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I Thought I Was Just Stupid

This is part of the series by Kari Turner, which explores internalized ableism. I Thought I Was Just Stupid That's right, once upon a time I had no idea that any struggle of mine beyond the most obvious physical ones - falling, keeping my balance - had anything to do with my cerebral palsy (CP). [...]

The Cultural Value of Disability

This is a post examining the cultural value of disability, as seen through the lens of Star Trek and a cross-cultural comparison (Hmong/America If you want to hear me reading this, just click the link below. https://media.blubrry.com/meriahnicholsdisability/p/content.blubrry.com/meriahnicholsdisability/cultural_value_of_disability.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down is the story of [...]

On the Occasion of World Mental Health Day

This is a personal post about my own mental health, on the occasion of World Mental Health Day.  This post was written in 2013, and many things within have changed (- I was being gaslit by my husband, for one, and did not actually have bi-polar disorder, but rather, C-PTSD). So much of this post [...]

Sparkles and a Hamburger Airplane: Superfest 2021

This is about the Superfest Disability Film Festival and the film lineup for 2021 Movies are like music: they can reach people when nothing else can. They can find ways to wiggle into the crevices of locked minds and hearts, they can force open spirit and imagination and give wings to the heart. I have [...]

Why Disability Hierarchy Matters in Employment

This about disability hierarchy, and why it affects disability employment. "Disability hierarchy"​ is this idea - conscious or not - that some disabilities rank higher than others. It can swing in so many ways, depending on our experiences with disability, and with our own connection with ableism. Within the larger cross-disability community we see and [...]

September 5th

(prefacing to say that I can’t bear to read this out loud right now. I am sorry) ___________ September 5th 2016 Dana was declared brain dead on September 4th, and this is why September 4th was the date noted on his death certificate, not September 5th. We did not know this at the time though, or …

September 4th: Labor Day

September 4th, 2016 My mom reached out to me while I was sitting in the hot tub on the morning of September 4th, staring at the rust-red wall in front of me without seeing anything. My mom said that the doctors had done another test on Dana and they declared him brain dead.  I was …

September 3rd: The Family Meeting

September 3rd, 2016 With everyone arriving in Redding and needing to be with Dana, I stayed at the hotel, mostly in the jacuzzi.  My husband was there, so for the first time, I had the chance to simply breathe and be in the moment and not feel the constant hum in the back of my …

September 2nd: Silence

September 2nd, 2016 I went through the windshield of a car when I was 4 years old. An event of great magnitude, it shaped my life and yet it was one of silence.  It was peaceful.  I am sure that in the moment, at the time, it was a tornado of twists and energy, but …

What is Medicare?

Continuing with the Medicare Series (See all the posts here: https://www.meriahnichols.com/medicare) This post has linked headings, so you can browse the title in the Table of Contents below and go straight to what you want to learn. In This Post You Will Find:What is Medicare Exactly?Where Does the Money for Medicare Come From?What are the …

September 1st

September 1st, 2016 We headed straight for the ICU as morning came on September 1st.  That was a double BOB stroller, incredibly large and incredibly useful. I put all of their snacks, devices, games, clothing changes in that thing and never had to worry about needing to carry them if they fell asleep. The waiting …

August 30th and 31st: Through the Fog & Back to Redding

August 30, 2016 Micah and Moxie were going to school. I see my husband in the photo on the right, taking Moxie to the truck, and I see Micah standing on the hill by where we parked the trucks. I must have walked them to the truck to see them off.  I don’t remember. It’s …

August 29th: On the Lost Coast Part 2

August 29, 2016 There was a lot that I loved about the Lost Coast, and the little school there was one of them. I called it “The Best School Ever” on my blog, and I meant it. There was so much that was great about it.  I was positive that Dana was going to wake …

August 28th: On the Lost Coast

As with this series, the diary accounts of each day come from my photo roll, the photos that I took on that day… August 28, 2016 We lived on the Lost Coast of California. The Lost Coast is a stretch above Fort Bragg and below Eureka, in which Highway 1 was circumnavigated around the coast …

August 27: Back to the Yurt

August 27, 2016 I wrote this blog post on August 27:  I lost it yesterday morning. I mean, I really lost it. Moxie was hiding inside the dresser drawer, scarfing down popcorn after I told her countless times to get ready so we could go downstairs (in the hotel) and get breakfast (which would be over in …

How to Get Medicare

This post covers some questions people tend to ask about Medicare, and common problems and pitfalls. The subsections are linked below, so you can jump to the relevant In This Post You Will Find:How to Get Medicare If You Are DisabledHow do people with disabilities get (SSDI)?What is the “Waiting Period”?What if You Don’t Want …

August 26th: The Gun Sticker

August 26, 2016 This was apparently the only photo that I took on this day. I can’t explain the depths of revulsion that I felt when I saw that. People who love guns? I don’t think they have ever seen someone they love blown up by one. 

August 25: In the Lava Lamp

August 25, 2016 Days were blurring, blurring, blurred.  I’d wake up, pray, meditate, write on the floor of the hotel room in the dark, with my laptop on a pillow on my lap.  When the kids woke up, they came over to me for hugs, I’d set the laptop to the side as soon as …

Everything You Wanted to Know About Special Needs Trusts!

Special Needs Trusts and Parents of Kids with Disabilities If you have a child with a disability – or if you have a disability yourself – special needs trusts have probably been on your radar for a while. I know they have for me… the thing is, what with Social Security income and asset limitations, …

August 24: Yu Han’s Birthday

August 24, 2016 Dana’s first daughter was born on August 24, 1990.  She was born in a very small rural rice farming community in Taiwan, and for her birth, my parents flew over from Hawaii. My dad put together a rocking chair for her mom, Jeanie. We assembled cloth diapers and precious tiny baby clothes.  …

August 23: Groundhog Day

________ August 23rd, 2016 There is something really satisfying about baldly stating what I remember of the events of those 3 weeks that Dana was in coma.  There is also something really satisfying about posting unedited photos, all photos that are still on my camera roll, that I haven’t really looked at until now.  I …

August 22

August 22, 2016 Being in limbo. Caught in a waiting space.  Confusing fog that blanketed my reality.  And my kids, living wholly in the moment. Soaking up the moment. Enjoying the bagels. Playing everywhere, anywhere they could They were not allowed in to see Dana, their spaces were strictly limited to the public areas. Sometimes …

August 21st

This is from the 3 week series that honors the time that my brother Dana spent in coma. _______ August 21, 2016 Dana’s oldest daughter Yu Han’s birthday is August 24. Because her brother Jrin Long and his family were only visiting Dana for a short while, we celebrated her birthday early, together. I remember …

August 20 & To The Edge of the Woods

August 20, 2016 Dana loved kids and was wonderful with them, in part, I think, because he had such a playful spirit himself. He exuded this sense of mischief, childlike glee in life. My third child Mack was difficult for me when he was a baby. He would endlessly cry. I was going through a …

August 19: Sepsis

August 19, 2016 On this day I could only see Dana once, for a few brief minutes. He had sepsis, and was in danger of losing his hands and feet. This was made more real and serious to me by a friend of a friend, a mother, who had recently had her hands and feet …

August 18

Our days were unfolding into a rhythm: wake up at the crack of dawn, go to the hotel breakfast buffet. Their delight in the breakfast array never failed to delight me. It reminded me so much of how excited Dana and I would get over the same stuff when we were kids ourselves. Then we’d …

August 17: Tethered In Limbo

The bullets were still in Dana. And where he had been torn open by those same bullets was open, covered by wraps. He was being constantly examined for surgery upon surgery – they were not even at the point of getting the bullets out of him. His feet and legs were in pressurized leg wraps …

August 16: Settling In

You can hear me read this by clicking below, or subscribing to the podcast at the end of this post. _____ August 16, 2016 I so expected Dana to open his eyes at any moment. I took this photo, and this, fully expecting him to wake up at any minute. Look at you! Wired up, …

August 15: Blips

You can hear me read this by clicking below, or subscribing to the podcast at the end of this post. August 15, 2016 Dana was in the ICU of Mercy Hospital in Redding. As Mercy Hospital had a deal with a nicer hotel for families of ICU patients, we shifted rooms there first thing in …

In Fog: August 14

You can hear me read this by clicking below, or subscribing to the podcast at the end of this post. ____________________________________________________ While I had no Facebook memories yesterday, my facebook memories for today, August 14th, I had a post.  At first glance, I thought I had written something about my brother being shot the day …

On this day, 4 years ago.

On this day, 4 years ago. You can hear me read this by clicking below, or subscribing to the podcast at the end of this post. _________________________________________________________________ I don’t have such a memory for this day, 4 years ago. I didn’t post anything on social media on this day, 4 years ago. My dear friend …

3 Weeks & The Coma Diaries

Last year, triggered by a facebook memory, I started to write out each day of the 3 weeks that my brother Dana was in a coma. I started on August 13 – the day that he was shot. As each day unfolded, I sat pre-dawn of each morning and pulled up the memories from that …

Disabled Parenting Series: Ellen Ladau

An interview with Ellen Ladau!

Join Us: A Conversation with Authors of “Unexpected”

On Thursday May 27th, George Estreich and Rachel Adams will join Meriah in a LIVE Zoom/Facebook conversation about the book, “Unexpected.” Alison Piepmeier started the book and George and Rachel finished it after she passed on in 2016. Unexpected Unexpected is about parenting, prenatal testing, and Down syndrome. It is about our stories, choices and …

Fuck You, Oscars, Choosing an Octopus over the Disability Civil Rights Movement

they chose an octopus over the disability rights movement

Test Your Disability Knowledge! Watch “The Fundamentals of Caring”

This is a a review of the movie, The Fundamentals of Caring I think Paul Rudd is adorable so when I was scrolling around on Netflix tonight for something to watch in my precious downtime, and saw he was in a disability related movie, I pressed, "play" pretty fast. The Fundamentals of Caring I'm in [...]

Read Disabled Authors: 10 Disability Related Books for Your Pleasure

10 great disability related books by disabled authors, covering experience with paralysis, mental illness, chronic illness, deafness, blindness and more!

Reasons I Drink…

This is a personal post about spaces of feeling things so deeply we don't know how to process them. And about Alanis Morrisette and growing into middle age. Reasons I Drink I loved this song by Alanis Morrisette so much. Lyrics These are the reasons I drink The reasons I tell everybody I'm fine Even [...]

Feeling Through Movie: Reviewed by a Deafblind Woman

This is a review of the movie, "Feeling Through," by a Deafblind viewer, Lisa Ferris. This was originally posted as, "Short Film “Feeling Through” Feels Racist, Ablist, and Tired," on Lisa's personal blog, link in her bio below.   As a Deafblind woman, I was excited to hear the buzz that was afloat about an Oscar nominated [...]

Opportunities & Obstacles: Representations of Disability in Film and Media

Reflection and video from the Roundtable Discussion at Center for Disability Studies’ Pac Rim Conference

The Gift of a Moment: Understanding Difficult Times and Choices

This is an opinion post about recognizing and leaning into moments that can transform us, specifically, moments related to disability acceptance. If you want to hear me reading this, just click the link below. https://media.blubrry.com/meriahnicholsdisability/p/content.blubrry.com/meriahnicholsdisability/The-Gift-of-a-Moment.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download When I first started my job at UC Berkeley, coordinating a program in conjunction [...]

Call to Read: Unexpected, by Alison Piepmeier

This is a call to read "Unexpected," by Alison Piepmeier together. As I wrote on Instagram,             View this post on Instagram                         A post shared by Meriah is Unpacking Disability (@unpackingdisability) I've only started this book - finishing [...]

We Get The Child We Need

I think the Universe knows us better than we know ourselves, and we are always invariably given the child that we most need

The Hiring Chain

This is about "The Hiring Chain," a new video on hiring people with Down syndrome by Coor Down World Down Syndrome Day is March 21st This is because Down syndrome is 3 copies of the 21st chromosome (3/21!). On World Down syndrome Day, we celebrate the presence of people with Down syndrome in our world [...]

