I Don’t Need You to Tell Me How to Feel about Parenting a Disabled Child.

I Don’t Need You to Tell Me How to Feel about Parenting a Disabled Child.

Parenting a Disabled Child This might be the biggest decision you’ll ever make as a parent. I’m talking about the decision to be happy. No, no, really, stick with me here. I know what you’re thinking. “All this deciding to be happy stuff is bullshit.” I used to think that too. But try it from…

Is “Special Needs” Offensive? The new term to say instead of Special Needs.

Is “Special Needs” Offensive? The new term to say instead of Special Needs.

Special Needs vs. Disability Several months ago, I did a blog post about People First Language, and why it shouldn’t be mandated. Certainly not by non-disabled people. At the end of that post, I said this: Up next: I’ll be tackling “special needs.” Because that vernacular is seeing a shift too. Stay tuned.  Because many people…

Implied Consent | Why Parents Need to STFU about their Disabled Kids.

Implied Consent | Why Parents Need to STFU about their Disabled Kids.

Implied Consent Have you ever been tagged in a completely unflattering photo on Facebook? I mean the kind when you look at it, you groan and debate in your head if the person will notice if you untag yourself? It’s awful, right? Social media and smartphones have brought us a whole new set of societal…

6 Reasons to STOP Assigning a Mental Age to Disabled Students

6 Reasons to STOP Assigning a Mental Age to Disabled Students

Mental Age I guess it’s a coping mechanism. Or a way of trying to parent and better understand our kids. But it’s also an antiquated practice that needs to go. I’m talking about assigning a mental age to our kids. In particular, this happens with students who are intellectually disabled or autistic, or both. You…

How and Why You Should Talk to Your Child about their Disability

6 Reasons Why You Should Tell Your Child About their Disability Over the years, I’ve had clients with all kinds of diagnoses. And yeah, some of them were pretty extreme and intense for a young child. I had this one mom and she was trying to protect her son. He was young, a tween, at…

35 Self Advocacy IEP Goals | Self Determination | PDF | Examples

35 Self Advocacy IEP Goals | Self Determination | PDF | Examples

Self-Advocacy IEP Goals We do so much for our kids, and we mean well. But time marches on whether we want it to or not. We have to prepare our kids for independence and life on their own. As scary a thought as that is sometimes. Every person, not just IEP students, should have self…

Autism Age-Appropriate Interests | What Are Age-Appropriate Interests for a Developmentally Disabled Person

Autism Age-Appropriate Interests | What Are Age-Appropriate Interests for a Developmentally Disabled Person

Autism and Age-Appropriate Interests “Who gets to decide what is an age-appropriate interest for a disabled or autistic child?” This is an issue that has been on my mind a lot lately. My son will be 9 this summer, and as I’ve posted many times, he just loves all things Sesame Street. I’m starting to…

40 Sample IEP Counseling Goals | IEP Counseling Related Services

40 Sample IEP Counseling Goals | IEP Counseling Related Services

Should your Child Have Counseling IEP Goals? Student counseling is listed as a Related Service in IDEA. Actually, Parent Counseling and Training is too. But that’s another post for another day. I have had a few clients over the years who received counseling, but all had it offered to them. Very few parents know that…

Why Your Child Should Attend (and maybe lead!) their IEP Meeting.

Why Your Child Should Attend (and maybe lead!) their IEP Meeting.

Yes, Your Child Should Run their IEP Meeting Should my child attend their IEP meeting? In a word? Ab-so-freaking-lutely! Self-advocacy and self-determination is always the ultimate goal! I am genuinely surprised at how many parents struggle with this question. The student is the main subject of any IEP meeting–their future is on the line. So…

39 Behavior Goals for an IEP | Printable | Work/Task Completion

39 Behavior Goals for an IEP | Printable | Work/Task Completion

Behavior IEP Goals I can’t believe I haven’t tackled this topic before. Well, ok, I can. It’s an IEP subject area that is incredibly complex. It also is one that affects our kids day-to-day the most, and in my opinion, is usually handled the worst. I see horrible FBAs completed by well-intended staff who have…

Perfect Attendance Awards | 8 Reasons why they’re Garbage.

Perfect Attendance Awards | 8 Reasons why they’re Garbage.

Perfect Attendance Awards Perfect attendance awards are a terrible idea. I get it–I get why they were developed. To encourage kids with chronic absenteeism to attend school, and it was assumed that increased attendance would lead to increase performance. In fact, today, only 2% of educators and parents surveyed believe that perfect attendance awards are…

Is People First Language dead? No, but demanding it is.

Is People First Language dead? No, but demanding it is.

Person First Language People first vs. identity first language, PFL vs IFL. When I was first introduced to the concept of people first language, I was all “Yes! He’s a person first!” I reworked blog posts and titles to accommodate the language. I corrected friends and family when they misspoke and gave diatribes about how…

7 Must-Read Facts about Poverty and Disability.

7 Must-Read Facts about Poverty and Disability.

Disability and Poverty This post is at the request of my readers, in particular those in my Facebook group. Many have repeatedly said that they want to do something and want to be involved and help. But, because of the dynamics in our Congress right now, there just are not a lot of actionable items…

Are you Upset about Special Education? Are there solutions to this mess?

