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Terri Mauro

Terri's Kids With Special Needs Blog

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Bye Bye Blog

Friday May 30, 2014

Computer KeyboardOver the next week or so, you may notice a change on this About.com Parenting Special Needs site. Soon the pages here will look completely different, but what's happening most immediately is the end of this blog as we've known it. The most popular blog posts will stick around in a different format, while the many thousands that haven't gotten so much traffic in a while will be shuffled off to Internet limbo (though I'll try to save the ones I love the most and move them into articles). I haven't been blogging much over the last month in anticipation of this change, and since it's often been unclear to readers in the past which items on the site are blog posts are which are articles, you may not notice any sort of difference at all. But if you've been following the blog on an RSS feed, entries will stop coming. If you've been commenting, you'll lose that ability (though old comments may still show up). And if you visit the home page at specialchildren.about.com, you'll see a list of most recent articles where once were displayed most recent blog posts.

I'll still be writing about the latest happenings in the world of special needs, but on the Today's News page instead of in blog posts. You can follow news stories on special-needs topics from that Today's News page to the Weekly News page to individual topic news pages, and I'll be broadcasting each day's list on Twitter and Facebook and Google+. And I'll still be ranting about the things that get me going about special-needs parenting and inclusion and acceptance, but on an article template instead of a WordPress one. You can find those now more easily on the home page, and I'll Tweet and post about those as well.

I'm excited about the redesign that's coming for these pages, and hope you'll be understanding about little bumps that may come up along the way. Big changes in photos and titles and code sometimes have unforeseen consequences, and I'll be scurrying about as the dust settles trying to make sure everything is accurate and complete and pleasant to look at. Summer is always a broken-routine sort of time for special-needs families, and so it will be for About.com Parenting Special Needs. May we all still have our wits about us by September.

Photo by David Paul Morris/Getty Images

Introducing 'The Everything Parent's Guide to Sensory Processing Disorder'

Thursday May 29, 2014

Everything Parent's Guide to Sensory Processing Disorder

I'm very pleased to announce that my latest book, the Everything Parent's Guide to Sensory Processing Disorder, is now available in print and e-book. It's an updated version of the Everything Parent's Guide to Sensory Integration Disorder that I wrote in 2005, and in addition to the newer name for the disorder, I've taken a look at recent research that's been providing some scientific backing for SPD and checked in with occupational therapists (including Jenny Clark, who did the technical review on the book) as to how kids are being treated for it today.

My hope now as it was with the first book is to provide a practical, accessible resource that can help parents learn about sensory issues and start right away to help their children -- with exercises and activities, with ways to make school more tolerable, and most of all with understanding of all those behaviors that have seemed confusing and nonsensical. If you have a child diagnosed with sensory processing disorder, or if you just suspect that might be the problem, please browse through the book on Google Books and consider buying a copy. And if you find it useful, write a review on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and your favorite social-networking sites to help me spread the word.

Cover image courtesy of Adams Media

Expert's Choice 2014: Your Favorites Pick Their Favorites

Thursday May 22, 2014

LaptopWhen About.com decided not to do the Reader's Choice Awards in 2014, I was sad to lose an opportunity to learn about your favorite special-needs resources and maybe give you some new ones to find and love. So I turned the tables and asked the people behind the resources you chose as the Reader's Choice in 20112012, and 2013 to tell us the sites, books, organizations, and more that they'd choose as worthy of recommendation. You can read an expert-by-expert list of their picks and some kind comments about their favorites in my article on Expert's Choice 2014, but for a quick start, here's an alphabetical listing of the honored resources. (See also the index by type of resource.)

Ams Vans
Recommended by: Tzvi Schectman of Friendship Circle of Michigan, 2012 winner for Favorite Special-Needs Regional Resource

Asperkids.com
Recommended by: Aviva Weiss of Fun and Function, 2011 winner for Favorite Special-Needs Online Community

Body Talk: Teaching Students with Disabilities about Body Language
Recommended by: Beth Binns of Woodbine House, publisher of a Reader's Choice winner and two finalists

Children's Bible App
Recommended by: Barb Dittrich of Snappin' Ministries, 2013 finalist for Favorite Special-Needs Regional Resource

Children's Book About Surgery: A Kids Picture Book About Surgery With Photos and Fun Facts (e-book)
Recommended by: Barb Dittrich of Snappin' Ministries, 2013 finalist for Favorite Special-Needs Regional Resource

@CLCNetwork
Recommended by: Barb Dittrich of Snappin' Ministries, 2013 finalist for Favorite Special-Needs Regional Resource

