Raising Teenagers

Living

When Other Mother’s Stink

We’ve got to have an honest discussion here about what a mothers’ role is; to nurture, protect, guide and love their children. Seems easy enough […]

Why Teenager’s With a Disability Act Differently In Public

Children often act differently in public. We know this because we bring plenty of “bribes” with us when we wander out of our familiar home surroundings. Of course we would never even think to stoop so low as to bring snacks and juice with us in the event of an emergency—but we do anyway just in case. Kids can exhibit some very interesting behavior when they are out at in public. Children and many adults […]

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May 17 is World Neurofibromatosis Day

Neurofibromatosis, is a genetic disorder in which benign tumors grow within the nervous system. These tumors could be anywhere in the body, including the brain, and spine but not limited to the feet–ouch! This is a rare, (but not really), disease. Neurofibromatosis may actually only seem “rare” because not many people are aware of its existence. That’s why the month of May is so very important; Neurofibromatosis Awareness Month. Types of Neurofibromatosis (NF1-NF2-Schwannomatosis)  Three levels of this […]

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3 Common Misconceptions About Teacher Appreciation Week

This week marks the annual “gift fest” for teachers throughout the country. Now, if that sentence sounds a bit cynical, it is not meant to be. On the contrary; I love teachers and everything they have to offer. What I don’t love, is that parents and the Parent Teacher Student Organizations (PTSO) wait until this very week, when the school year is about to be finished, to “honor” this group of men and women who […]

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5 Reasons Why It Doesn’t Matter If You Check Your Teenager’s Online Social Media

It simply doesn’t matter. Your teenager’s, and unfortunately, your pre-teenager’s will find a way to bypass your parental controls. They will find a way to communicate with their friends and you will simply die trying to stop them. Experts say, “Monitor your kids online activity.” Well, I for one am tired of other mother’s (you know the type; the mother whose teen got a perfect score on the SAT; a.k.a. the “name dropper” at the […]

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3 Easy Steps for Special Education Students to Get Ready for College

Here are some ways to help your student get ready for college. Take these steps now to make living away from home a smoother transition. 1) Take advantage of the college tour. * Meet with the department of disability before signing the acceptance letter. * Get a feel for the special education environment. Use this department to your advantage. They will help guide you. If it doesn’t “feel” right it won’t be right. 2) Large […]

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3 Reasons to Add “Teachers’ Notes” to the IEP and 3 Reasons It’s a Mess

Students with “Copy of teachers’ notes” as an accommodation should take ‘note.’ I couldn’t resist that pun, but really, this is no laughing matter. If your student has this accommodation on the IEP, most likely by now, you’ve realized that it doesn’t work as smoothly as it should. If parents are not aware of this accommodation, they can request to have it added as an addendum to the IEP. The case manager and the regular […]

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High School to College: Accommodations vs. Accessibility-Are you Ready?

Advocacy is the key word for exceptional students transitioning to college. Students and parents will need to ask for any accommodations in college. These supports are not automatically transferred like an IEP is transferred from school to school. Colleges and universities do not modify assignments or curriculum. Everyone must do the same work; however, the special education students are provided accommodations to access the curriculum. College students will have access and support, but unless they […]

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Can You Hear Me Now? A Broken Cell Phone Shows the Ugly Side of Technology

Not going to lie–it was ugly. So much so that I have vowed to change my stubborn ways– and change is good right? What happened to me last week was interesting to say the least. My cell phone suddenly died–dead! Ordinarily, this would not be a problem for someone like me, who until last year, still had a sliding keypad, but now, I use the device for just about every thing I do. It was […]

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Does Communication at Your Kid’s School Stink? Join the Parent Teacher Student Organization

Make new friends at the meetings I recently attended a two-hour long high school PTSO meeting. Yes, it was long, and yes, it was information overload on a weekday that seemed full of way too much to do anyway. As I sat at the meeting table, I couldn’t help wonder what motivates these other parents that they are so actively involved at their child’s school. By the time the meeting ended, I had my answer; it was their children. Most […]

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Public or Private School for Special Education?

