How to Travel with a Stroller : Nine Best Lightweight Strollers (for Children with Special Needs)

It’s school break and maybe some of you have travel plans in mind.

Our kids are growing fast and before they go on their own or have friends of their own, we as parents would like to travel with them while they are young so they will have beautiful memories to remember.

Which kid would not like to see Mickey Mouse in Disney World? Or the Legoland? Or enjoy those fantastic roller coaster rides or those awesome animal shows in some famous theme parks ? Or the merry-go-round for the younger ones or your special kid?

For sure your child with special needs would be delighted to see awesome places and cartoon characters with their siblings and cousins.

Of course, we all know that some children with special needs have mobility issues because they develop late.

Related post: Special needs stroller: choosing the best for need and comfort

They learn how to walk and to run much later than kids their age.

But these should not stop you from letting them explore their environment, much more traveling even to places far from home, like where you ride an airplane.

So have you thought on how to travel with a stroller? 

Of course you want to go places with your special kid’s comfort in mind as much as possible.

Because he or she cannot walk long distances and gets tired easily or maybe still non-ambulatory, thus a stroller will be your best friend during your escapade.

I have looked at the nine best lightweight strollers out there for your children with special needs.

This post contains affiliate links. Please read the full affiliate disclosure here.

1. Bily BCS330HG Compact Easy-Fold Stroller

  • Product Dimension: 80 x 47 x 104.1 cm
  • Item weight: 14.3 lbs
  • Maximum weight to carry: 40 kg
  • Good for newborns up to 36 months old
  • With 5 point harnesses, adjustable foot rest
  • Available in sophisticated heathered gray or funky graffiti pattern
  • Click the image or here to see the price

Pros:

  • Multiple position seat recline and pivoting arm bar for safety and comfort
  • Ultra light-weight
  • Quick and easy one hand fold
  • More leg room for taller babies

Cons:

  • The brake pad which is in the middle of the bar gets kicked randomly and makes the stroller stop all of a sudden making the baby uncomfortable and might fall
  • It is not good for windy days
  • The wheels are small, thus, not very good for grassy areas and bumpy sidewalks
  • Cannot is small and cannot shield baby much from rain or sun
  • Toddler can topple back when lying flat because the back of the seat reaches only the baby’s shoulders, with no head support
  • No shoulder strap or luggage handle
  • No cup holder or tray

2. Kolcraft Cloud Plus Lightweight Stroller

  • Product dimension: 31.2 x 18 x 39 inches
  • Item weight: 11.8 lbs
  • Maximum weight to carry: 50 lbs
  • Comes with a three-tier, extended canopy to protect your baby from UV rays
  • 2 colors: fire red and slate
  • The seat reclines and offers 5-point safety restraint system
  • With a large storage basket for baby’s necessities
  • Comes with removable child tray to hold a cup and a juice and a parent tray with 2 drink holders
  • With one -year manufacturer warranty
  • Click the image or here to see the price

Pros:

  • With a peek-a-boo window to keep a watchful eye on your kid every time
  • Very lightweight, thus perfect for traveling and day trips
  • All- terrain wheels and front suspension offers a smooth ride
  • One-hand and self-standing fold which makes it convenient for travel

Cons:

  • Cannot recline completely flat.
  • Folding is not one-handed and a little tricky

3. Summer Infant 3D Lite Convenience Stroller

  • Product dimension: 41 x 8.75 x 10 in
  • Item weight: 15.87 lbs
  • Maximum weight to carry: 50 lbs
  • With stylish aluminum frame and large seating area
  • Comes with easy to fold frame and carry strap
  • 4 position recline with 5 point safety harness
  • Anti-shock front wheels and lockable rear wheels
  • Available in 9 colors
  • Comes with extra large storage basket, rear storage pocket and parent cup holder
  • Adjustable and removable canopy with flip-out sun visor
  • Click the image or here to see the price 

Pros:

  • Easy compact fold with carry strap
  • Can recline all the way back
  • Tall enough that a 6’3 person can push it without hunching over
  • Made of lead-free aluminum material which makes it very lightweight and durable
  • With additional padding for more comfort

Cons:

  • Cannot be cleaned with abrasive cleaners, solvents and bleach
  • The canopy sun visor is too high and cannot cover the kids’ eyes
  • The handle bars are quite tall for a short parent, thus uncomfortable for long walks

4. MacLaren Mark II Stroller

  • Product dimension: 78.3 x 48.3 x 105.5 cm
  • Item weight: 4.43 kgMaximum weight to carry: 24.9 kg
  • Comes in 2 colors: black and marina
  • ” The lightest full – size reclining buggy in the world “
  • With 2-position recline seat
  • Fits children from 6 months until 25 kg ( 55 lbs )
  • Four wheel suspension with replaceable wheels
  • Made of strong ultralight fabrics
  • With a removable, washable coordinating seat liner
  • Click the image or here to see the price

Pros:

  • Features state of the art designed chassis, air craft grade aluminum hexagonal tubing for greater strength and durability
  • With lifetime warranty- must register stroller with MacLaren within 60 days of purchase
  • Comes with extendable waterproof/UPF 50+ sun canopy and built-in sun visor
  • The breathable mesh center and panel inserts protect the baby
  • The handles are anti-microbial
  • With buggy ID tag and wind resistant rain cover that comes in handy when needed
  • Easy to fold

Cons:

  • On the pricey side
  • Cannot stand on its own when folded
  • Difficult to maneuver on bumpy streets or terrains

5. Summer Infant 3D Flip Convenience Stroller

  • Product dimension: 78.7 x 64.8 x 100.3 cm
  • Item weight: 8 kg
  • Maximum weight to carry: 22.7 kgWith 2 seat options of rear-facing ( up to 30 lbs ) or forward-facing ( up to 50 lbs )
  • Anti-shock front wheels
  • UV rays can be blocked with the large canopy peek-a-boo window
  • Easy to fold lightweight aluminum frame, with auto lock and strap
  • With easily accessible basket for baby’s needs and parents’ storage pocket and cup holder
  • Click the image or here to see the price

Pros:

  • The reversible design allows use for younger babies ( rear-facing ) to when they grow up and become more curious ( forward-facing )
  • With infant head support for the rear-facing option and 5-point safety harness
  • Comes with 6-position recline ( 3 in rear-facing and 3 in forward-facing ) that can be one-hand operated
  • The height of the canopy can be adjusted to suit taller or shorter babies
  • The canopy is long and can be extended to fully cover the baby against the sun
  • Easy to maneuver because the wheels glide smoothly
  • Perfect for any terrain with easy to lock rear wheels and front swivel wheels
  • The handles are comfortable for taller parents

Cons:

  • The cup holder is flimsy
  • With very small storage compartment which is hard to access when baby is sitting in the stroller
  • Strap is a bit awkward to carry stroller
  • Opening and closing is a bit tricky
  • The seats are very low to the ground, so parents have to bend way down to help the baby when needed

6. Cosatto Woosh Stroller

  • Product dimension: 74 x 48 x 104 cm
  • Item weight: 6.0 kg
  • Maximum weight to carry: 25 kg
  • With 5-point harness
  • Lockable front swivel wheels and all-round suspension
  • Click the image or here to see the price

Pros:

  • Comes in lovely colors and design
  • Very easy to assemble
  • With study chassis for longer use
  • One-hand folding
  • Roomy seat, decent-sized basket and adjustable calf support for baby’s legs
  • Comes with a rain cover
  • With double length hood and visor for full sun cover
  • With cushioned chest pads
  • 4-year warranty

Cons:

  • Some say the wheels break after a few months
  • Tricky folding and unfolding mechanism for some customers
  • The rain hood can be easily kicked by the baby
  • The wheels get stuck on uneven surfaces
  • The handle doesn’t move up and down to suit a taller parent
  • Comes with a bell that could be annoying to some

7. GB Pockit Air Lightweight Stroller

Pros:

  • Wheels rotate 360 degrees, thus easily maneuvered when unlocked and locks for stability on uneven surfaces
  • Very tiny when folded so fits in an airplane bin very well, or can also fit in a carry on bag

Cons:

  • Very wobbly on uneven pavement- careful your kid might topple off
  • Handles cannot be extended, thus not comfortable for a tall parent
  • Very challenging to fold
  • Strap not included
  • Overhead canopy is not very useful
  • Small storage below, cannot fit lots of stuff

8. ZOE XL1 BEST v2 Lightweight Travel & Everyday Umbrella Stroller System

ZOE XL1 Lightweight everyday stroller-with umbrella

  • Product dimension: 10 x 10 x 10 inches
  • Item weight: 11 pounds
  • Maximum weight to carry: 50 lbs
  • With a large basket underneath and a cup holder
  • Comes in 7 colors: Aqua, black, eloise plum, london navy, noah grey, red, lime greenWith a twin model ( for 2 babies )
  • Click the image or here to see the price

Pros:

  • With a little window on top of the canopy to peek at your baby
  • The handle is good for tall parents

Cons:

  • No shoulder strap
  • Does not recline as much
  • Doesn’t stand upright when closed
  • Difficult to maneuver for some

9.Evenflo Aero Ultra-Lightweight Stroller

  • Product dimension: 29 x 22.25 x 40 in
  • Item weight: 15.4 pounds
  • Maximum weight to carry: 50 pounds
  • With easily accessible extra seat back storage pocket
  • Comes with a spacious storage basket, 2-mesh in seat pocket, and a parent cup holder
  • Comes in 2 colors: lark and dove
  • Click the image or here to see the price

Pros:

  • The easily one-hand folded stroller can stand on its own
  • Made of functional and long-lasting, high quality materials-imported polyester, metal and durable plastic
  • With large canopy and a flip-out visor
  • Allows easy and safe putting and removal of your child because of the rounded foam handlebar and rear wheels that lock
  • Includes ParentLink customer service perks like real-time chat and free live video installation support

Cons:

  • No rain cover or weather shield
  • The front wheels are single wheels ( not double ) and goes in opposite directions, that you have to manually straighten them
  • Sometimes tricky to navigate polished floors and pavements because of the plastic wheels
  • Flimsy cup holder
  • The storage basket has no front mesh and stuff inside can fall out, especially when folded
  • Reclines up to 120 degrees only, thus uncomfortable for some kids to sleep on
  • No strap to carry

My top two choices:

For me, considering the type of stroller, how small and light it is but durable and useful but not so pricey, I recommend these two strollers:

The Kolcraft Cloud Plus Lightweight Stroller

Kolcraft Lightweight Travel stroller

and the Summer Infant 3D Flip Convenience Stroller.

