Progress Not Perfection

Our son had a recent PT checkup at a local children's hospital. We are so thankful that we were able to finally be off that waiting list over a year ago. Especially since we had been on it for over 2 years! With that said, his Physical Therapist says that he no longer has to come in every 6 months due to increased progress. Yay! As long as we all keep up his exercises and increase his strength, then we will no longer have to come in every 6 months. So now just Yearly checkups. 

We have come so far on this journey and are thankful for how far our son has come. 

                                        Victory Dance!

To keep our son's strength going and progressing, we use these tools below to help get his flat feet stronger. Wherever you are in advocating for your special needs son or daughter know that you are not alone. I hope that these tools below can help you on your journey and save you some money as well. 

Note: Know that when you click on any of these images above that I earn a small commission. Thank You for your support. 

Summer is Here....Still no academic progress....Still Advocating...SIGH

Well, It is officially summer for our kids as of yesterday. Although we are excited as any family should be after the year ends we still have lots of questions as to why our autistic son has not progressed beyond a third grade level across ALL subjects.  Life keeps moving as we are sometimes overwhelmed by it all.

But with every frustration in our lives in the quest of advocating and making it happen for our autistic son, there needs to be a plan in place to counter act the inaction of  public school education. You have to understand that it was not very long ago that our special needs children were not allowed in the very institutions we are fighting today just to support our children academically and inclusively. How much progress is enough?

Is is right to move a special needs child forward to the next grade, when it is emphatically and apparently clear that there has been very little academic progress if at all?

Only you, as a parent and advocate for your special needs child can make that call and assess your child thoroughly, so that they are given a proper free and appropriate education. An education that will help them navigate the world successfully, gain employment, and overall have the best chance of a decent quality of life.

Summer is 44 Days Away and I am Freaking Out!

Hello and Welcome to my Blog!
Summer is 44 days away and I am totally freaking out as to what to do for the summer and beyond for my autistic son and his teenage sister. The good thing is that the kids will be able to sleep in most days and the challenge is keeping them occupied, having fun and learning in the weeks ahead. 

When my kids were younger and did not talk back as much I joined several mom groups in my area and although they were great at first, it became quite clear that we just did not fit in. So I ended up trying to start a mom group at my church but that did not work out either. To make a long story short I mostly had to wing it and do what I could to be involved in my community. This was way before our son was diagnosed with autism, but it was still hard and very heartbreaking to see him not make any friends...well he did have one friend that we had met through a local online school for 6 years but unfortunately his friend's mom remarried and that was that. Thankfully, my little guy did not take it too hard, but does ask about his long time friend every now and then, but hopes that he is happy with his new life and new dad. Things happen for a reason and last a season. Life goes on.  

Fast forward to has not been easy but we have been successful in getting them involved in some kind of outdoor activity and/or summer program, especially my daughter who is definitely a 15 year old going on 18 or maybe even 20:-). Sometimes she is like a mother hen to her autistic brother and we have to gently remind her to allow us to be the parents, so she can remain a child and live out her teen years. 

What I know for sure that even though I am freaking out about what the summer of 2018 has in store for our family, it will be definitely be memorable, relaxing, fun and full of great memories. 

Have an Awesome Summer 2018!


When is There a Right Time to Stop Accommodating your Special Needs Child?

National Autism Resources is the leading online resource for information, advice, toys, gifts, educational products and more.

Every Year we have to usually get on our local school district to continue to accommodate for our son, especially when he is having a challenging time, whether it is about opening his locker to if the Gen Ed Math teacher is going to fast and he cannot keep up with the middle school pace.  This is a constant theme in all the years that we have been advocating for our autistic son. We understand that school districts are short staffed and/or that he may have had a substitute today for class, but this still does not answer the underlying question of who decides when an autistic or special needs child does not need to be accommodated for anymore? 

We have had a school district psychologist tell us "Well, we want to see what he can do on his own?".  So what you are really saying is, 'well since he doesn't 'look' autistic and seems to be of strong body and can walk on his own, then he'll eventually fall in line.' I can't count how many times we have had to reiterate this point with school staff and our local school district, but it happens time and time again. 

As your child's advocate it is of utmost importance that you make sure your child gets the support he needs NO matter what. By law, it is in the school district's best interest to support your child with all of the resources available to him. Some school districts are aware of what they provide, but may not even mention this to you, so in this particular case, ask them and they should be able to furnish for you all the types of accommodations that do indeed exist. 

In my personal experience, while speaking to a former educator, who is now retired, we were able to acquire a list of special needs accommodations that our local school district had in their possession and unfortunately in this former educator's 20+ year career she had never seen this list. So if you never ask about specifics, then you will never know.  It also depends on the amount of staff they have available to support your child, if there are funds available, if the para-educator involved with your child's academic needs has the training/experience and the list goes on.  

The bottom line is that you, as your child's advocate and parent decide when it is time for accommodations to stop, decrease and/or increase for that matter. Ask lots of questions at the annual IEP meetings or whenever, you have that right as your child's parent to do so. If there is a teacher or therapist insisting upon doing away with any accommodation in particular ask him/her to provide you with a progress report showing how your child improved, when they improved and why they feel your child no longer needs a particular accommodation. If they are unable to provide valid progress or proof that your child is improving then ask for a progress report. This all depends also on the time of year the IEP meeting has taken place. If at the beginning of the year, the progress report can most certainly be attained; whereas if at the end of the year, it will most likely have to be addressed the following year. 

Keep Advocating and do what is right for you child so that he or she can succeed and live life successfully, to the best of his/her ability and with the right resources. 


WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Mandu Usoro, US Army Veteran, Experienced Homeschooler, Parent Advocate and  founder of Homeschool Special Needs Tidbits, a website/weblog about homeschooling, public school education,  special needs children, personal resources, and articles about educating special needs children and the tools needed for success.

Transitioning to a Full Day in Middle School

Good Evening Everyone, 
I know it has been awhile since I posted but there has been so many changes coming up and our family is buckling down to see what happens in the days to follow. You see, our son is attending school for a Full day in a public school setting for the first time and he has not done this for over 11 years. 

I could sugar coat this and say how thrilled we are and look forward to this major milestone in our lives and his, but we have seen the possibility of what if this doesn't work out:-(. What is reassuring is that we know that he will have support, 1:1, peer support, para support and otherwise. But the what if's outweigh the possibilities of success because in our parental expertise and background experiences, it did not go well in the past. He will be taking two general education classes in the 6th grade level class, we are unaware of how big these general education classes are, but hope that they will not be too overwhelming. We will just have to wait and see. 

So our hope is that this is a milestone that we can look back on and say, we did everything right and did the best thing we could for our son and his academic successes. But this could also mean we have to slow it down a little more, so that he can become acclimated to the ins and outs, behaviors, social skills, teenage angst and bullying that may or may not occur in his lifetime. 

We keep pushing on and fighting for his right to a free and appropriate education, but we also stay vigilant and aware of what may need to be changed and adjusted for our son's continued success and overall academic awareness and success in this life.  

We Are in a Lockdown for 4 Weeks....****SIGH***

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