Down Syndrome - A Condition, Not A Definition

Last month was a month devoted to promoting awareness about what Down Syndrome REALLY is. About how amazing people with that little extra chromosome are. About how we’ve spent centuries treating them as if they can’t do anything simply because they do it more slowly & deliberately. Because they look different than neurotypical people. But they’re showing us “normal” people every day that they can do far, far more than we know....more

We have six kids. Nothing surprises us.

~Denise BlogHer Community Manager

The Most Wonderful Day of the Year

Ever since I became Leo's mom and Leo became Leo, there is one special day I look forward to, every year. It's not Christmas, as the winter holiday season trumps even summer on my family's trepidation scale. And it's not the first day of school, despite how gleefully I usher my children into their teachers' care.No, it's the day of Leo's annual birthday party. Because on that day, every year, my son gets to be his own exuberant self, unreservedly....more

at home who'd probably give away at least 100 Pokemon cards for that cake. He's a HUGE Totoro ...more

A Lesson in Empathy...

I had a valuable lesson in compassion and empathy recently.My nephew is the sweetest little boy. G has a sunny disposition and is cuddly and loving. He also drops into a tantrum at the smallest provocation and doesn't always play well with other kids. He really is a wonderful kid but being his caregiver can be exhausting. You see, he has a genetic eye disorder that severely limits his eye sight....more

Having a Merry But Modified Halloween

Halloween should not be a time for parents of kids with special needs to dwell on Ghosts-of-Halloween-Past or Ghosts-of-Halloween-That-Might-Have-Been, because there's far too much fun to be had. We do, however, need to approach Halloween with clear-headed creativity and flexibility, and prioritize our kids' needs and stamina. So, if you're in the market for Halloweening advice, let me dump some on your head, courtesy of personal experience, friends' adventures, the Internet, and the Twitterverse....more

I went to a neighborhood halloween party where a boy in a wheelchair had an Emeril costume, ...more

Family Holiday Project: Volunteer to be an Elf to a Sick Child!

**November Deadline to join in on the fun! With the holiday season fast approaching, I wanted to tell you about an organization I volunteer for each year. It's called Hugs & Hope! ...more

Autism Science Foundation President Alison Singer Speaks

Autism Science Foundation president Alison Singer is well known in the autism community for her formative role at Autism Speaks, for her controversial participation in their Autism Every Day video, and for leaving Autism Speaks to found the Autism Science Foundation. ...more

Shannon, thank you so much for this interview. I am often bewildered by the way autism has ...more

When the Best Place for Children Is Not With Their Mother

I can't stop thinking about the story of Anita Tedaldi, who, after eighteen months of mothering an adopted special needs son, decided that the best place for her son was with another family. Anita's story hits me in two of my tenderest spots -- as the mother of a son with special needs, and as a birth mother who placed her first son in his adoptive parents' hands almost twenty years ago. ...more

Well written. I is so difficult because unless we are in her shoes we don't know exactly what ...more

An Unimaginable Decision

Can loving your child ever mean letting him go? ...more

I love your last point: It is so easy to compare stories such as Tedaldi’s with our own ...more

Autism Appointment

This morning Barney had his appointment with the paediatrician who specialises in autism in children.  He missed the morning of school and we headed off at the crack of dawn to miss the school traffic on the way to Lurgan. He was a bit nervous and panicked just a little when he realised both Daddy and I would be going, and not just me as he had imagined.  We got over that by letting him sit in the front of the car while I drove (Daddy being relegated to the back with Rosie).  ...more

Frank Talk About Special Needs and Hygiene

Most parents fret about their kids' hygiene and how it is affected by factors like circumcision, tooth brushing, or toilet training. Said fretting escalates when the kids in question have special needs, but hygiene doesn't have to be the skunk cabbage in the special needs bouquet -- not if parents do their best to understand why our kids' hygiene can be complicated, encourage self-care, recognize that not all hygiene needs will be rooted in special needs, and help make self-care part of a routine. ...more

Thanks for the kind responses. I really do think it's important to discuss such things openly ...more