Trust Your Gut - You are EXTRAORDINARY

Special Needs Parents - It's time for you to make (another) tough decision.

You need to decide to let go of the limits and labels that others have put on you as a special needs family and trust your own gut to find your own path.

For those of you that don’t know, I’m connected in the special needs community in many different ways.

First, I’m a special needs sibling. My brother has Down syndrome and I grew up listening to my mom advocating for hours on the phone for my brother to get a better education.

Listening to my mom advocate fueled me to become a special education teacher. Most people think I became a teacher because I wanted to teach kids “like my brother” or because one of my brother’s teachers inspired me, but actually, it was the opposite.

I became a teacher because, as a special needs sibling, I wanted change not only for my brother, but for his friends…. Who were also my friends.

So at 10 years old I decided I would change the...

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Leave the Pity Party

I just read another one of those blog posts that float around social media talking about how isolating it is to be a special needs parent.

Yes, I see the need to talk about the loneliness, but there's a key step that is NEVER talked about when it comes to special needs parenting.

You NEED to walk out of the pity party.

Just go. Leave. Don't come back.

I'm serious.

Sure, you're going to have rough days that seem lonely, but that's still not an excuse to join the pity party.

You can have your own meltdown, just don't walk back through those doors of feeling sorry for yourself and then making yourself feel both better and worse because you've surrounded yourself with people who are feeling bad about themselves, too.

Here's the thing - if you are going to finally get out of the pity party, you need to find a different party to attend.

No, I don't mean one you have to leave the house for, although sometimes leaving the house is needed, especially when you find that tribe that all wear...

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PROUD Special Needs Sibling Moment - My Brother Rocks!

 

Every now and then my brother knocks my socks off by showing me a skill I never thought he would master!

Motivation for finding his favorite football game on TV was a big enough kick in the pants for him to learn how to speak clearly to say "N-F-L" into the voice activated remote.

Anybody who knows anything about Down syndrome, knows that understanding speech patterns in persons with Down syndrome can be difficult. 

Voice activated controls are usually not an option, but HE DID IT!

Moms & Dads - Keep going. Keep pushing through, especially when others say "no way".  Your gut knows what is possible and as a special needs sibling, I can say with confidence that your other children will LOVE you even more for pushing their siblings to always go farther than others expect. 

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Special Needs Financial Planning - No Small Thinking Allowed!

 

I began the story above, from my car, sharing with you how I just finished my annual financial planning meeting, as a mom and special needs sibling.

Please excuse the tears about half way through the story of me sharing about an email that a special needs mom sent me while I was sitting at that meeting... all the emotion just hit me when I was thinking about her and her family's future. 

She's experiencing the same thing I experienced MANY years ago when I decided that NO boss or company was going to limit my families financial stability.

I would take charge of our finances - because that's what special needs moms do, right? Take charge.

I have my brother with Down syndrome in his 40's, a dad who passed of cancer, a mom who had a triple bypass a few years ago, on top of a daughter who is recovered from severe Epilepsy, and an older daughter who needs my attention with all the crisis that is always happening - did I mention I'm a single mom and sole provider for my family? ...

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Check Your Child's Reading Level

 

There's so much to track in an IEP!

So let's break it down and just tackle one step today.

It's time to know your child's reading level.

Watch the video, take notes and ask questions HERE in our private FB group.

I can't wait to help you feel confident that your child is leaping book to book making progress!

-Catherine

Have questions about your child's IEP, beyond just reading? ASK HERE

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3 IEP Prep Steps - Before Your Next IEP Meeting

Believe it or not... Parents & Teachers & Therapists all struggle with IEP meetings. 

I know, Parents, you are thinking that you are the one that has 12 people around the table who all "know what they are doing", but I'm going to let you in on a little secret... not all teachers & teams feel confident at the IEP meeting. 

In fact, after working with both parents and teams for over 20+ years, and having been a teacher myself AND having a brother with Down syndrome... I can confidently say that nobody feels 100% sure at the IEP table. I mean the stakes are HIGH, we all have to work together to build an awesome education for an exceptional student.

The pressure is ON at these meetings and everyone knows it. So you lose sleep, get hyped up on caffeine and then fuel yourself with determination to do what's needed for an extraordinary child to LEARN. 

So what should we do?

Prioritize and Prepare - the best we can. 

So before your next IEP meeting - Do...

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Insider thoughts as a special needs sibling

Uncategorized Oct 20, 2018

I’m a proud special needs sibling.

My brother has Down syndrome.

I fight with my brother. I cry with my brother. I tease my brother. I laugh with my brother.

My brother needs both you and me to be patient. Speak clearly and slowly. Allow him time to do things on his own.

He understands more than most realize. Watch out. He’s listening to you. He learning from you.

The biggest thing you need to know about how to treat my brother... be kind. I’m not far behind.

#spedteacher #specialneedssiblings #downsyndrome#bekindtooneanother

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Please Delete this IEP Goal

"I knew in my gut that my child shouldn't be working on coins, but I didn't know how to tell the teacher. That goal needed to be DELETED. We needed to move on to skills my child REALLY needed for his future." -Tracey, Special Needs Mom

Tracey's story of how she began to flip her child's IEP for the future started when she began to ask herself the tough questions about IEP goals. 

She started to ask herself - Does my child really need this skill to live their best life? 

And then she continued by asking - Do I even use this skill as an adult? 

Hint: If you're ever reading an IEP goal for your child (or student) and think "I don't even know why my kid is learning this, I don't use this skill to get through my day"... It's time for the goal to go away.

Tracey emailed the teacher and had an honest conversation about what her child's IEP needed to look like if it was going to work. She had a ton of talking points to work WITH the teacher, not...

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