Advocating for your Child’s Future

Advocating for Your Child's Future - Does your Child require an IEP? Do you need to know what lies ahead of you? Be an advocate for your child's future with these tips from a fellow IEP Mom.

Being a parent is the hardest job that I have ever been entrusted with for all the obvious reasons.  There is no manual, no two children are the same, my normal way of creating templates that I can repeat mindlessly doesn’t work here.  All the ways that I can work smarter rather than harder in other roles, can not be applied to this job.  I learned very early on that parenting was just not a job that I could prepare for. I bought everything on the suggested nursery list, and tried to anticipate any need I felt that they would have before they arrived.  But… still there were just things that could not be anticipated .

It is often said that a parent is a child’s first teacher and also their first example of God’s love.  Both scary sentiments, if you ask me, but equally true.  And, as such it is our responsibility to advocate for them and their needs.  I don’t often talk about my daughter and her speech and educational challenges, and I think most people keep these things within the family.  But, recently the thought occurred to me that there are parents who do not advocate for their children because they are afraid, embarrassed, uncertain and unaware of the resources that are available to them.  And I don’t know, maybe I would have felt this way too if I was not surrounded by knowledgeable friends and family who were able to point me in the right direction.

Even though my daughter is just 11 years old, I feel like we have already been on quite a journey together.  At an early age she was diagnosed with a Significant Speech Delay and Auditory Processing Disorder.  She has been in Speech Therapy since she was 3 years old and has had an IEP since the 1st grade.  I know first hand how hard it is to accept that your child has a delay or special needs that make her different.   But, once you come to peace with this, the world is literally your oyster.  Now, I won’t lie to you and tell you that the sea will part and the mountains will crumble.  You are in for an uphill battle, but one that is possible and even if progress is slow, one that can be rewarding.

  1.  Know your child’s strengths and weaknesses.  What I mean by that is,  be an expert on your child.  Don’t allow anyone else to tell you what will work for him or her.  When my daughter started school, she was VERY VERY VERY shy.  Now, I am sure that you are thinking that most Kindergartners are.  And, that is true.  But, in her case, it took her a while to warm up to strangers.   And, I knew that.  So I let everyone who would be working with her know that.  She would also get frustrated when she was trying to express herself and others could not understand, and any kind of aggression towards her, made her shut down.  So I made all of that known.  In fact, call me a  “Helicopter Mom” if you like.  But, I would literally write a letter to the teachers at the beginning of the year to make sure that they went into the new school year knowing just who she was and the best way to reach her.
  2. Be diligent in your pursuit of services.  It is the public school systems responsibility to see to it that your child is educated.  You might think ok, well I can leave that there.  Wrong.  You can not.  There are seven different recognized learning styles.  Knowing which ones work  best for your child can improve both the speed and the quality of your child’s education.  That being said, If the arrangements that are set in place for your child are not working it is your responsibility to seek out a situation that better suits their needs.  The key to this is being involved enough to see the red flags.  For example. even though IEP’s are pretty common now a days, you may  have to request that your child be evaluated to determine if he or she needs one.  The meetings can be long and tedious, but it gives you an opportunity to both get your concerns across and work with those who come in contact with your child to make sure that he or she has the accommodations that she needs.  Extra time for testing, a Small Group Setting, or  Additional Study Skills just to name a few
  3. Build a team.  I was beyond lucky when it came to my team.  And, I don’t just mean the people who interact with your child at school.  But, a support team, I had my Mom, my sister, and my husband who I felt were all equally vested in my daughter’s success.  And then as fate would have it, the very first Speech Therapist that the school paired her with was hand picked by God.  She was able to pull my daughter outside of herself and give her some of the confidence that she was lacking by helping her with her speech and by her sweet and encouraging nature.  In addition to that , she was the gentle hand that guided the team at school that worked with her.
  4. Be both forgiving and flexible.  For me this was a new experience, so I say be forgiving because you are learning as you go.  But, even if this is not your first time at the rodeo, no experience is going to be the same.  And, sometimes the goals and milestones you put in place originally, will need to be revamped and changed, or even thrown out all together.
  5. Accept limitations.  As I said before things may not move as quickly as you would like, and that could be as far as how quickly your child is learning and making strides.  Or, it could mean how long it takes to get additional testing done or to receive additional  resources
  6. Don’t Give Up!!  This is the most important point that I will make in this whole post, because it is a frustrating process.  It is hard to see your child try and fail, and be discouraged.  It is hard for you not to become emotionally drained on their behalf.  Or to stop yourself from feeling like what you are doing is not yielding results.  But, you have to stay strong because you are the only one who can fight this fight for them.

