‘Will His Autism Go Away?’

August 28, 2023

‘Will his autism go away?’ That’s what the woman asked me. In front of 200 people. Honestly, you could have heard a pin drop as the heads in the room snapped from her to me. And I practiced the pause. I was presenting at a conference down south to a large group of folks who work with kids and adults like my son Cooper. The presentation I had just finished was called Finding Joy in the Secret World of Autism. For 90 minutes I shared my story. And my boy.…

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Navigating Nonspeaking Autism at Age 12

August 27, 2023

When my son Cooper was diagnosed with autism at age three they told me he was nonverbal. I didn’t even know that was a thing. At age five they told me he might never speak. I didn’t know that was a possibility. At age six the silence was deafening. So we dove into alternate forms of communication. Sign language. Spelling. An AAC Device. And I learned in a painful beautiful way that communication was the goal. Not words. It took time though. Time for my mind and heart to accept.…

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To the Struggling Mother at Target

August 24, 2023

I was recently in Target without my kids wandering as moms do when they have an opportunity to take in the magic of the red circle. As I walked up to the register, I saw a Mom with two daughters, one in the cart sitting quietly and one becoming upset. As we both waited to check out, I could see the young girl getting more and more dysregulated. I watched as the Mom started to try and navigate the situation. Her daughter then began to yell. This wasn’t a tantrum…

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Autism, Camping, and a Mother’s Pride

August 21, 2023

My son, I want to tell you how proud I am of you. When some people think of progress and success, they think of big, huge things. Like winning an award or crossing a finish line first. But as I stood behind you taking this photo, watching you sit calmly staring at the water, I see all of that and more. We just finished a family camping for three days. The weather was crummy and your baby sister went on a sleep strike. Everything we own is dirty. And you…

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“I Am That Mom”: Navigating Back-To-School for Her Child With Disabilities

August 16, 2023

I am totally THAT mom. Each year when I send my daughter off to her first day of school, it hurts. Like physically, in my gut, hurts. My breathing feels shallow. My heart seems to skip beats. My cheeks are hot and tingly. Waves of nausea pass through my belly like the ocean when a storm is near. Each year on that first day I feel sick with worry because I am here, and she is there. I know my daughter is not going out into the world alone when…

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Five Tips Special Needs Moms Need for Back-to-School

August 15, 2023

Dear Special Needs Mommas, As the school year begins, I want to offer words of encouragement and motivation. Your role as advocates and supporters is crucial. Embrace the first weeks with optimism, knowing that you have the power to shape your child’s educational journey. Trust your instincts, collaborate with educators, and remember, you are never alone. From my experience as a former special education teacher and a caretaker to an adult with autism, these are my “go to” tips for you to survive the first week of school. You will…

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Beyond Expectations: A Heartwarming Journey of Inclusion From Public School

August 14, 2023

My son Logan has been in public school since the beginning of his autism diagnosis.  Something I wasn’t always sure of doing with a special needs child.  Because the truth is that sending your nonverbal child to public school is terrifying.  I’ve read the stories. I’ve seen the news.  I feared for sending my beautiful boy to a place that may not protect him.  It weighed so heavily on me. I was so afraid he wouldn’t be understood.  That they wouldn’t be compassionate or patient with him.  That they wouldn’t…

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My Son, You Matter

August 13, 2023

A letter to my son Cooper: My son, you matter. I feel the need to say that today. Loudly. To all of these people who read about you. Who love you and want to learn about you. Not to remind myself. Or you. Because I know you are amazing. I know that you work harder than anyone I know to do the things that most people take for granted. In the beginning, when you were diagnosed with autism, I was told all the things you would never do. The list…

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Parenting a Child with Autism: The Evolution of Wants, Needs, and Happiness

August 10, 2023

When you have a child diagnosed with autism, it’s not about you as the parent. At least that’s what we are told. Your sole focus becomes helping your child. Getting them the help they need. Services. Supports. Therapies. Education. And so on. That’s the role of a parent. And that’s how it should be. But one part that is overlooked, I think, is the evolution of the parent. Their journey. And the patience that should be given to them when everything changes suddenly. It’s not easy ya know. Stepping off…

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Back to School Plan for Special Education Students: Expert Tips and Strategies

August 10, 2023

If you are the parent to a child who receives special education services, have you started to prepare their back to school transition plan? My son will be entering third grade in just a few short weeks! Every day we talk about the first day of school, the number on the calendar, seeing his friends again for recess and his favorite: gym class! Heading back to school is a huge transition for our kids. Some are off to new buildings, some have new teams, some are eager to go back…

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