specialeducation Category

A Trip to Disneyland

(Cotton Candy deliciousness) Last weekend, we took Arizona to Disneyland for the first time. We figured that now, at age 10, she would be able to handle the sensory stimuli from the park. We purchased tickets online and started prepping for the visit. Whenever doing something new, it’s important to plan ahead as much as […]

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What’s Wrong With Her?

(Shine bright, baby girl!) In the very early days of Arizona’s journey with doctor visits and assessments, it was  hard to explain to outsiders (family and close friends included) what exactly was going on with her. I was confused by the wide range of diagnostic terminology used to describe Arizona : auditory processing disorder, sensory […]

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Chef Courtney Brown

(Arizona and “Cheffie Court”) One of the first challenges I faced in raising Arizona was trying to figure out all of her allergies to what seemed like an endless list of foods. After a year of trial and error (with foods I was eating, due to breastfeeding) and myriad visits to allergists, dermatologists, pediatric gastroenterologists, […]

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World Autism Awareness DAY

(My Heart : Arizona Ray Lovell) Raising Arizona has been both my biggest challenge and joy in this life. But, in navigating through the worry and heartbreak of raising a special needs child, I have found my own true calling : helping other parents find and realize joy and passion in their own lives. And, […]

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Jack & Arizona

(Arizona and her friend Jack) Jack and Arizona have been in school together since they were 2. They met at Step by Step, moved on to Echo Horizon in the Pre-K program and when that didn’t prove to be a good fit for either of them, both ended up attending and graduating from Cheerful Helpers. […]

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Social Thinking

  (Having fun with my girl) I am a social butterfly. I love talking to and being around people, all kinds. I can connect with anyone and everyone, regardless of where they grew up or how they grew up or what they look like. I consider it to be one of my most valuable assets. […]

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Peaceful : Restful : Rejuvenating

(Sweet Dreams) Years ago, as I was entering into the deep dark depths of postpartum PURGATORY, I suddenly lost my ability to sleep. It’s like, as soon as Arizona started sleeping through the night, I stopped. I remember how it all began, distinctly. Brian (my husband), was starting to feel less wary about leaving me […]

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Kahlil Gibran : On Children

(Bedtime cuddles with Arizona and Hendrix) On Valentine’s DAY – here is the perfect ODE to my baby girl. I couldn’t express it better than you,  Kahlil Gabrin. Thank YOU, Arizona Ray, for choosing me to be your mama … I will be forever blessed. ON THE CHILDREN, by Kahlil Gibran Your children are not […]

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Always an Advocate

(I got your back, baby girl) Not too long ago I was on hold with Delta Airlines, trying to convince them that my daughter and I needed to be seated together on an upcoming flight to visit my family in Ohio. I had purchased the tickets online, after being told that I could select two […]

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“Mommy, do I have AUTISM?”

(My Girl) When Arizona was diagnosed with sensory processing disorder and “autistic-like” behaviors in Spring of 2009, I didn’t quite know how to tell people what was going on with her. Because it wasn’t initially a definitive autism diagnosis (a fact that I felt proud about, to be honest), I had a hard time explaining […]

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