” WHAT LIES BEHIND US AND WHAT LIES BEFORE US ARE TINY MATTERS COMPARED TO WHAT LIES WITHIN US.”   rALPH WALDO EMERSON

Get Ready for Back to School with these Free Personalized Binder Covers

Back to School Binder Cover Blog

As always, summers around here don’t seem to last.  There are literally just 16 days left until the start of school here in Atlanta.  So, I am in full Back to School Planning Mode, much to the chagrin of my little ones who are still very much in “lounge mode”. Most of our School Supplies have been purchased, and the only major thing we still have to do is clothes shopping.  I don’t know how it is at your house, but for me, my Middle School-er is the hardest shop for.  She after all, has strong opinions on her look and fashion in general.  Who knew??  I thought I had a few more years, lol.

Last year, I made a Binder Cover for her and somehow I ended up having to make one for most of the girls in her class.  We had to have the whole discussion about volunteering Mommy’s services.  But, they were such a big hit, that I added a few to the blog right before School started last year and they, to this day are one of most downloaded and shared items.

And, you know I am all about a freebie.  So this year, I gave you a few more options.  Five Funky & Fancy Binder Covers for you to choose from and Personalize for your little ones.  To Download – Right Click on the Picture – Save.  You can choose to hand write their names and grades or if you choose to edit it via the computer.  You will be able to open this document in pretty much any program, since I made it a JPEG image.  If you like these and decide to download and use please share your pics on Instagram with the hashtag #spbacktoschool.

FREE Download Back to School Binder Covers Colorful

Colorful

FREE Download Back to School Binder Covers Blue Bubbles

Blue Bubbles

FREE Download Back to School Binder Covers Counting Sheep

Counting Sheep

FREE Download Back to School Binder Covers Pink Hearts

Pink Hearts

FREE Download Back to School Binder Covers Fanciful

Fanciful

  • All content (copy & images) are copyright protected and property of Stage Presents, unless otherwise stated. All designs are for personal use only.  You may NOT use photos or designs for commercial purposes, unless otherwise stated on the terms of the actual design.  Please do not redistribute.

Our Differences are What Make us Stronger.

In these uncertain times that we live in, I have often wondered if I could  change something in my world what would it be?  And, I am always brought back to to the same thing.  I wish that I could rid my world of hate and all of its byproducts, bigotry, racism, terrorism, crime, division, etc.   I am often floored by the fact that a country that was built on the premise of being a Melting Pot, despises those people who make it so.

Remembering Our Differences Are What Makes Us Stronger

The quote on the Statue of Liberty reads:

“Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Quote by Emma Lazarus

These words grace the Statue that stands on Liberty Island in the New York Harbor.  They were meant to be welcoming to the masses.  This country was founded on the backs of immigrants and slaves.  People that came from all walks of life.  Our differences were supposed to be what made us better as a nation, what set us apart.  Most people who willingly migrated to this country did so with the hopes of finding religious freedom, a better opportunity, pursuing a new dream. With all of these noble intentions, I wonder how we got so far away from what was originally intended.

No-Hate1

Photo Source:

I cry for my children who even though they are growing up in the 21st century still live in a world crippled by enmity.  I cry for their futures, because even though we have come a long way.  We really haven’t come as far as you would think.

This blog has been sitting in my pending queue for some time now. But, I know that no matter how hard I try to write words that are politically correct, I will most likely still offend someone here.  But, being quiet has never really been my way. for that matter, neither has being PC.  That being said I just hope that someone, somewhere, will read my words and have pause.

For me,  my wishes and my dreams still mirror to this day, that of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I hope that  “…my children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”  And, not by their assumed character but by the mental and moral qualities distinctive to them.

