Life is not a fairytale, at least not the fairytales we dream about as kids. We have to make our fairytales. We have to create our dreams, and it takes work and perseverance. You don't get the good stuff without going through a lot of unexpected hard stuff.
In this, the fourth and final installment of the Incredibly Kind Kids series, we meet a very special young man: Jackdaniel Calvillo, age 9, of Los Angeles, California. He is consistently motivated to do the right thing and is always finding new ways to give back to those around him.
Listen up, I've had it up to my messy bun with you and your dangerously ignorant comments about children with autism and their parents. You know who you are. If you're reading this because someone shared it on social media, maybe that's because they wanted YOU to read it. Here's what you need to know.
Of course it's hard to get any nine-year-old kid to really talk about his thought or feelings but with Evan it's different. I feel fortunate that he is verbal but even though he talks, there is so much he can't articulate. But that doesn't mean I stop trying.
When your child has special needs, it's a major upset to that expectation. Aside from missing Sophie, her leaving is also a stark reminder that the natural order has been disrupted. There are upsides to an empty nest, but we won't experience them.
As proud as we are that Kate is beginning to articulate more, it terrifies us that she is beginning to understand her differences, her deficits. Like any parent, our goal is to protect her. And everyday we wonder if we are doing it right.
While some people are private about their child's diagnosis, I am all about education and raising awareness so that people are more understanding of those who are different.
I decline any explanation for what I do other than the exercise of my own free will. That I am not always in command of those choices, that I am not even always aware that I have made a choice is irrelevant. What looks like dysfunction is only practice, another person learning how to live their life on purpose.
Let me tell you the tale of two sweet little girls and a very special dog heading to the doctor with their sleep-deprived and slightly cranky mother. It all happened on a Tuesday... or was it Wednesday?
Careful research, planning and preparation are needed to select the right pet and bring him safely and successfully into a family with an autistic child. The goal should be to provide not only help for the child, but also a safe, loving forever home for the animal.
Heroes are among us in the disability community speaking out for those who cannot always speak for themselves. Barry Prizant, Ph.D., speech-language pathologist and author of the new book UNIQUELY HUMAN: A Different Way of Seeing Autism, is one of those heroes.
Before I graduated from my special ed high school, the administration offered me a choice: I could receive a diploma with the name of my actual school, or a discrete diploma from a non-descript public school in the area.
The problem is that the law, schools and parents are treating bullying as if it's the beginning of the story, something to react to and treat. And the thinking of far too many school officials is that an occasional assembly is an adequate measure for them to check this issue off their list.
Understanding the true causes of autism, and discovering truly effective treatments that address the underlying causes that produce it, must become a national priority.
I have two Autistic children. When I say that, most people assume the response I desire from them is something along the lines of "I'm so sorry, that must be really hard."
Robert Redford has written a compelling Foreword to my new book, Riding Home: The Power of Horses to Heal. I am honored and profoundly grateful.