The Frustrating Journey Trying to Find a School for My Autistic Son

When moving to a new location, one of the first things a family with children does is check out the local school system. A school can often be a selling point (or a deterrent) to a family moving to a specific location. Unfortunately, this is understandable because public education often doesn’t look the same fromContinue reading The Frustrating Journey Trying to Find a School for My Autistic Son

The Benefit of Artistic Hobbies (and How to Get Started) Words by Lillian Brooks

The arts have an incredible ability to facilitate creativity, self-expression, and personal development. Dancing, music, drawing, painting, and theatre are invaluable for healthy child development. More specifically, art-based hobbies have unique and diverse benefits for children with developmental disabilities. Artistic hobbies can help children communicate, reduce stress, and build self-confidence. If you are looking toContinue reading The Benefit of Artistic Hobbies (and How to Get Started) Words by Lillian Brooks

The Value of Parental Friendships Both Inside and Outside the Special Needs Community – As Featured in Exceptional Needs Today

I am honored to be featured in Exceptional Needs Today’s 3rd edition. Building and maintaining friendships both inside and outside the exceptional needs community is vital for us as parents of exceptional children. Not only to find the support we need to be the best parents possible but for our own mental health and well-being.Continue reading The Value of Parental Friendships Both Inside and Outside the Special Needs Community – As Featured in Exceptional Needs Today

Coming Soon! Caregiver Coaching For 2021

Raising a child with exceptional needs is often overwhelming for families. Even if the child receives the services and support they need outside the home, they may still struggle at home. I am excited to announce that I will soon be launching Big Abilities Caregiver Coaching.

3 Simple Positive Behavior Strategies You Can Implement Today!

If you are the parent of a child with exceptional needs and are using the same techniques your parents used while raising you, or that you’ve used with your children who don’t have exceptional needs, it’s probably not working. But, here are three strategies that will!

Pod 36: My Conversation with Rosemarie Griffin of ABA Speech

Rose is an ASHA certified Speech-Language Pathologist and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She divides her time between a public school and her own private practice- ABA SPEECH. ABA SPEECH provides specialized in person and teletherapy speech therapy services across 10 states including California, Ohio and Florida.  Rose is the creator of the Autism OutreachContinue reading Pod 36: My Conversation with Rosemarie Griffin of ABA Speech

Optimizing Your Home Environment to Help Your Exceptional Needs Family Thrive

Follow my blog with Bloglovin Family’s of children with exceptional needs often spend a great deal of time looking for resources and providers outside the home, and understandably so. However, it is equally important to focus attention on what is happening inside the home as well. The following suggestions can help your exceptional needs familyContinue reading Optimizing Your Home Environment to Help Your Exceptional Needs Family Thrive

Former Umatilla Middle School Staff Member Working to Support Families of Children With Exceptional Needs

(previously published in The North Lake Outpost) I spent most of my childhood and professional career in Umatilla, Florida. My family moved to North Lake County in 1980, and I joined the staff at Umatilla Middle School in 2005 as Media Specialist and Television Production teacher. I left Umatilla Middle School to be a full-timeContinue reading Former Umatilla Middle School Staff Member Working to Support Families of Children With Exceptional Needs

How to Structure an Effective Parent-Teacher Conference From the Parent’s POV

Educators often schedule parent-teacher conferences regularly to discuss with parents their child’s academic progress and struggles as well as behavior and social-emotional development. For families of children with exceptional needs, the interactions between home and school are typically greater than for general education students. But what happens when a parent, rather than the teacher, requestsContinue reading How to Structure an Effective Parent-Teacher Conference From the Parent’s POV

My Recent Conversation with The Autism Dad, Rob Gorski

Recently, I had the pleasure of a follow-up conversation with The Autism Dad, Rob Gorksi. In our discussion we talked about my family’s experience with COVID and how families impacted by autism often receive judgmental comments from others! We also discussed some new services offered through Collaborative Corner that might be beneficial for your exceptional needs child.
Continue reading My Recent Conversation with The Autism Dad, Rob Gorski

The Prodigal Daughter

I typically write about our family’s experiences in raising a child with developmental disabilities, but not always. I wrote this piece months ago when my youngest daughter was struggling. She’s overcome so much in a short time. I am so proud of her! It is my desire that this message can give you hope if you have a child struggling to find their way. And to tell you this, never give up!Continue reading The Prodigal Daughter

The Most Important Skills to Teach Your Child With Autism – Words by Liz Talton

It is an honor to feature on Big Abilities guest blogger, Liz Talton. Liz is the author and creator of Pitter Patter of Baby Feet, a website dedicated to families trying to conceive, fertility, pregnancy, mental health, and anything related to motherhood. Before starting a family, Liz received her master’s degree in forensic psychology and mental health. She is now a full-time blogger, wife, and mother to two boys, ages three and six months.Continue reading The Most Important Skills to Teach Your Child With Autism – Words by Liz Talton

How to Take Care of the Most Important Person in Your Child’s Support System – You!

Parents and caregivers are often guilty of overlooking their own needs as they work to deal with the significant needs of their child. However, neglecting your needs can have a negative impact on your ability to handle the stress and responsibilities that having an exceptional child often entail.Continue reading How to Take Care of the Most Important Person in Your Child’s Support System – You!

How to Explain Autism Spectrum Disorder to a Child – Part 2

Explaining Autism Spectrum Disorder to children can be challenging as ASD is so complex. So I created a resource to help make it easier. I took the familiar story of Goldilocks, giving her characteristics that someone on the spectrum might exhibit. This free resource includes an audio version of the story, a free downloadable PDF of the story and a detailed Discussion Guide. Continue reading How to Explain Autism Spectrum Disorder to a Child – Part 2

How to Explain Autism Spectrum Disorder to a Child – Part 1

Explaining Autism Spectrum Disorder to children can be challenging as ASD is so complex. So I created a resource to help make it easier. I took the familiar story of Goldilocks, giving her characteristics that someone on the spectrum might exhibit. This free resource includes an audio version of the story, a free downloadable PDF of the story and a detailed Discussion Guide. Continue reading How to Explain Autism Spectrum Disorder to a Child – Part 1

Melissa and Doug Fresh Mart: a Great Tool For Teaching Life Skills

I love buying my son toys that serve a valuable function. We have had this Melissa and Doug Fresh Mart for a couple of years and we love role playing shopping at our favorite grocery store, Publix. For children on the autism spectrum, life skills can sometimes be difficult. So check out the review below and click the link for more great Melissa and Doug products!Continue reading Melissa and Doug Fresh Mart: a Great Tool For Teaching Life Skills

The Confusing Controversy Around Applied Behavior Analysis

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a highly effective therapy for children on the autism spectrum that is based on the science of learning and behavior. As a mother of a child with autism, I have seen firsthand the positive impact of ABA therapy with my son. I have also seen the confusion in others about what ABA is and the controversy surrounding it. Hopefully this post will break it down and dispel those misconceptions.Continue reading The Confusing Controversy Around Applied Behavior Analysis