Mom Shark blog

Special Education Does Not Mean Less Education

Happy Mothers Day — May 10, 2020

Happy Mothers Day

“All that I am, or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” —Abraham Lincoln

To all the moms, single moms, foster moms, pregnant moms, young moms, pet moms, single dads doing their best to be mom, stay at home moms, working moms, moms who have lost children and every mom in between – you are appreciated and you are all Rockstar’s. Today is a day that I hope for even five minutes you can find some time to reflect on how much you have given and how important you are to this world. We are in such a time of uncertainty, but one thing that is certain is you are making it work, everyday you are getting up to give it your all to get it done.

Motherhood has been the single most challenging, rewarding, lovely, heart breaking, beautiful experience of my life. Being a mom has taught me so much that one blog post truly can’t hold it all. I am so grateful that I have had the blessing to be Clinton’s mom and guide him through this crazy journey called life. I don’t get it right all the time, everyday I feel like I could do more and I am sure so many other moms feel the same. Today is a day to put all that to rest – Celebrate yourself!

This is my favorite versions of this song I hope you enjoy it.

Fun Mothers Day Facts

  •  In the United States alone, around 122 million phone calls are made to moms on Mother’s Day.
  •  In Greek mythology spring festivals were held in honor of the maternal goddess called, Rhea. She was the wife of Cronus and was believed to be the mother of many deities.
  •  In the vast majority of the world’s languages, the word for “mother” begins with the letter M.
  •  Approximately $14 billion dollars is spent on Mother’s Day.
  •  Anna Jarvis was a woman that may have been behind our traditional Mother’s Day celebration on the second Sunday of May. Anna never had any children, but wanted to carry out her own mother’s wishes of having a day just for moms. Anna tirelessly campaigned and on May 8th, 1914 President Woodrow Wilson signed a Joint Resolution designating the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.
  • Pink and red carnations are given to mother’s that are still alive, while white ones are for those that have passed away.
  • Mother’s Day sees around one quarter of all flowers purchased throughout the year falling on this holiday.

Sending every mom out there so much light and love today. I see you and appreciate you.

Get Outside — May 4, 2020

Get Outside

In this time of uncertainty, fear, panic, confusion, sadness and loneliness being inside only deepens these heavy emotions. Its challenging I get it – here in Massachusetts parks are closed, gyms are closed, schools are closed, people are panic buying, you might be unemployed, businesses are closed those closest to you seem so far away and everyday is a merry-go-round of what next? I do not know what is next but I suspect this situation we find ourselves in will not go away anytime soon.

“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

I am not going to lecture you and tell you what you should while your in quarantine – I cannot do that I do not know you or your life, but what I can tell you is that even the rainy days heal you. Life, like nature is not all sunshine and rainbows, but just like the rain helps the plants grow for us to enjoy on the sunny days our dark days help us appreciate the bright days more.

Today was a beautiful day out and I spent in our postage stamp sized back yard working on some clean up projects with my son. I would have loved to be hiking or camping, but right now that just isn’t safely possible so I chose to work with what I have. At the end of the day children do not truly care about how big their house is, what kind of car you drive, the name on their clothes or how much stuff they have – they care about the quality of time and energy you spend with them. I believe that no matter your living situation or your financial situation there is a way to make each day special. The truth is when our children look back on this time they wont remember their online classes or projects they did – they will remember the love, safety and fun they had from their parent(s) doing what they could with what they had.

I believe the best thing I have done is start a garden with my son – not only is he learning about how unique the requirements are for each plant but he is getting to see his hard work and patience pay off. If your living situation does not give you the privilege of a yard, that’s ok because a simple internet search will tell you everything you need to know about growing indoors. If plants are not your thing, cool – just get outside and play! There is so much freedom and joy in just blowing bubbles, throwing a ball around, playing with chalk and laughing with your children.

I would like to give you some links and ideas that I hope help you find some joy during this tough time.

Quarantine kids – Is a wonderful Facebook community of about 4,000 members who exchange academic and creative ideas daily

Self Sufficient Me – a really fun channel about organic gardening, realistic self-sufficient living, keeping quail, chickens, and lots more!

SciShow Kids – SciShow Kids explores all those curious topics that make us ask “why?”

Outdoor Activities for kids -60 fun activities to do outside with your child.

Indoor Activities for kids -20 indoor activities for those rainy days.

This is by no means a complete list of all the resources available but I truly hope this helps make your days and your children’s days a little brighter . Please during this time every one is doing the best they can so be gentle with yourselves and each other.

