The Teacher

Before she was born, I spent a lot of time looking at her 3D ultrasound photos trying to determine whether or not she would look like she had Down syndrome when she was born. I hoped and prayed that she would be spared the tell-tale almond-shaped eyes, flattened face, short neck and protruding tongue. The…

Sibling Revelry

January and February in Arkansas are hard on anyone who has to go outside. These months are especially hard when you have little kids who want to go outside. The sky is gray. The river is gray. The cliffs, mountains, trees and buildings taller than three stories are all gray because of the fog that…

“I don’t know how you do it.”

Resilient is a word that has been used to describe me lately. Maybe it was used before now and I wasn’t paying attention, but I am now hearing it a lot.   I have heard it so many times, in fact, that I decided to look it up in the dictionary to make sure I…

Extraordinary Estie: An Ordinary Day in a Special Life

Estie Johnson says these words, and also lives by them: Be your best self and live your life to the fullest because you never know what you could achieve. The sky is the limit!  A recent high school graduate, Johnson worked as an advocate for people with disabilities before the pandemic.   “I have a muscle disease…

Bad Advice

Before he left for work, I made an egg for my husband Ben to eat for breakfast. It was just the two of us in the kitchen and no little ears were around to hear us talking. “I just don’t understand why you think that her learning will slow down or just stop one day,”…

Extraordinary: A Typical Day in a Special Life of Lila Morrow

Young artisan Lila used one of her favorite therapy projects to begin her first business before most kids even think about starting elementary school. Introduce us to Lila.Lila is a vibrant and active 7-year-old girl who has Down syndrome. The moment she was born, our lives changed forever. We knew Lila would have Down syndrome…

Colleges Work to Empower Special Students

All parents worry about the future — no matter if the child is typically developing or not. Knowing that attending school and learning alongside peers is an option means every child has the opportunity to follow any dream. When I learned my daughter would be born with special needs, I started my research with parents…

Walking the Line

All day is a balance between letting go and holding onto breath, always waiting on the other shoe to drop. Hope is the mantra on repeat. Everything is going to be ok and it’s all under control, when actually, nothing is normal and it never will be again. Days are spent celebrating both big and…

Having Your Cake and Eating it Too

It means wanting the benefit from two possibilities when you can only choose one. Parents, teachers, therapists, experts, researchers. Pretty much everyone in the special needs world talks about the benefits of inclusion.  According to specaileducationguide.com, inclusion means “securing opportunities for students with disabilities to learn alongside their non-disabled peers in general education classrooms.” I…