Tag Archives: Activities

A Sibling’s Perspective – Revisiting SPC Episode 31

A Sibling’s Perspective.

The Holidays always mean family visits, and with that in mind, we thought our episode on a sibling’s perspective would be a good one to repost. This episode is from October of 2015, when we interviewed Aubrey Boerma, who grew up with an older brother who has Autism.

What’s it like growing up with a special needs sibling? Do you have feelings of being ignored by your parents? Do you worry about how your special needs sibling will be treated by society or your friends in particular? Are you frustrated over how often you have to explain why your special needs sibling “acts like that”? 

As hard as it is to be a parent of a special needs child, it can also be just as hard to be a sibling of one. From having to attend numerous medical or therapy appointments, to missing out on school events or social events, many siblings feel like their lives have to take second place to the lives of the special needs child. Even into adulthood, some people carry resentments and anger over their relationships with their special needs siblings. 

There Are Answers.

In this episode of Special Parents Confidential, we talk to Aubrey Boerma, who has a brother with special needs. She also works with sibling youth support groups, helping child siblings learn to cope with their special needs brothers or sisters. Aubrey talks about how not all sibling relationships have to be difficult. For many people, having a sibling with special needs can be an incredible experience. You learn to be a much more patient and tolerant person with great empathy for all kinds of situations. Many siblings of special needs children, including Aubrey, say that their brother or sister are the best thing that happened to them. She also has suggestions for parents on how to help siblings talk about their relationships and their feelings toward their special needs brother or sister.

Links To Websites Mentioned In This Podcast:

The Sibling Support Project  Founded in 1990, the Sibling Support Project is the first national program dedicated to the life-long and ever-changing concerns of millions of brothers and sisters of people with special health, developmental, and mental health concerns. 

Sibling Leadership Network – Providing siblings of individuals with disabilities the information, support, and tools to advocate with their brothers and sisters and to promote the issues important to them and their entire families.

The Sibling Survival Guide – A “How To” guide to being an adult sibling of a special needs person. 

Growing Up With Ben – The Blog Post that Aubrey wrote about her life and relationship with her special needs brother.

Special Parents Confidential 49 Parenting Concerns

Parenting Concerns.

Having a special needs child always causes tremendous parenting concerns and a lot of work. Many moments can be incredible, exhilarating, and full of amazing wonder. But it can also be extremely stressful. Dealing with schools, social situations, family situations… it can seem like everywhere you turn is another opportunity for more parenting concerns and stress. The other problem is that not everyone understands or even cares about these situations, so many parents can feel isolated in their worries and concerns.

Family Stress

So what can you do to help you deal with all these stresses and keep yourself from coming apart at the seams?  Our guest on this episode has some great advice. Jean Holthaus is a licensed independent social worker with Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services in Pella Iowa. She specializes in dealing with anxiety issues, parenting concerns and family issues, and working with special needs children. You’ll also find out about setting boundaries for special needs children, dealing with emotions including anger in children and adults, and how to deal with school anxiety issues. Jean also talks about great resources for parents to access that can help with numerous situations for schools, home, and social situations.

Links Mentioned in the Podcast

Jean Holthaus’ Page at Pine Rest 

Office of Special Education Programs, US Department of Education

US Department of Education ED Publications

The American Academy of Children and Adolescent Psychiatry

Support Special Parents Confidential.

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Special Parents Confidential 46 Sensory Processing Disorder

Sensory Processing Disorder.

Virtually everyone has heard of sensory overload, and sensory issues. People who have problems with loud noises, large crowded areas, tastes, textures, strong smells, bright lights, the list goes on.

Not A Symptom of Something Else.

For decades sensory issues were simply considered a side-effect of whatever the more prevalent disorder was inhibiting the child, whether Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD, Dyslexia, Multiple Sclerosis, and other disorders. However medical research has proven that this is a separate disorder, called Sensory Processing Disorder.  And there is now a push to have it recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – known as DSM – which is the official medical reference for physicians.

SPD Parent Zone.

My guest for this episode has first hand knowledge of Sensory Processing Disorder. Kelly Jurecko is the President and Co-Founder of SPD Parent Zone, a non-profit organization that offers a website that is full of reliable and credible information on Sensory Processing Disorder. She also hosts a blog and a podcast on the site where she posts articles and interviews experts on SPD and keeps people updated on the latest information.