“IT IS NOT OUR DIFFERENCES THAT DIVIDE US.  IT IS OUR INABILITY TO RECOGNIZE, ACCEPT AND CELEBRATE THOSE DIFFERENCES.” – AUDRE LORDE

Subscribe Today for July’s Exclusive Content

July16 Exclusive Content Mockup Subscribe

have you subscribed today for july’s exclusive content?

It’s July and the summer is whizzing by.  By now, the kids are deciding on whether they are bored enough to head back to school.  But, there’s still at least a good month or so left for us in the South.   So we are hanging out to the very end.  This month’s content is a little late getting out to you because of my impromptu Hospital Visit, but we have some great Exclusive Content for you this month –  Available Now for all Subscribers.

Get Your July Desktop Calendar – Your July iPhone wallpaper and Your All You Need is Love Print.  Follow this link to subscribe and download yours today.

Need Help Installing Your Tech Wallpapers Follow this Link for a Step by Step Guide.

Did you know that  when you subscribe you have access to all the Exclusive Content that we have shared over the past year?  And, it is still available for download today.  Here’s a Peak at last month’s Content.

June 16 Exclusive Content Mockup Subscribe

When Life Forces You To Rest

When Life Forces You To Rest - Recovering From An Injury  - stage-presents.com

So … last week life knocked me square on the as@!  Whatever I had planned and charted was not going to happen….  It started with a spider bite and went all down hill from there.  The bite triggered an abscess, which triggered an infection which landed me in the Emergency Room being prepped for Surgery.  The whole experience was excruciating, uncomfortable and inconvenient.  But, it was also quite humbling for me.

I take a lot of pride in feeling like I have control of this thing called my life, knowing all the while that it is a very fickle thing.  I try my hardest to plan as far in advance as I can.  Considering everything the kids have to do, appointments that need to be made, things that have to be purchased, etc.  But, when something like this happens all of those things get swept by the wayside.  We live by our routines.  So much so that on our way to the Emergency Room, my youngest  was concerned that if Mommy was going to the hospital, “Did that mean that we weren’t going to have our Friday Chicken Wings.?” (LOL, as long as she was worried about me, right?)

So after spending four days in the hospital, and being released to go home under the care of  a Home Health Nurse, I being of unsound mind and body, assumed that with a little rest I would be able to resume life as I knew it.  After all, I think that we never realize how much we do to keep things running smoothly.  Well, I am here to tell you that nothing would be further from the truth.  My body was tired… is tired.  The medication that I am on triggers very ANGRY.. and debilitating Migraines.  Small amounts of activity leave me completely tuckered out and I have to rely on the kindness and generosity of my entire family.  Something which I am not sure that I am loving, but am well aware that I should be. (Shout out to them, especially my darling husband, who has stepped up and taken the reigns.)

They always say, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.  I have never liked that statement, but it couldn’t be more true of this situation.  From a less WOE IS ME point of view, this situation however horrific can be seen as a wake up call for me.  I have mentioned here before that I am a diabetic, and I have not been doing a good job of keeping my numbers under control.  And, now, i have no choice, as it is paramount to me healing quickly and without incident.  You would be surprised what you can do when you have no choice, and when your husband is not playing.

Bare with me, I may not be posting as frequently as I would like, but I will be working my way back.  Have you ever had an injury that forced you to your knees?  What advice would you give for working your way back?  Consider sharing it with us in the comment section below.

 

Decorate Your Planner with these FREE “Boss Lady” Planner Stickers

Free Boss Lady Planner Stickers found on stage-presents.com

As you all know, I am still a “newbie” to creating my own planner stickers.  If you are a planner enthusiast like myself, chances are you have spent your fair share of “coin” on Planner Stickers.  And, I am OK with that because they were worth every penny.  But, in addition to that I have also found a lot of great Free Printables all over Pinterest.  I am always looking for an opportunity to try my hand at new things.  So here are my “Boss Lady” Planner Stickers.  Jazz your planner pages up with these super cute stickers.  I have tried them out on my Horizontal Erin Condren Life Planner™ and they fit.  Check my personal Planner Pretties board on Pinterest for more “freebies”.   For a Peek Inside My Planner and too see my first attempt at planner stickers check them out here.