Spring is here, almost, and that means “school shopping” but not for backpacks, crayons or the coolest notebook. Now parents are shopping for next years’ school. Application deadlines loom and for many parents, school choice is an important decision. During this time of year, many schools plan open houses and tours. I would advise parents to take advantage of these opportunities to learn the pros and cons of any school which might be a good […]

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3 Reasons For-Not- Joining the Parent Teacher Association (“PTA”) at Your Child’s School

PTA, PTSA, or PTSO;  the acronym may vary but the underlying premise is the same. The Parent Teacher Association, The Parent Teacher Student Association or Organization; parents and students working together to support their school. Throughout the school year, parents are often asked to send in cash donations, food items for appreciation days, commit to a block of time to volunteer at the school or serve concessions at the latest sporting event. For this reason, […]

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Teaching with Technology: Is This The Way Of The Future For Our Students?

Is this our kids future? Will teacher’s soon be obsolete? Who will teach life skills and organization? Who will teach students to raise their hand and wait their turn? Teaching with technology is wonderful; it’s everywhere. I am more concerned about the common use of technology in the classrooms. Students are being given IPads to read passages and answer comprehension questions.  Student projects have gone from book reports and cardboard projects to online power points […]

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SAT (Test) Accommodations

If your special education student is planning on going to college, he or she will need to take the Standardized Achievement Test (SAT). These tests are administered at the high school level, usually during the 11th and 12th  grade. Some students take it earlier and often improving the score each time. With special education students though, improving their score is imperative. That is why the accommodations are so important. Students do get accommodations when they take […]

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Standardized Achievement Tests-(SAT) Accommodations for Exceptional Students Are Truly A Reality

A funny think happened to me in my last Parent Teacher Student Organization Meeting (PTSO). Discussion surrounded the availability and practice sessions for the next SAT in our area. Being the dedicated disability advocate that I am, I couldn’t contain my excitement knowing that I would be able to focus on an issue which is very close to my heart; teenagers with a disability having the same opportunity to attend college as the regular education […]

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Does Your Child Have Special Needs or a Disability?

If  you refer to your child as having “special needs” instead of having a “disability” you would not be alone. Many schools refer to some classrooms as “special education” not “disability education.” So, it is only natural that parents would follow suit. Below you will read about an unscientific experiment I conducted. I wanted to understand if my perception of the words, “special needs,” or “disability,” has an implied stigma for people with challenges. Parents […]

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Don’t Wait to Register With the Department of Disabilities

I have vowed to keep my child off public assistance. I was, and still am, adamant that if he can work and be financially independent, then he should; everyone should. The issues evolved when he graduated from high school. While he was able to secure a job, we were suddenly presented with other challenges which we did not anticipate. For example, transportation; if a person cannot get to where he or she wants to go, […]

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Why a School Can Hold an IEP Meeting Without the Parents and Why it Should Never Happen

I was as surprised as anyone when I learned that a special education teacher, or worse yet, an administrator could provide authorization to hold an Individual Education Plan (IEP) meeting without at least one of the parents in attendance. Unfortunately, this fact is true, but there are things parents can do to prevent this from ever happening to their child. Where disabled students are concerned, there are two sides to every story and somewhere in-between […]

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3 Things About Teenage Fashion Other Parents Want You to Know

First of all, let’s put something on the table right now–I do tell my kidlet which clothes are appropriate and which clothes are not–based on my opinion anyway. So just because it doesn’t appear as such, doesn’t mean I didn’t say it. Am I right–sound familiar parents? A tight spot because on one hand my child says, “Everyone dresses like this,” while the other hand checks my blood pressure for emotional distress as she leaves […]

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Why I Give My Kids’ Teacher’s a Holiday Gift

“Absolutely not, no way and stay out”! These are just a sampling of the lovable phrases I hear from my kidlet at the mere inference of me stepping onto the high school property. Forget about bringing classroom supplies or dare I say it–“a gift.” As our students get older, it becomes less acceptable to give teacher gifts; not because we don’t want to, but because it calls attention to our student. I will admit for […]

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Are You Raising an “I Can’t” or an “I’ll Try” Exceptional Kid?

Parents of exceptional children often have the mindset that their kidlet either can or cannot do something. For some reason, whether academic or social, parents have this predetermined idea that their child’s fate has already been set. Either way, parents who show their child direction ahead of time,usually see differences in attitudes once he or she enters the teenage years. Oftentimes, we struggle with the term “disability” or what’s “wrong’ with our child. But how […]

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Why Mom Bloggers Are Not Normal

This was not my ideal post for this week. No, on the contrary, I had something wild and crazy planned about how”Thanksgiving” is really just about the food and conflict. Most people go through the aggravation of traveling across the country at the busiest time of year only to get to their destination and find they should have stayed home in the first place. They eat too much, sit around on someone’s couch where feet […]

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Why Taking Away Teenager’s Fashion Sense is Taking Away Their Independence

