His First A!

As flowers bloom in our garden, T reaped a sweet harvest this week. Report cards were sent home during this last week of school. The hubby and I spotted T’s very first A right away – given for reading! We were so thrilled, because of how hard T – and all of us at schoolContinue reading “His First A!”

Gym Coach

I will soon add wannabe basketball coach to my CV. As a student, gym was not my strong subject. I did well in sports like cross country and baseball, but basketball terrified me. Similarly, participating in class, including gym, is an ongoing struggle for T in Grade 1, his first full year of in-person learning.Continue reading “Gym Coach”

Sharing A Child’s FASD Diagnosis with Them

How do you share difficult life changing news with a young child? That’s a question I’ve been thinking a lot about since we received T’s FASD diagnosis in January. The hubby and I shared the info with the school right away as it would better inform the way they supported T. We’ve held off onContinue reading “Sharing A Child’s FASD Diagnosis with Them”

Advocating For Your Child

I took a nervous breath as the hubby hit ‘Enter’ on the Zoom call for the School Services Team meeting. This meeting held this past week was when we learned the school’s plans for supports for T when he enters Grade 2 this September. Advocating for your child is a necessary part of being aContinue reading “Advocating For Your Child”

Retracing Our Footprints

I spent last weekend filing documents that have piled up over five years. Being a parent is a full time job on top of a job. Being a special needs parent is like having an extra job on top of parenting – managing school and service appointments, taking your child to appointments, keeping track ofContinue reading “Retracing Our Footprints”

Kids Keep Us Grounded

T walked in the door with the hubby, who had taken our cat to the vet. We circled him with a congratulatory hug because his teacher had e-mailed us great news. She had a regular check-in with T’s reading. He had been reading at Level 4 – on the Developmental Reading Assessment system – theContinue reading “Kids Keep Us Grounded”

The Power of Inclusion

When all kids are included, accommodated and set up for success, everyone wins. Maintaining a positive relationship with T’s school is a priority for the hubby and I. We try to be open, transparent and collaborative with his teachers and principal. We shared his recent FASD diagnosis and we’re thankful his school has been soContinue reading “The Power of Inclusion”

Finding the Bright Spots

Perfection is the enemy of progress. I thought about this expression by French philosopher Voltaire after T broke his four-week streak of perfect spelling tests. T’s teacher recently introduced Words of the Week; six words given on Mondays that he practices for a test on Fridays. T crushed the first four weeks and we postedContinue reading “Finding the Bright Spots”

Helping Kids Navigate Difficult Change

Change is hard for kids. It was heart wrenching to see T process an unexpected change this week. Change is harder for kids such as T. If you hang out with the hubby and I, you’ll notice we give T ample warnings – 10, 5, 1 minutes before we move to the next activity, especiallyContinue reading “Helping Kids Navigate Difficult Change”

The Diagnosis

After 5.5 years, we’ve answered a longstanding question about our son’s life and then uncovered more questions. When T was 18 months old, he received a prognosis of at-risk Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). It’s been quite the journey since as the hubby, T and I experienced the highs and lows of life with aContinue reading “The Diagnosis”

Making Popcorn

One freeing lesson I’ve learned is that every child’s potential pops at their own time. You may have seen this meme – the photo of popcorn with a message that reads: “Popcorn is prepared in the same pot, in the same heat, in the same oil, and here the kernels do not pop at theContinue reading “Making Popcorn”

Labels Don’t Define Us

I was recently reminded about how we are taught and conditioned to label things from an early age. Watching T complete his recent graphing assignments for virtual learning made me think about how we teach kids early on about sorting things into categories and labels. To be clear, sorting and labels have a purpose andContinue reading “Labels Don’t Define Us”

Snow Day

Sometimes, life gifts you a sign to slow down. Today was supposed to be T’s return to in-person learning. Our city got walloped with snow, so schools were closed but kids were asked to log in for online learning. My initial reaction was “For fuck’s sake, let kids have a rare proper snow day!” WhenContinue reading “Snow Day”

Resolutions

Through virtual schooling, T learned about setting goals for the New Year. The related assignment is the last thing we had to catch up on and complete this weekend before we return to in-person learning this coming week. I often write about how we struggle with T to sit still and concentrate long enough toContinue reading “Resolutions”

Little Community Helper

Kids can be self centered and I often think about how to teach my little T about good deeds. Last fall, we ordered a collection of the first six Clifford books, because T was interested in the adventures of the big red dog. One of the first stories was “Clifford’s Good Deeds.” The story madeContinue reading “Little Community Helper”

Touchscreen Generation

Nothing ages you like teaching your Generation Alpha son how to use a computer mouse. Our 6-year-old T was born into a world that already had Instagram, wifi, and iPhones. I remember being once amused when he was three years old and trying to use the TV by touching the screen instead of using theContinue reading “Touchscreen Generation”

Walking on Thin Ice

My six-year-old recently asked me what the word “pressure” means? Since we watched Disney’s “Encanto,” he’s been humming his favourite moment, when Luisa sings the song “Surface Pressure.” We had the song on repeat while driving. I told T that when you feel pressure, you feel very worried you might not do a good job.Continue reading “Walking on Thin Ice”

Motivation

Fans of long-running reality show Survivor will be familiar with the term “dig deep.” It’s what host Jeff Probst says to motivate contestants to tap into their inner strength to get through a physically-grueling challenge. The last few weeks have been very challenging with T at home and school. We’re not sure if it’s theContinue reading “Motivation”

Losing Like Halle Berry

Having a sense of humour about when things do not go as planned is generally one of my instinctual responses in life. Dealing with loss and feeling like you’re failing is part of being a special needs parent. In the last few weeks, it’s been harder to find levity during the challenging moments. We’ve beenContinue reading “Losing Like Halle Berry”

Great Expectations

As a special needs parent, I often struggle with the difference between adjusting and lowering my expectations. This is forefront in my mind now that T, a kid with great potential and a prognosis of at-risk FASD, is in Grade 1. School learning is now more formal and less play based. Expectations have gone upContinue reading “Great Expectations”