Let’s Talk — April 18, 2020

Let’s Talk

I am not for one second going to pretend I am a mom that has it all together. I am not going to lie to you and tell you that everyday since quarantine has began my son has eaten perfectly balanced meals everyday, because he hasn’t. I am not going to lie and tell you that everyday I get up get showered, do my make-up, hair prepared to take on the day because that’s not me. I am not going to tell you that I spend hours looking on websites on how to enrich every minute of my sons day, because I don’t.

I am going to tell you I do not have it all together. I am going to tell you that there are days I do not leave my sweatpants and do not even shower. I am going to tell you that my son has too much screen time on every screen we have. I am going to tell you that while I appreciate online educational resources offered I often feel overwhelmed at all the options and I do not believe I am the only one. I am going to tell you that as much as I love reading to my son there are times I wish he could read proficiently himself. I am going to tell you that I miss having some time – anytime to myself and I do not feel bad about missing the gym because for some of us its not vanity, but sanity. I am even going to tell you that I get tired of all the teachers posting how hard its been for them to acclimate to online teaching while balancing life – does that make me mean? uncaring? unappreciative? I don’t think so. I appreciate and admire teachers plenty, but as a mom of a special needs son who services have been slashed because of this pandemic I can tell you not many are talking about that. I am going to tell you I get very tired of all the posts telling me to read a book, learn a new skill, live my purpose and discover myself during a time when everyone is really just trying to survive.

I am going to tell you there are nights I stay awake wondering if my son who is in 5th grade reading at a first grade level will ever read fluently. I am going to tell you I often feel my best is never good enough and that most of those educational sites do not provide options for Dyslexic children. I am going to tell there is a difference between home-schooling and crisis schooling no matter what anyone says. I am going to tell you it breaks my heart how much my son misses his friends, his teachers and his after school activities. I am going to tell you all my work outs happen in the kitchen when everyone’s asleep. I am going to tell you there are times I cry in the shower so no one can hear me because I feel I always have to have the answers. I am going to tell you I am human, I am not always together or always apart – I am me. I am going to tell you I wish we would all stop picking sides, arguing, posting memes, trolling and just be there for each other.

I am going to tell you that I do not have any answers, that most of my days start with a plan and end with a sigh. I am going to tell you there is no right or wrong way to feel in this time – its all valid and it all matters.

I am going to tell you one last thing – I hope once this passes we do not go “back to normal” because we can do and be better than we were.

Create More, Panic Less — March 29, 2020

Create More, Panic Less

“To create is to live twice.”
― Albert Camus

Today it was announced that in my state, Massachusetts schools will be closed till at least May 4th. My personal thought is that my son along with so many will not go back to school until the fall and I am not filled with panic or worry that he will regress in anyway. I in no way minimize how important academics and the social interactions they are, but I choose to take this time to incorporate other things in my sons day as well. Clinton’s outlet right now is creating a comic book with one of his teachers that he meets with thru google classroom and I think its beautiful. I firmly believe that that process is helping him process the pandemic or “hibernation” as I call it.

I acknowledge the seriousness of the situation, how important physical distancing is and why so many feel afraid, but I choose hope. I choose to believe that on the other side of this we will be better to each other, kinder to each other and maybe even appreciate one another a little. It is so easy to get wrapped up in the hysteria, the fear, panic and posts that flood our feed. It is so easy to forget that these moments as scary as they are can be life changing for so many.

We are all held back by some sort of fear whether it be fear of failure, fear of success, fear of criticism, fear of being noticed, fear of fading away or a fear we cant define and that is OK but do not let it paralyze you. In this time of uncertainty, helplessness, fear, panic, frustration, unemployment, sickness, sadness, political agendas and toxicity I urge to take all that ugliness and make something beautiful. That book you want to write? start it. That business you want to start? research it. Those health goals you want to reach? do it.

Do not let this shutdown be your cage, dedicate a little bit of time everyday to something you want to learn, something you want to do do not just sit in fear and more importantly do not let your children sit in fear. They will not remember the academics they learned during the pandemic, but they will remember your resiliency, they will remember the laughter, they will remember you did not just stay stuck.

Trying to replicate a school day or even a work day while trying to do everything else in the middle of this pandemic is recipe for not succeeding at any of it. I knew as soon as the school closures started that if I attempted to try and replicate a school day not only was it not going to be successful, but I would cause unneeded stress, so I backed off. We spend roughly about 2.5 – 3 hours a day with academics which isn’t consecutive and then we spend time together and apart working on creative projects.

