It has been 14 years since my son Richie was diagnosed with Autism. When he was two years old, I received the news many parents in my same situation may have long suspected but dreaded. When you first hear the words, “Your child has autism,” it is a life-changing moment. It’s important to understand that the grief cycle that comes with the autism diagnosis is not a process. A process, by definition, is a series of steps that lead to an end. Please note that my son’s diagnosis is NOT all gloom and doom – it certainly isn’t. I get to experience many moments of joy and happiness that are unmatched to those of parents of children with no disabilities. I write this in hopes that friends, family members, and other members of our society read this and express sensitivity to all parents of children with autism and essentially all special needs parents – because after all, the feelings experienced are almost universal.
It’s that time of year when gift giving is in full swing. Families are preparing for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Las Posadas, Boxing Day and other wonderful traditions this time of year. Many of us like to express how much we care about others by giving them something we hope brings them joy. It’s not always easy buying things for family and friends, and sometimes buying for loved ones with special needs can be even more challenging. As a parent of a teen with autism, I do my homework each year. I came up with a really cool list of gift ideas I share with family and friends. These gifts are great for most kids of all ages. I’ve got a few creative ideas for picky loved ones too! I’m happy to share them with you!
The season for gift giving has once again arrived and ABLE United is in the holiday spirit! ABLE United wants members of the disability community to start planning for their future and jump-start their savings! ABLE United is offering savings account starters the chance to win $1,000! What a great way to jump start a savings account!
The holiday season is once again upon us and with it comes thoughts of togetherness, celebrations, and gatherings to look forward to. Thanksgiving festivities are among the first to kick-off traditional gatherings, shopping rituals, and preparing classic meal favorites. However, this time of year may look a little different for special needs families as they experience different types of challenges. Children and adults with disabilities may have sensory issues, socialization or communication challenges, and other issues that make holiday gatherings something they might prefer to avoid. Parents of children and adults with disabilities may experience anxiety, worry, or possibly isolation. Here are some ideas that may help with having a fun and memorable gathering without anxiety or dreading the event happenings.
When most of us begin teaching our children about identifying their bodies, it usually sounds a little something like this:
“Touch your nose. Touch your arm. Touch your eye. Touch your cheek,” and so on.
Many parents don’t ever mention the penis, vagina, bottom, or breast - yet, they too, are parts of our anatomy. It’s important to teach our children as best as we can about identifying body parts and their changing bodies, as well as the difference between safe and appropriate touches from inappropriate and dangerous situations.
What is a Learning Style?
A learning style is a preferred way of absorbing, processing, understanding and interpreting information. Everyone has a learning style. It’s important to note that one learning style isn’t better than another, but all are unique to every child and adult.
In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I wanted to write a special post about a woman who is dear to me and anyone who knows her. If I had to describe Vinnetta in one word it would be “amiable.” Vee is a vivacious, energetic and athletic woman who has a genuine kindness and selflessness that reminds us all to try to be better people. This is her story. It’s about the fight of her life. It’s about how love, support, and faith helped her weather the shock of her diagnosis, the medicinal battle against a cruel disease and beyond her triumphant survival.
The opportunity for individuals with disabilities to save, plan and look forward to the future was once a scary thought. Being hopeful about the future seemed less promising for members of the disability community because many barriers made planning and saving impossible. A recent survey conducted by America Saves, states that only 40 percent of households are making good or excellent progress in saving, and more than 27 percent report no progress at all. The numbers are even more dismal for the disability community – the National Disability Institute reports that an estimated 1.9 million households that include an individual with a disability do not have a checking or savings account. Before ABLE United’s program, some were not even provided the same opportunities to save as the general population.
There are many ideas and approaches on how to create an inclusive society. Even finding a single outline that clearly highlights the core principles of inclusive settings can be challenging. Since there are many different views and definitions, the outcomes for inclusive settings vary and are often skewed. Like many special needs moms, I want the world to be more accepting, understanding, and of course, welcome my son and others like him as a valued and equal member of our society. But, what does that world look like?