Summer Infant 3D Flip ConvenienceStroller

Enjoy your holiday!

I hope I have given you ideas on what’s out there on the market if you are planning to buy a lightweight travel stroller for your child with special needs that you can use anytime when you plan to travel anywhere local or abroad.

After all, the comfort of your special child is your best interest as well as the light load that you have to carry and keep either in your car or the airplane bin.

Happy shopping!

Don’t forget to bring your camera or phone ( with camera ) and capture those precious moments, the laughter and wide smiles of your kids.

Their happiness is very contagious and will rub off on you as, well.

Enjoy your holiday!

 

Are you ready to buy the lightest and most comfortable travel stroller for your special child? Or your old one is already worn out and you need a new one?

Choose from any stroller above to suit your special child’s needs.

Where do you plan to visit on your holiday? Share your plans with us.

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Raising a Child with Down Syndrome ( Hailey is now Three! )

This is a first of a series of Mom/Dad stories on how special needs parents raise their special children.

Today I have asked Emerald to tell us how a typical day with Hailey goes, how she takes care of her as a working mom, with the challenges along the way and the joys of seeing her daughter develop in her own way.

Hailey, now three, has Down syndrome and her mom Emerald is a full time elementary school teacher.

Down syndrome girl turns three!

Please enjoy reading Emerald’s story- Raising a Child with Down Syndrome, her Hailey.

Related post: Raising a Child with Down Syndrome-our Baby is our Happy Pill

A Day with Hailey

by Emerald Mingoa

Raising a child with Down syndrome is a challenge and it even gets more difficult when you are a working mom.

Because I have to go to work every day, I am an early riser and the night before, I already plan on what food to prepare for my Hailey.

With her older siblings, it’s not much of a planning because they are easy to feed.

Though my Hailey has a big appetite, she’s quite choosy when it comes to food. She likes them savory. Something that would really tickle her taste buds.

Breakfast is a really important meal for her. After taking a bath, she expects to have a hearty meal.

We find it really amusing when her eyes turn big as she tastes her food and she likes it. She would do the thumbs up to her father’s delight as an approval that he did well in cooking.

Morning Routine

When Hailey wakes up in the morning, she can be very demanding for attention, she wants to be caressed, and of course, who are we not to give in?

I bathe her or sometimes her older sister would do that. For her, bath time is play time.

I cannot recall since the day she was born that she cried over bath time, which I sometimes see with typical kids.

After bathing and dressing up will be her feeding time. Now that she’s 3, she would drag her high chair and climb over it which makes us laugh and beam with pride.

Hailey is truly becoming independent!

Though you cannot leave her on her own feeding (you have to be at a distance because she would end up playing with the food, adding up to your unending task), she tries to feed herself.

She has a big appetite for food and her favorites include pasta and roast chicken.

Hailey would point to the fridge and make a licking sound referring to the popsicle which Jozsa, her older sister, makes for her. She would dutifully comply finishing her food because she knows her popsicle treat is waiting.

Playtime is fun time

Playtime would be her next thing to do. She learned to say ” clay, ” referring to the play dough she likes to play a lot.

We are all her playmates at home.

Hailey rekindles the ” small child, ” in all of us.

A few more hours and it would be feeding time again.

She has also learned to say “dede,” a local baby term for milk bottle, which she could finish in one sitting.

Nap time and socializing

Hailey loves to sleep in the afternoon. She would even sleep longer when there’s calming music playing.

Her nanny would bring her to school ( it’s a few minutes walking from our home ) later, after her nap time. There, she is able to mingle with kids which develops her social skills.

She used to be scared and aloof with them, but mingling with them in school, teaches her to be friendly and sociable.

She has now lots of friends.

Hailey’s development

She loves watching the television. Her favorite shows are ” Upin and Ipen, “ a Malaysian cartoon series, featuring twins and their learning adventures, and “Miraculous Ladybug,” also a cartoon series.

She has learned how to hum the tune of their theme songs.

For sure, Hailey loves to watch cartoons with kids as characters.

She would clap her hands in admiration and would sometimes imitate the words that she constantly hears.

Hailey can now say words such as Mommy, Daddy, the name of our dog Myka though not so clear, dede, referring to her feeding time, and words referring to her toys such as doll, clay and car, which she likes to ride a lot.

She may not be so good in uttering words, but definitely, she can also communicate through sounds and actions.

Hailey still cannot talk in sentences but truly she can send her messages across and we can understand.

During eating time when she’s full, she would get your attention motioning to return the small bowl that she uses, to the sink.

At three and 5 months, toilet training is still a challenge for Hailey at this time.

Slowly, I introduce her to her potty trainer, but she doesn’t like the idea of sitting on it at the moment and hopefully she will soon get used to it.

She still wears her nappy all day. Good thing is, she can say the word ” poo poo, ” so we are positive that it will be soon that she will be out of her diapers.

Down syndrome book about being uniqueThe parent's guide to Down SyndromeDown on the farm-book about Down syndrome
Hannah's Down Syndrome superpowers

Click on the images to grab these amazing books about Down syndrome

Home schooling

As a teacher, I am starting to teach her to learn the alphabet and the words that go with them.

We would start with A as apple, B ball and commonly C would be cat but instead of saying the word she would make a meowing sound, to our delight.

The same also applies with other letters like E as in egg, she makes a gesture like putting food on her mouth.

Hailey really gives joy to our family, with all her developments.

On Being a Working Special Needs Mom

It is definitely a challenging day juggling with work and taking care of Hailey, but the support of people around me lightens the burden of it all.

My co-teachers always understand my situation and are always there to lend a helping hand.

I know that God never gives us anything that we cannot do.

 No matter how difficult it can be, there are ways where you can get through.

A few more years and I know it will become easier to take care of Hailey.

We are all excited when she eventually goes to school, which would mean that she has become more  independent.

My support group

Social media is a big factor in making me informed of Hailey’s condition.

I have joined the Facebook group, ” Down Syndrome Association of the Philippines, ” ( DSAPI ) , which is a non-profit organization exclusively for Down Syndrome families.

I am grateful that I found this platform where we share the same interests and varied stories in caring for our Down Syndrome kids.

I know that we are one and we learn from each other.

But of course my family is my greatest support. My husband and my other kids are always there for Hailey and me.

Down syndrome family support

And her nanny/ babysitter definitely, who takes care of her when I’m at work, makes my day easier.

Hailey loves her “Yaya Melody” because she is so caring and patient-never screams, always soft-spoken and readily gives in to her demands ( not always good, but Hailey is such a brat sometimes, thus so happy when she gets what she wants! ).

” Yaya Melody ” brings Hailey to school late in the afternoon where she joins my pupils in their activities, like this practice for their Christmas party the next day.

 

Isn’t Hailey a graceful dancer?

To show her love for Yaya Melody, Hailey says “bye” and gives her a hug and a kiss before she goes home to her family.

After school, when the babysitter is gone, I have to attend to household chores by myself, which is usually preparing food for my family, especially Hailey who is inspired to play good when she’s full.

Me time

Having a special child to care for, not having your husband around because he works overseas, and still working full time, can be such a tough job.

Thus, I see to it that I take care of myself as well so I can always be there for Hailey and her sisters.

It’s like pouring a cup into another cup.

I have to be healthy for my loved ones so they stay healthy as well.

When Hailey dozes to sleep on weekends, I run to the saloon for my nails and my hair coloring.

I have to look presentable not only for my work but I have to pamper myself once in a while to feel good about myself and feel confident that I am still the dazzling mom even if I have three kids, including a Down syndrome daughter.

My dreams for Hailey

The days are fast and Hailey is now three years and 5 months. She is much more active and wanting for challenging activities.

Hailey is a girl with many talents. In the future, she could be a singer or maybe a band member. Learning from her older sister Amber, she likes to play the guitar and sing. We are so delighted of her when she does this!

Down syndrome child plays the guitar

Hailey also loves to dance, even without music, as you can see in the video above. She is just a happy kid, so innocent and loving!

I believe she is ready for school next year, though I was told she can be admitted to formal schooling at the Special Education program ( SPED ) only when she turns five.

In the meantime, I plan to enroll her in a local preschool class who handles typical children her age.

I never stop dreaming big for my beloved Hailey.

