“Can’t” Should NOT Be In Your Vocabulary

This short bio also includes a TED talks video. What an inspirational story! There’s so much we can all learn from her!

Forever Free | Georgia Pathway to Language & Literacy

A native of Albuquerque, N.M., Rachel Kolb sees effective communication as essential to ideas, creativity and progress.  She received a BA with honors in English from Stanford and graduated in June 2013 with a coterminal master’s degree in English. While at Stanford, Kolb has been active in the Stanford Equestrian Team, Leland Quarterly, Stanford Daily and Stanford Power to ACT. She aspires to be a writer, scholar and public disability advocate. Kolb was named an American Rhodes scholar in November 2012 and will pursue an MSc in contemporary literature at Oxford beginning in October 2013.

She is also a deaf adult.

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Always About The Child

Awesome post from a fellow blogger! These are the same feelings that influenced my earlier post (Autism and the Hurtful Misuse/Abuse of Labels) For parents it’s always about the child! Teachers and professionals please keep this ever-present in your mind!

Portia Dawson "My Son, His Voice, Our Journey"


A month ago, my husband and I requested a school autism assessment to be done on our son, Callie. It’s been awhile, and since Callie is going to high school next year, we wanted to see where he is now, especially in the areas of Reading, Math and English. This is a new school, new district and new year — why not enter in high school with updated results? The diagnostician organizes, carries out and supervises the testing. He or she is the one who analyzes and evaluates the learning difficulty of a student and recommends ways to help and support that child. Although this being true, the definition and this district’s current diagnostician should not be in the same sentence. She is definitely not a favorite and I’m pretty sure I’m not her first pick for parent of the year. Callie’s transition into the district was nothing short of…

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How To Motivate Me (part 2) Progress Not Perfection

It’s always easy to get motivated when I see progress. Cleaning the house while the kids are still growing – is like shoveling the walk while it’s still snowing…

Continue reading How To Motivate Me (part 2) Progress Not Perfection

learning how we learn

When educating a child with autism or special needs it’s important to take a look at how we learn. But wait a minute, if this works, won’t it work for me too? Of course it will! Let’s take a look at the science behind how we learn new skills. Every time we learn a new skill the brain forms new connections.

Continue reading learning how we learn

One Word Photo Challenge: Red (Apple Picking with Great-Grandma)

One of our favorite family activities is apple picking at the local orchards. This photo reminds me of a time that was particularly special. It was one of our last family outings with Great-Grandma. She’s no longer with us and we miss her so much – her light-hearted humor, her stories, and her princess personality. She was always the princess – even in old age.


My grandma had Alzheimer’s. It seemed funny to me that even when she could no longer remember that my father was not my brother and her daughter was not her mother, she still remembered little Stephen had Autism and couldn’t talk. Stephen and Great-Grandma had a special silent connection that was beyond words! We love and miss you Grandma❤


This post is in response to: One Word Photo Challenge: Red | Jennifer Nichole Wells.

For more weekly photo challenges click here: One Word Photo Challenge | Jennifer Nichole Wells.

Continue reading One Word Photo Challenge: Red (Apple Picking with Great-Grandma)

Fairy Godmother Syndrome (doing for others what they can do for themselves)

I’ve been very busy this past week and I haven’t had much time for the things I enjoy and want to do most. The Reason? Well, it could be Fairy Godmother Syndrome. Is that a real syndrome you ask? It sure is!

Continue reading Fairy Godmother Syndrome (doing for others what they can do for themselves)

Help! My Valentine Smells like Poop!

No, not you honey – my other valentine.

Continue reading Help! My Valentine Smells like Poop!

A New Year, Complete with New Challenges and New Adventures #whyIsign



What will this year bring? More challenges with an under staffed school district? More budget cuts for special education? OR by some miracle, PROGRESS? I’m hoping (and praying) for the latter.

Our son, (who is legally deaf-blind) started the school year without his 1:1 paraprofessional. As parents, we had heard the news that the district had laid off ALL of the union paras (and almost the entire support staff for special education.) We talked about it and we decided worst case scenario we get to school and our son has no aid, then we bring him back home with us and he doesn’t go to school… That would be where we, as parents draw the line.