Different Dream for My Child
Recommended by: Barb Dittrich of Snappin' Ministries, 2013 finalist for Favorite Special-Needs Regional Resource

The Don't Freak Out Guide To Parenting Kids With Asperger's
Recommended by: Barb Dittrich of Snappin' Ministries, 2013 finalist for Favorite Special-Needs Regional Resource

Down Syndrome Reading with Natalie Hale
Recommended by: Natalie Hale, author of Down Syndrome Parenting 101, 2012 winner for Favorite Special-Needs Parenting Book

Emma's Hope Book
Recommended by: Marny Helfrich of Maryland Coalition for Inclusive Education, 2013 finalist for Favorite Special-Needs Regional Resource

Equity and Full Participation for Individuals with Severe Disabilities by Martin Agran, Fredda Brown, Carolyn Hughes, Carol Quirk and Diane Ryndak
Recommended by: Tim Villegas of @think_inclusive, the 2013 winner for Favorite Special-Needs Twitter Feed.

Essential First Steps for Parents of Children with Autism: Helping the Littlest Learners
Recommended by: Beth Binns of Woodbine House, publisher of a Reader's Choice winner and two finalists

From Emotions to Advocacy: The Special Education Survival Guide
Recommended by: Vanessa Infanzon of eSpecially Ben, 2011 winner for Favorite Special-Needs Parenting Blog

The Full Plate
Recommended by: Marny Helfrich of Maryland Coalition for Inclusive Education, 2013 finalist for Favorite Special-Needs Regional Resource

Gravity Bread
Recommended by: Tzvi Schectman of Friendship Circle of Michigan, 2012 winner for Favorite Special-Needs Regional Resource

How to Be Human
Recommended by: Marissa Curnutte, publicist for Let's Here It for Almigal, 2013 finalist for Favorite Special-Needs Children's Book

I'll Tell You Why (Talking about Tactile Defensiveness)
Recommended by: Noreen O'Sullivan, author of I'll Tell You Why ... I Can't Wear Those Clothes, 2012 finalist for Favorite Special-Needs Children's Book

iModeling App
Recommended by: Barb Dittrich of Snappin' Ministries, 2013 finalist for Favorite Special-Needs Regional Resource

Inclusion Works Foundation
Recommended by: Matt Schinelli of NJAPE.org (New Jersey All People Equal), 2013 finalist for Favorite Special-Needs Regional Resource

The Inclusive Class
Recommended by: Tzvi Schectman of Friendship Circle of Michigan, 2012 winner for Favorite Special-Needs Regional Resource

@jenniferajanes
Recommended by: Barb Dittrich of Snappin' Ministries, 2013 finalist for Favorite Special-Needs Regional Resource

Love That Max
Recommended by: Barb Dittrich of Snappin' Ministries, 2013 finalist for Favorite Special-Needs Regional Resource

Milwaukee Center for Independence
Recommended by: Barb Dittrich of Snappin' Ministries, 2013 finalist for Favorite Special-Needs Regional Resource

Mind Body Green
Recommended by: Noreen O'Sullivan, author of I'll Tell You Why ... I Can't Wear Those Clothes, 2012 finalist for Favorite Special-Needs Children's Book

MOM - Not Otherwise Specified
Recommended by: Marny Helfrich of Maryland Coalition for Inclusive Education, 2013 finalist for Favorite Special-Needs Regional Resource

Moving Out: A Family Guide to Residential Planning for Adults with Disabilities
Recommended by: Beth Binns of Woodbine House, publisher of a Reader's Choice winner and two finalists

Not Alone
Recommended by: Barb Dittrich of Snappin' Ministries, 2013 finalist for Favorite Special-Needs Regional Resource

Ollibean
Recommended by: Tim Villegas of @think_inclusive, the 2013 winner for Favorite Special-Needs Twitter Feed.

@PaulaKluth
Recommended by: Marny Helfrich of Maryland Coalition for Inclusive Education, 2013 finalist for Favorite Special-Needs Regional Resource

Playing With Words 365
Recommended by: Leslie Lindsay, author of Speaking of Apraxia, 2013 Finalist for Favorite Special-Needs Children's Book, and Tzvi Schectman of Friendship Circle of Michigan, 2012 winner for Favorite Special-Needs Regional Resource

The Pocket OT
Recommended by: Aviva Weiss of Fun and Function, 2011 winner for Favorite Special-Needs Online Community

Serious Fun Children's Network
Recommended by: Vanessa Infanzon of eSpecially Ben, 2011 winner for Favorite Special-Needs Parenting Blog

