How to Assemble Allies For Your Autistic Child

My seven-year-old autistic son is new to public school. Due to COVID, I homeschooled him for Kindergarten, and he went to an amazing autism charter school for first grade. The summer before second grade we moved and public school was the only option. To say I was terrified would be an understatement. But, here we…

5 Tips For Raising Good Humans

Raising children is both rewarding and terrifying. Rewarding because you are shaping a child into an adult. Terrifying because—well you are shaping a child into an adult. When my three adult children were growing up, my goal as their parent was only one thing. It wasn’t to give them everything they wanted. It wasn’t to…

A Day in My Autistic Life: If My Mom Could Read My Mind

Thirty seconds remain on the countdown clock. I sprint through the Mushroom Kingdom. I must save Princess Peach. I smash Goombas and Koopas. I pound bricks and hoard coins. Resurrection comes at a price and I’m short. The ground rumbles. Bowser’s closing in. Behind two white clouds, a castle appears. I’m so close. A bridge.…

A Brown, Fuzzy Head on a Baby Monitor

Last night I tossed and turn through sleep stages. At one point, I was conscious enough to hear my son’s sound machine through the speakers of his baby monitor. But, the relaxing ocean waves lulled me awake rather than back to sleep. As per ritual, I felt around on the nightstand for my glasses. Then…

How My Autistic Son Nailed 2022

As I write this, my seven-year-old autistic son sits next to me at a little table. He’s watching a YouTube video tutorial on his iPad while he follows along on a Roblox game on my old laptop. We just finished a family game of baseball so both of us are having some downtime. Since today…

Reducing Fiction Barriers for Autistic Readers

Teachers know the best way to help students become better readers is for them to practice. At nearly every grade level they require students to read fiction. And the more students interact with books, the more likely they’ll grow into pleasure readers. But reading fiction can be problematic for autistic readers. Autistic individuals may not…

How Bendy Helped My Autistic Son Cope With Hurricane Ian

Florida offers its residents hundreds of miles of warm sandy beaches, an abundance of oceans, lakes, and swimming pools to keep cool and thrilling theme parks. But there is a tradeoff to this lush, tropical paradise—hurricanes. And while hurricanes are stressful for anyone living within the cone of trajectory, for individuals with autism, the disruptions…

The Barclay Show Episode One

Barclay has been watching YouTubers for years, so when he asked me to help him record his first video, I was happy to help. While we have lots to learn about quality, I’m confident we will get here in time. Barclay wants all children with autism to know they can do ANYTHING!

Lessons Learned From Making Red Velvet Cake

Ever since my seven-year-old autistic son, Barclay, was able to stand on a chair and reach the counter, I’ve had him in the kitchen with me. He loves to collect the tools needed for whatever dish we are whipping up. He then selects the ingredients and places them on the counter in the order in…

How to Create an About Me Brochure at The Autism Helper

If you have a child with exceptional needs, such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, and they attend school, daycare, therapy, or spend time with a sitter, it’s a good idea to send a personalized “About Me” brochure to those caregivers. An “About Me” brochure is a brief, tri-fold document that provides very basic yet detailed information…

A Goodbye Letter to Our ABA Center

My husband and I always talked about moving to the West Coast of Florida someday. But nestled in Central Florida, our autistic son Barclay was in a top-rated autism charter school and his amazing ABA center was just a few miles away. We thought it would be years before we could take him out of…

World Autism Acceptance Day 2022

Happy World Autism Day! As the mother of an autistic son, I appreciate the world taking a day to honor what life is like for families like mine. Because, from education to the community to home, life with autism differs from life without.

5 Tips for Grandparents of Autistic Children

Even though I haven’t crossed the threshold from parent to grandparent, I’ve heard it’s one of the most rewarding roles in a person’s life. But if you are the grandparent of a child with autism spectrum disorder, your role, although equally rewarding, comes with a unique set of challenges. Challenges that you probably haven’t experienced.…

10 Tips for Creating a Positive Childhood for Your Child

Creating your child’s childhood is an enormous responsibility. One day they will be adults looking back on the memories you helped create. Here are 10 tips you can start using today to help give your child a childhood they’ll one day cherish.

Be Careful What You Reinforce: You Just Might Get It

A few weeks ago, my husband and our 6 1/2-year-old autistic son visited our oldest daughter and her husband for an annual family get-together. They don’t have children, which means they also don’t have a verbal filter. Do you get where this is going?

