CANADA: An Eighth Of An Inch

They said he would never talk, that he would be trapped forever in a world in which language was beyond his reach.  He would never laugh and play with other children, he would never understand what his birthday was all about, and he would never feel excited about Christmas.

They told us that he had limited capacity to learn, that as other kids his age surged forward in reading and math and problem-solving, he would inch forward agonizingly slowly, falling further and further behind.  Big phrases like Severe Cognitive Impairment were used.  He probably wouldn’t make it as far as high school, and he was unlikely to ever hold down any kind of job. (more…)

Kirsten Doyle (Canada)

Kirsten Doyle was born in South Africa. After completing university, she drifted for a while and finally washed up in Canada in 2000. She is Mom to two boys who have reached the stage of eating everything in sight (but still remaining skinny). Kirsten was a computer programmer for a while before migrating into I.T. project management. Eventually she tossed in the corporate life entirely in order to be a self-employed writer and editor. She is now living her best life writing about mental health and addictions, and posting videos to two YouTube channels. When Kirsten is not wrestling with her kids or writing up a storm, she can be seen on Toronto's streets putting many miles onto her running shoes. Every year, she runs a half-marathon to benefit children with autism, inspired by her older son who lives life on the autism spectrum. Final piece of information: Kirsten is lucky enough to be married to the funniest guy in the world. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Be sure to check out her YouTube channels at My Gen X Life and Word Salad With Coffee!

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Too Loud: Part I

The first time we heard someone refer to my son as having special needs, it hit us like a train.  I didn’t see it at first, although I was jumping through all kinds of hoops to keep him content.  I was “on” all the time.  I parented him and took care of his needs.  He was my first child, and I didn’t realize that certain things were not typical.  He met all his milestones early or on time.  His language concerned me a bit, but then he put those 2 words together just in time for the check-up, so I wasn’t worried.

He was very sensitive to noises, but the pediatrician told me he would grow out of it.  Lots of kids and people don’t like loud noises.  In fact, I hated loud noises as a kid, too.  My son was also a very picky eater, but once again, I thought of a lot of kids who were picky eaters.  At times, he had so much energy, it was hard to calm him down.

I had a few people talk to me about occupational therapy and how much their child liked it and benefited from it.  I would think to myself, “Are they suggesting we need this, or am I reading too much into what they are saying?”  I would also hear how I never took a break.  I never got to sit down.  I thought, “Of course not.  Parenting is hard, especially when you want to be a good parent.  All kids keep their parent’s busy, right?”


Maggie Ellison

Maggie is so grateful to be raising her 2 children with her husband in the low country of South Carolina. Life at the beach is what she’s always known, although living in SC is new to this NJ native! The beauty of the live oaks and the palmettos takes her breath away on a daily basis and being able to go to the beach all year is a dream for her. Art and music have also always been a part of Maggie’s life, and she is happy that her family has the same love and appreciation for it that she does.
Maggie and her family are also very active. Her husband coaches both kids in soccer, and they like to spend their time outdoors kayaking, biking, swimming, camping, etc. They try to seize every moment they can together, and they feel that it’s not just the family time that is important. They want their kids to know a life of activity and respect for the outdoors, expose them to new things and teach them about the world! Maggie and her family are no strangers to overcoming life's challenges. They've had to uproot their family several times when jobs have been lost in the economic crisis.
They also lovingly face the challenges of having a child diagnosed with special needs. Through all this, Maggie has learned to celebrate the good times and never take them for granted. Her family is everything to her, and she is incredibly grateful for every day she has with them and for every moment she has shared with them. Not a day goes by that she doesn’t tell them she loves them and how lucky she is to be her kids’ mommy. How sweet!

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