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Special Needs

5 Things You Need to Know When You Become a Special Needs Parent

Meredith McGee | Posted 01.29.2015 | Parents
Meredith McGee

There's no pamphlet they hand out with tips for the newly-minted special needs parent. Here are a few things from my experience that I think you should know:

A New Organization and a New Focus: Enabling Children and Families to Succeed

Adam Pertman | Posted 01.26.2015 | Impact
Adam Pertman

When families struggle to address the consequences of children's early adversity, they should be able to receive -- as a matter of course integral to the adoption process, and not as an "add-on" that can be subtracted -- services that meet their needs and sustain them.

These Diapers Are Bullsh*t, Aren't They?

Shanell Mouland | Posted 01.26.2015 | Parents
Shanell Mouland

You are in the diaper aisle. The far end where they keep the biggest diapers. The frown on your face tells me you are discouraged that they stopped at size six. Your boy can barely squeeze into them and they are useless through the night. I only recently left the diaper aisle myself.

What Facebook Means to Special Needs Families

Rachel Engel | Posted 01.22.2015 | Parents
Rachel Engel

Yeah, Facebook is annoying. It's overused and overexposed. But, for parents of children who have rare diseases or disorders, special equipment, body differences, or something that makes them extra unique... it's the most precious invention, ever.

Yours, Mine and Ours: Planning Stepfamily Finances

Jason Alderman | Posted 01.07.2015 | Money
Jason Alderman

Couples planning to blend families often have to make financial arrangements that respect previous relationships with ex-spouses and their families. Issues range from childcare and eldercare to potentially complex matters. That's why involving trained experts in stepfamily financial planning is a must.

What I Wish I Knew Then

Kathy Radigan | Posted 01.07.2015 | Parents
Kathy Radigan

Remember it was never her job to be the dream child you expected. Children are their own people, whatever their challenges are. Give her the freedom to be the Elizabeth she's meant to be.

5 New Year's Resolutions for an Autism Mom

Julie M Green | Posted 01.05.2015 | Parents
Julie M Green

I do the best I can, sure. But some days, my best falls short of good enough. My son is a tremendous kid. He deserves an equally tremendous -- at least most of the time -- mom. So in that spirit of self-improvement and self-awareness, I resolve to the following.

To Hannah, the Night Before Christmas

Beth Whitley | Posted 12.30.2014 | Parents
Beth Whitley

The saying goes "I thought I would have to teach my daughter about the world, turns out I have to teach the world about her." This has been true enough in the past four years, but it is also true to add that it turns out that my daughter has had to teach me. So, Merry Christmas, from a very proud and humbled mum, to the best teacher I've ever had.

The Dreaded Christmas Concert

Sue Robins | Posted 12.19.2014 | Parents
Sue Robins

Planning for success is all about perspective: it is a kids' Christmas concert, not a Broadway show. I need to take my own advice: most of all, relax and enjoy -- your kid is awesome just the way they are.

The Hardest Part Of Autism

Lauren Casper | Posted 12.15.2014 | Parents
Lauren Casper

As much as I sometimes want to, we don't pin a sign to Mareto's shirt explaining his autism. So other people, particularly strangers, give us a lot of attention in the form of staring, dirty looks, snide under-the-breath comments and just overall judgment.

What We Can Learn From the Developmentally Disabled

Karen Zainal | Posted 12.10.2014 | 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.

Trick-or-Treating Teens

Julie Cole | Posted 12.30.2014 | Parents
Julie Cole

We all enjoy holidays more when we just sit back and don't sweat the small stuff.

We All Fall Down Sometimes, And Yet... A Spina Bifida Awareness Post

Sarah Sweatt Orsborn | Posted 12.29.2014 | Parents
Sarah Sweatt Orsborn

All the kids swing. All the kids slide. All the kids run and play. But only one of them is constantly falling down and, it turns out, she's starting to notice it too.

The Importance of Meditation for Parents of Children With Special Needs or Challenges

Eden Kozlowski | Posted 12.28.2014 | Healthy Living
Eden Kozlowski

On my end, I've written that my meditation practice has been my "saving grace." Okay, if I am going to be honest... it is stronger than that. It has saved my life. With my daughter, I probably would have lingered in a consistent state of depression. I've had bouts, but with my practice I could always get out of it.

On Wondering What Your Kid Would Be Like Without The Special Needs

Ellen Seidman | Posted 12.27.2014 | Parents
Ellen Seidman

Max, he is no trauma. Just the opposite: He is excessively wonderful and delicious. He brings me a whole lot of happiness. Which is exactly why it throws me when my mind considers a different version of Max.

How I Was So Wrong About The 'R' Word

Kristi Rieger Campbell | Posted 12.21.2014 | Parents
Kristi Rieger Campbell

My son Tucker is developmentally delayed. And I love him. Fiercely and bigger than any love I've ever known.

Freshman Who Was Born Blind Scores His First Football Touchdown

The Huffington Post | Avery Stone | Posted 10.16.2014 | Teen

Justin Olenginski scored his first touchdown on Oct. 11. It was an extraordinary moment for the 15-year-old, who was born blind and has special needs ...

"Normal" Is a Dryer Setting: We're All More Alike Than We Are Different

Debra Jenkins | Posted 11.30.2014 | Impact
Debra Jenkins

I was honored to be a presenter at TEDxHuntsville on September 7 and am thrilled that the video of my talk has now been posted.

The Great Disclosure Debate: When Should You Tell Strangers Your Child Has Autism?

Julie M Green | Posted 11.26.2014 | Parents
Julie M Green

Is it better to be upfront about your kid's disorder to bemused strangers, or to keep your private business private?

I Wanted To Run Away Today

Kathy Radigan | Posted 11.18.2014 | Parents
Kathy Radigan

Today was one of those days where I questioned every choice I ever made in my 48 years on this planet. I thought back to a time in my life when my house was quiet, and all I had to think about was myself.

The Inspirational Story of Nolan's Sweet Heat

Reghan Conrey | Posted 11.15.2014 | Teen
Reghan Conrey

Nolan Stillwell. CEO, avid gardener, talented chef, and beacon of hope. Nolan has Down Syndrome, but there is nothing "disabled" about this hardworking, motivated young man.

Please Segregate My Special Needs Child

Eliot Borenstein | Posted 11.12.2014 | Parents
Eliot Borenstein

Inclusion is a wonderful idea, and should always be the goal whenever it is reasonable. But inclusion must not be treated as an inflexible ideology.

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.

Five Extra-Special Young People Share Their Lives With the World in The Specials Reality Show

Brian Horn | Posted 11.03.2014 | Entertainment
Brian Horn

The series chronicles four years in the lives of five young adults, ages 19 through 23. What makes this so "special" is that these five young people all have intellectual disabilities.

Goldstock: 400 Golden Retrievers Gather for One Weekend

Suz Redfearn | Posted 11.02.2014 | Good News
Suz Redfearn

Close your eyes and picture the smiling, fluffy bundle of mirth that is a golden retriever. Now picture 400 golden retrievers galloping across grassy fields to a long dock jutting into quiet lake and each dog launching him or herself into the water with gusto.