All posts by

5 Ways to Beat the Summer Blues 2018

The summer days often leave caretakers wondering what they can do with their children. Although there are a lot of opportunities for “other” children, those with disabilities often require parental support to participate in the activities that other kids do. Check out these ideas to make this summer the best one yet.

  1. Attend a Conference: Increase your knowledge of how to advocate for your child, create a social network, and have a safe place to leave your kid. Register soon for these conferences because child care slots fill up fast.
    1. June 15-17 The Family Weekend Retreat for deaf and hard of hearing children and their families is very affordable ($75 a family!) and includes lodging at a residence hall. Some of the session topics include hearing loss, assistive technology, interpreting,  maneuvering the legal system, and children with multiple disabilities (Austin, TX).
    2. June 22-23 TxP2P Parent Conference offers limited childcare with restrictions on the supports available. Nevertheless, because of its short duration, it is an option for those families who can have one person watch the kids and one person attend the conference. Early registration ends on April 29, so check out the session for dads only, as well as Medicaid appeals, IEP meetings, influencing local and state representatives, finding balance, and more (San Marcos, TX).
  2. Find a VBS at a Church With a Special Needs Program
    1. Shipwrecked at Faithbridge Church. “Come ashore to VBS 2018,  June 11-15 where your kids will learn how they have been rescued by Jesus! We will have two sessions, both an AM (9am-12pm) and PM (6-8:30pm), and the cost is $20. This year for our mission project, we will collect new socks and underwear for kids in foster care.” – directly from the website. Special needs children are given a buddy for this VBS. 
    2. Super Place Camp 2018 at Tallowood Baptist Church. This camp runs from July 30 – August 3 from 9:00am – 12:30pm. This camp is specifically for special needs campers ages 4-through high school (up to age 22) and each one has a buddy.
    3. Super Place Adult Retreat This camp is new this year! Memorial Drive United Methodist Church welcomes post-high school adults with disabilities to a VBS with music, art, service projects, and recreation in addition to the typical Bible school. June 19-21 from 9 am to noon.
  3. Take a Night Off!
    1. rEcess at Faithbridge Church. First Friday of the month6:15 PM – 8:30 PM, Registration is required and closes the Sunday before the event at 12:00PM. Siblings are allowed. Free. 
    2. We Rock the Spectrum – Houston/Memorial’s Parent’s Night Out. See their Facebook page for more information.
  4. Send Your Child to Camp
    1. We Rock the Spectrum Houston/Memorial offers three week-long summer day camps. Dates are June 18-June 22, June 25-29, and July 9-13 from 9-12 or 1-4. The cost is $39 a day or $189 a week. Potty trained children ages 4 and older are welcome. One-to-one services are available. Call (713) 766-6635 for more information/registration.
    2. Check out the Special Schools Coalition of Houston Summer Guide for local options for your child. Some of them are pricey, but they all sound like incredible opportunities.
  5. Consider a Different Therapy
    1.  ABA Therapy – If your child is autistic and your insurance covers ABA therapy, the summer is a great time to get started. Many therapy places will start a student very quickly after the insurance is verified. Some programs work like a school day and others provide support in the community for your child. Using the community-based program has its benefits because your son or daughter might be able to attend a summer activity with an ABA therapist that otherwise he or she could not attend alone.
    2. Equine Therapy – If your child loves animals, there is not a better therapy for him than equine therapy. The sensation of riding a horse fires endless nerve endings that usually do not get any attention and the benefits of this therapy can far outweigh other therapies for the cost. I personally recommend SIRE and Morning Glory Ranch in the Houston area, but there are many others out there and the summer sessions can be as inexpensive as a few hundred dollars.

If you try any of these activities, please comment below. I am excited to hear about your experiences.

Share This:


What Hurricane Harvey Taught Me

“The poor and needy search for water,
    but there is none;
    their tongues are parched with thirst.
But I the Lord will answer them;
    I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.”

– Isaiah 41:17

We knew when the meteorologist estimated dozens of inches of rain in Houston, we had to get out of town. For us, the house and cars could all wash away, but we didn’t want to be in a situation where the water was rising and there was no way to explain what was happening to our Autistic son. Thankfully we had the option to leave, so we headed north.

