Special Needs

IMG_0334.PNGOkay, this post is going to be a bit of a rant, so I apologize already. I have had this thought on my mind for a few weeks or longer. As I have explained before, one of my daughters has an extremely rare brain abnormality. She struggles to learn and do what many of us take for granted. She has very little depth perception and peripheral vision. She has trouble with her short-term memory. She has lots of trouble with crossing midline activities like swimming, biking, reading, and writing (think about the fact that we read and write from left to right). She has what I would consider “special needs”. She needs help and accommodations to do regular, everyday things.

I have heard that “special needs” is now considered a politically incorrect word for people who happen to have any type of lifelong difficulty. I had one parent tell me that her daughter, who is deaf, is not “special needs” but just unable to hear. While I agree, the world has gotten a lot easier for those who are hearing impaired; I was left with the feeling that she saw the phrase “special needs” as a dirty word to be avoided at all costs.

I found this online:

More Appropriate:  Sam has epilepsy, Tony has cerebral palsy (CP), Helen has a learning disability, – attention deficit disorder

*Less Appropriate:  “special”, person has “special needs”

Comment:  *Term is patronizing and distancing by those with disabilities. Often used by programs providing services and support for disabled people and meant as a ‘positive’ alternative. Describes that which is different about ANY person as all simply have “needs.”

from: http://rds.colostate.edu/language

I suppose what I am having a hard time with is that getting upset about words that are not intended to offend is that I feel like it alienates more than helps. My daughter is one of approximately 46 people in the United States to have colpocephaly. I have to explain what it is to most doctors. It’s much easier to say she has special needs, or she is developmentally delayed. At least then there is a moment of understanding and maybe empathy. Listen, being a parent of a child with any disability is hard and lonely. The more that the disability affects daily life and that child’s future, the harder it is. Every child is different. Every parent is different. I work hard on doing my best for MY child. I don’t have time to look up and stay updated on the most current politically correct language for disabilities, struggles, handicaps (or whatever you call them). I spend my days doing occupational and physical exercises with my child. I look up and research the newest research on what she struggles with. I sit for hours and work with her on basic life skills, as well as trying to teach her all the subjects that will enrich her life. I don’t have time to sit around and be offended.

I don’t intend to be offensive or mean, but I think sometimes we spend too much time on stuff that doesn’t matter. My child and her “special” needs keep me too busy for that!

The “Glad” Game

In Pollyanna, the main character (Pollyanna) plays the “glad game”. She is always looking at every scenario with the outlook that there is always something to be glad about. We started playing the game too. We aren’t as good as it as we should be, but we’re working on it. It’s so easy to be discouraged or disappointed in this world. It’s easy to become bitter and for the good to seem rare. It’s not really that rare; we just don’t look for it like we should. So, for this Thanksgiving month, I’d like to challenge everyone out there to play the “Glad Game” with us. Look for the good. Find something to be glad about. Reflect on all that you have to be thankful for. image

Vegetable and Fruit Diet Challenge

I’ve been doing a lot of reading about the raw food diet. I don’t feel comfortable doing it myself. The main reason is that certain foods like cabbage can affect the thyroid negatively, if not heated.

Here’s a quote from Livestrong about it:

“Cruciferous Vegetables

A goiter is an enlarged thyroid gland that indicates hypothyroidism. A goitrogenic food contains a substance that can affect your thyroid, slowing hormone production. Cruciferous vegetables all contain goitrogens. These include all types of cabbages, such as napa cabbage, bok choy and Brussels sprouts; broccoli, cauliflower and kale; and collard, mustard and turnip greens. If you have normal thyroid function and consume adequate amounts of iodine, these compounds will have no effect on your thyroid. The Institute of Medicine has established the recommended dietary allowance, or RDA, for iodine at 150 mcg daily. One tsp. of table salt contains 400 mcg of iodine.”

Since I have hypothyroidism, I will be cooking my broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts. The raw food diet does have the major benefit in that it is very rich in nutrients. This is where I feel like my previous diet was lacking.

I know I have shared that I have a very slow metabolism, and that my body has done well on a lower carb diet. The problem is that I have steadily gained weight over the past year and that my allergies and asthma have flared up again.

I am starting a 60 day challenge for myself. This challenge is my own creation and is my way of experimenting on myself to see if this way of eating will help me feel better and lose the weight I’ve gained.


My guidelines:

Lower carbohydrate fruits: eaten after a workout.














green beans






Brussels sprouts



chicken breasts





grass-fed butter (Kerrygold is my very favorite)

Heavy Whipping Cream (for my coffee–1 Tablespoon a day)




Red wine (5 oz. per day)



My goal is to eat mostly vegetables. I will eat fruit in limited amounts only after workouts. I will eat lean proteins a few times a week. The fats will be limited to my morning coffee and with vegetables.

I will stay away from all added sugars, grains, and all processed foods.

I look forward to sharing my results with you. I’d love to hear if anyone out there wants to join me or has any suggestions for me as I start this challenge.