Wednesday, January 23, 2013

There's No People Like Snowpeople

There was a cold lady who swallowed some snow.
I don't know why she swallowed some snow.
Perhaps you know.
Next, she swallowed a pipe and some sticks and a hat and a scarf and some coal.
Then she did a big hiccup and out came … I won't tell you the ending; suffice it to say that Mister Snowman knows why she swallowed some snow!

Mister Snowman is one of creatures known as snowpeople.
Why? Because under that hat he has white hair. I have white hair, too, so that also qualifies me as a "snowpeople".

And like many snowpeople, I am a grandparent. Not only that, I am the grandparent of an autistic grandchild. I didn't raise her, but she spent a lot of time at our house when growing up.

It turns out that many grandparents have grandchildren with developmental disabilities—and some grandparents must raise their grandchildren with developmental disabilities. According to the AARP publication
Grandparents and Other Relatives Raising Grandchildren, in 2000 there were 79,810 grandparents responsible for meeting the basic needs of grandchildren in North Carolina—1,654 in Raleigh alone! And a substantial percentage are special needs children.

Why so many you ask? There are many reasons: Substance abuse, mental illness, death, divorce, abandonment, child abuse or neglect, loss of job, incarceration, health issues, and other circumstances contribute to reasons children are being raised by grandparents or other relatives, either permanently or temporarily.

How can grandparents help?
According an AARP article: Mobilizing Support for Autistic Grandkids, these strategies can make it easier for all involved:
  • Voice your concerns.
  • Research the disorder.
  • Be supportive.
  • Make your own home safe.
  • Keep family gatherings simple.
  • Choose the right gifts.
  • Offer to babysit.
  • Be open and receptive.
Grandparents can also join a support group. I joined a very interesting support group in Raleigh not long ago. It's new and it's called the "Grandparents Meeting". It meets on the second Tuesday of each month in the office of the Autism Society of North Carolina, located at 505 Oberlin Road over the Cameron Village Post office. You can park in the rear of building and ride the elevator up to the second floor. The meeting starts at 6:30 pm in suite 230. Contact Eileen Hancox at

Finally, let's not leave out the Showpeople.
Here's a ditty called "Riding Down the Hill".

Hi! My name is Ms. Amy and I teach preschool music to the other classes at Hayes Barton Baptist Church. In addition, I'm a Kindermusik educator and piano teacher. I visited the Frankie Lemmon classes today with Ms. Paula. For more about me see:

Friday, January 11, 2013

Wendell gets Dressed

This is Wendell.
Wendell wants to go out and play.
But it's cold, so Wendell wants to get dressed.
But he wants to know—when it's cold and you want to go out and play, what do you wear?
Wendell has come to the right place.
Because Matthew has the answers!

Let's sing about it!

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Language of Winter

After we've put away our Christmas tree

And chased away our winter "blahs,"

It's time to mix and color our winter "snow",

And watch it flow, just watch it flow.
And learn the language of winter.

So just what is the language of winter?

Who's better to tell us than Sharon Hanvey, our speech therapist. Sharon has a Master’s degree in Speech / Language Pathology, 19 years experience as speech therapist, and 7 years experience at Frankie Lemmon School.

Why speech therapy? Some of our friends may have fluency, articulation or voice disorders. Others may have language disorders such as Aphasia or delayed language. They need therapy for a variety of reasons, including: hearing impairments, problems with cognitive-communication (intellectual, thinking), birth defects, autism—the list goes on.

Sharon assesses all these speech / language disorders and comes up with the best ways to treat them. In addition to involving the parents and working with our friends one-on-one or in small groups, she holds a language group therapy session in our classroom every Wednesday. Her hope is that our friends will better understand or process language and be able to better put words together, increase their vocabulary, and learn to use language in a socially appropriate way.

Class is just beginning—please join us!

In case you've been wondering...
Resources for families in the wake of the CT tragedy