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Support, An Ongoing Theme
Seeking it out, in its many forms

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Ah yes, it is that very special time of year again and with all of the Holiday planning and get-togethers comes all of the Holiday stress!

This is especially true for families with special needs children, whereby the usual routine of school and such is no longer there. The days can be considerably challenging and the resources available are not necessarily accessible for so many reasons... What to do?

For me, as I continue on my remarkable "A" journey with my boys, I have learned that it is best to keep it low key and to provide as much "breathing room" for them and for myself. That is, simplifying what can be a very overwhelming experience by lowering my expectations of how many get-togethers we take part in; how much entertaining I do; and of course explaining simply and consistently what the schedule is going to be on any given day.

It is also the perfect opportunity to reflect on the year that has been and all that you have learned and experienced; as well as what your children have learned and experienced. Support truly does come in many different forms and one of them is seeking out information and knowledge through various resources; it has been for me a cornerstone of my remarkable "A" journey and a saving grace! Then once that information and knowledge begin to take shape, this is the time of the year when it will serve you best.

Recently, I was at a yearly Fall lecture given by the SEAC Committee of the Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board. This particular lecture was being by Maureen Hunt from the Lester B. Pearson School Board. Maureen had been invited to lecture about being an effective advocate for your child. No one is certainly more qualified than she is because Maureen has decades of experience with this subject matter, as her son is now in his early thirties! It was such a pleasure to hear Maureen lecture and then to speak with her following the lecture; as well as exchange with her by e-mail. There is no greater resource than a parent who has been through the "fire" and then shares their experience with such candor and objectivity, so others can benefit from their experience--thank you Maureen! (N.B. Maureen provided me with her permission to feature her in my blog.)

I would be remiss if I did not mention some of the other key resources that are available in terms of building on that knowledge base. Readers of Laval Families Magazine will recall that in my article I mentioned how W.I.A.I.H. was one of the first sources of information for me; well I still to this day continue to be a member and find its newsletter "The Informer" to be just that, most informative. I have also throughout the years attended many conferences offered through the Miriam Foundation and for us residing in Laval, we are most fortunate because for the past five years now or so, they have been taking place at the Chateau Royal in Chomedey. There is also a an annual series of conferences that is offered through the CRDI and the SATL, once again these conferences take place here in Laval, now held at the University of Montreal, Laval Campus. (N.B. This particular series of conferences is in French.)

And even with a sound base of knowledge, there is always an opportunity to expand upon that base and that is precisely what is happening this evening. Being held tonight at the Center of Dreams and Hopes, in Montreal North, is a conference being offered by the OPHQ, re. IEPs.

So, whatever your resource, continue to expand your base of knowledge and do disseminate the support! With this I want to bid all the readers of Laval Families Magazine and your families the following sentiment, for whichever particular Holiday you are celebrating:

May the joy and peace of Christmas live in your hearts in the New Year!

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