I have read some articles about adults with Down Syndrome who excel in their chosen careers.

I believe that Hailey is capable of becoming successful and will find happiness ( though being happy is inherent to them ) in everything that she does.

My Hailey is becoming mature each day, but she will always be my baby.

Raising a child with Down Syndrome

I feel so lucky having my daughter Hailey, who was found to have Down Syndrome at birth. Though I was not ready of her arrival, we have wholeheartedly welcomed her to our family.

Growing up, Hailey has shown lots of developments and caring for her is a constant struggle because I am working full time and my husband is not always around to help, but of course other support comes from her sisters, babysitter, my extended family, my co-teachers and other special needs parents that I communicate with online.

Big challenges in raising Hailey cannot compare to the joy and pride that we have of her achievements at 3 years and 5 months.

Did I say that Hailey loves to mimic me when I do my make up before work? With her toy make-up set, she would put on her “lipstick,” which she has learned to say, and would pretend that she is also going to work. 

Such a darling!

I will be here forever for my beloved Hailey.

To all other working moms out there of Down syndrome kids, I am with you on this journey and we will always survive each day that God gives us to handle.

Our kids’ smiles and hugs and showcase of talents truly erase all our weariness at the end of the day. 

Are you a special needs mom or dad of a Down syndrome child?

How are you facing the challenges of raising him or her? 

Click the images below to grab some materials to help your special child learn more at home.
Picture Books and Chapter Books for all ages

ABC Crafts for Uppercase LettersAll About Reading Pre-reading

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Special Needs Homeschool….Can My Child Learn?

I have always wanted for my son to do good in school.

When he was younger, I always see to it that he finishes his homework and sometimes, I even help him accomplish his school projects.

One time in grade five, his simple science project was chosen as one of the few that were represented in the division level. I was so excited for him and his best friend-classmate, who was his partner in the project.

I was one proud Mama.

Of course as parents, we want our kids to learn the best that they can. 

When they do good in school, we are the proudest of their achievements.

The same goes for our children with special needs. It doesn’t matter if our special child is not able to talk at the age appropriate for him, as long as gradually he is able to communicate, that’s all that matters.

We may have fears of our special child being bullied in school, or questions whether he will be able to adapt easily to his new teacher and new classmates plus the new surroundings.

So, at the back of our minds, we have this question:

A special needs home school…. can my child learn from me?

Is homeschooling the better option?

This is the question that most parents with special needs child will have to address.

Let us look at the pros and cons of homeschooling.

This post contains affiliate links. Please read the full Affiliate Disclosure here.

Benefits of a special needs home school

As parents, we always hope for the best outcome or learning potential for our special kid.

If you have the time and the resources to home school your child, it could be your best option for him.

These are some positive aspects for letting your child attend home school.

  • Specific needs will be addressed. You as the parent who is there for your child 24/7 truly understands what your special child needs, for example you will know what your child is struggling, maybe reading or verbalizing his needs.
  • One-on-one attention will boost your child’s confidence more than ever and he will learn faster.
  • Avoiding many obstacles in a traditional classroom. Communication will be the biggest struggle in school, but with you around in the home school, he can always be open to verbalize his needs or put forward his concerns non- verbally if need be. Bullying would be an issue that can be avoided there as well.

The Brave Learner




Click the images to buy these helpful books and planner to make homeschooling easier.

  • Flexible time and schedule. A structured time and schedule is good, but there will be times that your child would need to move his schedule or you may need to do it yourself for whatever reason.
  • Observing up close your child’s progress and struggles. As the parent-teacher, you will see first-hand your child’s development or what area he needs to focus on.
  • Understanding your child’s inadequacies and coping mechanisms. Only a parent can accept unconditionally his child’s shortcomings.
  • Pacing of teaching can be adjusted depending on your child’s improvement. You don’t have to report to a principal or superior about why your child is still unable to read or identify colors at a certain time and explain why.
  • Comfortable surroundings for your child will let him learn more effectively. You can both be in your jammies and sitting in your bed reading together. He doesn’t need to go out in extreme cold if the weather is not so good.

Drawbacks of homeschooling

Of course attending a traditional school for your child would be the best option if need be, but it is not always possible, or you think making him attend home school is the best because you believe you can offer him the best education there is.

There are negative feedback of course, and would include the following:

  • Social skills will not be optimized. Since he is alone at home with you, he will not develop the best friendships and good communication skills.
  • Your child will test the limits of your patience. There might be a time that you might feel so frustrated if he learns so slow or forgets what he has learned and you feel that homeschooling in not fit for your special child.
  • You might feel inadequate for your child as a mentor having no teaching experiences in school, more so with a special kid.
  • Tantrums or meltdowns might happen many times that are hard to control and as a parent, may discourage you to stop the lessons for the day.
  • In the early stages or even before starting homeschooling especially if a special child has been previously enrolled in a public school, some school officials harass the parents and don’t allow the special child to dis-enroll because of fear of losing funding.
  • Special needs children may lose government-funded special child services such as speech therapy when home schooled.

How to improve your child’s skills as a home schooler

Great Books for Kids of All Ages
Click the image to grab your list of books

As the teacher for your special child, you can always plan on improving how you handle him. You don’t need to suggest to his teacher in the regular school what you think is the best way to offer him lessons.

      • Let your special child attend group activities like your church’s Sunday school or your neighbourhood’s annual picnic to broaden his horizon and meet other kids.
      • Enrol him in extracurricular activities like piano lessons where he can interact with another teacher or other students if they will have recitals or concerts.
      • Let him stick to a routine as much as possible, like the same schedule each day for school, play, and homework. This will develop in him discipline and good study habits.
      • Daily habit of reading if he can, or reading to him if still not able on his own.
      • Encourage him to ask questions, thus enabling him to learn through exploration and discovery.
    • Give rewards for his achievements. There is no better way to encourage him to achieve more if he sees that you appreciate his efforts.



Click the images to buy these flash cards and book to make homeschooling easier.

  • Encourage him to repeat works or projects that are not acceptable at first or second try. Let him feel that mistakes are okey as long as he tries again to correct them.
  • Discuss with him why he did not get good results or scores with certain exams or projects and encourage him to give suggestions on how he can overcome these.
  • Balance learning with fun. Introduce play as much as possible or activities that your child enjoys in your daily lessons.
  • Connect with other parent-teachers ( join home school groups ) so you could compare ways on how to optimize teaching to your child and he can meet new friends as well.
  • Be patient with your child’s progress and just be content of what he can achieve daily. Don’t expect too much.
  • Display his works at home such as in the fridge or a dedicated corner or show to family so he knows that you are proud of his achievements.

Legalities and requirements of homeschooling

While homeschooling is legal in all 50 states in the US and all provinces in Canada, there are different requirements of each state or province where you live.

Call the authorities or agencies in your place just to be sure that they will not go after you and you will be out of trouble.

Some places require home school parents to meet basic educational qualifications, like a high school diploma or GED or a teaching certificate, but most states in the US do not have this requirement.

For Canadian homeschooling, please visit your province’s Department of Education websites for specific requirements. Some provinces may require you to report to them periodically for your child’s achievements. Or you need to tell them before you start home schooling.

I have mentioned only US and Canada here as examples, but if you live somewhere else, this could also apply to you.

20 Best Tips

Parents excel in giving education to their special needs children

A year-long research was conducted by Dr Steven Duvall in eight elementary and two junior high students with learning disabilities, where five students were home schooled and five attended public schools.

He did this by seating-in on teaching sessions and observed every twenty seconds how the students used academically engaged time during instructional periods. He then encoded data in his laptop which were double-checked by a second observer.

Likewise, Dr Duvall measured the students’ scores in standardized achievement tests in reading, math and written language.

Look at the amazing results!

  • The home schooled special kids showed academic engagement two and a half times more than those enrolled in public schools.
  • The home schooled kids spent only 40.7 % of their time with no academic responses against 74.9 % for the kids in public schools.
  • The teachers and kids in home schools were sitting side -by-side or face-to-face 43% of the time compared to only 6% of the time for public schools. This gave more advantage for the home schooled kids.
  • The home schooled kids showed an average of six months improvement in reading compared to only half a month gain for special kids enrolled in public schools.
  • The home schooled kids showed an average of eight months improvement in written language skills compared to only 2.5 months in kids enrolled in public schools.

Dr. Duvall summarized, These results clearly indicate that parents, even though they are not certified teachers, can create instructional environments at home that assist students with learning disabilities to improve their academic skills. This study clearly shows that homeschooling is beneficial for special-needs students.”

It is  a very positive and encouraging study, so my dear parents, take the opportunity to home school your kids if you can!

What parents say about homeschooling or home education:

Here are three parents who found homeschooling effective for their children with special needs.

JOYCE has this to say – from HE Special-Home Education in the UK-Special Educational Needs 

” My son was thrown out of a private mainstream nursery at the age of 4. What followed was his diagnosis of autism and my decision to home educate. I am lazy and chicken, decided I would rather provide him what he needs socially and educationally myself than spend my days beating my head against the doors of authorities to convince them to provide it. And all that otherwise frustrated time is instead spent enjoying my happy, unique son.The result so far –

My husband and my family are now convinced that we made the right choice. My son is happy and excited about learning. It’s not all roses, he does balk at writing but he excels at chemistry (sorry for the brag).

They have come to see that it works. He can race ahead at what he loves and get extra time for things he struggles with, all in a nonjudgmental environment.

