special needs 

Girl with Down syndrome voted Homecoming Queen

While America waits on the edge of its seat to see who will win the Presidential election, teenagers everywhere are engaged in a much more "important" vote -- that of homecoming king and queen. Though Election 2008 may be anything but settled, high s...

A Little More: Looking back, saying goodbye

It was a little more than a year ago that I received an email in my in-box from a woman named Kristin. She'd read one of my stories (I think it was an essay about my oldest son Carter's broken leg) and was wondering if I'd like to submit writing sa...

Business travellers face additional challenges with special needs children

It can be tough to travel when you have a family. Being away from your little ones can be as tough as the grueling red eyes, hard hotel beds and crazy meeting schedules that await you. For parents of children with special needs who find themselves ...

A Little More: Surprises of the green kind

A remarkable thing happened, here in our little valley where nothing much seems to be going on most days, where the grasses have grown tall and the seed-heads keep them heavy and nodding, sleepy, especially in the late afternoons....

A Little More: Heart moms

This was just after the twins were born and we'd gotten home from the NICU: the phone rang and my husband Tom took the call. A few minutes later, he hung up. There was a dazed expression on his face. "That was the pediatric cardiologist," Tom sai...

A Little More: Different and the same

I have a memory from when the twins were about 2-years-old--I was past the intense worry of any relapse that would send us back to the NICU, and I'd finished reading everything I could find about Down syndrome. I began to poke my head up and look a...

A Little More: Saying grace

Here's one thing you might not know about my son Avery: before each meal, he insists that we all say grace. In our family, that means we join hands and say a little prayer, a simple rhyme for babies and small children that goes like this, "God is ...

A Little More: To ask, or not to ask

The man at the library, walking with 2 canes, drags his thin, weak legs behind him up to the water fountain, and one of my boys asks, "What's wrong with him?" I lift my finger to my mouth in the universal sign for "shhhh." All 3 of my children loo...

Dolls with special needs cause controversy

Though I spent a dozen years working in special education classrooms with preschoolers and toddlers, it never once crossed my mind that the dolls my students were playing with in the housekeeping area often looked nothing like the kids themselves. Th...

A Little More: Pinwheels

I usually work in the mornings when the house is quiet, before the rush and hum of our lives takes over the day, like so many parents everywhere--trying to carve out a few extra moments; trying to keep my hand on the slim thread of my life before t...

A Little More: Now we are 5

The 2 little boys, Avery and Bennett, sit at the kitchen table and Tom is there and big brother Carter, too, and we are the perfect birthday scene: me carrying the homemade layer cake on a big white plate across the kitchen, everyone singing the "H...

A Little More: Everyday miracles

My son Bennett, who is 4-years-old-going on 5, has a habit of saying, "It's a miracle!" Sometimes he says it of things that, to me, don't seem particularly miraculous, like when we find the missing rain boot, or when the VCR finishes rewinding, or ...

PD*Poll: Mom fights church that banned autistic boy

Right on the heels of the recent story about a boy with Asperger's syndrome being voted out of his classroom comes a story out of Minnesota about a 13-year-old autistic boy who's been banned from church. According to church officials, the boy, Adam, ...

Every day sensory activities for kids

When I was still teaching, I worked with an occupational therapist who was so talented, I wished I could bottle her up and take her home. She was constantly teaching me new things about my students and how to help them regulate their nervous systems....

Did I really just say that?

I was recently speaking with my friend Sheri about how ordinary my life is, most days, and how surprising this is to me. But I included the disclaimer, "If you accept physical therapy and speech therapy as normal (which by then, I did: speech thera...

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