I firmly believe everyone is creative in their own way, that everyone can needs a creative outlet and I also believe it does take time to find that outlet. Being creative does not just mean paper, pencils, markers, crayons or even writing – it can be refinishing furniture, decorating, planting a garden, making clothes, sewing, knitting, cooking, having fun with legos etc. Use that excess energy and create you just might surprise yourself and you just never know who you might inspire.

Get Inspired.

Home Based Educational Resources — March 14, 2020

Home Based Educational Resources

“I am not a teacher, but an awakener.”
Robert Frost

If you have a child chances are they are out of school and you out of work for at least the next two weeks possibly more depending on where you live and how things unfold. Different schools and states are approaching this unique situation differently some are using google classroom, some are mailing work home, some are emailing and some may still be figuring out the next step. I decided to make a post about the resources available to parents/guardians/teachers while school is not in session.

Please note: I have tried out some, not all the sites/programs listed below therefore I have limited experience to draw from and do not endorse or condemn any, but considering the current situation I found it important to share . I will put an asterik (*) next to ones I have tried and share my thoughts and experience.

Resources

I have not separated teacher from parent resources because right now we are all both those titles. Please feel free to comment with any experience you have had or sites you think might help others.

  • www.ixl.com – Individualized math, science and language arts curriculum*
  • teacherspayteachers.com – Teachers Pay Teachers is an online marketplace where teachers buy and sell original educational materials.*
  • learningally.com – high-quality, human-read audiobooks, Affordable and Educator-Friendly. Learning Ally Audiobook Solution is compatible with PCs, Macs, Chromebooks, Android and iOS devices*
  • mysteryscience.com – K-5 science curriculum.
  • BrainPOP.com – lesson planning, school to home connection, professional development.
  • Kahoot!.com – read-to-play games, play live in class or share student-paced challenges, and dive into game reports to assess learning. Create, play and share fun games with your family and friends for parties, trivia nights and other occasions.
  • bookcreator.com – Book Creator can be used in any subject, with any grade level. Book creator helps you focus on assignments that allow the student to get creative and demonstrate their understanding. *
  • Bookshare.com – Bookshare makes reading easier. People with dyslexia, blindness, cerebral palsy, and other reading barriers can customize their experience to suit their learning style and find virtually any book they need for school, work, or the joy of reading.*
  • WeVideo.com – Empower students to collaborate and easily create videos, podcasts, slideshows and more.
  • MobyMax.com – MobyMax helps struggling learners quickly catch up to grade level and closes learning gaps for all your students.
  • Seterra.com – Seterra will challenge you with quizzes about countries, capitals, flags, oceans, lakes and more!
  • Typesy.com – The same comprehensive keyboarding curriculum used by top schools nationwide. Very Affordable.*
  • Pinterest – A little bit of everything for when you want a break from school stuff.

This is by not a complete list of all the available resources out there and I understand its easy to feel overwhelmed, but if I can offer one piece of advice during this tough time – Have Fun! Laugh with your kids, play games, go outside, cook with your kids, watch movies, create something cool – It doesn’t have to be a full school day at home, do what works for you. This is a learning experience for everyone and no one has it figured out and this is going to be around for a while. Your kids will be ok and so will you.

Like I tell my son every day I drop him off to school – Have fun, learn some stuff, be kind to yourself and those around you.

Sending calming thoughts to everyone.

Fear is Contagious — March 13, 2020

Fear is Contagious

“Hysteria is Only Possible with an Audience” – Chuck Palahniuk

We all have our own thoughts and opinions on the current Coronavirus and I am not here to go into any detail about the virus itself, there is already enough information in all its forms being thrown our way. I am here to talk about how our children look to us in these times and how we respond to situations like these.

I wish that in this situation I could say I have seen kindness, patience and calm but all I have seen an every man for himself mentality full of fear, panic and hysteria which for some reason has cleared all the shelves of toilet paper. Now if it is scary for me to understand as an adult how people can turn on one another so quickly, what is that like for a child? especially one with special needs. Now,I like to have an open dialogue with my son and I asked him if he was afraid or scared in anyway, and not just about getting possibly sick but how the whole situation made him feel. He said the virus doesn’t scare him but seeing how people were acting in stores, being told to wash his hands even more than he does, being told to use hand sanitizer even more than he does made him afraid and anxious, but not the virus.

