See Christian and Lola's ISR video!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Bowling, Cascarones, and Living a Good Life

We are going on a month into kindergarten and Christian is doing great!

He's making friends and I'm told he has "helpers" now. He also has a curly, little mohawk due to him needing a haircut. I gave him a comb over two weeks ago and his aide told me the kids were sad to see his mohawk missing. Hope they're not sad next week when we cut his hair!

Christian has also been going bowling every Wednesday with Special Olympics. His aide sends me pictures and I think we might join him next Wednesday to see what it's all about.

Christian also got new boots.

Superman, of course.

We worked on school projects. With enough support, Christian did all the finger painting himself. He's very good with his pointer.

And we get smiles like they're nothin' special. But we all know they totally are.

Sunday morning mess.

I brought home Christian's and Lola's first cascarones. I asked Christian if he wanted to bop it on Lola's head to break it open. He immediately gave his eye movement for "yes" and smiled without any hesitation. Even Daddy saw it. That kid knows what he wants and what he wants is to hit his sister on the head with an egg full of confetti.

Confetti was everywhere for days. There may even be some still in his chair.

When I saw the pictures of Christian bowling and I picked him up from school that day I thought - 

He has a good life.

Despite his disabilities and what he'll miss out on, we promise to him we'll make his life the best we possibly can. The sky is the limit for my boy.

We promised it in the beginning and we promise it now. 

One more thing before I go. I had the opportunity to review a really cool fundraising resource! I think if you're a family with a child with special needs, check out my review! Seriously, I wouldn't peddle something I couldn't stand behind. Especially not here. Click here to learn about Teespring.

Monday, August 12, 2013

A Wheelchair Accessible Disneyland: The Happiest Place on Earth!

A Wheelchair Accessible Disneyland

The Happiest Place on Earth

I'm just going to come out and say it.

Disneyland is hands down, undeniably, the happiest place on earth. Especially for families who have children with disabilities.

My son, Christian, uses a wheelchair. So when we decide to go places as a family, we always take into account the maneuvering that's involved. We certainly don't let anything get in our way and we work around challenges and obstacles, but we definitely prefer places like restaurants, zoos, and parks that are handicap accessible. We're a little biased like that.

There is simply no place like Disneyland. And here's three reasons why:


All of the rides in Disneyland are handicap accessible. All of them. There are different levels of accommodations made on specific rides and Disneyland provides a list on their website with every ride and the corresponding degree of accommodation available. Click here for the list.

What does this special accommodation look like? Some of the rides, like the Dumbo ride and the Teacups, offer larger doors that swing open to provide more room to get a rider in and out. 

We were able to transport in and out of the Teacups easily because of the large entry way to the Teacup. He made sounds through the whole ride!
There are also rides that offer full wheelchair accessibility. The Jungle Cruise and It's A Small World are adapted so that Christian can stay in his wheelchair, roll on to a platform and be lowered down into the ride.

Wheelchair Accessible
Wheelchair Accessible

It was like he had his own chariot! It was awesome because the platform sits him high above everyone so he can get a good look at everything.

On the carousel, we were able easily roll him on and off the ride.

wheelchair accessible Disneyland

That blur is Christian on his way off the carousel. See how easy?

There are also separate lines for guests with disabilities. This cuts down on wait times for everyone involved.

The Cast

The "cast" at Disneyland is amazing! And the experience with Christian was beyond my expectations. They would actually go out of their way to make sure we knew a ride was adapted for Christian. A cast member from It's A Small World saw us walking by and called out to us saying, "Would you guys like to ride It's A Small World?" He can ride it in his wheelchair!" 

Something also to mention is the kindness and love they show to all children and guests of Disneyland. Christian was treated no different than any other child. Ariel asked to meet "the prince" when she saw him. He was sleeping so he missed his chance to meet the princess but she went out of her way to come over and meet him. 

Goofy even bent down to say hello to Christian and give his hand a kiss.

We don't know if he liked it, but it was still appreciated by Mom.


The Magic

The magic of Disneyland is still there whether you have a wheelchair, leg braces, a scooter, cane, or crutches. It doesn't go away. The cast of Disneyland is trained to go above and beyond to create the experience for everybody, regardless of ability. Whenever we needed assistance, they were always there to help. It was never a burden. Never. They showed compassion and acceptance and something like that means so much to a mom of a child with special needs. I'm not sure I can really articulate it without crying all over my laptop. 

