My Special Needs Daughter is Not Invisible: Please Treat her Like a Person

“Hi Mrs. Radigan. Is Lizzy toilet trained? Do you need a cup for her to leave a sample for her physical this morning?” My expression reflexively said, “Of course she’s toilet trained, she’s fifteen and not only is this the same practice that’s been taking care of her since she was born, you personally have known her this whole time.” But I remained silent despite my anger, smiled, and said, “Yes, she has been since she was three. Thankfully.” “Oh, of course she is. Sorry. You are really a saint….

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Everything Does NOT Happen for a Reason

I’ve heard all the platitudes since becoming the mom of a child with special needs. Whether it’s “God never gives you more than you can handle,” or “God only gives special kids to special parents,” or my personal favorite, “Everything happens for a reason.” Well, I’m here to tell you that they all suck. I totally get that people are just trying to say something comforting, and the good angel on one shoulder wants me to keep smiling politely and say, “Thank you” like a good girl to keep the…

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Forget Report Cards: This Is What Really Matters

Report card day. For some parents it carries with it the feelings of pride and anticipation. For others it brings dread. It is the day that our children’s academic success is summed up in a single letter. A, B, C, D, F. Outstanding, Satisfactory, Unsatisfactory. Commendable, Proficient, Basic. Above grade level, Grade level, Below grade level. Four times a year we see our children’s achievement in school formally assessed and scored in black and white. For all parents this can be difficult if we don’t see that grade that we…

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I Know This is Horrible…But…

There was a Facebook post written by a woman recently that was shared among my tribe. The woman who wrote the post gave two reasons why she thought people should not bring their “disabled children” to a park packed with kids. I won’t post the actual post here out of respect for her privacy. The post prefaced her opinion with “I know this sounds horrible, but… “ Because, you know, that makes it okay to say things that make people feel bad. This woman is entitled to her opinion, and…

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Showing the World What My Daughter is Capable Of

Five and a half years ago we were blessed with a little bundle of joy on the morning of Christmas Eve. Our daughter, Evalyn, came into the world as an early Christmas gift for us. She was born with a serious congenital heart defect and struggled after birth. Although we knew about her diagnosis during my pregnancy, we were still not prepared to watch her be whisked away to the NICU and transferred after only a few hours to a Cardiac Intensive Care Unit at a children’s hospital over an…

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