Driving through town to return to our property several days after the storm, devastating images of Harvey’s aftermath inundated us. Whole neighborhoods stood broken. Lifeless material possessions heaped high on lawn after lawn, street after street. Grief weighed heavy on my heart. It’s pungent odor offended my senses.  The parking lot of our local library transformed itself into a graveyard of children’s books. The spines lay crippled, one on top of the other, the stacks stretching across the concrete in empty solidarity.

Signs read CLOSED INDEFINITELY. Others WE’LL BE BACK! Some boasted #HoustonStrong at a time when everyone felt powerless.

It brought tears to my eyes and a revelation to my soul. You see, I’ve been struggling with depression for some time now. I’ve come to realize it’s always been there, but I was more able to cope with it as a single woman. But now being the mom of a special needs child, I rarely even think of what I need because I’m constantly prioritizing my son.

God used the gutted homes and businesses to reveal the reality of the human condition. Sometimes pain from our childhoods eats us alive. Other times it’s insecurity, anger issues, or an eating disorder. Often people cover their emptiness so well that people like me start to think they’re the only ones fighting.

Everyone deals with their sadness in a different way. For instance,  productivity is my drug of choice. The worse I get, the busier I look and the more accolades I receive from those around me. Even my own mother was shocked when I confided in her about my true state of mind. Some people use humor. Others cling to their material possessions, careers, or exercise regimen.

Some defense mechanisms are not so easy to hide. Drug and alcohol addictions are less socially acceptable than my way of dealing with things, but none of these defense mechanisms protect us from this fallen world.  Everyone is a mess. We are all rotting drywall dumped on the dirt at the foot of the cross. Without the Master, we will never rebuild.

In times of tragedy, it’s easier to see the truth of who people are. The luxury of covering up our pain is quickly taken away when a loved one dies or our homes are suddenly unlivable. There is no time or energy left to head to the beauty salon or get a manicure. We leave home vulnerable because we don’t have what it takes to do anything else.

I write this blog post for you, the woman or man who is dying inside despite your impeccable outward appearance. God sees what you hide under your bed: your secret addictions, your bruises, your scars. He hears the softest muffle of a thought for a different life. He knows sometimes just getting out of bed is devastatingly painful. He watched his own son be pierced and nailed to a cross. He saw those who claimed to need Him insist on His son’s death. There is nothing worse than having a front row seat to your child’s misery.

But there is a happy ending to this heartache we feel. There is a God who wants to make it all better. He wants to wrap you up in the comfort of His arms and rock you into a peaceful sleep.

I’m sorry you’re hurting. We’re not meant to be here amidst all this turmoil. We’re meant to eat the fruit from God’s garden all the days of our lives. So hold on, Loved One. Hold on to the one who made you. He’s forever at your side, cheering you on through the darkest places.


Share This:


21 Things to Do to Prepare for An IEP Meeting

I just came from a Family-to-Family conference, and now I know for sure I am not the only parent who dreads IEP meetings, known in some districts as ARDs. Luckily, a friend of a high-schooler with special needs gave me her cheat sheet about ways to make the ARD process go smoother. I hope it benefits you as much as it did me.

