Guest Post: Preparing for Parenthood When you Have a Disability- Ashley Taylor

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Like most parents, I was terrified going into parenthood. All of us seek success, and I was overwhelmed with the desire to be an amazing mom. I realized the best thing I could do is try my best and make good strategies. Like any parent, if you have a disability you can establish ways to meet challenges and feel confident about your new adventure.

Prepare your home. Depending on what your limitations are, you will want to make appropriate home preparations. Think about what will make your life easier and improve accessibility. For instance, Redfin suggests many people benefit from an accessible entryway, like replacing steps with a ramp. You can remove thresholds within the home to allow easier movement from room to room. If you use a wheelchair, purchasing expandable hinges for door ways can improve your ability to maneuver. For some parents it’s helpful to install skid-resistant flooring, such as vinyl or linoleum, to prevent slips.

Employ equipment. I discovered there are many ready-made products available to assist you with some of the challenges of everyday parenting. For instance, some experts recommend baby carrying harnesses that you can strap onto your torso. You can find them at almost any baby supplies store, and they allow you to have both hands free. Hook and loop closure bibs are another great innovation. You could also modify a standard baby crib so that the side rotates open or slides out of your way. There are step-by-step instructions available on the

internet to do this yourself, or have a friend or handyman do it for you. Another clever thought, you can alter a baby bathtub with a computer table and dishwasher hose for easier bathing. There are strollers with wheelchair adaptations, and there are security belts to help you carry your little one safely. Some studies show parents with disabilities make their own simple equipment, such as using a scarf as a baby sling or adding wheels to a table for a changing station. Consider putting mirrors under cabinets if you experience trouble viewing countertops. Selecting one room to serve as the playroom is a simple and straightforward solution to many problems – you can set the entire room up with furniture against the walls and anchored to studs, allowing you and your baby to safely play on the floor. Some parents simply leave certain tasks to their partner, such as bathing the baby. Chances are you are used to being creative in solving problems and will handle most challenges well.

Specialized equipment options. You may find customized devices are necessary to ease parenting duties. For instance, the usual tasks such as bathing, feeding, carrying, and changing your baby may be challenging, even with clever equipment. Some researchers recommend partnering with an occupational therapist for navigating mobility issues, especially as your body changes through pregnancy. You may need wheelchair adjustments or other ergonomic alterations. You could also receive consultation on adaptive baby care equipment like specialized slings and carriers, and potential technological solutions like apps and sensors.

You aren’t alone. It’s important to establish a support network and ensure you and your family receive adequate help. As Health Direct explains, recognizing your own limitations and getting assistance when you need it is better than struggling unnecessarily. Your partner, family and friends are the first place to start, and you can engage community resources as well. You may want to join an online support network to exchange ideas or just feel connected with other parents with disabilities. I find bouncing ideas and questions off other parents can really help.

Facing parenthood is a huge deal, but with some careful planning you can feel confident. Prepare your home, find great equipment, and find assistance in your challenges. You’ll be a terrific and successful parent with thoughtful strategies in place!

Ashley Taylor is a freelance writer, photographer, and advocate for people with disabilities. She created DisabledParents.org to provide information and resources to other parents with disabilities. When she isn’t working, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two children.

Back to School!

I hope everyone has had a relaxing and restful winter break, I know I have! Spent time with family, eating lots of great food, relaxing by the fireplace, and playing lots of Trivial Pursuit with the kids. Now it’s time to get back to it!

Classes begin again on Monday January 8th. For this term, we have classes every day Monday through Friday with the exception of Family Day on Monday February 19th. Our Spring break begins on March 23rd.

The first few days in January are spent getting back in the groove of routines and reviewing what we accomplished from September to December- then it’s onward and upward! Assessments will begin towards the end of January so we can see if there are any gaps in learning that we can then fill before the end of June.

Classes continue much the same as before the break- gymnastics 3 times a week, and yoga and meditation daily in addition to our regular activities. We will continue to work through the Montessori methods in language development, mathematics, sensorial and practical life.

