For many years, I had to deal with the stares, the snide remarks, the cruel comments, and the unbelievable acts of ignorance towards my sweet son– alone. It was awful. I remember having to be on the defensive all the time, asking people to excuse my son’s behavior, or apologizing for his confusing or seemingly frightening movements. It was so important to me that Richie was involved in community activities, and that he was accepted and always included in family activities. Still, it was challenging, because I could always count on the insensitivity and cruelty from many people, which was always ripe and plentiful.
It’s natural for children with special needs to only want to engage in preferred activities. Who wants to exercise when they can relax and play with their phone or iPad? It may take a little creativity and positive reinforcement, but we have to try to include a healthy balance of exercise, good nutrition, and community engagement. I know it's easier said than done, believe me. I started taking small steps to help our family with developing better eating habits and adding more exercise to our daily routines. Even the smallest changes can make a huge difference. We replaced high sugar drinks with water, added more fruits, vegetables and salads to our meals, and we try not to snack late at night.
Latism 2015 Conference Unites Top Latino Influencers Using Social Media and Technology for Education and Advocacy
This week, I received notice that I was selected as one of Latism’s top Latina influencers. Aside from being strikingly surprised (hundreds of applications from talented Latino bloggers and influencers throughout the country are submitted annually), I feel overwhelmed with gratitude, and I am deeply honored.
As our children get older, it’s time to think about self-determination, independent living, continuing education, career choices, financial literacy, relationships, and community involvement. All of these important topics whirl around in the minds of parents and students as graduation and the end of their public school years gets closer. Having a well written Transition IEP (Individual Education Plan) will help to increase successful post-school outcomes for the student.
Author: Christine Goulbourne