  1. Record Every IEP Meeting. Notify the diagnostician that you will be recording the meeting and she will also record it on behalf of the school district. You may also choose to ask the diagnostician for an audible copy of the ARD if you choose not to record or if you just want to have their copy. If you bring a jump drive to the meeting, you can get a copy before you leave campus.
  2. Wear Red. Avoid wearing white or yellow as those are passive colors and you want the members of the ARD committee to know you mean business.
  3. Get a Copy of the Law. Email or call TEA at (512) 463-9414 and request a copy of the Special Education Rules and Regulations Side-by-Side. They will send you a double-sided copy with holes punched in it. If you prefer a digital copy, you can download it from the TEA website. I recommend ordering a printed version though because when you set your binder on the table with sticky notes and highlighter marks, they’ll sit up a little straighter. It’s empowering.
  4. Make Them Your Helper. As a parent, you are the first member of your child’s advocacy team. If you want help, you need to get professionals on your side. Teachers and school staff went to college for their vocation, so try not to step on their toes. You want your child to function at as high a level as possible. What can the professionals at the school do to help you in that goal?  For more information check out the Wrightslaw course.
  5. Make a List and Check it Twice. Make a yearly list of all the services you want for your child. As problems arise during the year, make sure you write down what modifications need to be put in place at the annual ARD to avoid the problem in the future.
  6. Don’t Agree Hastily. Sometimes staff at the ARDs start passing around the signature page before the meeting is over. When it comes to you, feel free to hold onto it. You don’t have to check agree unless you are 100% sure everything you want to be documented is. You can ask for a copy of the minutes and the signature page and take it home with you. That way you can double-check your checklist in number five with the minutes before you sign.
  7. Schedule Your ARDs in the Morning. Afternoon meetings are often rushed because of dismissal duties. There is no time constraint on IEP meetings, so keep that in mind if a school member tells you yours are taking too long.
  8. Bring Food. You think I’m talking about a snack for yourself? Decorate the center of the table with snacks, plates, and napkins for all those in the meeting. One mom said she brought party hats. I’ve yet to give this a try, but I imagine it lightens the mood.
  9. Take Attendance. No one can leave the ARD without your permission. If they do, stop the meeting until they come back.
  10. Ask Yes or No Questions.  If the school denies your child a service say, “Are you denying my child this service, yes or no?”
  11. Never Burn a Bridge. This seems like a complicated task because you might have to go over someone’s head to get services for your child. But as much as possible, be at unity one with another. Do not attack a person’s character because you never know who is related to whom or friends with whom and when you will be face to face with the same people as they move up the chain of command.
  12. Create a Communication Log. Document interactions with teachers and support staff and always send an email after a verbal discussion thanking the person for his or her time and restating the highlights of the conversation.
  13. You Can Change the Date of Your Annual ARD. If like most students, your child’s first ARD landed in May, each year it gets a little earlier. You can call an ARD to change the annual meeting to a later date. This is not something the school personnel likes to do because they have a lot to get done at the end of the year. They will tell you the first week of the following year you can call an ARD if your child’s goals need to change. That’s also true, but it’s good to know there is another option.
  14. The School Members Are on the Same Page. If you ever get to an ARD and it feels like everyone else is privy to information you never got, it’s probably true. School staff members meet informally or formally to discuss your child’s progress and make recommendations for upcoming goals. Sometimes those goals benefit the school and sometimes they benefit the student.
  15. Be Informed About the Roster. Ask the diagnostician who is invited to the IEP meeting. You can also request certain people come from the district, like the head of special education. You can also bring a friend or advocate with you and you are not required to give a name in advance. They will ask. If you choose to bring legal counsel to the ARD, you must disclose that so the school district has equitable representation.
  16. Wait Until the End of the Meeting to Speak. The diagnostician will ask you about your concerns,  but it is best to listen to every member of the ARD committee and then speak last. Make sure that you are in agreement with the plan that each specialist or educator presents before you more on.
  17. Money Talks. Unfortunately, your child and his or her services are sometimes lost in the battle for the almighty dollar. You can’t repeat your child’s education, so make it count.
  18. Make Sure all Staff Members Get a Copy of the IEP. It never hurts to have a conference with each of your child’s teachers and think of a reason to ask them about the IEP. They should be able to produce it quickly for you in digital or hardcopy form.
  19. Request Cameras. It’s the new law.
  20. Start Young. If you don’t push to get your child in their Least Restrictive Environment, or LRE, when he is in elementary school, it will be very hard to get him mainstreamed as he gets older. If nothing else, the social interactions you child has access to in a regular ed classroom as a young person are equivalent to the type of interactions he will have in the community as an adult. The districts get money based on the percentage of the school day the child is in special education classes. Each child who is in special ed more than 50% of the day generates a substantial income for the district. Push for inclusion as much as possible.
  21. Insist on a Social Lunch. Some districts will push for your child to eat in the special ed room. Say no! As an adult, your child will eat at the next available table at a restaurant, not segregated from society.

