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ATYPICAL

(Now streaming on Netflix) I’m often skeptical when I hear about tv and film projects that include the characterization of an individual with special needs. Certainly, it’s more prevalent these days, to include a character who’s either a little “off” or even clearly identified as being on the autism spectrum. But when hearing about an […]

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Planning for Special Needs Families

(Speaking at Bernstein Global Wealth Management Firm in Century City, CA : Planning for Special Needs Families) Last week, I had the honor to speak as a panelist on : Planning for Special Needs Families at Alliance Bernstein’s Los Angeles office. I joined Jim Huyck, Consultant and Advocate, Karen Park, Principal at Bernstein and Andrea Ross, […]

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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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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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An Alumni Event : Cheerful Helpers

(Interactive reading with the kiddos!) When Arizona graduated from Cheerful Helpers Child & Family Study Center in 2012, I was anxious about stepping back into the scary world without my special needs tribe around me. I was accustomed to weekly parent groups, family therapy sessions and connecting with the teachers and other families multiple times […]

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ADHD : A Daily Routine

(My Energetic Girl during Jogathon last Spring) Because attention and focus issues are usually fun “side dishes” to children with Autism, it wasn’t too surprising when Arizona received a formal ADHD diagnosis a few years ago at the age of 6. It can be a misnomer, though, this ADHD label. Many people assume my child […]

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A New School Year 2016

(Arizona and her new aide, Ms. Denise) It’s our 3rd year at the public school in our neighborhood and I still pinch myself that my commute is all of 3 minutes (driving) or 10 minutes (walking). It hasn’t been an easy road getting Arizona into a mainstream classroom with all of the support she needs, […]

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Day Camps in Los Angeles : Summer 2016

(Summer is here!) Summer is here and parents can find themselves scrambling to find the perfect placement for their children with needs. Certainly, as my workload has increased over the past year, I also found myself paying extra attention to finding the summer curriculum that best fits Arizona’s needs and mine. Turns out, I am […]

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Autism & Friendship

(Marley Bleu and Arizona Ray, true blue friends) One of the things they always told me about autism is that Arizona might never have friends. I remember, early on, sitting in IEP meetings and listening to the school psychologists shake their heads and look at me sympathetically when I asked questions about what my daughter’s […]

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