About Nancy

I am a freelance writer focused on parenting children with special needs. My articles have been featured in numerous parenting publications and on www.parentingspecialneeds.org. I am the former editor and publisher of Vermont HomeStyle Magazine. I am a wife and mom to a two daughters, one with cystic fibrosis and one who is a carrier for cystic fibrosis.

10 Things about Cystic Fibrosis You Don’t Know

May is cystic fibrosis awareness month. Until my daughter was diagnosed at birth with CF, I had no idea what the condition was. And while most children are now being diagnosed through newborn screening, there are still many children out there who are ill with parents struggling to get a correct diagnosis. CF presents differently in each patient, but most will have frequent respiratory illness, trouble gaining weight, foul smelling stools, and salty tasting skin. Here are some little known facts about CF. 1. Nearly 1,000 new cases of CF are diagnosed each year. 2. Everyday a baby is born … Continue reading

Easter Bunny Visiting Kids with Special Needs in Northern California

One springtime event children with special needs often miss out on is visiting the Easter Bunny at the mall. For some kids and their parents, this fun photo opportunity is actually a scary and stressful time, so families skip it all together. For children with special needs in Northern California, however, this year will be different. On Sunday, April 17, the Caring Easter Bunny will hop out early at Stanford Shopping Center to welcome children with special needs. Before the mall opens, these children are invited to a space set up to support sensory, physical and developmental needs. “This is … Continue reading

Save a Life

April is Organ Donation Awareness Month. If you haven’t signed an organ donor card yet, you should. Here are some reasons why. 5. You’ll score points with your higher power. Every major religion supports organ donation as a selfless act. 4. Organ donation gives new meaning to the word legacy. You leave behind something far better than money, you leave love and life for people who don’t even know you but are forever grateful to you. 3. Every 10 minutes another name is added to the transplant waiting list. That’s 6 people per hour and 144 per day. At any … Continue reading

Parents of Special Needs Children Count Their Blessings

When your child is diagnosed with a special need, it changes you. It strips you of the dreams you had and tosses you into a scary world full of a new vocabulary and a ton of doctors. It makes you doubt yourself and God. But after the dust settles, you begin to grow and learn, and if you’re open to it, having a child with special needs will help you become a more grateful, happier person. You are Stronger than You Think Even wallflowers turn into untiring advocates for their child with special needs. Trying to make sure your child … Continue reading

Amazing Advocates: Family of a Boy with Autism Wins Battle with School

Last year, I had the pleasure of speaking with Wendy Givens whose son Scooter was blessed with an amazing service dog named Madison. Scooter is a ten-year-old boy who has autism and Madison keeps him calm, keeps him safe, and can track him should he wander away. The problem? Scooter’s school wasn’t allowing Madison to accompany him despite laws that allow service dogs to go anywhere their person goes. Now, finally, after a three year battle with the school district, Madison will be able to do her job and take care of her boy while he attends school, although for … Continue reading

Pure Room Helps Travelers Breath Easy

My daughter has cystic fibrosis. When she was diagnosed at just six-days-old, I immediately began looking for advice from other parents of children with CF. They were quick to offer insight, and I was just as quick to take it. It was unsettling to me when one mother told me that hotels were always out of the question because her child would struggle to breath. All of their vacations became camping trips. Camping is fun, don’t get me wrong. But sometimes (okay most of the time) I want the comfort of a real bed and a real bathroom while vacationing … Continue reading

Spread the Word

As human beings, it is our job to protect each other and help each other. We are faced with that choice on a daily basis on both a large and small scale. We choose to yell at other drivers or we choose to smile and let the car next to us merge into traffic. We also choose to talk badly about our fellow humans or use inappropriate and hurtful language. Since 2009, the group Spread the Word to End the Word has been working worldwide to end the common use of the word “retard” to describe something someone thinks of … Continue reading

Video Conferencing Speech Therapy

Word has it, there aren’t enough speech-language pathologists to go around, and kids with speech delays and problems are struggling because of it. Enter telepractice and the technology of providing children with the speech and language therapy they need, through what is essentially an online video chat. Presence TeleCare is a company that has been providing such a service for years and has been endorsed by the Mayo Clinic since 1997. Telepractice meets IDEA guidelines and is proven to be as effective as face-to-face therapy. It uses the internet to connect speech-language pathologists with students for therapy sessions that include … Continue reading

Cardboard Changes Lives

The amount of cardboard boxes we discard on a nearly daily basis is overwhelming. I bring them home from Costco full of oversized boxes of food. They come in the mail packed with birthday presents for my girls, prescription medicines for my daughter with cystic fibrosis, and even the mattresses we recently purchased. We recycle them of course, but donating them to the Adaptive Design Association would have been an even better option than I could have ever imagined. To the Adaptive Design Association, cardboard creates independence and life. According to their web site, the Adaptive Design Association’s mission is … Continue reading

The Blind Driver Challenge Produces Positive Results

In 2004, the National Federation of the Blind dared universities across the country to the take the Blind Driver Challenge and create a car that people with visual impairments could drive. Two years later, Virginia Tech accepted that challenge and the robotics and mechanisms department students got to work on building a buggy with technology that uses a laser light detection and ranging system to identify obstacles in the road as well as other cars. The technology also includes two cameras to monitor the road and look out for lights and stop signs as well as a GPS system and … Continue reading