I believe in all this hysteria, madness, fear, hand washing, hand sanitizing (which has its downfalls too), constant news coverage we have forgotten that we are setting the example of how to respond to situations like these. I do not watch the news I get what I need from the reliable internet sources and I do not spend hours looking at it either. It is important in times like these to try our very best to keep our children’s routine, to keep letting them be kids, to play, to laugh and to not make them “adult” before their time.

In response to overwhelming stress in young children:

  • The brain drives the “fight or flight response” and release of stress hormones.
  • The young child has limited capacity to manage this overwhelming stress and experiences increased arousal — fear and anxiety (physical and emotional sensations).
  • Excessive fear and anxiety and excessive cortisol (stress hormone) can affect the capacity for stress regulation as well as development and higher functions of the brain, and
  • Significant early adversity can lead to lifelong problems (physical and mental health).

(National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, 2005, 2007, 2010)

A lot of us have not been in this situation before and it is ok to not know what to do. I will say that again IT IS OK TO NOT KNOW WHAT TO DO. However having our children see us be ugly to each other, being encased in fear and panic, constantly watching the news. It is ok to be aware of the situation and take precautions, it is even ok to worry but don’t let it take over your life. Everything is being postponed, cancelled or shut down including schools and work places for indefinite periods of time. Let us make sure in this difficult time to not cancel being a family or cancel being there for each other, or cancel being a kind human or cancel having fun or laughing or hugging our loved ones. Fear is contagious but so is calm, so is laughter, so is love.

Here are some links below that I hope can help you in this difficult time.

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.”
Dalai Lama XIV

Normal is an Illusion — March 9, 2020

Normal is an Illusion

If you’re always trying to be normal you will never know how amazing you can be.
~Maya Angelou~

The dictionary definition in noun form is – The usual, average or typical state or condition.

The dictionary definition in adjective form is – conforming to a standard; usual, typical or expected.

My definition is that there is no definition of normal – it is an illusion. It is something made up to keep us reaching for something that doesn’t exist, something to keep us all feeling less than in some way. That word has been something we all have struggled to attain, rebel against, break the standards of or just plain ignore. That word along with others that describe normal such as typical, average in my sons world comes with a weight no child should have to bear. It sets an imaginary, unreachable bar that does only harm, no good.

My son is diagnosed with Dyslexia is considered Atypical Autistic and struggles with something called Dysgraphia. I do not use these words to put my son in a box to say that he is those things only because he is not, they are part of him, part of what makes him special, unique, creative, kind and so many other awesome non-normal words. I have attended dozens of IEP meetings all of which tell you a whole lot of what your child isn’t doing, cant do and will never do. I have sat across from teachers, support staff of all kinds, therapists, administration and so many with so many letters after their names and none of them can tell you who Clinton really is. They will highlight his deficits, his struggles, his challenges, label him lazy, distracted, disruptive completely omitting his diagnosis and proceed to teach him in the “normal” way, change nothing about their teaching styles and continue to blame him for not learning their way.

I, myself was diagnosed as a teenager with Bi-Polar 2 disorder. The dictionary definition of disorder as a noun is – a state of confusion. The dictionary definition of disorder as a verb is – disrupt the systematic functioning or neat arrangement of. Folks my mind has never been in neat arrangement and nor would I want it to be, but I am far crazy, psychotic, violent, aggressive or unstable. Yet, when you are diagnosed with this disorder these are the hurtful, ignorant words you are called. I was placed on high doses of mood stabilizers, anti-depressants, hospitalized, given intensive therapy and not once did anyone ever ask me how I was doing, how I felt or what I thought might help. I was told what to do, what to take, how to be and if I strayed for the normal track everyone was trying to put me on I was called crazy, imbalanced, manic, unstable, mad or told I didn’t know what I was talking out because I was all those things. I remember feeling and still feel at times like my voice has been ripped from my throat as though my words even if they could get out fall on truly deaf ears.

I never want my son to feel as though his voice does not matter or that he gets no vote in how he is taught. I want him to self-advocate to the best of his ability and know I will listen. I want that for every child. I want to strip down theses “normal” barriers that society has constructed and tear them down. I do not want children to feel less than because they learn in a different way, I want teachers to teach according to the student not standardized tests or scores that in the grand scheme of things mean nothing. I want us all to lose the word Normal. Normal is an illusion. The dictionary definition of illusion is – a false idea or belief; a deceptive appearance or impression.

