Archives for category: Awareness

It is a common question these days.

It is asked in almost every conversation.

” Are y’all ready for the holidays?”

It is usually asked in a casual manner, not unlike when someone asks how you are doing and you answer “fine” because it is expected ( and if you really answered it, you would need them to take a seat, get a snack and settle on in)

So even though it is a quick question, for me, it holds more weight.

I think this is because of my daughter with special needs.  She has Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) and Global Dyspraxia.  And these disorders affect her life each and every day.  In different ways, forms, and intensity as she has grown older. But they are still there.

So when someone asks that question, I think,  Am I ready?

So here are a few things I do to help get ready for a really busy time.

I talk to those family members and friends who will be with her a lot

I did not always do this.  I thought I could just get through the event or dinner myself.  Maybe because I did not know if they would believe me or give credit to what I was saying.  And maybe because I thought I could handle it all.  But whatever the reason, I am here to say that that mindset does NOT work well at all.  The needs of your child will be there and may be magnified by the change in food, sounds, faces and schedules.  So talking about your child’s needs is a huge help.  Telling these same people, how the disorders many show themselves helps too as does telling them what you might need to do to help your child if they are anxious or having a meltdown.   This takes away the need for you to talk and explain as you are trying to help your child.  Been there.  Done that.  Do not wish to do it again.

I talk to Elizabeth about her schedule and write it down

I may not have written it down years ago. But now we do. Together.  And we talk many times about what to expect, who she will see, what time we will go.  And most importantly, and if you know Elizabeth, you would agree,  what food there will be and what food she can pack herself.  Any and all things that you can tell your special needs child will help them as they can prepare themselves for transitions and anticipate what will happen next.

I have learned it is okay to say no to something

This is hard because the holidays are like fun on steroids.  So much you can do, see and experience.  But as I have learned early on in this journey with Elizabeth is that more is not always better.  There is a limit that our children have and recognizing it and respecting it is critical.  I learned that the hard way and I still do not like to talk about the Christmas tree walk we took a few years ago.  But I digress,  but in my opinion it is so much better to fully enjoy one good thing than push through four.

Make memories

I know this one sounds like a no brainer.  But the truth is, we are all hit with pictures and movies showing the ideal and perfect Christmas.  I have learned that, in our world, we celebrate all the successes and good things that happen in our family’s life.  Are we perfect? Is our Christmas worthy of a Hallmark movie?  Absolutely No.  But it is ours.  It is our way and it makes our hearts happy.  So we make memories our way. Those who have a special needs child in their lives will completely get this point.   So make as many memories as you can and tuck them away in your heart.

The above things all still fit into my plan to “Get Ready”

I wish everyone a peaceful week

Michele Gianetti  author of “I Believe In You: A Mother and Daughter’s Special Journey” and “Emily’s Sister




Let me set the scene for you:

Michael, my wonderful 12 year old son, is getting into the car after a day of school.  ( I usually pick him up because his bus route is so LONG!)

He gets into the car, starts talking to me, grabs the water bottle that is sitting in the console, opens it, takes one or two sips and proceeds to chew the lid until it is no long round in shape but almost like a small, white, plastic taco.

And by chew, I mean really chew.  This is not something new for him.

He is a “chewer.” He chews on the collar of his shirts, the lids of water bottles that squirt, the corner of blankets when he is watching TV and more.

I must say that our conversation each day in the car after school involves me saying “take the lid out of your mouth” at least twice.  It would probably be more but we live only a mile from the school.

He has a basket of alternative items to chew to give him the input he is craving.  I even put out gum but there isn’t really “one thing” he will grab to chew.  Usually we will pry an item out of his hands and insert one of the alternatives, until this wonderful item was introduced to Michael…..and its name if CHEWIGEM.

This chewy pendant is shaped like a rain drop, is on a string necklace and is simply wonderful.

Trust me, we have purchased other items like this but I think what makes this so great is the consistency of the pendant.  It is not rigid.   It allows for Michael to use it without feeling discomfort, which is what he said about the other ones.

It also bends.  Which means he can chew it flat or fold it and chew it for more input.

He woke up this morning, came into the kitchen for a hug, then went to the basket to get the CHEWIGEM and sat on the couch to watch some TV.  He really, really likes it.

Michael is a typically developing child, who has a need for this kind of input. So I am so happy there are things out there for him.  But I know that so many of our special needs children, especially those who have Sensory Processing Disorder(SPD),may  crave this kind of input.  I know these items would be a good fit for them.

Another nice thing is that the lanyard has a break away clasp on it so if your child chooses to use it as a necklace, to keep it with them, you can be sure that they will not be choked by the lanyard.  You will have to keep in mind the age and development of your child to fully gauge the choking hazard of the pendant itself.

It is also safe to chew as it is BPA free and I cannot say the lids I talked about before are.

It is also fun to play with because of its texture and that it is so bendable. It can be used as a fidget too!  With the holidays upon us and stress riding high, maybe not such a bad idea to get one to offer to your special needs child at this busy time.  Or if you are like me, to your child who is currently chewing on a bottle lid.

In any event, take a peek at our site to read more and see if it is a fit for your world.  I know ours is!!

I wish everyone a peaceful week.

Michele Gianetti author of “I Believe In You: A Mother and Daughter’s Special Journey” and “Emily’s Sister”




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