Tag Archives: Special Needs Children

Early Intervention – Revisiting Special Parents Confidential Episode 25

Early Intervention – Revisiting Special Parents Confidential Episode 25.

It’s IEP Season and we’re looking back on older episodes that deal with Individualized Education Plans. Early Intervention is one of the first terms that parents hear when they are trying to find help for their children. We talk to an early intervention coordinator to learn about the process.

Early Intervention.

There’s probably nothing more nerve-wracking and stressful for any parent than the realization that your new baby, your toddler, your child might have some problems. Whether it’s not speaking, not walking, or not engaging socially like other kids, the hardest question many parents face is, what do I do about this?

Of course friends and relatives will tell you, oh it’s alright, that’s just how some boys or some girls are… and they’ll grow out of it. But that’s not always the best advice, and if  your child does have a developmental delay or a learning disorder, they are simply not going to grow out of it. They need help. And then the question becomes, where do I get that help?

Our guest on this episode of Special Parents Confidential can answer a lot of those questions. Barbara Corbin is the Early On Coordinator with the Kent Intermediate School District in Kent County, Michigan.  She handles Early Intervention, and Early Childhood Special Education with school districts. She helps parents get their first diagnosis and coordinates getting help for children right at the very beginning. Thanks to advances in medical research and therapies, children can be diagnosed very early, and Early On programs can start at age two.

Links to websites mentioned in the podcast:

1800EarlyOn Early Intervention information for Michigan, with links to other States. The website name is also their toll free phone number: 1 800 Early On.

The Arc of Kent County Information resource for people with intellectual and developmental delays.

Center For Disease Control (CDC) Page for Parents and Infants This page has the Milestones and Schedules information to track expected progress for infants and toddlers.

Great Starts Collaborative Early Intervention Page Success Starts Early’s webpage on Early Interventions. The entire site is full of helpful information for all parents.

Pathways.org  Free online resource and tools for parents.

The Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center Online resource tools for families of children with special needs.

Michigan Alliance for Families.  Provides information, support, and education for families who have children (birth through 26 years of age) who receive (or may be eligible to receive) special education services.

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 Episode 32 Death and Grief.

Special Parents Confidential Episode 32 Death and Grief.

Death is one of those subjects that few people want to talk about, yet everyone will experience. For children, death, and the grief that comes with it, can be very hard to talk about. Many kids, even teens, don’t have the abilities or the tools to adequately express their emotions. And when a child has special needs that can make expressing emotions, or even basic communication challenging, the lasting effects of dealing with death and grief can be devastating.

As parents, it’s sometimes easy to forget that our kids are upset when we face the loss of a parent, grandparent, sibling, or family friend. We see them playing together at funerals and think to ourselves that they’re okay. Sometimes it’s not till days or weeks later that the emotional problems begin to show themselves. Death and grief are difficult to understand for children, no matter what the age.

Fortunately there are groups and organizations that exist for the sole purpose of helping children deal with death and grief. One such group is Ele’s Place, in Michigan. Our guest on this episode of Special Parents Confidential is Kelly Ahti, one of the program directors for Ele’s Place in Grand Rapids. She talks about the challenges of how grief can affect children of all ages from toddlers to teenagers. Kelly also has ideas of what parents and relatives can do to help kids deal with their emotions and get through the difficulties and sadness that occurs.

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 use. 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, 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!

Links to Websites mentioned in the interview:

Ele’s Place – a Healing Center For Grieving Children and Teens

The National Alliance For Grieving Children Resource website with a national and international directory for counseling and therapy centers for children who are grieving.

Sesame Street Video and Articles on Grief 

Special Parents Confidential Episode 28 The Mighty

The Mighty. 

Once in a while you come across a website that is just so compelling, so useful, and so helpful that you have to share it with everyone you know.

Thirty million people have done that with The Mighty. 

After finding out that his daughter had a rare genetic disorder, and his son was born with a health challenge, the founder of The Mighty, Mike Porath, decided to build a website where people could share their emotional struggles and help each other. As he says in his own article on why he started The Mighty, “Stories that inspire people – that can change the path of someone’s day, as my wife says – are a great start, but we are going after much more. Ultimately we want to improve the lives of people facing disease, disorder and disability.”

The Mighty started out as a site where parents of special needs children can vent their frustrations, post their triumphs, and share with each other their experiences. They’ve grown beyond special needs to health challenges, and even posts written by people with special needs and health challenges who offer their own unique perspectives.