“The Sound of Metal” – A Review

The Sound of Metal is a movie about a man who is going deaf, his experience in learning ASL, Deaf-hood, then getting a cochlear implant. Deaf-reviewed here

Sex Education Resources that Target Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities

A guide to sex education resources that target people with intellectual and developmental disabilities – for self advocates, parents and educators

What Is An Intellectual Disability?

What is an intellectual disability, exactly? How can we tell what’s an intellectual disability or another type of disability? Is there a way to tell?

Traumatic Brain Injury: An Introduction from an Insider

A nifty little guide to traumatic brain injury and what it’s all about, by someone who has been living with traumatic brain injury

Billie Eilish In Sharp Focus: The World’s A Little Blurry

This is a review of the documentary on Billie Eilish, "The World's a Little Blurry." This review will talk about every aspect of this documentary, it's all spoilers! If you want to hear it read, click the link below. https://media.blubrry.com/meriahnicholsdisability/p/content.blubrry.com/meriahnicholsdisability/The-Worlds-a-Little-Blurry.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download The World's a Little Blurry... Billie Eilish is the [...]

Watch “Listen” Instead of “Music”

This is about Sia's movie, "Music," and the Autistic response to it with "Listen." The Movie, "Music" is a Mess This is what happened: the singer Sia wanted to make a movie about Autistics. She didn't cast an Autistic actor for the lead part, nor did she consult the Autistic community on the script or [...]

Movies About Rare Diseases and Disorders That Are Awesome

A plump and useful list of movies about rare diseases and conditions

How to Find a Disability Benefits Planner

This is about how to find a Disability Benefits Planner. We at Unpacking Disability are NOT disability benefits planners or experts in this;  we are only taking information that we know from personal experience or research and pulling it together for you. To subscribe to only the Social Security, ABLE, Medicaid and other benefits-related posts, [...]

What is a Disability Benefits Planner?

This is about what a Disability Benefits Planner is. We at Unpacking Disability are NOT disability benefits planners. We are only taking information that we know from personal experience or research and pulling it together for you. To subscribe to only the Social Security, ABLE, Medicaid and other benefits-related posts, click here If you want [...]

How to Grow Your Disability Pride

Striving to be non-disabled negates the value of disability pride & the gifts disability brings. But self-acceptance can be hard in an ableist world.

Love and Disability in the Movies: Disabled Love Movies for You to Watch!

This post is about love and disability in the movies - that is, love stories with disability intersections. Love and Disability in the Movies Hollywood loves disability (just not disabled actors). It also loves love. There are a lot of movies that have intersections of both love and disability; it's just super rare to have [...]

New WordPress Focuses on Accessibility

This is about recent Wordpress updates, with Version 5.6.1 focusing on accessibility. You can imagine my surprise when I sat down to work on a blog post, went to my Wordpress dashboard and there were updates. Well, that it needed updates was not the part that surprised me (it always needs updating!), it was that, [...]

How Do I Get SSI For My Child with a Disability

This is a question-and-answer post about getting SSI for a child with a disability. It's meant to break it down to make it easier to understand the how, why and wherefore's of this. This post includes useful links to SSA (Social Security Administration) to give you more thorough information. We at Unpacking Disability are NOT [...]

Spotlight On: Crip Camp Curriculum

This is about "Crip Camp Curriculum" which has sprung from the award-winning documentary, "Crip Camp." If you would like to hear this read, please click the link below. https://media.blubrry.com/meriahnicholsdisability/p/content.blubrry.com/meriahnicholsdisability/Crip-Camp-Curriculum-.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download The documentary Crip Camp came and bust open a million doors on what it means to be disabled, on the [...]

Do People With Down Syndrome Feel Pain Differently?

This addresses the question, "do people with Down syndrome feel pain differently?" and relates to pain tolerance of people with intellectual disability. If you want to hear this read, just click the link below. https://media.blubrry.com/meriahnicholsdisability/p/content.blubrry.com/meriahnicholsdisability/Pain-and-Down-Syndrome.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download When my daughter Moxie was about two years old, she wandered over to where [...]

Learning to Run

This is a personal post. It's available in distraction-free (- no ads) PDF for my patrons, linked here. It's also at the end of this post for people who benefit from access to PDF'. If you want to hear me reading this, just click the link below. https://media.blubrry.com/meriahnicholsdisability/p/content.blubrry.com/meriahnicholsdisability/Learning-to-Run.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download I learned how [...]

And I Cried Too

This is a personal post about the inauguration. If you want to hear it being read, click below. https://media.blubrry.com/meriahnicholsdisability/p/content.blubrry.com/meriahnicholsdisability/And-I-Cried-Too.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download Like millions of you, I started crying at the Inauguration ceremony of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. I started crying when Fire Captain Hall started to sign the Pledge of [...]

It Happened to Me: Reporting Income With SSDI!

This is about John's experience with SSDI, from becoming disabled, applying for and receiving SSDI to going back to work and not reporting income with SSDI. If you want to hear this read, just click the link below. https://media.blubrry.com/meriahnicholsdisability/p/content.blubrry.com/meriahnicholsdisability/John_s-Story.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download I’ll start with some transparency: my experience with Social Security [...]

Navigating Beyond The Four F’s of Disability Employment

This is about the "Four F's" of disability employment, particularly with employment of people with intellectual disabilities, and my own fears about my daughter's future. If you want to hear me reading this, just click the link below. https://media.blubrry.com/meriahnicholsdisability/p/content.blubrry.com/meriahnicholsdisability/The-Four-F_s.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download I woke up the other night at 2 in the [...]

The Difference Between SSI and SSDI

This is about the difference between SSI and SSDI. Disclaimer: we are not benefits planners here at Unpacking Disability. This is simply information gleaned from personal experience and research. You need and want to do your own research with the Red Book (- link in post), and consult with your own disability benefits planner if [...]

Disability Awareness Calendar 2021

This is a Disability Awareness Calendar 2021, which includes Disability Awareness Months and Disability Awareness Days. It also has some bonus (- non-disability-related) awareness months and days! There is a downloadable pdf included. Disability Awareness Months There are a lot of disability awareness months and disability awareness days throughout the year. It can get a [...]

The Gift of Harry Styles and Gen Z Neuro-Flexibility

This is an opinion post about the joy of Harry Styles, and the neuro-flexibility that the gen z generation seem to have. This post was originally written as "millennial" but then I realized that I was actually talking about Generation Z, not millennials! I fell in love with Harry Styles when I watched his video [...]

2020: Through the Muck (Year in Review)

This is a personal post, a recap of 2020. If you'd like to listen to me read this, just click below! http://2020.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download 2020 Has Got to Be The Most Hated Year of All Time Everyone hates 2020, am I right? It's the year that made us stay at home [...]

A Movie Like Run: Riveting, Representing and Rupturing

This is a review of the movie, Run, starring Sarah Paulson and Kiera Allan, which is currently playing on Hulu. Spoilers are in this review! WHOAH! Run: A Movie with Some Pop Run is the first move in a long time to star an actual wheelchair user in a lead role, and that's pretty exciting [...]

How to Enable Free Zoom Captions with Any Zoom Account

This is a tutorial for how to set up free captions on Zoom - any account on Zoom, including your personal free account. Update: enabling this has been difficult/not possible for some people. with their free accounts. I am not sure why, and Zoom itself is not forthcoming about why some people can enable this [...]

Tips for Universal Design in Academic Conferences

This is about universal design in academic conferences. It contains specific suggestions for how to improve universal access, that while specifically geared towards academic conferences, is applicable to all meetings This essay is available in distraction-free (- no ads) at the end of this post for people who benefit from access to PDF's. Disability and Universal [...]

100+ Disability Groups on Facebook That You’ve Been Looking For

This is about the best disability groups on Facebook. Disability Community on Facebook Disability community is crucial and is a powerful way for those of us with disabilities to make friendships from within our own respective disability communities and cross-disability. It's a way to find solutions to problems that are disability-specific, receive support and a [...]

“What The Hell is Going on, Meriah?!”

Gandhi once said* that we need to follow our personal truth in our quest for the best possible course of action. The thing is, the best possible course of action is not always a straight path. Moment by moment, the best course of action for us may change and as we keep ourselves aligned to …

ADA Lead On: Thanks to the ADA!

This is a YouTube playlist of the celebratory videos,"ADA Lead On" produced by Lights! Camera! Action! In honor of the 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disability Act. #ThanksToTheADA ADA Lead On

Nothing About Us Without Us: Disability and Global Expansion

This is a post about disability, the disability community (- both for people with disabilities and non-disabled parents of people with disabilities), and the opportunity that disability is. It's available in distraction-free (- no ads) PDF for my patrons, linked here. It's also at the end of this post for people who benefit from access to PDF'. [...]

An Update on Unpacking Disability with Meriah Nichols

This is a post on site changes. It's available in ad and image-free PDF at the end of the post. If you want to hear me reading this post, just click the link below. https://media.blubrry.com/meriahnicholsdisability/p/content.blubrry.com/meriahnicholsdisability/Update-on-Unpacking-Disability-with-Meriah-Nichols.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download This blog started off as Finding Ruby's Father, a place to chronicle my dating [...]

Resources to Explain Death and Grief to Person with Down Syndrome or Intellectual Disability

This is a post with resources to explain grief and loss to anyone with an intellectual or developmental disability, but focuses on explaining grief to people with Down syndrome. It's available in distraction-free (- no ads) PDF for my patrons, linked here. It's also at the end of this post for people who benefit from access to [...]

The Best Disability Groups on Facebook For PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES!

This is about the best disability groups on Facebook FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES. It's available in distraction-free (- no ads) PDF for my patrons, linked here. It's also at the end of this post for people who benefit from access to PDFs. Cross-Disability Community on Facebook "Cross disability" means all disability. It means inclusive of all [...]

Black Lives Matter: Beyond the Hashtag

This is about Black Lives Matter and uprooting racism in America. It's available in distraction-free (- no ads) PDF for my patrons, linked here. It's also at the end of this post for people who benefit from access to PDF'. If you want to hear me reading this, just click the link below. https://media.blubrry.com/meriahnicholsdisability/p/content.blubrry.com/meriahnicholsdisability/Beyond-the-Hashtag.mp3Podcast: Play in new [...]

Are The CDC Guidelines for Schools Reopening Too Much?

This is about the CDC guidelines for schools. It's available in distraction-free (- no ads) PDF for my patrons, linked here. It's also at the end of this post for people who benefit from access to PDF'. If you want to hear me reading this, just click the link below. https://media.blubrry.com/meriahnicholsdisability/p/content.blubrry.com/meriahnicholsdisability/CDC.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download [...]

It’s Like We Are in Time Out

This is a personal post. It's available in distraction-free (- no ads) PDF for my patrons, linked here. It's also at the end of this post for people who benefit from access to PDF'. If you want to hear me reading this, just click the link below. https://media.blubrry.com/meriahnicholsdisability/p/content.blubrry.com/meriahnicholsdisability/We-Got-Put-In-Time-Out.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download My Facebook feed [...]

MORE Fun & Highly Educational Stuff For Kids With Disabilities (and without!) to Do Inside

This post is a list of things of fun stuff for kids to do and that help during quarantine. It leans hard on "fun educational" and it addresses kids with disabilities. This is available in a downloadable PDF for my patrons, linked here. It's also at the end of this post for people who benefit [...]

The Misfits Who Rock and Rolled: A Review of Crip Camp

This post is a Crip Camp Review. This review is available in a downloadable PDF for my patrons, linked here. It's also at the end of this post for people who benefit from access to PDF'. If you want to hear me reading this, just click the link below. https://media.blubrry.com/meriahnicholsdisability/p/content.blubrry.com/meriahnicholsdisability/Talking-About-Crip-Camp-the-Misfits-Who-Rock-and-Rolled.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | [...]

