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Let’s talk “The Arts” – specifically movies.  Rachael & Laura Doukas, sisters, are the founders and producers of Doukas Pictures.  They began their entertainment industry careers acting but soon graduated to writing and producing short films.  The Ryan Express, their feature debut screenplay, advanced to the second round of Austin Film Festival’s Script Competition, a distinction only achieved by less than 20% of nearly 14,000 submissions.   The Ryan Express is based on their…
So many of us moms and caretakers of children with disabilities can find ourselves all too easily slipping into seasons of unhappiness, bitterness, self-doubt, self-hatred, and lack of motivation.   Annette met virtually with Jenny Sanders, founder of iLovekickboxing in Agoura Hills, CA (recently shut down due to COVID-19) to discuss the importance of exercise and endorphins in preventing and fighting off depression.   When Jenny’s son was diagnosed with autism in 2014, she found…
Joya Van Der Laan, MSN, FNP-BC is a wife, mother of 3, family nurse practitioner, functional medicine specialist, and business owner. As if that didn’t make life complicated enough, two of her three children have special needs including Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED).    After receiving her daughter’s ASD diagnosis in 2014 when she was 3 years old, Joya’s innate curiosity and passion for learning drove her…
In this podcast episode, we cover a topic that’s a little “different” from what we usually discuss.   Annette invites award-winning male vocalist and author of the children’s book “Made by Raffi,” Craig Pomranz, to share his story and explain why it’s important to not only accept each others’ differences but to celebrate them.    Craig’s book tells the story of a shy little boy named Raffi who is often left out and bullied for…
Since the release of COVID-19 vaccine rollout plans, advocates have been outraged at the lack of priority for individuals with developmental disabilities.    While some states include individuals with disabilities who live in long-term care facilities and group homes in Phases 1A or 1B of their vaccine plans, people with the same disabilities who live alone or with their families in other states are required to wait until Phase 3 of the rollout, along with…
This week, we are celebrating the 100th episode of our “Parenting Impossible” podcast!   To kick off this special episode, we listen to a song by Craig Pomranz called “Different,” which he wrote to inspire children and adults everywhere to celebrate their differences rather than try to hide them.    After the song, Annette dives into her discussion with 3 incredible guests — Joslynn Jones McLaughlin, Laura Weisgarber, and Megan Fabrizi — as they share…
Children and young adults between the ages of 3 and 21 whose disabilities are severe enough to negatively affect learning are entitled to special education services at no cost to parents, and these services are federally mandated in all states.    In most states, it is the responsibility of local school districts to identify, evaluate, and then classify children with disabilities as eligible for special education and related services, with oversight provided by the state’s…
To kick off the first podcast episode of Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, Annette is joined by Elizabeth Wright, the Editor of Disability Review Magazine and the Founder and Editor of the “Conscious Being: For Disabled Women by Disabled Women” blog, to discuss timely topics like ableism, ways non-disabled individuals can partner with the disability community, “inspiration porn,” and more.   Elizabeth starts the podcast by sharing her personal story of being born limb different. Encouraged…
In the final week of our “Month of Love” series, Annette invited two special guests to discuss the importance of seeking healing for all family members, not just the neurodiverse child.    Matthew and Carol Newell are the Founders of the Family Hope Center in Greater Philadelphia and authors of “Healing Your Child’s Brain: A Proven Approach to Helping Your Child Thrive.”    Since 1981, the Newell’s have worked both separately and together to…
Under Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), all states must implement a statewide system of services for infants and toddlers (from birth to age three) with developmental delays or disabilities and their families. See generally 20 U.S.C. §1431 et seq.   To determine if such services are necessary, there must be a timely evaluation of each disabled infant or toddler’s ability to function. See 20 U.S.C. § 1435(a)(3).  …