Posted in Celebrities, In The News, Parenting From The Headlines, Special Needs Kids

Will Smith’s Shameless Attack On Advocacy

Rocked by scandals, mocked for wokeness, overrun with hypocrisy, and desperate to resurrect viewers, Hollywood needed the Academy Awards to score big. Oscar was limping along in a stale state but better than expected. Then Will Smith channeled his inner Kanye West.

Of all the TMI moments Will and Jada Smith inundated us with over the last few years, the only good one was Jada’s struggles with alopecia. Jada stated she wants to use her platform to bring awareness to the condition. Admirable. Except she didn’t do it. Then Will hit the nuclear button peppering her advocacy claims with the effectiveness of hollow point bullets.

Demi Moore was an epic GI Jane, is an iconic actress, and has her own advocacy platform. There is no insult in being classified with her. Chris Rock’s joke wasn’t insulting either. Will laughed until he saw his wife’s face. She obviously was far too sensitive and overreacted.

Jada should’ve stood up flexed her muscles, made a powerful pose, done anything indicative of GI Jane strength and courage when Chris made the joke. Think of the inspiring message. Alopecia makes you GI Jane strong! She then could’ve had Chris on her Red Table Talk to discuss it. Better yet, GI Jane 2 with Jada in the lead role and a class of recruits with alopecia. What could’ve been a female empowering message devolved into violence as the answer.

It’s shameful Jada couldn’t get past her thin-skinned self long enough to encourage others from a world stage. Will strolling up to that stage and shouting profanities from his seat only confirmed how shameless he is at his core. All this they did in front of their kids. Their son, Jaden, tweeted, “And That’s How We Do It.” Congrats Will and Jada. You just told your kids to result to violence regardless of how benign a joke is. If they do, and God forbid get seriously injured, killed or do the same to someone else, you will question the actions you demonstrated for them in this moment.

If the Academy Awards hopes to salvage anything good from that dumpster fire, they should strip Will of his Oscar. No action on their part is silence acceptance of audience members punching comedians when they don’t like the joke. And that is something that should concern every comedian.

My words come to you from experience. Jokes are made about my hearing disability all the time. Doesn’t bother me a bit. One of my son’s stutters and two others have special needs. I advocate for education and the disabled. I’m a gold medalist in dealing with stupid comments, rude stares, and cruel jokes. The Smith family endured none of that last night.

Advocating means putting yourself out into a world of keyboard warriors who get their kicks being abusive and cruel. If you can’t take it for the team don’t advocate. Leave it to someone with thicker skin, a quicker wit, and less bent toward violence.

Posted in Autism Spectrum Disorder, funny, parenting, Special Needs Kids, The DJ Journey

Should “Hateful Ass” Be In The Bible?

This is my son Colton. He is on the autism spectrum and has an Olympic worthy ability to find humor in the oddest things. Once he latches on to something funny he will randomly laugh aloud each time it plays in his head. Which is often. For days. Weeks. Months. I’ve seen it go on for years.

This is my son DJ. He has mitochondrial disease and is nonverbal. That should not be confused with quiet. He is the loudest nonverbal kid on the planet. He points, jabbers, yells in a language only he understands and has zero problem expressing his emotions. He has a very short fuse. The difference between emotional outbursts due to his disability and those from pure anger or frustration, is like the difference between a cloud covered night and one lit with the Batman signal.

This is them with their brother Dalton, dressed as a very bad Elvis. Too much to unpack there. Forward focus.

DJ’s emotional development is in the slow powder keg burning teen years. He wants what he wants and he wants it last week. He finds us imbeciles for our inability to predict his moods far in advance.

Steve and I parent as a unit. If he’s handling a problem I stay out of it. But as a Oh-no-you-did-not parent, If I must get involved, it’s on like Donkey Kong! Such was the case today.

DJ found a replay of Saturday’s Kentucky – Louisville basketball game. I’m one of those die hard, arrogant, UK fans that makes other teams dread playing us at Rupp Arena and their fans hate us. Big Blue Nation, I bleed blue and all that.

DJ, however, takes it to a whole new level. In particularly bad games, he stands in the middle of the floor screaming like a wild banshee and flinging anything he can get his hands on. Which gives anyone trying to make entry into his room a crash course in what it must feel like to stroll through a minefield.

This year our basketball program sucks because of this man.

Who should really read that book he wrote.

Somewhere between then and now, he added an option. Losing. Embarrassingly. We haven’t had a 1-6 season since 1911! NINETEEN ELEVEN!!! For the math strugglers, that’s a friggin’ 109 years! For DJ it’s motive.

I didn’t tell him about the game but he found it on ESPN. The boy just lost it. First came the screams. Then the hand biting. Next thing I knew, sounds of tornadic activity emanated from his room.

I go tearing up the stairs to yell at him for yelling. Because that’s how you do it, right? You just out yell them? Never mind. Don’t answer that. Back to the story.

Colton, entered the scene. I tried explaining to DJ. He got angrier. I confirmed his little emotions but warned him justification of emotions is not justifications of actions. DJ calmed a bit but continued mouthing off. Which prompted me to tell him not to be a hateful ass. Which prompted Colton’s asperger brain to commence laughter.

DJ and I look at Colton questioningly. Between laughter Colton says, “I’ve heard mean ass but not hateful ass. That sounds like something that should be in the Bible. ‘I smite thee for thy hateful ass!” DJ enthusiastically repeated in rapid succession one of three words he commands. Yeah!

I looked at them both, concluded I should start day drinking and left them to it.

Posted in Books, Education, Reviews, Sensory Processing Disorder, Special Needs Kids, Special Needs Students

Colour Me British Review

I have the cure for lockdown low, pandemic pressure, Covid chaos or whatever other ails 2020 inflicted upon you.  Coloring.  Yep, you heard me.  Coloring.  Sharpen those colored pencils and color yourself happy.

Colour Me British not only provides all the benefits of coloring, but educates as well.  Kylie Emma Robertson’s beautiful original hand-drawn artwork fills Colour Me British.  From food to iconic landmarks you’ll find it all in Colour Me British.  It’s a great way to keep kids entertained and learning. Those with special needs or mental health issues receive double the benefits.

Coloring impacts the part of the brain responsible for emotions.  Coloring eases fear, calms anxiety, and releases tension.  It also improves focus, sleep, and hand eye coordination.

 

The book is a great therapeutic tool for speech and occupational therapists.  Patients practice expressive language and communication skills when they color the teapot and verbalize their idea of tea with the Queen.  Pages featuring food are useful in helping patients learning to chew.  They can color the foods before sampling them.

Occupational therapists can use the book to improve fine motor skills and visual tracking.  Pages filled with multiple images are perfect for teaching the valuable skill of learning and creating patterns.  To increase sensory perception color while on a therapy ball, platform swing, or in an upside down position. 

Whether you’re a therapist seeking a unique avenue to reach patients or a parent looking to stuff a stocking, Colour Me British is a great buy.  It’s the perfect gift for kids of all abilities and adults seeking to unwind in this crazy lockdown world.  You may not be able to have peace on earth, but coloring in Colour Me British can give you inner peace.

Use the link below to purchase your copy of Colour Me British and get started coloring yourself happy.

  

https://www.amazon.com/Colour-Me-British-colouring-book/dp/1532968183/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Colour+me+british&qid=1608240136&s=books&sr=1-1

Posted in Church, Faith, Healthcare, parenting, Special Needs Kids, The DJ Journey

Even Wonder Women Needs An Oxygen Mask

Moms of special needs children tend to downplay or outright ignore their health. The needs of the child are so great we master the art of caring for them even when our needs are greater. We become so adept at neglecting ourselves for our child we do it without thought. It’s not an attention seeking action it’s survival mode.

Several months ago, I had the unsettling notion something was not right with my health. At first, I had no symptoms. By the time the symptoms arrived, I was in the middle of writing, directing, and choreographing our church Easter play.  I love working with the kids and doing dramas.

This one was extra special because it was the first one in which DJ participated.

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In God’s providence scheduling conflicts led to the play being done a week before Easter.  Any other day and the play would have been canceled.

By performance night, my body screamed for attention.  My health refused to be ignored any longer.  In a span of about 36 hours, I went from feeling like I might have the flu to unable to get out of bed. IMG_9242

What began as me ignoring a typical kidney infection morphed into a full-blown medical crisis.  Words like platelets, blood cancer, leukemia, heart attack, stroke, and premature death engulfed my conversations.

Restricted from any activity, I had ample time to contemplate how I landed on this crudely constructed road.  How did I become so violently ill?  It didn’t just happen.  The answer was clear.  I sacrificed my health in the name of being a strong, nurturing mother giving all and taking nothing for myself. Then came the day when the tatters of my Wonder Woman mentality were strewn about my sick bed.  Everything changed.

There is a reason airline stewardess instruct us that in the event of an emergency we put our oxygen mask on before putting one on our child.  On the surface, the command contradicts the mommy code of putting the child first.  However, the point on the plane should be the same in our everyday lives.  If we do not take care of ourselves, we will be unable to care for our child.   Ignoring our health increases the risk of prolonging or intensifying our illness.  By seeking medical care at the first sign of illness we significantly increase our chances of surviving the monster seeking to destroy us.

I’ve not yet fully recovered.  Don’t know I ever will.

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What I do know is that for ever how many days God gives me upon this earth, I want to encourage others through my mistakes and accomplishments.  So, get that mole checked, stop making excuses for the lump in your breast, don’t assume it is a cold that won’t go away and get a physical every year.  We take the best care of our kids when we take care of us.  Cause to soar as high as she does, even Wonder Woman needs oxygen.

An earlier version of this blog appeared in the Winchester Sun.

Posted in Autism Spectrum Disorder, Reviews, Sensory Processing Disorder, Special Needs Kids

Magnetic Shoe Closure Review

You know those ads on Facebook? Well, I finally ordered something from one. Different Not Less was advertising magnetic shoe closures. The goal is to give disabled kids more freedom. The claim is that children with fine motor difficulties who can’t tie their shoes will be able to put their shoes on independently with these magnets. Additionally, it’s claimed an end to loose laces. The magnets come in an array of colors and are currently marked down from $19.24 to $10.95 without shipping and handling. All said and done I spent about $15. But did they work?

The first thing I didn’t like was that it took 2-3 weeks to get them in. However, I am an Amazon Prime member. So, I could just be spoiled by their two day promise. None-the-less, the magnets arrived right at two weeks, which isn’t too bad.  A great positive note here is that when I emailed them about the shipping their response was immediate and courteous. I love a company that answers their emails daily!

The instructions were easy to read and the magnets went on quick and easy. They are super strong and held the shoes together. My son wasn’t able to use his feet to separate the magnets because he wears braces. Our intent was to teach him how to pull them apart with his hands.  We never got the opportunity.

FullSizeRender (4)The problem came when the little eyelets that go on the side disappeared from one shoe. If you notice in the picture only the shoe on the right has the black eyelet. There should be an eyelet on each side of the shoe. Since we were running around a lot the day the eyelets went missing we have no idea how it happened. We don’t know if they came off on their own or if DJ, who likes to mess with his shoes, pulled them off. Whatever happened to them the magnets are useless without them. The shoe falls off because the magnets keep popping open. The other shoe, with the eyelets, still works fine.

It’s a great idea and I can’t place our failure solely on the heads of Different Not Less. As I said, DJ could have easily pulled them off. But my situation is that we had them working blissfully for a day but currently only one shoe stays closed and on. Would I suggest someone buy them? Possibly.

The bottom line? Although the item pretty much performs as described, If your child messes with his shoelaces I would not recommend it. But for children who don’t grab at their shoes it’s worth a try at the price it’s offered. The company, Different Not Less, is easy to work with, responds quickly to emails, and describes their product accurately. With all that us parents have going on that is the kind of company we like to deal with.