This isn’t an exhaustive list of ways to prepare for you IEP meeting, but I was thankful for the veteran special needs mom who passed these recommendations to me. Of course, you must do what is best for your child. These are just heartfelt suggestions from one parent to another.

Share This:


Protecting Our Kids One Video at a Time

In June 2015, Texas was the first state in the union to pass a video law to protect special needs students. Most parents still don’t know about it. I was stunned to find out the power the state equipped me with to protect my child in ways I previously had only wished I could. Texas Education Code section 29.022 states that a parent, trustee, or staff member can request a camera be placed in a special education room. These rules took effect on August 15, 2016.

As an educator, I have contemplated the discomfort it would cause me to be recorded all of my working hours. But when I became the parent of a nonverbal child attending school, my thinking quickly changed about the value of cameras in the classroom. Last year when a friend’s son told his mother about the abuse that was happening in his special education classroom, I began to contemplate how my nonverbal child would communicate abuse he suffered. Most likely he wouldn’t be able to, so I would have to rely on a verbal student in the classroom relaying the incident to even know anything happened.

At that point, I would file a formal complaint with the school district. From that moment on, it would be in their hands. An investigation would either end in the accused being removed from his or her position or not. If the accused was removed from his position without criminal charges being pressed, he or she would then be free to go to another school district without a paper trail of the incident following behind.

If criminal charges were pressed, someone would have to testify or take on the burden of proof to incriminate the accused. It is extremely hard for a typical kid to endure trial prep. A special needs kid would have an even harder time with the process. Unfortunately, the word of an inarticulate disabled kid against an educator or school district would not fair well.

But if you request a camera installation, the professionals will think long and hard before mishandling a student. Even though their audience might be unable to retell the happenings of the day, the footage will disclose the truth. The Texas attorney general ruled on Sept. 13, 2016, that once a parent requests video surveillance in one classroom, the district must install cameras in every applicable classroom districtwide.

There is a Catch 22. As always, we as parents of handicapped children have to constantly fight against discrimination. Nothing in the law requires the cameras be installed in a certain period of time. So, we must be vigilant. Please pass on the word and request a camera today.

Share This:


4 National Resources for Hearing Aids

Oftentimes hearing aids are not covered by private insurance companies and children who need devices, even those who are not financially disadvantaged, too frequently go without. The organizations below provide assistance for purchasing hearing aids and auditory support equipment for those who can’t afford the high cost of such devices.

Hearing Impaired Kids Endowment (HIKE) Fund

Recently, we were awarded a grant from this organization for a portable FM system for our son. Since 1985, more than 2,500 children have benefited from this philanthropic project of Job’s Daughters International. The income cap to receive assistance is $100,000, so many middle-class families who usually earn too much to receive help can benefit from this corporation’s generosity.

Be an Angel

Hearing aids, financial assistance, personal equipment, and respite care are all products or services that this group offers. Children ages 0 to 21 who have a hearing impairment that stunts their development or decreases their quality of life are prospects for this award. The financial situation of the family is considered, but no income ranges are present on the application.

The Lions Club International

This organization works all over the world to lend a helping hand to those in need. From empowering youth to earthquake devastation relief, the Lions Club makes a global impact. While providing sight is one of the Lions Club’s main missions, local chapters determine eligibility based on income and communicate with Lions Affordable Hearing Aid Project to award hearing devices to those in need.

Starkey Hearing Foundation

After more than 50 years of giving so the world can hear, William F. Austin, founder of Starkey Hearing Foundation, won’t stop. The last thirty years he has expanded his organization from a small Minnesota workforce to a global one. From identifying those in need to providing ongoing education for those helped, this foundation changes lives one ear at a time. The Hear Now Program organizes the hearing aid help in the United States.

This is just a sampling of places who are willing to help. For more resources in your state, visit this page. As always, please leave a comment below with any additional resources that you find, so I can keep the site as up-to-date as possible.