If your child is having any kind of sensory issues, SPD Parent Zone is a website you need to bookmark and search.

Links Mentioned In The Episode.

SPD Parent Zone

SPD Parent Zone Podcast on iTunes

SPD Foundation – The Star Institute For Sensory Processing Disorder

The Sensory Processing Disorder Resource Center

Support Special Parents Confidential.

If you find this episode helpful, and if you have found other episodes on this site to be helpful as well, please consider investing in supporting Special Parents Confidential. We have a Pay Pal account linked on our home page on the right side below our logo. Or you can click on the “Support SPC” link on our page directory at the top of the site. Any amount you can contribute to help us continue these podcasts is greatly appreciated!

Thanks for listening.

Special Parents Confidential Episode 36 Mentoring Programs

Mentoring Programs

Mentoring programs for children are some of the most successful social and educational support systems available. 

Many experts on child education will tell you that having someone who can mentor, coach, or demonstrate to kids how to do things outside of school and family is vital. Being able to talk to an adult mentor who can help a child with school goals and career choices can make a huge difference for a child’s confidence and outlook. Significant studies over the years have shown that kids who have been helped through mentoring programs are less likely to get into trouble in school, become more confident about their school performance, and get along better with their friends and families.

Now there’s a mentoring organization just for kids with special needs. Project Ready Set Goal , based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, offers mentoring for children with learning disabilities and physical disabilities. They help kids with academic and career guidance, building leadership skills, and help with social issue strategies and learning how to advocate for themselves. And it’s all done for free.

In this episode we talk with Janine Thomas, executive director of Project Ready Set Goal to find out more about the services and help they provide. She talks about their screening process for mentors, gives examples of how mentoring programs can help kids with school, as well as their future life choices.  Janine also talks about why she wanted to focus on mentoring for special needs children, and how she hopes that her idea will grow across the country.

As always a reminder that if you like this episode of Special Parents Confidential or any episode we’ve done, please share our site with your friends, family, and all your connections on social media. You can do this easily with the social media buttons located right below this paragraph. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, add us on Google Plus, Tumbler, Linked In, Pintrest, Stumble Upon, Reddit, or other social media sites that you prefer. You can also sign up for our email service and have new posts and podcast episodes delivered right to your inbox the moment they’re available online. That form is located to the right of this text. We’re also on iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIN, and Poddirectory as a free subscription and if you have a moment, feel free to write a review about our podcast on either of those sites. Anything you can do to help spread the word about Special Parents Confidential will help us be able to continue these podcasts.
Thanks for your support!

Special Parents Confidential Episode 34 Down Syndrome

Down Syndrome. Myths and Facts.

Down Syndrome is one of the most well known of all disorders and disabilities. The common facial characteristics of Down Syndrome, along with certain physical challenges make the disorder easy to recognize. Yet, for all the familiarity, most people know very little about Down Syndrome and how it affects those who have the disorder.

Despite many years of progress and improvements in medical research of it’s causes, most of “what we know” about Down Syndrome is rooted in beliefs that are out of date by many decades. Often, parents who’s child has been given a diagnosis are told to expect a very bleak future, with many medical challenges, along with physical and cognitive difficulties for their child. While that can be true to a certain extent, in most cases the future for someone with Down Syndrome is nowhere near as bad as some people believe.

Fortunately many organizations across the United States, and around the world, have come out to help parents, families, educators, and even the medical community gain a better understanding of Down Syndrome and how it affects those who have it. One such organization is the Down Syndrome Association of West Michigan. They offer a variety of programs and services to help and inform everyone who has interest in Down Syndrome. 

We’re pleased to interview Meredith Lange, Community Relations Specialist of DSAWM, who talks about the common misconceptions about Down Syndrome and provides the facts. She also talks about what life is like for children and adults with Down Syndrome and how most of the misunderstandings cause more harm than good. People with Down Syndrome can do well in school, can have successful careers, even becoming business owners and executives.