It is so far beyond what I could hope to find for him in a school. His joy in learning is worth all the effort.”

MARSHA IDDINGS shares her feelings about homeschooling her son Matthew:

“The most important fact that I discovered while developing Matt’s home school program is this: You, the parent, will always be your child’s greatest advocate. No other professional knows, cares, or loves your child with the depth that you do. This, more than any other factor, is important in creating a successful learning environment for the challenged child.”

LIANNA  KOERNER, whose 13 year old son Gabriel, has Down syndrome, homeschooled him after four unsuccessful years in the elementary school.

Lianna  says , ” The luxury of Gabe’s learning ability is a gift. We can master a skill before moving onto another. There are no “precedents or antecedents of behaviour” to be discussed. He has been growing into a responsible person who is assured that it is okay to be right where he needs to be educationally. He is happy now and it shows.

Gabriel is living a life of inclusion, where he can safely learn what he needs to learn without adults pushing their own perceptions about Down syndrome into his education. “

Home schooling could be the best option for your child with special needs

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There you go, considering the many benefits of homeschooling plus the positive results of the study done by Dr. Duvall and the awesome and positive experiences of some parents, let you be inspired to start to home school your special kid and erase your worries that you cannot  be the best teacher for your special child, but of course, he can definitely learn from you.

REMEMBER:

You as the parent who is there for your child 24/7 is the only one who knows your special child’s strengths and weaknesses to the core.

You are the only one who can offer him unconditional love and full support.

Your child feels secure with you at home, where it is the safest environment for him.

So, my dear parents, if you have the time and resources, go and home-school your special child!

You can be the best teacher for him. Ever.

Click here and get ten inspirational quotes about kids and parenting.

 

Do you have plans of homeschooling your special child?

Or are you already homeschooling your child with special needs?

We would love to hear from you.

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How to Tell if your Child has Autism( Look for the Common Signs )

Parents are so excited of their kid’s milestones. Especially if he is the first child or the first ever grandchild.

The family would even  excitedly record the first steps, the first words and even the first time that he goes to school.

At certain times however, parents notice something different or something not going the way it should be or not coming if it’s expected.

At the back of your mind, you maybe asking this question, ” Is my child autistic? “

You as a parent, being with your kid most of the time, is the best person to notice the earliest warning signs of autism. You see your child on a daily basis and you know your child better than anyone else and observe behaviors and peculiarities that a Pediatrician, in a short visit, might not observe at all.

So, the question “how to tell if your child has autism, ” which maybe ringing in your ears on a daily basis needs to be answered fast!

What are the earliest signs of autism? 

What are the earliest signs of autism?
Parents usually notice early signs and should seek consultation right away.

 

As early as 6 to 12 months, studies demonstrate that behavioral signs are starting to be noticed for autistic kids.

 

If your baby doesn’t do these tasks, don’t hesitate to ask his Pediatrician if something is wrong or better still see a Developmental Pediatrician for evaluation.

  • Make eye contact or look at you when you carry him or smile back at you when you smile at him
  • Reacts to his name, or to the cooing of somebody familiar
  • Follow objects with his eyes or seem interested with things around him
  • Wave goodbye, or use other gestures to communicate.
  • Make noises to get your attention
  • Initiate or respond to cuddling or reach out to be picked up
  • Follow your gestures and facial expressions
  • Play with other people or show interest and enjoyment
  • Show concern if you hurt yourself or experience discomfort

When is the best time to see a doctor to confirm your doubts?

If you spot these developmental red flags in your baby, go see your child’s Pediatrician for evaluation as soon as possible.

At 6 months: No big smiles or expression of being happy

At 9 months: No imitating of sounds, smiles, or other facial expressions

At 12 months: No response to name and no babbling or “baby talk”; no imitating of gestures, such as pointing or waving bye-bye

At 16 months: No spoken words

At  24 months: No meaningful two-word phrases that are spoken on his own

Watch out for Early Warning Signs of Autism

The importance of early intervention

Your baby may not be diagnosed that early but at least his doctor can follow up his progress on a regular basis.

Usually, a definitive diagnosis is made only sometime on the 18th to the 24th month. This is because some kids may catch up on the 24th month with their delays.

Also, a small number of children appear to develop normally in the first 12 months, and then start to show autism symptoms between 18 and 24 months of age by going through a period of regression.

They may have started to learn a few words then stop talking suddenly.

Some parents even blame the vaccines given to their kids.

Studies have shown that early intensive treatment started at 18 months, if they are diagnosed at that age, may help to rewire the brain and reverse the symptoms.

There are variations though, like high-functioning children with autism aren’t diagnosed until they start school and noted not to interact well with classmates and teachers, thus are struggling socially.

The Special Education ( SPED ) program as an early intervention

Let me share with you some kids who attended the Special education program at the Romblon East Central School where Pangga ta Ikaw is presently building a mini-therapy area.

The SPED as an early interventions for kids with autism.
Interventions such as zipping and unzipping are done to develop fine motor skills and to teach how to focus on tasks.

FM was enrolled at SPED when he was six, and initially had poor language skills with words that were hard to understand, was hyperactive, with very short attention span and no eye contact. Social skills were also very poor, he seemed to be afraid of other kids, did not want to mingle with them and would not enter the classroom unless the teacher was there.

Teacher Bing, his very dedicated mentor, started to develop his speech, so he gradually learned how to speak clearly. Behaviour modification was done as well so he slowly learned how to socialize with other kids.

At 8, FM is now mainstreamed in Kindergarten after 2 years in SPED and now able to read and add in the kinder level.

JR had meningitis when he was younger and then developed autism signs and intellectual disability. He was initially enrolled to Kindergarten for one year but eventually moved to SPED and stayed there for 3 years. Now at 10, he was finally mainstreamed to Kindergarten.

JV, now 7, was initially enrolled to regular Kindergarten for only 2 weeks but pulled out because he was non-verbal and they thought he was deaf. He was brought for assessment and was diagnosed with autism. After a year in SPED, he was mainstreamed to Kindergarten, and now able to read, write simple sentences and add in the Kinder level.  His social skills are now much improved, as well.

These 3 kids above are still monitored and taught by teacher Bing for an hour everyday after their regular Kindergarten class.

On the other hand, Heleina is a 15 year old girl with severe autism who has been in the SPED program for 6 years, so started only at 9 years old,  but could not be mainstreamed to regular school and at present just in the  grade one curriculum. She still has very poor social skills.

This only shows that  early intervention is really important  for our autistic kids to develop well.

As a parent with an autistic child, what can you do to help your special kid?

This post contains affiliate links. Please read the full affiliate disclosure here.

Educate yourself

               
   A Parent's Guide to High Functioning Autism Spectrum DisorderNathan's Autism Spectrum Superpowers

 

 

 

 

Click the images of the books to see the price.

Read a lot  and learn about autism for you to make informed decisions with regards to treatment options for your child. Always ask questions and participate in all treatment decisions.

Know your child well.

Learn what triggers your kid’s challenging or disruptive behaviors and what makes him calm and settled. What makes him stressed out or frightened? If you discover what upsets your child, you’ll be good at solving conflicts , thus preventing struggles and difficulties for him.

Love your child unconditionally and accept him no matter what.

Never compare your autistic child with a normal kid, accept him for what he is, otherwise you will always be frustrated with his development. Be happy with his accomplishments, celebrate small successes, and stop worrying about his delays.

Be positive.

Know that the future of your autistic child depends a lot on your support with his therapy. There is always help out there for him to grow and develop his abilities.

Remember your autistic child is not a burden even though taking care of him might be a big challenge with lots of struggles.

He will always give joy to your family especially watching him grow and develop himself.

His innocence is a gift, his dependence on you will always give you a feeling of being his protector.

Celebrate his developments,  don’t focus on his delays.

Join the World Autism Awareness Day

Celebrated every April 2nd , this is a special day declared by The United Nations General Assembly  that acknowledges the need to focus on the enhancement on the quality of life of those with autism so they can become productive members of society and lead full lives.

Related post: How to Spread the Word of Love.. Ten Songs to Celebrate World Autism Awareness Day

Your child and your family is one with the other families and the whole world in rejoicing during this special day.  Encourage your whole family to join and have fun!

World Autism Awareness
Every 2nd of April, the world celebrates all children with autism.

 

Do you have a child with autism or know somebody with autism spectrum disorder?
Please share your story with us. We would like to hear from you.
Post your comments below.

 

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Special Needs Stroller: Choosing the Best for Need and Comfort

Traveling is part of everyday life, especially if you have a special child who needs to go to doctor’s appointments, physiotherapist visits, special school attendance, and even family gatherings or just to go to the park with cousins and friends or go with you to the mall. Of course a special needs stroller is so essential for these activities.

 

Special needs stroller

I have even seen some parents jog with their kids in their stroller. What an awesome sight!

Your special child could even go with the whole family to any fun travel or visits to an amazing place during summer or any holiday for that matter. I’m sure he would love to bond with everybody on these trips.

Thus, a special needs stroller, or an adaptive stroller, is a most essential companion for parents and caregivers for easy mobility.

 

A special needs stroller needs to be durable for long term use.
A special needs stroller should be durable for long term use and meet the needs of your special child.

When planning to buy, what do you have to keep in mind? Is it the price? Durability, comfort, beauty?

Lots of reasons perhaps. So, what is the best special needs stroller out there? How do you choose one for your child?

