* Cheap Thrill Friday: Happy Mustache Day!

imageWilly and Everest wanted to wish all of you a “Happy Mustache Day!” I think it’s from the TV show Wally Kazan on Nick Jr., but I just couldn’t let this cuteness slide. TGIF everyone. Have a great weekend


* “Help” is a superhero in disguise

This special mom (is she a bird? a plane?) has some healthy insights on the value of asking for help. We might measure our success by how often we seek the counsel of others.

Square Peg in a Round Hole

As parents, we sometimes have tomake decisions that are hard.

As educators, we sometimes have tomake decisions that are hard.

As therapists, artists, athletes, writers, readers, doctors, lawyers, mechanics, architects, engineers, technicians, electricians, veterinarians, plumbers, representatives, directors, and everyone else in between, we sometimes have to make decisions that are hard.

We all have choices that we have to make. Sometimes it’s an easy choice and other times it can lead us down the path of good and not so good. And sometimes you just don’t know what to do; even though you really do know deep deep down.

But when it comes to our children, because that’s what it really does boil down to, we sometimes have to make decisions that are more than just hard. It’s a decision that could change the rest of their lives, and possibly ours as well.


What does one do in a…

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* Can Speech Challenged Students Get an Appropriate Education?

Emma's hope

I cannot say enough about the resilience and hope found in Emma’s journey. Be sure to sponsor her Unspoken documentary on Indiegogo, if you can. Emma gives a voice to so many kids I’ve taught, students who were assumed to be oblivious to others and unable to feel emotions, trapped in a body that made communication such a challenge. Emma’s mom NEVER gave up on her delightful daughter!

Emma's Hope Book

     What would you do if the whimper in your heart could not find the right words to speak? What if you couldn’t control the things you felt compelled to say, even if you knew those who heard you would not understand? Speaking is not an accurate reflection of my intelligence. Typing is a better method for me to convey my thinking, but it is laborious and exhausting. So what is to be done with someone like me? Is it better to put students like myself, of which there are many, in a segregated school or classroom, is inclusion the better option or is there another answer? I was believed not capable enough to attend a regular school, nor was I able to prove this assumption wrong. In an ideal world these questions would not need to be asked because a diagnosis of autism would not lead to branding a person as less than or inferior. Those who…

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* What (NOT) to do when your child falls out of love with books.

Here’s an insightful and funny post on parent survival skills by Katey Writes. The author’s focus is on reading but I can imagine some of her tips being useful if a child no longer wants to draw, collect teddy bears (oh no!), or play endlessly with Legos.


Somewhere in those tweens and early teens, our children pull all kinds of surprises on us. Suddenly, they want to hang out with different friends, wear a different style of clothes, or speak a completely (to parents, anyway) foreign language. Case in point, here’s my 10-year-old’s latest adventure in expressing herself:

CHloe blue hair You’ll find plenty of articles about how to handle these things with patience and understanding, about when to draw the line and when to give them rope. But there isn’t much advice on what to do when your child, who has previously been an avid (or at least average) reader suddenly shows a complete disinterest or disdain for books.

There’s a lot of competition for kids’ attention – from sports, electronic devices and games, movies, and the increased freedoms that come with age. Something’s got to give to make room for the new. Often, reading is one of those…

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* Flagged

Read on for a classic example of a twice exceptional student. This special mom spent a week helping her son finish an essay and what does he do? He offers the same compassionate support to another struggling writer. This post highlights the power of modeling compassion. Love is powerful!


A not so funny little scare happened today. All week long I helped Chase work on a paper for Language Arts. It was hard and took a lot of time but we took it slow and did one part at a time. It was finally due today and we were both happy to have it behind us. As I was sitting outside the school waiting to pick him up, I happened to check parent portal. There was a flag that his essay was missing and I almost lost my mind. All those hours, all the time put in for what, missing? How could it be? I tried to text him but was not successful so I sat there trying to calm myself down before he walked to the car. Apparently, they exchanged papers today and were given time to help each other make any necessary changes. So, my Chase read…

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* He’s used the power of words against me – Fiend!

Just when you thought a brilliant young (autistic) man had resigned to his mother’s rules against swordplay, this crafty wordsmith strikes again!

The Qwiet Muse

940853_10206929243363128_8250679111366109730_nMy son. My precious, precious, manipulatively genius son. He’s a bit of a wordsmith, he knows words hold some sort of magical power over me and he is not hesitant in the slightest to wield that power against me for his own gain.

