Wednesday, November 26, 2014

It's been three months since my last post... once school started again, reality began to set in as I watched my youngest son struggle with behaviors at home and in the classroom. While I was in denial before and attributed what was going on to a hundred different things, I slowly began to recognize the familiar characteristics of autism. Raising two boys on the spectrum is challenging, to say the least, but I am confident that there is a reason for it all. I want to become an advocate for other families with children on the spectrum and provide support as they navigate through this journey. As a friend reminded me: it takes a village...and it truly does, especially for children with disabilities and their families. I am incredibly thankful this holiday season for all the love and support I've received. I can only hope to encourage and inspire others by sharing my story...

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Next month I will have two articles featured that focus on children with disabilities. The first article, "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly" is being published by NASET. The second article, "Family Ties" will be published by Autism Spectrum Quarterly discusses ways in which families can build positive relationships between children with autism and their siblings.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Even after all the political commentary, policy debates and government mandates, child with disabilities are still being neglected in the classroom. Read "How States Are Failing Students With Disabilities."

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Resilience is one of my favorite words. I never even used prior to my son's autism diagnosis; but now, it captures the essence of who I want to be as a parent and who I want my children to be as they make their transitions through life. In our society, resilience is important to our survival; our ability to move beyond the labels and the limitations and the negativity that is now part of popular culture. Our strength must come from within, with support and encouragement from our family and friends. Quoting Steve Maraboli: Life doesn't get easier or more forgiving. We get stronger and more resilient.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Studies have found autism and autism traits have increased prevalence among siblings of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders. Autism risk for siblings is estimated at 1 in 5 (depending on the source), with twins facing an even higher likelihood if one of them is diagnosed with ASD. Read the article "Siblings Face High Recurrence Risk of Autism" at id=14290496

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Often times children with disabilities are consumed by labels (ADD, IEP, ASD, BIP...) and others do not understand that there is more to these children than their disabilities. But when child has a visible or obvious disability, the struggle for parents may be magnified. As Rosen writes in his article, "Seeing the Child, Not the Disability," Perhaps this is why I was so shaken by what I had just heard, about mother and son being shunned by others who were unable to see the son she loves as a child instead of as a condition or disease. .

You can read more of the article "Seeing the Child, Not the Disability," at

Friday, August 8, 2014

"The Role of Gender in a Disability Diagnosis"

Boys face a higher likelihood of being diagnosed with a disability than girls. In categories such as Autism, ADHD, Down Syndrome and Learning Disability (LD), prevalence ratios for boys and girls are some times as high as 3 to 1.

While genetics may be the most accepted cause of high prevalence rates, there could be other reasons for highee diagnoses. For example, autism has been commonly associated with males. Parents who observe girls with characteristics of autism may attribute it to the child simply being a loner, self-absorbed or quiet in nature. Parents witnessing similar characteristics in a son will more probably suspect disability than assume some other causal factors.

Although more boys in general are identified as having ADHD, African American and Hispanic males are more often diagnosed than any other group. In addition, these two groups are overwhelmingly reprsented in the categories of learning disabled and emotionally disturbed.

More research is needed to determine the overall impact of genetics when diagnosing disabilities and whether gender bias plays more of a role in this equation than previously attributed. Are girls more immune to certain disabilities or are they being overlooked based on gender assumptions?

Thursday, August 7, 2014

"Controversy Over Use of Restraints"

Using seclusion or restraints for children with disability may, in fact, be a violation of their free appropriate education, as was the case in Virginia. Get the article at

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Autism can impact the dynamics of a family, particularly if the child's disability is severe. With proper support from other family members, friends, and (if necessary) professionals, daily living can be more manageable. Read the article, "Autism & Family Relationships" published by

Monday, August 4, 2014

A survey 0f 1200 parents of children with ASD(Autism Spectrum Disorder) conducted by the Kennedy Krieger Institute and Johns Hopkins University found that 63 percent of the children had been bullied. Read the full article "Survey finds 63% of children with autism bullied" at

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Ten Books About Children With Autism

1. My Brother Charlie (Robinson Peete)

2. The Child with Autism Learns About Faith (Labosh)

3. Dave's World: A Picture Book About Living with Autism (Mueller)

4. The Friendship Puzzle: Helping Kids Learn About Accepting and Including Kids with Autism (Coe)

5. My Friend Has Autism (Tourville)

 6. Different Like Me: My Book of Autism (Elder)

7. Chicken Soup for the Soul: Raising Kids on the Spectrum (Marsden, Burrows & Newmark)

8. The Autism Acceptance Book: Being a Friend to Someone with Autism ( Sabin)

9. In My Mind: The World Through the Eyes of Autism ( Wong)

10. Keisha's Doors: An Autism Story/Las Puertas de Keisha: Una Historia de Autismo Libro Uno (English & Spanish Edition) (Ellis)

Saturday, August 2, 2014

If you are a K-12 general education teacher, there is a study being conducted concerning teachers' attitudes and beliefs about the inclusion of children with disabilities in the regular classroom setting. Use the link provided to access and anonymously complete the study survey.

