Wednesday, November 30, 2011

November 2011 Recommendations

Each of these links speaks for itself.  Thanks for coming by and exploring.
Contemplative Hmmmmm
Our Life

If you are not a caregiver, imagine yourself repeating this moment every day of your child's life and attempting to live your life around these moments: Day 5000

Ian's Shoelace Site

 Sensitivity & Training
Student Disability Video
 Six Practical Tips to Promote Inclusion in the Classroom 
Young Children with Special Needs
school sensitivity Training video 
Explaining Special Needs to Your Child: 15 Great Children's Books 
Understanding... The bigger picture 
What's Wrong with You? (The Best Conversation of Our Lives) 
Don't Welcome Me to Holland Lady 
Stress Management

Medical & Diagnosis

Have You Ever Thought...
Med 101 
Bee Aware of Epilepsy 
Understanding Medical Terminolgy on Prescriptions
Etymology of Neuroscience Terms
5 Things Doctors Won't Tell You

Toys & Creative

  Song for those with Disabilities - MP3 or words: Worship Matters
Interactive Auti Toy
Down Syndrome Exhibition - Dublin Arts Council
Special Needs Toy Guide 
Photographing in the NICU/World Prematurity Day 
Toy Guide with and without Disabilities  

Books, Magazines, News & Periodicals

Struggle for Care: Mother Fights to Get Special Needs Son Back Home
How the Special Needs Brain Learns
Good Health News 
Different Dream Parenting: A Practical Guide to Raising a Child with Special Needs
Freedom For Ayn 
Special Needs Book Review

Television & Radio

OWN show audition by Zach Anner
Man with Cerebral Palsy to host own show
Family Network Radio

Special Class Blogs for ESE Ideas

A Special Kind of Class

The Schroeder Page!
Kindergarten Crayons
Extra Special Teaching
Life In Special Education
Adaptations for Kids
Rainbows Within Reach


Spiritual Directors International
Forum for Families 
Net Buddy UK


Shut Up About Your Perfect Kid


Does Special Needs Dampen Teen Sexuality? 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Accepting Entries for Different Dream Parenting

Different Dream Parenting Book Giveaway

Please enter the comments below  and share your name and your preferred contact information.  You may also use the email button instead to the right of the page under "Stacie's & John's Links."  Should you be willing, I would love to hear a little about the child in your life along with your entry.  Multiple entries are welcome with additional comments.  Giveaway entries will be accepted through November 30th.  The winner will be determined by a drawing with Riley's help.

The book is available at 10% off the retail price:
Thanksgiving Day 2011
Hope you all enjoyed your holiday!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Seizure #93

I have been counting Clonic Seizures.  There are so very many I missed but this is my attempt to keep track.  Tonic Posturing Seizures are completely beyond counting and we just help him through as quickly as possible and move on with our day.  Anyway, Riley had had some spasms in the night and was willing to sleep while I got some breakfast; while I was out of the room he went into a pretty big seizure.  After receiving the Diastat rescue medication he still went on for 15 minutes.  Holding him on my lap, I could feel the convulsions throughout his little body and see the discomfort across his brow as his eyes and lips fluttered and twitched.

It's hard to be thankful and appreciate life when our little one must live this life.  I comforted him quietly hoping to allow Ronan to enjoy his pirate ship building and for John to proceed with his diving plan.  But, John discovered us soon enough and wanted to cancel his day.  Please go.  We both need a little normalcy somehow.  I insisted he go on his way but I know he will fret about Riley all the day long.

This is no life.  No one deserves this.  Not Riley.  Not his family.  And the lectures to appreciate my life, family and blessings from the oh, so many individuals who have no idea what it means to live this life are not only unwelcome but resented.  Hey, heck of on invitation to participate here isn't it.. oh, well.  That's how I feel.

Fortunately for Ronan, my mom was willing to drop Ronan for his planned playdate.   He cannot spend his life cooped up as if he were special needs as well. "November is National Epilepsy Awareness Month and the Epilepsy Foundation is asking everyone to Get Seizure Smart.  By taking and distributing the Get Seizure Smart quiz, you are helping us reach our goal of getting 5 million Americans seizure smart in 2011.  "

Not very thankful... Stacie

Friday, November 18, 2011

Different Dream Parenting: A Giveaway

Do you follow the Different Dream for My Child blog by Jolene Philo?  It is a wonderful special needs resource.  Now comes the book.  And I have one to share in a Giveaway!

Ms. Philo is kindly allowing Rileys-Smile to give away a copy of this invaluable resource.  I am so excited and ask that each parent/caregiver/family member of a child with disabilities to please enter my giveaway.


I Didn’t Sign Up for This, God!

