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What kind of mom drugs her kid? The mom who is tired of walking on eggshells, wondering who her child will hurt today. The mom who is tired of watching her baby suffer inside his own skin. The mom who, fighting back tears, dutifully takes the scrap of paper from the doctor with the round glasses.... What mom does that, anyway? The kind who will do whatever it takes to help her child feel better, even if it means doing precisely the thing she vowed never to do.
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Our son used to have a really hard time with summer. It was so bad many years ago that I was scared that I would begin to hate summer, my most favorite time of the year. The solution for our family was gradually introducing my son to all the wonderful things summer could hold, but on his terms. This way he had control, and slowly our family started enjoying this time of year.
Nowadays, businesses are not only more aware of autism, some are willingly offering special accommodations. They are meeting families where they're at -- so kids like mine can enjoy what's on offer along with everybody else. The following autism friendly attractions is by no means exhaustive, and I would love nothing better than to see this list grow.
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It's been almost a year since Jacob last attended school, his immune system too weak to risk exposure to even a simple cold. Nothing with Jacob is ever simple. Life goes on, days stretch into weeks and before I realize it, nine years pass without time away for my husband and I to unwind and relax together.
I know for my son, when Spring hits, so do more sensory challenges, particularly when the weather zigzags between hot, cold, rainy, humid etc. What's a parent to do grappling with regular spring fever, and not wanting to do homework combined with bigger sensory issues? Though it requires some minor tweaking each year, I have come up with 5 ways that help our family survive Spring Fever each year.
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The past half-year has been hard on all of us, each family member affected in different ways. I can only begin to imagine how uncomfortable and awkward it must be for Jacob to have so many strange caregivers, some with questionable skills, performing intimate tasks including bathing and suctioning.
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Even though you don't want to compare -- comparing is for chumps -- you secretly can't help yourself. A litany of comparisons runs through your mind like a never-ending grocery list. Your child is amazing, but his needs limit his day-to-day life and that of your family. And even after all these years, it stings.
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There is no need to think that, with autism and other anxiety related issues, my son cannot go on to do a job he loves, have friends and even live independently or semi-independently. It's all in how much he is encouraged and given opportunities to explore what he loves to do.
When my son was a toddler, I remember a few events that I declined to attend simply because it was too complicated -- I just didn't have it in me. Looking back at the earlier years, I realize just how little people new about my son and his autism. I think our experience would have been different had others been more aware.
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Designing Jacob's Halloween costumes is an annual project in our house. One year, we built a drum set around his wheelchair. Another year my husband, Andrew, constructed a race car emblazoned with a F...
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Ah, that first visit to Santa. Remember how your little one cried and was scared, clinging to you? But you knew that this was temporary. Next year, he/she would be fine with the Santa visit, a rite of passage for most North American children today. But what if your child is not like all the other children?
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Some children need smaller classes sizes, more one-on-one attention, or other services that more specialized or private schools can usually offer. For special needs children with all types of learning issues and challenges, the situation can become even more complicated.
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Halloween is a magical night for parents and their children. There is no reason why special needs children can't have as much fun as their neuro-typical peers. They may just need a few tweaks in the tradition to make it a happy event for them and their families.
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Last year at this time, I was helping Jacob settle in to his new school, working closely with his teacher and the school's Vice-Principal to ensure a smooth transition. This year, instead of arranging Jacob's uneventful passage to grade seven, my energy is focused on ensuring that Jacob remains healthy and strong.
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Watching my son take off at top speed down our small street yesterday filled me with a feeling of awe that I can't explain. You see, he struggles with gross motor skills a lot, though he does with fine motor skills. Lots of kids with autism do. And though he has always been interested in learning to ride a bike, it came slowly.
Thanksgiving used to be just another long holiday weekend for us dealing with my son being out of routine and having lots of behaviours. This was difficult for all of us. What has helped now as he has gotten older is talking about this holiday and what we will be doing that weekend.
Sleep is a word that was hard to come by for me in the first few years of my son's life. The thing is, I want to find a permanent solution to this problem, where he can feel relaxed going to bed by himself, and I can have my personal space back. I also want him to feel secure enough in himself.
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Think yoga is just for stressed-out adults? Think again. The benefits of yoga can be reaped by young children, and the practice is gaining popularity with the preschool set. Not just with typically developing kids, either.
My son, Jacob, was admitted to the hospital on January 23, 2015 for a respiratory infection complicated by Pelizaeus-Merzbacher disease (PMD), a degenerative neurological disorder. He would turn 13 years old on May 15 and his bar mitzvah, the ceremony and celebration commemorating his entry into Jewish adulthood, was supposed to be May 18.
My three-year-old-daughter has cerebral palsy. Having a child with special needs means a whole new set of ground rules. And for those parents who don't have as much familiarity with special needs you...
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A child with cerebral palsy, for examples, needs hundreds of pieces of equipment not covered by health care programs.
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Inclusion is held up as the ideal learning environment, and rightly so. Successful integration is possible, yet it doesn't magically happen when you throw a child with high-functioning autism into a class of 20+ children, cross your fingers and hope for the best. In many cases, though, in schools across the country, this is exactly what is being passed off as inclusion.
This is another prime example how the rights of special needs children continues to be violated by the same people that are in a position to protect them. The abuser doesn't see these children as whole. They see them as deficient, less than and certainly not worthy of respect and dignity. This principal didn't see them as whole human beings. She saw them as "animals." What message is the school district sending when they fire the person that has reported the abuse?
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If only students were made of concrete and steel that could be moulded into things like roads, bridges, pipelines or sports arenas for Olympic events. Things that would be seen to be worth it, a good investment of billions of dollars of taxpayer money.
I now work with families -- parents who trust us with that which they cherish most of all: their children. All these parents share a common story: they feel forgotten, isolated, frustrated, helpless, and overwhelmed by public sector waiting lists and the lack of support. They are right to worry.
In her weekly column, Natalie answers your questions about caring for a family member or friend who needs extra support -- and caring for yourself as a caregiver. "My daughter is the joy of my life but sometimes I feel incredibly stressed by the daily responsibilities and challenges of her disability. What can I do when I feel like this?"
Have you ever used headphones that were turned up way too loud? If you were wearing them all the time, how hard do you think it would be for you to be able to you to concentrate on other things? Have conversations? Ask questions like these to help kids understand what autism's like.