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What Are 'Special Needs'?

Portrait of a Boy With Down Syndrome

"Special needs" is an umbrella term that covers a wide range of issues, from medical problems to developmental differences, learning difficulties to food allergies. If your child benefits from accommodations, modifications, sensitivity and understanding, chances are you'll find useful information and support here

Children With Special Needs Spotlight10

Recovering from Easter Overload

Monday April 21, 2014

Chocolate BunnyIf you celebrated Easter yesterday with a worship service, a family get-together, and/or an overabundance of sweets, you may be having a bit of a holiday hangover today. Maybe you had a church experience that left you wishing you could talk back to your judgmental pew-mates. Maybe you're seething over that thing an alleged loved one said about your child or parenting. Maybe you're wishing you hadn't snuck quite so many chocolate eggs and jelly beans from your child's basket. Clear your head for the week ahead with articles that help you move forward in a constructive way or at least defuse a frustrating situation with a laugh:

For more special-needs news, check the dailyweekly, and topic pages.

Photo by Martin Poole/Getty Image

Easter Games, Bouncing Balls, and More Fun Things to Do

Saturday April 19, 2014

Stop by here every Saturday for a family activity, a site for the kids, a shopping site, a site offering humor or inspiration about parenting children with special needs, and a site that's just silly or fun, all designed to get you through your weekend with kids amused and spirits intact. Today's list:

  1. Activity: Easter Fun and Games
  2. Kids' Site: Bouncy Balls
  3. Shopping: ArtLifting
  4. Humor: Family Gathering Survival Kit
  5. Just for Fun: "If Our Media Reported The Thing That Just Happened On 'Game Of Thrones'"

Wishing for Church Inclusion, on Easter Especially

Friday April 18, 2014

Child in ChurchThis Sunday, Easter Sunday, is one of those occasions where parents may feel most acutely the lack of inclusion and fellowship with their worship community. Families who stay home frequently to avoid disturbing their fellow parishioners may come back for Easter and be reminded all over again what a bad idea that seems to be. Noticing that there's a children's choir and young altar servers and a Sunday school infrastructure and a whole passel of programs that your child and your family have never been welcomed into can sting again on a big church holiday. Even if things go relatively well, it's hard not to feel on the outside looking in. And if you wind up with your wiggly loud child in a cry room or a bench in the narthex or maybe even out in your car, you may end up having a distinctly non-spiritual experience.

So this felt like a good day to be talking to Amy Fenton Lee of The Inclusive Church on The Inclusive Class podcast. My co-host Nicole Eredics and I usually talk about school inclusion, but churches also have a job to do in including children of all abilities and educating them in the ways of their faith. Those who claim there's no need to do that because no kids with special needs are in the congregation need to check the statistics, Lee suggests, and take a hard look at how they've managed to drive those families away. Lee's book Leading a Special Needs Ministry gives churches some practical ideas on how to be more welcoming, and in the article "Five Ways to Make Your Church More Inclusive" she suggests some quick ways to get started. If your biggest concern right now is how you're going to get through that lengthy service on Sunday, my article "Church and the Child With Special Needs" has some pointers. Do you have some good tricks of your own? Share them on the Readers Respond page.

For more special-needs news, check the dailyweekly, and topic pages.

Photo by Greg Ceo/Getty Images

Podcast Examines Parents' Pet Peeves About Pediatricians

Thursday April 17, 2014

Parenting RoundAboutOn yesterday's Parenting RoundAbout podcast, I swapped bad pediatrician stories with my fellow About.com parenting experts Catherine Holecko (Family Fitness), Laureen Brunelli (Work-at-Home Moms), and Amanda Morin (Kids' Learning Activities). We chatted about impossible wait times, too-big practices where you always see a stranger, doctors who scoff at a parent's opinion, and other reasons why you might want to fire your pediatrician. You can listen to our conversation on BlogTalk Radio, Stitcher, or iTunes, and if you're on your own new-pediatrician search right now, read my article "Before You Pick a Pediatrician" for some guidelines.

Next Wednesday's podcast topic considers "How Soon Is Too Soon to Start School?" If you've have some experiences and opinions regarding early intervention and preschool, sound off in the comments here or on the Parenting RoundAbout Facebook page, and maybe we'll mention it on the air.

For more special-needs news, check the dailyweekly, and topic pages.

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