Stuff We Love — 5 Minutes for Special Needs

Stuff We Love


A few years ago, I fell in love with Signing Time. Jack was struggling to do much more than scream and I was increasingly frustrated. In a last ditch effort, I bought some DVDs and prayed that he would communicate with me. Slowly, he began to sign (things like more and done) and I felt like maybe I could communicate with him.

That’s when I decided that I was going to stalk Rachel Coleman (co-Founder and general all-around awesome human being). I followed her on Twitter and began to join the weekly Signing Time chat (sadly, they’re no longer doing it–because it was SUPER fun!).

Over the years, Signing Time has become more than just a cute DVD to help my child learn how communicate with me–it’s become part of our family. For that, I am forever grateful.

So, imagine my surprise when I heard that:

A) There was a POTTY TIME DVD coming out!

B) I was going to get to review it!

Truly, this is fantastic! It’s 30 minutes of fun–with some valuable potty training lessons (My personal favorite song is “I Wash My Hands!”)!

The target audience is aged 1-5, but I figure that’s not relevant in our special situations! It’s really quite adorable. Rachel approaches potty training as such a positive thing–nothing to be worried about! The video focuses on listening to your body and doing what you need to do, when you need to do it! They speak of celebrating such amazing potty goodness—which I can appreciate (we celebrate every tiny milestone here!)!

If the DVD isn’t enough for you…the Potty Time website has numerous ways in which you can get even more support on your Potty Journey!

* There’s an app for that!

* You can purchase the Potty Watch—it’s a watch that sings and lights up to remind your child to go “try!”

* Print of this handy chart to help everyone celebrate success!

* Or…just read articles and tips for all parents.

If that’s not enough for you (or you’re a groupie like me), follow Signing Time on Twitter or Facebook—and also do the same for Potty Time! (TwitterFacebook)


But wait…there’s more!

I want YOU to have a copy to help you on your Potty Training Expedition! Leave a comment telling me why you would love this–simple, right? I will use the random generator (Jack picks a name out of a hat) to draw a number, and that person will get their very own copy of Potty Time! Yippee! Entries must be in by Wednesday, February 22, 2012 at 12 noon (my time–East coast).

Good Luck! And thank you Signing Time for enriching my life in so many beautiful ways! Love you!




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Rebuilding Life – An Interview With a Pro Who “Gets” Us

You know those stories we all tell about our kids’ care team professionals who don’t have a clue? The ones who clearly don’t know at all what life is like outside their 15-minute office visit with our child and her challenges? My guest today is NOT one of those professionals! Harriet Cabelly is a Life Coach who’s also a mom of an grown child with special needs. She specializes in helping individuals and families rebuild their lives – and grow into even better ones – despite challenges they face. I’m excited to introduce her to everyone here today!

Q: Harriet, please tell us a little about you and what you do.

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Special Needs Toy Guide

I have been working on a toy guide for special needs kids for some time. I pitched the idea to and they were just as excited as I was about it. Basically, how this guide differs from others out there, is it is compiled 100% by a mom of a special needs kid. My son has been in therapy since he was 14 months old for a host of reasons. I was tired of spending hundreds of dollars on therapy tools when I could achieve the same goals with toys we already had on hand. I will be adding to this guide as time goes on and I find other great everyday items that can help in our multiple therapies.

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iPod Touch and iPad Apps for Special Needs

In my last post I mentioned how we use an iPod Touch to help Peanut communicate.  Dana, a speech pathologist, asked me what apps we have found useful in helping Peanut with her communication.  We have found a few apps that we like, but I thought it would be fun to see what everyone else is using.  I know there are so many apps to choose from!

Leave a comment with the apps you have found and what you like about them.  Also, if you know it, you might want to list how much it costs.

Here is my list.  I believe all of these apps can be used on the iPod or iPad.  

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Songs of Love review

Songs of Love is a non-for-profit organization that makes free CDs for seriously ill children.  As a music therapist and a caring individual who knows people benefiting from this kind of service, I have contacted them a few times.  Though they often advertise that they make CDs for children who have cancer or other serious illness, they do make CDs for children with severe disabilities.  I have requested CDs for a handful of children who have serious seizure disorders or respiratory challenges or multiple disabilities.

The CDs are very specially made.  Many personalized CD companies simply plug a person’s name into a pre-made song.  

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What Tune Do You Live By?

What's your theme song?

One of the greatest things about people is the ability to be creative.

Except when it’s a four year old creatively pretending to play a CD she made (out of cardboard). In your minivan’s CD player.


Since then, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking of the music I’m not listening to. The favorites – the songs I resonate with. The kind of music that pulls my soul to the surface and gives me permission to feel things beyond my usual daily experience.

My favorite songs are like my life’s theme music because of their message and the joy that comes from listening.

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Heather’s Must-Haves

I, unashamedly, am the self-proclaimed best online shopper the world has ever seen. I have found some of the coolest stuff.

Far be it from me to not share the wealth, right?

So, I’m going to share with you some of my favorite finds…and introduce you to some of my favorite online personalities in the special needs field. These are people who are engaging and wonderful—and who totally “get” where we are all coming from too. I’m hoping this will be a give and take relationship…I give, you take..and then give me ideas too! 😉

Most of you probably know about my favorite product ever…

Signing Time !

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Birds of a Feather: The Special Needs Lunch & More BlogHer highlights

I left my 2yo medically fragile son for five days…count ’em five days AND nights, to attend BlogHer’10 in New York City. It was business, it was pleasure, it was exhausting…you name it – I felt it.

Mostly I felt terribly guilty about going, but given the awesome opportunity I just felt I could not pass it up. I was really worried that my son would be devastated. He wasn’t. Nothing went wrong, it was an uneventful week without me. *Sigh* I mean it might have been nice if he had cried..ya know, just a little. (My ego was only slightly bruised.)

This kid is tough as nails.

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Summer Book Club: Cowboy and Wills by Monica Holloway

As promised, I am back to discuss Cowboy & Wills: A Remarkable Little Boy and the Puppy that Changed His Life by Monica Holloway, a book that I chose for an ad hoc summer book club.

I loved it so much that I dove right into Monica’s first book, the critically acclaimed Driving With Dead People, then read Cowboy and Wills all over again. I’ll explain why later.

Cowboy and Wills is not your typical service dog to the rescue story.

It’s the story of a resilient mother who creates a nurturing environment in which to raise her son –the complete opposite of the one she experienced growing up.

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Simon Says

Dear Ashley,

I’ve grown accustomed to having my sleep interrupted by your nightly desire for a party. Why your party urgings strike at 3:00 a.m., I’ll never know. But until last night, I’ve never had my dreams interrupted by party fever, merely my sleep.

Last night, Simon Baker (who played the hotshot lawyer, Nick Fallin on the TV show The Guardian and who currently plays Patrick Jane on the Mentalist) and I were sitting on the front steps of my Boston row house – you know, the one we watched on HGTV yesterday as a million dollar renovation was completed. Just as Simon and I were deep into discussion about something going on at my neighbor’s row house, you started blinking the hall light on and off to get my attention.

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