Scrapbooking Extraordinary Moments and Events in Life

It isn’t the first time I’ve mentioned it, and more than likely, it certainly won’t be the last. Scrapbooking those hard times, the things we would rather leave unspoken. But what kind of picture does it depict when someone glances through our albums and everything looks perfectly rosy and happy all of the time? Most families are touched by divorce in some way, yet this is a topic you don’t see in scrapbook layouts very often. I can honestly say, I have actually created a 2 page layout about my divorce. I haven’t slipped it into an album yet, for … Continue reading

The Joys and Challenges of Unique Experiences

We single parent families definitely do not always play things by the book. As a matter of fact, while our families may often look rather similar to two parent families, we are also just as likely to have unique perspective on things and our family history may include some rather unique experiences. The trick is to learn how to embrace this uniqueness and celebrate some of those unique shared experiences too. It seems to be human nature to want to “fit in” and feel like we are part of the group. And, in our society, we definitely have the whole … Continue reading

Mother’s Day Salad Bar Dinner

Of course you don’t want Mom to have to worry about dinner on Mother’s Day, and of course the kids want to help make a meal, but what if you’re not much of a cook, or what if Mom’s trying to drop a few pounds? Here’s a great idea for a Mother’s Day meal everyone, and especially Mom, will appreciate: A super salad bar! What you will want to do for a nice effect is set it up like a real salad bar in a restaurant. If you have a long table, set up down the middle of it. A … Continue reading

How to Prepare for Your Child’s IEP Meeting

Every child eligible for special education will have periodic Individualized Education Program meetings. (See my blog, “What in the World is an IEP?”) When it’s time for your child’s IEP meeting, you may have a lot of concerns. What questions should I ask? How will I know if the goals being presented are right for my child? When should I agree, and when should I disagree? As a parent, what role do I play at the meeting? Here are a few tips to help you prepare. 1. Spend some time prior to the meeting thinking about any issues that concern … Continue reading

The Incredible Story of Jason McElwain

This is one of those amazing, heart-warming stories that makes you feel good to be alive. It happened not long ago, at a typical basketball game at a typical high school in Greece, NY. Jason McElwain, a 17-year old autistic boy, helped to manage his high school basketball team. He assisted with running the clock; he gave pep-talks, and he passed out water bottles at every game. He was supposedly too short, at 5’6”, to play, and…let’s not mention his disability. So it wasn’t until the final game of the season, February 15th, when the team was ahead by a … Continue reading

Give Me a Break! Finding a Babysitter for Your Special Needs Child

As the parent of a child with special needs, your responsibilities can seem overwhelming. You need—and certainly deserve—a break from time to time. In fact, without any “time off” from your parental duties, you are at risk for developing a stress-related illness, and jeopardizing your mental health. But finding a caregiver might seem, at first, like an impossible task. Often parents of special needs kids rely solely on family members as babysitters, or else take their child with them everywhere they go. Family members can be good and attentive care-givers, but sometimes they are not available. Perhaps they live far … Continue reading

Catch the Olympic Spirit: Register Your Child for the Special Olympics!

I had the opportunity, several years ago, to be a “hugger” for the Special Olympics in my town. As a hugger, I got to stand at the finish line where special kids were foot racing. As these kids reached the end of the race, I had the privilege (and I do mean privilege) of running up to the participant and hugging him or her. All the participants had “huggers” waiting for them to cross the finish line. I’ll admit, I was a bit uncomfortable at first. I’m not a naturally “huggy” person with kids other than my own. But after … Continue reading

The No Child Left Behind Act and Special Education

What is the “No Child Left Behind Act?” The No Child Left Behind Act ( NCLB ) of 2001 has been called President George Bush’s “landmark education act.” One of its primary purposes is to make schools and teachers accountable for how well their students are learning. Through standardized testing, students’ progress is measured in reading, math, science, and other academic content. The test scores are broken down to show how specific racial and socio-economic groups are performing. The goal is to prevent schools from teaching to the middle-class white children, while “leaving behind” children from other ethnicities who may … Continue reading