Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year! Party Responsibly


Happy New Year!  

Remember, party responsibly.  For me, that means staying away from the leftover holiday chocolate. No easy task.

This year, I've discovered that sometimes my photo mistakes can turn out to be some of my most interesting shots, like this one of traffic headlights in Chicago that doubles for fireworks for this post (if you use your imagination, or have had one too many).

GO SPARTANS!

Reflecting on 2008 Special Needs Progress & Eunice Kennedy Shriver


After way too many frustrating days of techno difficulties that kept me offline (thanks in part to relentless winter storms hammering our state), I'm back in the blogging business, ready to join the world in a brief look back at 2008.

When it comes to special needs and public awareness, this was a banner year, filled with valuable discussions. They included: the GOOD (more terrific online resources and inspiring books about raising our children, and valuable national media coverage, including continued awareness of autism, thanks in large part to the celebrity of gutsy mom, Jenny McCarthy); the BAD ('Tropic Blunder'); and the NOT-SO-PRETTY (kids and young adults being banished from churches and other public settings due to special needs behavioral challenges. Plus, the casual, negative use of the word re-tard by the nation's young people continues).

Then, there was Sarah Palin and Trig....

While reflecting on the 2008 good, one newsworthy event rises to the top. Sports Illustrated awarded Eunice Kennedy Shriver its first ever Legacy Award, a well-deserved, long-overdue tribute (see Dec. 4th post). This amazing woman is an inspiration to all who care about promoting social justice and equality, especially for those with intellectual and other disabilities. Her work remains ground breaking and life changing for millions.

The world has much to learn from her stellar advocacy/example and from that of the terrific organization she founded, Special Olympics. I hope Eunice Kennedy Shriver's work helps fuel you on in your own parenting/professional/advocacy adventures in 2009, wherever they may take you.

Her example continues to challenge me to reach greater heights, too.

Happy 2009!

Photo of Eunice Kennedy Shriver courtesy of Special Olympics. Used with permission.



Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Love This! Dr. Christiane Northrup's Take on the Economy


If you're like most people, you're probably finding it tougher to escape unscathed from all the bad news assaulting us at every media turn, even with so much seasonal beauty right in front of us. That's why I'm pleased to share with you Dr. Christiane Northrup's website that includes her take on the economy, and how all the bad news we ingest, and the thoughts we put into our brains, impact our health.

The best-selling author of many books on women's health, including the Power of Joy, and The Secret Pleasures of Menopause, and a regular Oprah consultant, Northrup offers up an interesting medical analogy that helps put the current dire-straights scenario into healthy perspective, offering rare media balance that's good for what ails us. 

Check out the full article: Ride the Rollercoaster: Healthy Thoughts on the Economy, at Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Our thoughts and actions help shape our reality. Careful what you choose.

'Winter Peace' Judy Winter 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008

Good Mews! Lower Gas Prices! More sunlight!



Here's some good mews (I mean news): Gas prices are at their lowest in five years and the days are now getting longer. During the bleak midwinter, it pays to recognize whatever daily blessings are before you, and give thanks.

That's my friend,  Tiger, who's joined my other visiting feline muse, Pirate, in peeking in my windows and begging for treats. She didn't even blink when Grandoggy Griff barked furiously at her from the other side of the pane. She simply sharpened her claws, and then gracefully walked away...

Isn't she lovely? Not all the finest gifts are under the tree.

Nice Kitty.



Saturday, December 20, 2008

Celebrate with Joy












Whatever your holiday traditions, I hope you celebrate joyfully. Here are a few photos from some of my recent holiday adventures. My camera, and my creative spirit, have been getting a wonderful workout lately!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Creating Holiday Magic for Kids with Special Needs-Week Seven


Here is my final tip for the holidays. I hope these seven tips have proved useful to you in some way, helping create a less stressful and more joyful holiday season for your entire family. 

Creating Holiday Magic for Kids with Special Needs--Week Seven (JudyWinter.com/All rights reserved).  