Last week a story appeared on the news about a cheerleader who was removed from her squad because she refused to straighten her curly hair. This might not be the only reason, but if so, certainly she should have been able to put her hair into a pony tail. You can read the full story here. Fitting in Society “grooms” our children. The word “groom” is not meant as a pun in this case, but […]

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Why Teenagers Are Like a Bell in the Wind

We never know what we are going to get. Sometimes, they are quiet and motionless only to enjoy the sweet melodies of their youth. Then other times, they are singing the joys of their new found independence. With all due respect to our young adults, our teenagers really have no concept of reality. They truly are like a bell in the wind; taking one day at a time and flying free. It’s the “whatever happens […]

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Public or Private School?

My latest article has been published in Carolina Parent Magazine, Public or Private? Weigh the Options for Special Education Students. One idea many parents have is that their exceptional child might do better in a private school. While private schools do offer a better teacher student ratio, sometimes, they are not the best choice.Parents should also realize that not all private schools are equal. This also applies to public schools. Many times, they are not […]

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Test Papers and Peer Grading–Why This Practice Should Go Away

It is no secret that educational budget cuts have left classrooms overcrowded which ultimately results in teachers becoming overworked. They make every effort to cut corners and  find ways to carry out even the simplest of tasks. Many teachers employ some students as a “go to” for many things. We can’t blame them because there are many students who are capable of performing teacher tasks; especially in the upper grades. While there is no “official” […]

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The Ultimate Birthday Letter Cheat Sheet to a 16 Year-Old Girl

Right now, as of today, I am just 16, but if I were older, and I was going to write someone a letter on her 16th birthday, I might ask something like, “Where are you going, not now this minute, but later, where are you going in life”? From this picture, I might want to ask, “If it is only about the journey and not the destination, then which tickets do you plan to purchase […]

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So I’m A Terrible Parent–What’s Your Excuse? How Societal Norms Prevent Parent’s From Connecting With Each Other

This morning in my inbox, I was greeted with an email from an acquaintance who alluded to the fact that perhaps through social media my kidlet might need some positive influences which should come in the form of another teenager. Oh yes, good idea, that should work! Totally dumbfounded as I have not spoken with this person in months, I moved forward and checked it off as a parent who was in desperate need of […]

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Are You Saving Your Child’s IEP Documents? Two Items Never to Toss Out

Parents have most likely figured out that schools could save a tree by conserving some of the paper they hand out at any given IEP meeting. That being said, there are only two documents that parents should keep. When I say “keep,” I mean locked up in a fire-proof safe needing only a golden key.You can thank me later. Here’s the challenge. Parents receive so much paperwork it makes our heads spin. But over the […]

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Sorry, Not Sorry Teenager’s! The Effects of Too Much Social Media

Our young ones are unable to go into an establishment and ask for help, directions, or to talk to the receptionist when entering a business. The thought of going in to a bank and asking the teller for a cashiers check or into a restaurant to say, “5 people, please” sends many of them into an absolute shake-fest; a frenzy they cannot compute. Stage fright Many develop an unusual phobia if required to have a […]

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Disabled Young Adult? 5 Steps You Should Take Now for Later

For the past 20 years, there have been many pediatricians, educators, and government administrators who have recommended I sign my kid up for disability services. “Get him into the system” they would say. I flat out refused. My response was always the same, ” If he can work, then he should. No child of mine is going to sit around all day watching TV while collecting a check from the taxpayers.” No, teaching him life […]

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Why Your Kid Should Make Less Than $35 Per Week in Allowance

A survey by American Express shows that kids who earn an allowance make on average $35 per week. I think I will go pour myself a nice glass of wine so I can digest this ridiculous claim. $35 per week equates to $140 per month and then $1680 per year. Now, let’s examine this report. Do we get what we pay for? Even if I wanted to pay for chores, (I do pay but I […]

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When Teenage Lies Become A Parent’s Game

Of course telling fibs are natural and kids are going to do it, but what recourse do parents have then? I have a pretty good idea when my kidlets’ wording sounds suspicious.I think most parents rely on that. But has anyone taken a good look at some of the content on the internet lately? There are sites that teach someone how to lie, how to read body language, and sites which teach someone how to […]

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When Teaching Children To Be Bad Is Bad

As I have said before about our kidlets, “We are not helping them if we are helping them.” I am not talking about giving $20 for a tank of gas, or making them breakfast on the way out the door. When I refer to not helping them, I mean that decisions about their future and their choices should be their own. But there has to be a time when real life consequences will supersede the […]

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3 Things You Don’t Know About Your Neighbor

How many times have you waved to your neighbor as they drive by your house? Do you think that cute dog they are walking makes them a great guy? Don’t be fooled. We never really know what is going on behind closed doors. 1) People put up a good facade. The outside of the house may look nice and show effort in the landscape, but the inside might be a hoarders’ mess. 2). Some neighbors […]

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I’m Still Here, Mom!

