Saturday, December 28, 2013

Are YOU Willing to Take a Few Minutes to Read, Sign and #Share Layla's Story With Everyone You Possibly Can?

It is my privilege to introduce Layla and ask for your help in fighting against a struggle that her family has unfortunately encountered!

Our Layla is a sweet, affectionate 2 year old. She is exceptionally bright for her age. She also happens to have Autism Spectrum Disorder, Global Developmental Delay, and Hypotonia. We wouldn't change a thing if we could, because then she wouldn't be our Layla.

Layla was diagnosed formally in October 2013, but has been receiving therapy since June.

On December 14-15, while on a trip to Hershey, PA with our two daughters, Layla was subjected to horrible discrimination-through-ignorance. Hypotonia is low tone, and causes her to be exceptionally clumsy. Autism provides our baby many daily struggles, with sensory processing issues being at the forefront of these issues.

When in public, we have to keep Layla in a stroller, or else she is completely unable to handle any new/crowded/loud/bright/overly stimulating situations. She also benefits from the stroller for safety reasons related to her Hypotonia. This is not uncommon, and special needs strollers are even made for children as old as 8-9-10-and up.

During our trip, even with a copy of Layla's diagnosis and an ADA slip for the stroller, Layla was repeatedly turned away from ADA Accessible areas in both Chocolate World and Hershey Park, both of which are places geared towards families and children. She was even turned away from a visit with Santa Claus. Our 4 year old, Mary, was convinced that Santa didn't like her little sister.

After speaking with upper-management at both locations on the phone, we realized that the primary issue was a total lack of education provided to employees in both areas, despite the fact that they were specifically working ADA Accessible areas. It was due to this lack of education that we were publically humiliated, and left heartbroken. One employee even accused us of lying. The Americans with Disabilities Act is geared towards protecting disabled people - but how can it possibly be enforced and protected if people are handed the keys to a company with absolutely no training?

We are currently petitioning Washington, with the Support of our local State representative, as well as the Greater Philadelphia Chapter of the Autism Society of America, to introduce, and pass, "Layla's Law", or whatever name they choose to give it, which will require specific training to employees who will regularly come into contact with people like my baby girl, who may look just like everyone else on the outside, but struggle with "invisible disabilities."

Please support Layla by signing and sharing our petition at Thank you!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Best Wishes to Everyone for a Very, Merry Christmas and a Most Happy New Year in 2014 from Our #Autism Family!

     It is the opinion of our 5th and 6th grade sons that it is shaping up to be the BEST CHRISTMAS EVER!!! I think it is only because they are maturing and understand the timeline of what happens when, making it easier for them to process more of what is actually going on around them. Now that breakfast is out of the way, my dear husband is assisting our 6th grade son in setting up one of those elctronic gadgets. While he was waiting on his father to finish his breakfast, our patient 6th grade son was helping his 5th grade brother, Nathan, set up a new electronic device.

     It is hard to believe that our two sons are growing up as fast as they are! It was also extremely awesome to see my sister, my brother, my nieces, my nephews, my daughter, my oldest son, my grandchildren and the newest additions, to my side of the family, this last weekend. Each of us would like to spend more time, catching up with family and friends but, we all have so much going on in our lives, between home and work. It was definitely a miracle that we were able to coordinate our crazy schedules in order to spend a little over an hour together!

     Enough about my family...may your family enjoy a most memorable Christmas and a prosperous New Year in 2014!! Please remember, especially this time of year when it is the coldest, that we need to keep a tab on our loved ones whom have #Autism and/or other #SpecialNeeds because of the threat of them wandering off to find peace and quiet. It is very important that we know where each of them are at all times. Read more here on how YOU can help prevent an unpleasant event from happening to your family, or a friend's family.

     I wish you the best in 2014 and look forward to hearing from you, if you feel like leaving me a comment below!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

How In The World Am I Going To Get Ready For Christmas And Keep Up With My Child Over The Upcoming Winter Break?!?

     Has this thought ever crossed your mind? It has mine! There is always so much to accomplish before Christmas and then I remember I have two pre-teen assistants to entertain, as well. The older son has recently been diagnosed with ADHD and is the sixth grade at the same school in which I work. The youngest is in the fifth grade and was diagnosed with Autism just before he started Kindergarten, almost six years ago. They both contribute equal amounts of input to our family team structure, sometimes not exactly what is needed to keep things from grinding to a screeching halt. We try to avoid this at all costs!

     With the Winter Break right around the corner, I have written a guest post for Special Happens, titled 4 Simple Tips for Keeping Your Special Needs Child Engaged on Winter Break which I hope will give you some ideas. I hope you enjoy it and will share it with other special needs families. Thank you for taking the time to read my post and follow our blog!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

I Apologize For Being MIA The Last Several Months

     The last several months have been so busy that I have scarcely had time to breathe. Since I began working full-time in the self-contained autism classroom in August, I became involved in the Fall 2013 Easter Seals Oklahoma Sibshop monthly sessions and I have been planning for the upcoming Christmas Store that my Autism Family Team, Nathan's Voice, is hosting for our local AutismOKC families in just over a week, I have had very little time for anything else! We are hoping to provide a unique event for children with autism, and their siblings, to shop for gifts for their family members. If the event is a success, my Autism Family Team, Nathan's Voice, would like to continue to host the Christmas Store annually.

     In the meantime, my two youngest boys and I still have a few days until school lets out for our Winter Break. Recently, our school district cancelled classes for three days due to inclement weather and hazardous roads. We have a lot to catch up on before our break. Please pray for strength, patience and, of course, for everything to fall into place. Thank you for following our posts and we look forward to hearing from anyone whom lives in our area!