Have you ever had one of those dreams where you can’t move? The car is racing toward the edge of a cliff and you can’t lift your foot to press the brake pedal. An attacker is breaking down the door to your house and you can’t raise your arm to dial 911. Your child is about to run in front of a truck and you can’t open your mouth to scream.

My bad dream became a reality in 1982. My husband and I stood beside our son’s isolette in the neonatal intensive care unit. An IV needle pierced Allen’s tiny arm, and angry red scars crisscrossed his chest. One end of his feeding tube hung on a pole beside his IV bag. The other end rose from the soft skin of his tummy. Pain etched his wide forehead and tugged at the corners of his perfect rosebud mouth.

More than anything, I wanted to reach out and take his hurt away. But I was trapped in a bad dream. Immobilized. Inadequate. Helpless. Though God had assigned me to love and care for this beautiful child, I could do nothing to minimize his pain. My thoughts were an inward scream. This isn’t what I signed up to do, God! I don’t want to be a helpless onlooker. I want to parent my child. How can I care for him? What can I do?

As the parent of a child with special needs, you’ve probably experienced the same sense of helplessness. Whether your child is critically or chronically ill, mentally or physically impaired, develop- mentally or behaviorally challenged, you want to do something. You want to ease your child’s pain, but you don’t know how. You want to help your child realize his or her full potential, but you don’t know where to begin. You want to ask God about your child’s suffering, but you don’t want to be condemned for questioning His wisdom. You want to believe God is with you, but you don’t know how to find Him.

You’re stuck in a bad dream. You can’t move. You can’t speak. You want someone to shake you awake and tell you everything will be okay. Instead, you wake up and must become the parent you never expected to be. You doubt that you’re up to the task. You’re worried about your child’s future. And you’re wondering, Does anyone understand what I’m experiencing?

The answer is yes, many parents understand your situation. In the United States,
•        10–15 percent of newborns, or 431,000 annually, spend time in neonatal intensive care according to the March of Dimes.
•        12 percent of children between ages 1 and 17 had medical conditions serious enough to require hospitalization between 2004 and 2006, the most recent years for which statistics are available at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
•        13.6 percent of students between ages 6 and 21 were enrolled in some kind of special needs program according to the National Center for Educational Statistics. That’s 706,000 of our country’s school-aged children.

Lots of kids mean lots of parents, dads and moms who are valuable sources of information and advice. In this book, dozens of them share with you the wisdom they gained while parenting kids with special needs.

Support can also come from the surprising number of professionals who work with families of kids with special needs. These professionals—and the resources they’ve created—are available at hospitals, medical facilities, government agencies, private organizations, businesses, schools, churches, and more.

This book brings you advice from professionals around the country and provides information about national organizations and resources. It also gives tips about where to start searching for state and local resources. More often than not, your problem won’t be a lack of resources, but a lack of awareness of them or inability to access them.

Different Dream Parenting contains six sections: Diagnosis, Hospital Life, Juggling Two Worlds, Long-Term Care Conditions, Losing a Child, and Raising a Survivor. Each section is divided into four chapters. Three chapters address practical issues. The last chapter in each section addresses spiritual concerns.

Parents of kids with special needs often wrestle with prickly spiritual questions. I sure did. Sometimes I still do. So do all the parents interviewed in this book, and most of the professionals, too. Every day, we continue to ask questions about our kids’ lives and futures. Gradually, we learn more about how to trust God’s timing and wait for His answers.

As you read this book, please ask your faith questions. Read about how parents and professionals learned to ask questions, wait, and listen. Consider the answers they have discerned and their suggestions about how to find comfort and courage in God’s Word. When you are ready, try out their ideas about how to pray and use Scripture to hear God’s answers to your hard questions. The thirty-day prayer guides in appendix A are designed to help you engage in conversation with Him.

But even with prayer guides and Scripture to guide you, I know how hard it can be to trust the God who is allowing your child to suffer. So I won’t condemn you for asking prickly questions. Instead, I’ll encourage you, cry with you, and support you when your faith grows weak. When you can’t hang on a minute longer, I’ll hold you close until your strength and your faith return.

I hope this book helps you break out of your bad dream, wake up, and move forward with joy and confidence. I pray that the stories of parents and professionals in this book will give you hope and strength.

Most of all, I hope you discover the truth God has revealed to me and many other parents. Raising a child with special needs isn’t a bad dream. It’s just a different dream. And surprisingly, a different dream can be the best dream of all.

Taken from Different Dream Parenting, © 2011 by Jolene Philo. Used by permission of Discovery House Publishers, Box 3566, Grand Rapids,  MI 49501.  All rights reserved

Entry: Different Dream Parenting Book Giveaway

Please enter the comments below  and share your name and your preferred contact information.  You may also use the email button instead to the right of the page under "Stacie's & John's Links."  Should you be willing, I would love to hear a little about the child in your life along with your entry.  Multiple entries are welcome with additional comments.  Giveaway entries will be accepted through November 30th.  The winner will be determined by a drawing.... perhaps Riley will rummage around a hat for us to make the choice, I'll ask him.

