How to Raise Awareness for Your Child's Special Needs

Posted by Casey Roy on

One of the phrases that I say a lot is “the gift of Elizabeth.

I use it to talk about the perspective that having her in our lives gives us

I use it to talk about the love she has brought to our world.

I use it to talk about the way she has changed our lives and the lives of those she meets.

So with a thought to the last sentence, Elizabeth is blessed to have a big sister who loves her completely and unconditionally. READ MORE

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"Stop and Teach" - Achieving Independence for your Special Needs Child

Posted by Casey Roy on

...Of course, with her disorders, growing independence while making sure she is safe and well, is challenging. And it is challenging to grow independence when Elizabeth’s disorders make it so hard to do this, even if what we are teaching is something fun or useful. I know that her dyspraxia makes processing steps and doing them difficult. And this has always been hard for her. And we know her sensory issues can add great anxiety to any situation. But something really wonderful happened recently... READ MORE

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Setting Goals & Defining Independence for your Special Needs Child

Posted by Casey Roy on

I wanted to write about finding strength and the positive.

I feel like I need to write about this because so much of the time, when you have a child with special needs, you can find yourself working hard towards a goal.

What goal?

It is different for all of us. But we know that we are trying so hard for our child.

Will they talk today?

Will this therapy help them swallow?

Will they be able to make that new sound?

In my world, the goal for us is “Will Elizabeth be independent?

Such a nice neat sentence at first glance. But so very complex when you think about it.

What actually is independence? ... (read more)

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How to Reflect on YOUR 2017 Meaningfully

Posted by Casey Roy on

When it gets to be this time of year, we go from quiet Thanksgivings to a veritable bell ringing at midnight on Thanksgiving that signifies the start of the Christmas season.

The shopping, the running and the just plain busy.

Then we move to the reflective time prior to the end of the year

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5 Tips for "Conference Night"

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

If your school is anything like ours, you are nearing the coveted time called conference night.

You may have already had yours.

I used to solely rely on these times as my time to communicate with Elizabeth’s teacher. But as we all know those 20 minutes or so, given while other parents are lining up in the hall, are not always all we need.

So with that in mind, I had a few suggestions about conference time.


I know that I used to go into the conference time ready to listen. Ready to hear how Elizabeth was doing in the mainstream classes, etc. I was so ready to listen that it did not occur to me to prepare my questions. I would ask them in reference to something the teacher said.

But I learned that I could and should prepare some ahead of time. Because as parent of special needs children, our questions will likely be different or more involved than those who do not.


By this, I mean, know that you will probably need a few extra minutes to talk. Our questions, and their thoughts take a bit extra to cover fully. And I know that allowing for those time will keep everyone much more relaxed. I know that as we would be in our conference, I could feel the pressure to finish as I could see the line of parents, waiting their turn, forming outside the class room. So contacting the teacher ahead of time will only help things go well.


If conference day is the first time you have talked to your child’s teacher, then it may be the perfect time for you to ask for more frequent times to talk.

I have learned it is so much better to meet often and this way nothing that is going on at school gets missed and any problems are addressed right away. If your schedule does not allow this, a phone call to talk a bit is great too.


When I worked as a school nurse, I was required to be at the school for every conference night. Did I have many people visit me? No. But those that needed to usually had an important health concern to share or discuss. The same holds true for all the therapists our children see at the school.

They may not be available on conference night but by contacting them, you can schedule a conference time with them to discuss any concerns or just get an update.


Part of my massive amount of paper that make up my “Elizabeth file” comes from my note taking on conference times, bi-weekly meeting times and notes I made about concerns. If I feel like reviewing any part of her life, I can find those records.

So if you make notes or have questions, keep them organized. You can use them to see progress, remember what you talked about previously and keep them for referencing later.

Because with all that life brings, I don’t want to try to remember all the details of a meeting that was two months ago.

Just for the record, I still did all the above things with Elizabeth until her graduation last June. It always made it easy to keep good relationships going and let the educators know you were a team.

I hope some of these will help you as you work with and for your child.

I wish everyone a peaceful month!


Michele Gianetti is a mom of three, registered nurse, and published author ("I Believe in You," "Emily's Sister"). She writes for TalkTools Blog every month about her experience caring for Elizabeth, her daughter with Sensory Processing Disorder and Dyspraxia. Follow her story since the beginning here.

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