Our family has been praying for everyone having to face the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Here we are, a short time later possibly facing the same fate. The last time we prepared for a storm that frightened us in Tampa Bay was back in 2004. Richie was only two and hadn’t been diagnosed with autism yet. We were hit with Hurricane Charley, Ivan, Frances and Jeanne that year. It came to be known as the year of the Hurricanes. While Tampa Bay was thankfully not hit directly by these ravaging storms, we felt the anxiety and fear of these winds of fury all the same. But it would take a Hurricane called Katrina to teach our nation about being prepared. Ten years later, we’re back in preparation mode and we must get this right. All of us together.
Some of us feel a little apprehension about starting a new school year alongside our children. This can especially be difficult for parents of children who struggle with reading, writing, math, staying focused or being organized.
Transition and change for kids of all ages isn’t always easy. Transitioning from a long summer break back into the old school routine is harder yet. For children and older kids with disabilities, the back to school transition can be intensely challenging for the entire family. Here are some tips that helped us get back in gear for school routines!
What does it mean to have Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)?
You may have heard the terms, “sensory processing disorder, sensory integrated dysfunction, or sensory related issues.” Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is a condition that causes the brain to have difficulty with receiving and sending messages with other senses. You may have heard the term, “sensory overload.” This phrase is often used to describe what a child or adult is experiencing when there is too much information for one or more of their senses to process. Children and adults who experience issues with sensory processing disorder may struggle with academic performance, making friends, diet and eating, participating in the community, challenging behavior, and more.
Growing up, my brother and I weren’t the type of kids who knew how to crack crab legs, peel and eat shrimp, nor could we tell you what a fish boil was. We didn’t really eat much seafood. Of course, years later after I outgrew my childhood picky palette, I learned to appreciate the joys of eating good seafood.
#ABLEUNITED is Celebrating its First Anniversary as the Savings Difference Makers in the Disability Community
It’s been a year since I opened my ABLE United account for my son Richie and not only has our family been able to save and plan for Richie’s future, we have something we’ve never had before. We have peace of mind.
Happy Father’s Day to all The Special Needs Dads Who Turned Challenging Times into Special Blessings
Raising children with special needs can be as challenging as you might imagine it to be. You’ve seen us from time to time. We’re the ones walking past you with the scratched arms from frustrated pinching. You’ve seen us lifting our child out of the car and gently placing them onto their wheelchair. You’ve seen us leave an entire cart of groceries in the middle of the isle because our child was about to have a major meltdown. You’ve watched us chase our kid down the street after they've masterfully escaped from our home. Maybe, you were the neighbor who brought them home to us when we thought he or she was sleeping soundly in their bed! Perhaps you’ve spotted us sitting in our car alone crying or just taking a moment of nothing eventful to ourselves. You may have wondered, “How do they do it?”
So many people are unaware of the fact that there is such a thing called “Disability Etiquette.” If you’ve never known anyone with a disability, it could be difficult to know how to behave when you’re around someone with a disability. Sometimes, comments meant to be innocent and with good intentions can potentially offend individuals with disabilities. It’s essential for us to use disability etiquette if we believe in creating an inclusive society.
When it comes to ABLE United, great news just keeps on coming! Don’t miss out on your chance to jump-start your savings plan for the future today. ABLE United is offering five eligible Floridians with disabilities a chance to win a $500 contribution to their ABLE United savings account! Enter today and visit daily for extra chances to win – but hurry, this fantastic offer ends June 15, 2017!
As a special needs parent, advocate and blogger, I get overwhelmed just as many other parents. Whenever I feel down or defeated, watching movies of triumph, inspiration, and perseverance offers me a sense of motivation, insight and sometimes creative revelations. A couple of years ago, I wrote a piece about my Top Ten most Inspirational Movies about Disabilities, and it’s still one of my most popular posts to date. Inspired by my reader’s interests and my love of movies that helped me get through some tough times, I thought I might write more often about movies that are disability related and recognized by the academy and other titans of film industry.
My husband loves to grill and I love to cook. Among the many things we share in common, cooking for family gatherings and working together in the kitchen is something we truly enjoy doing. So, when my husband Kirk told me his mum and brother were coming to spend some time with us before returning to Atlanta and then their final destination - the lovely island of Jamaica, we wanted to welcome them with a dinner fit for an island queen and prince.
Author: Christine Goulbourne