Interact with family members with special needs, and encourage others to do the same. If the child uses a wheelchair, kneel to eye level and address the child directly. Allow other kids in the family to buddy up and assist the child with special needs in hanging ornaments, frosting cookies, setting the table, or passing out presents. Help that child participate whenever possible, while teaching other kids in the family valuable, lasting life lessons.
_______________________________________________
Creating Holiday Magic for Kids with Special Needs--Week Six/Posted Dec 11th:-Practice forgiveness whenever possible. Most family members don’t intentionally set out to exclude children with special needs. They often require education, support and positive examples to bring them up to speed. By focusing on creative solutions, families can help realize holiday magic for kids with special needs, too— and that’s in keeping with the spirit of the season!
____________________________________________
Creating Holiday Magic for Kids with Special Needs--Week Five/Posted Dec 7th:-Buy age/skill-level appropriate gifts for the child with special needs. Regardless of how well intentioned, inappropriate gift selection for children with special needs hurts. When in doubt, ask parents for gift ideas, or obtain a copy of the child’s holiday wish list. Reserve baby toys (and baby talk) for babies! Key Note: Toys 'r Us offers an annual Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids, 'a toy selection guide 'for parents and friends of children with disabilities,’ to ensure the holiday toy wishes of kids with special needs come true, too. The 2008 guide with Meredith Viera on the cover can be downloaded here: Toys R Us.
_______________________________________________
Creating Holiday Magic for Kids with Special Needs--Week Four/ Posted Nov. 25th:
-Communicate! Don't assume others can read your mind. They can't. Instead, arrange family meetings to discuss your child’s needs and how to best address them. Provide needed training and brainstorm ways to include the child with special needs in family activities. For example, if a he/she uses a wheelchair, address accessibility issues and plan activities in locations that don’t involve stairs. Speak up now to help prevent bigger misunderstandings and hurt feelings later on. Family members, you can reach out and initiate problem solving, too. Our children are always worth our best efforts, and your support to these families is priceless.
______________________________________________
Creating Holiday Magic for Kids with Special Needs-- Week Three/Posted Nov. 21st: -Redefine your expectations. Throw all those visions of a perfect Hallmark family holiday right out the garland-draped window! Instead, ask what memories you want to create for all of your children. Having a child with special needs does not mean you must forgo memorable and fun holiday moments and traditions. Think creatively! It's worth the effort.
______________________________________________
Creating Holiday Magic for Kids with Special Needs -Week Two/Posted Nov.14th:
-Inclusion is the name of the game! Kids with special needs are children first, with big dreams and long holiday wish lists, just like other kids. Whenever possible, include the child in holiday festivities and activities like tree trimming, baking cookies, shopping for gifts, and attending church services (use the cry room if needed). Include that child in family holiday photos and videos, too.
______________________________________________
Creating Holiday Magic for Kids with Special Needs -Week One/Posted Nov. 7th:
-Address food allergies and noise/touch sensitivities and make allowances for them. The seasonal bounty this time of year can result in overload for many children, especially those with sensory, auditory and food issues. Kids with food allergies may not be able to eat all the traditional goodies most of us eagerly gobble up. Discuss alternative choices and inform family members about any life-threatening food allergies so they don’t offer the offending food to the child.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Compassionate Friends 2008 Worldwide Candle Lighting is this Sunday, Dec. 14th



REMINDER: Holiday Support for Those Grieving the Loss of a Child.

The Compassionate Friends will hold its annual Worldwide Candle Lighting this Sunday, December 14th. The national nonprofit, self-help support organization “offers friendship, understanding, and hope to bereaved parents, grandparents and siblings.” They have no religious affiliation and there's no cost involved. To learn more about this healing holiday ritual, visit: Compassionate Friends.

Fact or Fiction? Stevie Wonder to Join Dancing with the Stars



Media are abuzz with the news that Stevie Wonder may join the next season of Dancing with the Stars, making him the program's first blind participant.  I gotta say that it would be cool to see this Wonder dance to some of his own great music (plus, he's from Michigan!).  Love this!

Thanks for paving the way, Heather & Marlee, and kudos to DWTS for casting stars with special needs! Stay tuned.

Grandoggy Griff doing his best dancer's pose & awaiting 'Dancing with the Dogs' auditions/Jenna Winter 2008.

