Thursday, October 19, 2017

How to Ask About a Disability

It seems that in this age of everyone being offended, people are scared to ask questions about things we aren't familiar with. I have been anxious to ask when I don't want to offend someone, and I see it with people wanting to ask about Chelsea but don't.

Now to preface, some people are more open, and some more private. This is just what I prefer when people ask about Chelsea:


1. Do you mind if I ask about your daughter? I was curious about her speech delay.

2. I noticed your daughter is signing! I took some ASL in high school, and love it! Is she deaf?

3. Wow, she has the most amazing smile! How did she lose her teeth?

Basically, remember to use manners! Start with something nice, and then ask politely. Most parents I have met are TOTALLY okay with talking about their child's disability. It can be a big release for us to do so.


1. What is wrong with your kid??

2. I see that your daughter has some problems. Is it because you _____? (don't talk to her/ let her watch too much TV/ vaccinated/ don't read to her/ injured her as a baby)

3. Oh, my cousin had that, but then they ____ and are cured now (used essential oils/ ate all organic/ prayed with faith)

So here, just have basic manners, and don't blame the parents! If you don't want me criticizing you as a parent, please extend the same courtesy to me. We all are doing our best.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Why I Love Life Skills

Life skills has a bad reputation. For some programs, it is well-earned, and stinks. But other programs really do a great job, and deserve praise for what they do! Here are some reasons I LOVE life skills:

1. They tailor a program just for Chelsea
I asked for a special reading program for Chelsea, and boom, done. They took the training I gave them, trained the staff working with her, and sent some all of the work that I planned on making myself, all printed, cut out, laminated and fantastic!
I know it says Down Syndrome, but this program was awesome for Chelsea!

2. She gets lots of 1:1 help
With 8 kids and 3 full-time teachers/ aides, plus 2 kids usually gone at a time to OT/ speech/ mainstream integration, how could we get better ratios? Oh right, when Chelsea goes with a 1:1 aide to mainstream! And lots of help is just what she needs to be successful!

3. They go at Chelsea's pace
I was so scared about this at first! I was positive that if she went into life skills, she would be held back because of the slow pace. But really, Chelsea NEEDS a slower pace! When her kindergarten classmates were diagramming sentences (seriously), she was just trying to master her first 10 reading words. In mainstream, she was lost and going nowhere.

4. Her teachers LOVE what they do
Do YOUR child's teachers have master's degrees? If someone wants to teach special ed, or speech therapy, or occupational therapy, they need a masters degree. And if someone is willing to drop tens of thousands of dollars on a degree, they must love that work. And I can see it! They are so proud of their kids and the progress they make!

5. They teach real life skills!
I have nothing against kids learning academic trivia- cloud formations, the life history of Christopher Colombus, and the moons of Jupiter. It is important to learn those things for typically developing kids!

However, those things will not affect Chelsea's happiness and self-fulfillment. I want her to know how write her name, read, be able to grocery shop, have a job, and take care of herself. If she can master those basic skills and be happy, then I am happy.

6. The BUS!!!
I love Chelsea's bus! It comes right up to our door, picks her up (just her and 2 other kids on the bus with a driver and an aide), and drops her right off to her teacher. Door to door service. I was SO anxious to send her on the bus, but she loves it, she is safe, and if saves me more than an hour each day from driving there and back!

Remember: It is NOT an embarrassment to have your child in a life skills program! Some kids do well in mainstream. Great! Some kids needs more help. Great!

Some kids are little smarty pants who start chess clubs and ace all tests with no help. Great! The world needs all kinds of people, and just because your child learns differently doesn't make it a bad thing!