Kate Swenson In-Person Event at Anderson’s Bookshop

September 21, 2023

Join Anderson’s Bookshop for an in-person event and signing line with author Kate Swenson, to celebrate the release of Forever Boy, on Friday, October 6th at 7pm CT in our Naperville Store. Kate will be in conversation with insert conversation partner. After, they will take audience questions, have a signing line and take photos with attendees, if they wish! This event will be held in our Naperville store location (123 West Jefferson Ave), and pre-registration is required as space is limited.   REGISTER HERE: Author Event with Kate Swenson/Forever Boy | Eventcombo More about Forever Boy: With her popular…

Read More

Rediscovering My Spark: More Than a Caregiver Respite Retreat at Moon Beach

September 20, 2023

I used to be a different person. Extroverted. Vibrant. People used to say that I bounced when I walked. I had dreams and goals. I knew who I was and what I wanted to have in my life. I knew what I enjoyed and had hobbies. I made time for myself. I laughed a lot, and loudly. I smiled a lot. I have worked in healthcare since high school. My job was everything to me. I lived for helping others and being there for them. I lived for the absolute…

Read More

Dads Don’t Get Enough Credit

September 18, 2023

I often say that dads don’t get enough credit, especially in the special needs parenting world. My husband and I have four kids. 12, 10, 4, and 2. We are busy. That’s actually a wild understatement. We live in chaos. Sometimes we thrive. Sometimes we survive. We have schools and sports and horseback riding and miracle league and swimming and birthday parties. It never ends. It feels like a 5 person job most of the time. This past weekend I spent two glorious nights at a camp in the woods…

Read More

Unlocking the World of My Nonspeaking Son

September 17, 2023

Before I had my son Cooper, I knew nothing of autism. Not really. And I can say with absolute certainty that I knew nothing about nonspeakers or nonverbal individuals. I’m sure I had ideas. And I’m sure they were wrong. My son is considered nonverbal on paper. And he has so much to tell us. At 12 years old he has 20 or so words. He has some sign language. He loves sounds and gestures. He can spell and read and type when he chooses too. He uses a speech…

Read More

Divorce with Compassion: Our Journey and Commitment to Our Daughter

September 14, 2023

Just after bedtime, I laid the orange folder on the table as I took a deep breathe. I had prepared for this moment, calming myself all day. I worked up the courage to make sure my voice still made sound and said, “thanks for being willing to talk.” Earlier that day, during an argument over something small, I tried to step away and suggested that we try again later. He said there was no reason to wait, so I told him, “I need to file for divorce.” At this point,…

Read More

Prioritizing Quality of Life: A Reflection on Supporting My Autistic Son

September 13, 2023

This single concept of truly breaking down the components and supports for ensuring we honor the person’s quality of life may be the most impactful thing I’ve ever experienced. Quality of life focuses on a person’s strengths and interests, not their disability. The “QOL” or quality of life approach helps you learn to respect what a person wants, needs, and values in life… For the past two and a half years, our family has struggled with my son, Jackson’s, behavior, aggression, “epic meltdowns,” lack of compliance… I need him to…

Read More

Unbreakable Bonds: Siblings and Extraordinary Connection

September 12, 2023

Someone once said to me…’siblings to children with disabilities are not special. And they shouldn’t be treated as such.’ I’ll tell you this…in all my years of sharing on social media, very few statements have bothered me as much as that one. I adamantly disagree. These two. Siblings. Brothers. Two years between them. Roles of older and younger often reversed. Sawyer. Holding his brother’s life jacket when we go fast. He doesn’t need too. But he does. Life is different for him. Not bad by any means. Just…different. And it’s…

Read More

Unforgettable Hugs: A Mother’s Journey with Her Extraordinary Son

September 12, 2023

I can count on one hand the number of times my son has initiated a hug with me. While I hug and kiss him as many times as he will let me, always have and always will, he isn’t one to give them out freely. He’s quite choosy. And even if I request one, he typically does this thing where he leans in, shoulder first, and sorta falls into me. But over the years, I’ve gotten a few. With arms. And a squeeze. And so much love. I remember each…

Read More

Wondering about You: A Mother’s Reflection on Her Special Child

September 11, 2023

Kid, I spend a lot of time thinking about the things you cannot tell me. There are little things. Like why you point to certain clouds or put your ear up to the wind and laugh. There are big things too. Like why you hit your head in frustration. Does it hurt? Do you hear something I cannot? I wonder why you like trains so much. I wonder why you carry the DVD cases but don’t watch the movies. I wonder if you are lonely. I wonder if you get…

Read More

Autism and Finding Connection with Siblings

September 10, 2023

My son Cooper, Last night was one of those special nights. I was outside in the backyard pushing your younger siblings on the swings when I heard you come outside. Slow at first. You wandered to a deck chair and sat down. Then to the stairs leading down the deck. I think you found a fly. It must have landed on you because I heard you gasp and giggle than shake your hand to the sky and point. You wandered some more. Never in a straight line. In fact I…

Read More