I Owe It All To Dan & Kay

At the beginning of the new year some people decide to lose weight, exercise more, eat better, blah, blah, blah.  Not me. I decided to talk more. Apparently a career in radio and nearly ten years of homeschooling has not quenched my thirst to hear myself blather, so I started podcasting.  You can find me on YouTube under “TGIDinner”. The title of this post really says it all because it started with Dan & Kay from “The Bakery Bears” knitting podcasts on You Tube.  I found them last summer and as an avid (rabid, some would say) knitter, I was immediately enthralled by them. But not for the usual reasons; they’re not imparting divine knitting wisdom from on high (although Kay is quite accomplished), so I’m not there for the usual ‘knitting know-how” you find on most video tutorials. No, Dan and Kay have something special and I think it’s their passion for life, for their family, and for people in general. They exude this warmth and authenticity that has lots of us in the knitting world completely hooked. Even if you’re not a knitter, I HIGHLY encourage you to look them up! They have a very funny way about them, they’re VERY interesting, and you get to tour the English countryside, what could possibly be better than that? Nothing I tell you, absolutely nothing.

But anywhooooo, that got me to thinking and asking myself, “What am I really passionate about? What can I talk about for HOURS and HOURS and HOURS?” Homeschooling for sure, because it’s been such a positive, life changing force in our family. But there are tons, and I do mean TONS of homeschooling blogs and probably even more podcasts out there. I didn’t want to be just another voice in the chorus. So the other thing that really turns my crank is helping kids with special needs maximize their individual potentials regardless of the disability, and more specifically how sensory integration theory and oral motor coordination play a HUGE part in a child acquiring verbal language that people OUTSIDE their families can understand.

So I started podcasting, and that’s what this post is really about: to introduce myself and to tell you why I think my podcast is worth watching (at least once). For starters, I’m a parent of a 16 1/2 year old who has low muscle tone and LOTS of sensory based oral motor issues. I’ve been around. But more important than tenure in the world of disability, I hope I bring to the podcasting world everything I can possibly remember from the brilliant therapists who have been in our lives since nearly day one. Debbie, Kathy, Janet, Ruth, Carlie, and now Missy, have been extremely generous and patient with me in sharing their seemingly endless knowledge of neuro-sciences and explaining the “whys” behind the “Why isn’t my son doing _______ or ________.” and the ever important, “And when will he do ________??” Every single one of these therapists have this in common: they’re all students of sensory integration theory.

Another thing I really want to bring to the podcasting world is empowerment.  Yep, I’m “just” a parent. I’m not an OT, PT, or ST (or SLP depending on where you live). I don’t have a master’s degree, but I know my kid. And you know yours. I want to give back to every single parent out there what nearly all of us so willingly give up the minute we find our our baby has special needs: our fundamental expertise on our babies. No, maybe we don’t have a clue what the letters C.P. really mean, or we’ve never known anyone with Down syndrome before our baby was born (that was me), but we truly ARE the experts and we have some fundamental rights and duties in helping our children, regardless of the label, to maximize his/her potential.  It’s time that we look at ourselves with MUCH HIGHER regard.

Finally I want to encourage the “me” parent out there: the one who’s been told (not by the above mentioned therapists, but the ones who litter the sides of the road along our journey because they were too negative or refused to believe that our children could achieve) “Well your son has Down syndrome, it’s not like he’s ever going to talk like a normal kid” (direct quote from an ST who worked for the DD agency in our town when our son was two years old). I want to come along side the mom who’s happy to sit in the waiting room while her child receives therapy because she feels that “they’re the experts”, “they know what’s best for Johnny”, to get into that therapy room WITH their child! To watch, take notes, ask questions and find out how you can do similar, if not the same, things at home. I’ve found that most therapists are VERY open to the “coaching model” in working with your child. Meaning, they’re happy to have you there, they’ll talk you through things, have you feel what they’re feeling in your child’s muscle tone and the really good ones will be very willing to be hands off so you can learn how to do the exercises and activities with your child.

If you watch my podcasts, you’ll hold no illusion that these are produced by anyone who has a clue, trust me.  This is a low tech and LOW BUDGET operation!!  But I do hope the message comes through.  Please, please, please leave me feedback if you choose to watch.  If there’s something specific you want to talk about, please let me know! I’ll only continue the podcasts if I get feedback that anyone is watching. Otherwise it’s like doing talk radio in your closet, and I’d rather knit!!

Hope you enjoy!  Here are the links for the first podcast, which is divided into two parts (remember that “low budget’ reference?—ya, don’t have an editing program yet……You were warned).

Thank you very much!!

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