Monday, May 7, 2018


I'm excited to share information with you today from two guest bloggers.  First, Ashley Taylor shared this excellent post on PREPARING FOR PARENTHOOD WITH A DISABILITY.  Her insight is inspiring!  The second post is from a very talented high school student named Shawna Lewis.  She's created an adorable website with free songs and videos for young children.  You'll  love her sweetness!

Preparing for Parenthood with a Disability

As a first-time parent with a disability, your life is about to change dramatically. It’s natural to have fears and questions whether you are welcoming a new baby or adopting an older child. How will my home change? How will I adjust to caring for my child? Early planning will ease your transition into parenthood. 

Babyproofing your home

While babyproofing your home, you may need to also adapt your current lifestyle. You’ll face some challenges you had not considered. Consider these questions if they apply to your disability:

       Will you be able to reach your child in a crib or diaper him or her on a standard changing table?
       Can you easily get your child in and out of your vehicle with a carrier or car seat? Will you need help with buckles? If you don’t have a vehicle, how will you transport him to pediatric visits and other activities?
       How will you monitor your baby once he or she is crawling or walking? 
       As you babyproof your home, how will you adapt to baby gates, toys on the floor and other obstacles that you have not encountered in your home before?

Figure out your biggest challenges before seeking the best tools to address them.  

Take time for self-care

Raising a child is stressful. That’s why it’s important to care for yourself while you are caring for your child. 

       Maintain your health.
First and foremost, keep all your doctor’s appointments and always follow their advice. If you’re pregnant, make sure that sure your current health care providers can work together with your obstetrician. And always ask plenty of questions about keeping your health and energy at peak levels.
       Thin out your schedule.
New parents often find they have more responsibilities than they can handle with less sleep than they need. Reduce nonessential commitments now so you can focus all your attention on your child when he comes home.
       Create a daily relaxation routine.
Take 15-20 minutes a day for yourself. Activities such as meditation, quiet time, soaking your feet, or listening to soft music for a few minutes a day can tamp down your anxiety, stress and frustration. When your child arrives, you may not be able to do this daily but try to find some alone time every week. 
       Know when to ask for help. If you are struggling with depression, anxiety, or physical symptoms, get help right away. Postpartum depression strikes even adoptive parents so don’t feel ashamed for seeking help. Know the symptoms.
       Don’t go it alone. You’ll need support from friends, family, community and, most importantly, other parents who have been through it before. 

Support systems and resources 

It’s important to have supportive resources in place as soon as possible. Lisa, who has cerebral palsy and is a mother of two daughters, told the National Council on Disability, “When parenting with a disability, I think it’s important to embrace the fact that we are all interdependent and we each have different skills to contribute in raising happy, healthy children…. It’s that interdependence with other people that is so essential in raising children. Everyone has different skills, but we share what we can give.”

If possible, join a local organization that supports your disability. They can help you find services and resources. Next, connect with other disabled parents who share your journey to answer the questions listed above. Look for groups at, on Facebook and at other online communities, such as these:

       The Disabled Parenting Project is an online community for “parents and prospective parents with disabilities.”
       The National Research Center for Parents with Disabilities provides training and support.
       AbleThrive’s Parenting With Disabilities section features searchable stories by and about other parents with lots of tips and adaptive parenting hacks. 

Becoming a new parent with a disability can be challenging but with planning, the proper resources, and the right support you can reduce your stress to enjoy your new family.  

Ashley Taylor                                   

Musical Movements
Hello! My name is Shawna and I am currently a senior in High School. I want to share with all of you what I did for my Girl Scout Gold Award Project this past year. :)

I really love music and it has been an important part of my life for as long as I can remember. I have been playing the violin now for 9 years and I can confidently say that I have grown so much as a person and as a musician throughout this journey. I strongly feel that music has a very important place in the lives of all people but especially young children because at this age their brains are growing rapidly. Music will really help this process and so I have created a resource that I hope can be used by all parents, teachers, and children. I decided to compile a total of ten songs incorporating props and movement including nursery rhymes, popular songs, and some songs of my own. One of my personal favorites is called “The Animal Song”. For this song I gathered inspiration from a short poem which I added to and then created my own music to make it even more exciting for young children.

I call my whole project Musical Movements as I made music tracks for each of the songs, created an accompanying book, and a video showing all the movements to go with the songs. All of these resources can be found on my website using the link below:

Please take a look and I really hope you will be able to use this to bring music into your lives even more and help children and their brains to grow beautifully!!