Think of how many children sit in a classroom everyday thinking that something is wrong with them because they don’t fit “normal” standards or have “normal” testing scores. Think of how these children struggle to sit still because their brilliance cant be given a number, their creativity has no chance to shine so they dull that shine to fit in with a “normal” system that is failing them. Their bullied in the classroom, at lunch, at recess, on the bus, by their classmates, teachers and adults and they are told if they cant learn this way then there is no may for them. We wonder why we so many children are plagued with depression, anxiety, drop out, act out or give up? because we are asking them to fit into a box that doesn’t even exist. We are asking to reach for something that shouldn’t define them in anyway. We are asking them to not be who they are.

Isn’t it about time we remove the “normal” from our vocabulary? I think it is.

Live Your Dreams — March 7, 2020

Live Your Dreams

How often do we hear phrases such as the one pictured above? All too often, while heart warming and motivational it doesn’t really tell you how to live your dream, follow your heart, be your best self etc. There’s no instructions just a pretty quote followed but a pretty graphic which may brighten your day but gets you no closer to living the life you dream for yourself. While I cannot give you big complete answers to big incomplete questions I can tell you how I have chosen to live my dream and follow my heart.

On August 29th 2019 on Clintons first day of school I started my new job, not a career but a job at local University bookstore and I was excited. You see even though it was a part time/temporary position I didn’t care I was just happy to work to feel productive again. Let me explain, you see 2019 for me was about fighting school districts, advocating for my son, tests with more numbers than I can remember, meetings, meetings about meetings, doctors upon doctors, phone calls, emails, stacks of paperwork, no sleep, constant worry and doing this all mostly one handed because I was recovering from rotator cuff surgery – 2019 was and wasn’t my year in a lot of ways friends.

I liked the job and they liked me so they hired me as a part time employee and I felt even more excited, but the excitement was short lived. It was a nice place to work with nice people to work with on a really nice college campus but I wasn’t happy, I kept telling myself I was but I really wasn’t. Sure, it felt great to work, earn a paycheck, meet new people, learn some stuff and it worked great with Clintons schedule but it wasn’t enough for me. I started to feel frustrated, I started to not want to go in more than I wanted to, I started to not feel productive, useful and worse – that my presence made no impact and really served no purpose. I tried branching out and talking to my manager/supervisor about learning more, doing more but it was clear that was not going to happen. Still I told myself that I NEEDED this job this job that paid minimum wage, provided no benefits, no growth, no promotions, no opportunity, no future, no security, no creativity a job that wouldn’t notice me if I was gone. After a series of events not related to me took place hours got cut across the board for everyone, not management but everyone else and that was it for me.

I reached out to my supervisor expressing my concerns only to be told 12 hours (not 30 like I was used to) at minimum wage was going to be the new normal. I tried like hell to go in on my next scheduled day, but I couldn’t do it. I wasn’t going to give my all to this job for even for 1 hour a week, I wasn’t go to fight for hours, I wasn’t going to lose sleep over this, I wasn’t going to wait till they let me go so I did something I don’t like to do and I let the job go, I quit. I wish I could tell you I have this fantastic plan to earn a living that all my financial worries will be over and I will be living my purpose, but I cant tell you that. All I can you is that I know I will be alright.

How do I know this? I know this because after many years of scrambling trying on all these shoes in the form of jobs that don’t fit I am taking the message the universe is sending me and trying something different. I realize to some this might sound ridiculous, but I truly believe we all have a purpose on this earth and a responsibility to make a difference. I couldn’t stay stuck behind that counter anymore counting the minutes and hours down – I couldn’t do it because I wouldn’t want Clinton to do it. As my son gets older and finds his purpose I want my him to always feel like he is living his best life doing what he loves. I do not want him to feel stuck or stifled, I want him to feel fulfilled. Honestly,I do not know what the future holds but I know I will be ok. Until next time.

Love and Gratitude,

Cathie

Assistive Technology — January 31, 2020

Assistive Technology

Teachers need to integrate technology seamlessly into the curriculum instead of viewing it as an add-on, an afterthought or an event. – Heidi Hayes Jacobs

What is assistive technology?

Assistive technology (AT) is any item, piece of equipment, software program, or product system that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of persons with disabilities.

  • AT can be low-tech: communication boards made of cardboard or fuzzy felt.
  • AT can be high-tech: special-purpose computers.
  • AT can be hardware: prosthetics, mounting systems, and positioning devices.
  • AT can be computer hardware: special switches, keyboards, and pointing devices.
  • AT can be computer software: screen readers and communication programs.
  • AT can be inclusive or specialized learning materials and curriculum aids.
  • AT can be specialized curricular software.
  • AT can be much more—electronic devices, wheelchairs, walkers, braces, educational software, power lifts, pencil holders, eye-gaze and head trackers, and much more.

