Never Forgotten

PUZZLES & CAMO BY SHELLY HUHTANEN Gram passed away Christmas morning. She was 101 years old. She was born in 1916, when people with disabilities were probably never discussed in public forums and the concept of inclusiveness wasn’t possible. I remember it like it was yesterday. Mark and I visited his Gram, Dorothy, in Montana because we didn’t know how much longer she would be with us. She was almost 100 years old, living alone […]

Resources For Military Families: A Path To Advocacy For Your Child

“Organizations are people, so as you move, conditions change, service options change, and the people that you are working with will change. Always remember this so as you are planning your transition, realize that you are building a new network of resources each time you move.” BY SHELLY L. HUHTANEN Military families are in a continuous mode of transition. Either a parent is training for a deployment, on a deployment, or coming back from a […]

Better Late Than Never

PUZZLES & CAMO BY SHELLY HUHTANEN As I take myself back to the store the other day, dragging my dress behind me with my sunken eyes and my weathered face due to years of crying, laughing and smiling, I can honestly say I have tried. I have tried to speak up about what families with special needs children need. The other day, I did something I don’t do very often. I went shopping for myself […]

The Whole Story

PUZZLES & CAMO BY SHELLY HUHTANEN This is the story of autism that we need to hear, not just the young adult with autism that is a surgeon… We need to hear the whole story, no matter how uncomfortable it may be. A few weeks ago, a friend of mine asked me if I had seen the new show on television entitled The Good Doctor. I told them I hadn’t since I don’t watch too […]

Defining Resilience

PUZZLES & CAMO BY SHELLY HUHTANEN I would say that raising a child with autism while serving in the military would fit the definition quite well. Resilience. I remember a good friend of mine sitting with me during a briefing, encouraging Army spouses to be more resilient and mentioning that our children were some of the most resilient individuals around. She reached over and whispered in my ear, “I hate the word resilient.” She had […]

Recognizing The Signs Of Stress In Children After A Disaster

Even the most well-adjusted children may experience stress following a disaster or traumatic event. It’s important to understand how to recognize and address signs of stress so you can help your children cope with their feelings. YOUNG CHILDREN Young children don’t always have the words, or willingness, to express how they feel when something makes them feel insecure, scared or upset. After a traumatic event, you may notice the following signs of stress in your […]

Military & Veteran Caregivers

Source: Easterseals Caregiving is in Easterseals’ DNA — it’s at the heart of everything we do. This is especially true in our services and supports for military veterans and their families. We strive to ensure military caregivers can access what they need to take on the enormous responsibility of caregiving—often, while still needing to work, navigate family life and take care of themselves. We embrace and support military caregivers, particularly as they transition into this […]

The Ink Debacle

PUZZLES & CAMO BY SHELLY HUHTANEN Our family is such a “mess” and it’s impossible to hide it. Maybe that’s a good thing because we are not the only ones out there who are trying hard every day. We were ready to go. It is rare for our family, but we were actually going to be on time. The battalion Halloween party was going to start in a few hours and we needed to be […]


BY HALE BRADT December 1945 was not a good month for my family. My father, Lt. Col. Wilber E. Bradt, recently returned from three years overseas in the Pacific, took his own life on December 1. He was 45 years old. My mother, Norma, had turned 40 the day before, I was a week shy of my 15th birthday, and my sister, Valerie, was 13. Valerie and I were downtown at dancing and violin lessons […]

An AC/DC Connection

I was sitting at an AC/DC concert being prepared to get my pants rocked off, but instead I was listening to a man pour his heart and soul out to me about his son with autism. It was the first time I’ve seen Hayden speechless. Mark and I sat him on the couch and told him that for his birthday, we were taking him to an AC/DC concert in Atlanta. After Hayden stared at his […]