Archives for the month of: April, 2023

The thought that summer time is coming may not have even crossed your mind but when you have a child with special needs, you have to plan for so much for things and it is always best to plan ahead

From the therapies to the sitters. From the activities like camps to their quiet time activities.

The who, what, where, when and why of summer for your child need to be looked at sooner than later


Who are the people you need to contact? Therapists, companions, camp directors, family. Anyone who you think you may need their help or will be working with your child should be contacted early. At least to set up a time to talk further and really get organized on plans. This way you get on their radar early before schedules fill up.


What things do you want to plan for your child? Is it Occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech or other ones. Maybe if you have a young adult, it could be working with a life coach. Thinking this through is an important step so that what you plan for meets the needs of your child at this time


Will you be looking for camps or day camps. Will you have to drive far to therapy or is it done in your home? Will your other children have plans that you need to work around? All things need to be considered.


How often do you want to plan for therapies? Morning or afternoon? Do your other children have set times for their practices or activities that need to be figured into the mix?


This goes directly to the IEP if your child has one. Figuring out what they need from their summer work, what skills they need to work on. Summer is such a great time to work on skills.

While others are signing their children up for summer reading programs, we are arranging tutoring, so skills will not be lost.
While time with “nothing to do” sounds fantastic to many, for a child with Dyspraxia or Sensory Processing Disorder, this may actually increase their anxiety because open ended time to fill can be challenging for them.

So for us, summer takes on a new form, sort of a combination of therapies, schedules and summer activities.
And this is where my thoughts went to after I watched the commercial.
I think I see summer activities as chances to teach something to our kids.
Try to have the approach that everything is a teachable moment.

• Some may see water balloons, I see a chance to encourage fine motor skills as she tries to fill them up. ( unless you are getting those really cool ones that seal themselves 🙂 )

• Some may see plain side walk chalk, I see an opportunity to play a word game or have fun tracing each other, to encourage concentration and patience.

• Some may see a fun trip to the pool, I see an chance for her to practice ordering and paying for her own snacks. Learning to pack the right things in a bag for the pool

The list goes on, but you get the point.!”
For as hard as we work for our children from September to June, I know that we all want those skills and things learned to grow in June through August.
We want the summer to be fun for our children.

We want the summer to be productive, because it needs to be.

Just some early thoughts!

I wish everyone a peaceful week.

Michele Gianetti author of Elizabeth Believes in Herself


I know I used to see the calendar flip into April and although I love spring, I would start to think about the work that was soon to be required of me for the IEP process for my daughter, Elizabeth.

For those who don’t know, my daughter Elizabeth has special needs. Specifically she has Global Dyspraxia and Sensory Processing Disorder or SPD. Her disorders affect all parts of her life and day. Her disorders are ones that affects all parts of her life but in such intricate and specific ways.

This is why it was so important to make sure her IEP reflected her needs and abilities the best way it could. So that everyone could understand her and how she works. Because once they understood, they could work with her well and succeed!

So back to the work that I talked about prior.

1. It would all start with contacting the school and asking for a copy of the new IEP as soon as possible. So that I could review it myself. And do a side-by-side comparison of the current IEP and the new one to see how the goals changed or stayed the same and to see how I might want to change the narrative part of the IEP.

This narrative is so important because it tell whomever is reading it just who and what your child is. It is the introduction of your child to the reader. So it needs to be accurate and reflect the current information about your child

2. It is so important to bring in your team. Any and all people who are working with your child. Be them therapists or nt

3.And I make copies of the IEP for them all.

4. And I give everyone a copy. To read. To add to.To write their thoughts on

5. Then I ask for them back and go to work color coding their thoughts to use when I meet with the school as we make goals

This is how I began my IEP work but it didn’t stop with the color coding. I took these color coded pages and spent time talking with one of our beloved therapists who has been with Elizabeth in life since the age of 2.5 years old. She knows her so well and because of this, she was the one who I sat down with and goal by goal, page by page we would go through the new IEP and get it to be all that we wanted it to be for Elizabeth.

Then of course comes the meeting and well, that is a whole other blog. (insert smile face here)

But I think one of the things that I learned was to see the IEP as the tool that it is. But it has to be the right tool for your child. It reminds of what my dad said all the time to me when I would use a shoe as a hammer because I just didn’t want to go all the way to the garage to get a hammer.

Right tool for the right job

So the IEP has to be the right tool.

And it takes work. But it is so worth it to be as prepared as you can for the meeting and that starts with having the time and plan for how to make the IEP the best it can be for your child.

Trust me, I wasn’t born knowing this, I learned it the hard way so I want to share what I learned and what worked for us to help someone who might see the calendar flipping and know that the IEP time is nearing.

I hope this helps someone.

I wish everyone a peaceful week.

Michele Gianetti author of Elizabeth Believes in Herself

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