I can’t imagine what it would be like to just go with the flow. As the parent of a daughter with a developmental disability, I was always working on a plan. Partly it’s my nature. I make lists and tick them off. I organize myself and everyone else. Yes, I can be a bit of a bossy boots. But not to have a plan of any kind? Not possible. Especially when you’re dealing with transitions.

The Rainbow Kid

I’m not much of a movie buff and I’ve never been to TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival). But I am really intrigued by one of this year’s entries. It’s a Canadian film and it’s having its world premiere at TIFF in the Discovery category. A lot of the money to make it was raised through crowd funding. The film is called The Rainbow Kid. It follows a teenager with Down Syndrome in the story of his life. And what a story!

When it comes to music, I didn’t leave my heart entirely in Greenwich Village or Haight Ashbury. I heard “London Calling” in the 80’s and Bruce Springsteen has carried me well past “The Summer of ‘69”. But when it comes to punk music, that’s another matter. Not so much. Till I discovered Pertti Kurkan Nimipaivat. PKN for short. Check out their website at

These four guys with developmental disabilities are a hot ticket band that represented Finland in this year’s Eurovision contest. (They made it as far as the semifinals!). They’ve had a film made about them. They tour. Their music sells, big time. Maybe not to me but it sells.

We've all heard that necessity is the mother of invention.  Thats no dout true. but I'll go one better than that. I've got an example that shows that a mom is really a "mother of invention". Let me tell you the story of American mom Lauren Thierry who was having a devil of a time assisting her 17 year old son Liam getting dressed. Liam has autism and one of his struggles is with motor skills. Lauren had her AHA moment when they were at a baseball game and Liam returned from the washroom with his pants around his ankles. The zippers and buttons were beyond his ken.

2 sailboats sailing on smooth water

A couple of articles came across my desk this past week.  Both of them focused on the impact that having a child on the autism spectrum has on a marriage – and ways that the marriage partners could help to strengthen their relationship.  Not exactly rocket science, I thought.  Any couple who is raising a child with a significant disability knows full well that the disability becomes a third partner in the marriage relationship.  Sound familiar?  It sure did to me.

Maddy Takes the World by Storm

I’ve always marveled at the way ideas catch on.  Someone starts doing something at one end of the country – or even the continent – and lo and behold – someone else has the same brainwave.  Take ramps, for example.  If you live in an old part of any town and have any kind of mobility impairment, you know how difficult it can be to access a store.  There is almost always a step into get into that business.  Well, believe it or not, there is a Canadian organization called StopGap ( )that is helping individuals and communities to build small colourful ramps.  And what did they do?  They broke a big problem down.  One ramp at a time.

Guaranteed that there are no parents out there that haven’t stressed over their kids’ teeth.  Whether it’s teaching them how to brush or reminding them to brush or checking to make sure that they really have brushed and not just wet the brush – sneaky little devils, aren’t they?- oral health is important.  But those of us with adult sons and daughters with developmental disabilities and poor motor control face real challenges.  Who wants to nag an adult to do a better job of brushing their teeth, especially if they really can’t?  Who wants to have to brush an adult’s teeth for them?  It’s one more thing that erodes their dignity and independence.

You know how we’re all encouraged to practice fire drills with our kids?  Find a safe way to get out of the house.  Find a safe place to meet. How many of us have had to deal with a fire in real life?  Not many, I’ll bet.  And thank heavens, for that.  But if you have, as soon as you’ve counted heads and dialled 911, you’re astounded by the noise, lights and confusion as the fire trucks screech to a halt outside your house.

Whining is off limits this week.  Yes, I know there is a lot that is not going right in all of our lives.  But I thought that it was time that we took a cheeriness break.  So, in the interests of lifting that veil of gloom let me introduce you to some pretty special teenagers from Aurora, Ontario, who have just crowned their new prom king and queen.  I’m not going to spoil the surprise.  I’m just going to let you watch the video for yourselves.  It’s right here. Am I starting to see the beginnings of a smile on that gloomy puss?  Do you need another shot of happiness?  I have one for you.  Try this video on for size.  This on

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