Education & Parenting Publication Features

Special Education Needs to Be Dismantled and Rebuilt

Fifteen years have passed since my first teaching experience as an assistant teacher at the center-based special education school in Michigan where my mom spent most of her teaching career. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to teach in classrooms spanning from the United States, Belize, and South Africa, and see firsthand how ableist practices and mindsets infiltrate school systems, from elementary school to university, around the world.

White Folks & Smashing the Kyriarchy

Before Harper was born, I came across A Striving Parent’s blog on how preserving her white child’s innocence was an act of white supremacy. At the time, I had just finished my fourth year teaching in Placencia, Belize, and I was completing my M.Ed. We were preparing for our little one’s B’earth day & all the preparation that comes with welcoming a new member into the family. When I read Shannon’s words, I recognized that I had failed as a white educator. I knew it was my responsibility to start learning about my white privilege because soon enough, I’d be failing as the white parent of a white child, too.

Navigating Consent With My 3 Year Old

Toddlers are notorious for grabbing, touching, and just generally invading body boundaries and personal space. From licking random objects, to shoving beads up their nose, toddlers learn all about their bodies by exploring them. In an attempt to raise a kid who knows that their body is their body, and that they have complete autonomy and control over who touches them, I’ve been talking to my daughter about consent since she was born.

Your Child Needs to Hear You Say I’m Sorry

No matter how we become parents, by choice or unexpectedly, parenting is a life changing and continuous journey. Parenting is tough! Although tips, guidance, and confirmation that we are doing a good job can help ease the challenges, parents have to parent day by day, hour by hour, and minute by minute. And many of us do not have a partner, friends, or family to turn to for support. Last week was rough. My almost three year old had some really big feelings and I wasn’t in the mood to support her. I was having some big feelings of my own. She tugged on my arm and pulled me in the direction she wanted me to go. I tried to ignore her at first, but that didn’t work, so I yanked my arm away. Hard.

Want Your Child Excited About Reading? Show Them How! | Blog

I was born into a family of readers. Growing up, my mom, a special education teacher, was always reading books about new ways to make learning fun and relevant for her students. When she wasn't teaching or learning more about teaching, she would devour a science fiction or historical fiction novel. Now that my parents are retired (and have a child-free house) they enjoy reading for pleasure more than ever.

3 Family Mindfulness Practices to Start Today | Blog

Being a parent is exhausting. Some parents stay home full time, while others balance parenting with their careers. Whatever your situation, balancing everything is a challenge. Even more, according to mindful parenting experts Jon and Myla Kabat-Zinn, "We live in a culture that does not uniformly value parenting as valid and important work." Parents have a huge responsibility: We are raising the next generation of change-makers. Yet we are doing so while cooking dinner, paying the bills, and worrying about how we can afford to send our kiddo to that really cool art enrichment class. Well, I'm here to tell you that there's something that can help!

Bring Hygge to Your Home to Foster Togetherness | Blog

Here in Austin, Texas, the weather doesn't usually drop below 30 degrees. That might sound mild compared to what our friends in the northeast experience, but I'd like to note that our house was built in the 1940s and is poorly insulated. Once November hits, I fully embrace hibernation mode. Cozy sweaters, boots, and cranberry tea are some of my top picks. Oh yes, and candles—I burn through Texas pecan and pine candles like nobody's business.

Using Sensory Play to Support Brain Development | Blog

If you're anything like me, the following scenario might sound familiar. You walk into a crowded grocery store with bright lights and enticing rows of food. You start to feel overstimulated as you dodge the oncoming carts, and before you know it, you've forgotten the reason you were there in the first place. You soldier on, forgetting most of the items that were on the list that you left at home. You end up spending way too much time and money on random items you don't really need. By the time you get home, you are totally depleted.

5 Ways Families Can Honor Martin Luther King Jr. and His Legacy | Blog

Schools around the United States often dedicate the days leading up to Martin Luther King Jr. Day to lesson plans and literacy activities that revolve around peaceful protests, unpacking the famous "I Have a Dream" speech, and other scratch-the-surface attempts to teach kids about the legacy and complexity of the civil rights movement Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) helped to lead.

How to Support Kids With Special Needs During the Holidays | Blog

Getting together over the holidays can be fun and magical, but it can easily turn stressful if you have children who have sensory challenges, dietary needs, or social skill differences. They can also experience additional anxiety in large groups of people or in unfamiliar places. When our family members do not have experience raising a child with special needs--or they don't have special needs themselves--it’s easy for them to brush off the accommodations needed for everyone to enjoy these gatherings.

4 Ways to Support Your Kid's Self-Regulation at Home | Blog

My 3-year-old daughter is a "spirited" child. She came into the world almost a month early, and she's been nonstop ever since. Her personality is vibrant, with very high highs and very low lows. Although I don't have to wonder where she gets it (ahem), I truly admire her for being able to fully express how she is feeling from moment to moment. I never have to worry about her hiding her feelings from me; actually, it's quite the opposite.

Build Your Child’s Resilience With Community Involvement | Blog

School is back in session, and when the weekend comes, it can be easy to let exhaustion take over. Here in Austin, Texas, the weather is finally getting a bit cooler and, stressed as I am, I’m looking forward to all the things pumpkin (and spice) as well as making the most of my weekends with my little one. But there is a lot of anxiety in the world right now. One way we can all strengthen our resilience is to deepen our engagement in our own local communities. Check out these four calls to action that will help you and your kids stay active in mind, body, and spirit this time of year:

5 Ways to Support Social Emotional Growth at Home | Blog

By now, you may have heard about these buzzwords in education: social and emotional learning (SEL). Many schools embed SEL into their curriculum, or use a specific SEL curriculum, because of its proven benefits. SEL is the process through which children understand and manage emotions, achieve goals, understand and show empathy, develop positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. As parents, we have the unique opportunity to set the stage for SEL in our homes.

3 Ways to Boost Your Child's Math Skills | Blog

A few weeks ago I wanted to purchase a new shelf for our living room to house our daughter’s growing collection of toys. The only space left in the room was pretty small, shoehorned between an old chest and a chair. To convince my husband that it was feasible, I measured the length, height, and width of the space and found a shelf online that fit perfectly. This is a great example of a learning opportunity for kids of all ages. My child is three years old, but she was able to carry the measuring tape, hold the paper and pencil, and was totally engaged in helping me solve the problem. Older children would be able to measure the space, record the measurements, and help parents search online for a shelf that has the right dimensions. You could take this one step further by giving your child a budget for the shelf.
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