Know Your Disability Rights and Disability Resources: DREDF

This is a quick post to let you know about DREDF's amazing resource and advocacy page. This is available in a downloadable PDF for my patrons, linked here. It's also at the end of this post for people who benefit from access to PDF's, along with the MP3 of me reading this post through my [...]

How to Communicate With Masks On (Because Lipreaders Are Screwed)

This post is about simple solutions to communicate like the deaf: that is, solutions to by-pass the need to lipread or hear, especially during this time of mask-wearing. This essay and resources are available in a downloadable PDF for my patrons, linked here. It's also at the end of this post for people who benefit [...]

The Best Speech to Text Apps for Live Captions & Recording

This post is about the best speech to text apps. That is, apps to be used on your phone for live captions, to change speech to text, in order to communicate (with the side benefit of recording information, conversations and notes). It is meant to serve as a resource for deaf or Deaf people (hearing [...]

Single Parents: We Better Hope We Don’t Get Sick

This is about single parents getting sick with Coronavirus. This is available in distraction-free downloadable PDF (and through my podcast) via my Patreon, linked here. It's also available at the end of this post, along with the podcast recording (of me reading this post). As a single mom with full custody of 3 kids, and [...]

We’ll Lose Our Rights and Our Lives if We Don’t Do Something NOW

This is about the 3rd Coronavirus bill which is being written by members of congress RIGHT NOW. Suggestions for reaching out and the reason to make sure they include people with disabilities are included in this post. A Twitter 101 sheet, and suggestions for tweets to get you going are included in the PDF to [...]

The Best Sites to Learn ASL Online for Adults, Kids, Homeschoolers

Learning ASL has never been so accessible

Funniest Family Movies of All Time

Need to laugh? This list has you covered!

4 Ways to Keep Calm & Carry On with Coronavirus

This is about practical ways to channel some of your coronavirus panic into productive action. This is available in distraction-free downloadable PDF (and through my podcast) via my Patreon, linked here. It's also available at the end of this post, along with the podcast recording. It's hard not to feel panic over Coronavirus. It's a [...]

15 Fun Things To Do With Kids While Quarantined at Home

These are ideas for fun things to do with kids while quarantined. Most of these ideas are related to being quarantined at home; a few are set outside, but still with quarantine in mind. There are affiliate links in this post - if you buy something, I will receive some small percentage of the profit, [...]

Lit League Disability Book & Movie Club: Being Heumann, by Judy Heumann

This is about the Lit League Disability Book & Movie Club pick for March, and the schedule! And lastly! This post is available via PDF and MP3 (with me reading it) on my Patreon site (linked here). Alternatively, you can find it at the end of this post. Judy Heumann is one of my personal [...]

Human Needs Are Not “Special”

This is about Human Needs Are Not "Special" - the concept and some products! Human Needs Are Not "Special" One of the things that upsets me is when disability rights, and the needs and opportunities of people with disabilities get lumped into a bandwagon of "special." Like, that there is something special about what every [...]

Patreon Update & Rewards

This is about Patreon and the update to my whole entire Patreon system, with new rewards. This post is also available via MP3 - scroll to the end to listen (or subscribe to my Podcast on iTunes or subscribe on Spotify) Patreon is a system in which people can help support a creator by way [...]

Cool Cat: RA Stone

Meet novelist, modern-witch, graphic designer and Interesting Person, RA Stone, in this Cool Cat, Voices from the Disability Community interview!

Culture, Disability and a Game Called Barnga

This is about culture, disability, and a game called Barnga. There is a free PDF of this essay to download if you'd like to read this without distractions.You can find it at the bottom of this page. I read this essay in my "podcast" which is also available at the end of this page. My [...]

Repeat After Me: “Disability Does Not Mean Inability!”

This is about the reality of living with a disability. This essay is available via PDF and MP3 (with me reading it) on my Patreon site (linked here). Alternatively, you can find it at the end of this post. It drives me crazy when people say stuff like, "people of all abilities," because they are [...]

How to Get Free Hearing Aids

This is about how to get free hearing aids. If you have questions about other resources or this, you can contact me in my "You Ask, I Answer," series or join my Patreon to ask questions in my monthly open-house. This post is available for download on my Patreon site (linked here). Alternatively, you can [...]

“37 Seconds” Came Busting Out of Japan and Knocked Me Over

This is about the Japanese movie, 37 Seconds, that is currently on Netflix. There are a few spoilers in this review. My friend Mellanie sent me a message the other day, asking if I'd ever seen 37 Seconds. I scuttled over and watched it, pronto. Here's the preview: 37 Seconds Movies that truly to seem [...]

This is YOUR DISABILITY STORY: What Do You Want it To Say?

This is a post about personal development, essentially. It is available via PDF and MP3 (with me reading it) on my Patreon site (linked here). Alternatively, you can find it at the end of this post. I woke up feeling kind of crappy. My body felt old, I feel like I never have enough energy [...]

How to Stop Your Child From Eloping: A Guide for Parents of Children with Autism and Down Syndrome

This is about ways to keep your bolting child safe. "Bolting", "eloping" or "child who runs away with abandon" - this post is about ways to keep the child who is a runner, safe. Your "Runner" - Keeping the Eloping Child Safe Bolting is very common with kids with Down syndrome and Autism. It's also [...]

“The Pretty One” by Keah Brown for February Read

This is a news post, announcing that the Lit League Disability Book & Movie Club has selected The Pretty One, by Keah Brown, as our February read. Keah Brown went and wrote a book that screams, "READ MEEEEEEEE," and so we shall! Details About "The Pretty One" "From the disability rights advocate and creator of [...]

“The Healing Powers of Dude” Made Me Feel Like a Grumpy Bitch

This is about a new show on Netflix called, "The Healing Powers of Dude." There are some spoilers in it! The Healing Powers of Dude has "good stuff" written all over it. A show geared for tweens, about a (white) kid with social anxiety, and his best friends in middle school are an Asian girl [...]

Repeat After Me: “I Am Not a Special Needs Mom!”

This is about being a "special needs parent" or a "special needs mom" and how and why that term is all wrong. My previous post on "I am Not a Special Needs Mom" is linked at the end of this post. Special Needs Moms "Special Needs Mom" is a term that is used by moms [...]

Activism Against Ableism: A Short Film on Everything You Need to Know

This is a short video explaining what ableism is, the basic pieces behind disability rights, and what having a disability is, what a disability is. What is Ableism? Ableism is  prejudice against people with disabilities. Ableism is real, and exists even among people with disabilities, as we can internalize the ableism that is rampant in [...]

“Why Bother?” She Asked

Why bother with anything when it’s all going to die anyway?

How Can a Parent Get Ahead When School is Always Out?

This is about the American school system and it's fundamental differences with working hours and higher ed. The American school system is fundamentally out of synch with the working hours that parents keep. It's even out of synch with higher education calendars. I noticed this of course in California, but this has slapped me in [...]

Down Syndrome Dandruff and Scalp Conditions

Summer Blog Hop Series: Disability and Special Needs posts

Down syndrome Groups on Facebook (That Can Change Your Life)

Every group you could ever want. And then some!

How to Open an ABLE Account: Save Money and Keep Disability Benefits

This is a post about how to open an ABLE account. It is a neutral post, not committed to any one type of ABLE account. It is a source of information and is not sponsored in any way. What is An ABLE Account? "ABLE" is an acronym meaning "Achieving a Better Life Experience". ABLE accounts [...]

Moxie is Moving!

This is a light, cute video post of Moxie having a conversation about her future. Moxie's got some plans, and she wants to talk about them. Mack's also wondering about some of those... as you will see! Moxie's Getting Married! Eze is Moxie's best friend - You know what I was saying years ago about [...]

What Two Photos Told Me

This is a personal post about change and learning, as viewed through the lens of the 10-year photo challenge I sat for a moment to do the 10 year challenge. That is, the challenge where you take a photo of yourself from 10 years ago - the end of the  "aughts" - with a photo [...]

How to Get a Free Movie Disability Companion Pass

This is about how to get a free disability companion pass at a movie theatre. I love going to the movies, and I love taking my kids to the movies. I love everything about it: the experience of being excited to see something, the anticipation while waiting in line. I love the comforting feel of [...]

How to Get Your FREE Lifetime National Parks Disability Access Pass (Military & 4th Grade Too)

This is about how to get a FREE lifetime National Parks Disability Access Pass. If you are serving with US Military or a 4th grader, you can also qualify for a free annual Parks Pass, and this post will show you how to do it! America has 61 protected areas known as National Parks and [...]

Top 9 of 2019: My Top 9 (and How to Make Yours!)

This is about the Top 9 on Instagram. There are links at the end of the post to where you can pull together your own image grid. Top 9 on Instagram If you have been active on Instagram through the course of a year, then the Instagram Top 9  is always a fun way to [...]

Rae Reviews: Stumble to Rise: a Memoir on Living with Multiple Sclerosis

Rae reviews the book, Stumble to Rise, in this post. Stumble to Rise is an autobiographical description of living a full life with multiple sclerosis (MS). Gina, the author, has a meaningful career, an active family and a stylish home. She describes both the medical and physical experience of MS (procedures, mobility issues) as well as [...]

Supporting Down Syndrome Owned Businesses

supporting companies owned by people with Down syndrome and/or allies of our community

Haben: Read the Book in December & Talk with Author in January

This is a post about the Lit League Disability Book & Movie Club's book pick for December. Decembe Pick: Haben The Lit League Disability Book and Movie Club has picked Haben: The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law for our December book! I reached out to the author, Haben Girma, and she has agreed to [...]

IEP 101: What Is An IEP and 5 Useful IEP Resources for Parents

This is a page full of IEP resources for parents. It contains links to IEP websites, IEP books, IEP “binders”, and IEP legal information that I have found helpful as I navigate IEPs. An Introduction to IEP 101  IEP: Individual Education Plan What Is An IEP? An IEP is the plan that is crafted between [...]

Gifts Made by People with Disabilities

The 2016 Ultimate Gift Guide for Disability – your personal guide to supporting businesses with a positive connection to disability – is here!

Dear Hearing World

This is a a video of a poem and performance about being Deaf in a hearing world. Dear Hearing World Dear Hearing World is a short film directed by Adam Docker, based on Raymond Antrobus’ poem by the same name. The film blends Raymond’s spoken words with music and deaf actress Vilma Jackson’s powerful and [...]

The Disability Organizations Doing the Best Work These Days

This is a list of the best disability organizations - that is, organizations doing great work with disability. It is updated from an original 2018 list. This is a handy list to have for Giving Tuesday, or if you want to connect with a great organization for an internship, do research on what leaders in [...]

Disney+ Disability Related Movies

This is about the best new disability-related content on the Disney+ streaming service. I will be updating this post as I watch or hear of more movies, so keep it bookmarked! Disney+ is out now. That is, the full vault of all of their movies, unleashed. In and of itself, that's huge, but they have [...]

How to Talk About Disability in Movies with Kids

This is about how to talk about disability in movies with kids. That is, how to talk with your kids about disability-related content that you see in movies and TV shows. It includes a free PDF "cheat sheet" and is also available through my podcast (both are linked at the end of the post). Whether [...]

Dana’s Place: An Update on My Career Trajectory

This is an update post about Dana's Place with an emphasis on my own career trajectory. I had been keeping my nose to the grindstone, plugging away and working, working, working when all of the sudden, I looked up and realized that I hadn't told you any of my plans. Like, I had somehow assumed [...]

I Bought A House!

This is a personal post. I've been dying to tell you guys, but nervous to jinx anything, so I waited until we were not only out of escrow, but have actually moved into our new home. And let me just repeat that: NEW HOME!   The kids and I are going from a yurt to [...]