Our son is 7 years old. He is completely non-verbal.

Like many parents who first receive an autism diagnosis, we didn’t know what to do next. Piece by piece we discovered our son’s disability, like putting together a puzzle of neurological developmental delays.

By age 2 our teacher of the visually impaired from the Board of Education and Services for the Blind had begun to suspect a hearing loss. After a BAER (brainstem auditory evoked response test), follow-up tests with the ear nose and throat doctor, and repeated visits to the audiology department at the children’s hospital, the audiologist diagnosed Stephen with unilateral moderately severe hearing loss (legally deaf on one side)  The audiologist told us that our son had permanent deafness that could not be improved with hearing aids. We have been using ASL with him ever since. #whyIsign #askmewhyisign

Just a year before the hearing impairment diagnosis, the eye doctor told us Stephen was legally blind. Stephen’s eyes had drifted apart and there were obvious signs of problems with his vision. Stephen has  Cortical Vision Impairment. CVI is a neurological vision problem.Our teacher for the visually impaired informed us that combined vision and hearing loss made our son legally deaf-blind.

Continue reading A New Year, Complete with New Challenges and New Adventures #whyIsign

What would the REAL Helen Keller have thought about AUTISM?

Her teacher was known as “The Miracle Worker.” In the 2000 Disney movie, Hellen was believed to have become deaf, blind and intellectually disabled due to illness as a young child.

Hellen Keller is said to have been quite an unruly child. She was prone to fits and tantrums, she screamed, she grunted, even hit & bit her teacher.

What compassion her teacher must have had to see in her potential? Her teacher was also known for her tempermant. She too was a fighter. She refused to give in to despair and fought against her own self-pitty.

"Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence." Helen Keller

Helen Keller is best known for being Deafblind, her acedemic achievements, and advocating for the rights of disabled individuals.

I’m on a mission to find out what these legendary disability advocates would have thought or said based on historical facts. What would they have said about those who are not “neurotypical”? How would they have felt about autism and neurological developmental delays? What rights would they have fought for? Would they have fought for these children to be given equal access to language learning, American Sign Language (ASL), or Augmentive and Alternative Communication (AAC)?

I have so many questions I would ask them…

Image Source:

Optimism – Helen Keller, by Liana Seneca
Helen Keller – Spirit of Courage – wiki commons
Americans With Disabilities Act – wiki commons
Hellen and her teacher, Anne Sullivan Macy – wiki commons

PPT Season, Tears, and Frustrations

Yet another phone call from school, and I’n choking back the tears…

I hope and pray for a place where he too can belong. Stephen is Deafblind and everyday we challenge the misconseptions we’re met with. 

So far we’ve been through 4 placements and this 5th one may not be his last. He was in a 50/50 preschool class, the autism program, the MPH (multiple physical handicap program, the KEY program, and now the school for the Deaf. He’s in 4th grade now with severe language and communication delays. There are only 2 programs that I know of nationwide that specialize in Deafblindness. The thought that maybe there just aren’t any schools in state equiped to deal with his primary disability is terrifying. 

So I pray for the courage to fight another day, to not give in to despair, to see the infinite world of possibilities that I see and for just once to meet a teacher that sees the same.

PPT meeting prayer for parents

With PPT season underway, I thought I’d share this updated post 🌷😊

Love Support Educate Advocate Accept

May my child’s love of learning grow.
May his teachers always know –
How to reach him,
How to teach him,
the way he learns best.

May I get a good night’s rest,
give me strength to do my best,
stay calm and strong –

To help him along,
to future education, employment and independent living…

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A Mother’s Love

What a beautiful story, I just had to share❤

A Mother’s Love.


Image: Rose Watercolor – by Liana Seneca
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Creative Commons License
Love Support Educate Advocate Accept by Liana Seneca is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

love shows up – a circle 5 years in the making

A beautiful story – quick read, thoughtful and heartfelt ❤️ tears and smiles 😅

a diary of a mom

I wrote the following post in May of 2010 for a website called Hopeful Parents. Yesterday, I found it in my Draft folder. Sometimes, for all the miles we travel, we find ourselves right back where we started, the lessons once learned patiently waiting to say, “Yes, still.”