The book is available at 10% off the retail price:

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Our Life

It feels like we are drowning again.  John and I have been on catch up ever since the trauma of Riley's birth and the challenging life it left in its wake.

John did an amazing job as The Bootstrap Boogie volunteer photographer last Saturday evening.  Our computer is now filled with revelers in our barn and on the mechanical bull.  We expect to discover some of the shots in the Naples News this week.  Now we may need to redefine "tired" when it comes to John.

There has been plenty of stress and not the least of it being health.  Riley had a long challenging weekend - no one needs those details.  Not long ago John suffered a bad ear infection which we treated with antibiotics.  We thought it was taken care of... We also kept him from his passion during the healing process and he has not been diving in over two months.  Sunday evening his one and only filling fell out which was very strange.  Monday morning, while waiting for a flat repair he decided to walk over to the dentist.... missing work all the while.  He then discovered the infection and spread throughout his sinuses and was destroying his teeth as well.  He has now had a root canal and will be having a crown, another round of medication, and we hope that no other teeth meet the same fate.

In the meantime, I am struggling with the demands of taking Riley so frequently to meet with medical specialists.  Monday was the Pulmonologist.  It took the entire morning and as you can expect that was all driving and waiting.  Tomorrow is the Opthalmologist, but I find I must cancel.  I cannot manage it right now.  It's all about tracking and covering every one's butt.  But, it's at the expense of Riley's energy, my time and energy, the wear and tear on the jeep and of course the incredible cost of gasoline.  Do these sound like legitimate excuses.  Likely not.  But at some point we should get to live our lives rather than shuttling around to doctor's offices.

Not feeling so special today... Stacie

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Must Read

I am very fortunate to have an early copy of Different Dream Parenting: A Practical Guide to Raising A Child With Special Needs by Jolene Philo. I am eagerly looking forward to finishing the book and putting the knowledge to use... oh, and filling you in too!  Meanwhile, I strongly recommend that you explore her blog, Different Dream, which is a sensitive and thoughtful resource for special needs.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Appointments and Illness

There is so much I have planned for this blog and so much I want to say... However, there are a few problems getting in my way: primarily, time and energy.

On Monday Riley had his annual pediatric check up.  He did really well.  He is always so cooperative and pleasant.  This year, we opted to give him a flu shot.  Yes, it's controversial.  However, caring for a sick child with multiple disabilities is one of the saddest and most difficult experiences a person may ever encounter.  Trust me on this.  I've done it and I don't like putting Riley or any of the family through it if it can be helped.  A sick typically developing child may be challenging but it is nothing compared to going through it with special needs.

Our pediatrician is wonderful.  One thing we always cover is the well-being of Riley's parents - yep, that's John and I.  We ride an emotional roller coaster.  This is another on-going subject that I have been avoiding.  Admittedly, we are challenged by our role in life and being 9 years behind.  I do not actually care to delve into this today - in fact, I am unsure when I care to get into this.  For now, let's leave it at the fact that being a Special Needs Family is not particularly easy.  The conversation went on that some do handle it and some do not - it seems to be some individual parents are stronger than others.  I object.  I believe that it is far more than simply can you handle special needs or not...

The special needs community frequently uses the phrase "a bullet is a bullet."  Really, I do not think all bullets strike the same.  When your child can get him or herself to the table eat unaided, I do not believe the bullet did the same damage as all the others.  Fine, object with me.  This is my observation and this is how I feel. Perhaps all bullets are not created equally.

A few hours after a good report with Pediatrician, Riley came down with a flu.  As usual, joke is on us.  It has been a rough couple days.  Riding Monday evening had to be cut short as he began to whine as he was jostled around.  I happened to be side-walking with another girl in the class as I happened to be a little taller to be alongside her horse and the other available volunteer could reach Riley: my very first direct experience with any other special needs rider.  This was another surprise to me.  The rider also had multiple disabilities, and she was considerably older and large than Riley.  I had to mentally brace myself for the next half hour of hard work.  To my great surprise, she sat up herself and held her reigns.  I was simply there for safety.  No leaning on me.  No sneezing on me.  No pushing arms and elbows into place for proper weight-bearing.  This was unbelievably easy.  Could I possibly say to her family, "Wow, she's easy to work with!"  Somehow, I doubt they would agree.  Could they possibly know that I found side-walking with their child to be a breeze?