Share This:


United Against a Common Enemy

In the past few months, God has pointed me in the direction of prayerfully seeking him. I ran across a book called “Fervent” by Priscilla Shirer, star of the movie “War Room.” In this instructional text, she talks about the way Satan interrupts our lives and the prayer strategies that we can use to combat him before he takes us down. After listening to this work repetitively on my morning walks, I have become excited about the theme of her writings. The devil is a liar (John 8:44). He comes to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). He is after us (1 Peter 5:8). He targets our identity, our relationships, our family, and our memories. You name a good thing in your life, and it’s a surefire bet he won’t rest until that prized asset is a dirty rag.

As Christians, we have more than our belief in one true savior in common. We all have an enemy in the prince of the power of the air. So, with this new political transition that is about to take place our country remains divided. But whether you are happy with the transition or worried about the potential reduction of benefits for your disabled child, you don’t need to look at someone with differing opinions with irritation. Instead, let’s start looking at the one who is causing the disaccord in the first place. Let’s all rally together, look the devil square in the eyes, and tell him he can’t have our country. We won’t be part of his divisiveness. In Ephesians 4:3, Paul calls us to be united in the spirit. What do you say we start taking down Satan every time he whispers nonsense in our ears in an attempt to pit us against each other?

Thanks to the book, this way of thinking has revolutionized my life. I have started to tell Satan to hit the road when he tries to get my husband and me to battle over something stupid. I take a deep breath, wrinkle up my face, and say, “Why are we fighting? The enemy is just trying to get us all worked up over nothing!” Usually, that calms the moment, because, well, it’s true. I’m not saying our life isn’t tough between therapies, tense ARD meetings, and potty training, but when I see the pain on a father’s face in Aleppo who holds his bleeding child in his arms, I really have no reason to whine and complain about having to clean poop off my son’s underwear several times a day. What I do have is a whole lot of things to be grateful for.

And let me tell you, the devil has been hanging around a lot lately. He’s been on a mission to tear my family apart, but I’m getting good at detecting him (not as good as I’d like to be, but it’s a start), and I won’t rest until every part of my weaponry is ready for a war against him. You see, my friend, “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12). We’ve got to stop bickering with each other and buckle truth around our waist, strap on our breastplate of righteousness, use the gospel to be ready, protect ourselves with faith, strap salvation on our heads, and impale the devil with the word of God. We’re all in this together. Let’s unite against a common enemy.

Share This:


Embracing the Storm

“For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.”
Ephesians 5:5 NIV

A friend noticed I was making an idol out of paying off debt. When I cannot see where God is taking me, I seek control. I clean, crunch numbers, job-hunt, make checklists, set goals. “Surely I can make this unknown a little easier to handle,” I think.

Of course, filling my days with endless tasks stresses me out because instead of depending on God through the trials, I am relying on my own abilities to prepare my property for the turmoil ahead. If a storm is coming, I must board up the house, store food, and build a shelter. This mentality handicaps me because I am helpless against life’s storms – especially the tornados. They destroy one house and leave another intact. But God is THE ultimate storm tracker. He’s the ONLY one who can direct me to a safe house because he’s the only one who knows which places will be demolished.

For the longest time, I’ve been running an aggressive defense strategy. Any potential problem is immediately fixed to avoid inflicting any more pain on me or my son than we have already endured. In this instance, I recognize my employment and salary may never look the way it looked before I had Sammy. So instead of trusting God in his magnificent wisdom, I have become addicted to budgeting all in the name of directing my attention to the easily-controlled areas of my life. I’ve fixated on it so much that I’ve become unhinged trying to earn more money. Before storm clouds are even visible, I’m already erratic and untrackable like the winds that are coming. But the storm was never meant to consume me or obliterate my once well-constructed self. No, instead the storm prepares me. If I settle down enough to listen to my master’s voice, I’ll ride out the storm victoriously.

This news is essential to remember as my son prepares to leave preschool. If you’ve read earlier posts, you know it took a lot of courage to leave my son with strangers. By advocating for my child, I have gained alliances and made a few enemies. At least after over a year, I drop him off daily, assured he will be taken care of. As the winds gust the months off the calendar of life,  lots of decisions have to be made about kindergarten. Questions like will he be mainstreamed? Will he stay surrounded by kids with special needs? Which placement is best? Will he be bullied? Will he be treated as a burden by his future teachers? Will I ever find a group of people as loving as those I have become attached to at this school? You can see how this line of questioning could drive me mad, right? Perhaps even cause me to grasp onto facts and figures, which I can easily manipulate? Debt reduction and working extra hours might prepare me financially for the future, but they won’t mold me. They won’t rock me when devastation hits or encourage me to rebuild. They won’t pull me out of the waves and set me on dry ground. No, only God can do that. So if you’re battling the unknowns of life today, don’t hold onto anything that will let you down. The Savior already died to rescue you.