Check this Out! -MSU & FRIB, ADHD Study. Plus Jan. 09 O, the Oprah Magazine


Short & sweet update: My alma mater, Michigan State U,  is always doing good stuff, which is why this terrific Big Ten college was just awarded a $500 million dollar nuclear physics research project called the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB). I don't understand it, but I know it's good for the economy in a state desperately in need of job diversification.

MSU is also doing research involving the brain activity of kids with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).  You can check out both stories, here:


News like this makes me proud to be a Spartan. Go Green!

...and be sure to check out my letter to the editor in the Jan. 09 issue of O, the Oprah Magazine! 
 
Knowledge is power.

Bronze Statue/MSU Horticulture Gardens/Judy Winter 2008

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Creating Holiday Magic for Kids with Special Needs-Week Six


Creating Holiday Magic for Kids with Special Needs--Week Six (JudyWinter.com/All rights reserved). 

Practice forgiveness whenever possible. Most family members don’t intentionally set out to exclude children with special needs. They often require education, support and positive examples to bring them up to speed. By focusing on creative solutions, families can help realize holiday magic for kids with special needs, too— and that’s in keeping with the spirit of the season!

'Angel with heart' Judy Winter 2008
____________________________________________
Creating Holiday Magic for Kids with Special Needs--Week Five/Posted Dec 7th:-Buy age/skill-level appropriate gifts for the child with special needs. Regardless of how well intentioned, inappropriate gift selection for children with special needs hurts. When in doubt, ask parents for gift ideas, or obtain a copy of the child’s holiday wish list. Reserve baby toys (and baby talk) for babies! Key Note: Toys 'r Us offers an annual Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids, 'a toy selection guide 'for parents and friends of children with disabilities,’ to ensure the holiday toy wishes of kids with special needs come true, too. The 2008 guide with Meredith Viera on the cover can be downloaded here: Toys R Us.
_______________________________________________
Creating Holiday Magic for Kids with Special Needs--Week Four/ Posted Nov. 25th:
-Communicate! Don't assume others can read your mind. They can't. Instead, arrange family meetings to discuss your child’s needs and how to best address them. Provide needed training and brainstorm ways to include the child with special needs in family activities. For example, if a he/she uses a wheelchair, address accessibility issues and plan activities in locations that don’t involve stairs. Speak up now to help prevent bigger misunderstandings and hurt feelings later on. Family members, you can reach out and initiate problem solving, too. Our children are always worth our best efforts, and your support to these families is priceless.
______________________________________________
Creating Holiday Magic for Kids with Special Needs-- Week Three/Posted Nov. 21st: -Redefine your expectations. Throw all those visions of a perfect Hallmark family holiday right out the garland-draped window! Instead, ask what memories you want to create for all of your children. Having a child with special needs does not mean you must forgo memorable and fun holiday moments and traditions. Think creatively! It's worth the effort.
______________________________________________
Creating Holiday Magic for Kids with Special Needs -Week Two/Posted Nov.14th:
-Inclusion is the name of the game! Kids with special needs are children first, with big dreams and long holiday wish lists, just like other kids. Whenever possible, include the child in holiday festivities and activities like tree trimming, baking cookies, shopping for gifts, and attending church services (use the cry room if needed). Include that child in family holiday photos and videos, too.
______________________________________________
Creating Holiday Magic for Kids with Special Needs -Week One/Posted Nov. 7th:
-Address food allergies and noise/touch sensitivities and make allowances for them. The seasonal bounty this time of year can result in overload for many children, especially those with sensory, auditory and food issues. Kids with food allergies may not be able to eat all the traditional goodies most of us eagerly gobble up. Discuss alternative choices and inform family members about any life-threatening food allergies so they don’t offer the offending food to the child.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Gifts Money Can't Buy & Kids with Special Needs










In a world often in hot pursuit of the coolest holiday toys, designer duds, and state-of-the-art techno gadgets, most people would never define having a child with special needs as a great gift. 

For me, it was that, and so much more.

Eric entered my life dramatically in 1990, diagnosed with cerebral palsy. In an instant, my family went from living a “perfect” life complete with a beautiful 6-year-old daughter, fulfilling careers and white picket fence, to facing big family challenges that redefined our definition of a gift.