Reasons for buying a stroller

1. Need–          Do you have frequent visits to doctors and therapists, or does your child go to school at least 3 times a week?

2. Comfort-    Is it the right fit for your kid for him to be comfy for long hours of sitting or lying down?

3. Price –          Do you want something that is not so pricey, anyway your child will outgrow the stroller soon or is it okay with you to pay more now, anyway he can use it for years to come?

4. Durability – Is your child on the heavy side or is older that something which will not wear out soon needs to be bought for him? Or you really prefer a stroller that would serve your kid for long term and grow with him?

5. Disability–   Is your child unable to walk at all or have stiff joints that prevent him to be moved easily to fit in the stroller?

When to buy

Foremost, you have to consider the need to decide when to purchase your stroller. Definitely, you will need one when you go out every week or even just twice a month for those appointments for your child.

You also have to consider that your kid will have mobility issues for some years because he will have delayed developments of some motor capabilities, like in children with Down syndrome, so deciding when to buy is critical.

Plan on the long term use so you can decide well on what to buy. Be open to the idea that your child will walk later than normal kids and when he learns to walk, it will take a while for him to have full balance.

If your child has disabilities that need to be addressed, consult your physiotherapist or rehabilitation doctor for proper advice on what type of adaptive stroller to buy.

Depending on where you live, some government health insurance may pay for these devices for your special child. Your private health insurance might be able to help as well. You just have to inquire, who knows you don’t need your pocket at all or you might pay only partial of the whole amount.

This post contains affiliate links. Please read the full affiliate disclosure here.

Special needs stroller for your special child's need

Click here to look at varieties of adaptive strollers

Related post: How to travel with a stroller: nine best lightweight strollers for children with special needs

 

I am introducing 3 adaptive strollers for you to choose from. Of course, there are lots of choices out there but these 3, based on my research, are very useful for the kids with special needs. This review will somehow give you ideas when you are ready to buy one for your child.

Reviews on 3 strollers

1. Special Tomato Special Needs Jogging Stroller

  • This is ideal for children up to 110 lbs
  • The lightweight aluminum frame allows it to be folded easily
  • When open, it measures  :     L x W x H 42″ x 26″ x 43″
  • If folded, it measures : L x W x H 33″ x 21″ x 16″
  • It is durable, thus ideal for long use
  • It has a reclining seat ( recline range 100 to 140 degrees ).
  • The stroller weighs -27 lbs
  • Click the image or here to see the price

PROS

  • With 5-point harness to keep child safe and comfy
  • It is very comfortable for long trips.
  • The stroller for a jogging parent
  • It rolls really well ; the 12″ pneumatic tires works well both on smooth streets and rugged terrain
  • The front wheel can lock in place during jogging.
  • Free shipping if you buy here

CONS

          • Basket under the stroller has to be bought separately
          • Takes a bit of space when folded up

Related post: How to travel with a stroller: nine best lightweight strollers for children with special needs

2.Adaptive Star Axiom Lassen 2 Push Chair

                                   

Axiom Lassen 2 Push chair

  • Product dimensions are 61″ x 24″ x 43″ inches
  • With traditional large rear wheels and 2 pneumatic front swivel wheels
  • Comes in 3 sizes and 2 colors ( navy and red )
  • With weight capacity up to 250 pounds
  • Comes with storage pocket behind the seat and  2  water bottle holders
  • The removable seat and under the seat basket are machine washable

Click the image or here to see the price

PROS

  • The handle can be adjusted depending on the height of the parent
  • With safety wrist strap
  • It has fixed footrest with individual feet straps
  • Comfortable seating area lined with breathable wicking fabric 
  • Adjustable 5- point harness for safety
  • The seat can be reclined up to 30 degrees
  • The sun canopy has view port window
  • Free shipping

CONS

  • The basket is made of thin synthetic material and not secure so when you put items  they tend to fall over
  • The padded insert for the seat is bought separately

3. Freedom Adaptive Stroller by Baby Jogger

Freedom Adaptive stroller by Baby Jogger

  •  The stroller weighs 30 pounds 
  • Product dimensions are 47 x 24.6 x 12.9 inches
  • Comes in navy color
  • It has a reclining seat and a padded seat back for comfort
  • With a 16 inch static wheel and swivel front wheels
  • It has a multi-position canopy with clear view window

Click the image or here to see the price

PROS

  • The handbrake comes with a parking button
  • The curved handle makes pushing comfortable
  • It comes with a quick folding design
  • The stroller is sturdy and suitable for big kids
  • With room to grow for your kids 
  • Can be also used for adults with special needs

CONS

  • When folded, the chair doesn’t lock in place.
  • It is not so easy to push and guide on trails
  • The stroller is tall and the handle is high, thus,  not very comfortable for small parents

Is it time to buy?

Special needs strollers or the adaptive strollers are definitely a necessity for our special kids with mobility issues.

Your kids are able to walk probably at this point, but then they get tired easily with long walks.

For those with wheelchairs, you might still consider buying an adaptive stroller for them because wheelchairs are usually bulky and heavy.

My final word

Remember to always  consult your child’s physiotherapist or rehabilitation doctor for advice as to what specific adaptive stroller will fit your child to address his mobility and disability needs.

After all, your child’s comfort is foremost in your mind, as well as your need to consider your budget because these strollers are not on the cheap side.

Lastly, put inquiry to your health insurance, private or government,  if they will pay your mobility device. 

I’m sure with proper referral from your child’s physiotherapist or doctor, his adaptive stroller will be reimbursed or paid directly by your insurance.

Choose an adaptive stroller or special needs stroller for comfort and durability

Click here to find more options for your adaptive strollers and devices

 

Have you used several adaptive strollers through the years? Did your child prefer one over the other? Please let us know your experiences in the comments below.

 

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How to Spread the Word of Love … Ten Songs to Celebrate World Autism Awareness Day

April 2nd is World Autism Awareness day.

Autism spectrum disorder is a life long disability that affects how a person communicates and relates with others and how they experience the world around them.

There’s a lot of stigmas to people with autism.

Many people misunderstand those with the spectrum.

Therefore, let us join organizations all over the world on this big day ( April 2nd ) and the whole month ( April ) every year when they do autism-friendly events and educational activities to foster understanding and acceptance of people with autism.

Worldwide support is done by lighting blue landmarks, buildings, homes and communities in recognition of people living with autism.

In line with these activities, musicians all over the world have made and performed awesome songs to celebrate this day.

We all know that music is a vibrant way of letting people learn about something or disseminating important information.

Likewise, listening to songs about autism uplifts people with ASD and their families  and inspires others to learn how to understand them.

I have found really beautiful and inspirational songs that speak about autism.

Songs that were written and performed by musicians, ordinary people with families who have autism, and even young people with ASD.

Ten songs that will touch your hearts, like they touched mine,  and will open up your minds to accept and understand these kids and adults with autism.

Awesome songs that will teach everyone how to spread the word of love about autism, ten songs to celebrate world autism day on April 2nd and same day every year.

Sit down and enjoy the videos and sing with the artist- I have written the lyrics below the videos so you can follow.

This post contains affiliate links. Please read the full affiliate disclosure here.

Here goes:

1. Beautiful blessing

This song, written and sang by Chelsea Stepp, was inspired and dedicated to her youngest sister who was diagnosed with autism at age two.

She considers this song her most important personal accomplishment because the organization “Autism Speaks,” used it as promotional material, thus Stepp performed it at the annual Summit for Autism in Washington.

Chelsea Stepp is a singer-song writer from Warfield, Ky who started singing when she was 3 or 4 after her parents bought her a toy karaoke machine. She started playing the guitar since she was 14, not really serious at first, but with constant practice, got better with her craft.

She auditioned for ” American idol,” when she was a teenager and won ” Big Sandy Idol,” an Eastern Kentucky-based competition.

 

 

Here’s the inspiring lyrics, which spreads autism awareness and how we need to acknowledge that kids with autism are misunderstood a lot because they can’t express how they feel.

” You mean what you say, just can’t say what you mean

Bottled up inside your head, and bursting at the seams

Trapped inside a world that’s all your own

Your thoughts roll in like waves crashing on the shore

Time is ticking, time is ticking, time to pace the floor

Back and forth to find the place where you belong

Beautiful blessing, beautiful curse

Things could be better, but things could be worse

Give me your heaven, give me your hurt

Beautiful blessing, beautiful curse

Act like I understand, but if I told the truth

I couldn’t stand as tall if I were in your shoes

Everyone needs a hero, and here you are

Beautiful blessing, beautiful curse

Things could be better, but things could be worse

Give me your heaven, give me your hurt

Beautiful blessing, beautiful curse

It’s all those things you’ll never had you’ll never miss
But I would give anything if I could change this
Beautiful blessing, beautiful curse
Things could be better, but things could be worse
Give me your heaven, give me your hurt
Beautiful blessing, beautiful curse
Beautiful blessing, beautiful curse.”
2. Not so different

Cassandra Kubinski, the singer/songwriter, wrote this song for her friend Vanessa, who had 2 boys with autism spectrum disorder.

She learned that this family had to overcome challenges, red tape and judgement to get education, after school programs or just collect information.

Their goal is to raise awareness and solicit funds for autism programs and services across the UK, US and Canada.

 

 

Listen to this beautiful song and follow singing with the lyrics below.

” I can be sunshine
Even when all you see is rain
I can be silence
Inside I’m calling out your name.

