Unexceptional Moms: Hope and Encouragement for Special Needs Parents
Welcome to the Unexceptional Moms Podcast, where we offer hope and encouragement for special needs parents. Join us in this journey as we navigate the joys and challenges of raising children with disabilities. We want you to know you're not alone.
info_outline Navigating Back-to-School Choices for Kids With Disabilities During the Pandemic 07/31/2020
Navigating Back-to-School Choices for Kids With Disabilities During the Pandemic Online learning, hybrid models, or full-time school. These are the options and choices to navigate as this new school year begins in the midst of a global pandemic. What are we -- parents of kids with disabilities -- to do?
info_outline What to Share (and Not to Share) About Your Child With a Disability 03/10/2020
What to Share (and Not to Share) About Your Child With a Disability Because of social media, many people nowadays live their lives in “public.” From what you ordered at a restaurant, to rants about neighbors, to new hairdos. Everything goes… including sometimes our children’s privacy.
info_outline Bringing Together Parents of Kids With Disabilities and Disabled Adults 02/04/2020
Bringing Together Parents of Kids With Disabilities and Disabled Adults Ellen Stumbo, Kevin Timpe, and Carlyle King discuss the "great divide" between parents of disabled children and actually disabled individuals.
info_outline Let’s Talk About Resolutions as Parents of Kids With Disabilities 01/07/2020
Let’s Talk About Resolutions as Parents of Kids With Disabilities The New Year is a great time to start "new." But how do resolutions work when we have already so much on our plate?
info_outline What Working Options Do Parents of Kids With Disabilities Have? 12/18/2019
What Working Options Do Parents of Kids With Disabilities Have? Parents of kids with disabilities have three main needs: Need for autonomy: being able to direct our lives. Need for relationships with people we love. Need for competence: being able to express ourselves in ways we are good at and receiving some recognition from our work. Entrepreneurship can be an act of radical self-care; an opportunity to craft what is in your heart into an income generating opportunity. What can we realistically do? How does this become self-care? We need to learn to listen to ourselves. Related: Figure out your what. Get crystal clear on the what, then you can figure out the how. Learning your strengths are the ingredients for the how. Believe you are worth discovering yourself. We cannot balance all the things. You cannot give equal time or energy to all the things you do. We need to explore all the hard feelings (like anger, disappointment, sadness) and deal with them before we can truly experience joy and happiness and all the positive things. “Your work should serve your heart.” — Faith Clarke
info_outline This Is Anxiety When You Parent Kids With Disabilities 12/03/2019
This Is Anxiety When You Parent Kids With Disabilities Dr. Liz Matheis, a clinical psychologist, answers the following questions: What is the difference between stress and anxiety? What does anxiety look like? What can it look like? What's normal and when does anxiety become a problem? What are skills to learn or strategies so I can manage my anxiety better? If I have anxiety, does that mean that I have to see a mental health counselor or take meds? Can my faith help with anxiety? It's so frustrating to hear that I need to pray more and read my Bible.
info_outline Disability Etiquette When Meeting Kids With Disabilities and Their Families 05/16/2017
Disability Etiquette When Meeting Kids With Disabilities and Their Families
info_outline The Typical Siblings: This Is What They Have to Say 05/02/2017
The Typical Siblings: This Is What They Have to Say
info_outline What you need to know about cerebral palsy from adults with CP. 03/29/2017
What you need to know about cerebral palsy from adults with CP. "You are okay. You are enough. There are a lot of things you can do. it's okay to need help. You are not wrong or broken. There are other people like you."
info_outline PTSD in Kids with Disabilities and in Special Needs Parents 02/21/2017
PTSD in Kids with Disabilities and in Special Needs Parents
info_outline Friendships and Special Needs Parenting 01/18/2017
Friendships and Special Needs Parenting Friendships are hard as adults, then there are seasons in life when we feel especially isolated and friendships seem to be lacking, or put on the side. When you parent kids with disabilities, sometimes that isolation continues, and friendships can be challenging.
info_outline Does Our Life Have to Revolve Around Disability? It's Mom Time! 12/21/2016
Does Our Life Have to Revolve Around Disability? It's Mom Time!
