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Something A Little Different

Normally I post something related to children with special needs because that’s my job. Today I have something different on my mind: “step-families”. My husband and I married this past November and I became an instant mom. He is an 8-year old, baseball loving, super active, crazy boy! So, my husband and I haven’t even been married a year yet. My stepsons mom got remarried this past summer. So he now has his mom and stepdad and his dad (my husband) and myself as his parent structure. You always hear people on social media complaining about their ex or their baby daddy/baby mama and the drama they cause or the problems they cause. I’ll be honest… I was worried about how everything would work out with this parent structure. I was worried that his mom would get upset or mad if my stepson and I became close or if he and I did something together. I was worried that she would try to hurt my husband by keeping him away because she didn’t want him around me. The list goes on. However, before this school year started we all sat down and worked out his after school schedule, his schedule with each set of parents, his birthday party, etc. We have a group text message where we can all communicate about things he may need. I am able to call or text her and vice versa if something is needed or my husband can’t talk at that moment because he is working. More families need to get over their differences and issues and do what is best for their child or children. Because we are able to communicate about things reasonably, my stepson has become more relaxed and less stressed than he used to be. I wish more people could look beyond themselves to have a situation like this to help their children. Because in the end, it is about what is best for the children.

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The Perspective of an EI

“Once you learn to appreciate small victories, there is no need for a finish line.”

This quote is very true when you work with children who have special needs. Of course I have goals for the children that I work with, but let me tell you, when a child has a small victory it just makes you feel like you have conquered the world. In working with children you come to understand that every child is different. It doesn’t matter if they have special needs or not. They are all different. However, I am an EI so I work with children who have special needs. Some of you may ask, “What is an EI?” EI stands for Early Interventionist. I work with children who have special needs from the time they are born up through the time they go to school. Some of them will “graduate” the program when they reach their goals, which is always awesome. And then others will graduate when they move on to school. Either way, they have the help they need to make it on their journey of life.

I work with children with all sorts of different needs. Some of my children have been diagnose with autism, some of them will be diagnosed with autism, some have physical disabilities, some have speech delays, some have other delays. It just depends on the child. When one of my kids meets a goal or has a breakthrough it is amazing. We like to celebrate because it helps them know they are doing something good.

As an EI, I go into the home having a rough idea of what I am going to work on that day. Sometimes it goes to plan and sometimes it doesn’t. But, honestly, the days that it doesn’t go to plan are usually the days that the child I’m working with amazes me with a new talent. Now, don’t go thinking that this is an easy job and I’m just there playing with kids. I do play with them because that is how I teach them, but there are days that are very hard. There are days that I wonder what I am doing because I don’t feel like I’m doing anything to help. There are days we sit and read books because that’s all we can handle that day. Or there are days where the child I’m working with might just need hugs a lot. As an EI you have to learn what your kids need to help them grow. This can be frustrating at times, but it is also very rewarding.

I am a source of support for the family. They know that I am there to help them with whatever they may need when it comes to their child. Sometimes parents with children who have special needs just need someone to talk to. Sometimes that person is me. After my visit with the family I may just sit there and listen to the parent talk about things their child has been doing or not doing. Sometimes they just need someone who understands their child to listen and not judge them. All of these are roles that fall under and EI’s “job description”.

Therapies are another way that the family can get support. As an EI I work on many different things, but if a child is struggling with a certain thing like speech I can refer them for speech therapy. This is another support that a family can have. By referring them for more help, the child is more likely to make progress. Sitting in on therapies that my children go to helps me learn new ideas to incorporate into my time with the children. This can be very helpful for me and the family.

From my perspective, there is a lot that can help a family with children that have special needs. I like to do everything I can to make sure they have all of the help that they need. I make sure that they have therapies and that these therapies are working for them. I come to their therapies from time to time to see how things are going. I check in with the therapists to see if there is something else that needs to be done or changed. This is all part of being an EI and making sure these children have everything they need to make the most out of their lives.

I absolutely love seeing the progress these children make. I love hearing the families talk about how much change they have seen and what they are still hoping to see from their children. It is a hard, but rewarding job.

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Day to Day Life

If  you know a family that has a child with special needs, you know that they are super busy. Sometimes you wonder why they do so many different therapies. The answer is simple. They want their child to have the same opportunities that every other child has. There is no promise that a child with special needs will ever be able to completely “catch up” to other children. It depends on their disability or needs. Some children are just delayed and need extra help for a little while. Whereas other children will need extra help for their entire lives. But back to the question of why so many therapies. If a child is delayed, chances are they are delayed in multiple areas. That means that they will end up having many different therapies. Occupational Therapy. Speech Therapy. Physical Therapy. Early Intervention. And so on. These different therapies will help them make progress and hopefully fill in the gaps of those delays. All of this to say, please be kind to families who have children with special needs. They are tired. They have to be in many different places each day. It can be very hard to have a social life when you have children with special needs because they take up so much time. So please be understanding when they don’t want to do something at night or they don’t come to your cookout on the weekends. They are doing the best they can and sometimes they just need to be reminded that they are good parents.

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Absence and Thoughts

Sorry for my lack of writing on here! My family life has been busy lately. We decided to take a family vacation to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. It was an amazing trip. My 8-year old step son had a BLAST. He’s already asking about next years vacation.

Things will start to get back to normal around here before too long. School is starting back in the next few weeks and we will all be on a regular schedule again.

My thoughts for today… Make the most of the time that you have with your children and family. They won’t be around forever. Your children will grow up and leave you and no matter how much “stuff” you buy them it will not replace the memories that you have. Make memories with your family. Even if you take a spontaneous trip somewhere for a weekend or just have a movie marathon, make memories with them. That will mean more to them as they grow older than any of the “things” you buy them. Make the most of your life and enjoy your family. You’ll never regret the time you spent with your family, but one day you may regret not spending more time with them. Keep that in mind…

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Rules In The Home

Rules. Every family has to have them. Some parents are more strict than others. Some children do not seem to have any rules. But there are always some type of rules in a home. I have been considering coming up with some set rules and posting them somewhere in the house as a visual reminder for when they are “forgotten”.

I have an 8-year old step son. For the most part he is a good kid. I feel for him because he has many different sets of rules. At his mom’s he has one set of rules, at his grandparents he has another set of rules, and when he’s with us he has a different set of rules. I’m sure it can get confusing for him sometimes.

However, it is important to have rules so that children learn what life will be like when they get out into “the real world”. Now I’m not saying create a long list of rules that make it almost impossible to live by. That would be terrible for you and your children. Just a few simple rules so that they know what they can and cannot do in the home.

For instance, these are some of the rules we have in our home:

  1. No running.
  2. No jumping on the furniture.
  3. No throwing balls in the house.

Depending on the age of your child(ren), you can make an easy set of rules as well. If you want help writing your rules or making sure your rules are age appropriate feel free to contact me. I don’t mind helping at all!

I like to keep rules short and simple because they are easier to remember. If you have long drawn out rules they will be harder to remember and abide by. Remind your children that you love them and the rules are there to help them. Following the rules is something they will have to do the rest of their lives, whether it’s in school or at work, you are just helping prepare them for life. You need to remember that as well when you want to give in because you made them mad. Just remember, this will help them with life.