Free Boss Lady Planner Stickers found on stage-presents.com

I know that a lot of people are using the Cricut and the Silhouette to cut their stickers.  I have not progressed that far as yet.  But, I do own a Cricut, so its definitely on my Summer To Master List.  I am still using the Avery White Full-Sheet Labels for InkJet Printers.  They come in a Pack of 25 Sheets.  And, the Avery Label Number is 8165.  So go ahead Download  – Print – Cut  and Stick.  I would love to see how you end up using them in your own planners.  So if you do, take a picture and tag #thestagepresentsblog on Instagram.Free Boss Lady Planner Stickers found on stage-presents.com

I hope that you enjoy these, I enjoyed making them.  Happy Planning!!

Taking the Stress Out of Moving Day…

Taking the Stress Out of Moving Day originally found on stage-presents.com

SOME tips for making moving day run smoother

  1. Whenever possible, DO NOT MOVE on the 1st of the month.  If you are renting your own van or truck, this is the busiest time for truck rental companies.  The supply runs out quickly and even with a reservation some companies overbook and will not honor your reservation.  If you are hiring a moving company, and you must move on the 1st,  make sure to book them as far in advance as possible.
  2. If time is not a factor, do the packing yourself.  Movers tend to charge by the hour.  This will cut down on what you have to pay them and save you some “coins” for all the little things that you will most likely have to purchase for your new space.
  3. LABEL LABEL LABEL …. LIST LIST LIST…  Obviously you need to keep like items or things that go in the same room together.  But, in addition to that consider color coding and thinking all the way through to the unpacking process.  For example, if you have shoes and clothes that are not for the present season, you want them in your bedroom.  But, they are not your priority when it’s time to unpack.  It’s more than likely that the things you packed last are the items that you use more often.  So you need to be able to put your hands on those things first.   For me that would be, the coffee maker, the K-Cups, Forks, Knives, Plates and a Go-To Pot or Two.  Aside from putting the beds down and getting sheets and towels, the kitchen is almost always the first room that get’s unpacked.
  4. Move as many of your packed belongings to the door closest to where the movers will be entering and exiting the house.  I don’t expect you to try to move big furniture pieces but at the very least move your boxes.  This one is tried and true.  Day laborers tend to lolly gag.  I don’t have time to pay you to talk to your coworkers about little Timmy’s Soccer Game.  If there is ever a time to micro manage this is the time.  Time is Money!!
  5. Use bubble wrap, newspaper and packing peanuts to protect your delicate/breakable objects.   Even if the item is not dropped it can be crushed. If money is not an object most Storage Rental Facilities make boxes now specifically for your dishes, glasses, etc.  Bottom line is no one is going to take care of your things like you.  And Grammy’s China might mean the world to you, but… maybe not to Joe Schmo The Moving Guy.  I’m just saying.
  6. Take date and time stamped photos of your most prized possessions.  This will assist in settling disputes if your property is damaged and or stolen.
  7. Always get the insurance. Insurance for the Truck if you are doing it yourself.    And, if you are hiring your own mover’s make sure they are both licensed and bonded and able to reimburse you if the worst happens.  In this the day of Google, there is no excuse for not planning and preparing.  Check the BBB and look for references/reviews and complaints.  Then make an informed decision.
  8. I always say that you get what you pay for.  But, there seems to always be a Moving Company on Groupon or Living Social these days.  If you are going to go that route  READ THE FINE PRINT.

So there you have it,  Happy Planning and Happy Moving Day!!

“IT WASN’T RAINING WHEN NOAH BUILT THE ARK.” –HOWARD HUFF.

Celebrate Dad this Father’s Day 2016

Celebrate Dad with His Own Dad Digest!!

tell dad how much you love him with his very own dad digest.

I am a big fan of letting the little ones get involved in showing their love for Dad as early as possible.  I always say parenting can be a thankless job, and everyone loves to be appreciated.  So let your babies get in on the action.  Not only is it something that Dad will always remember.  It is an opportunity to teach them not to take their loved ones for granted.  In the wake of the terrible Orlando tragedy, I am all about spreading love wherever and whenever I can.  So put on your party hats and lets Celebrate The Big Guy In Your Life.

