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Terri Mauro

Kids With Special Needs

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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.

Also in the special-needs news today:

+ This week's Parenting Special Needs newsletter offers tips for finding the pediatrician that's right for you and then working collaboratively by asking the right questions and getting the knowledge you need. You can read the newsletter online, but why not subscribe to get future issues right in your inbox?

+ The U.S. Paralympics blog has an interview with Declan Farmer, the high-school sophomore who was one of the top scorers for the sled hockey team that won the gold in the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi.

+ The Arc has released a response to offensive comments and use of the R-word by Gavin McInnes, a guest on the Fox News's The Sean Hannity Show.

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

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.

Also in the special-needs news today:

+ Jen Lee Reeves, whose online community Born Just Right was a 2013 Readers' Choice Award finalist, blogged about "The Magic of Amy Purdy" and the significance of the Paralympian's performances on Dancing With the Stars to kids with limb differences.

+ Disability Scoop reports on a new ranking of the "Best States for Disability Services." At the top is Arizona, and Mississippi comes in last. You can find the full ranking on the United Cerebral Palsy site.

+ The blog Pediatric Occupational Therapy Tips has a quick idea for making visual schedules to "help children with changes in routine." For more techniques for getting through rough behavior spots, read my articles on "The ABCs of Behavior Management" and "Ten Ways to Improve Your Child's Behavior."

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

Helping Your Child With Special Needs Enjoy Easter

Tuesday April 15, 2014

Easter BasketEaster is coming this Sunday, ending the string of candy-overload holidays that started with Halloween and ran through Christmas and Valentine's Day. If you have a child for whom treats can be trouble -- whether due to allergies, medical conditions, behavioral overreactions to sugar, or any other disaster waiting to happen -- the baskets and egg hunts and goody bags that hop into your house this time of year can be a challenge. The holiday can be tricky for other reasons, too, as anyone who's tried to get a wiggly kid to sit still during long church services, get a sensory-sensitive child to put on fancy Easter duds, or get through a family gathering without wanting to stuff a giant chocolate bunny down someone's throat can attest. For some holiday-handling advice, read my Easter Survival Guide and prepare for a "whatever works" kind of a day.

Also in the special-needs news today:

+ If you missed paralympian Amy Purdy on Dancing With the Stars last night, the video of her waltz with partner Derek Hough is up on YouTube. You can cast votes through Tuesday.

+ Around About.com, autism expert Lisa Jo Rudy offers "Five Reasons to Celebrate Our Autistic Children's Small Victories," Down syndrome expert Eliana Tardio writes about "The Challenges of Being a Working Mom of a Child with Down Syndrome," and celiac disease expert Jane Anderson has information on gluten-free Easter candy.

+ Mashable shares the story of a young cancer survivor who developed a video game to help kids with cancer feel better, have fun, and find fellowship.

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

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Weekly Round-Up: Week Ending April 13

Monday April 14, 2014

Here's your listing of all the new content you may have missed from the past few weeks on About Parenting Special Needs.

New Blog Posts and Podcasts

Updated Pages

 

Waves, Science, and More Fun Things to Do

Saturday April 12, 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: Wave Bottle Rocker
  2. Kids' Site: Science Made Fun!
  3. Shopping: Spina Bifida Shirts
  4. Humor: Family Gathering Bingo
  5. Just for Fun: 25 Iconic TV Theme Songs

Your Comments on Special Needs on TV and in the Neighborhood

Friday April 11, 2014

MegaphoneCatch up on what your fellow readers have been going on about, and add your own two cents, by checking out the comments recently added to these posts:

What's on your mind today? Share in the comments here or on any of the 7,000+ posts now up on this blog.

Also in the special-needs news today:

+ This week's Parenting Special Needs newsletter looks at some helpful depictions of children with special needs on kids' shows, from Sesame Street's upcoming "See Amazing in All Children Autism Initiative" to some classic "Arthur" episodes. You can read the newsletter online, but why not subscribe to get future issues right in your inbox?

+ On the Inclusive Class podcast this week, my cohost Nicole Eredics and I talked with special-education professor Megan Mackey about "How Inclusion Works in Middle School," including how important it still is for parents to volunteer and be a part of their child's school, even as kids get to an age where they're embarrassed to be around you. For more Inclusive Class podcasts you can listen to right now, check the episode index.

+ Around About.com, Assistive Technology expert Andrew Leibs writes about a screen reader for math students with print disabilities, and Autism expert Lisa Jo Rudy shares the story of how her son with autism learned to play the clarinet.

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

Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Birthday Parties, for Better or Worse

Thursday April 10, 2014

Parenting RoundAboutYesterday's Parenting RoundAbout podcast was on the topic of birthday parties, and I had fun chatting with my fellow About.com parenting experts Catherine Holecko (Family Fitness) and Katherine Lee (Parenting School-Age Children) about good parties, great parties, over-the-top parties, and the importance of letting the host know if you're coming is that so hard? We discussed the fact that kids today may not want to actually sleep on the floor for a slumber party like I did in my long-ago youth, and wondered if limos and catering halls are really necessary, even for Sweet 16. And on a special-needs note, I made a plea for parents of guests and parents of hosts to work together as adults to take the burden of dietary restrictions off of fun-seeking little party-goers. You can listen to our conversation on BlogTalk Radio, Stitcher, or iTunes. Next Wednesday, the podcast topic is "Firing Your Pediatrician." If you've got a story to share on that topic, leave it in the comments here or on the Parenting RoundAbout Facebook page, and maybe we'll mention it on the air.