Share This:


Service With a Smile

I’ve been spending more time in prayer. More time listening and evaluating my life. Some cold hard facts have surfaced that don’t cast a flattering light. Serving has always been a love of mine. At a very young age, I built homes for the poor on mission trips.  The smiles on those people’s faces as we labored in the hot sun made it all worthwhile. As I got older, I taught in an innercity school district. Every week I spent endless hours grading papers and tutoring kids in order to reach what seemed like impossible goals all in the name of impacting the world.

So I’ve always thought of myself as a pretty good person, and then it hits me. I love to serve when it benefits me. That thank you or the smile that warms my heart makes serving valuable, but when I face serving someone who doesn’t appreciate it, even worse someone who detests me, all the enthusiasm deflates like air from a poked balloon.

I’m always amazed at how Jesus treated Judas, even though he knew from the getgo Judas would be an integral part of his earthly demise. And truthfully, that is a tangible reminder of Jesus’ purpose. It’s hard to see myself as Judas, but that is exactly who I am. I betray Him on a daily basis. My sins nail him to the cross – the same cross he endured for me. Wow. That kind of love makes helping someone out who wishes I’d move to another state seem like child’s play.

My son convicts me every day with his love for others. Last week I took him to the dentist, which is not his idea of a safe space, for his first cleaning. It took patience, a toy helicopter, and a LOT of coaxing to get him to even lay down on the table. The hygienist might as well have been torturing him for all the  crying that ensued. Soon the minute amount of cleaning came to an end, and Samuel could play with the toys again. He took each toy to the hygienist, naming it for her. He hugged her repeatedly. “Oh we’re friends now,” she commented.

“Yes,” I responded. “He’s very forgiving. God’s trying to teach me through Samuel’s example.” The words stayed with me, and they continue to resonate. Just minutes before I spoke them my son writhed with discomfort at the hands of this woman. Not many people recover from that kind of trauma and desire a relationship with the provoker.

Fortunately for us, God does. He wants a relationship with us even when our lives defile the name Christian. And He put his money where his mouth was so to speak. He died to give us ungrateful wretches life. When called to serve others who do not enjoy me, I must force myself to remember that I am made in God’s image, and his reflection shows service with a smile for the most ungodly of us all.

12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.  – John 13

Share This:


When God Desires Your Undivided Attention

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

Recently, I’ve been abandoned by my friends. I use the word abandoned liberally but honestly. Text messages don’t get returned. Voice mails go unanswered. I’m left with a hug when we are finally in the same place that feels like a metaphorical pat on the butt from a teammate. “Go get ‘em, Slugger, see you next game.” This nonchalance is from good people, phenomenal people, people who I once knew well. I envisioned our kinship lasting for generations like that of David and Johnathan’s.

I stare at these broken relationships and hear God calling me. “I’m the one.” Perhaps I’ve never been silent enough to hear His voice in the past, but I recognize He’s been calling me for a long time. As I look back into my childhood, I’ve attempted to replace a strong relationship with God with earthly associations. You see, when I was younger, I didn’t have any friends. No, I don’t mean many friends, I mean any. Not a one. In fact, I was so desperate for friendships that I idolize my first friend, who I met in my preteen years. He is the one that I will forever say can do no wrong, even though I’m sure he has just as many skeletons in his closet as the rest of us.

As soon as I acquired platonic relationships in my teenage years, I longed for romantic ones. My desperation caused me to date someone who months into our “romance” wouldn’t acknowledge me at school. If I had known then about God’s love for me, I would have opened my eyes and appointed Him my knight in shining armor. Instead, I became embittered when the boy I had spent so much time deifying disassociated himself with me. Resentment enveloped me. Instead of coming to terms with how much power I had given him, I pointed an accusatory finger in his direction. I spent endless hours and days convinced he was the problem, not all the faith I was putting in him. Meanwhile I benched God and searched for someone else to fill his spot.

