15 Tips for Taking Special Needs Kids to Disneyland

Disneyland is one of my favourite places to visit. Two years ago our family of five flew to the most magical place on earth and had the BEST. TIME. EVER! We laughed together, bonded over Churros and made memories that we still reminisce over today. So guess what? We’re going back! What made the first trip successful is going to make this time just as amazing too! Travelling with ‘specials’ is no easy feat so play it smart and do your research. Here are some proven tips that worked for us:1) Check out the airline ahead of time and get a tour. Run through everything from check-in to seating ahead of time to reduce anxiety.2) Choose a hotel that is close to Disney or even better, stay on Disney property like we did! It will cost you more but the perks are worth it! (see Disneyland Hotels)3) Get your park-hopper tickets ahead of time. You will need 3-5 days to leisurely explore Disney so plan your time accordingly.4) Taxis are easy to find. Grab one and head to the nearby Target for [Read more...]

Living With A Sensory Sensitive Child

My middle son James eats three foods right now: apple slices, chocolate chip cookies and grilled cheese sandwiches. Never together and never touching. He will only sit at the far end of the table; away from his younger brother and only if he has a spotlessly clean Super Mario place mat (see image below).Sometimes when the planets are not in alignment, he refuses to sit at the table at all…mat or no mat. Sometimes there is a particle of food, a tiny splatter of last night’s spaghetti sauce or a misplaced macaroni noodle that invokes James’ gag reflex and forces him to seek refuge in another room.I silently calculate the number of times Mathew has washed his hands today as I help him slather his dry, flaky-skinned hands with Aveeno. I lost count at fifteen. He cringes, wrinkles his nose and pulls away from me at the smell of my breath and asks if I had Cheerios and milk for breakfast again. He’s right; I did. He keeps his distance from me until mid-morning.At the movie theatre Grace [Read more...]

Therapy Dogs Make Great Companions!

Golden Retriever’s are probably some of the best family dogs out there (you can read about the breed here). Our first Golden, Ben, turned out to be a wonderful companion to our three children and brought many years of joy to our lives. When he was 8 years old, we adopted Rosy, another lovely Golden who doted on her ‘big brother’ and followed him everywhere. It was a terrible loss for our family when Ben passed away at the ripe old age of 12. Rosy pined for him for days and our family joined her in mourning.I soon learned that Golden Retrievers are like Lays potato chips…you can’t have just one. So little Max came into our life and he and Rosy are now best buds (check out the photo below).We chose Max before he was even born and I was determined to train him well from an early age. I have always wanted a Therapeutic Visitation dog; one whom I could take into the hospitals, schools and senior homes to offer comfort and company to those in need. Max was carefully picked from his [Read more...]

Anxiety Sucks!

Let’s face it, ANXIETY sucks! It starts in the pit of your stomach then travels through your body at lightning speed. It makes you nauseous, gives you head and body aches, causes you to freeze up or melt down and can completely undermine your self-confidence. How do I know this, you ask? I know it because I live with anxiety every, single day. In fact anxiety has become so familiar to me that I’ve actually personified it as an actual being. "Hubs, Aunty Anxiety’s coming for a visit this week… better make up the extra bed!" Yep, she’s a familiar face around our home.So exactly what is anxiety anyway? Well, it’s that vague feeling you get that something isn’t right or safe. It’s really our body’s alarm system. Problem is, the alarm gets triggered at inopportune moments especially when it’s being overworked. Right now the biggest producer of anxiety in our home is actually leaving it. All three of my kids often find going out into the unknown world MISSION IMPOSSIBLE. They need to be [Read more...]

Kids and Screen-Time

Well here it is, my first blog post and boy, is it a doozy! Today’s topic is (drum roll please)….Kids and SCREEN TIME! If you were to spend a day in our home, you would quickly learn that screen-time is a major bone of contention. Not just for the kids, but for my hubs and I too. My daughter calls us Techno-Geeks, which essentially means we’re all obsessed with video games, Pinterest, You Tube, Facebook and everything in between. It’s hard for us to put down the tablets and game controllers and some of us (not naming names) are downright addicted. And there you have it, the crux of the matter. ADDICTION! I think we were all in denial (not just a river in Egypt by the way) about our screen viewing habits until a recent visit to an awesome little place called The Wishing Star Lapointe Development Clinic for a seminar on this very topic. Hubs and I knew we had…sort of…maybe…kind of…a little issue…with screen-time but after listening to Dr. Vanessa LaPointe, R. Psych speak on the subject, [Read more...]

Welcome!

     Hi everyone!  Welcome to The Resilient Mama!  (But you can call me Amy).  Come and join me in celebrating life's little joys and challenges parenting special needs children! I have three of them:  Grace (12), James (10) and Mathew (6).  Oh, and I can't forget the puppy, Max.  He's kind of like our fourth child and very much like having a toddler in the home.  Sometimes life is overwhelming.  Most of the time it's a whole lot of fun!  Hubs (the amazing man I married) and I try to keep our chin held high and approach life with a sense of humour.  We do this by having regular sock fights, tickle-fests and telling really corny jokes.  But hey, keeping things light and never taking life too seriously works for us.  It's how we stay calm when the storm is swirling all around us.  I guess that's why the quote about "learning to dance in the rain" really appeals to me.  Despite the daily hard stuff, we really do shine as a family.  My kids would tell you "our family rocks!"  That says [Read more...]