This Is What Disability-Led Looks Like

This is about NMD United - Neuro Muscular Disabilities United, and their peer-based disability-led social media project, #IndependTips. This is primarily a vlog, a video interview between Brooklyn (of NMD United) and I about their project. The vlog is captioned. Somehow I started following NMD United on Instagram. I really don't know how it happened [...]

Cool Cat: haley brown

This is a Cool Cat: Voices from the Disability Community post. This is the series in which I ask cool people across the disability spectrum the same set of questions and have fun with the diversity of responses! Read the whole series, and maybe be a part of it yourself by clicking here. Cool Cat: [...]

Hearing Fatigue is Real & This is What You Can Do About It

This is about hearing fatigue - also known as listening fatigue. That is, the fatigue that comes from straining to hear when you've got hearing loss. This post includes tips for parents of deaf children and for deaf adults in how to resolve and prevent hearing fatigue. This post is available through distraction-free PDF and also [...]

Why I Switched From My ABLE-Now Account

This is a post about ABLE accounts and switching from an ABLE-now account to a different ABLE account I set up ABLE-now accounts for myself and for Moxie (those were links to posts that I wrote about setting up the accounts). I was really happy to do both, because I was actually paid by ABLE-Now [...]

Micah’s Autism Assessment in Hawaii: An Update

This is about getting an Autism Assessment - an assessment of where a child might be on the Autism Spectrum. It is available in distraction-free PDF and through my podcast (both linked at the end of the post). While I am confident that my oldest child, Micah, is somewhere on the Autism Spectrum, I don't [...]

Our Inaugural Zoom Chat with Author Jennifer Johannesen!

This is a video post with the first Book Club Chat, ever. The Lit League Disability Book & Movie Club picked No Ordinary Boy by Jennifer Johannesen for our October read. We tried out a Zoom meeting for the first time to chat with Jennifer about the book. This was my first Zoom book chat, [...]

Apple Watch & Disability: Accessibility Reviews from Users with Disabilities

This is about the Apple Watch and Disability. There are accessibility reviews and opinions by users with disabilities. You will also find a table that compares the Apple Watch Series 5 with the Series 3. There are affiliate links in this post, which means that if you buy something using a link from the post, [...]

The Gilmore Girls and The Lens of Time

My friend Maegan got me hooked on the Gilmore Girls. It's honestly pretty incredible that I somehow went through the 00's and never watched it. Like, NEVER. Never, ever, ever. There are two reasons why I never watched it: The spacing between Lauren Graham's nose and mouth bothered me I didn't like the font used [...]

“Help! My Son Keeps Eloping!” What Would You Do? A Community Disability Question

This is an Open Forum question, in which blog readers ask the COMMUNITY for answers to their problems. Today's question is from a mom of a man with Down syndrome. PS Names and identities have been changed to preserve privacy Hi. My son Jack  is fifteen and has Down Syndrome, and is non verbal. In [...]

“Love at Second Sight” Short Movie About Facial Difference and Love

This is about "Love at Second Sight", a short movie about facially different David Roche and his wife, Marlena Blavin David Roche was a featured Cool Cat on this blog in 2013 (read the interview linked here!) I have been a fan of his forever, for so many reasons. One, I think it takes real [...]

Mac iOS 13 Accessibility Updates

This is about the new Mac iOS13 Accessibility updates, and the disability related Memoji options Mac recently updated iOS 13. With the update, their Voice Over was expanded on. Here's a good short on some of the possibilities with the new Voice Over: iOS 13 Voice Over Update Here's a tutorial on how to use [...]

Video Series on Sex Education for People with Intellectual Disabilities

This is about the vibrant, engaging, powerful new video series that is a guide to practical sex education for people with intellectual disabilities and developmental disabilities. I have a daughter with Down syndrome. Having been raised with disabilities myself and been part of the extremely high percentage of deaf children and youth who are sexually [...]

Samsung Commercial for DeafBlind in India: “Caring for the Impossible”

This is about Samsung commercial for DeafBlind in India. The commercial is called, "Caring for the Impossible." Samsung produced an ad a while ago called, "Hearing Hands." It was about a deaf guy in Turkey, whose community all of the sudden learned sign language to communicate with him. While I was interested in the product [...]

Here’s How DeafBlind Enjoy Music

This is a post about how DeafBlind enjoy music. It includes a video from YouTube on the DeafBlind music enjoyment experience. I am deaf and I pretty much live for music. I also love dancing (and used to live for that!). I  have been asked many, many times how I can enjoy music if I [...]

Disabled Moms Interview Project: DeafBlind Mom Lisa Ferris

DeafBlind Mom: Lisa Ferris I am super happy to meet Lisa Ferris through this interview. I love her sensibility, practicality, and humor. I'll bet you will, too. ** This interview with Lisa Ferris  is available both in distraction-free pdf and through my podcast at the end of this post ** If you are a mom [...]

How to Use Apple Clips for Live Captions

This is a tutorial on how to add live captions to the free app,  Apple clips. I'm going to cover how to add set it to live transcribe what you are saying, and how you can edit the "craptions," or what was recorded in error. This is the thing: I can rarely understand videos that [...]

Nyle DiMarco: That Dangerous Activist, Destroying the Deaf Community

A new post is calling Nyle DiMarco’s campaign for ASL acquisition for deaf kids, “dangerous”

9 Powerful Disability TED Talks to Unlock & Blow Your Mind

This is a collection of some 9 powerful disability TED talks that will make you go, "ah-ha!" They also happen to be my favorite disability TED talks. I'm a list junkie, so it's sort of a list for you and sort of for me, to have all the stuff I love in one place. I [...]

Book Club Pick for October: No Ordinary Boy

The book club is back, and we're set to read  No Ordinary Boy, by Jennifer Johannesen and discuss it in two ways: Through Zoom (video conferencing, free) on October 20th at 2pm Eastern WITH THE AUTHOR - meeting information and invitation at the end of this post) Through Facebook Group chat on October 23 at [...]

The Kindness Calendar and Kindness Bucket Lists (Free Printables)

This is about the Kindness Calendar, which can be used at any time of course, but it was made with Down Syndrome Awareness Month in mind. It has been updated to include a new (free) printable with graphics and a pdf list (which might for easier reading for some people), Down Syndrome Awareness Month: Down [...]

That Teacher Carrying a Wheelchair Using Student

This is a post about the viral story of a teacher carrying a wheelchair using student on a school field trip. Updated 9/27 to include additional thoughts, and a note from the child's mom at the end of the post. Jim Freeman, a teacher at Tully Elementary School in Kentucky, recently carried a wheelchair-using student, Ryan [...]

Greta Thunberg and the Gift of Autism

This is a post about Greta Thunberg and the gift of Autism, the power of neurodiversity. Greta Thunberg is a 16 year old Swedish activist who is on the Autism spectrum. She is one of the powerful young leaders who recently addressed the United States Congress and the United Nations about climate change, demanding action: [...]

Able: A New Series About Disability in the Entertainment Industry on Amazon

This is about Able, the new series regarding disability in the media on Amazon. ABLE is a series of interviews between Kallen and Alie, the producers of the show, and actors with disabilities. It is not a show itself, it's not a sitcom, it's not like Special or Speechless. It's a series of short interviews [...]

How to Get Amazon Prime with EBT or Medicaid

Affiliate links are in this post! That means that if you buy something using a link in my post, I’ll get a percentage of the profit from Amazon (thanks Jeff!), but you pay no more. It’s a great way to support the work I do, so thanks! Amazon Prime Membership with an EBT or Medicaid [...]

Peanut Butter Falcon Isn’t For Everyone. Here’s Why

This is a movie review of Peanut Butter Falcon. There are spoilers in it. Sort of. Not really. But sort of. Peanut Butter Falcon Peanut Butter Falcon is fundamentally a story of adventure and friendship, of healing and connection. A lot of people and places are talking about this movie, so I thought I'd just [...]

Disabled Moms Interview Project, Featuring Stacy Cervenka

Disabled Moms: An Interview Project In honor of Mother's Day, I ran an interview series with other moms with disabilities throughout the month of May. I enjoyed this so much that I thought I'd keep rolling with it and keep introducing you to cool moms who have disabilities! This interview with Stacy Cervenka  is available [...]

Book Review of Say Something, by Peter H. Reynolds

This is a book review of Say Something, by Peter H. Reynolds. This is a children's book. There are affiliate links in this post (read more about my disclosure policy here) I am always looking for quality books for my children to engage with. In these troubled times, I also look for quality books that [...]

Understanding the Connection Between Flowers and Stars

This is a post about grief. I'll never forget driving to the Bay Area from Redding. Dana had been released from this life. Mom, Dana's daughters and I had dealt with the Sheriff's office for hours - since Dana had been shot in Humboldt county, and since the bullets were still in him when he [...]

Mauna Kea, Being a Hawaiian Ally, and Teaching Kids to be Allies

This is a post about what it means to be an ally. It attempts to explain the situation that is currently happening on Mauna Kea with the Hawaiians. It also talks about how to teach your kids to be allies and how to involve them, including your kids who have disabilities. What and Where is [...]

How to Be an Ally to People with Disabilities

This is a post about how to be an ally to people with disabilities. It is available in distraction free pdf at the end of the post, as well as through my podcast. Disability is often overlooked in the quest for wokeness. Race, class, gender, sexual orientation are often more readily apparent than disability, carry [...]

The Highlanders of Kalmar County

This is an image-heavy travel post When my Grandpa Jack passed on, we found many, many photos. They were photos of three laughing young women and one man. They were photos of their adventures. The photos are almost uncanny in how they capture their spirit, playful sense of fun, and the the skill with which [...]

Book Review: “No Ordinary Boy” by Jennifer Johannesen

I am re-publishing this review of No Ordinary boy because it is Owen's birthday. He would be 21 if he were alive today. In commemorating her son, Jennifer is offering No Ordinary Boy free as a PDF. It is linked at the end of this post. No Ordinary Boy No Ordinary Boy is a relatively [...]

Should You Buy Hearing Aids From Costco?

A pro/con piece on buying hearing aids from Costco

The Truth About Bullets

On guns, grief and the truth the stories don’t tell

Midsummer in Sweden

Herring pie, leaf drenched phallic poles, songs that involve frogs and glorious flowers and light: what’s not to love?

Denmark: Strawberries, Vikings & Really Good Licorice

Over a hundred photos and stories of our time in Denmark

The Longest Ride of Our Lives

a long train ride

Krakow: The City With Multiple Personalities

One day in Krakow

Invisible Disability and Getting Burned Out in Budapest

How we travel with invisible disabilities

The Absolute, Very Best Part of Budapest

a little girl and her family

Disability Access in Budapest

This is about disability access in Budapest. It includes deaf access in Budapest, blind access, and physical access in Budapest. There are links to helpful organizations and other posts at the end of this article. Budapest was a real shock for me after the Netherlands, because one country (- the Netherlands) is the absolute best [...]

It Took a Deaf Lady in Budapest

This is a photo-heavy travel post about Budapest I was fascinated by so much that I saw in Budapest. The grocery stores, markets, food marzipan something something? holding that marzipan hawaii mix! breads at the mini market marizipan shop meat at the market some kind of ice cream hungarian langos hungarian chipschips my kids were [...]

Susie, Budapest, and Getting My Ass Kicked

This is a travel post about arriving in the train station Budapest and finding our way to the Air B n' B through public transport. Budapest dazzled and intrigued me as we stepped off the train at the Kaleti station. Like a glorious glass lace building, it’s arches soared and sunlight poured in. It was [...]

On the Night Train to Budapest

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Disability Access in Holland

This is a travel post about physical access in Holland (the Netherlands). It includes opinion about Dutch euthanasia, eugenics and the differences between the Netherlands and the United States with regard to disability rights and access. You know how you don't really miss something you've never had? Like, you kind of bumble around life, stumble [...]