I’m married now, and with my love life situated, I’m back to hunting for that pack of forever friends, which the 21st century’s to do list is not likely to allow. I keep searching every year or two for the woman or couple who will remain a constant extension of our family. Frustrated, I’ve given up enough to hear God tugging at my heart. “I’ll never leave you or forsake you. When other moms cut your much-needed conversation short to get in the carpool line thirty minutes before school lets out, I’m here. When you see your former bestie’s Facebook posts filled with photos of your replacements, I’m here. When no one close to you is willing to learn what it takes to watch your special needs child, I’m here. When your loneliness overcomes you in a church building occupied by 500 people, I’m here. When you desperately need advice, my text message service is never failing, my word is never lacking, and my arms are always open. I’m better than a friend. Better than a sister. I’m a forever God.”

As I pen these words, conversations I’ve never had with God overflow on the backburner. Years of not tending to His desires to be my one and only have accumulated, and I have a lot of catching up to do. I wish I’d stopped to listen earlier. I hope today if you, like me, write people off when they don’t meet the standard you have placed before them, you can come to terms that those who hurt you are made of flesh and blood. Whether they intended to cause you harm or did it innocently, they are in need of grace like you and I. And if you struggle with putting the people in your life on a pedestal, perhaps today you can offer your hand to them and release them from a position they were never meant to occupy. It will give those poor human sinners a chance to breathe and be flawed individuals without condemnation. Most importantly, your God, who will never let you down, can then reclaim His spot as the hero of your life.

Share This:


Medical Assistance for Children With Disabilities

Medical expenses for a one-time traumatic event are too often enough to bankrupt even a middle-class family. If your child receives a long-term diagnosis, the bills never stop rushing in. Texas offers various programs to reduce the monetary burden of caring for a child with special needs. Check out these options to see if they work for you and your family, or pass them on to help someone else.

Texas Health Insurance Premium Payment (HIPP)

For families who have at least one person receiving Medicaid, this program pays the employer-sponsored premiums for the whole family. Each month you submit a paystub which documents the insurance premiums deducted from the check and about ten days later you will receive reimbursement for the monthly cost of the insurance premiums. This program helps Texas keep the cost of insurance down by encouraging all Medicaid recipients to have employee-sponsored private insurance coverage. By paying the premium for the whole family, Texas deflects the bulk of the cost for medical coverage onto the primary insurance while still helping out families who need financial assistance.

Medicaid Buy-In for Children

Some families do not qualify for Medicaid because their income is too high but still suffer under a heavy load of doctors’ bills for their child’s care. Medicaid Buy-In provides assistance for middle and upper-class families who have disabled children. The family pays a premium to receive Medicaid for its child. The cost of premiums, co-pays, and deductibles are dependent on your income, how many dependents you have, and if you have primary insurance. Keep medical costs down by discussing your intention to use HIPP to privately insure the whole family when you apply for Medicaid Buy-In . Your premiums will be reduced if Medicaid is secondary.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

This program gives cash assistance to provide the needs of a disabled child to families with low resources and low income .  Funds can be saved or used for the child’s food, shelter, clothes, insurance and medical care, child care, or other essentials. Receipts of all purchases must be saved and turned in if requested. Infants with certain diagnoses or needs qualify to receive SSI payments immediately without completing the approval process. Children in hospitals or nursing homes receive lowered payments because all their needs are taken care of in the facility, but doing the paperwork will help get the application rolling before your child gets home. The application process takes about three to four months.

If your child is a micropreemie (less than two pounds),   or a newborn with a disability, request his or her social security number as soon as possible after the birth. You will need that number to start any governmental benefits your child needs. A great way to find out about programs is to speak to a social worker when you are at your child’s doctor’s appointment. If there is not a social worker on staff,  the nurse will give you a contact number for one. Maintain a relationship with that person and email or call him or her whenever you have questions about needs and services your child has. Also remember that other parents of special needs children have first-hand experience with governmental programs to help handicapped children.

Share This: