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Special Needs Parents

What Does Autism Awareness Even Mean?

Carrie Cariello | Posted 04.01.2015 | Parents
Carrie Cariello

Without you, autism awareness is an exclamation without a point, or a balloon without enough air. It is lacking. Because without you, the breathtakingly unusual person in your life would simply drift -- it is you who keeps him or her or them afloat and buoyant.

8 Things I Wish I Could've Told Myself Before I Became A Special Needs Parent

Dr. Darla Clayton, Psy.D. | Posted 03.23.2015 | Parents
Dr. Darla Clayton, Psy.D.

Some days are going to be tough. You are going to fall into bed at the end of them and be amazed that you survived! But you will survive those days, and there will be so many wonderful, happy, love-filled days that will far outnumber the tough ones in the end.

Special Needs Parents and Nap Envy

Dan Levitz | Posted 03.11.2015 | Parents
Dan Levitz

So, for new parents of special needs kids, I'll just say that an afternoon nap may be enticing, elusive and, very likely, not in the cards. Please do not bemoan this reality. It's something to work towards as there's nothing wrong with stealing a nap wherever and whenever time/life permits. I

To The People Who Think My Son Doesn't Look Like He Has Autism

Lauren Casper | Posted 05.02.2015 | Parents
Lauren Casper

Did my son seem "normal" to you in the 10 minutes you spent with him? Well, that's nice, because he is normal... he's a sweet, normal, beautiful boy with autism.

To My Son's Cub Scouts Leaders -- Thank You!

Marla Murasko | Posted 04.27.2015 | Parents
Marla Murasko

He gained wonderful friendships, and learned that he can do certain things like ride a bike, build a car or rocket, speak in front of others and learn responsibility.

Please Don't Praise Your Kid For Playing With Mine

Ellen Stumbo | Posted 04.06.2015 | Parents
Ellen Stumbo

Follow your child's lead: make a new friend, maybe even someone with a disability. No, you will not be an exceptional person for doing that -- you will just be a little bit richer for having a new friend.

The Dad with the Butterfly Tattoo

Brian Horn | Posted 03.31.2015 | Parents
Brian Horn

The tattoo tells the story of my journey with my son Jackson through the chrysalis of a butterfly (the butterfly is also the international symbol for Down syndrome).

Parenting a Limb Difference Kid

Jill Robbins | Posted 03.22.2015 | Parents
Jill Robbins

We all want life to be easy for our kids and sometimes, it's hard to see him standing out when he'd rather fit in. My son's limb difference isn't always the first thing people notice, but eventually, they notice.

What We Can Learn From the Developmentally Disabled

Karen Zainal | Posted 02.09.2015 | Impact
Karen Zainal

I love the work organizations like KEEN does, but it saddens me that we actually need to recruit volunteers to fulfill social and emotional needs that wonderful people like Charles are often deprived of.

The Inclusive Gap Ad That Has Everyone Cheering

The Huffington Post | Caroline Bologna | Posted 10.16.2014 | Parents

Earlier this month, Gap posted a photo on the brand's Facebook page to promote its autumn kids collection. The ad shows a group of children getting re...

Learning to Trust My Parenting Instincts

Kathy Radigan | Posted 12.03.2014 | Parents
Kathy Radigan

Trusting my own instincts can be very hard for me at these times. I find myself caught between wanting to be the perfect daughter and making my parents happy and needing to be the mother that I know Lizzy requires me to be. Yesterday, motherhood won out.

No, Actually, It's Not OK For My Son To Lick You

Lisa Eicher | Posted 03.20.2015 | Parents
Lisa Eicher

The thing is, I can say with great certainty that if Archie had been a typical child, she would not have even looked twice. In fact, she may have even thought, too bad, punk. But because Archie has Down syndrome, in her mind, he needed to be let off the hook. Um, no.

What Are You Going to Do When He Grows Up?