We will need a couple of volunteers willing to take children into the other quiet room to do assessments come the end of January, so if you are able to do so, let me know. We also need some play dough! 🙂

Very much looking forward to seeing everyone next week- its been a lovely vacation but I miss all those little faces!

xo100_3584

Miss Tammy

Supporting Your Child’s Explosion into Writing – without worksheets or “academics” — Three Minute Montessori

Dylan’s explosion into writing was an exciting thing to behold. I had trusted that one day he would discover it for himself, so he would have the joy of realising he could write. As with everything else, like self-feeding or toileting, the child deserved to own the achievement of writing, not me. Shortly after his fourth […]

via Supporting Your Child’s Explosion into Writing – without worksheets or “academics” — Three Minute Montessori

Feminism on my mind…

When my children were preschool age it was very popular to send your child to a Montessori Preschool. I really knew nothing about Dr. Montessori or her method, so I was intrigued to learn about what an inspiring woman she was. In honor of the first week of school in our district, I would like […]

via FEMINIST FRIDAY — Haddon Musings

Follow the Child

As a Montessori teacher, parent or someone affiliated with Montessori education, one often hears the phrase, “Follow the child.” Searching for this quote from Maria Montessori’s writings is challenging. However, her peer Loris Malaguzzi, founder of the Reggio Emilia approach to education, stated clearly that “the teachers follow the children, not plans.” Learning is paramount; […]

via Follow the Child — The Montessori Message

Why Montessori?

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Your child is now at the age where you can see they need more than what you can give them at home- more structure, more stimulation, maybe just more time with other kids. You are a great parent and want your child to develop into a well-adjusted, happy, independent little one.

So now what?

There are a multitude of options out there for schooling. In pre-school alone (and in Calgary), there are tons of options popping up all over the place- you have play schools, full day preschools, Waldorf, Reggio, Montessori, STEM, STEAM, Project-based, High/Scope, religion based, language immersion. The list is extensive.

A Montessori classroom is based on the work of Maria Montessori, an innovator in the field of education. The Montessori Movement was founded in 1907, but the methods are proven and backed by current child development research. What we know about how children learn has lead to montessori type materials being in many classrooms, whether they be play based or education based. Maria Montessori was far ahead of her time.

When you enter a Montessori classroom, you might be surprised by what you see and hear (or don’t hear). The classroom is neat and tidy and organized. Soft classical music is playing quietly in the background (and the children might be able to tell you what song is on). Students are working individually or in small groups, talking and sharing ideas and information. The teacher might be sitting at a table working with a child or group of children, or she/he might be moving quietly around the room, observing, adding information as needed, or just making notes as she watches what the children are doing. When a child is done with their chosen activity, they arrange it back the way it was (so it’s ready and nice for the next person), and place it back in its designated space on the shelf. They then might go and ask their guide for a lesson on something new, or they will choose another activity independently- setting up a floor mat or table mat and then moving the work to their space.

A little bell will be rung at some point, indicating a transition time, to snack, or reading a story together, or for heading into the gymnasium for some physical activity time. The children will put away their work, put away their mats, and get ready to wash their hands (or take off their indoor shoes and socks if we are heading to gymnastics!).

If they are settling for a snack- when they are done they will put away their snack bags, tidy up their space, and either sit and visit with their friends, or go to the meeting space and choose a book or a quiet activity while waiting for their friends.

As a group at the end of the class, you will see these little 3-6 year olds do a few minutes of yoga and then some meditation before heading off to the rest of their day.

The Montessori classroom is set up for your child to be successful. All the materials are child sized, and ready to be used. Children are given lessons on how to do the activities, how to carry a tray with jugs of water balancing on it- how to tie their shoelaces, and do up zippers, and pour a glass of milk. How to clean up if a spill happens. How to deal with frustration if something isn’t going the way you want. How to be independent, peaceful, empathetic. How to be a global citizen.

Our focus is to develop the whole child- we aren’t just teaching reading & writing (although that is part of what we do!)- we are teaching our children how to be great human beings in a big sense.

If you are interested in learning more, please contact us or visit us during our open house on February 10th.

Peace and Light,

Tammy

for life