Whether you're cheering or groaning over the end of the school year, it's here, and for parents of children with chronic health conditions or special needs (as, let's face it, with everything else for us), there's extra work to do. As the mom of a third grader with severe, nonverbal autism and the mom of a first grader with a chocolate allergy, I'm not just wrapping up the year and looking forward to summer vacation. I'm doing year-end IEP meetings and coordinating with summer camp personnel to make appropriate arrangements for their care all summer long. Don't get me wrong. We have a healthy dose of FUN planned for the summer, but making that happen ... well, it just takes a bit more planning when you're a special-needs parent.
Back in 2011, we interviewed Gretchen, a determined mom of two whose younger child, Symphony, was diagnosed with Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) at three months old in 2006. At the time, Gretchen wrote, "When I found out that my daughter had been a victim of child abuse, the feeling was surreal. I was in shock and I felt like I was in the middle of a nightmare. I wanted someone to wake me up.”