All posts by timewellspent

Help “Team Joe” Build a New Playground!

Joe is turning 5 soon! To celebrate, and to help raise money for a new community playground, we’re inviting you to join Team Joe for a 5K run/walk on June 22.

Sunshine 5k Poster

After the disappointment of seeing our neighborhood playground fall to pieces, we are focusing our efforts on raising the funds to rebuild it. A new playground would not only replace the structure that local kids had been enjoying, it would also meet current ADA standards to make it more fun for kids like Joe. (When this one’s done, we’ll start setting our sights on a truly accessible — not just ADA-compliant — playground somewhere else in the city. Baby steps!)

The city’s Parks & Rec staff have organized a 5K fundraiser to help pay for the equipment. To support that effort, we are establishing a “Team Joe” so that friends and family can join in!

Here are some ways to join Team Joe:

1. Sponsor Joe! He will be running the race in his usual style — kicked back in a stroller while Dada does the pushing. A donation in any amount will let him present a check to be proud of!

2. Sponsor the race itself! If you own a business and would like to advertise your support of the effort, sponsoring the race can get your name on T-shirts and other race materials.

3. Run with Joe! Complete your own registration (online or with the printed form) and come join us for the run on June 22. If you let us know you’re coming, Joe will share his birthday cake with you when it’s over!

“Thanks, everybody!”

You Should Be a Partner in Policymaking

If you live in Virginia and have a  child with a developmental disability, read on. (If not, we’ll return to our regularly scheduled Joe stuff in the next post!)

Next month, I’ll graduate from a program called Partners in Policymaking, which is sponsored by the Virginia Board for People with Disabilities. From September to May, it involves spending two days each month learning from national experts on a variety of topics. I’ve learned so much about things to do for Joe, and ways to help other families get what they need for their own kids.

Here are some of the topics covered:

History of Disability Movements
Independent Living
Inclusive Education
Supported Employment
Personal Futures Planning
Building Inclusive Communities
Natural Supports
Assistive Technology
Communication & Team Building
Legislative Process and Strategies

The class is made entirely of two groups: 1) parents of children with developmental disabilities, and 2) adults with developmental disabilities of their own. It’s been especially nice getting to know the latter group, because it gives me a glimpse of what life might be like for Joe when he’s an adult — and it looks pretty good!

Each monthly session includes an overnight hotel stay where you  bond with your classmates, eat amazing food and sometimes stay up too late.

And it’s FREE.

They are recruiting for their 2013-2014 class, and the deadline to apply is April 30. So get to it!

Here I am polishing my public-speaking skills at the state capitol, a field trip taken with my fellow Partners in Policymaking.
Here I am polishing my public-speaking skills at the state capitol, a field trip taken with my fellow Partners in Policymaking.

Sicky boy

Joe has had a nasty cold that just will not quit. He was out of school most of last week, and this one’s not looking good either.

His doctor prescribed a whole mess of stuff to help him get better, including nebulizer treatments. It looks scary, but it’s pretty standard these days when kids have lung gunk to get out.

I’ve heard other moms talk about how hard it is to get the kid to wear the mask, or to sit still, or to not be afraid of the noise. So I was prepared for a battle … but no. This is Joe we’re talking about. He’s nebulizing like a champ:

“Relax, Mama. I got this.”


He’s Your Lakeview Hero, Baby

This month, Joe was chosen to represent his class as a Lakeview Hero at his school. All the heroes get to go to a special pizza lunch with the principal, and his teacher was kind enough to invite me along.

We sat with the kindergartners, who had lots of questions about him. As kids always do, they accepted my answers very matter-of-factly and got back to important topics like crayons and cartoons.

Here he is admiring his complimentary lunch bag:

And checking out the big-kid end of the table:

Playing it cool:

All done!

Pop pop pop!

Joe’s been working on saying words like “pop” and “ball.” He seems to know what they mean, and that they’re fun, because he gets excited when he hears them.

But his little mouth doesn’t seem to want to cooperate. (For example, he struggles very hard to say “papa” to his grandfather, but it always comes out “op-op,” if it comes out at all.)

Then yesterday, in speech therapy, he did a great job of signing “more” (putting fingers of two hands together) and saying “pop pop pop” to keep the bubbles coming.

Love that little voice!

Without a net …

… or a walker, or braces, or even shoes!

Joe is getting around on foot more and more these days. When he gets lazy and tries to crawl, we make him get back up again.

He’s a lot steadier with his braces on, but look how well he’s doing even with naked feet.

That’s our boy!