When I was thirteen, I broke my leg while doing gymnastics. My dad had brought me to practice that night, just as he always did, and was expected back at pick-up time three hours later, just as he always was. I broke my leg right in the middle of practice.

As soon as I felt the flat of my shin crack against the balance beam, I knew. This wasn’t a run-of-the-mill, put some ice on it and quit your belly achin’ injury. Something was really wrong.

As my coach lifted my head, our team trainer created a foam splint and…

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Should I worry? It’s better to know.

It’s better to know. Does my son or daughter have autism? Is it possible that my son isn’t hearing everything I’m saying? Why doesn’t my baby look at me?

Fear of the unknown will keep us from reaching our true potential. When we know the facts we can make better decisions. The decisions we make will direct our path in years to come. These words apply to so many situations that we’re all faced with in life, but for parents knowing our children’s strengths and weaknesses will allow us to help them reach their full potential in life.

Developmental milestones in early infancy was one of my concerns. My son wasn’t reaching for or holding a rattle or exploring the small space within his reach. This was the only sign, such a small and seemingly insignificant sign, that something could be wrong. Sure he didn’t push himself up on his arms when I put him on his tummy. He didn’t want tummy time at all.

His older brother loved to sleep on his tummy as a small baby. At the time, it wasn’t recommended because medical professionals suspected a link between SIDS and infant sleeping positions. So we allowed him to get comfortable on his tummy while keeping a careful eye on him, and promptly turned him on his side as he drifted off to sleep.

But what does it all mean anyway? Should I worry? Well, the truth is maybe – maybe not.

Autism Awareness

As a parent, no words can instill fear like the words autism and special needs. I remember the first time I heard the words “developmentally disabled” used by my son’s pediatric neurologist to describe his future prognosis. I was crushed. If I could go back in time and know then what I know now, I’d see the future is uncertain for us all. I’d know that despite countless obstacles, I couldn’t be happier as a mother, and as an individual.

Image Sources:
48365 World Autism Awareness Day – CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
Autism Awareness – CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Creative Commons License
Love, Support, Educate, Advocate, Accept… by Liana Seneca is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Hunting Goodwill 

Well here I am finally… but how did I get here? I’m writing on my phone now because my little guy stole my seat as usual. He then proceeded to spin around on my computer chair, and naturally didn’t notice the cords. He was tangled! He stood up and crash there goes my laptop. The battery pops out and the cord has become disconnected, I pick it up knowing my dear old windows laptop may just have seen better days, but the screen isn’t cracked thankfully. So I set it to the side for investigation at a more convenient time (if I can find one.) When I finally got around to checking it out, I found the screen was blank and dark – no picture 😕

Now I should tell you what brings me “Hunting Goodwill” otherwise I might just get lost in a tangent or distracted by something decidedly more important.

So I’ve done a lot of thinking and God forbid I pick up a pen and go back to the stone age, my finger is cramping just thinking about it.

For those of you who know me, you know my life is complicated and never uneventful, but sometimes we all need to stop and catch our breath. I’m a special needs mom after all. It’s a high stakes game, very stressful, but the victory is enormous.

Today I’m thinking about the struggle, the fears and failures, the desperation. Dare I say the hopelessness – but I’ll never go down without giving the devil his due. I’m not giving up. That’s what I’m talking about “Hunting Goodwill.”

Yeah I’m struggling, I’m always struggling, but that’s what life ‘s about. Another year has passed and I look at my accomplishments, and it’s never enough. So I dust myself off and try again, try again.

I’ve been thinking about talking another run at potty training my 8-year-old, non-verbal, deafblind, autistic, Angel.  (Labels are just labels after all.) He’s my son, and I’d never give up on him. He’s truly an amazing person with innate potential.

We all have our own unique strengths and weaknesses after all. I’m not going to get hung up on negative emotions. I’ve spent two days researching the best approach and the real $ cost involved and I’ve come up with a number, which of course I don’t have. Have I mentioned having a special needs kid is expensive? I feel guilty for saying that but it’s true. There’s some shame in knowing that I’m failing to provide financially. I take one look at my son, and I realize I do have success.

