October is Down Syndrome Awareness month. Over the years, I have had the pleasure to work with many individuals with Down Syndrome and I have learned so much from them. Among the most important things is the fact that they are more like us than not. One young lady, Rachel, has found a special place in my heart. She and her mother are advocates of inclusion for individuals with Down Syndrome. Check out this video that Rachel was in:
Also, be sure to check out Rachel’s mom’s blog, The Sassy Southern Gal.
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October is Learning Disabilities Awareness Month. Perhaps your life has been touched in some way by a learning disability. If so, there are some amazing resources for you, whether a parent, a student, or educator. LD Online is one of them, which provides guides for educators and parents. One I would like to highlight is an article outlining very useful information for parents of students with learning disabilities and how to help them experience success. It is based on longitudinal research and identifies 6 success attributes that really make a difference and are more important than IQ and grades: Continue reading
I’m editing this post because I failed to add a resource. The Jason Foundation is a wonderful resource for youth, parents, students, parents, and professionals. They provide training modules and provide valuable information. There is also an app called “A Friend Asks” that provides tips for helping a friend who may be at risk for suicide. Please check it out and pass it along!
This month, I would like to touch on a subject that not many people want to talk about: suicide. It’s likely that your life has been affected by suicide in some way.
Last year, we held an assembly for our high school students on awareness and prevention. To start the assembly, everyone was asked to stand up if their lives had been touched in some way by suicide. Continue reading
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of watching competitors at the Special Olympics state competitions. Despite the horrendous heat, the competitors gave it their all!
The event was paddle boarding and it requires a lot of strength and stamina. A good time was had by athletes and spectators alike. The highlight of the day for me, though, was getting to see this precious young lady compete. She has been dear to my heart since I met her in 2nd grade and she became best friends with my daughter.
Here are some pics of her paddling her heart out
By the way….thank you, Tropical Storm Erika, for slowing down so these awesome athletes could experience some victories and make memories! This little lady ended the day with a gold medal!! We were so proud! And look at that smile!
If you would like to learn more about how you and/or your child can become involved, check out Special Olympics for yourself.
Thanks for reading!
Yesterday was the first day of school for students in my district. This year, I have been assigned to an elementary and a high school. Yesterday, while I watched and greeted students as they came to school for the new school year, I was reminded of my own children and their first day of school. My son, the oldest, was excited to start school with his Star Wars backpack and school supplies. I can recall the big smile on his face as I took his picture. The following year, my daughter started kindergarten and my son was in the1st grade. My daughter was so excited to start school. She felt so “grown up” and could hardly wait. She insisted on wearing a dress. Not just any dress, however. It had to flare out when she twirled around. 🙂 Her hair in a ballerina bun and pretty black shoes and bobby socks with lace on them. I’ll never forget that day when I met her outside her classroom after school. She ran up to me, gave me a big hug, and exclaimed, “Mommy, I’m so proud!” She was so proud that she was a kindergartner and she had accomplished her first day. She loved it! My son, on the other hand, was utterly disgusted with his 1st grade classroom decorations. He reported to me, “Mom, the class is covered in clowns. Do they think we are kindergartners?!” He did love his teacher, though, and it was a great year for both of them.
They are both grown now but I will never forget those days! As I reflect on these cherished memories, I hope that you and your children, too, will make great memories this year.
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In my previous post, Part 2, I discussed my experience as a child in school and shared some strategies that worked and didn’t work so well. Here are a few strategies that can be invaluable for you as parents to help your child with anxiety, whether about school or anything else.
- Recognize physical symptoms. Our body will tell us when we are anxious. Our pulse increases, we might feel light-headed, or our muscles may get tense. Talk to your child about what is going on when they are anxious. First, ask them what they notice about their bodies when they become anxious. Often, children are able to identify the signs. If your child is very young or otherwise unable to identify physical symptoms, you can help them by observing them when you know they are getting anxious to see if you recognize any obvious symptoms. Once your child is able to identify the symptoms, help them to use calming strategies, such as the following ones, when they notice their bodies telling them they are anxious.
In Part 1, I described my experience with school phobia and anxiety and mentioned that I won the fight over fear. Ultimately, I continued my education and became a school psychologist in which part of my job involves working with students who have similar issues. In this post, I would like to highlight some of the strategies that worked for me and some that didn’t. I don’t think I ever would have been able to identify these strategies if I hadn’t had the experience I did in graduate school. It was an aha moment and profoundly therapeutic. It happened informally one day while I was visiting with one of my psychology professors who was a counselor. Continue reading