info_outline How and When to Talk to Your Kids About Their Disability 12/07/2016
How and When to Talk to Your Kids About Their Disability How do you talk to your kids about their disability and when is the right time to do it? Join Erin and me as we talk with Tara and Tonia Christle about how to approach this subject and when. Erin and I knew we wanted the Christle twins to join us as they are adults with disabilities and they have great advice for us as parents. Listen to the show: Did you leave a review on iTunes yet? From the show: Erin and I mentioned we asked this question on Facebook, and we invited people to join in the conversation, leave your comment HERE. Every parent is different, and every parent approaches the how and when differently. While there is no right or wrong way to approach things, there are a few things that are important to keep in mind: As Tonia shared, disability is not inherently bad. There is nothing wrong with using the word disability, after all, our kids do have disabilities! Not using it, or looking at is as a bad word, can stigmatize and communicate shame. We do not want our kids to be ashamed of their disability. It is okay to talk about limitations or things that are different. What is important is that we do not talk about these issues in a negative way, but rather focusing on the fact that different is okay. Tonia uses the example of what she said to her little brother, “My legs are not as strong as yours, and that’s okay!” After hearing this, her little brother would say, “Your legs are not as strong as mine, and that’s okay!” It is helpful for kids to understand their own bodies and why they might be different, therefore, giving the name of their disability helps. For example, “I have a disability, it is called cerebral palsy, it means that my muscles and my body move differently, and different is okay,” or, “I have a disability, it is called autism, it means that my brain works different, and different is okay!” Disability is part of our children’s identity, it is not what defines them, but you cannot separate their disability from who they are. The most important part about talking to our kids about their disability is that we let them know we love them, completely, disability included. Always presume competence. For those of us who have kids with intellectual disabilities, we can often refer to, “they don’t really understand” but as Tara and Tonia encourage us, always presume competence. (This is something I teach every time I speak at churches). We also talked about how often kids with disabilities feel pressured to be “typical,” and in turn, it can make them feel as if they are not good enough, not lovable enough, or ashamed. So when do we start talking about their disabilities? Kids with disabilities, even as young as grade school, have already experienced ableism. This is why the sooner we start talking about it, the better it is for them in order to understand and make sense of their experiences, so they do not feel there is something “wrong” with them. Tonia and Tara shared they never had those conversations, even now, and how helpful it would have been as children. We also talked about the 5 Stages of disability attitudes, and how pity is the most commonly experienced attitude since it is the most prevalent. Pity also comes across as niceness, and when we talk to our kids about their disability, we can address their experiences and reaffirm their feelings. As parents, sometimes we are the ones stuck on pity. It is pay, but it is important for us to move on through the stages. If we are stuck at pity, that ends up being what we communicate, and we do not want our kids to feel pity form us. Pity says, “that is so bad!” In the pity stage, disability is a tragedy. If you struggle with those feelings and have been there for a while, perhaps it is time to find a counselor to work through those feelings. As parents, we all move through the stages of disability attitudes, we all start with ignorance, move to pity, and eventually move to care, friendship, and eventually co-laborers. Tara brought up the prevalent ideology of, “overcoming disability” and she shared why that can be harmful for people with disabilities. This is one of those conversations that as a mom, it stops me in my tracks, so we talked more about this. The Freebie: The freebie for this podcast comes directly from Tonia. She wrote the most amazing book to talk about disability. She originally wrote it for my daughter (and we read it for her class) but this is perfect for you if you want a script to talk to your kid about his/her disability, and to make it into book form. Go HERE to claim your free copy! So what about you? How and when did you talk to your kids about their disability? Don’t forget to stop by iTunes and leave us a review!
info_outline How to Survive the Holidays: A Special Needs Parents Guide 11/21/2016
How to Survive the Holidays: A Special Needs Parents Guide Join Erin and me today as we talk about how to survive the Holidays as special needs parents. Holidays are wonderful times to make family memories, but when we parent kids with disabilities, the extra stress of the Holidays can be hard on our kids, and therefore on us too! Holidays can be a wonderful time with family, but they can also be a stressful season. Beginning with Thanksgiving and ending with the New Year, the season is full of parties, school plays, baking, cooking, time away from home, disrupting routines, late nights, tears, laughs, long list of expectations of what makes Holidays memorable and at the end of the season, exhausted parents and exhausted kids that struggle to get back up. And when you parent kids with disabilities, you feel the chaos even more. How can you ever survive the Holiday season? The good news is, there are practical steps you can take to make it through the Holidays. And because I want you to feel you have a plan, I created a free resource for you: In this podcast Erin and I talk about what you can do to make this Holiday season a season where you truly make memories, rather than feeling as if you are merely surviving. We talk in detail through the Holiday Survival Guide, and offer practical tips and examples to help you start this season a step ahead.