Shaping Special Hearts Podcast
Recommended by: Barb Dittrich of Snappin' Ministries, 2013 finalist for Favorite Special-Needs Regional Resource

SPD Connect
Recommended by: Noreen O'Sullivan, author of I'll Tell You Why ... I Can't Wear Those Clothes, 2012 finalist for Favorite Special-Needs Children's Book

Special and Determined: A Special Needs Mom Blog
Recommended by: Lisa Eichlin, author of The Bravest Boy I Ever Knew, 2011 Finalist for Favorite Special-Needs Children's Book

StoryMaker App
Recommended by: Rob Tedesco of HandHold Adaptive, maker of iPrompts, 2012 finalist for Favorite Special-Needs App

@StressFreeKids
Recommended by: Barb Dittrich of Snappin' Ministries, 2013 finalist for Favorite Special-Needs Regional Resource

Sun Shine Down: A Memoir
Recommended by: Barb Dittrich of Snappin' Ministries, 2013 finalist for Favorite Special-Needs Regional Resource

Support for Special Needs
Recommended by: Barb Dittrich of Snappin' Ministries, 2013 finalist for Favorite Special-Needs Regional Resource

Talking Is Hard for Me!: Encouraging Communication in Children with Speech-Language Difficulties
Recommended by: Beth Binns of Woodbine House, publisher of a Reader's Choice winner and two finalists

@think_inclusive
Recommended by: Marny Helfrich of Maryland Coalition for Inclusive Education, 2013 finalist for Favorite Special-Needs Regional Resource

Think Inclusive
Recommended by: Tzvi Schectman of Friendship Circle of Michigan, 2012 winner for Favorite Special-Needs Regional Resource, and Marny Helfrich of Maryland Coalition for Inclusive Education, 2013 finalist for Favorite Special-Needs Regional Resource

@thinkingautism
Recommended by: Tim Villegas of @think_inclusive, the 2013 winner for Favorite Special-Needs Twitter Feed.

Victory Junction
Recommended by: Vanessa Infanzon of eSpecially Ben, 2011 winner for Favorite Special-Needs Parenting Blog

Whole New Mom
Recommended by: Noreen O'Sullivan, author of I'll Tell You Why ... I Can't Wear Those Clothes, 2012 finalist for Favorite Special-Needs Children's Book

Wrightslaw
Recommended by: Vanessa Infanzon of eSpecially Ben, 2011 winner for Favorite Special-Needs Parenting Blog

Photo by Terri Mauro

New Book Review: Feeding Your Child With Autism

Monday May 12, 2014

Feeding Your Child With AutismThe latest addition to the Harried Parent's Book Club reviews is an entry in Woodbine House's Topics in Autism series, Feeding Your Child With Autism. I asked Sandy Furia, co-author of T.A.S.C.: Tools for Achieving Social Confidence and a speech-language pathologist specializing in autism who includes feeding issues in her practice, to provide us with a guest review of this book, and she gave it an enthusiastic recommendation, starting with, "Feeding Your Child with Autism: A Family-Centered Guide to Meeting the Challenges is a comprehensive guide to identifying and treating food aversion in individuals with autism spectrum disorders. It is an easy-to-read manual that is appropriate for both families and professionals." Read more of her review, and if you've read this book yourself, add your own take on it.

Image courtesy of Woodbine House

Download Your Love Notes for Special Parents Calendar for May

Thursday May 1, 2014

May 2014

Happy May! It's time to download your new Love Notes for Special Parents Calendar for a month's worth of inspiration. Then see what advocacy and awareness events the month has to offer, and start figuring out the right Mother's Day gift (or hinting about what you want).

Illustration and text by Terri Mauro

Enterprising Parent Creates Speech-Therapy Apps and Adjustable-Level Textbooks

Wednesday April 23, 2014

LanguageBuilderMy series on Enterprising Parents -- moms and dads who've created something that works for their own kids with special needs and then started businesses to share their solutions with other families -- continues this week with an interview with Kyle Tomson, the father of a child with PDD-NOS who was inspired to create speech-therapy apps when the loss of a job made speech therapy too expensive. He's now working on interactive, adjustable-reading-level science e-textbooks, and if that sounds like a good idea for you, there's a page on Kickstarter where you can help fund it. Read more about the Mobile Education Store's apps and books in the latest Enterprising Parents profile. Are you a parent with a special-needs-related business of your own? Tell us about it in the comments.

Screenshot from LanguageBuilder app courtesy of Kyle Tomson

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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