No big whoop?

The special needs blogosphere and social media outlets are abuzz about this recent Target ad featuring a boy with Down Syndrome. This kid is cute. Really cute. It's great to see him there. The big news isn't the fact that he's in the shot; what people seem to be focusing on is the fact that …

The most wonderful time of the year

A woman visits her rabbi to ask his advice on how to handle her family's cramped living quarters. "Rabbi, we only have one small room and my husband and children and I are always bumping into each other. It's so noisy and chaotic. What should I do?" The rabbi asks, "Do you have chickens, goats and …

Just this! Just this!

In an unusual moment of stillness between the last bite of dinner and the itchiness to get up from the table, I wished my family a Happy Solstice and asked if anyone had a poem, song or blessing to add. (I've been thinking about how to add more spirit to the everyday, though usually don't …

Oreos for my village

My friend, who is also the mother of my daughter's classmate, asked me a couple of weeks ago if I wanted to join in on a group holiday gift card for their teacher, thus setting off my annual tailspin of panic on how to appropriately gift the many folks who care for and about my …

Stopping the story at exactly the right moment

"And who among us would deny Jane Austen her happy endings or insist that Cary Grant and Irene Dunne should not get back together at the end of The Awful Truth? There are tragedies and there are comedies, aren't there? And they are often more the same than different, rather like men and women, if you …

The siren call of the sofa

My sofa calls. "Come on over and sit a while," it says seductively, with its plump cushions and close proximity to the ultimate mind-and-heart-numbing box. I don't think I'm alone in celebrating the arrival of a long sought-after goal on this arduous journey we call special needs parenting — reaching a developmental milestone, getting a …

A few minutes in the hospital lobby

I arrived a little earlier than expected at our local pediatric hospital last Friday. I have spent plenty of hours there with my son, both inpatient and outpatient, or visiting friends whose children are also patients, providing plenty of opportunities for a lot of suffering. On this day though, I'm here in a more neutral …

Whose disability is it, anyway?

Last year, my typically developing seven-year-old daughter had about a 1-minute homework attention span and over 30 minutes of homework daily. You do the math. I tried everything -- pleading, yelling, coaxing, creating a consistent routine, using positive behavior reinforcements and a visual timer — to no avail. Staying focused without having someone physically present to re-direct …

Asking Stupid Questions, aka Beginner’s Mind

Here's another in my toolbox series of techniques that inspire me to live with joy, compassion and courage, as inspired by the Hindu goddess Durga  -- my nominee for patron saint of special needs parents. When it comes to raising kids with special needs, there are a lot of gatekeepers who get to be on …