Saturday, October 18, 2008

Welcome, Parents of Children with Special Needs

For several years I have contemplated launching a website for parents of children with special needs. Talk is cheap, you say? And right you are.

Since 1996 I have advocated for my stepson. Perhaps I now need to say my ex-stepson, but that's not right. I met him when he was seven; now he's 20. His mother and I married just before he was 8; we divorced shortly before he was 12. I've stayed in Woodstock since the year 2000 to remain in his life. He's very important in my life, and I like to think that I am very important in his life.

OK, so why today? I've got 12 years of stories, experiences, heart ache, heartbreak, satisfaction, happiness, joy, love; so why today?

About ten days ago at a meeting of the Family Council of the Family CARE Project of the McHenry County Mental Health Board, I picked up a flyer for a workshop that was held today. The title grabbed me, "Strategies to create a calm home for intense children." Now, who can't use those?

The presenter this morning was Kirk Martin, founder and director of "Celebrate Calm". Kirk's message was clear - identify and build on the talents, skills and passions of your child. Kirk's program was scheduled for 9:30-11:00AM in Woodstock; most were still there at noon, as the program wound down. Kirk's 15-year-old son, Casey, was traveling with him and participated in the program. This was one of the best workshops that I have attended! And it was presented without charge.

Information about Kirk and his program can be found at I have no doubt that his CD programs on Parenting and the Brain Boosters Academics are worth every penny.

What's coming up in Woodstock?

Our area has for a long time needed an independent support group for parents of children with special needs. There is a huge amount of information available to parents, many of whom are already overwhelmed with information and the stresses of life with a special-needs child. Parents must know the Special Education Rights granted to their children under Federal and Illinois laws. Most don't.

This forum (blog) will be a resource and also a source. I myself advocate for children with special needs by helping parents find what they need. Parents helping parents; that's what this will be all about.


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