In this episode we talk to Mike Porath about The Mighty and how he brought the website together. He also talks about where he hopes to see The Mighty go in the coming years, and what he wants the site to become. It’s a fascinating story and a fascinating interview with a real visionary who just started off by asking a question: “What can we do about this?”

Below are some links to various articles on The Mighty that were mentioned in the podcast.

Mike Porath’s Current Favorite Story On The Mighty

The Mother Who’s Son With Autism Got A Special Invitation To A Party

The Man Who Invented A Font To Help People With Dyslexia

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 use. 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 and Stitcher 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 26 Parent Problems

Parent Problems

Parents of special needs children face problems that few others can understand. Extraordinary  joy and crushing despair, sometimes in the same day, the same hour, the same moment. One thing is true, people who relate the best to these moments are other parents of special needs children. We have a bond that, while often unspoken, is a shared knowledge that ‘this is our life’ and we all know exactly what it’s like.

For those who are just starting out on their journey with a special needs child, the fear and uncertainty can be very daunting. How do you cope? Where do you look for help? Who can you trust? And possibly the most important question of all, who understands what this means?

To help answer those questions, Donna Kirk has returned for another interview episode. Donna was my guest in Special Parents Confidential Episode 23, in which she talked about her book, Finding Matthew, the story of her son who was born with severe brain damage. She and her husband, Ed, experienced everything a parent of a special needs child could face. A terrible life-altering diagnosis, years and years of therapies, trying to find help for their son, watching him struggle into adulthood, and finally facing the hardest loss of all, the death of their special needs child.

After we finished the interview for that episode, Donna contacted me again and asked if she could talk about the lessons she learned and how they might help parents who are currently struggling and trying to cope with the emotional rollercoaster that raising a special needs child can cause. Top of the list for any parent, honesty and communication.

For more resources on specific issues, check out our Helpful Links page.

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 on this page. 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 use. 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. You’ll find the form to do that to the right of this posting. We’re also on iTunes, Stitcher, and Poddirectory as a free subscription and if you have a moment, feel free to write a review about our podcast there. Anything you can do to help spread the word about Special Parents Confidential will help us be able to continue these podcasts.

Special Parents Confidential Episode 23 Finding Matthew

Finding Matthew

For parents of special needs children perhaps the most stressful and anxious time is when you are first told that your child has problems. That first diagnosis is such a shock. You don’t know what to do, you don’t know what to think, and you feel completely overwhelmed with it all. One of the most helpful things for parents of special needs children is when they hear stories of other families who have already gone through similar experiences and have shared their story. The challenges and struggles are universal, no matter what the disability or the severity. Just knowing that someone else is out there facing the same worries and fears, and has taken the time to tell that story, can be very reassuring.

In this episode of Special Parents Confidential I’d like to introduce you to just such a parent. In 1970, Donna Kirk, who, with her husband Ed, is from a town near Toronto, Canada, had gone to the hospital for the birth of her first son, Matthew. But problems occurred and their baby had oxygen loss during birth and suffered severe brain damage. The next day their son was transferred to Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto where the doctor there told them that their son was basically, in his words, “a vegetable with a heartbeat”. This doctor advised them to institutionalize their son and have another baby as soon as possible… implying that they should just forget Matthew.

Donna and Ed ignored what the doctor told them and took him home as soon as they could. They fought for him and cared for him throughout his entire life and, in the process, proved that first doctor and many other people wrong about Matthew’s abilities. Ed and Donna had two other children after Matthew, a brother an sister.  Matthew died at the age of 40 in 2010, and Donna has written a book called, Finding Matthew, about his life, his challenges, and the struggles that she and her husband went through from his devastating diagnosis to his ultimately successful life and becoming a contributing member to society. The book shows how even the most severely disabled people have incredible gifts and how the family can work together to get through any adversity. It’s definitely a must-read for all parents of special needs children and their families.

Donna’s extraordinary book, Finding Matthew is available on Amazon Books, and you an click either of those links to take you  to the page. Donna Kirk also has a blog site where she posts resource information and updates. Just click on her name and you’ll be re-directed to her site.

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 on our website. 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 you use. 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. We’re also on iTunes and Stitcher as a free subscription, and if you have a moment, feel free to write a review about our podcast. Anything you can do to help spread the word about Special Parents Confidential will help us be able to continue these podcasts.