Parenting Eric was the most demanding and most rewarding experience of my life. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

Like many families, we had celebrated parenting and professional achievements and overindulged our kids with shiny gifts piled high under the Christmas tree. Eric challenged us to redefine gift giving with valuable lessons about the power of faith, unconditional love, standing up for a cause, and honoring servitude, charity, and the sacred parenting role. My son granted us appreciation for the human-rights struggles of minorities and those living in poverty, including in our backyard.

He taught us to open our eyes wider, and then act.

Eric’s hugs took years to enjoy because of limited motor skills that prevented him from eating yummy holiday treats or pizza with extra cheese. He couldn’t rush downstairs to witness Santa’s magic, unwrap his own gifts, or sing Christmas carols. As Eric struggled to say, 'I love you,' he taught me the power of non-verbal communication and how to stop talking and really listen to and connect with others. These priceless gifts were realized only after years of participating in innovative programs headed by skilled professionals with huge hearts. The simplest gains were hard won through gutsy determination, sweat and tears, and laughter.

In light of significant physical challenges, my much-adored son lived joyfully. His joy was contagious.

Unfortunately, Eric passed away in 2003 at age twelve. Devastated, we knew he would want us to share his remarkable gifts. Today my son's magic nd legacy lives on through my work honoring children with special needs and through RicStar’s Camp, an annual summer music therapy camp at Michigan State University for individuals of all ages with special needs and their terrific sibs. Camp has provided us with many gifts, including life-saving healing.

During his all-too short and challenged life, Eric gave our family more gifts than anyone could covet, and made me a better human being— an amazing gift with no price tag, one I'll never return.

The most precious gifts can’t be found under an evergreen tree, no matter how beautifully decorated. They come from within. My son taught me that if I never received another enticing, ribbon-draped parcel, I’d be rich beyond measure with gifts that money can’t buy.

Remember to celebrate the season’s true gifts, and share the bounty, too. 

...and tell your children how very much you love them every single day.

Merry Christmas, RicStar!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Picture This! Faces of Ability-Dec. 08: Presenting D.J. Svoboda & Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)




Presenting one of my fav new artists, D.J. Svoboda

If you follow my blog, you know that D.J. Svoboda is a talented young artist who recently contacted me to share his story and his cool artwork. I've selected D.J. for my December Picture This! Faces of Ability. Check out his words and work, and then share your own success stories with me! I'd love to feature your abilities here, too! Together, we can show people with special needs CAN do, and it's about time!
______________________________
My name is D.J. Svoboda and I am a Autistic Artist. I have created The Imagifriends based on difficult situations I have faced growing up with Autism. They are brightly colored characters who help and support one another. They live in a wonderful place called Imagiville where everyone is accepted " just the way they are" and no one is ever picked on or mistreated. I want to use my art to help encourage others with Autism and to let them know that they too can help make the world a better place. I have just had my first book published about acceptance for those with Autism. You can learn more about me, my book and my mission by visiting my website at myimagiville.com.

Have a very wonderful day, everyday!"

-Special Note: As I shared in a previous post, The Autism Society of North Carolina. has included one of D.J.'s Imagifriends images in their 2008 Holiday Cards. To order, visit: Autism Society of North Carolina.To listen to/read D.J.'s recent media interview, click here: NBC 17

Keep imagining and creating, D.J.!!  I feel jollier just looking at your friends.

Images used with permission of artist. All rights reserved.



Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting 2008 Supports Grieving Families


Holiday Support for Those Grieving the Loss of a Child

The Compassionate Friends will hold its annual Worldwide Candle Lighting next Sunday, December 14th.  The national nonprofit, self-help organization "offers friendship, understanding, and hope to bereaved parents, grandparents and siblings."  

They hold no religious affiliation and there's no cost involved, except for purchasing your own candle. To learn more about this healing holiday ritual, visit: The Compassionate Friends. You can also visit my past December blog entries about this beautiful, simple ceremony. For a few quiet, gentle holiday moments, may you find peace in remembering.

My candle is ready and waiting, too.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Creating Holiday Magic for Kids with Special Needs-Week Five



Creating Holiday Magic for Kids with Special Needs--Week Five (JudyWinter.com/All rights reserved).

Buy age/skill-level appropriate gifts for the child with special needs. Regardless of how well intentioned, inappropriate gift selection for children with special needs hurts. When in doubt, ask parents for gift ideas, or obtain a copy of the child’s holiday wish list. Reserve baby toys (and baby talk) for babies!

Key Note: Toys 'r Us offers an annual Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids, 'a toy selection guide 'for parents and friends of children with disabilities,’ to ensure the holiday toy wishes of kids with special needs come true, too. The 2008 guide with Meredith Viera on the cover can be downloaded here: Toys R Us.

Photo 'Nutcracker Noise' Judy Winter 2008
__________________________________________________________________ 
Creating Holiday Magic for Kids with Special Needs--Week Four/ Posted 25th.
-Communicate! Don't assume others can read your mind. They can't. Instead, arrange family meetings to discuss your child’s needs and how to best address them. Provide needed training and brainstorm ways to include the child with special needs in family activities. For example, if a he/she uses a wheelchair, address accessibility issues and plan activities in locations that don’t involve stairs. Speak up now to help prevent bigger misunderstandings and hurt feelings later on. Family members, you can reach out and initiate problem solving, too. Our children are always worth our best efforts, and your support to these families is priceless.
___________________________________________
Creating Holiday Magic for Kids with Special Needs-- Week Three/Posted Nov. 21st: -Redefine your expectations. Throw all those visions of a perfect Hallmark family holiday right out the garland-draped window! Instead, ask what memories you want to create for all of your children. Having a child with special needs does not mean you must forgo memorable and fun holiday moments and traditions. Think creatively! It's worth the effort.
_____________________________________________________
Creating Holiday Magic for Kids with Special Needs -Week Two/Posted Nov.14th:
-Inclusion is the name of the game! Kids with special needs are children first, with big dreams and long holiday wish lists, just like other kids. Whenever possible, include the child in holiday festivities and activities like tree trimming, baking cookies, shopping for gifts, and attending church services (use the cry room if needed). Include that child in family holiday photos and videos, too.
__________________________________________________________________
Creating Holiday Magic for Kids with Special Needs -Week One/Posted Nov. 7th:
-Address food allergies and noise/touch sensitivities and make allowances for them. The seasonal bounty this time of year can result in overload for many children, especially those with sensory, auditory and food issues. Kids with food allergies may not be able to eat all the traditional goodies most of us eagerly gobble up. Discuss alternative choices and inform family members about any life-threatening food allergies so they don’t offer the offending food to the child.

Congratulations, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, on Well-Deserved Sports Illustrated Legacy Award /(Michael Phelps Cover)!


/>


SPORTS ILLUSTRATED HONORS EUNICE KENNEDY SHRIVER WITH THE FIRST SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR LEGACY AWARD

From my friends at Special Olympics:

Washington DC, 3 Dec 2008 – Last night, Sports Illustrated honored Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver with the first Sportsman of the Year Legacy Award at the 2008 Sportsman of the Year celebration in New York City. Bobby Shriver, Mrs. Shriver’s son, attended the celebration and accepted the award on her behalf.
  The Sportsman of the Year Legacy Award was created to recognize those who have, over the course of their lifetime, demonstrated the ideals of sportsmanship.
  Mrs. Shriver was recognized for having transformed a population. In 1968, she marched alongside 1,000 athletes from 26 states in the first Special Olympics Opening Ceremonies in Chicago, Illinois. On that day Mrs. Shriver recited the impactful words that remains the Special Olympics oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.” Today more than 2.8 million athletes participate in the Special Olympics in 180 countries worldwide.
  In addition to recognizing Mrs. Shriver’s lifetime of selfless contributions, this week’s issue of Sports Illustrated includes a special feature on Special Olympics. Sports Illustrated senior writer Jack McCallum takes a look back at the 40-year-history of the Special Olympics and the first Special Olympics Games in 1968. The Sports Illustrated issue featuring Special Olympics, with Olympic Swimmer Michael Phelps, on the cover is available on newsstands today. ###

I've just one thing to add, it's about time this amazing woman and terrrific organization were recognized in this major athletic publication!  Bravo, Sports Illustrated!!-and congratulations to Eunice Kennedy Shriver and everyone associated with Special Olympics.

Here's the link for this terrific, ground-breaking SI feature, along with several other success-story sidebars.  Well done, Mr. McCallum/Sports Illustrated.
______________________________________________
You can read my interview with Tim Shriver, chairman of the board of Special Olympics, in my book, which makes a great gift for families and professionals addressing special needs. (click on title below for direct amazon link.) An author's promotional work is never done...

Images above courtesy of Special Olympics. Used with permission.

_________________________________________

Monday, December 01, 2008

Minute Vacations-December 2008





Judy's Minute Vacation-December 2008


Balloons & Architecture
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Judy Winter 2008. 


Where would you like these balloons to take you right now?

Words of Wisdom from Helen Steiner Rice -Dec. 2008


Words of Wisdom-Dec. 2008


"Peace on earth will come to stay,
when we live Christmas every day."
-Helen Steiner Rice

Anyone for The Nutcracker?

Window Peeking-Milwaukee
Judy Winter 2008 


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Celebrating Turkey Day 2008 -Thanksgiving Blessings & a National Day of Listening



On this lovely, unassuming little holiday, remember to give thanks for the smallest of blessings-- and instead of telling others how thankful you are for your family and friends, tell them. They'll feel extra blessed, especially your children. 

I'm thankful for so many things. At the top of my list is the honor and joy of parenting two great kids, one of whom happened to have special needs- and yes, I plan to tell them both how I feel, right before I grab that last piece of yummy pumpkin pie! :)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Let the seasonal mayhem begin...
_______________________________
Special Note: Friday will be the first annual National Day of Listening, sponsored by StoryCorps, which "asks you to start a new holiday tradition and set aside one hour on Friday, November 28th, to record a conversation with someone important to you." For more info: visit: nationaldayoflistening.org. Priceless!

Mural from the charming Grand Lux Cafe above Ann Taylor on Michigan Ave. Chicago. Judy Winter 2008.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Weekend Bliss & Nature's Beauty-Take Two












Sunday's adventure for my husband and myself included dinner out, shopping for holiday greens, and savoring the beauty of the annual Christmas tree in front of the Michigan Capitol Building. The night was clear, crisp and perfect for taking photos. Here are two takes of a favorite shot.

Magic is everywhere this time of year. All we have to do is open our eyes.

Photos by Judy Winter 2008. All rights reserved.

Update: Extreme Makeover-Home Edition-Michigan Build







Extreme Makeover-Home Edition Alert!! 

The reveal of the Mayberry Homes Michigan build I wrote about at length in prior posts, complete with photos, is finally here. The program airs on ABC this Sunday, Nov. 30th, at 8 p.m. E.T.

If you're in East Lansing this weekend and like group TV, Mayberry Homes has booked the MSU Breslin Center, home of Spartan Basketball for the premiere.  

For more information, visit: abc or mayberryhomes.

Congratulations, Nickless family!

Photos of Michael Moloney & Rib Hillis by Judy Winter 2008. All rights reserved.

Creating Holiday Magic for Kids with Special Needs-Week Four



Creating Holiday Magic for Kids with Special Needs--Week Four (JudyWinter.com/All rights reserved). With a big holiday just two days away, I'm posting this week's entry early. Maybe it will help make your Thanksgiving more joyful.

Communicate!
Don't assume others can read your mind. They can't. Instead, arrange family meetings to discuss your child’s needs and how to best address them. Provide needed training and brainstorm ways to include the child with special needs in family activities. For example, if a he/she uses a wheelchair, address accessibility issues and plan activities in locations that don’t involve stairs.

Speak up now to help prevent bigger misunderstandings and hurt feelings later on. Family members, you can reach out and initiate problem solving, too. Our  children are always worth our best efforts, and your support to these families is priceless.