Friday, August 1, 2014

After several recent (some times fatal) cases of "wandering" with children on the autism spectrum, Congress has been considering a proposal that will provide monitoring safeguards to prevent further tragedies. Find out more about the tracking device proposal at Disability

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Read "Public Schools Prepare to Educate Kids With Autism" at story/ story. php?storyId=12776434

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Oftentimes when parents learn their child has a disability, they go through emotional transitions similar to the stages of loss and grief described by Kubler-Ross.

1. Denial & Isolation-shutting out the reality or depth of the situation; this buffers the immediate shock. You don't want to believe the diagnosis is true.

2. Anger-once the denial wears off, the reality sets in and emotions run high. "Why did this happen to my child?" or "How can this be true?"

3. Bargaining-during this stage it is common to feel a sense of "I would do anything to make this all go away". If only things could go back to the way they were before the diagnosis.

4. Depression-life can suddenly seem overwhelming as if it's "me against the world". Feelings of loneliness or helplessness may develop.

5. Acceptance-while there may still be some apprehension about what the future holds, there becomes more of a need to be proactive rather than reactive; to prepare for what's next.

Whether we experience all or some of these stages, it is important for us to realize that it is okay to allow ourselves time to work through our emotions as we come to terms with our new reality. Having a strong support system is very important. Being able to talk openly about what we are feeling helps us to reach the stage of acceptance quicker and become more resilient in helping our children.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Go to files/
and read my article "Inclusion Doesn't Always Mean Included."

Monday, July 28, 2014

Visual supports can be extremely useful for children with autism by creating stability in their daily routine, reminding them of tasks that need to be completed, and giving them advance warning of any changes that may take place in the schedule. The great thing about visual supports is that they don't have to be designated as a tool just for a child with ASD. All children can benefit from them.
Information about visual supports can be found at:




Sunday, July 27, 2014

My Life My Autism: What Not To Say To A Parent With An Autistic Child...

My Life My Autism: What Not To Say To A Parent With An Autistic Child...: What Not To Say To A Parent With An Autistic Child 1. Will he/she ever be normal? Are any of us really normal? 2. I'm so sorry this ...
What Not To Say To A Parent With An Autistic Child

1. Will he/she ever be normal?
Are any of us really normal?
2. I'm so sorry this happened to you!
I'm sure this is suppose to be comforting... it's not!
3. Do the doctors know why he/she is like that?
No but when we find out, we'll be sure to let you know.
4. The other kids are afraid of him/her.
That's funny...he's afraid of them, too.
5. I don't know how I would deal with it if it was my child.
Deal with it the same way you would with anything else in day at a time!
6. I can't even tell he has it by looking at him.
I'm sorry...what exactly does autism look like?
7. Autistic children should not be in the regular classroom setting.
Nowadays, it's hard to tell the difference between the children with and without disabilities in the classroom.
8. She must be really good with numbers.
Children with autism have diverse skills and interests just like any other children. Making generalizations about behaviors is stereotypical... and, in some cases, offensive.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Texas Statewide Leadership for Autism Training offers free online workshops for educators but parents can benefit from these resources as well. Being knowledgeable about strategies and practices can help parents and educators work more collaboratively when it comes to meeting the needs of the child.

Go to html and set up an account in order to register for the courses. Find the Trainings: Online option on the page then follow the instructions.

Courses and registration are FREE. The first series "Strategies for Working with Students with Autism in the General Education Setting" is a 12-part series with each session lasting approx. 30 minutes. Upon completion of the sessions, there are short quizzes that can be assessed multiple times. A certificate of completion can be printed afterwards.

The second series "School Based Applied Behavior Analysis Programs for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder" is a 6-part series, with each session-time varying.

Because these are online workshops, they can be accessed at your convenience once you have registered. You can view them whenever you

Friday, July 25, 2014

Read more about the Learn the signs. Act early campaign launched by the CDC at

Thursday, July 24, 2014

What you is an appropriate age to talk to your child about his/her disability? I have been contemplating this for quite some time, imagining all the ways that things can get completely out of control. "What is autism?" "I'm not autistic, YOU are autistic!" "I love you mom...and since I'm autistic, does this mean I can get a special treat?"

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Go to the NC Council for Exceptional Children homepage at and click on the list of resources link at the bottom of the page. Look for the tab entitled "Empowering Parents in the Education Process" Marquis Grant.
Check out my article "Empowering Parents in the Special Education Process" at