Oh dear, that paragraph got all sidetracked!  Where was I going with that?  Riley was sick.  And was he sick.  I was replaced as a side-walker to remove Riley from the ring.  Gathered up my people: my Mom, Ronan and neighbor Annie who now volunteers helping to groom and tack while earning her high school community service hours.  Then on home we went.  Riley and I were up and down throughout the night to keep his fever under control and attempt to stop the incredible leg tremors - oh, I know I've talked about tremors here and there in this blog - I better tag them because they're important.  When we weren't under the fan we were in my bed, my arms wrapped around him reaching on each side to pull up on the toes of both feet in an attempt to calm the tremors, but unfortunately adding my heat to his in the process.  Any wonder why some parents keep their special needs children apart from the rest of us... illness is truly horrible and this wasn't even a particularly bad event.

A rare event: Riley napping, and alone in his bed yet.
This has happened perhaps five times at the most in his lifetime.

Couple of posts to share today...
A post on respite for families - it's a lifesaver, I promise: Respite: An Interval of Rest by Special Needs Ministry.
To my great relief I am not the only parent deserving of the title - Mother's from Hell.

There was more to say, but my time is up.  At 3:30 pm my day is done as the end of the school day has arrived.  Well, I hope there aren't too many typo's and such, because this is a blog and I'm moving on with my day.

We are all special... I think... though I complain and want to compare bullets with you... by Stacie Wiesenbaugh

Monday, November 7, 2011

How to Throw the Best Children's Party

To throw a great children's party plan ahead, send out your invitations early, ask your child what they would like to do, have some sort of theme and organise some entertainment.
Being organized is the key to throwing a great children's party, so plan ahead and don't leave it to the last minute. Ask your child what they would like to do for their party, and if the idea isn't too outrageous, consider going along with whatever it is they would like to do. You might find that there is some activity that is all the rage with the kids at the moment, so it will save you having to dream up something special. With really young children party games at home are still popular, but children about eight years and older generally like a bit more entertainment. There are plenty of party hire ideas, and depending on their age, you may choose to organise a petting zoo, a clown, have a fairy party with a visiting guest or have a snake handler provide the entertainment.

Ask your child what they want

Unless the idea is completely ridiculous or way over your budget, you might want to consider taking the advice of your child in regards to what they would like to do for their party. Often there is some playhouse or park that is popular with the kids at school, or they have been to a party somewhere and they would like to have their party at the same place. Perhaps they have a few ideas about what they would like to eat or when they want to have it. It is their party after all so it doesn't hurt to find out what they want to do.


Choose invitations early and set a date as soon as you can. If your child is old enough they will be able to distribute them amongst their friends, but if you feel that they might not reach the intended party guests you could send them by mail or email. You might be in contact with the parents of your child's friends via a social networking site, so you could let them know this way, or sending around a text message is just as effective.


Choosing a theme for a child's party can be a great idea because it then sets the tone for the whole event. If you choose a theme you can then tie in the invitations, have children dressed up in costumes, have food and decorations to suit and even provide entertainment that all matches in. For younger girls you might want to have a fairy party, a princess party or have a pink party, where absolutely everything and everyone is pink. Older girls might like a disco or to come dressed up as their favourite television or movie characters. Boys are happy with pirate themes, spooky parties or having some sort of sporting theme. Older boys would probably not like a theme so much, but rather would like to go somewhere like a go-karting track or skate park.


Children's parties often seem to have fairly extravagant entertainment nowadays, but you don't need to do this if your budget won't allow. Younger children are happy with party games like 'Pass the parcel' or 'Pin the tail on the donkey'. You can hire all sorts of different entertainment, from clowns that do balloon animals, to having a fairy or princess arriving to delight little girls, or having a mobile animal farm in your backyard. A lot of children's magazines have advertisements towards the back with many different party entertainment ideas.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Love life and be gentle: 31 for 21 Ten Commandments for Helping Parents w...

Love life and be gentle: 31 for 21 Ten Commandments for Helping Parents w...: Have you ever wondered what parents of a child with special needs wants to here about their child from friends, family members, and strang...

October 2011 Recommendations

Just realized that I am even behind in my monthly recommendations.  It appears to be November and here I am sharing the best of October recommendations.

I've been in scramble mode just getting through the day.
There has been plenty of decorating driven by Ronan.  They designed a very cool jack-o-lantern that began to mold in a minute despite our prevention efforts.

I attended Candy's Meditation at Debby's home last Thursday.

 Also, as a family we had a wonderful time at friends for a weekend  Halloween party.

Riley came home wearing a sticker, "Say NO to Drugs!"  The very next morning I said yes to drugs with Diastat to stop a seizure.

 Please explore my recommendations, in no particular order so just see what catches your attention.  These wonderful writers offer insight and inspiration.  I invite you to return here with your own insights and comments.  I thank you for stepping along a little on our journey!  Stacie

Capturing Special Children

Books & Resources

Our Life