Welcome to Holland

This is a travel post. In the Down syndrome community, there is a famous missive called, "Welcome to Holland." It was written in the 80's by Emily Perl Kinglsey (who was a writer at Sesame Street - you can thank her for a lot of the inclusion that went on there). A lot of people [...]

Disabled Moms Interview Project with Sandi Parsons

Disabled Moms Interview Project, featuring Sandi Parsons

Square Pegs in a Round Peg World: The Power of the Neurodiverse

This is about the value and power of neuro-diversity, with Down syndrome and Asperger's being used as examples. This is available for free in PDF form and through my podcast, both linked at the end of this post. To receive a PDF bundle of each month's blog posts from me, connect with my Patreon. A [...]

Have Disability, Will Travel

We're leaving for Europe soon.  It occurred to me recently that this is kind of funny, with regard to disability. All of us except for one person (- Mack, my youngest child), has a disability! We've got my mom, who has an Acquired Brain Injury, PTSD, post concussion syndrome and dizziness and balance issues (related [...]

Disabled Moms Interview Project: Featuring Lorna Duff-Howie

Disabled Moms Interview Project, featuring Lorna Howie-Duff

You Ask, I Answer: How Can You Talk About Mental Illness?!

Talking about mental health

A Short Film About A Man with Down Syndrome Exploring Tokyo Pushes Boundaries

A short film about a man with Down syndrome exploring Tokyo

Disabled Moms Interview Project: Featuring Kari Turner

Disabled Moms Interview Project, featuring Kari Turner

Mom Talk: Disabled Moms Interview Project Featuring Pauline Victoria

Disabled Moms: An Interview Project In honor of Mother's Day, I'm running an interview series with other moms with disabilities! I went first with my own interview (linked here, which includes the podcast and distraction-free PDF). If you are a mom with a disability and would like to participate, please download the questions here, and [...]

On a Blue Butterfly We Will Fly

This is a post about missing my brother Dana, and birthdays. When you have lost someone you love, I think it's impossible to move through the world the same as you did before you lost them. Everything takes on new meaning - the feather that you see by your foot, the rainbow that bursts from [...]

Mother’s Day Disabled Mama Interview Series: I’ll Go First

In honor of Mother's Day, I'm running an interview series with other moms with disabilities! It' s going to be awesome. I'll go first, answering the same general questions that I've posed for everyone. This is going to be available in distraction-free PDF at the end of this post, and through MP3 in my Podcast. [...]

My Podcast is Live!

I started a "podcast" - which is really just me reading my posts into a microphone and making an MP3 out of it. It's kind of fun doing it.  I loaded it on to iTunes and they actually approved it for public consumption! So you can listen or subscribe or whatever it is that people [...]

Netflix’s “Special” Packs a Punch

Cerebral Palsy, sex, being gay: what’s not to love?!

Why I Want to Start a Cat Sanctuary Now

This is a post about why I want to start a Cat Sanctuary now. There are many photos in this post, which I have described in the alt-tags. This post is not available in PDF, but a version of this will be available in my podcast. There is a vlog at the end of this [...]

What People First Language Is (& Why and When It’s WRONG)

This is an essay about People First Language, explaining what it is, how it came to be, and how it has evolved. There is an MP3 from my new podcast of me reading this post - scroll to the bottom for it. There is also a distraction-free PDF of this essay for you to download [...]

You Ask, I Answer: What’s the Deaf Experience Like?

Talking about being deaf

When My Son Told Me He Thinks He is on the Autism Spectrum…

This is an essay about my son, Asperger's and diagnoses relating to disability. This essay is available in distraction-free PDF and an MP3 of me reading it. Click here or the button below. {{ vc_btn: title=PDF%2FMP3&shape=round&color=info&link=url%3Ahttps%253A%252F%252Fgum.co%252FgXHyR%7C%7Ctarget%3A%2520_blank%7C }} “Mommy,” my eldest son said as we were driving, “I just read a book about a kid who [...]

Disability Hierarchy is Real and It’s Holding Us Back

This is a post about disability hierarchy: what it is and what to do about it. I have this post available to you in distraction-free pdf as well as an mp3 of me reading this post. Click the link below if you want either and you can download it there for free. Download the PDF [...]

What You Really Mean When You Say “All Abilities”

These are things that I see while reading around the internet - "Playgrounds can often be an overwhelming and stressful place for kids with special needs, so Donna opened a sensory gym that caters to children of all abilities!""The determination to see past what you can’t do and focus on each individual’s capacity to achieve [...]

Cutting Special Olympics is a Smoke Screen: Here’s Where the Real Issues Are

Secretary of Education (and champion of no education) Betsy DeVos is proposing to completely eliminate all $18 million of government funding for Special Olympics and then pump $60 million into Charter schools. At the same time, the Trump administration is trying to completely eliminate the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare") and slash Social Security. This affects [...]

Rare Birds: Children with Down Syndrome

We've been traveling around Maui and Lana'i for the past 10 days, and I have noticed something with regard to Moxie. I've noticed that while there are a few people who look at her with pity or take a step back, the vast majority of people that we interact with seem to be eager to [...]

We Are Going to Europe!

First of all, let me jump and down and squeeeeeeeel: we are going to Europe!!we are going to Europe!!we are going to Europe!! !!!!!!!! Here are the nuts and bolts: My mom is taking the kids and I on a Heritage Tour: we're going to go to all of the places where her family is [...]

Beyond Dr. Phil: #100Outof100 and Interabled Relationships

"Interabled" is the word for a relationship in which one person is disabled and the other is abled.* (see footnote). Anyone with a disability who is in a relationship is in an "interabled" relationship. That includes us deaf folk, people with Down syndrome, the blind, neuro-diverse, everyone. If any of us are in a relationship [...]

It’s Time to Change Our Understanding of What Disability Is

This is an essay about grief, about disability, ableism, what disability means, and what I think the root of grief related to disability stems from. This is available for free via PDF at the end of this post, and you can hear me read this by clicking the player directly under this. https://media.blubrry.com/meriahnicholsdisability/p/content.blubrry.com/meriahnicholsdisability/It_s_Time_to_Change_Our_Understanding_of_What_DIsability_Is.mp3Podcast: Play in [...]

Reasons to Celebrate: New Video for World Down Syndrome Day #LeaveNoOneBehind

CoorDown Onlus has released “Reasons to celebrate" video with the world today! Reasons to Celebrate This video had me in tears because it nails exactly how I feel right now. I want to celebrate the fact that my daughter and her tribe are these really cool people who have gifts, skills, talents and awesomeness to offer [...]

Papaya Trees, Dreams & Things

I know I just wrote a post about having a dream with Dana, but I can't help it. I had another dream last night, and in it, Dana and I were hanging out and talking about things we were going to do. In my dream, I wanted to tell Dana that he had died, but [...]

Lit League March Book Club Choice: Care Work

The book club is back, and we're set to read Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha. Care Work We looked through all of the books we could think of, and all recommended by others in the Lit League, and only polled the books that were both fully physically accessible and economically accessible [...]

The 3:21 Pledge is Helping Scholars with Down Syndrome

This month is Developmental Disability Awareness Month, and I think that one of the biggest learning curves people for understanding Developmental Disabilities is that having a developmental disability DOES NOT mean that someone can't learn. It does not mean that someone isn't smart, or can't learn, or can't continue to learn for their entire life. [...]

Dana’s Place: An Update in the Here and Now

I had a dream last night. In it, my brother Dana was doing something in the kitchen of a restaurant and was busy banging around some some big pots and pans. I was in the kitchen as well, working and happy to be working around him. After a while, he just left without saying anything [...]

Rae Reviews: You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone, by Rachel Lynn Solomon

Rae Hower reviews the book, You'll Miss Me When I'm Gone, in this post. You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone, by Rachel Lynn Solomon You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone is about twin sisters whose mother has Huntington’s disease. It takes place during their senior year of high school. The sisters must decide whether to [...]

Staring Back, Resistance and Hope or Brilliant Imperfection?

I'm having all kinds of problems with my site right now, so I'm going to send this out quick! The image links to the book on Amazon where you can read more about each. Would you rather read: Staring Back: 400 pages of stories, poems, short fiction and more from over 30 writers across the [...]

9 Great Children’s Books About Down Syndrome

This is a post about great children's books about Down syndrome. Children's Books About Down Syndrome Stories are a wonderful way to explain Down syndrome to a child, Good children's books find ways to convey the complexity - and simplicity - of Down syndrome, and they bring home the humanity of us all. I've personally [...]

Rae Reviews: Rare is Everywhere, by Deborah Katz

Rae Hower reviews the book, Rare is Everywhere, in this post. Rare is Everywhere Rare is Everywhere is a children’s book about unusual animals like blue lobsters, spotless cheetahs and white tigers. The point, according to the book jacket, is to teach children “about diversity and how our differences make us spectacular.” I love this! [...]

You Ask, I Answer: How Do I Get Services for My Disabled Child?

Tips on getting services

Rae Reviews: Great Books About Rare Diseases and Disorders

This fantastic list of books about rare diseases and disorders that you might be interested in reading was pulled together by Rae Hower. Rae is joining me to coordinate the Disability Book & Movie Club. Get to know her through her bio at the end of this post, and please enjoy this awesome list. Don't forget: [...]

About that Late Term Abortion Story…

In a recent viral story, a woman who had a late term abortion talks about why it made sense to her to abort her baby (the links are at the bottom of this post). It seemed to me to be an uninformed choice being passed off as a kind, sound decision, and that rubbed me [...]

3 Ways to Help Stop Disabled Kids from Getting Killed at School

This post is about violence against kids with disabilities in schools. This just happened: This clip is about violent things that teachers said to and about the children with disabilities with which they are in charge of in school. Another post on this is linked here (and contains a transcript of the audio). This is [...]

Why I’m Glad the Doctor Told Me to Abort My Baby with Down Syndrome

In 2009, I went to the hospital for a 14-week scan of the fetus that I was carrying. The scan showed that she had diffuse fetal hydrops - there was fluid separating all of her skin and her body - and holes in her heart. She was given a zero percent chance of being born [...]

Disability Movie Club Movie for February: Brain On Fire

Hey Everybody! It's February now, and we have our movie to watch! Rae suggested "Brain On Fire" and that looks really awesome. It's the true story of Susannah Canahan, and how her rare brain disorder came about: Netflix Trailer for Brain On Fire Our Timeline for Watching and Discussing: February: watch Brain on Fire on [...]

Love and Disability (and Divorce)

I used to love dating so much that I would go out almost every night. I'd tell the stories of my dates to my friends and someone suggested I write them down. That's how my first blog started. What I loved about dating was getting to know people. I loved their stories. I used to [...]

Here’s What Will Help You With Your Grief

A mostly-material smorgasbord of things that have helped me with grief.

Nyle DiMarco Does it Again with Ariana Grande’s 7 Rings!

Awww, Nyle DiMarco! I love him! Check this out, the backstory behind why he decided to make an ASL version of Ariana Grande's 7 Rings:             View this post on Instagram                         A post shared by Nyle DiMarco (@nyledimarco) [...]

Searching for the Rainbow: Parenting with C-PTSD

Trigger warning: this post describes aspects of C-PTSD and pieces of the mental wellness puzzle. My daughter shrieked. It was that air-tearing, earth-ripping shriek that she gives when she is mad and won't reach for words, it's the shriek that always fills me with fear for her future, that someone will hear that and think [...]

The Best Books on Understanding Traumatic Brain Injury

Here are some of the best books on understanding traumatic brain injury, traumatic brain injury symptoms, traumatic brain injury recovery, and just overall traumatic brain injury awareness. They are written from my perspective as being a person who lives with traumatic brain injury (TBI). Most of these books are linked to Amazon, which means if [...]

