusion

 Photo: Sean's autographing Both My Name Is Sean and I Have Something to Share ad Who's The Slow Learner? A Chronicle of Inclusion and Exclusion at the NDSC Conference!

The first book chronicling a student with special educational needs from preschool through high school graduation.  I couldn’t wait to get this book.  I haven’t started reading it yet but look forward to learning a lot from it.  Although my son is only in 2nd grade I hear there are some really insightful information in the book.

Then I came upon Natalie Hale, award winning author, reading educator and founder of Special Reads for Special Needs.  I was intrigued about her literacy program, so I purchased her Pre-Primer Bundle, which is combines a two pronged approach with Pre-Primer Dolch list books and visuals.

linda from IDSC After walking around and gathering information from other vendors, I finally had the wonderful opportunity to meet a colleague of mine Linda Paulson Nargi from the International Down Syndrome Coalition 

Feeling overwhelmed and tired, I decided to head back to the hotel, to get some rest and get ready for the next couple of days of presentations, mingling and visiting more vendor booths.

Looking at the schedule it was so hard to decide which presentations to attend because there were so many presentations that looked interesting.  But after narrowing it down I had a plan of action for the next few days.

Some of the presentations I chose were “Sight Word Reading vs Phonics: What is the Priority” with Margo Courter from Courter Communications a Speech Language Pathologist.

sight word presentation

 

presentation INCLUSION: 5 Things Every Parent Needs to Know with Paula Kluth, Ph.D.

While I attended these presentations my son and husband were fortunate to be able to go over to the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.  I want to personally thank Lori Philips, the Blog & Social Media Manager at the museum for providing them with complimentary tickets to experience the museum.  They had a wonderful time, check out for yourself:

 

dinosaurs at the museum doing the slide at the museum

mulan learning about astronauts

It was really nice that my family was able to enjoy this convention with me. They got to meet vendors, try out some of the products and make new friends.
riding amtryke

 

Here is my son trying out one of the AmTrykes from Ambucs dedicated to creating mobility and independence for people with disabilities.

Buddy Up Tennis

Jacob testing out his tennis skills at the Buddy Up Tennis booth.

buddy up tennis 2
Dad joining in on talking about this wonderful program.

Then it was off to visit more vendors:

ellies heart
Jacob visiting with Eli’s Heart, a non profit dedicated to help families pay for travel expenses associated with heart surgeries for children.

eruption athletics

Jacob joining the men from Eruption Athletics a group that provides personal training services for individuals with developmental disabilities in both group and individual settings. He had an awesome time.

gigis playhouse

Then it was a stop at Gigi’s Playhouse. Where Jacob had a wonderful conversation from a worker from Hugs & Mugs.

Hugs & Mugs is a brand new retail and online store run by adults with Down syndrome from GiGi University!


university of north carolina greensboro

While my son and husband went off to look at some more booths, I stopped off to chat with Eric Marshburn, Director of Admissions from University of North Caroline Greensboro, I was very interested in getting some more information about their 4 year certificate course of study for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their partner Beyond Academics.  Even though Jacob is only 8 years old it’s so encouraging to see the options that are available for him with secondary education.

love the frienships at NDSC

Even though we had a busy afternoon, there was always time to make friends. That’s what was so nice about this conference is that it really was for the families and a time to connect and building friendships.

dinner at buca dibepi

 

Well it was time to head off to dinner and we felt that a good Italian meal was in store, so we headed off to Buca di Beppo.  We fortunately beat the crowd because when we left there was a line.  But the food was great!

feeding the ducks

When we got back to our hotel we figured we would relax with a nice walk down by the canal and we were given some bread from the front desk to go feed the ducks. It’s a really nice area if you make a reservation (well in advance) you can take a quiet gondola ride.  It’s a little expensive riding the paddle boat probably not something you want to do with your family, but they have paddle boats which my son and husband did earlier in the day.

 

evening gondola ride on canal

Before we left Indianapolis, we took a ride around the city and passed the famous Lucas Oil Stadium to complete our trip to Indy!

lucas oil stadium

It was a fantastic weekend.  I learned so much, got to meet new friends (I was so excited to meet Keith Harris, Tim’s dad from Tim’s Place and Tim’s Big Heart Foundation) and network with new businesses and contacts in the Down syndrome community.