Today marks the 35th anniversary of my mother’s death.I would give anything to have my mom here with me now, but not for the reasons I’ve mentioned in the past. No, this time is different. My mother had six children. I wonder if she knew what she was getting herself into back then? I mean, my goodness, taking care of three children is hard enough, I could not imagine six; four of us being girls. […]

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Life Is Too Short Not To Use The Guest Towels

Who are you saving the pretty unused guest towels for? After one use, are they still considered guest towels? Why do we use the ugly old towels for ourselves and then put the nice towels out for people we barely ever see? I wonder if putting the guest towels out for the ones we live with would send the message they are loved and we look forward to seeing them each day. On the other […]

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Why Do We Really Celebrate Father’s Day Anyway?

Father’s are really good at fixing things and they are really good at working to provide for their families. Modern day dads are very good at computers and tech skills. We can always rely on them for the tangible items.  In the end, dads keep the house “functional” and usually play a vital role in the family. For that, yes, we should celebrate their accomplishments and dedication to the family.  Thank you, Dad for always making […]

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When Parents Judge Other Parents

Do you remember when you or someone you knew was pregnant and adamantly proclaimed, “When I am shopping at the grocery store, my kids are never going to cry”? Or how about this one… “My kids are never going to act like that in public.” I like to refer to it as “Pudgement” also known as “Parental Judgement”! Most likely, that was wishful thinking. We all learned soon enough that perfect public behavior from our […]

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When Loving a Baby is Hard To Do

I came across this baby snake on my walk yesterday. Not a fan of snakes, but not a fan of destroying a baby one either. Knowing this snake will grow into something only its mother could be proud of, this little guy made me think about how we treat people who do not look particularly inviting. We have all seen it–someone who looks “weird” or not as attractive as the next person. Unfortunately, we stereotype […]

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Favorite Teen Expression…And the Winner Is…

If you have a teen just “hanging out” this summer you may have heard some choice one liners. My all-time favorite, “I’ll do it later.” Do what later? Clean the bathrooms, vacuum, put your make-up on, or play video games? I think it’s a catch-all phrase. It seems to work for anything. Remember that “Mr. Microphone” commercial back in the ’80’s? “Hey good-looking, we’ll be back to pick you up later”! Or how about the […]

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UT Austin’s Version of “Fahrenheit 451” Poses a Challenge for Their Diverse Student Population

The University of Texas at Austin has a library problem and the disabled community might be the biggest losers of the new plan. In an effort to find new library space to meet current trends in circulation and technology, the college has determined that the resources in the Fine Arts Library, inside the Doty Fine Arts building, must go to make way for other growing college programs. Sort of like Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451” where […]

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Why People in Wheelchairs Can Only Shop Online During the Holidays

Holiday shopping is in full swing and the malls are jam-packed with eager holiday shoppers. Santa is in town and there are plenty of great deals available. But there are some people who are not able to enjoy the shopping this time of year and it has nothing to do with their finances. While holiday shopping online is more convenient, and less stressful for many, shopping in  malls is a fun, joyous, and entertaining pastime […]

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October 2017 Disability Awareness Information

Please see the awareness opportunities for the special needs community throughout October. Guidance and support are available on the websites below. Parents should contact these  organizations directly for more information. ADHD Awareness Month Blindness Awareness Month Disability Employment Awareness Month Down Syndrome Awareness Month Dwarfism Awareness Month Learning Disabilities Awareness Month Rett Syndrome Awareness Month Spina Bifida Awareness Month World Cerebral Palsy Day –   October 6, 2017 International Stuttering Awareness Day –  October 22  

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5 Unforgivable Sins Parents Make While Oversharing on Social Media

The day started out as it always did: coffee, email, phone messages, a quick Facebook scan…and then…what the heck? Staring at me, even before my coffee became cold, was post after post, and photo after photo, of sick, bloodied, and crying kids. The first was a blood-soaked bandage showing the actual lump removed from some childs’ head! I could have gone the rest of my life and would have been fine not seeing that. It is […]

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