That Time When I Underestimated My Daughter with Down Syndrome…Again

I am not a newbie to the world of disability. I have disabilities myself. I have tons of friends with disabilities. I have worked  in the disability arena. In fact, I was working at UC Berkeley - the home of the disability rights movement - when I had the amniocentesis that told me that my [...]

Things Disabled People Know – #ThingsDisabledPeopleKnow

This is an awesome hashtag thread created by Imani Barbarin on Twitter! #ThingsDisabledPeopleKnow

My Law of Attraction Project Planner: Review

This is a post about My Law of Attraction Project Planner. It is not a sponsored post; I purchased this planner myself and am currently using it. I love the concepts of the Law of Attraction (read Ask and it is Given for the big scoop). In a nutshell, the Law of Attraction is about [...]

You Ask, I Answer: Why Come Out as Disabled if You Can “Pass”as Non-Disabled?

This post is from my ongoing question-and-answer series, "You Ask, I Answer" in which I take questions that you send me and attempt to answer them (this might be a good time to say if you have a question, go ahead and write me here! It's all anonymous) Reader asks,  You don't look like you [...]

A Review of the Phoenix Journal, a Planner for Personal Transformation

This is a post about The Phoenix Journal - the Daily Calendar & Agenda to Achieve Goals, Boost Happiness & Productivity - Gratitude Journal, Habit Tracker, Roadmap .  It is not a sponsored post; I purchased this planner myself and am currently using it. The Phoenix Journal 12 Week Planner I was originally completely mystified by [...]

BirdBox: A Movie with Blind Advantage, from a Deaf Perspective

This post is about the Netflix movie, BirdBox. Don't read this post if you hate spoilers, because it's full of them! My good friend came over the other day and we watched BirdBox together (pausing all the way through to make sure our kids weren't watching, that they were playing nicely, for our own popcorn [...]

hauʻoli makahiki hou

It's 2019. I just had the best night with the kids celebrating New Years with our friends, lighting fireworks and eating so much delicious food that seemed like a culmination of local Hawaiian food (laulau! Portuguese bean soup! adobo! ambrosia!). We are so blessed. And happy. 2019. A new start. I keep thinking about this [...]

Why Nyle Di Marco Needs a Wheelchair

Photo Courtesy of the Daily Mail Nyle DiMarco, man of ultra-hotness, recently used Delta for his transportation needs (lucky them). Now, Nyle went and told Delta that he is Deaf. In response, Delta  met him as he disembarked from his airplane, and had a wheelchair ready for him to use! Plenty of us have been [...]

Do You Want to Help the Disabled or Less Fortunate? Read These Tips First!

While I was in church a while ago, there was a call for money to help poor people in "3rd world countries," people who were not so fortunate as to "live the American dream." This echoed a call in my kid's school for small things to put into a shoebox and have shipped to a [...]

7 of the Best Plastic Straw Alternatives for Replacing Plastic Straws

This is a post about the best plastic straw alternatives. There are affiliate links in this post. Read more in my disclosure. Replacing Plastic Straws: The Best Plastic Straw Alternatives 2018 was full of debate about plastic straws and what they mean for us in the disability community (read this one by Alice Wong to [...]

The Interviewer: This Disability-Related Short Film Will Blow Your Mind!

I don't really want to talk about this before you watch it. So please watch it! The Interviewer Now that you've watched it, I'd love to hear what you thought about it! Buy A Copy of It For Yourself or Your Company

How to Force Yourself to Be More Grateful

If your heart is busting with gratitude - if you truly feel it in you - you won't actually have room for any other emotion. You can't be grateful and angry at the same time, it's impossible. It's one or the other. Grateful or angry. Grateful or jealous. Grateful or miserable. Grateful or_____ (fill-in the [...]

The Best Captioned Fitness Programs

This post is about the best captioned fitness programs, focusing on BeachBody. There are affiliate links in this post. Nothing is linked that I don't use myself. Wellness and fitness are very important to me. Not just because I like the feeling of being strong, but because it directly heals my complex post traumatic stress [...]

Surfer’s Healing: Teaching Kids with Disabilities to Ride the Waves!

Surfer's Healing is an organization that was started by a surfer who had a kid with Autism. He wanted to be able to  give all kids with Autism (and other disabilities) the experience of riding the waves. So he set it up, and it's all over the place. The way it works is that they [...]

10 Dumb Things the Hearing Say to the Deaf

10 dumb things the hearing say to the deaf… plus the bonus braille menu!

The Best Planner for a Blogger

This is a review post of Erin Condren Teacher's Deluxe Planner, used for blogging purposes. I was given the planner to review, but all opinions are my own. There are affiliate links in this post. As a mom, a blogger and as a person with traumatic brain injury (TBI), I am constantly looking out for [...]

You Ask, I Answer: How Do I Help the Disabled?

This post is from my ongoing question-and-answer series, "You Ask, I Answer" in which I take questions that you send me and attempt to answer them (this might be a good time to say if you have a question, go ahead and write me here! It's all anonymous) Reader asks,  I want to help the [...]

Love Counts Chromosomes

If we were to see Love as the infinite power and creative spirit behind all existence, If we were able to see, hear and touch all that Love expresses as Love interacts with our children with Down syndrome, I think the poem would go something like this Love counts chromosomes Love sees us all as [...]

Sex and Down syndrome!

I think we should be talking more about sexuality and Down syndrome, talking more about sex and Down syndrome. First, I want to talk a little about two nuggets that I feel address  this subject most wonderfully. Yo Tambien I watched the Spanish movie, "Me Too" (- Yo Tambien). recently (available on Netflix). It's about a [...]

People with Down Syndrome Can Be Assholes Too

I noticed a few things floating around Facebook recently about how a lot of people think that Down syndrome is such a tragedy, but it could be worse... they could be an asshole Some of the memes are a definite jab back at the person who was making some totally thoughtless comment like, "what could [...]

Vlogger with Down Syndrome is Busy Changing Perceptions

A Vlogger with Down Syndrome! Maria Jose Paiz Ariaz, a Panamanian vlogger with Down syndrome is shaking things up! Maria vlogs (- captures short videos as a blog) for the news site, La Prensa, covering everything from her views on adults with Down syndrome to Flor Mizrachi (who is Flor Mizrachi??). Here's a teaser, produced [...]

Lit League Disability Book & Movie Club: Unrest

A quick note - we'll be watching Unrest (available on Netflix streaming) this week, with a Twitter Chat on 10/27 See The Calendar for complete details for all the books and movies planned, and make sure to join the Facebook group! Twitter Chat: 10/27: 11am Pacific, 2pm Eastern I'm @meriahnichols Use hashtag #UnrestMovie so we [...]

That Down Syndrome Angel!

Down syndrome angel, angel and Down syndrome. Whether it's a person with Down syndrome being compared to an angel or angels being people with Down syndrome, I'm not sure, but angels are linked to Down syndrome like peanut butter is to jam. It comes from people outside the Down syndrome community. Perhaps "angel" is used because [...]

What is Inspiration Porn?

This is a post on Inspiration Porn from my ongoing question-and-answer series, "You Ask, I Answer" in which I take questions that you send me and attempt to answer them (this might be a good time to say if you have a question, go ahead and write me here! It's all anonymous) Reader asks,  What [...]

My Daughter Doesn’t Happen to Have Down Syndrome

A person "happens to have" small and inconsequential things. Like, they "happen to have" a propensity for chocolate milk, they "happen to have" a love of power ballads. Maybe they "happen to have"  freckles. You don't "happen to have" something that will affect every aspect of your life, like Down syndrome does. You just HAVE [...]

A Short History of the Disability Rights Movement

The Disability Rights Movement is an integral part of US American history. This post is a very, VERY short summary of what it was/is, with the best videos out there on it, and some suggested resources for more information. Read more and investigate the links at the end of the post! The Disability Rights Movement [...]

The King’s Speech Discussion Questions

The Lit League (Riveting Book & Movie Club with Disability Intersections) chose The King's Speech to watch and discuss. We'll be discussing it on Twitter on FRIDAY, OCTOBER 5, 8pm CT (that's 9pm EST, 6pm PST and 3pm my Hawaiian time 🙂 ) How to Participate:  Start your answer to Q1 with A1, and include #TheKingsSpeech in [...]

Telling, a Poem by Laura Hershey

What you risk telling your story: You will bore them. Your voice will break, your ink spill and stain your coat. No one will understand, their eyes become fences. You will park yourself forever on the outside, your differentness once and for all revealed, dangerous. The names you give to yourself will become epithets. Your [...]

The Best Down Syndrome Awareness Videos

This post is specifically about videos for promoting Down Syndrome Awareness, and they are all easily accessible on YouTube. This post will be updated as new videos come out or are recommended. The Best Down Syndrome Awareness Videos For Kids Not Special Needs Awesome, super funny 2:00 short that's great for anyone, really Everyone Counts: [...]

8 Things To Do For Down Syndrome Acceptance!

This post is about things you can do to help raise awareness and acceptance for Down syndrome. This post targets Down Syndrome Awareness Month, Developmental Disability Awareness Month and World Down Syndrome Day. The ideas suggested in this post include both easier and harder ideas on how to focus your attention in the direction of [...]

Where I’m Going, What I’m Planning: A Personal Post

It's been a while since I've written a personal post on this blog, isn't it? I've been pretty busy with the lists and resources and things that are useful. But I realized that I haven't caught up with all of you who are my friends and who have been with me for so long here. [...]

The Best Down Syndrome T-Shirts

Down syndrome t-shirts are wearable advocacy, and I've got a smattering of the best Down syndrome t-shirts for you! Donning garments with bold statements that testify to our beliefs (and allow others to question theirs) is an easy way to help promote acceptance. 100% of all profit go to support starting the Big Island Parent [...]

Representation Matters! Tea Collection & $100 Clothing Giveaway

This is about Tea Collection and Down syndrome. There are affiliate links in this post (meaning if you click on a photo that leads you to Tea Collection and make a purchase from there, I will get a percentage of their profit - but you pay no more than you would have). Affiliate links are [...]

“Deaf Not Disabled” and other Things from “Deaf Out Loud”

This post is about the new reality series, Deaf Out Loud. Watch out for spoilers and opinions! I have only recently "discovered" Switched at Birth and had no idea how much it would mean to me to see deaf people like me in a show (my post about Switched at Birth is linked here). I [...]

Reflections from an ADA Generation by Rebecca Cokley

This post is about an awesome TED talk that Rebecca Cokley gave about the ADA Generation. It's based on the YouTube video of her TED talk. I was just going to post it on my Facebook page, but after watching it, I realized that I wanted to keep this video circulating, so it really needed [...]

Down Syndrome Breastfeeding Resources, Stories & Encouragement

This post is about Down syndrome and breastfeeding. It is written from my perspective as a mother. I breastfed my daughter with Down syndrome for 2 years, and breastfed my two typically developing sons. While I am pro-breastfeeding, breastfeeding was not an easy experience for me, nor did it come easily. The purpose of this [...]

What the Teen Vogue Article on Disabled Models Tells Us

Teen Vogue just ran an article about the new face of fashion: disabled models. Written by disabled activist Keah Brown, the article highlights 3 disabled models: Chelsea Warner (who has Down syndrome), Mama Cax (an amputee), and Jillian Mercado (who has spastic muscular dystrophy). Teen Vogue and Disabled Models: The Teen Vogue article on disabled [...]

How to Tell if Your Child With Down Syndrome Needs Therapy

This post is about how to tell if your child with Down syndrome needs therapy. It is written from my perspective as a mother of a child with Down syndrome. That I am deaf and come from a disability-advocate standpoint, I am sure also affect the perspective from which I write. How to Tell if [...]

Why I Switched from Bluehost to Siteground

This post is about moving hosting from Bluehost to Siteground. I'm an affiliate with both. Hopefully this post will provide some clarity for those who are wondering which to use, and how to go about shifting hosts. Background on Bluehost I had my blog hosted with Bluehost for close to 10 years. I started with [...]