The nice thing about this convention was there was something for everyone, every age.  They had a separate track for youth and adults with Down syndrome to be able to take part in their own presentations like: “The Sweet Taste of Success: Finding Your Passion and Starting Your Own Business”, “A Healthy Lifestyle: Diet, Exercise & Well-Being” to a Talent Show, and so much more.

There was also a different track for Brothers & Sisters of Individuals of Down syndrome to engage in healthy conversations with their peers about such topics as Inclusion, Family Dynamics, Bullying and the R-Word.

Unfortunately I didn’t take part because of the timing but the dances appeared to be the “best” part of this convention. A true moment to have fun and enjoy your family and friends in a non-judgmental environment.

I also want to say thank you to Maria from Specs4Us for giving my son a free pair of frames.  After explaining to her the issues we had with my ophthalmologist and ordering him the wrong size Specs4Us frame, she graciously tried a few sizes on him and gave us the right pair.

So in closing I would just like say a very “big” thank you to Muriel Cross from BohlsenGroup.com for giving me wonderful opportunity to experience my first National Down Syndrome Congress convention, and to let me bring my family.

As a special needs mom blogger this was such a wonderful experience and strongly suggest any parents, individuals with a child or loved one with Down syndrome needs to attend this convention.  You won’t be sorry!  You will only walk away with more knowledge, a wider network of physicians, therapists, businesses and more to tap into.

So I encourage all families of a child with Down syndrome to mark their calendars for June 25-28, 2015, the 43rd Annual NDSC Convention will be held at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge in Phoenix, Arizona.

It’s on my calendar and I hope to meet you there!

{Convention Post #2} Spotlight Interview with Carole Guess, “How The NDSC Convention Has Impacted Our Lives”

setting the pace “I am a ‘mom-parenting-solo’ of an active nine-year-old living with . For me, the convention is truly a family reunion. That feeling of extended family and support is priceless,” said Carole Guess, mother of Evan.

Guess is one of more than 2,500 people are expected to take part in the 2014 National Down Syndrome Congress Convention in

SpecialMoms Parenting Magazine – Feature Interview With Drew Long

Have you had the opportunity to download your FREE digital copy of the SpecialMoms Parenting magazine?

If you haven’t what are you waiting for?

In this premiere issue you will meet inspiring women with a passion to help others. You will learn how these motivating mom entrepreneurs juggle the demands of
caring for their families, advocating for their child, all while running a business or building awareness through a charity or blog they created.

Meet inventors, award winning authors, bloggers and more!

Pictured above is Drew Long, creator of Caroline’s Cart.  The first ever patented shopping cart for children and adults with special needs.

To read more about Drew and her journey to become a mom entrepreneur click here.

How Is ADHD Diagnosed?

If you have a child that seems to act out more than others or who has a difficult time concentrating on homework and other tasks it may be time to find out if they have ADHD. ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and effects many child and even adults in our country. But how is this disorder diagnosed? Here are some things you and your doctor should be looking for.

Signs of the disorder are sometimes seen in the child before they even become of school age. Toddlers that have a lack of attention and are easily bored with watching TV or playing games can have ADHD. If a young child seems hyperactive or simply out of control this can be a sign as well. While these behaviors are somewhat normal in young kids it is recommended that they are seen by a doctor if these signs seem more prevalent than in other children their age.

When you do decide it is time to see a doctor they will sit and talk with you and your child to get a little background on the situation. They will try and rule out any other things in their life that could cause this type of behavior. Other things that can make a child act out of control or lack attention are a sudden change in the child’s life such as divorce or death in the family, an ear infection that can cause lack of hearing, a learning disability, or anxiety and/or depression. These other possibilities will be ruled out by talking with you and your child plus any necessary testing.

Once other things have been determined as not an issue with your child ADHD testing will begin. A specialist will put your child in different situations and monitor how their emotions are handled. Situations can include doing homework, putting together a puzzle, playing a board game, being put in a noisy room, etc.  During this time of testing your doctor may ask you and your child’s teachers to fill out assessment forms to see how the child interacts at school in comparison to home.  Be prepared to answer questions such as:

  • Do excessive behaviors affect all aspects of your child’s life?
  •  Do you see these behaviors happening more in your child then those children they interact with?
  • Are the behaviors continuous or do they normal stem as a response to a particular situation?
  • Do these behaviors only happen at a certain place or are they happening at home, school, playground, etc?