5 Tips to Prepare an Autistic Child for a Shot

Fear of needles (needle phobia) is common for children, however it can even be worse for children with autism. These 5 Tips will give you some great ideas in helping your autistic child tolerate medical procedures involving needles.

Virtual School Induced Meltdown

You’re a parent in 2021, so chances are your child has either been affected by or will be when this happens: COVID cases shutting down classes and leaving you scrambling to figure out how to manage both your job and help your child with virtual school for about ten days. And if your child is…

Neurodiversity: Awareness Isn’t Enough

“Neurodivergent” is a relatively new term to describe people with any form of neurobiological variation. It’s a more accurate term for those who don’t fit the typical mold. But awareness isn’t enough – we need action.

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 from…

Minimizing a Saliva Obsession in Children With Autism

If you are the parent of a child with autism spectrum disorder obsessed with their saliva, you must be frustrated! Not only is the world still in the midst of a global pandemic transmitted primarily through respiratory droplets, but playing with saliva is also messy and socially unacceptable. My autistic son is six years old,…

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 to…

Being an Advocate for Your Autistic Child

An advocate can be defined as a person who pleads on behalf of another’s cause. Plead can be defined as making an emotional appeal. Lastly, a cause can be defined as a principle for which a person or group is dedicated to fighting for. So, an advocate is a person who makes emotional appeals on…

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.…

Coming Soon! Caregiver Coaching For 2023

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.

Top 5 Free Autism Resources in 2021

Raising a child with a developmental disability such as Autism Spectrum Disorder can have a huge impact on a family’s finances. Families of children on the spectrum often have less income because one parent may need to leave the workforce to be the primary caregiver. In addition, the expenses of an ASD diagnosis can span…

Pod 37: Meegan Winters of Able Eyes

In this episode, I have a conversation with Meegan Winters. CEO and Co-Founder of Able Eyes, a virtual platform that offers people with disabilities access to virtual tours, of businesses, video modeling “How-To’s”, and social stories.

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 Outreach…

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 family…

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

A Google search of the phrase “what is autism spectrum disorder” will net you about 46,700,000 results in 0.62 seconds. Many of those results are full of complex medical jargon, paid advertisements, obsolete information, and misconstrued facts. It’s understandable that so many people both inside and outside the autism community do not have an accurate…

4 Steps To Make Screen Time Interactive Using Toys

Children love their favorite movie and TV characters. By organizing their character-themed toys into interactive bins and engaging in play with your child you can increase their verbal and nonverbal communication, as well as cognitive skills in just 4 easy steps!

Early Interventions You Can Implement Now!

In this article, posted originally on Collaborative Corner for Exceptional Children, you’ll learn early intervention strategies you can implement now while waiting for therapies to begin.

Love What Matters

I was honored to be invited to share our family’s autism journey with our son on the Love What Matters platform. Read it now!

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, requests…

To My Child on the Autism Spectrum

Before you were born, I had a pretty good idea of the path you’d follow. At least early on. All the baby books written by Drs. X, Y, and Z, as well as what I intuitively knew about child development, led me to believe that you’d smile before you laughed, coo before you spoke, sit…

Silver Lining in 2020

This year has been challenging for people across the globe. But, there have been silver linings, especially for my son on the autism spectrum.

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…

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…

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…

Identifying Meltdown Triggers

Children on the autism spectrum can be prone to severe meltdowns. But understanding what triggers a meltdown, and minimizing or eliminating that trigger can help.

To My Other Kids Not On The Autism Spectrum

Parenting a child with autism spectrum disorder means that if you have other children, they are likely to get less of your time. While that often makes parents feel guilty, it’s an unfortunate reality. However, your other kids need to know that while they may not get an equal share of your time, they have…

When Plans Need to Change Quickly

Because children with autism spectrum disorder function best in a structured routine, taking them out of that routine can cause overstimulation, dysregulation and confusion. Today I share about a recent experience we had taking our son with ASD to an aquarium and what I learned as a result.

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…

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…

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…

Catching COVID-19: Our Family’s Story

As quickly as you make a plan, living in a world amid a global pandemic means that plan can come to a screech halt without warning. That is precisely what happened to our family yesterday when our 5-year-old son with Autism Spectrum Disorder tested positive for COVID-19.