Recently I attended the annual gala for Gigi’s Playhouse in Des Moines, Iowa. Gigi’s Playhouse is a resource / achievement center for those who have Down syndrome. Gigi’s was founded in Chicago 11 years ago by a mom who has a daughter that also has Down syndrome. Since then there are Gigi’s Playhouses all over the nation that have followed their model.
The location in Des Moines will have their 5th anniversary in May of this year. In December,…Continue
Added by Lisa Woiwood on March 28, 2015 at 12:48pm — No Comments
The ultimate outcome of transition is for our students with disabilities to successfully progress to either competitive employment or post secondary education upon leaving high school. How this is achieved is different for each student in each district and can often be a difficult and frustrating process.
I recently attended the Iowa Coalition for Integrated Employment. I had heard of this organization and wanted to learn more about it. The Coalition is represented by a…Continue
Added by Lisa Woiwood on March 4, 2015 at 12:26pm — No Comments
Obtaining employment for those with disabilities can be challenging. But with proper supports, education, and utilizing available resources individuals with disabilities are often the most reliable and productive employees. Although Iowa has a relatively low unemployment rate as compared to other states in the nation, the Iowa Workforce and Development estimates that approximately 40% of those with disabilities in Iowa are unemployed. This is unacceptable. Job preparedness and planning is…Continue
More text language? No, these are acronyms that every parent of a child will become very familiar with, if not already so. These are the two terms that are foundational to the education of every special ed student. As a parent and being introduced to the world of special education, it can be a daunting task, and overwhelming to learn about this new world of education. But to any new parent, don't worry, it comes in bits and pieces, so you are not required to learn it all at one…Continue
Cheerleading, swim team, chorus, band, the school play... what these all have in common is that these activities included a participant that also happened to have a disability. It is wonderful if teachers, coaches, and administrators want to include students of all abilities in their school's extra-curricular activities out of their desire to be inclusive of all students, but this is usually the exception, rather than the norm. My daughter had the extraordinary opportunity to be a part of…Continue
I didn't realize how much my younger son felt responsible for his older sister until my husband and I were casually discussing where we should go on vacation. He was only about 8 years old at the time, as he pipes up and says "I don't want to go on vacation, I worry too much about (my sister) in case she should run away and get lost". I had no idea that my youngest child felt so responsible for his older sister. I felt horrible that he had taken this upon himself at such a young…Continue
Added by Lisa Woiwood on June 29, 2014 at 11:57pm — No Comments
I love this picture! How can you help your child to be active this summer? I have found that it is always a challenge to keep my daughter physically active. Those with disabilities have increased barriers and challenges that make it difficult for them. Studies have shown that exercise improves social…Continue
Added by Lisa Woiwood on June 27, 2014 at 2:30pm — No Comments
Transition planning begins at 14 years old. I know that seems to be way ahead of the game. However, according to special ed law, transition must be addressed at this age. I know that the fall seems like a long ways off, but it will be here before you know it. For those of you whose child will soon be reaching this age, educators will present you with some new language when you sit down for your IEP meeting. There are three components to transition; living, learning, and working. Each…Continue
Added by Lisa Woiwood on June 26, 2014 at 4:21pm — No Comments
I can hear the saxophone in my head energetically playing the song "Pick up the pieces" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MfAJLGFWxYo in case you need a flashback to 1974) as I write the title to my latest blog post. However, picking up the pieces in life is not nearly as spunky,funky or fun as this golden oldie. How do you pick up the pieces when you have a child with a disability? And often this is not just a one time event, but…Continue
If you are reading this you likely have a child with a disability. I don't know how many times that I have been told by a teacher that "I haven't taught a child with Down syndrome before", "I haven't had one in my class before", or "I don't know anything about Down syndrome". I love how Megan addresses this in her you tube video below, her message is loud and clear, "Don't limit me!" I well remember a friend of my daughter's who was also in special education. She advocated for herself,…Continue
Camp Courageous and Courage League Sports have one spirit in common, courage. Those with disabilities have many more challenges than those of us who do not have a disability. Those with a disability learn to overcome challenges, break down barriers and prevail over adversity. As I reference my dictionary it tells me "bravery." I think that sums it up well.
As I dropped my daughter off at Camp Courageous a week ago, she was going to be spending 5 days without family, and it was the…Continue
Just a few weeks ago my 21 year old daughter walked out of her high school for the very last time. This has been our safety net amongst many other things for the past 17 years... Just writing this brings a wave of anxiety over me (more on this later...) As I have reflected on our "expedition" into transition, it has been a dynamic and fluid concept that has evolved over time. I used to hear the word "transition" and it would strike fear into my heart. However, as I have learned as a…Continue