Because there is no one test to pin point if someone has ADHD doctors rely highly on your accounts and information. Before you actually take your child in to see the doctor try to remember times where your child has displayed ADHD tendencies and write down these occurrences. When you, your doctor, and your child’s teachers work together this deficit can easily be controlled. Children who are diagnosed with ADHD go on to live happy and productive lives thanks to all of those that helped in the diagnosis.

Written by: Tyler Clark works for the Liahona Academy and is an expert in ADHD information and knowledge.

She is our bundle of joy and has the most pleasant of demeanor regardless of the situation. However, she is truly the definition of Attention Deficit Disorder. It’s rough for a parent to watch as their child simply doesn’t pay enough attention to detail and struggles to do the most simplistic of chores. She has to spend time in a special room at school in order to learn some of the most basic of tasks because she can’t keep focused in a regular classroom. After explaining the letter “W” to her five consecutive times, she will still assume it’s various letters other that “W.” It can be frustrating to say the least. However, we’ve been able to make strides in her development by creating a strict routine to help her stay focused. How does this help our little girl?

1. Repetitive Learning – Although she has a “varying level of ADD,” according to the school counselors, she is still capable of learning. It just takes her a little longer than the average child. In order to facilitate greater understanding of what needs to be done, we adhere to a strict daily routine that is followed to the letter. By repeating the same task over and over, she grasps the concept of what needs to be done and has made a great improvement overall in school and at home.

2. Uninterrupted – As we know that she is easily distracted by some of the smallest of objects, her schedule for the day keeps her away from other diversions. For instance, the small desk she uses for reading and homework is in her room and away from the diversions of television and other people. While I thought that her toys would have been an equal distraction, I found that she stays on task much better when she is alone as I periodically check on her.

3. Planning the Day – As we develop her schedule with her own input, we are teaching her the value of organizing time. She knows that in order to watch television at five o’clock, she needs her homework done by then. We’ve actually began to notice that she keeps track of her time quite well lately. This has been greatly beneficial to helping her retain knowledge of how to tell time. Since fun time is something she anticipates, the five on the clock has been made important.

4. Putting Things Away – One of our regular routines is placing objects back where they need to be. Every time an item is used regardless of its purpose, it needs to be put back. Although this aspect of the routine did take a great deal of time for her to accept, she now is in the habit of putting everything away. This has made additional impacts in how she interacts in the classroom according to her teacher. She is considerate and knows that stuff needs to be put away in order to find them later.

A stable and regular routine over the course of the past year has made a vast improvement in a great deal of her interactions. Although it can be difficult to keep her mind focused on random communications or instances she’s never experienced before, the projects and tasks that are important to her development are manageable and improving. While I am sure we’ll have to adapt as the years go on, the vast strides she has made this past year make the time worth the investment.

Author Bio:

This post is contributed by Linda Bailey from housekeeping.org. She is a Texas-based writer who loves to write on the topics of housekeeping, green living, home décor, and more. She welcomes your comments which can be sent to b.lindahousekeeping @ gmail.com.

Summer is almost over for a lot of children, and “Back To School” commercials, campaigns and advertising is everywhere.

Going back to school can be challenging and overwhelming for both parents and children, but for families that have special needs children it can be down right daunting.

I have seen many mom bloggers writing blog posts about tips and survival lists to get your children ready to go back to school, talking about getting your children back in to a routine, that we all know we let slide over the summer months.  All of these lists are great, but I would like to add to them from a special needs mom perspective.

Here are some tips that can help you and your child survive the next few weeks or month of what is called the “back to school” season!

  1. Know what medical forms or scripts are needed prior to school so that your child will be able to start receiving the necessary therapies right when school starts.  You don’t want to have them wait to start receiving occupational or physical therapy that may require the need of a script or form from their doctor.
  2. If your child will be needing the care of the school nurse for medication distribution, feedings, etc.  I would ask to schedule an appointment with the nurse, prior to school starting so you can comfortably go over the necessary information.
  3. If your child will be having new teachers or aides, ask to have a meeting prior to school starting to have you and your child meet these new faces that will be caring for your child during the school day.  You can take pictures of them and create a social story for your child to help get them ready for their new environment.
  4. Take pictures of the playground, the cafeteria, library, nurses office, bus personnel, principal.  All of this information will help your child be comfortable with those individuals that will there to support and care for them in the school.
  5. Start reading stories to your child about “making friends”.  I can make this suggestion because I read this book to my son “The Bravest Boy I Ever Knew” by Lisa Eichlin.  What a fabulous book my son really enjoyed it.  Maybe you can find stories about sitting at your table, listening to the teacher, lining up etc.  All of this information will help to create expectations of what you as well as your child’s teachers, aides and other school personnel expect your child to do.
  6. If possible let your child shop for their own school supplies.  This will help them get familiar with the different pens, notebooks and again start getting them in the right frame of mind that school will be starting soon.  Obviously make sure to label all of your child’s supplies as best you can.
  7. Next suggestion would be to create a “Student Snapshot”.  