Are you Upset about Special Education? Are there solutions to this mess?

Solutions for Special Education Bullying. Restraints. Seclusion rooms. Ostracizing our kids. Not being able to read. Refusing to go to school. Juvenile justice system. Zero tolerance. Is it any wonder that special needs moms are incredibly stressed out? Sometimes our kids encounter some of this stuff on a daily basis. And sometimes all of these…

21 Celebrities who are Smashing Disability and Mental Illness Stereotypes.

21 Celebrities who are Smashing Disability and Mental Illness Stereotypes.

Celebrities with Disability and Mental Illness It matters. The more we see people with disabilities and mental illness, the more normal it becomes. It can also help children who are struggling envision a future for themselves. Here are celebrities who are helping us smash stigmas for disabilities and mental illness. Bebe Rexha: The singer and…

Do we need to change the way we introduce our disabled children?

Do we need to change the way we introduce our disabled children?

How do you introduce your Disabled Child? Do you know what an elevator pitch is? I attend lots of workshops for bloggers and PR stuff, and it often comes up. It’s a succinct way of “selling yourself” in 2-3 sentences. It’s a term coined in the business world. Think of yourself in an elevator with…

Me too. {and more importantly, them too~learn about sexual abuse and disabled students)

Me too. {and more importantly, them too~learn about sexual abuse and disabled students)

Me too. You’ve seen this, right? The “me too” campaign going on right now in social media? If you’ve been sexually harassed, you’re to put “me too” as your status update or tweet to give people an idea of how widespread this problem is. I hate him, I really hate him. He’s gross and disgusting…

Does Live Nation price gouge disabled people?

Does Live Nation price gouge disabled people?

Does Live Nation price gouge disabled people? I don’t know. Sounds like there might be something to this, based on a story that was shared in an activism Facebook group that I am in. Read on (paragraph breaks are mine to make it easier to read): FYI to anyone who orders accessible tickets through TicketMaster…

Gee, we can have your crumbs? Thanks for nothing, Chuck E Cheese. {my rant about their sensory time offerings)

Gee, we can have your crumbs? Thanks for nothing, Chuck E Cheese. {my rant about their sensory time offerings)

Ah, Sunday mornings. I love them. I often try to feed my dogs later and let them out later than usual on Saturday evenings, so that will buy me some extra time on Sunday mornings. If it’s rainy and cold, I love staying snuggled in bed. I still get a Sunday paper. On warmer days,…

The PARC Decree and the most under utilized disabilities resource in PA.

The PARC Decree and the most under utilized disabilities resource in PA.

In a post I did yesterday, I highlighted a bit of history from the Disability Rights movement and how we got to where we are today. I didn’t go into much detail about Pennsylvania, Pennhurst and the role that Pennsylvania parents had on the movement. Families in Pennsylvania really played a strong and crucial role…

{Thoughtful Thursday} Lessons learned from Best Friends Animal Society

{Thoughtful Thursday} Lessons learned from Best Friends Animal Society

I haven’t even begun to do all the posts from our summer travels, but I’m going to start. Earlier this summer, we traveled out west and visited the National Parks, some Navajo sites (like Monument Valley) and one of our day trips was Best Friends Animal Society. I thought that I would first write about…

{Thoughtful Thursday} and someone gets to come in last place

{Thoughtful Thursday} and someone gets to come in last place

Like many parents, while my kids are young I am trying to introduce them to a variety of extra-curricular activities. It can be tough when your child has additional physical and mental challenges. K’s motor planning is pretty poor and his processing is slow. That pretty much means any sport or activity that involves a…

my submitted testimony for the Special Education Funding Commission

Today I testified before our state’s Special Education Funding Commission. This group of individuals has been charged with the responsibility of evaluating the special ed process in Pennsylvania, how it works, how it’s funded, the funding itself and so on. They want to hear from parents and citizens about their experiences with Special Education in…

UN Disability Treaty Convention fails in the Senate~one mom’s reaction

UN Disability Treaty Convention fails in the Senate~one mom’s reaction

If you follow this blog, then you followed our adventure as I took my son to Harrisburg to lobby for special education funding reform. Our bill failed to pass. Why? Politics. Our elected legislators let politics get in the way. That bill had UNANIMOUS SUPPORT and it ended up failing. Yesterday we were all calling…

Our day in Harrisburg lobbying for SB 1115~Special Education Funding Reform

Our day in Harrisburg lobbying for SB 1115~Special Education Funding Reform

Yesterday was such an exciting day for me and Kevin. We were invited to join the Education Law Center and Arc of PA in Harrisburg for a day of special education lobbying. Specifically, we were there to help lobby for Senate Bill 1115. This will just be photos and a recap of our day’s activities….

Have I reached acceptance, or am I settling?

Have I reached acceptance, or am I settling?

That is one of my favorite quotes ever, from Randy Pausch. If you haven’t watched his “Last Lecture” I highly recommend you set aside an hour in your life and do so. You won’t regret it. Tomorrow is the anniversary of our D-Day. Diagnosis day. I won’t bore you with a long diatribe about how ours came…