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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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The Princess and the Parent Intake Form

The clock said 2:30. I took a sip of tea and did my best to enjoy the remaining moments of calm before the kids started coming home from school. Then the phone rang. A sweet, young voice was on the other end. It was a psychologist from our daughter Lizzy’s school. Usually I panic whenever one of the kids’ schools call. This time I didn’t ask if all was well with Lizzy. I just said, “You’re calling about the parent intake form. I haven’t sent it in yet, and it’s…

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What Not To Say to a Special Needs Mom

“What’s wrong with her?” “Why is she hitting her head?” “It’s not like she understands.” “I could never do what you do.” “Isn’t she too old to be carried?” “It takes a special mom to have a special child.” “She will grow out of it.” Benign phrases, really. Face value, they are not hurtful. They do not cause pain. They could even be said out of kindness. Here’s a hint: Don’t ever say them to a mom of a child who has special needs. Even if you are family. That…

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