The Impact of Disability on Siblings : The Story of Dana and Meriah

Here is the story of growing up with my brother Dana, first published on March 12, 2012. Dana left this world on Labor Day, 2016. ________________________________________________________________ I went through the windshield of a car when I was four years old, back in the day when seatbelts were charming accessories. The glass shredded my face, the head-on collision …

Loving Vincent: A Review of a 65,000 Painting Movie

I am a member of Netflix #DVDNation. This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are of course, my own. #ad This post is about the movie, Loving Vincent, which I watched  through DVD Netflix. I am writing this as Netflix is celebrating 20 years of being in our lives (visit the Netflix 20th Anniversary Page [...]

The Right Things to Say to Someone with a Chronic Illness

This post is a collection of what to say to someone with a chronic illness. To be clear, it's a collection of the RIGHT things to say to someone with a chronic illness because WRONG things are said way too often.  All of the graphics in this post as well as the idea for this [...]

Be A Disability Ally! 8 Tips on Being a Disability Ally

Tips from a disability ally

Beyond Children of a Lesser God: 20+ Best Deaf Movies

Affiliate links are in this post! That means that if you buy something using a link in my post, I'll get a percentage of the profit from Amazon (thanks Jeff!), but you pay no more. It's a great way to support the work I do, so thanks! This post is a collection (list post) of [...]

My 3 Favorite Movies from 1998

I am a member of Netflix #DVDNation. This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are of course, my own. #ad This post is about my favorite movies from 1998. Why 1998? Well, I love Netflix, and Netflix is celebrating 20 years of DVD's right now. In honor of Netflix, I took a look back at [...]

El Deafo Summary, Review and Discussion Questions by a Deaf Lady

El Deafo Summary El Deafo summary is as follows from Amazon: El Deafo Review Like it says in the El Deafo summary above, this is a graphic novel about a young deaf girl. It centers around her deafness and feelings about deafness (and her ginormous hearing aid), with the stories of her friendships, family and [...]

The Very Best Down Syndrome Book Resources

This post is about best Down syndrome book resources - from memoirs to resource books. It's intended for parents and professionals working with people with Down syndrome.  The ones that I most highly recommend I have put an * before. Remember: your local library should offer most of these books, and if they don't, you [...]

You Ask, I Answer: How Do I Get a Service Dog?

You Ask, I Answer Ask whatever you want and I'll answer! This is a new series that pulls questions that you guys ask me and answer them. If you have a question, ask! Question: How can I get a service dog for my child? My Answer: Short answer: Apply to an organizations or get your [...]

14 Crazy Myths About Hiring People with Disabilities

There are a whole lot of myths about hiring people with disabilities and myths about work and disability, as well as questions about why to hire a person with a disability at all. Talking about these myths make sense – first of all, in the hope to dispel them, and also so that we know …

Getting to Know “Switched at Birth”

I am a member of Netflix #DVDNation. This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are of course, my own. #ad This post is about the TV series, Switched at Birth, which I have been watching through DVD Netflix. I am writing this as Netflix is celebrating 20 years of being in our lives (visit the [...]

Cool Cat: Lorna Duff-Howie

Getting to Know You Your name:  Lorna Duff-Howie What’s your connection with disability?  I have CP. Star Trek or Star Wars?  Spaceballs. If you could live in any other country for 2 years, where would you go?   I’m an American living in Scotland, so there’s that.  As for anywhere else, anywhere my family is. [...]

Are You Saying the Wrong Thing? The Right Way to Refer to a Disabled Person (With Star Trek Gifs)

A post for when you want to say the right thing because you are a disability ally.

Target Adaptive Clothing for Kids and Adults with Disabilities and Special Needs

This post is about Target adaptive clothing, a line of clothes for kids and adults with disabilities and special needs that came out in October of 2017. There are affiliate links in this post, which means that if you buy something using a link from this post, I'll get a small percentage from Target. You [...]

Cool Cat: Carrie Basas

Your name:  Carrie Griffin Basas What’s your connection with disability? I’m recruiting!  Well, seriously, I have Larsen’s Syndrome, a rare congenital joint disorder, and I have been described by loving genetics counselors as a “random genetic mutation.”  Five years ago, I adopted a little girl from a children’s home in Ukraine who has a similar …

4 Years: Essays From the Blog

4 Years - The Impetus Behind The Collection of Essays In 2014 I had received yet another email from a mother who had read something on my blog that was the tipping factor in her decision to keep her child with Down syndrome. That is, her decision to not abort her child with Down syndrome. There [...]

The Choice to Suffer

Many years ago, I took care of an old man with Alzheimer's. For over six months, I fed him, gave him his showers, dressed him, kept him company, wiped his butt, took him for walks. Fended his 'crazy' spurts - like when he tried to hit me all the way out of the house, then [...]

You Ask, I Answer: Isn’t Feel-Good Disability Coverage Still Good Because It Raises Awareness?

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3 Things About the Movie “Wonder” + Suggestions for Talking About it All With Your Kids

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Lit League August Book Choice: El Deafo

The book club is back, and we're set to read El Deafo by Cece Bell. El Deafo This is a graphic novel that has won a ton of awards. I have not read it yet but my kids have (and they loved it). It's widely available - at your local library, online through Amazon or whatever retailer [...]

Fixed Income, SSI/SSDI? Here’s How to Save and Make Money Through Ibotta

This post has affiliate links. That means that if you sign up using my code, I'll make a percentage. I want you to know though that there is no way I'd be writing this post unless I myself used this and I honestly thought it had benefit to others. This isn't some scamming post. Read [...]

Best Prime Day Deals with Disability in Mind

Affiliate links are in this post! That means that if you buy something using a link in my post, I'll get a percentage of the profit from Amazon (thanks Jeff!), but you pay no more. It's a great way to support the work I do, so thanks! Amazon Prime Day is coming up, a day [...]

You Know Why “The Shape of Water” is Compelling, Don’t You?

I am a member of Netflix #DVDNation. This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are of course, my own. #ad  14 years ago, I lined up my first movie from Netflix. It was The Phantom of the Opera (2004) one of my all-time favorite movies. As a kid who grew up on the outside of things, [...]

Running Out of Spoons: Self Care When You Have a Disability

There are affiliate links in this post – and all that means is that if you buy something using a link here, Amazon or the company will give me a percentage but you will pay no more than you would have. Not all of the links are affiliate. Nothing is listed here that I don't [...]

Things Our Culture Doesn’t Tell Us About Disability

Things Our Culture Doesn't Tell Us About Disability Growing up, our culture tells us a whole lot about the world in which we live. The message of our culture is that disability is a burden, it's a weakness, it's something we need to overcome and fix. If we have a disability, the message that we [...]

Job Club for People with Disabilities

A Job Club for People with Disabilities Career development and employment for people with disabilities is something near and dear to me. On a professional level, I have a Master's degree in International Management with a focus in Human Resource Development and Training and over 20 years experience working with career development, job development and/or [...]

Want to Know What Our Disability Issues Are? Rev Up Voting Guide Will Tell Us!

It seems like everything that protects and supports us (who have disabilities) is on the governmental chopping block; that budgets are being met by slicing our backs. Added to that, there is SO MUCH GOING ON that it's impossible to keep up. American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) is aware of that and came [...]

The Truth About How Ads, Sponsored Posts & Reviews Work

The intention of this post is to equip the reader with a better understanding of what ads and sponsored content are all about, and how they compare with affiliate links in terms of making money from your blog. This post is written with disability in mind: it's by a deaf blogger and for other bloggers [...]

Amy and the Orphans: A Play with Jamie Brewer, the First Actress with Down Syndrome on Broadway

Art Imitates Life – or Not

The Ultimate Guide to the Best Deaf Apps

This is a post about the best deaf apps. That is, the most useful, popular and widely-used apps by d/Deaf people. This post is US-focused, and covers only iPhone apps. Best Communication Apps Glide:  for texting and talking. P3 Mobile: for texting, talking and relay services. Includes ASL and clear-speech relays. Google Voice: for transcribing [...]

“Don’t Be Scared of the Dark,” He Said

This is a post about grief. I had been crying so hard and so long that I couldn't open my eyes properly. They were puffy, swollen up so that seeing through them was a chore. I also didn't understand why this in particular was hitting me so hard. I was turning 45, you see. All [...]

How to Make Money From Your Blog (When You Have a Disability) Using Affiliate Links

This is a post about how to make money off of your blog through affiliate links. There are affiliate links in this post. The intention of this post is to equip the reader with a better understanding of what affiliate links are all about, and how to use them to your advantage (without being a [...]

Vision Boards for Career & Dream Exploration (It’s Not Just for Hippies!)

What is a vision board? How to create a vision board? These are the questions that this article will try to answer. This was originally posted on this blog (and spotlighted on BlogHer) in 2012. I am a career counselor and teacher by training and experience. I trust this process as a helpful tool in career [...]

Blogging Isn’t Dead: 6 Reasons to Start a Blog

Why start a blog in 2021?! A lot of people think that blogging is a ship that has sailed. This post gets into reasons why it actually makes complete sense to start a blog right here and now. Start a Blog?! We all see the ads to "start a blog!"and the claims to "make money [...]

Inclusive Yoga with Jessica Parsons

Jessica Parsons is the first female yoga instructor with Down syndrome in the United States. She guest posts here about her practice and how she came to teach yoga. YouTube videos are includes in this post, as well as a link to her DVD.

The Keto Diet Review

This post is a Keto Reset Diet Review, specifically following the plan given in Mark Sisson's book, The Keto Reset Diet. This post is not an endorsement of the book; it's just my honest opinion of my experience. There may be affiliate links in this post - please read my disclaimer. What is the Keto Diet? "The [...]

MailChimp vs ConvertKit: Which is the Best Email Service for a Blogger/Small Business?

This post is about MailChimp vs ConvertKit - it compares and contrasts the two email services and fleshes out some of the differences between them. There are affiliate links in the post. An email subscription service is really important for your website. Not just your blog, but for any site: your online art gallery, poetry blog, [...]

Fall Down 7 Times, Get Up 8: An Update on the Lit League Book Club

This post is an update on the Lit League Book Club. It talks of the last book read, some of the challenges the club has, and a hint of future plans. They say that if you fall 7 times, what is most important is that you just get up 8. So, it's not the falling [...]

Cool Cat: Emily Munson

This is from the "Voices from the Disability Community" series - the ongoing, fun series in which everyone is asked the same set of questions and we get to enjoy the diverse responses! This week, please meet Emily Munson. (want to participate too? awesome! click here) Getting to Know You Your name:  Emily Munson What’s [...]

The Very Best Carriers for a Baby with Down Syndrome

The ultimate guide to the best carriers for a baby with Down syndrome reviews and compares the most popular baby wearing carriers for infants with Down syndrome: the k’tan, ErgoBaby, Moby, Baby Bjorn, lillebaby and more

Why Hire Someone With a Disability?

Why Hire Someone With a Disability is a post that examines and fleshes out some of the real reasons why someone should want to hire someone with a disability. It’s not about “inclusion” or “retention” or “doing the right thing” – read on for more.

3 Reasons Why Your Use of the Word “Retarded” Makes You Look Stupid

This post is about why your use of the word "retarded" actually makes you look stupid. This is not a post about being politically correct and if you say anything about "being pc" I will reach through the computer and sprinkle legos all over your floor in the middle of the night, so don't say [...]

Target Adaptive Clothing Line – How Is It for People with Down Syndrome?

This post is about Target adaptive clothing line There are affiliate links in this post, which means that if you buy something using a link from this post, this site will get a small percentage from Target. You won't pay any more money than if you had used a different link to get there, and [...]

Book Review of Good Kings Bad Kings, by Susan Nussbaum

Summary of the Story Good Kings Bad Kings  story is about teenagers with disabilities who live in an institution in Chicago, and the people who work there. It's told in person-first accounts. It follows the lives of the residents and workers for the period of about a year, with backstory. What Was Great Good Kings [...]

