Thursday, June 11, 2009

Free Tools to Fuel Your Journey!

As a mom of three young adults, all with special challenges, I have been focusing on transitions for the last few years. I know that going to college is one of several options and leaving home for the first time can be exciting, scary and challenging. Our children can look forward to it and worry about it at the same time.

As we move forward, taking action each day, our lives are transformed. Decisions on transitions deserve our attention and energy. As a parent, my emotions have soared high and low as I have contemplated life with my two oldest living several hours away from us. This is a major transition and it can be a difficult transition for your son or daughter and for you as well.

As parents, we have helped our children to receive the resources and supports that he or she has needed and now as they get ready for this transition, we must step back and let our youth step forward. Services are no longer spelled out in Individualized Education Plan and we must depend our teens to voice their needs, share their strengths, and get the supports that they need.

“Going to College” has proven to be a great online resource in our house. It is designed for teens with disabilities and helps them to prepare for it. I have used it myself and it has given me much food for thought. I have sat next to my daughter and we have learned together what helps to make college life successful for those with learning differences.

What I like about “Going to College” is that you hear the voices and stories of college students with disabilities. My adults- in- training are much more interested in listening to the advice of other students then they are in listening to me. They view these students as experts. After all, they have gone to college with a disability and they know what it is like.

“Going to College” is divided into three major themes: My Place, Campus Life, and Planning for College. In going through the material, your young adult will be encouraged to apply lessons learned, to respond to questions and to watch associated videos and podcasts. You and your teen will be engaged and will be encouraged to think about upcoming transitions and whether college is the next step on your journey.

Many of these thought provoking activities provide useful information that can fuel self assessment and lead to powerful discussions at IEP meetings in high school. These exercises can be added to an online portfolio that can be used while visiting colleges and talking with college personnel or taking other action steps forward.

For more Tools to Fuel Your Journey, visit my Website at

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


As the school year comes to an end, many parents, educators and students are racing fast to the finish line while others have been crying for relief for several weeks now. As a mom of a graduating high school senior, I have heard my daughter shriek several times, "I Am So Done!"

I hear her and understand, she is very anxious to say goodbye to high school, to her early morning classes, and to senior projects! She wants this high speed race to the finish line to be over. She seems to be gasping for air...while dreaming of easier, more relaxed and fun-filled days of summer! She yearns to sleep in late, to roll over and to reflect on the life she is leaving behind and to just be. She wants to just Be!

I empathize, as I too have been racing to complete projects, planning for celebrations and preparing for the upcoming transitions. I have been juggling many balls, shiftng my direction and focus daily and I am nearing exhaustion. I too, have wanted to shout, I AM SO DONE!

We all need a vacation and June 19th will come none too soon for me! Knowing that the end is near, I am pausing for a moment to catch my breath and relishing thoughts that bring me joy and hope. The day after graduation, our family will be heading to the beach and life will slow down for at least a week. We will all breathe easier.

Right now, I am slowing down, and I will soon be heading upstairs for a relaxing bubble bath. While I can not quit now, I can entertain the following thoughts that refuel my soul and spirit.

I envision a sunny day at the beach and suddenly I am transported to another time and place. I am sitting in a lounge chair, close to the water's edge, listening to the crashing waves, and reflecting on my many blessings. I clearly see myself awakening refreshed and renewed the next morning. As the sun rises, I am jounaling and I plot more days of delight! I acknowledge accomplishments and move forward only after I have savored the victories and reviewed the lessons learned in failures. I let it all soak in and simply enjoy my moments in the sun.

While the day at the beach is only in my imagination at this point, my thoughts have recharged my spirit. It helps me get up and gives me hope. Yes, the days ahead will be busy, hectic and demanding and I know I will continue to move forward.

How do you recharge? What do you do to refuel when you feel like yelling, I Am So Done? What will you do today to re-energize you?

I urge you to seize moments of relaxation, to seize moments of reflection and to seize and savor your accomplishments and the lessons you have learned along the way. In so doing, you will be refreshed and ready to get out of the I AM SO DONE pot hole and on to new adventures!