If There Is So Much Support Out There,
Why Do We Feel So Alone?

Is there anyone who understands?
TruBlueBoy, Stock.XCHNG
Do you ever get the feeling you are the only one in the whole world with a child like yours? Do you wonder if there is anyone 'out there' who understands?

You go to a playgroup and moms are sitting and chatting while you chase your child and are constantly 'harping' on him to put that down and be aware of his surroundings. Other parents think you're overprotective, too strict, or not strict enough. Your parenting skills are under scrutiny and your thoughts are filled with getting out of there without incident.

You finally do get to visit parents without chasing your child because your husband felt sorry for you or did something that warranted guilt, so you are getting of the house. You know that's the only way because there isn't enough money in the world to pay a babysitter without her having insurance, she may not get out of alive! The competition begins about who has the 'best' child. "My child talked at 12 months and said 'cup'", "My child talked full sentences by the time they were two", "My child was toilet trained by 15 months" and now you are wondering how much of it is exaggerated and how much of it is true. Finally you are brave and you pipe in, "My child talked at 4 yrs old and was toilet trained last month at 7 yrs old". Now you get the pity look - side head tilt with a slight nod. You were quite proud of those moments and you are wondering why they aren't praising the moment as you did!

You're on the hunt for like-minded parents.
Photo: Horton Grou, Stock.XCHNG
Now you're on the hunt for like-minded parents and decide to join a support group with parents that have children that match your child's issues. You enter a room tentatively and everyone seems nice enough. Then the competitions begin about who has it the 'worse'! The depression grows as you wonder if your child will ever improve because these parents are veterans after all and they are telling you horror story after horror story! You feel like you are pregnant again and you are hearing the stories of delivery that gave you nightmares.

You turn to family because they are the only ones that have always been there. They are so glad 'you brought it up' because they have been wanting to be 'open' with you. Now that you are not talking to them anymore, where do you turn?

Our days are filled with therapy appointments, learning, house cleaning, and some of us work on top of it all! We don't have time for friendships that bond and we are okay with that. Friends who previously were supportive have ditched us because they don't understand our children or our lives. We don't hold it against them because we hardly understand what has happened to us! Days turn to months which turn to years and you look back and think, now what?

We are SUPER-MOMs!
We have the home advantage. Years ago there was no internet, no groups, no life 'outside' the home but these days, we can leave virtually! We are NOT alone! We have found groups of people that we can sip tea with and email. We can share how our children won't tolerate seams in socks with people who understand! We have people who understand the differences between meltdowns and temper tantrums. We can share resources of where to get discount pricing on cooling vests. We can read over conversations with humour and accomplishments, woes and tears. Some of us are blessed to live in places that offer affordable services for our children and have great groups! For those of us who do not have such blessings, we are extremely thankful for the online world. We may seem pathetic to other people but we know, if those people spent one week in our house, they would sing our praises and wouldn't be grudge a moment! We know, we need this virtual world of real people, who understand!We are SUPER-MOMs and we have SUPER-KIDs. We can leap laundry in a single bound while we reschedule the next therapy appointment, simultaneously. We can turn supper into a therapy session with a simple blend of green mashed potatoes. We are able to advocate to every cashier, critic, and doctor. We know our children better than anyone and we aren't afraid to use these superpowers to help them! We want to celebrate these accomplishments and gain support without being judged negatively but offer and receive help with constructive, loving criticism. We aren't in competition with who has it the worse or who has it the best. We are aware of reality. Special needs children with special moms are SUPER-MOMs with SUPER-KIDs!

I would like to give a special shout out to my 'online world' and give links for you to join these groups too! Whether you homeschool your special needs child or not, these groups will accept you. I have found support, information, laughter, tears of understanding, and kindness with my world of SUPER-MOMs. I hope you do too!

All Kinds Of Learners Yahoo Group
Special Needs Parents Homeschooling Special Needs Kids Yahoo Group
Special Needs Homeschool Yahoo Group (our group for this website)

If you are on Facebook:
Special Needs Homeschool
All Kinds Of Learners 
Special Needs Parents Homeschooling Special Needs Kids
Children With Multiple Disabilities 
Parenting Kiddo's With Invisible Disabilities
Sensory Street, Inc.

Special Needs Homeschool
Jennifer Bolton has been home educating since 2000.  Both of her boys have special needs.  She has worked with children since 1998 as an Early Childhood Educator, Child and Youth Worker, Special Services at Home, Day Cares, Home Child Care provider, volunteered at clubs, childrens' programs, and Foster Care.  Her current projects include the sites and support groups listed above, in addition to educating her boys at home.

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Strategies for Challenged Learners
Learning does not come easily for every student. Parents and teachers often look for specific strategies and resources to assist struggling readers and learners, especially those with ADHD, dyslexia, or other issues. Here are just a few that you might consider for the challenged student(s) in your life. 
  1. Have the course and book content available via audiotape or CD.
  2. Use a portable, hand-held spell checker (such as the Franklin Spelling Ace) for unknown words. 
  3. Use graph paper or other tools like the Reading Focus Card for math to promote accurate placeholder work.
  4. Use interactive computer reading programs that require only a limited number of tasks at a time.
  5. Underline or highlight important key words in a set of directions BEFOREbeginning an assignment. 
  6. Fold a worksheet so that only a small amount of text, information, or problems is visible at one time.  Using individualized tools can help with this as well. 
  7. Allow formoving to optional work areas with less distraction. 
  8. Allow for the experience of a variety of sensory learning technique such as those from the use of a computer, tape recorder, projector, and manipulatives. The more senses you appeal to in the learning process, the more success the student will experience.
  9. Use word processors or computers to complete written work, especially when writing is a struggle.
  10. Allow for kneeling or standing at a desk (if needed), as long as it does not cause problems or distractions for others. 
  11. Have access to a copy of prepared notes, especially after a teaching session or discussion. 
  12. Arrange for a second set of textbooks at homeso that materials are always at hand when needed. 
  13. Use very low-volume music (instrumental) or environmental sounds (seashore or other nature sounds) while doing independent work.
  14. Work cooperatively at times with others as part of a "buddy" system of support.
  15. Use colored paper for all printed materials including worksheets, outlines, notes, etc. Experiment with pastels as well as bright shades. One particular color may produce the best results for an individual.
  16. Consider colored overlays or the Reading Focus Card for focus and reading challenges because the white background of a page of text can be visually “offensive” to some readers/learners.
  17. Try visiting www.virtualnerd.com for assistance with specific math and science challenges.

Highlight important key words.

Copyright 2010 Brennan Innovators, LLC
www.ReadingFocusCard.com For ADHD focusing tools that work!
www.BrennanInnovators.com For ADHD info & support, 314-892-3897

Joan Brennan, of Brennan Innovators
Joan M. Brennan is CEO of Brennan Innovators, LLC, which designs, manufactures, and retails practical reading and learning tools that can benefit individuals of all ages and many ability levels, particularly those challenged with learning disabilities and differences.  She is a middle school educator with more than 15 years’ experience teaching students of different ability levels within the same classroom. 

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