Words don’t come easy
But I hear everything you say
Reach out and touch me
I need to feel your heart today

So don’t say that I’m in the dark, ‘coz you can’t see my light.

It takes every colour in the spectrum to make the world so bright
If we want to understand
We all must learn to listen
Love speaks in a million ways

And in the end we’re not so different
Yeah, yeah
We’re not so different
Yeah, yeah

It can be hard I know.
When all you wanna do is help
But just I’m learning everything I need within myself
It takes a village, it takes a will, it takes some work and it takes time
Discovering slowly, growing the world that is in my mind. “

The rhythm tree- music therapy program for children with special needsWell get by ( The autism song ) The Johnny Orr band

3. Through my eyes

Lyrics: Valerie Foley
Music: Fiona Johnson
Artist: Scott James

This song tells how a person with autism feels and looks at the
world around him. That through his eyes, he sees things differently than
us.

That knowing how he feels and sees things, maybe he has fears, but
we just need to understand him, and guide him to overcome his fears.

 

 

The lyrics are so powerful. Sing along with Scott James and feel how an autism person feels, so you can see the world through his eyes and be more accepting of his world.

” See the world through my eyes
It changes shape and it changes size
It’s not quite the world you see.
If you could find a way to look around inside my mind

Maybe you would understand me 

I’m not blind, but I can’t always see
I’m not deaf, but things can sound strange to me
I’m not trapped, but it’s hard to feel free
Imagine what it’s like to be me

Imagine what it’s like to be me

It’s hard for me to try to think things through or talk like you
Everything can be a blur sometimes
But if you walk along beside me, hold my hand and guide me

Together any mountain we can climb 

‘Cause I’m not blind, but I can’t always see
I’m not deaf, but things can sound strange to me
I’m not trapped, but it’s hard to feel free

Imagine what it’s like to be me
Imagine what… I’m dreaming of my future and it’s brighter than you know
I’ll get there on a different road when I am ready to go…

I don’t need pity, I don’t need tears

I just need someone to help me understand my fears
Tell me you believe in me, let me know that I’m OK
Help me feel safe in the world and I will find my way

‘Cause I’m not blind, but I can’t always see

I’m not deaf, but things can sound strange to me
I’m not trapped, but it’s hard to feel free
Imagine what it’s like to be me
Imagine what it’s like

Imagine seeing the world through my eyes.”

4. If the world only knew

Lyrics and music by Scott Evan Davis, in collaboration with the students of p94 Spectrum school.

Performed by Ilan Galkoff, 12 year old, who said, ” I am not autistic but I chose to sing this song because I love the message in it.

It is a song about people with autism wanting to be the same as
everyone else and not to be told they can’t do things because of their
disability.

 I have been fortunate enough to appear in a few
West End Shows. I love singing, art and raising money for charity. I
hope you enjoy the song and will believe in yourself enough to show the
world what you can do.

 I have a wonderful cousin who is autistic and I dedicate my song to him. “

 

 

Check out the lyrics and sing with Ilan.

“Every day seems like the day before

Keeping to myself but wanting so much more

I could be a painter

Or in the hall of fame

I can almost hear them calling out my name

But when people look at me

That’s not what they see

If the world only knew what I could do

They would be astounded

If the world only knew what I could do

I would be surrounded

If the world only knew what I could do

Maybe I’d be free

If they could see there’s so much more in me

I put up my guard to deal with fear

When things get too hard then I disappear

I wish that I could tell them

And make them understand

Being different wasn’t something I had planned

But when people look at me

They don’t want to see

If the world only knew what I could do

I would be respected

If the world only knew what I could do

I would not be rejected

If the world only knew what I could do

Then I could be free

And they would see all that I have in me.

I would show them all that everyone is different

I would stand up tall instead of run away

 If there was no world I’d have nothing standing in my way

Then I would be still only me

If the world only knew what I could do

I would shine in glory

If the world only knew what I could do

I would tell a different story

If the world only knew what I could do

Finally they would see

I am just what I’m supposed to be. “

Learn more about autism by reading these books. Click on the image to buy!


Autism breakthrough- helps families with autism by Raun K. Kaufman
Early intervention games- to develop social and motor skills for kids with autism

5. I’ll never give up on you

Lyrics and Piano by George L. Rodriguez

Sung by: Racquel Roberts

Rodriguez  has a son who was diagnosed with autism at 3 years old, and was already 18 and high spirited when he wrote this song in 2014.

The first line, ” I look at you with your angelic face, ” was inspired by the photo of his son when he was 3.

 

 

This moving song is dedicated to children, parents and people who are living with a unique life experience, which maybe different and misunderstood by others.

 

” I look at you with your angelic face

A beautiful child a bit out of place

Sure you’re different if that’s all they see

Yet given the chance you can be so much more.

Caring people will open up doors

In my eyes you’re perfect to me

Everyday things others easily do

Language and play come so hard to you

Still step by step each moment is brand new.

So take my hand and I’ll lead the way

With laughter, love, patience, faith

When we believe our dreams can come true

I’ll never give up on you.

Sometimes your blue skies will suddenly rain

Like ripples of water not exactly the same

People will stare hon, you needn’t explain

For your life’s a story, the world is your stage

Just be yourself, no matter your age.

To all the critics you’ve got nothing, nothing to prove

So take my hand and I’ll lead the way

With laughter, love, patience, faith

When you believe your dreams can come true

I’ll never give up on you.

How did it happen this global mistake

1 in 100 is too much to take

Questions to answers, answers are keys

Unlocking this mystery

Here are your keys.

So baby take my hand and I’ll lead the way

With laughter, love, patience, faith

When you believe your dreams can come true

Your life’s a story, the world is your stage

Just be yourself no matter your age

This is your time take it!

To yourself be true

I’ll never give up

No I’ll never give up

No I’ll never give up on you

I’ll never give up on you

Love You.”

6. Unstoppable: A Song for Autism

Singers/Song-writers: Tommy Byrne & Isabella Guerriero ( 2018 )

Tommy was in his 20’s when Anthony, his cousin, was diagnosed with autism. His parents brought him for stem cell treatments and gradually he improved and became more verbal and was able to go to school.

Anthony has been a source of great joy for their family and he was nicknamed “Unstoppable Anthony” ( thus the title of this song ) because of how he can change people’s lives-with random hugs to strangers in restaurants or jumping on their laps with a laugh and a big,wide smile.

Tommy thought of some of the song’s lyrics and melody while on his way home on a train and he went to visit Anthony the next day where he asked his sister, Isabella, also Tommy’s god daughter, who was 7 at that time, to help him finish the song.

Isabella got her crayon and paper and wrote the lyrics and was done after 25 minutes. Anthony’s dad also helped in the chorus part and reminded them about how he communicates.

 

They hope that this song can be a voice for people with any disability, including autism.

The important message of their song is, ” We hear you.”

 

” I know you get frustrated, trying to tell us what you want to say.

I know it’s not easy for you, but that’s okay.

When you go through hard times, you’re not by yourself.

We don’t like it either and all we want to do is help.

We see the words in your smile.

We see the joy right in your eyes.

When something in your world goes wrong.

Remember to stand up and be strong.

Remember to stand up and be strong.

Life is one big ocean, waiting there for you.

Don’t be afraid of those waves, just jump right through.

We all believe you can fly, if you really want to.

Just remember you can do anything that you want to do.

We see the words in your smile.

We see the joy right in your eyes.

When something in your world goes wrong.

Remember to stand up and be strong.

Remember to stand up and be strong.

We see the words in your smile.

We see the joy right in your eyes.

When something in your world goes wrong.

Remember to stand up and be strong.

Remember to stand up and be strong.

Remember to stand up and be strong.

Remember to stand up and be strong. “

7. I’m in here

Artist: BJ McKelvie & Cathy Hutch

This song is sung from the point of view of a child with autism as he communicates with a loved one.

That he wants to reveal himself as he tries to find a way to show who he really is and all he needs is acknowledgement that he is just here and just wants others to see the world through his eyes.

 

 

” With every breaking dawn

A brand new child is born

Someday they’ll be full of hopes and dreams

It won’t be very long until they move out on their own

‘Cause that’s the way life’s supposed to be.

But something isn’t right

There’s a lost look in their eyes

They’re crying out 

“Why can’t you just see?” 

I’m in here

When the joy turns to crying ( crying )

See the world through my eyes

For just a moment in time

I’m in here

Oh don’t you know I’m trying ( trying ) 

To find a way to show you who I am

So through the years

Through triumph and through tears

These are the one who make their own way

They touch you deep inside

Where your love just cannot hide

Just open your heart and hear them say (hear them say )

I’m in here

When the joy turns to crying 

See the world through my eyes

For just a moment  in time

I’m in here

Oh don’t you know I’m trying
To find a way to show you who I am
The world may be cruel
In my times of desperation
Can’t find the words to express how I feel
So I strike out in pain and frustration
I might not speak
But my feelings are so clear
I’m in here
I’m in here
I’m in here
When the joy turns to crying
See the world with my eyes
For just a moment in time
I’m in here
Oh, don’t you know I’m trying (trying )
I’m in here
To find a way to show you
I’m in here
When the joy turns to crying (crying)
See the world with my eyes
For just a moment in time
I’m in here
Oh, don’t you know I’m trying
To find a way to show you
I’m in here
When the joy turns to crying (crying)
See the world with my eyes
For just a moment in time
I’m in here. “
8. Missing pieces

Written by Mark Leland/ Tim Calhoun in 2008
Artist: Mark Leland

This song encourages everyone to do their part in helping families with the overwhelming task of raising a child with autism.

