What Hope Looks Like

by Maria Spencer In my daughter Olivia’s sixteen years, I have seen many hope-filled days. I have seen her improve in areas at school that we never dreamed of, have seen her run track and always, always defy the odds that were given to her as a baby. But in the past several months, I have seen her do something that is beyond my wildest dreams or imaginations. Just when I think she has reached a […]

Forgetting Milestones and Learning to Measure Progress… a New Way of Thinking! #Reflection

By Mary Ellen Bogucki The start of 2019 had me reflecting on my daughter, Bree’s journey living with Autism. When I started writing these blogs a few years ago, my goal was to share our story in hopes that some of our experiences could inspire and help others. That is still my goal, that with each new experience Bree has, someone else can grow too. I am far from an expert, but I know how […]

Advocate like a Mother

by Kelly Kulzer-Reyes They started popping up around the Down syndrome community about a year ago, at least that’s when I first saw them. “Advocate like a Mother” t-shirts have hit the stage with gusto, and at first I loved them. Really. They are cute. I’d even like to own one. I really like the light burgundy one that debuted at the Down Syndrome Diagnosis Network (DSDN) Moms Retreat back in September. I’d have one […]

Teach Them to Care

by Maria Spencer Over the years, I have had the opportunity to speak to many types of groups—many of them with an audience of primarily women and/or moms. I have had a question come up repeatedly from mothers of typically developing children that I feel is so very valuable and the subject needs to be brought to the surface. Many women have asked me, “When my child sees a child that is differenty-abled, what you […]

We Found Santa at the Pool!

by Tulika Prasad The holiday season is the season of cheer and miracles and the most likely of places to find miracles is in the least likely of places. So guess where we found Santa… At the pool !!! It was the weekly swimming lesson we were at. This was an indoor pool of a hotel on a weekday and like most weeks, we were not expecting anyone in there.We walked in and saw another […]

Lights, Camera, Action!

by Jessica Ebersole I wrote the following poem after the Talent show night at our Joni and Friends family retreat during my internship at Spruce Lake. Family Retreat is a time for families with special needs to come and be refreshed from the daily grind of life with a disability. I had the opportunity to share this poem with the other two talent shows at the following weeks of retreat. Lights, Camera, Action! For a […]

8 Gift Ideas for Kids with Autism

by Tulika Prasad With the holiday season upon us, it’s time to think about gifts and when it comes to buying gifts for a child who has autism, it can get really challenging trying to figure out the best options. If they are obsessively interested in something , chances are that all the gifts they get end up being only a particular kind. If they do not really have much of an interest in anything at […]

Forgetting Milestones and Learning to Measure Progress… a New Way of Thinking! #StandUpforInclusionNow!

By Mary Ellen Bogucki PART TWO Recently, while attending the Special Olympics World Tennis Invitational in Santo Domingo, I took notice of the theme on the back of many t-shirts–“Stand Up For Inclusion!” I realized how important the Inclusion Revolution movement truly is and I recognized the time is now to STAND UP for inclusion! I understood this because there was a video that went viral showing a 14-year old boy with cerebral palsy being […]

Forgetting Milestones and Learning to Measure Progress… a New Way of Thinking! #StandUpforInclusion-SantoDomingo

By Mary Ellen Bogucki PART ONE A few months ago, I wrote about the “Inclusion Revolution” and the Special Olympics 50th Anniversary celebration. While we were at the 50th celebration, my daughter Bree had the great honor of meeting Cándida Montilla de Medina, the First Lady of the Dominican Republic. We also had the privilege of hearing the First Lady, who is a psychologist, speak and describe all of the positive work she is doing […]

The Endless Fight for Help: Yesterday and Today

by Maxine Rosaler When I was looking for schools for my son twenty years ago, private special education schools were the only schools equipped to give autistic children anywhere near the kind of help they needed. The competition for these schools was very stiff: it was not usual to find out that there were fifty applicants for every spot. And if a parent was lucky enough to have her child accepted at one of these […]