Also in the special-needs news today:

+ Around About.com, Parenting School-Age Children expert Katherine Lee has a review of a mom's book about her child's hearing loss, and Celiac Disease expert Jane Anderson has tips on how to make a gluten-free Easter basket.

+ The JKP blog offers "10 Tips to support children with autism through puberty, adolescence and beyond," from the author of the new book Sexuality and Relationship Education for Children and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders. There's also a downloadable handout for family, friends and teachers. For more great resources from Jessica Kingsley Publishers, look it up on my book-review index.

+ Mashable highlights an unexpected use for Google Glass: as a way to allow kids who are confined to the hospital the opportunity to get virtually out and about.

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

Helping Kids Write Right

Tuesday April 8, 2014

LaptopWe're at that point in my son's college semester where suddenly he has papers due all over the place. Often, the hardest part of writing for kids at any level of school is getting started, and for that I've always found the good old I-II-III A-B-C outline that got me through compositions in the olden days when we wrote papers by hand or on a typewriter still works for getting the words flowing. I've got some instructions for how to make the outline work for paragraphs, essays, and research papers; and since we're now in an age where kids can quickly cut-and-paste from online sources instead of copying out the encyclopedia by hand like their elders did so long ago, you might also want to try out these tips for paraphrasing instead of plagiarizing.

Also in the special-needs news today:

+ If you missed Dancing With the Stars last night, you can watch a video of Paralympic snowboarder Amy Purdy's samba on YouTube and vote on the ABC site through today. For Purdy's thoughts on Week 4 and a one-week-only partner switch, read her Q&A in the Los Angeles Times.

+ Around About.com, autism expert Lisa Jo Rudy writes about "Five Ways to Become Your Child's Autism Therapist," while celiac-disease expert Jane Andrews and Eastern European cooking expert Barbara Rolek both have ideas for gluten-free Passover treats.

+ Disability Scoop reports that mothers of 16 children with special needs are suing Disney, claiming that recent changes in its system for accommodating theme-park-goers with disabilities violates the Americans With Disabilities Act.

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

Photo by Terri Mauro

Sesame Street to 'See the Amazing' in Kids With Autism

Monday April 7, 2014

Abby CadabbyThe good news: Sesame Workshop has announced Sesame Street's See Amazing in All Children Autism Initiative, a program intended to, according to a press release, "provide resources to reduce the stigma through content directed toward the general public and ... provide additional resources designed to support families of young children with ASD. Our goal is to build awareness through media experiences designed to increase understanding, reduce stigma, demonstrate the commonalities that children with ASD share with all children, and encourage connection between the autism community and the general public."

The bad news, for many in the autism community, is that one of the organizations the Workshop is partnering with is Autism Speaks (there's Abby Cadabby getting ready to light the Empire State building up blue for World Autism Awareness Day in the photo at right). Autism Speaks has been criticized for not listening to adult self-advocates and for scare campaigns like the November 2013 "Call to Action" and the "I Am Autism" video that, though they may reflect some families' experiences, seem to represent an approach far different from Sesame Workshop's intention to "See the amazing in all children" and demonstrate that "We are all different, but the same." There's a Change.org petition up asking Sesame Workshop to reconsider its partnership with Autism Speaks, and the blog A Diary of a Mom has a letter to Abby Cadabby requesting the same thing.

Also in the special-needs news today:

+ In another illustration of the difficulty companies are having partnering with autism organizations, Disability Scoop reports on an attempt by Chili's to raise money for the National Autism Association. The restaurant chain had planned to donate a portion of today's proceeds, but customers protesting the organization's views on vaccinations (that they "have triggered autism in a subset of children," particularly when a "overly aggressive vaccination schedule" combines with a family history of autoimmune disorders) caused the company to cancel.

+ On the blog Finding Beauty in Brokenness, Ellen Stumbo writes about Where Church and Disability Meet, and offers some resources for helping churches understand their responsibility to welcome and serve those with special needs. For more on making churches more inclusive, read "Five Ways to Make Your Church More Inclusive" and my reviews on the books Leading a Special Needs Ministry, Including People With Disabilities in Faith Communities, and Disabilities and the Gospel.

+ A post on the Special Olympics blog suggests that the "Health Needs of People With Intellectual Disabilities Need Closer Examination," and describes some of the efforts Special Olympics is making to help with that.

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

Photo by Ben Gabbe/Getty Images

Weekly Round-Up: Week Ending April 6

Sunday April 6, 2014

Here's your listing of all the new content you may have missed from the past few weeks on About Parenting Special Needs.

New Pages and Podcasts

Blog Posts

Updated Pages

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