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Showing posts from January, 2017

Its Your First IEP, now what?

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Lately I have been asked by a few parents about IEP meetings and how to prepare. There is no hiding from the fact that these Individualized Education Program meeting can seem daunting especially to those who are new to a diagnosis or afraid of what their district has to offer.

When I first began my journey I had a number of great resources who had been in the field before and had suggestions but I knew I would have to make my own journey here as well. For those who know me personally, I am all in. I dig in, go head first, sometimes flailing about to find my way out. I can be outspoken, I can be aggressive and I can also be a pushover who doesn't know how to get what I want without crying.

Going into my first IEP, I had two schools of thought....listen or be listened to. Aggressive or be a passive pushover. I decided I would go middle of the road. Below are a few ways you can prepare for your first IEP meeting.

1. Educate Yourself: If your child has been in Early Intervention, you …

More than a Gift

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I really don't think he knows what he did.

This man. The leader of the children's youth group at our new church.

He did it.

He made me cry.

Tonight as we sat in mass Seraphina seemed to be making it through. I had hope as I sat back peacefully and felt this overwhelming warmth come over me. I thought this was the mass that we would be together, a family. We sat in the second to last row. The woman across from me was older, she looked over.

I braced myself.

She smiled.

I held Serrie and for the first 15 minutes she flourished. Then she got a little squirmy. I looked at Colin and asked for her snack. He didn't bring one. I asked for her cup. No cup.

I took her out making a bit of noise.

We sat in the Narthex.

A woman sat next to me.

I apologized. She looked at me with warmth and said, "I have 4 kids, its okay".

It IS okay. This little girl is God's girl. She's just here to teach me to be a better mom, to teach my husband to be a better father and to teach m…

Wisdom

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We can't do it all. Its just a fact. I believe we need a village and sometimes we don't realize our village is right at our fingertips.

Twice in the past week while sitting near a local family, I have learned wisdom I have searched for, all without searching.

My oldest. She's amazing and I don't say it enough. She's beautiful. She's kind. She's sweet. She's smart and she wants so much to be an athlete. Or is it me? Or her father? Or both of us?

Having parents that both played sports in college as well as a great grandfather who began a hockey program at a major university, leads a child to feel they have expectations put upon them. It puts undue pressure on little minds to potentially be who they are not.

For years I have tried to find my daughter a sport. Was it dance? No. She hated it. Was it gymnastics? Nope, she feared being upside down. Soccer? Those balls move towards your head. Maybe it was basketball? The first basket she scored brought tears to…

Dear Barron

Dear Barron,

Today was a big day. It was a day when you stood by and watched as your father became the 45th President of the United States. We would be fooling ourselves if we didn't acknowledge this win was highly contested and that some don't like your father let alone want him to be the President.

I remember when Bill Clinton was elected President. I was about the same age as his daughter and I was thankful I would never have to be in her shoes where people would be critical of me as a child, and still today, a few Presidents later, we adults have still not learned that lesson. Unfortunately, we the children of yesterday are the adults of today. I hope that we, the adults of today can raise our children to be better than that.

Earlier this year I heard that Rosie O'Donnell posed the question that you may have autism. I remember thinking, "if he does, I hope he knows he is loved". Today I heard that some people thought they were funny and made comments about yo…

I'm Still Mourning

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Today the tears won't stop. I spent time in reflection, Casting Crowns blaring praying that I would feel His presence in my heart and that he would heal my hurt but I sit, still crying. I started out this journey at a sprinters pace. A dear friend, Jess had suggested I slow it down and prepare for a marathon. I hoped she was wrong. I wanted to believe that this life that had dropped into my lap would somehow, someway be different than what everyone else said it was. Nearly a year after the official diagnosis I sit, tears falling, feeling further away from where I was when I first heard the words, Autism.

Today we have a new President being sworn into office. I have been watching. Quietly. I have friends shouting in celebration. I have friends lamenting the loss of our former President and I sit wishing that mattered to me like it used to. I sit wishing I could be that strong woman who had opinions on things I didn't have any control over but I am not. Maybe I am the lucky one …

Working out the Kinks

I have been on overdrive since the kids arrived back in the local school district. I have to say overall that the school district is exceeding my expectations. Expectations are always hard with me as I have high ones. Always. For myself. For others. For all surrounding me and it can lead me to disappointment and sometimes a bit of anger too.

Leading into the new school I had a bit of anxiety. I will say that my fear revolved around Cecily and Jude most. Cecily was not 100% on board with the move due to the fact she adored her teacher and had a band of friends that I felt was untouchable. Jude, well, those who know Jude....well, just Jude. I thought HE was my education into patience, understanding and realization that other parents were working harder than I was with my first three to see results. The first day was a day filled with trepidation. I was grateful to others who texted and called the day before and the day of supporting not only the kids but me in this transition.

The first…

A Year of Yoga

A while back I made a post about Yoga and my Catholic Faith. See, for years I yearned for the peace I felt with stretching my body, pushing it to grow in strength and stretch and finding an inner sense of self but feared going against my Catholic Faith. I had heard from so many that I couldn't practice because I was Catholic. Since then, I have chosen to just be who I am.

I am Catholic.

I enjoy yoga.

These do not have to be mutually exclusive.

Some of the most spiritual, faithful women I know can be found on a yoga mat any given day and I am pretty sure that I want to be just like them.

I found this YouTube woman, Adriene and quickly became enamored by her. Her practice was always a little different. Her presence was always welcome and I found a half hour or hour in front of her renewed me.

Last week I shared our autism journey with a group of local women. One woman was insistent that I take time for me. See, when you have a child with autism you are not just a parent but also a c…

Selflessness

The kids gave our family the gift of transitioning to Public School. Last year I almost did it with a snap decision all before Seraphina's diagnosis. It wasn't the right time.

This year however after careful consideration, weighing the decision and slowly making the transition over the fall months, we pulled the plug on the school we had grown to love and decided to head to our local public school. Since September, the school had worked with Seraphina and though there were moments of imperfection (where I had to fight for what I wanted for Seraphina), the months had gone smoothly. I watched the kids with intense observation when I volunteered at different school events. I listened to parents as they spoke of teachers and witnessed the opportunities the school afforded the children in our community.

I was humbled with the number of texts, calls and messages via Facebook leading out of the winter break into the new half of the year. People concerned with the kids, concerned with…