Links to Websites mentioned in the podcast:

National Down Syndrome Society 

National Down Syndrome Congress 

Down Syndrome Affiliates in Action 

Global Down Syndrome Foundation 

As always a reminder that if you like this episode of Special Parents Confidential or any episode we’ve done, please share our site with your friends, family, and all your connections on social media. You can do this easily with the social media buttons located right below this paragraph. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, add us on Google Plus, Tumbler, Linked In, Pintrest, Stumble Upon, Reddit, or other social media sites that you prefer. You can also sign up for our email service and have new posts and podcast episodes delivered right to your inbox the moment they’re available online. That form is located to the right of this text. We’re also on iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIN, and Poddirectory as a free subscription and if you have a moment, feel free to write a review about our podcast on either of those sites. Anything you can do to help spread the word about Special Parents Confidential will help us be able to continue these podcasts.
Thanks for your support!

John Pellegrini Will Speak At The 2016 Kent ISD LEAP Conference

John Pellegrini Will Speak At The 2016 Kent ISD LEAP Conference.

I am very excited to announce that I’ve been invited to give the keynote speech at this year’s Kent Intermediate School District LEAP Conference.

LEAP, which stands for Lead Empower Assist Parents is a day-long six hour conference, scheduled for Saturday, March 12th, 2016, for parents of Special Needs Children in Kent County, Michigan. The workshop is designed for parents and providers of children with special needs to meet with area experts, educators, therapists, and other organizations who work to help children with special needs. Exhibitors, vendors and service providers will be on hand throughout the day to share resources and answer questions.

Many presenters at this year’s LEAP Conference have been guests on Special Parents Confidential and they will be talking in greater depth about their services. For my own Keynote Presentation, I’m going to talk about Special Parents Confidential, why I decided to create the podcast, and what I’ve learned in the three years that I’ve been doing these episodes. You’ll also have a chance to ask questions and I’m interested in hearing your ideas for future episodes.

Some of the breakout sessions during the day include legal planning for a child with disabilities, challenging behaviors: when typical parenting strategies aren’t working, caring for the caregiver, building communications skills through play, aided communication for early childhood, and much more. You’ll also be able to meet the presenters in the vending area. Free childcare will be provided throughout the day by the David D. Hunting YMCA.

There’s still time to register to attend the LEAP Conference. You can find out more information on the Kent ISD LEAP Conference Page, and you can register to attend the conference (cost is $15.00 per person) by Clicking on the LEAP Registration Page. If you live in the West Michigan area, I highly recommend you attend the Kent ISD LEAP Conference. Looking forward to seeing you there!

Kent ISD Leap Conference Page

LEAP Registration Page

LEAP Breakout Session Schedule.

Special Parents Confidential Episode 31 A Sibling’s Perspective

A Sibling’s Perspective.

What’s it like growing up with a special needs sibling? Do you have feelings of being ignored by your parents? Do you worry about how your special needs sibling will be treated by society or your friends in particular? Are you frustrated over how often you have to explain why your special needs sibling “acts like that”?

As hard as it is to be a parent of a special needs child, it can also be just as hard to be a sibling of one. From having to attend numerous medical or therapy appointments, to missing out on school events or social events, many siblings feel like their lives have to take second place to the lives of the special needs child. Even into adulthood, some people carry resentments and anger over their relationships with their special needs siblings. 

In this episode of Special Parents Confidential, we talk to Aubrey Boerma, who has a brother with special needs. She also works with sibling youth support groups, helping child siblings learn to cope with their special needs brothers or sisters. Aubrey talks about how not all sibling relationships have to be difficult. For many people, having a sibling with special needs can be an incredible experience. You learn to be a much more patient and tolerant person with great empathy for all kinds of situations. Many siblings of special needs children, including Aubrey, say that their brother or sister are the best thing that happened to them. She also has suggestions for parents on how to help siblings talk about their relationships and their feelings toward their special needs brother or sister.

Links To Websites Mentioned In This Podcast:

The Sibling Support Project  Founded in 1990, the Sibling Support Project is the first national program dedicated to the life-long and ever-changing concerns of millions of brothers and sisters of people with special health, developmental, and mental health concerns. 

Sibling Leadership Network – Providing siblings of individuals with disabilities the information, support, and tools to advocate with their brothers and sisters and to promote the issues important to them and their entire families.

The Sibling Survival Guide – A “How To” guide to being an adult sibling of a special needs person. 

Growing Up With Ben – The Blog Post that Aubrey wrote about her life and relationship with her special needs brother.