Assistive Technology is much like a spectrum itself and I say that because it can help so many with so many different disabilities or challenges that they are facing. Since assistive technology is such a broad spectrum I can only talk about my experience with it and how it has helped and impacted my son in terms of academics. I hope to provide helpful information to you so that you may dig deeper if it is a topic that interests you.

I have always viewed Assistive Technology as a life jacket to help the individual not only function and grow but to be included. I had heard about assistive technology but did not know much about it until my son had his thorough assistive technology evaluation performed by Communicare and my eyes were opened to how much he was been held back and excluded. They evaluation was two parts first observed Clinton in the classroom for about two hours which included obtaining work/handwriting samples from the teacher and also speaking with the teacher. The second part was a three hour one-on-one evaluation in which they not only tried out different software with Clinton but gained further insight into his challenges with one on one testing. The evaluation showed that Clinton could benefit from twenty-two different assistive technology tools/strategies and I have listed below what Clinton currently uses:

  • Chrome Book with touchscreen no external mouse.
  • Head Phones with a Boom Microphone
  • Co: Writer (word prediction software)
  • Speech-to-Text (dictation)
  • Text-to-Speech
  • Graphic Organizer
  • Grammarly
  • Read & Write for Google
  • Word Banks
  • Microsoft Office
  • IXL
  • Bookshare
  • Visual Schedule

Technology is ever evolving which makes it very important to go slowly so as not to overwhelm the student and it is very crucial this is a TEAM effort meaning what is done at school needs to be done at home and vice versa or you will not see the true benefit of assistive technology. In the coming months and years the technology that helps Clinton will need to be modified, it is an evolution of sorts but one that must be done at the students pace not the parents or teachers. It is easy to get excited anticipating all the ways your child will benefit from Assistive Technology but let us remember there it is not just as simple as turning the computer on, it takes time, effort, patience especially when the child is receiving other services such physical, occupational or speech therapy. I never want Clintons learning to be strictly technology/screen based or strictly paper based, I believe in reaching for a balance where he gets a little bit of both.

Below are some books and links I hope can guide you if you believe Assistive Technology is something you or your child needs:

Thank you for reading!

Everyone is Unique — January 25, 2020

Everyone is Unique

“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious” Albert Einstein

When I first began to notice Clintons challenges at the age of 15 months I did not know what lay ahead for him or us. I was scared, for him, his future, how society would treat him, if he would be able to live on his own, if he would be picked on or even if I was the mom for the job. When I was pregnant with Clinton I made a promise to him that no matter what I would be there and that he would never be alone, but what I did not account for was how hard it was going to actually get or how cruel the world could actually be.

From employers who fired me because Clinton had too many appointments, to health insurance who fought me on all those appointments, to the doctors at the appointments who left me with me more questions than answers and to the teachers who just wouldnt answer questions. There are thousands of books and websites and organizations out there on every learning disabilty you can imagine, but not one of them is written on your child and none of them really prepare you for the journey your on or the road blocks you will hit.

It never bothered me that Clinton flaps his hands out of excitement or that he is a little uncoorniated or that he is Dyslexic or that he is Autistic. I love how Clinton sees the world, I love how excited he is about life and learning, I love all his unique little quirks and I love how his brain works. What I do not always love is how cruel the world can be, how even grown adults can be cruel to a child, how ugly the public school system can be, how my best was always judged not good enough by someone, how many nights I just dont sleep or how many times I just felt alone.

“Autists are the ultimate square pegs, and the problem with pounding a square peg into a round hole is not that the hammering is hard work. It’s that you’re destroying the peg” – Paul Collins

I know a lot of parents who focus solely on the academic part of their childs life, the benchmarks, the scores, grade level standards just words and numbers on paper and while I do not judge – that isnt me. I never want Clinton to feel like he is only the sum of his academic perfomance or lack there of. I never want him to sit in a classroom thinking about how hard it is for him and internalizing that to shame or low self-esteem. I always want him to feel complete as he is. I always want him to embrace who he is inside and out and use that to find his purpose in life whatever that may be. I always want him to celebrate himself realizing his differences make him unique and so valuable to this world even when the world may not celebrate him.

To all the parents who struggle, I see you and I send you strength and so much love. Please remember we did not choose this battle but our little ones chose us because they knew we could handle it, they trusted us so lets trust ourselves.