 

 

” It was a mid December evening

In a room of heavy breathing,

When I looked into my little baby’s eyes,

And like the ships that sail the ocean,

He had captured my emotions,

Wrapped them up just like a gift

At Christmas time.

I thanked the Lord above that he was mine

I prayed to God that everything was fine,

After months we saw him changing,

Nathaniel’s speech was rearranging,

So we took him back to see what they could find

And after ironing out the creases,

They came up with missing pieces,

And they told us that autism’s on the rise,

I looked into my little baby’s eyes,

I promised him to find the reasons why.

Now I lay him down to sleep

I pray the Lord my son could speak,

And make him strong, where he is weak

This I ask of you…

And just like him, there’s many more

That need our help to win this war,

Cause who knows what might lay in store,

To help them make it through.

The doctor says, there’s so much more to do,

To put the pieces back together,

But it’s up to me and you.

So now we lay down to sleep

And pray the Lord they all could speak,

Please make them strong, where they are weak.

This we ask of you…

Cause now we know there’s so many more

That need our help to win this war,

And who knows what might lay in store,

To help them make it through.

Yes, who knows what might lay in store,

The missing piece is me and you..

Hello Dad. “

9. Through the spectrum

Written and performed by Carla Bianco

 

 

This is an ode to mom through the eyes of an autistic child, how the kid feels his mom’s unconditional love.

 

” When I was two years old

You saw something special

They couldn’t see

You did everything you could, mom

To reach me.

You opened the door

When the world shut me out

You showed me how I didn’t need to be more.

And You turned on the light

And taught me to smile

I just see things a different way.

I can see the world

Through the spectrum

Everywhere a rainbow

Like an anthem

When they try to see

Through my point of view

That’s when they will see the colours, too

If they could see what I see

They would get to know me differently

But you know what’s behind these eyes, mom.

What I’m feeling

Yes, you’re the one who really knows me

A mother’s love is what showed me.

I can see the world

Through the spectrum

Everywhere a rainbow

Like an anthem.

When they try to see

Through my point of view

That’s when they will see the colours, too.

Oh I see everyone is beautiful

I feel the pain inside your heart

I see everything is luminal

Like a band of colours.

Thanks to you.

I can see the world

Through the spectrum

Everywhere a rainbow

Like an anthem

When they try to see

Through my point of view

That’s when they will see the colours, too

Through the spectrum. “

10. Let me shine

This song was created in 2017 in collaboration with Oxford band Low Island. It was written by Low Island’s Jamie Jay and Carlos Posada.

It was performed by staff and young people with severe autism from Prior’s Court, a specialist residential school in West Berkshire. Most of these young people are non-verbal with severe challenges.

The message of the song is acceptance and understanding of all people in the spectrum, thus “Accept me for who I am and let me shine. “

 

 

This song ( with the lyrics below) is so moving and is proof of the achievements of the young people at Prior’s Court and how they shine with the support of their therapists.


” I have made a connection


A special bond


I help you paint with your own colours

To your own rhythm

Every day is different


Here we aim high

And everyday is always full

Of laughter and light

One step at a time


Stand next to me, walk by my side

You and I are friends for life


Stand next to me, walk by my side

Accept me for who I am ; And let me shine ( 2 x )

Accept me for who I am ; And let me shine ( 2 x )

I’m not broken
, I am unique


So all I want is for you

To believe in me

We’re all proud


To be part of this place


And we will teach each other

Something new every day

One step at a time


Stand next to me, walk by my side

You and I are friends for life


Stand next to me, walk by my side

Accept me for who I am, and let me shine ( 2x )

Accept me for who I am, and let me shine ( 2 x )

Repeat 4 x more.

Let’s come together to celebrate the world autism awareness day

There you go, I hope you enjoyed the songs as much as I did.

If I have touched a person’s heart with these songs, then I am happy that I am able to participate in the celebration of world autism awareness day on April 2nd and for the years to come.

In putting out these songs I know that I am fulfilled and inspired to show how to spread the word of love to people and kids around us with autism.

After all, they just need our understanding and acceptance.

 

Do you have somebody in the family or anybody that you know who have autism? Which of the songs remind him or her to you?

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Big Sister, Little Brother…..he has Down Syndrome and Autism!

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She was the apple of her parents’ eyes for a long time until her brother came along.

Growing up with working parents, Joanne became a bookworm and would just soak in books instead of playing by herself while waiting for her mom to wake up after a restful sleep from night duty.

Due to her love for reading, school became a means for her to excel.

Being an only child back then with no constant playmates, she longed for a brother or a sister.

And then, Nathan came along.


      

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Since then, her brother has become her playmate and source of joy for the longest time.

Now that Joanne is finished with university and far from home, she always looks forward to returning home on vacations, even during short breaks, because she knows that they can be the ” big sister, little brother ” team and they could bond to the max during  that time.

Tell us about yourself.

” My name is Joanne and I have one special brother named Nathan.

Currently, I am a student and see my brother only when I go home for holidays. In my free time, I enjoy reading and watching YouTube videos.

I hope to become a Pediatrician and maybe specialize in Genetics so I can work with kids like my brother, who has both autism and Down syndrome.”

How old were you when Nathan was born and how did you know that he was special?

” Nathan was born when I was 11 years old. I knew that he had Down syndrome before he was born and my parents knew that there was a big chance of him being born with Downs due to both my mom’s age and her sister having Down syndrome, as well.

However, it wasn’t apparent that he had autism until he was around 2 years old. This was around the time when he lost all the words he knew and started developing stimming behaviors. For example, he loved rocking in a recliner we had and would flap his hands. “

Describe Nathan and tell us about his development.

” Sometimes Nathan is very loving and other times he can be aggressive. It just depends on the day and how outside factors are affecting him.

I would ask him for a kiss or a hug and would happily oblige, but other times, he would pull my hair.

He tends to misbehave the most when he gets asked to do something he doesn’t want to do at all. For example, if he gets asked to hand someone the remote for the television, he might get upset and would literally stomp upstairs.

However, even things like this we appreciate and are proud of because it shows his growth in personality. He used to not react at all.

Something we are very proud of is that Nate is a very neat person. He takes off his shoes and socks after coming home from school and places them where the shoes belong.

If he sees a cellphone on the table and he knows who it belongs to, he will make sure to hand that to the specific person.

Even if the pillows, the remote, or the house phone are out of place, he will make sure to put them where they belong.

This started a couple of years ago but he has been generally neat overall. “

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How did you and your family react to the news that he was special?

” My family and I were very accepting of the fact that Nathan had Down syndrome. Again, my mom’s sister had Downs and I had visited her in the Philippines when I was younger. It was no surprise when Nathan was born.

In fact, I think it made us love him even more. “

Do you have any fears about Nathan’s future?

” Something that I feel scared of regarding Nate’s future is that people might not be as accepting of him once he is older.

Right now, at 12 years old, he can get away with almost anything because he is young enough and is cute. Once he is older, he will be expected to understand more, to be capable of more.

But what if he’s not? “

Does your family have specific plans for his future?

” Right now, there are no specific plans for Nathan’s future. We are just trying to help him grow and learn, then we will proceed from there.”

How did you and your family cope with the struggles on caring for him as he was growing up?

” My family had the normal struggles faced when taking care of a child, they just happened a lot later and for longer periods of time due to Nathan being slower mentally and physically.

But other than that, yes there were specific challenges related to him being him. He had to have a lot of therapies to get his abilities to where they are now and that takes time, money and sacrifices.

However, Nathan is easy to relate to. It’s easy to relate to the feeling of not being able to do something that others find simple and then feeling so frustrated. I believe everyone has been there at some point.

Even the difficulty of being able to communicate with others is relatable.

That’s an issue I’ve encountered. I can’t speak Filipino and I am not able to communicate with my grandmother. But just like Nathan, I can get what I want to say across.”

What therapies or supports did Nathan have until now?

” I know that he had occupational, physical, and speech therapy throughout his life. He used to get one-on-one with these when he was a baby.

I remember they used the blue exercise ball and would lay him on his tummy on it. I don’t know why though, maybe to learn how to crawl?

Currently, he is attending a special school for 4 hours every day where  they have music and arts therapy as part of the program. The kids are also involved in ball games and exercises.

Nathan likewise  does seasonal basketball and soccer. “

Share with us how Nathan makes your family happy.

Big sister, little brother..he has Down syndrome and autism

” Nathan makes us happy with his interactions with the world around him.

He’s funny without realizing it. It just comes naturally, I guess.

I remember when my grandfather lived with us for a bit, Nathan would copy the way he walked with his hands behind his back.

Even when he says “No way,” to us we are happy because that’s
him communicating with us.

But my favorite is when he decides to show me his love out of nowhere. Sometimes he’ll pull me closer for a hug or a kiss or even just give me a smile. 

He’s able to convey how much he loves me with that smile.”

What activities do you enjoy most with your brother?

” Nathan and I enjoy going to the park together. He loves to go on the swings and feel the wind on his face.

We also enjoy watching YouTube videos together, he likes to watch them over my shoulder.

But our two favorite activities are taking naps and taking snaps. “

You said Nathan is non-verbal, so how do you know if he needs something?