He knows how it thrills me each time he tells me he’s written something, he uses that to his advantage every now and again. As a matter of fact, he used the magical and mighty force of the written word against me just yesterday.

A small bit of background, for reference – My Matthew, the second of my four children, will be 24 years old next month. He is, technically, an adult. A superbly fantastic and monumentally (at times) challenging adult. He is autistic, beautifully so. And bright, obviously so.

One of his loves is weaponry, specifically swords, which he has spent a pretty penny on over…

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* Fatherly love

father and daughter

I saw a father and tweener-daughter at WalMart today.  No, the image above is from Pixabay because my dearest widower keeps telling me to stop taking photos of strangers.  Back to WalMart: The daughter was pulling her dad in slow circles as they waited for the mom to get her glasses at the optometrist.  They looked a bit silly but the girl was obviously bored. They weren’t self-conscious, just biding time.  There was no abuse.

I walked out of WalMart smiling.  I’ve seen fathers carrying their young daughters into schools, and twice there were confirmed allegations of child sexual abuse.  The carrying was so wrong.  There’s also the abuse that no one sees.  Today, I saw a loving father with his daughter.  They might not remember that silly dance at the optometrist, but it’s engraved in my mind.  I’m always amazed at examples of fatherly love.  My radar usually does an instinctive check for any hint of inappropriate touching.  Today, I simply enjoyed what I saw.  It didn’t trigger any bad memories, no jealousy, no calls to DSS.  Just joy.

* Thrice exceptional

The third time’s the charm!  Why has it taken three schools before finding one that meets the needs of a twice exceptional student in 4th grade?  “We don’t do school this way.”  “He’s smart enough to do the work but lacks motivation.”  “His parents want too much from us!”   This student does have exceptional parents.  They are exceptionally patient, exceptionally frustrated, and exceptionally single-minded.  Check out my reblog of another parent who has endured this battle for even longer!  Let’s STOP the madness!frustration
How do we start helping 2e kids?  Here are some helpful mods for 2e kids with dyslexia.  None of the following modifications/accommodations requires money (unless there’s no access to a computer), so even without an IEP, a 504 plan could include all these helpful strategies.
Use of audio books  
Not required to read orally in front of class or small group 
Preview of content vocabulary prior to reading, when feasible 
Writing fatigue 
Manuscript style instead of cursive (for smaller amounts of writing) 
Chromebook for keyboarding and spell check (for longer amounts of writing) 
Extra time as needed 
Writing aids 
Word lists for specific writing assignments  
Use of graphic organizers 
Use of digital resources for writing and researching  
Modified spelling assignments 
No points lost for spelling errors in graded work 
Reminders of applicable spelling rules 
Worksheets entailing significant writing 
Sufficient lines / space for writing 
Dictation to scribe 
Can use Chromebook, then print and attach 
Fatigue reduction 
-Not required to transcribe (ie, copy text from board/written sources; 
instead, can take photo or receive hard copy) 
Fill-in-the blank worksheets not required if just finding answers 
(ie, prioritize energy toward higher level thinking) 
Reduction of memorization wherever possible 
Homework modifications 
Can reduce by approx half, in whatever way would be best for learning content, 
if too fatigued 
Can ask parents to scribe, or discuss orally with parents, if too fatigued 
Extended time for projects as needed 
Prep time and forewarning during group discussions 
Called on only when raises hand (if discussing assignments that have been modified) 
Access to any written brainstorming that occurs in group discussion 
Tapping strengths 
Option to read and write on topics of interest whenever feasible  
Opportunities for analyzing and evaluating information 
Opportunities for making predictions and connections 
Extra time as needed 
Dictation to scribe for essay-style tests 
Receive teacher notes and completed study guides whenever feasible 
Standardized tests 
Mark in book 
Extra time 
Read aloud 

* Are You Insane?

This post is an excellent companion to what I’ve written about twice exceptional kids. Here’s a look from a parent’s perspective. It’s a familiar combination of the determination and frustration faced by many parents of special needs kids.


They say insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

I have another meeting at the school today to discuss new accommodations for Chase. They aren’t really new ideas but rather worded in a new way they hope will be more specific for teachers to understand. This is their sneaky way of getting away with doing nothing. If we continue to talk about ways to change the 504, we never then have to focus on how to enforce it. Usually on days where I have to sit down with the same administers that have caused me nothing but grief, I have an increased amount of anxiety and border on melting down into a full blown panic attack. Today is different. I have a new calm and a new confidence and they can no longer shake me. The meeting is pointless. The world will not…

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