I have faith that some people spend their entire lives in pursuit of. Spirituality I’m grounded like the tree that’s planted by the water. I have a gift in that it comes easy to me like the piano to Beethoven. I’m always “Hunting Goodwill” like “Good Will Hunting” I struggle with fear and fear of failure, fear of loss. I know I have something far more valuable than material wealth.

Who knew training pants could run around $30 – $50 each for an 8-year-old? Size 3T is what $10-$15 for 5 or 6 pairs. How many do we actually need anyway? Well, the experts on cloth diapers agree on 10 or more as a minimal amount. Potty training experts estimate 12-18 pairs depending upon how often you can and will do the laundry.

Do you have some goodwill to share? Every little bit counts. It all adds up. I’ll update you shortly on the details but for now I’m going to get back to my movie. I need to blow off some steam because before you know it the engine will be running full speed ahead…

Information, Inspiration, and Humor for Families and Friends of Children with Autism and Special Needs

This Georgia Peach

Life Through My Eyes and Ears



The Hillbilly Blogger

A great WordPress.com site

Rutgers Research



Science - Simplified


A blog full of humorous and poignant observations.

The Grand Gent Files: musings of an ex-lawman

If I see it, feel it, think it or remember it; there's a good chance you're going to read about it...

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Your Autism Cuppa

Pull up a chair and have a cuppa

Anonymously Autistic

#ActuallyAutistic - This site is intend to inspire through sharing stories & experiences. The opinions of the writers are there own. If you have a medical question talk to your doctor. Thank you.

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Music Reviews

Chronicles of an Orange-Haired Woman!

Descriptive writing on love, life, landscape, laughter and lodges!

pearled earth

Information, Inspiration, and Humor for Families and Friends of Children with Autism and Special Needs

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Info on taking a sabbatical, travel, Mexico, Thailand & becoming a Master Scuba Diving Trainer (PADI)

The Gardening Toolkit Blog

All the news on the must-have app for gardeners.

Advocating For Doug Project

A blog dedicated to my personal research on intellectual and developmental disabilities. In order to highlight issues affecting people with developmental disabilities and debunk stereotyping myths, the first step is to become informed and spread awareness through visual storytelling and facts. (Dedicated to my older brother, Doug).

Chronicles of an Orange-Haired Woman!

Landscape, Lyrical Beings, Love, Light and Blessings!

The Inclusive Church

Helping Churches Successfully Include Children with Special Needs

Learn To Love Food

Food Fun For Feeding Therapy and Picky Eaters


Learning the importance of self-worth

Give the boy a chance

Celebrating our AAC journey and sharing thoughts on parenting after brain injury

Forever Free | Georgia Pathway to Language & Literacy

"Once you learn to read, you will be forever free." Frederick Douglass



Must Be This Tall To Ride

I'm a single dad documenting his journey. A guy trying to walk a higher path. And messing up. A lot.


Hi there. I am a father of 2 autistic boys. I blog on the day to day challenges and victories of raising these special kids

HarsH ReaLiTy

A Good Blog is Hard to Find

The Hillbilly Blogger 2.0

Same Great Content - Brand New Look

~Idiot Writing~

'all our lives are a poetry - awake our souls.' ~ Battling the hypocrite within ~


Writing about things for the sake of it


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I am going Deaf/Blind. I don't run from my disease, I run outside.

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A Journey of Hope to Independence and Acceptance

Green Lizard's Blog

The planet is our home; we need to be more responsible. Here's what I do.


Sharing a creative life, one post at a time!

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...they would say something profound.

Getting from There to Hear

Links and posts about issues related to hearing loss

Dallas News | special-needs

Information, Inspiration, and Humor for Families and Friends of Children with Autism and Special Needs

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Fresh from scratch home cooking straight from a mini farm in Maine

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and what's beyond it

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Eargasms found here!


22 years old| MA Creative Writing and Publishing student at City University| Tweet me: www.twitter.com/mirza_aneesa | Email: aneesa_x@hotmail.com

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