Exceptional Blog is a collaboration of blogs written by our amazing community. Please visit throughout the week to read posts for you by people who can relate with you. We have been fortunate enough to partner with a diverse group of people who may not all be professional writers but they all have fantastic stories to tell.

by Carey Handley

Last week, for the second time in my daughter’s 24 years, she asked me why she couldn’t be Normal. Having been through this conversation half her life ago, I was able to reach into what’s left of my memory and recollect what it was I had told her the first time. My daughter was 12 the first time this particular subject came up and I had been completely unprepared for

by Tulika Prasad

Those who know me think, as a mom of a child with autism, I’m generally positive in my outlook. I would like to believe that is true. However, in me hides a realist–not to be confused with a pessimist. The realist me rears its head every now and then and I kick it back in, hoping it will stay there defeated and quiet. But some days it bounces


By Mary Ellen Bogucki

I have found that the most important thing I could ever do for my daughter, Bree, was find her the right therapy. Before Bree was born I had never heard of sensory processing disorder. I knew of Autism, but my knowledge was very limited and sadly most of it came from what I saw in the movie “Rainman”. For the first five years of

The Best Girlfriends Ever” is Stephanie Gives’ latest book centers around Tiffanie, a young girl with Rett Syndrome, and her best friends, the “Devine Sisters” that accompany Tiffanie on her summer adventure and create everlasting memories. Their journey encourages acceptance as well as highlighting the power of friendship and empowering other girls that helps children achieve limitless possibilities. This inspiring story would not be possible without the help of Gives’ artistic abilities, lifetime friends, and

by Carey Handley

I distinctly remember bringing my then three year old daughter to my friend’s house for a visit even thought it was over 20 years ago. She had a jungle gym play yard in her backyard and I watched as her son, who was just nine months older than my daughter, did flips on the bars and navigated each part of it with confidence and impressiveness. Meanwhile, my daughter

by: Shandra Umazar

I clicked on the email from Beyond Academic it read: I am pleased to inform you that Islah has performed exceptionally this year as a junior in the Integrative Community Studies Program here at UNCG. Her overall GPA places her class rank in the junior class as #1! This significant achievement means that she will be designated as Chief Marshal for the Beyond Academics Commencement Ceremony in May.

by Carey Handley

I had it all planned. I was going to be a lawyer, marry at 24 and have my first of two children when I was 26. I even had names picked out for the first one. You know what they say about the “Best Laid Plans”. And so, often as it is with “Best Laid Plans”, none of that was the way it actually happened. I’ve had a lot of

by Maxine Rosaler

When my son was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome over two decades ago, autism did not hold much interest for the medical establishment. It wasn’t “sexy,” one mother told me. That was why there was so little research being conducted about it, she explained. There was no consensus on how to treat this strange disorder. In the absence of a consensus, a host of strange therapies flourished. It was clear to most

by Brandy Pavia

Today was the day. We’ve had this appointment with a leading Neurodevelopmental Pediatrician for over nine months, and now it’s here. These appointments are extremely hard to get, and the wait lists are ridiculously long, so I was anxious to get the ball rolling. I was even FIVE MINUTES EARLY, which, anyone that knows me knows that this NEVER happens. Ever. So yeah, I’m tooting my own horn

By Mary Ellen Bogucki

 As July came to a close, I witnessed the launch of the “Inclusion Revolution” with the Special Olympics 50th Anniversary Celebration. I wondered that with the celebration behind us, would the momentum continue and would society step up to the challenge? The challenge is defined in the “Inclusion Revolution” pledge. The pledge states: I pledge to look for the lonely, the isolated, the left out, the challenged