That's Jingles the Reindeer charming the crowd at a holiday open house.
_________________________________________________________
Creating Holiday Magic for Kids with Special Needs-- Week Three/Posted Nov. 21st:

-Redefine your expectations. Throw all those visions of a perfect Hallmark family holiday right out the garland-draped window! Instead, ask what memories you want to create for all of your children. Having a child with special needs does not mean you must forgo memorable and fun holiday moments and traditions. Think creatively! It's worth the effort.
_____________________________________________________
Creating Holiday Magic for Kids with Special Needs -Week Two/Posted Nov.14th:

-Inclusion is the name of the game! Kids with special needs are children first, with big dreams and long holiday wish lists, just like other kids. Whenever possible, include the child in holiday festivities and activities like tree trimming, baking cookies, shopping for gifts, and attending church services (use the cry room if needed). Include that child in family holiday photos and videos, too.
__________________________________________________________________
Creating Holiday Magic for Kids with Special Needs -Week One/Posted Nov. 7th:

-Address food allergies and noise/touch sensitivities and make allowances for them. The seasonal bounty this time of year can result in overload for many children, especially those with sensory, auditory and food issues. Kids with food allergies may not be able to eat all the traditional goodies most of us eagerly gobble up. Discuss alternative choices and inform family members about any life-threatening food allergies so they don’t offer the offending food to the child.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Did You Know? -Thanksgiving Trivia 2008


The first year the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade added balloons was 1927

That's a lot of flying time.

Source: Martha Stewart.com

'Gifts Money Can't Buy' & Special Needs-CAWLM Dec 08


Here's the link to my latest article for Capital Area Women's Lifestyle Magazine (CAWLM) entitled: 'Gifts Money Can't Buy: One Mother's Gifts from her Special Needs Child.' (Page 36).

This is one of several articles I've written for CAWLM, information I first shared on my Nov. 1st post. Refer back to that post for info on the other article headings/page numbers. Reminder:  The PDF format takes time to download, requiring your patience. Feel free to share my words, but please, give proper credit.  All rights reserved.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Creating Holiday Magic for Kids with Special Needs- Week Three


Creating Holiday Magic for Kids with Special Needs-- Week Three
(JudyWinter.com 2008/ All rights reserved)

Redefine your expectations.

Throw all those visions of a perfect Hallmark family holiday right out the garland-draped window! Instead, ask what memories you want to create for all of your children. Having a child with special needs does not mean you must forgo memorable and fun holiday moments and traditions. Think creatively! 

It's worth the effort.

(Eric playing on city playground (with cousins) after Thanksgiving dinner and walk 2001)
________________________
Creating Holiday Magic for Kids with Special Needs -Week Two/Posted Nov.14th:

-Inclusion is the name of the game! Kids with special needs are children first, with big dreams and long holiday wish lists, just like other kids. Whenever possible, include the child in holiday festivities and activities like tree trimming, baking cookies, shopping for gifts, and attending church services (use the cry room if needed). Include that child in family holiday photos and videos, too.
__________________________________________________________________

Creating Holiday Magic for Kids with Special Needs -Week One/Posted Nov. 7th: 

-Address food allergies and noise/touch sensitivities and make allowances for them. The seasonal bounty this time of year can result in overload for many children, especially those with sensory, auditory and food issues. Kids with food allergies may not be able to eat all the traditional goodies most of us eagerly gobble up. Discuss alternative choices and inform family members about any life-threatening food allergies so they don’t offer the offending food to the child.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Shout Out! Update on Artist DJ Svoboda & Autism Society


I admit it. I'm thoroughly enchanted with the whimsical artwork of D.J. Svoboda. 

I first blogged about D.J., who has autism, on August 27, 2008 after he wrote me about his creative work and efforts to raise positive autism awareness. Today, D.J. informed me that one of his wonderful Imagifriend drawings has been included in the Autism Society of North Carolina's 2008 holiday cards.

Teapot, the Imagifriend image chosen, but with holiday revisions, is at left. (Image used with permission. D.J. Svoboda 2008. All rights reserved).

Huge congratulations, D.J.! Watch for more about this talented artist in my December Picture This! Faces of Abilities. 

Click here to order the holiday cards: autismsociety-NC.org

I love it when you share success stories with me!!! Keep 'em coming!