What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Fibromyalgia in Children?

Children playing with dirt

Few things can make you feel more powerless than when your child is complaining of a pain and you can’t find an immediate cause or resolution. Vague aches, lack of sleep, and general fatigue may point to any number of issues from growing pains to strep throat. Few parents think that their child may actually be suffering from a musculoskeletal disease such as fibromyalgia. While this condition is much more prevalent in adults, specifically women over age 18, it does occur in 1-7% of children and teens. The pain is very real, but no one really knows what triggers fibromyalgia in children or adults. Read More

What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in Children?

A young boy

Children should be a bundle of energy – constantly in motion, always looking for something to get into or a new passion to pursue. What should you do if your child isn’t exhibiting the same level of energy and enthusiasm that you are seeing in other kids their age? While it could be a passing malady, it may be something called chronic fatigue syndrome. Also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), this long-lasting fatigue wasn’t recognized as a real illness until relatively recently. With more than 1 million adult Americans suffering from this condition, it’s important to note that children can also fall prey to the overwhelming lethargy and weakness that are the hallmarks of chronic fatigue syndrome. How can you tell if your child is suffering from this disease that has no proven treatments or cures? Read More

Learn the Signs of Autism

Children playing in a classroom

Having a child is both the most exciting and frightening thing that humans can do. The simple knowledge that you are now responsible for this tiny life is humbling and uplifting – and downright scary all at the same time. There are so many negative scenarios and “what ifs” that can run through your mind. It becomes even more difficult when you realize that each child is different and there are no absolutes to tell you whether or not something is wrong with your child. Are your child’s behaviors normal for them or are they potentially signs of autism? Here are some common symptoms and information to help you determine if your toddler is exhibiting signs of autism. Read More

What is Asperger Syndrome?

A boy on an iPad

You may have noticed that your child is exhibiting some odd traits, such as playing in repetitive ways or not making eye contact. They may have regressed a bit, losing hard-won skills that they only recently gained. A diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome means that your child is on the milder side of the autism spectrum, and unlikely to exhibit strong behavioral traits or developmental delays due to their condition. That’s the good news. However, your child still may have many hurdles as they grow and develop that will require you to fully understand how to effectively support their needs. Read More

What is Autism?

An Autistic Child Smiling

If your child – your loving, interesting, perhaps quirky child – has just been diagnosed with autism, it may feel as though your world is spinning to a halt. You may not fully understand what this diagnosis means for your child or your family. There may be dozens of competing thoughts running through your head. Before you head down a dark path wondering what you have done wrong to cause this diagnosis, it’s important to take a step back and learn more about the various forms of this condition and how they can be effectively treated. Read More

Mom to Teachers: Stop “Fixing” My Son’s Art

A colored pencil drawing

There was a lovely Mother’s Day card and paper flower in my son’s backpack yesterday. “Lovely”… that is… except for the fact that it had nothing to do with my little boy.

The card was drawn and shaded with the bold, confident strokes of an adult. A bottle cap was perfectly centered in the construction paper flower. Tissue paper was placed on the petals with precision. The message inside was equally bold and precise.

Dylan has Down Syndrome and autism. Although he is 8½ years old, he is small and developmentally very much a toddler. He has sensory issues and doesn’t like the feel of glue or paint on his fingers. He is impatient and would much rather throw a crayon than draw with it. Read More

Advocating For Your Child with Chronic Pain

Disabled child smiling in a playground swing

When it comes to children with special needs, most teachers are trained on how to deal with intellectual and learning disabilities. Even if they do not have specific training, they will have a team of special education professionals who are ready to assist them in providing appropriate modifications for these children. If your child has a chronic pain condition, you may find that the school services are less accommodating. Here’s how you may be able to advocate for your child. Read More

Autism And Girls – How Girls With Autism Sometimes Fly Under The Radar

Girls with Autism

Autism is three times as common in boys as it is in girls, or even higher, according to most statistics, but some professionals are starting to wonder if these stats are accurate. A growing body of research is finding that more girls are actually autistic than those who are diagnosed, but present their symptoms in a different way. Because they are often less disruptive than boys on the spectrum, but suffer silently instead, girls with autism are misdiagnosed with other conditions, including ADHD, anxiety and social disorders. A better understanding of how autism, especially high-functioning autism, presents in girls is vital to providing these girls with the best possible services. Read More

Partnering With Teachers For The Success Of Your Child With Special Needs

Teachers and Child with Special Needs

When your child with special needs heads off to school, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed as you hand the care of your child to another person. As your child’s parent and advocate, you need to understand that the classroom teacher is an important partner in the days and years ahead. Here are some tips to help you create a positive partnership to help your child succeed. Read More

Becoming An Advocate For Your Child With Special Needs

Child smiling at a waterpark

When your child has a special need, you instantly step into the role of advocate. Especially when your child is too young to speak up for his own needs, you have to fight to ensure your child gets adequate and just education and medical treatment. Being an advocate can be a challenge, especially if you find yourself feeling as though you are “going to battle” for your child, but it’s a vital role to fill. Here’s what you need to know about the role of an advocate. Read More