” We share that sibling connection. Out of everyone in our family, I understand him the most.

Most times I just know what he is trying to say or I can anticipate what he needs before he is even able to ask for it.

Generally, since he doesn’t talk, he will grab someone’s hand and gesture it in the direction of what he wants. For example, if he finishes his dinner but wants more, he will grab my dad’s hand and drag it towards what he likes to eat more of.”

The Superhero brain, explaining autism to empower kids

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What advice can you give to siblings and parents  on how to take care of a special sibling or child.

” I know it’s hard at times but don’t forget that a lot of people out there are willing to help you: your family, your friends, even your local community.

Do your research into what events you can get your child into.

Don’t be afraid to talk to others at these events so that you can learn from their experiences and from their mistakes.”

Lastly, do you have any experience with Nathan that’s worth sharing?

“Once we went to an aquarium in Atlanta, Georgia. There were some penguins there and I guess that they’re very playful.

 Nate was really young then. Maybe 4 years old? He was definitely in his stroller. He was looking to the side, watching some penguins on a little cliff.

One swam up from the opposite side and surprised him and he was so startled, he went, “AH!” It’s a fond memory that my whole family shares.”

Down syndrome and autism

 

Thank you, Joanne for sharing to everyone your wonderful and inspiring experiences and stories about your brother, Nathan.

I can definitely relate because your aunt who had Down syndrome is my sister, Pangga, whom this website is dedicated.

Truly Nathan and the other members of our extended family who are special bring us immense joy in our day to day life.

I am sure, as well as your parents know,  that Nathan is in good hands and you will take good care of him when we are not around anymore.

We are so proud and happy of your dedication to your brother.

How does your special child connect with his siblings? What are the activities that they enjoy together? Please share your experiences with us.

Click here to get ten inspirational quotes about kids and parenting

 

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Hearing impairment in children- signs and finding help

I love listening to music. It soothes my nerves. It makes me happy and want to dance.

I love talking to my family and friends. I can share with them my worries or my excitement.

I always look forward to talking with my parents back home, by phone or via messenger or face time.

I’m lucky because my sense of hearing is 100% okay.

I know most of us feel that way, too.

Our sense of hearing is really important in how we interact with others. Right?

Our world will be so quiet when we have hearing impairment or we just hear muffled sounds, perhaps. We will be missing lots of stuff around us that we’re supposed to enjoy.

 

Hearing impairment in children

 

Now, let’s talk about hearing impairment in children, what are the signs and how do we go as parents and caregivers in finding help?

CHLOE, a student who is now in high school, started kindergarten in a regular class. The teacher thought she was deaf and mute because she didn’t hear her talking at all.

Eventually after 2 years, she was moved to the Special Education ( SPED ) class in her school at age eight.

Soon after, the teacher heard her talk for the first time when she was bullied by a classmate. She was stammering and talking in phrases.

Teacher Bing started her with one-on-one lessons and eventually, she learned to talk in sentences and read on her own.

She was fitted with a hearing aid at this time, as well.

After 2 years in SPED, she was mainstreamed to Grade one and she continued to excel in school.

Last school year, she graduated with honors in Grade 9. She is a graceful dancer and an artist as well, she has a special talent in drawing. I guess all these talents were enhanced with early intervention of her hearing impairment.

Luckily for Chloe, the first teacher recognized right away the need for her to be guided and taught in the Special Education classroom so she was started on one-on-one lessons, thus she was able to catch up sooner.

Referral and assessment were also done so she was fitted with hearing aids which really boosted her learning and she was able to cope up well from then on.

 

 

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you are able to help in the Special Education of kids with special needs in Romblon, Philippines.”

What are the signs of hearing impairment?

Parents need to be very observant of their kids as they grow and develop, so they can be referred and have proper evaluation in a timely manner.

Look out for these signs of hearing impairment in your kids. They may look and grow physically like normal kids but have these unusual signs.

  • Seems too quiet as a baby, does not get startled with loud sounds nor gets soothed by soft sounds
  • Sleeps soundly in a noisy room
  • Delayed language development, like no babbling at 2 months or not speaking at age 3
  • Talks in phrases and cannot express themselves well
  • Have problems with hearing soft sounds
  • Often asks you to repeat what you are saying
  • Confused where sounds are coming from or cannot identify who is talking to them
  • Poor vocabulary, cannot understand even simple words at 11 to 12 months
  • Struggles to hear when several people are talking at the same time
  • Poor social interaction. Because he cannot communicate properly, kids don’t like to play with him. No friendships are formed. They may be bullied as well.
  • Teachers might think they are mute because they hardly speak at all when they start school.
  • No response to playing music, somebody talking to them, or to any sound at all.
  • Wants the television or radio louder than usual
  • Does not understand directions

Causes of hearing impairment in children

CONGENITAL– born with hearing impairment.

  • This could be genetic, meaning, somebody in the family has it, especially one or both parents.
  • It could be one of the characteristics of a genetic syndrome, like Down syndrome.
  • Other congenital causes include maternal illnesses during pregnancy like German measles, maternal diabetes, and toxemia during pregnancy ( mother has abnormally high blood pressure )
  • When the baby is born prematurely or had birth complications like difficult delivery leading to anoxia, or lack of oxygen, they can also have hearing impairment at birth.
  • A mother’s exposure to certain drugs during pregnancy

ACQUIRED- noted after birth or while your child is growing up

  • Ear infection– usually kids with on and off otitis media or infection of the middle ear and not treated right away or not at all.
  • Trauma affecting the ears or the brain, like accidents or head injury
  • Infections like meningitis, measles, encephalitis, chicken pox, mumps, or influenza
  • Noise exposure, for example if the family lives close to a factory with very loud noise

Finding help

As parents, when you suspect something is wrong with your child or if you observe one or some of the above signs, or he is not developing like kids his age, always ask for help right away.

Just follow your instinct and schedule assessments.

Timely evaluation and proper intervention really makes a big difference. These kids have the capacity to develop and catch up when helped early on, just like Chloe mentioned above.

Evaluation of an ear doctor or otolaryngologist is vital

Assessment is the very first important step.

Ask his Pediatrician or your family doctor to refer your child to an audiologist who will assess the severity of hearing loss and who will in turn refer him to an ENT specialist or otolaryngologist for proper evaluation and further surgical management, if needed. 

Audiologist and otolaryngologist assessment are vital for hearing impaired kids

A speech language pathologist is an important part of the team as well, who measures the specific speech and language skills of your child and recommends or provides remedial programs as needed.

  • For babies, the newborn hearing screening test is a quick and painless examination and is usually done after the baby is two days old.
  • Fitting of hearing aids, if needed  is set up by the audiologist after proper evaluation.
  • Cochlear implants for eligible kids are done after evaluation of an otolaryngologist.

Watch this video about IRELAND, who in 2017, was born with profound hearing loss and had cochlear implants before her first birthday, thus her family is so excited that she will hear them sing ” Happy Birthday ” for the first time.

  • Communication or music therapy augments the hearing aid or the cochlear implants because these do not restore their hearing 100% like normal kids.
  • Special Education could be started on one-on-one lessons, like what Chloe got, as discussed above.

Teacher Law of the Romblon East Central School SPED program had 7 hearing impaired students last school year, 4 of them were already mainstreamed in the regular elementary but he still follows them up after school and 3 were still under his care.

These kids started with SPED from 6 to 10 years old, they were assessed by audiologists and fitted with hearing aids, except one. When they started school, they were unable to write nor communicate properly.

Teacher Law gradually and patiently taught them so they are now literates and able to communicate with the help of sign language.

CJ is one of the hearing impaired students who started at SPED at 6 years old, and was mainstreamed to regular elementary after 3 years.

With SPED he learned how to talk and communicate with the aid of sign language. He is now in grade 10 and coping well in regular school. He was also a dancer while in the elementary, a skill that he learned because of early intervention.

  • Family support is likewise very important. Interact with your child as much as possible, extra care like cooing more, engaging more and of course, support in all interventions. Expose him to more sounds like music and talking to him at all times.
  • Sign language is another thing that is needed for your hearing impaired child. Let him learn how to communicate with sign language to avoid frustrations. Even with hearing aids or cochlear implants, they are not able to hear clearly like normal kids so, sign language is still very helpful for them. This can be learned in school or with private lessons.

So, again I want to emphasize that observations by parents are really important for our growing special kids so, if you feel that your child has hearing loss, which could be partial or total, schedule him for assessment as soon as possible.

When diagnosed really early, interventions are started and these kids can catch up with their language development and even excel in school, like Chloe and CJ and the other kids mentioned above.

Ireland, who had cochlear implants just before her first birthday, has already shown great improvement on the way she plays and it will continue on for her to develop her language just like normal kids.

As parents and caregivers, let us all be vigilant in the growing and development of our kids.

All newborns need to be submitted for the Neonatal hearing screening test and if there is something abnormal, then they will be followed up closely or intervened at the right time. We learned this from the experience of Ireland’s parents.

Hearing impaired kids have all the right to hear our conversations, especially the voice of their parents, the soft hustle of the wind, or the music of their favorite singers, so they can dance gracefully with the beat of the music.

Let us not wait until they start school and get bullied because they sound weird when talking.

After all, our world is happier with music and open communication.

 

Do you have a child with hearing impairment? Is it congenital or acquired? How did you help your child overcome his disability? Please share your journey with us. Post your comments below.

 

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