Voices from the Disability Community: Brandy Dickerson

Getting to Know You Your name:  Brandy Dickerson What’s your connection with disability?  I was born with Cerebral Palsy. Star Trek or Star Wars?  Star Wars If you could live in any other country for 2 years, where would you go? New Zealand What dish would your bring to our community picnic potluck? Veggie Tray …

What to Say When You Hear My Daughter Has Down Syndrome

I’m noticing a silence after I tell people that Moxie has Down syndrome. Since I usually “tell” people by writing and the “silence” is them not writing back as they usually do, I could be wrong. Maybe they are just busy. But I think they don’t know what to say. I get it. I’d be …

Traveling With a Child with Down Syndrome

This is a post about traveling with a child with Down syndrome. It includes lots of tips and opinions. There are some affiliate links below - if you buy something using them, it helps me pay for this site but costs you nothing extra. Thanks for your support! Traveling With a Child With Down Syndrome [...]

Like the Ocean Flows

It’s not that I’m sitting around in misery each day. I’m not. Overall, I’ve never been happier in my life. It’s that when the pang comes, it comes so hard that it’s impossible to not write about it, or express it in some way. That happened this morning. I woke up – I had a …

Flying Solo: A New Documentary About 3 Individuals with Down Syndrome

Flying Solo is a new documentary about about 3 people with Down syndrome embarking on a quest to become independent. It will be released on March 21st - World Down Syndrome Day - on Amazon Prime. Here's the (uncaptioned) trailer (the director says the full movie is captioned though): Flying Solo Flying Solo follows the [...]

The One Page Profile

This post is about the One Page Profile - a one-sheet information piece about your child with Down syndrome which you can present to the IEP team or any other team to quickly introduce your child and your family. Tiffany Stafford, blogger at Our Three Little Birds, created a fantastic "One Page Profile" for her [...]

FREE Stuff for Kids with Disabilities (and/or Kids with Special Needs)

From foundations and grants to books, bikes and benefits – a big list of places that can help out with free stuff for kids with disabilities

Ruby’s Rainbow: 3 for 3/31

Ruby's Rainbow: 3 for 3/21 Campaign! https://youtu.be/XLpB-hqAUkA

Full Circle

When we first moved to Hawaii from Fiji, Dana was 14 and I was 13. We were too young to work in America - and we were both pretty upset about it, as Fiji had had no such "child welfare" rules. Being suddenly dependent on our (broke) parents was awful. Dana turned 15 (the legal [...]

Moxie in 1st Grade (2 Schools, 2 IEP’s…)

This is an anecdotal piece about Moxie, a 7 year old with Down syndrome in 1st grade, and our journey this past academic year in school changes and IEP's. 7 year old Moxie started school in Blue Lake, California this academic year. It was a huge shift for her, going from the Mattole School on the [...]

This is Me

This is Me is a short video produced by Best Buddies that aims to end bullying. It's beautiful - please note that as of today (3/2/18), it has not been made accessible with captions. This is Me

Take It Down, Netflix!

One thing is for sure: the longer any of us are in the Down syndrome community, the more often we're hit with an "r-word" battle. Which usually runs something like this: a b-list start or sad sack of an "entertainer" uses the word, "retarded". The Down syndrome community is pissed off and demands an apology. [...]

FREE Stuff for Adults with Disabilities (and/or Adults with Special Needs)

free stuff – resources, equipment, discounts, leads, scholarships and more, for adults with disabilities and/or special needs

The Difference Between "Special Needs" and "Disability"

Special Needs and Disability I've got to admit that when I joined the "special needs" community 8 years ago by way of giving birth to my daughter with Down syndrome, I was confused with all the "special needs" this and that. "Disability", I was and am completely used to, both as a person with disabilities [...]

Essential WordPress Plugins

A list of essential wordpress plugins for the beginner/intermediate wordpress designer, including plugins for site security, design, mail chimp and more.

ABLEnow: A Game Changer for People with Disabilities

ABLEnow is sponsoring this post, but it’s not sponsoring my love for this program or its ease of use. All ideas and opinions are mine alone. All of us in the disability community know how messed up the system is for us. We’ve been stuck in poverty for decades, due to the conditions that surround [...]

Here’s Why 2017 Didn’t Suck

To my friends, it looks like 2017 sucked for me. Breakup of a 10-year marriage, right?! Leaving the Lost Coast. Grieving the death of my brother, Dana. I mean, I lost my home and my marriage in 2017. Added to that, my closest friends don't live close to me, so I didn't have much support [...]

Gaslighting: What it Is & How to Tell if You Are Being Gaslit

"Gaslighting" is not a new term but it feels if it is, because the concept seems like it is exploding into the lives of people right now. But what is it exactly? And how do you know if it's going on in your own relationship? Are you making things up in your own head, overthinking [...]

My Heart Can’t Even Believe It: A Story of Science, Love, and Down Syndrome; Reviewed by Cathleen Small

Recently, I had the chance to read My Heart Can’t Even Believe It: A Story of Science, Love, and Down Syndrome by Amy Silverman. If you have a child with Down syndrome, you soon realize that there are a lot of mommy blogs about Down syndrome—some of them good and some of them maybe not to [...]

A Morning Routine For Wellness

I think the concept of us being the creators of our lives is powerful. So powerful that it takes the passive and helpless and flips it. It was the one thing that truly changed how I feel about disability - about being deaf and having C-PTSD, about my daughter Moxie having Down syndrome. Feeling that [...]

Storify of #NoPityDisability – Twitter Chat with Author Joe Shapiro

We had a wonderful twitter chat with Joe Shapiro. It was his first time on a twitter chat, and to be honest, it was my first time hosting! I’ve tried to pull together the pieces of the twitter chat into a Storify – I rearranged as many of the tweets into the relevant questions and …

The Best Personal Planners for 2018

This is a collection of planner reviews, different strokes for different folks. Please note: the Law of Attraction Planner (not the Law of Attraction Project Planner; just the plain Law of Attraction Planner) completely stole its concept, layout and design from Passion Planner. It's pretty gross. I myself order the Passion Planner. I was putting [...]

Twitter Chat with Joe Shapiro, Author of “No Pity”

A Twitter Chat has been scheduled with Joseph Shapiro, the author of No Pity, and you are all invited! Details: Twitter Chat with Author Joe Shapiro on 12/02 at 1pm EST Hashtag: #NoPityDisability Joe Shapiro’s Twitter Handle: @NPRJoeShapiro Meriah’s Twitter Handle: @meriahhudson How to Participate: Follow @meriahhudson on Twitter for updates At 1pm EST on [...]

Tea Collection: $15 Dress Sale with Moxie as Their Ambassador

Moxie, the Tea Collection and their amazing sale!

Telling The Stories (of Ourselves and Our Children with Disabilities)

Telling our disabled child’s story is a big question within the Down syndrome (parent) community. Should we? Are they our stories to share? What about our own stories? Are they something we should share? Personally speaking, I think that us parents should tell our stories, that those stories are crucial to the relay that is …

Bluehost vs. Siteground

I signed up with Bluehost about 5 years ago. I fell in love with them, hard, because at the time, very few companies were doing live chat, but Bluehost was, and they were doing it really well. Remember, I’m deaf. Live chat is huge for me, HUGE! Not only were they rockstars of swift and …

The Difference Between WordPress.org and WordPress.com

Wordpress is a framework. Think of Wordpress as a foundation, like the foundation upon which your house sits. Wordpress is not your house itself. Your website is like your house, and your website host is like the land that your house is built on. So: Website = house Wordpress = house foundation Website host = [...]

I’m Not a “Special Needs Mom”

I see "special needs mom" floating around in the Down syndrome and interwebs often, always more in the holiday or IEP season. There are listicles on the "special needs mom," memes on this person, blog posts and The Mighty posts - it's all out there!  I'm not her, though. I am not a "special needs [...]

Website Development as a Means of Disability Empowerment

I read The Lexus and the Olive Tree by Thomas L. Friedman years ago. It's an outstanding book. It is chock-full of ideas that were even more cutting edge 15 years ago (when I read it) than they are now, but even now, they still hold true. One of the ideas in the book that really [...]

ABLEnow: Disability & Savings

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of ABLEnow. The fact that they are sponsored this is icing, because I was writing this post anyway. I've set up an account with them because I wanted to; all opinions in this post are my own. Legend has it that some parents from the [...]

Mama Be Strong

For those of you who have been following this blog for a while, you know how I started up 'The Skinny Hippie" and it was going to be about wellness and weight loss? I thought it was hilarious that I was calling myself a skinny hippie since a) I'm not skinny and b) despite the [...]

The Best Stroller for a Child with Down Syndrome

This post on the best stroller for a child with Down syndrome is NOT sponsored but there are affiliate links in it. I'm not writing this post as an ad; I'm writing it because I really do want newer parents to know this is the best rugged, long-term, high-weight-capacity stroller out there. When I was pregnant [...]

The Best Stroller for a Child with a Disability

This post on the best stroller for a child with Down syndrome is NOT sponsored but there are affiliate links in it. I'm not writing this post as an ad; I'm writing it because I really do want newer parents to know this is the best rugged, long-term, high-weight-capacity stroller out there. The Best Stroller for [...]

A Day in Penny’s Life

I wake Penny up at 6:30 on the dot. She squeezes her eyes shut tighter and groans. Sometimes she pulls her hot pink comforter over her head. But soon she emerges, groggy, and begins her morning routine. She made a chart with her dad and posted it on the wall—brush teeth, take medicine, use the [...]

Lit League Book Club Chooses “No Pity” by Joseph Shapiro as Next Book

Lit league book pick for october and november is “No Pity” by Joseph Shapiro

Seeing Spider Webs

a post on living with intention

Supporting Positive Behavior in Children and Teens with Down Syndrome

This post is a review of the book, Supporting Positive Behavior in Children and Teens with Down Syndrome. Supporting Positive Behavior in Children and Teens with Down Syndrome I'm going to cut the chase: I love this book. In fact, I think this is a "must-own" for the parent of a child with Down syndrome. [...]

A Day in the Life with Homeschooling

A Day in the Life with Homeschooling, by Christine Hawkins __________________________________________________________________________________ I had it all.   Everything that every parent wants for their child with Down syndrome and their education.   We didn’t have to fight, we got an aide. She was fully included. Everyone loved my girl. Kindergarten was GREAT.   First grade just fell …

“Special Education” is NOT a Place; It’s a Service

I grew up mostly abroad. In my schools abroad, there were never services outside of mainstream for any students. In my Chinese Catholic school in Fiji, for example, students who arrived from China and came to the school were put directly into the grade level that they belonged according to their English level - that's [...]

Poll for the Next Lit League Book Club Choice

Vote! Voting will end on October 20th over on Facebook Click on Image to Vote

We All Belong: An Important Video About Disability Inclusion in School

"We All Belong" "We All Belong" is a powerful short video that explains, educates and empowers. It helps us deal with disability segregation in school, which is something that most all of us in the Down syndrome community face at one point or another (even us with disabilities, as I talked about in this recent [...]

Missing Out on Beautiful, by Amy Julia Becker

This is a post by Amy Julia Becker, author of multiple books including A Good and Perfect Gift October is Down Syndrome Acceptance Month in the United States. I've created an eBook called "Missing Out on Beautiful: 7 Essays about Raising a Child with Down Syndrome" as my way of helping to raise awareness about [...]

Self-Contained Class vs General Education: Where Moxie Is Now

In This Post You Will Find:UPDATE:Well, now we are living it.About ABA: UPDATE: “Special Ed vs Inclusion”: While I  believe in being transparent about my mistakes and learning, leaving this post uncorrected may be confusing in its inaccuracies. In the interest of keeping this post useful, I’m correcting the mistakes I made with terminology. Special Education …