This student snapshot is just that a quick way to relay important information about your child to school personnel.  You can read more and find the form here.

8. Another great idea would be to create a Back To School calendar that your child can be actively involved in crossing off the days until school starts.

9. Above all make going back to school fun!

Do you have any great back to school resources you would like to share?  Please use the comment section below.

 SpecialMoms is now accepting submissions for our 2013 Special Needs Holiday Guide

 

SpecialMoms is excited to announce we are now accepting submissions for the guide which will be available November 15, 2013 through January 1, 2014 online.

 

This Year Our Gift Guide Will Feature Items From The Following Categories:

  • Gifts for Women (ex: techy gadgets, accessories, beauty, fashion, green living)
  • Gifts for Men (ex: cooking/bbq supplies, clothing, office games
  • Gifts for Teens (ex: techy gadgets, books, fashion, entertainment, subscription boxes)
  • Gifts for Toddlers (ex: games, books, movies, educational items, fashion, subscription boxes)
  • Gifts for Babies (ex: fashion, educational, bathing items, subscription boxes)
  • Gifts for Caregivers (ex: candles, accessories, beauty)
  • Gifts for the Whole Family (ex: games, entertainment)
  • Gifts for the Home (ex: home decor, games, kitchen gear)
  • Gifts for Pets (ex: bedding, snacks, pet apparel)

Increase Your Product’s Visibility through Social Media

As part of The SpecialMoms 2013 Special Needs Holiday Gift Guide, your brand will receive:

  • A feature blog post on our SpecialMoms blog
  • A post on our Facebook page
  • A minimum of two tweets promoting the product/brand
  • Inclusion in our special Holiday Gift Guide newsletter
  • Inclusion in our 2013 SpecialMoms Special Needs Holiday Gift Guide
  • Inclusion on our SpecialMoms Pinterest Board

Our Holiday Gift Guide will have a dedicated page listing all of our gift recommendations. Each product listed will have a link to their review and/or giveaway, a brief description, and a link to purchase the product. This page will be promoted across all our social media networks (Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube), in our holiday newsletter, and on our home page.

How To Be Considered For The Guide

Review Only:

  • Free with minimum product value of $30 (I will consider products under $30, please email me at specialmompreneurs@gmail.com directly
  • Each review will contain pictures of the product and description (sponsor to provide)
  • Each review will contain a “Buy Link” of where the product can be purchased (sponsor to provide)

Giveaway Only:

  • $30 fee made payable through Paypal
  • Rafflecopter will be used for the giveaway
  • Sponsor must provide product description and (preferably a125x125 button image)

Review & Giveaway:

  • Free with minimum product value of $30
  • Rafflecopter will be used for the giveaway
  • Each review will contain pictures of the product and description (sponsor to provide)

Product Feature (no product review/no giveaway):

  • $50 made payable through Paypal
  • Sponsor must supply all the product detail and images for the post (preferably a 125×125 button image)

Only full- sized items, no trial size items will be accepted.

You the sponsor, will be responsible for any shipping costs.  The prices quoted above do not and will not include the cost of shipping.    

Sponsor is also responsible for shipping any products listed for giveaways to the winners, and is also responsible for the cost of shipping.

No items included in the holiday gift guide will be returned after the review is complete.  Any items received will be considered as payment for the time taken to review and promote your brand.

Each submitted product will be given careful consideration to ensure it fits with our respective audience, before being accepted into the guide.

All requests must be in by November 3rd! All products must be received by November 10th! Any items after this date will not be included in the gift guide, except for featured posts.

If you are company, small business owner, entrepreneur or etsy shop that has a product you feel would be of interest to our readers?  Then fill out the form below.

[contact-form-7 id=”4327″ title=”2013 SpecialMoms Holiday Gift Guide Submission Form”]