All I can say is that the magic is still there, with or without a wheelchair, and the memories mean more than anyone at Disneyland will ever know.

Handicap Accessible Disneyland
Life made.

(Cross posting on Momma Candy.)
Friday, August 9, 2013

Christian's First Week of School

Christian started kindergarten on Monday at a new school! And it just so happens that big brother went to this school, too.

Off he goes!

And this is what he looked like when I  picked him up. Tired!

This is his sensory wall at school. He really liked it! One of the squares has bubble wrap on it and I hear he really liked it and used his pointer finger to pop the bubbles.

Here he is in the kindergarten classroom with his aid.

And here he is this morning off to finish up his first week. He was so tired this morning.

The first day of school I had planned to stay with him all day. But by the time we got to lunch it seemed like everyone knew what to do, including Christian. I think it's important they have their own time with him so they can get to know him without my interference. They have to create a bond with him and if I'm always jumping in, it's hard to make that happen.

When I went to leave I asked him if he was ready and he was so vocal about it. Probably saying - Can you leave already? Nobody else has their mom here!

We're all doing well with it. The first couple days I felt like it was such a long day away from me with a full day in kindergarten. I would think throughout the day - I wonder what Christian's doing right now.

For the first day I made a little book about Christian talking about what his favorite things were, about his wheelchair, about his button, and about things he does. The teacher let me read it to the kids so they could learn more about Christian. I didn't want them to be afraid of him. The preschool kids kind of just blindly accept him but as the kids get older they have more questions and fears. So the book helped relate Christian to them but also explain why he does some of the things he does. I'll post the pages soon.

 So it sounds like Christian is really liking school and I can't believe how big he is! Oh yeah, and it has been so much easier getting him back and forth to school! I used to have to load him and Lola up every morning and drive about twenty-five minutes to his school. Then park and unload Christian's wheelchair, Christian, and his grumpy little sister who was still in jammies half the time. We'd have to trudge through the office, the school courtyard, and all the way to the back of the school where his classroom was. Then we had to turn around and do the whole thing again two hours later. 

Now his school is five minutes away. I can hear the morning announcements from my front door. And because I was having trouble finding parking when school pick up and drop off purgatory was taking place, I now just pull up to the side of the school and his awesome aid helps me unload and load the wheelchair into my van and then she takes him into his class! It has been a dream!!! It's the little things that make life easier!

I'm really excited about this year and still in disbelief that he is in kindergarten.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Happy Birthday, Christian!

Christian is starting school tomorrow! 

I'm so excited about it for him, but also a little nervous because he'll be in full day Kindergarten. He'll have two classrooms - a typical kindergarten classroom and a special needs classroom, kind of like a therapy room. Wait until I show you guys his therapy corner!

We celebrated Christian's birthday by going to Disneyland! I'm going to write up an entire separate post about how handicap accessible Disneyland is and why it's THE BEST place to take your child if they have special needs or if they rock a wheelchair.

But first, let's just acknowledge that Christian turned FIVE!!!

On his actual birthday we had some cake, cupcakes and candles to celebrate.

The best part? Christian got to actually eat some of his cake. He had tastes of frosting and the frosting actually had crumbs of cake in it. There were times when he used to just let it sit on his tongue if something wasn't thin enough to move to the back of his throat on its own. 

But this frosting was a little thick, being peanut butter frosting and all. 

So I pressed a little into his tongue with a fork and let him figure out what to do with it. If anything, I could always go back and rinse it with water or wipe it out.

I turned the other way to serve the rest of the cake.

I turn back to Christian and do you know this kid cleared the whole thing!!!!

And so he gets more!!!

But only a little bit at a time. He'll let us know when he can't handle it so I just follow his lead. Apparently, he was ready to handle some peanut butter frosting with chocolate cake crumbs. 

And just for good measure, we celebrated again with frosting and sprinkles in speech therapy the next day.

Spoiled kid.

Happy Birthday, Christian!

And, just in case I didn't post the pictures from his celebration of life earlier July, here they are! We took him to pizza where he rode his very first carousel. 

The buttons at these pizza places where they have those ticket games are perfect! They're just like talker buttons. 

Go Christian! 

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