parenting special needs

Professional Vs. Personal

In my previous life (before I was a special needs mom), I was a social worker. My resume is almost as eclectic as I am and I worked with a large variety of people. Foster care, adoption, child protective services, group homes, palliative, Native Americans, teenage sex offenders, elderly, abused, medically fragile, addicted, you name it...I probably ran into them.

Ask the Developmental Doc

Dear Developmental Doc,

My son is 10 years old with a moderate form of autism. He struggles in almost all areas of development, particularly since he is non-verbal. I have recently read that there are iPad apps that help kids like mine become more aware of the world around them. He does seem to enjoy playing on the computer, but I am not well versed on the actual mechanics of the programs and am concerned that he’ll get too self-absorbed and that the whole endeavor might do more harm than good. Your thoughts?  -Marilyn P. Silverlake, CA. 

Firing the Butler and the Maid . . .

. . . A strategy for helping your child with special needs learn to problem solve.

Moms and Dads of children with special needs tend to take on the role of butler and maid far too long for the well-being of their son or daughter. As a consultant I have seen how the pain and guilt of having a child with developmental challenges affects the expectations parents have for their son or daughter with Autism, Asperger, Pervasive Developmental Disability or Attention Deficit Disorder. 

Dealing with Staring and Special Needs

No doubt about it, when people stare at our children (or us), they make us squirm. Let's face it, people rarely stare at us because they're mesmerized by our great beauty. More likely, they are sizing up our glaring imperfections. For kids with special needs, those imperfections may be hard to hide.

During an especially intense episode of staring, most of us (if we are really honest) have found ourselves thinking, "If only our looks back could kill ...!"

Protecting Marriage When Your Child Has ASD

For years, parents of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have mistakenly passed along the erroneous statistic that 80% of marriages of such parents will end in divorce. This myth also has been perpetuated by professionals and the media. As described in a recent large scale research study by Hartley and her colleagues (2010), there is a relatively higher rate of divorce when compared to families with typical children; however, the majority of marriages remain intact. Certainly, there is more to strive for in a marriage than simply not getting divorced.

Preparing Your Child for a Hospital Stay

Hospital stays are rarely fun for anyone. But for a child in the hospital, the experience is unfamiliar at best and frightening at worst. However, parents can make a child’s stay easier by implementing three strategies before and during hospitalization:

  • Provide age appropriate details. 
  • Allow realistic control. 
  • Use soft language rather than hospital lingo.

Age Appropriate Details

Transitions: Honesty Is the Best Policy

Last time we talked about how to use choices and questions to help children learn responsibility at as early an age as possible. This week, we talk about an important part of asking questions and giving choices: making sure a child has enough information to make good choices.

Successful Transitions: Parenting Strategies

This is our fourth article our Transition series. The last three articles discussed what transition is and why it matters.

Managing Pregnancy When Baby Isn't Perfect

No one wants to talk about it, but sadly bad things happen during pregnancy. Sometimes babies die and sometimes babies are not born perfect with "10 little fingers and 10 little toes." Since no one talks about these things, going through a difficult pregnancy, when you know your child is going to be born with a birth defect, can be very isolating.