Mardra Sikora | Posted 11.09.2014 | Parents
Mardra Sikora

There are times he comes out to tell you "the man helped me." With the sink, with the paper towels, with the door. Never a concern on his face. Never a problem breathed.

My Child Can't be Defined By A Parent Intake Form

Kathy Radigan | Posted 11.05.2014 | Parents
Kathy Radigan

The other day I was in the middle of my morning routine of packing snacks, reminding people to wear underwear and ordering them to brush their teeth when I happened to see it, my special needs daughter's red take home folder.

I'm So Sorry My Daughter's Disability Is Such An Inconvenience For You

Jamie Davis Smith | Posted 11.03.2014 | Parents
Jamie Davis Smith

If you think individuals and their families are just trying to game the system for their own benefit, think again.

An Awesome Life Lesson From My Son With Down Syndrome: Friends and New Beginnings

John M. Simmons | Posted 10.26.2014 | Parents
John M. Simmons

In Jack's mind, you never lose friends, you just don't see them outside of your own mind as much as you used to. And to my son, that is the beauty of life. You just keep adding more and more friends. It never ends!

To The Summer Camp Director Who Excluded A Child With Special Needs

Laurie Levy | Posted 10.12.2014 | Parents
Laurie Levy

Please don't bring Olivia back tomorrow, the person in charge stated. We need the helper to manage the behavior of other children in the class as well. Olivia just doesn't fit in because she needs too much of the helper's time.

Does This Photo of a Teen With Cerebral Palsy Shock You? It Shouldn't

Ellen Seidman | Posted 09.14.2014 | Parents
Ellen Seidman

The truth is, the realities of raising a child with physical challenges are often not pretty, however lovingly they are handled.

For Special Needs Parents, Every Milestone Is Major

Ellen Seidman | Posted 09.07.2014 | Parents
Ellen Seidman

When Max walks, says a word, feeds himself, picks up an object, uses his pointer finger, reads a word, writes his name, climbs the stairs, goes to the bathroom or uses his iPad speech app, I'll suddenly be filled with gratitude that he is able to do what he does. I take none of it for granted.

To The Woman In The Elevator Who Asked About This Bracelet

Mike Porath | Posted 08.19.2014 | Parents
Mike Porath

I'd never worn a bracelet -- I don't even wear a watch -- but when you get a diagnosis like we did and you don't have any answers, you do whatever you can to show support.

Celebrating All of the Dads With Special Needs Children

Meg Harris | Posted 08.12.2014 | Parents
Meg Harris

I recall feeling envious of his ability to just be one with her. We were both first-time parents with very little experience with babies. While I sat thinking, Will he drop her? Is she OK? He quietly slept as though he'd been holding her in his arms forever. It was a beautiful moment.

The Supreme Court Takes a Stand on the Term 'Mental Retardation'

Ellen Seidman | Posted 08.04.2014 | Parents
Ellen Seidman

Using more neutral terminology to describe a person with intellectual disability, when they need to be described at all, is just one more way to respect them. Not the only way, of course; just one. An easy one.

Not Pictured

Sarah Sweatt Orsborn | Posted 07.22.2014 | Parents
Sarah Sweatt Orsborn

The truth is, while I rationally know that we have made the absolute best decision to send Claire to a developmental preschool, I still sometimes feel guilty that she's not home with me and Etta.

Big Deal or Little Problem?

Raluca State | Posted 05.19.2014 | Parents
Raluca State

The teacher, in a calming, warm voice, said: "Big deal or little problem?" He thought about it for a second. His eyes focused squarely on hers. His hands relaxed motionless by his sides.

To The Woman Who Apologized To Me At The Supermarket

Rachael Clarke | Posted 04.29.2014 | Parents
Rachael Clarke

I wanted to tell you that you didn't have to apologize, that nothing had gone wrong. The man had been kind, expressed joy in seeing my daughter. He had wanted to make her smile, and he'd succeeded. There's no being sorry for that.