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The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is geared toward this moment. One of the goals of education is to create productive members of society, including people with mild to severe disabilities. If your child is college bound:

  • You can get accommodations through college disability services. Each college should be able to supply you with a list of the accommodations they offer.
  • If your child requires more than the college offers, you can request it from that college or seek a college that offers the accommodations your child needs.
  • There are some colleges that specialize in helping students who need more than average support and accommodations.

Students with learning disabilities who qualify can stay in the public school system through age 21. This allows extra time for developing job skills and life skills.

  • IDEA provides for Transition Planning that must begin at age 14. The last few years of high school are spent developing job skills students can use to work if they are able or life skills to live independently or in a group home setting.
  • Once your child graduates, you are often on your own. In the transition out of high school, the schools work with local governmental organizations to train these graduates. There is support for this process but ultimately, your child has to find his or her own job and work to hold the job.
  • Communication skills are important for success in adult life. Children with apraxia of speech may take years to develop communication skills, whether speaking or using an AAC device. If your child is not progressing in communication in school, do what is necessary to get your school to work on communication skills. That is a battle that needs to be won as early as possible in the school setting.

By graduation, your child should have adopted some form of communication that others can understand. If your child has severe disabilities, this may include a very limited vocabulary but should still be functional. Even merely functional communication can go a long way toward independence.

This post is an excerpt from my upcoming book: The Special Needs Homemaker Series: Guide to Apraxia of Speech

Sensory – Brain – Motor Relationship

The answer can be yes, no or maybe. In some cases, a child with Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) learns to speak with a few years of speech therapy. For others, it can take many years of therapy. And with others, speech may not develop beyond a few words or sounds. In cases of pure CAS, meaning no other complications or diagnoses, then appropriate speech therapy can make a lot of difference.

When there are other diagnoses or problems present with CAS, that can complicate matters. Think of a child’s interaction with their environment like this:

  1. Body receives input through the five senses (taste, touch, smell, sound, sight) plus vestibular sense (balance) and proprioceptive sense (where the body is in space)
  2. Brain processes the input and directs movement or stores information for later use
  3. Body produces motor output such as walking, talking, hitting a ball, handwriting

With CAS, the problem takes place between steps 2 and 3. The brain gives the body the signal to speak, but the body does not carry out the action properly. Speech therapy primarily focuses on motor output.

This post is an excerpt from my upcoming book: The Special Needs Homemaker Series: Guide to Apraxia of Speech

Welcome to all the new visitors from the HEAV convention. I had a great time answering questions and wandering around the vendor hall. I forgot to take the picture until after closing time so the table is kind of bare.

A quick aside here: Our family has done homeschool, private school and public school. All of my children were homeschooled for some part of their education, one of them all the way through high school. This website is for homemakers, regardless of choice of education but I hope to address the needs of all as I’ve had to fight the good fight in all three settings. [continue reading…]

Yes. And no. (That was the quick answer for those who will get interrupted multiple times before getting a chance to finish reading this.) If you search for information on using supplements, you will find varying opinions about this topic. Some swear by it. Others point to study after study that shows no improvement.

And therein lies the problem when doing medical research on the Internet. You can usually find opinions to back up any point of view. So, how do you figure out who to believe? You need to study the evidence.

Follow the Evidence

Evidence comes in two flavors: anecdotal and empirical (clinical trials). Anecdotal evidence comes from those who have tried something and swear that it works—for their child. So others try it and document their success, and so on. [continue reading…]

When a child is nonverbal, chances are they not only have a problem speaking, but they also have a problem processing language as it comes into their brain. It helps to develop alternate ways to communicate. Did you know you can develop a language of touch for your child, a special way to communicate that he trusts and understands?

Depending on the type, touch can communicate care, affection, acceptance, safety, love, celebration, welcome, support, encouragement, grounding in space, comfort, restraint or even fun. For example, a hand squeeze can mean wait, I’m excited for you or I’m getting ready to let go. A hug can mean hello, I’m sorry or I’m proud of you.

As you interact with your child throughout the day, add touch to your words. Above are some examples of touch. Be intentional about using them and develop a language that helps your child understand the confusing world around him. If your child is resistant to touch, try to find ways to touch her or simply lay a hand on her while she sleeps.

In the Eye of the Beholder

I observed an interesting phenomenon the other day. My nonverbal daughter often has problems making friends with other kids. They notice that she is different almost right away, so they back off or only play for a little while before moving on. Others are even afraid of her (for various reasons).

The other day, we were with a group of kids who are with my daughter often. I had dressed her in a beautiful little dress someone had given us. It was three-quarter length with a few sparkles on sheer fabric over a solid fabric. She looked like a little princess, with her long hair spilling down her back. That day, she was like a magnet. All the other kids told her how pretty her dress was and they wanted to play with her–even those who typically avoid her. It was like magic.

This whole thing was very interesting to me. I learned a valuable lesson– [continue reading…]

Is Holland my Forever Home?


Most parents immediately want to know, “How long do I have to stay in Holland?” I’ll be honest with you. You won’t necessarily know that when you get there. For some people, it’s a short stay of a few years. For others, it may take until adulthood. For still others, it’s a lifetime.

Regardless of where you fit in, try not to be so focused on getting out that you forget to enjoy the time there. Whether measured in months or years, it will be a time of growth for everyone in the family. [continue reading…]

Welcome to Holland

You may be familiar with the story written by Emily Perl Kingsley. Mrs. Kingsley wrote it back in 1989 to describe to others what it is like to raise a child with a disability. If you search around the internet, you’ll see that some people take exception to it while others grab it with both hands and say, “Yes! This is exactly how I feel.”

I first came across it several years into my life as a special needs mom. I remember the relief I felt that others had gone through the same feelings of shock. After a couple of decades in the world of special needs, I feel it’s time to become tour guide and travel agent for those who find themselves in Holland. So without further ado…

Welcome To Holland

by Emily Perl Kingsley

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability – to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel.  It’s like this……

When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy.  You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans.  The Coliseum.  The Michelangelo David.  The gondolas in Venice.  You may learn some handy phrases in Italian.  It’s all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives.  You pack your bags and off you go.  Several hours later, the plane lands. The flight attendant comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.”

“Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy!  I’m supposed to be in Italy.  All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.”

But there’s been a change in the flight plan.  They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease.  It’s just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language.  And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It’s just a different place.  It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy.  But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…. and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills….and Holland has tulips.  Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy… and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there.  And for the rest of your life, you will say “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”  

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever  go away… because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But… if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things … about Holland.

©1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved.  Reprinted by permission of the author.