Annie Fox's Blog...

Thoughts about teens, tweens, parenting and this adventure of living on Earth in the 21st century.

Annie Fox, M.Ed., is an internationally respected parenting expert, award-winning author, and a trusted online adviser for tweens and teens.

Podcast: Autism, acceptance and the path toward independence

February 24, 2010

"Raising Brandon: Creating a Path to Independence for your Adult 'Kid' with Autism & Special Needs"

"Raising Brandon: Creating a Path to Independence for your Adult 'Kid' with Autism & Special Needs"

As an optimist I believe, no matter what, spring will come and seeds will grow. So a couple of weeks ago during a winter storm I popped a dozen organic beans into biodegradable pots. Every other day I watered them. I took them out whenever the sun showed its face and I dutifully retrieved them at night so they wouldn’t catch a chill. This morning my baby beans measured 4 inches tall so I shuttled them up to the garden and tucked them in. Tomorrow I expect to see at least one beanstalk poking through the clouds and by June I know I’ll bask in the green glow of my neighbors’ envy.

Parents are by far the most optimistic gardeners. Once the seed’s planted we naturally assume our baby will be above average in all ways. Healthy, sweet-tempered, a champion sleeper and oh so smart, talented and athletic.  But when tiny baby or growing child doesn’t match our expectations for whatever reason, parents may feel ashamed, guilty, angry or all of the above.

If you’ve got a special needs child you know exactly what I’m talking about. Even as you deal with today’s parenting challenges you may also worry about how your child will find his way when he’s no longer a child and must deal with the world’s expectations. At those times nothing is more encouraging than talking with an experienced parent who is ahead of you on the path, offering practical advice and hope. Those special people are like a breath of spring, chasing cold fear from your heart.

In this week’s podcast I talk with Amalia Starr, author of Raising Brandon: Creating a Path to Independence for your Adult ‘Kid’ with Autism & Special Needs. Amalia is a family consultant and motivational speaker who specializes in supporting parents of children with special needs through workshops, seminars, and private sessions. Her results-based approach focuses on empowering both parents and their children to reach their full potential. As a mother, she has devoted more than thirty-six years to creating a path to independence for her son, Brandon.

Listen to my interview with Amalia Starr right here:

If you have iTunes, you can subscribe to this podcast in the iTunes Store.

Or, you can download an MP3 version here.

Upcoming guests include:

Matthew Amster-Burton, author of Hungry Monkey: A Food-Loving Father’s Quest to Raise an Adventurous Eater

Salome Thomas-El (aka Principal El), author of I Choose to Stay: A Black Teacher Refuses to Desert the Inner City and  The Immortality of Influence: We Can Build The Best Minds of the Next Generation

David McQueen, international speaker empowering adults and youth alike on subjects such as leadership, careers and communication skills.

Hannah Friedman, author of Everything Sucks: Losing My Mind and Finding Myself in a High School Quest for Cool

Dara Chadwick, author of You’d Be So Pretty If…

*What’s a podcast? “A podcast is a series of digital media files, usually either digital audio or video, that is made available for download via web syndication.” –Wikipedia… So, in this case, there’s an audio file for you to listen to (in addition to reading the above).

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Podcast for Parents: Advocating for your special needs child

August 16, 2009

''Schuyler's Monster: A Father’s Journey with His Wordless Daughter'' by Robert Rummel-Hudson

''Schuyler's Monster: A Father’s Journey with His Wordless Daughter'' by Robert Rummel-Hudson

All living things, with the exception of clones and genetically engineered corn and soybeans, are unique. Of course that includes children. Every kid has a collection of traits, quirks, interests, annoying habits, talents and abilities that makes him or her truly special. That’s why education should be “special” for every child. Unfortunately it’s not. Far from it.

In spite of the “Everyone turn to page 57 in your math book” approach to learning that is so 20th century and still going strong, typical children will muddle through their K-12 years and come out the other end having succeeded to one degree or another.

But for the millions of “special needs kids” who are entitled by law to receive truly special education, many are being grossly short-changed. Why? Crippling state budget cuts aside, the crux of the problem is sometimes in the approach of educators who prejudge a child’s ultimate learning potential and design programs based on what a special needs student “can’t” do rather than acknowledging what he or she may not be able to do “yet.” Education is about opening doors. No one can map out the limits of any child’s potential. That boundary line has been drawn yet.

All kids need parents to advocate for them. Special needs kids need especially loud and pushy parents to go to bat for them at school and help them get what they require to succeed.

In this week’s podcast I talk with Robert Rummel-Hudson author of Schuyler’s Monster: A Father’s Journey With His Wordless Daughter. We talk candidly about his daughter Schuyler, born with a rare neurological disorder that makes language acquisition extremely difficult. We discuss the challenges of connecting with a special needs child and the obstacles parents often encounter when dealing with schools. We also talk about what every parent of a special needs child needs to know in order to be your child’s most ferocious and unyielding advocate.

Have a listen here:

If you have iTunes, you can subscribe to this podcast in the iTunes Store.

Or, you can download an MP3 version here.

Upcoming guests include:

Wednesday Martin, author of Stepmonster: A New Look At Why Stepmothers Think, Feel And Act The Way We Do

Ayelet Waldman, author of Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities, And Occasional Moments of Grace

Izzy Rose, author of The Package Deal: My (not-so) Glamorous Transition from Single Gal to Instant Mom

Diane E. Levin, co-author (with Jean Kilbourne) of So Sexy So Soon: The New Sexualized Childhood And What Parents Can Do to Protect Their Kids

Rachel Simmons, author of The Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Authentic Girls with Courage and Confidence

Special thanks to our friend and musician/composer Curt Siffert who let us use his song, “Broken Frost” for the opening of this podcast.

*What’s a podcast? “A podcast is a series of digital media files, usually either digital audio or video, that is made available for download via web syndication.” – Wikipedia… So, in this case, there’s an audio file for you to listen to (in addition to reading the above).

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