Featured

Bigger than Barclay

Amy Nielsen shares what inspired her to start the blog “Big Abilities” and explains her hope to help shift the mindset in families who have children with developmental disabilities to focusing on their child’s strengths in addition to their struggles.

What if all day, every day you were forced to focus on what you struggle with?  What if you had to spend hours and hours trying to get better at something you have no interest in?  What if the people around you were continuously talking about your weaknesses?  Unfortunately, this is the space where so many children with developmental disabilities live. Continue reading “Bigger than Barclay”

My Autism Story

Amy shares her attempt at trying to explain what autism is like from her son’s perspective.

My name is Barclay.  I am almost four years old.  I have autism.  My mom wanted you to know what autism was like for me and even though I can’t tell you myself, she understands me well enough that I trust her to get it mostly right! Continue reading “My Autism Story”

Podcast 06: Planning for Your Special Needs Child’s Future, with Elder Law Attorney, Danielle Faller

Amy welcomes special guest, Elder Law Attorney, Danielle Faller of Hemness Law. Danielle gives information all parents of special needs children need to know.

Hemness Law

At Hemness Law, we limit ourselves to the practice of Elder Law. Elder Law is a unique area of legal practice which is defined by the type of clients we serve the elderly and persons with disabilities.

Special Needs Alliance

The Special Needs Alliance is a national organization comprised of attorneys committed to helping individuals with disabilities, their families and the professionals who serve them. Many of our members have loved ones with special needs; all of them work regularly with public benefits, guardianship/conservatorships, planning for disabilities and special education issues. They collaborate with advocates throughout the special needs community to improve quality of life for individuals with disabilities.

ABLE Account

ABLEnow accounts help individuals with disabilities save money to pay for qualified expenses, without being taxed on the earnings – and in most cases, without losing eligibility for certain means-tested benefit programs.

The Vestibular System: The Seventh Sense and Autism

As a child you were taught the 5 senses: sight, taste, smell, touch and hearing.  But did  you know there are actually 8?  The other 3 lesser known senses are the proprioceptive sense, vestibular sense and interoceptive sense.  (Click here to read my blog “The Interoceptive System:  The Eighth Sense and Autism)  In this blog we will discuss the vestibular sense and it’s role in those impacted with Autism Spectrum Disorder, as well as Sensory Processing Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, language delays or other developmental disabilities. Continue reading “The Vestibular System: The Seventh Sense and Autism”

Podcast 05: I Wish I Knew Then

Amy shares strategies and approaches she has learned from parenting a child with ADHD and Autism that would greatly benefit parents of neurotypical children.

Interoception: The Eighth Sense and Autism

Amy explains what interoception is and how to help children who have autism better develop interoceptive awareness.

I had never heard the term, but I knew exactly what it was.  My 3 1/2 year old son has ADHD and ASD.  I recently jotted down on a piece of paper several things I was noticing in him.  Things that didn’t seem related, but at the same time seemed to have a connection.  Things like “never seems hungry, never seems thirsty, never seems sleepy, under responsive to painful stimuli, overly responsive to temperature of food, under responsive to physical touch, seems unable to recognize emotional changes in people,” and the list goes on.
Continue reading “Interoception: The Eighth Sense and Autism”

Podcast 04: Defining Your New Norm

Amy shares how having a child with a developmental disability, such as ADHD or Autism, means that you more than likely will have to redefine what normal looks like for you family.

Overcoming Apraxia

Amy shares how her 3 1/2 year old son overcame Childhood Apraxia of Speech when many children are just receiving the diagnosis.

Today my son lost something.  It wasn’t a favorite toy or a tooth.  It was much more important than that. He lost the diagnosis of Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS).  He is 3 1/2 and until today has held a trio of diagnoses: Childhood Apraxia of Speech, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  His speech therapist gave him a re-evaluation today and she proudly told me we’ve done it.  He can officially speak! His articulation and intelligibility is on par with typically developing children his same age. I am filled with emotion.  We don’t hear typically developing often! Continue reading “Overcoming Apraxia”