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The Best of the Rest of the Web: Free Therapy, Appropriate Education, and Making Friends

From the NYMetro Special Parent Fall/Winter 2014 issues comes a selection of thought-provoking quotes about special needs parenting, including the "free therapy" found in a child's happiness, providing an appropriate education, and the importance of making friends at school.

Free Therapy:
“I am still riding the high of Max’s happiness. Life as a special needs mom certainly has its lows.
Low low low low
lows, with heaping sides of worry, stress, frustration and what-ifs. But the pure joy Max expresses blisses me out every single time. Like therapy, only better. And free.”
—Ellen Seidman, a local mom who shares her life
and loves and ups and downs regarding raising a son with cerebral palsy on her blog

“Whenever you get close to someone and they have a moment where they forget you’re disabled, you know they’ve finally come to a point where they don’t think about your disability. They finally see you for YOU.”

—Tiffiny Carlson, a quadriplegic who has a C6 spinal cord injury and founder of, in “10 Things Every Person with a Disability Should Hear” on

The Letter
of the Law

“Although you and your child’s teachers or therapists may want to provide your child with the best or optimal program and services, the school district is not required to provide the best or optimal but rather an appropriate education.”

—from the “Transition Toolkit for Parents of Children with Medically Fragile Conditions” (, which is chock-full of helpful explanations and links, provided by Queens-based St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children (@StMarysKidsNY); this quote refers to what every child is entitled to under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act, often referred to as IDEA

Girls Get ADHD, Too: “Politely daydreaming underachievers just don’t attract attention the way hyperactive and impulsive boys do. Staring out the window is nothing when the kid next to you is dancing on the sill.... Whereas boys with ADHD tend to externalize their frustration, blaming the ‘stupid test,’ acting up and acting out, girls are more likely to blame themselves, turning their anger and pain inward.”

—Rae Jacobson in “How Girls With ADHD Are Different” on, the first in a three-part series on girls and ADHD from Manhattan’s Child Mind Institute (@ChildMindDotOrg)

girl at desk

Developmentally speaking, making a friend in school is every bit as important as getting an A.
—from “How to Help Your Child with Special Needs Make Friends” in a previous issue of “Special Parent”; find the article at, and turn to p. 31 for advice on making play dates go more smoothly

[Nolan] does not speak a word, but he has friends who like talking to him. People are better because of him…. Although he has changed the world in his own way, he is not here just for others. Nolan is Nolan. He is happy to be himself for his own sake.

—Chas Waitt, whose now 7-year-old son Nolan is diagnosed with West syndrome, cerebral palsy, and an array of intense special needs, in the essay collection “Dads of Disability:
Stories for, by, and About Fathers of Children who Experience Disability” (Gary M. Dietz; download a free excerpt at

“Families like ours have fought for acceptance, not just for our kids but for us mothers, too. Yet somewhere along the line ‘we are equal’ became ‘we are better.’ We toil more, we mother more, we are superhuman. It’s a myth—and it sends a dangerous message. Dangerous because it tells the world that only a special kind of person can raise a son or daughter who is different. Dangerous because it increases our loneliness when we remove ourselves from the world of everyday motherhood—a world we still live in, even if it sometimes seems far away.”

—Mary Evelyn, mother of a boy who was born with Spina Bifida, on her engaging and open-hearted blog (, on which she writes, “being honest and vulnerable opens us up to so much good”


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