Celebrate Dad with His Own Dad Digest!!

Make this Dad Digest Your Own!!

Download your Blank Copy here – Right Click  – Save – Print – Personalize and Frame.

Dad Digest Blank

To see the Other Father’s Day Printables that we have check out these posts from previous years here and here and here. And, to get a peak into our Simple but Dad Approved Father’s Day from last year follow this link here.

DAD’S ARE THE MOST ORDINARY MEN TURNED BY LOVE, INTO HEROES, ADVENTURERS, STORY-TELLERS AND SINGERS OF SONG. – PAM BROWN

PREPPING FOR COLLEGE AND DORM LIFE PART 2

Prepping for College and Dorm Life - Washable Linen Must Haves - stage-presents.com

IS COLLEGE UP AHEAD?

And we are back for Part Two of Our Getting Ready for College and Dorm Life Series.  Last time we covered the Small Appliances that would get you through your Dorm Years, for Part Two, we are covering pretty much anything that you can throw in the washing machine that isn’t clothing.

Prepping for College and Dorm Life - Washable Linen Must Haves - stage-presents.com

Now, I know that you are probably thinking, duh, this is all Common Sense. Well, yes… and no.  This is where quality comes into play.  I am pretty sure that you are not going to want to spring for most of these things several times over the next four years, even if you end up moving out of the dorms and into your own apartment.  So what that means is that you shouldn’t skimp on the Quality and or the Quantity.

When purchasing linens of any kind of linens, don’t skimp.  Your sheets should be the highest thread count that you can manage and your towels should be the plushest.  Now, if you are like most college students and you like to try new things.  Buy at least one set of towels that you don’t mind if they get ruined by hair dye, or whatever other spills you may encounter through the years.  So, if by chance they don’t return to their original color, no harm no foul.  When purchasing a comforter set for college, you may want to coordinate with your room mate on colors, if you are so inclined.  I say choose the one with as many pieces as you can.  And, if it can be reversible even better, that way you don’t get tired of looking at the same pattern over and over.  The better the quality the less time you will have to spend  ironing and or steaming it. Get Our Take On More  Things You Don’t Skimp On Here.

I am sure that you probably don’t want to think about how many people have slept on that mattress before you.  I get the “Heebie Jeebies” just thinking about it.  So to protect your piece of mind and allow you to sleep at night.  Bring lots of protection. (Not that kind of protection, well that kind of protection too.)  I recommend a mattress protector that zips up.  If you are OCD like me, buy two.  Then a Mattress Pad that can transform your current accommodations to 5 star status, or at least one good enough that you can trick yourself into believing it.

I won’t lie to you this probably won’t be cheap.  But, like I said if you do it right, you shouldn’t have to do it again.  Also, if you can make it through the Fall Semester with a minimal amount of these items.  January is always WHITE SALE time and a good time to stock up.

If you are working your way down your list, I hope that you are feeling more and more prepared for the next chapter.  Can you think of something that I didn’t include?  Share it with us in the comments section below.

“Pin-nable” AM Inspirational Quotes

START YOUR AM OFF THE RIGHT WAY WITH OUR INSPIRATIONAL QUOTES.

Pinnable Inspirational Quotes

Are you following us on Facebook and/or Instagram?  If not, there is no time like the present.  Every Morning, we kick off the day on FB and Instagram with our AM Inspirational Quotes.  Lately, we have been getting a lot of interest in these Posts.  I always like to start my day off by reading or hearing something positive and I guess I am not  alone.  But, unfortunately, you can’t Pin from Facebook and or Instagram.  So, users have been asking us about putting these quotes somewhere that they can save  and pin them .  Seems like a reasonable request, but, we are almost two years into our Positive AM Posts, that is a lot of content to post, all at once.

So we thought that we would gradually start to post them to the blog,  where you are free to pin away to your hearts content.

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A Lie

A River

AFool

In addition to sharing these AM Posts here, I will gradually start to add them to Our Pinterest Page as well, follow us here.

Looking for some more of my favorite quotes check out these posts here and here.  Coming soon… we will have a Header Page on the blog just for these.  Stay tuned for more information.