School Daze

May 07, 2024

Back-to-school season means different things to different parents, especially those of students with disabilities. Some are filled with fear and anxiety about what awaits in the coming year. Others rejoice in the return to school because it opens up hours in the day, freeing them to pursue their own interests and take a break from caregiving. Still other parents see every new school year as a clean slate with limitless possibilities and opportunities. Most of us experience a mixture of all these emotions, and many more, as well.

No matter how you feel about this time of year and all that it entails, today’s newsletter offers resources to help you launch into the school year with confidence, conviction, and calm. Please let me know if something is particularly helpful, or if you want more info on a specific subject. Last but not least, remember to turn up the dance music. Chuck Berry is always a great way to start the day! 

In a society and world obsessed with goals, often the measure of a person is not where he or she ends up, but how they get there.

Christine Lai, S.E.L.F. Founder

Peaceful back-to-school shopping.


This is the last week to take advantage of Walmart’s new sensory friendly back-to-school shopping hours. From 8-10am this Saturday, stores across the U.S. will dim their lights and lower their music to accommodate shoppers with sensory sensitivities. Walmart says this is an effort to offer a more inclusive shopping experience. Call your local store for details.


School advocacy resources.

The ARC has compiled this free directory of contact information of important special ed resources that must exist in every state. These include protection and advocacy programs and parent centers funded under IDEA, state agencies responsible for overseeing special ed and early intervention services, and ARC chapters offering special advocacy services to students with I/DD. Start the new school year off right by familiarizing what’s available where you live. Learn more about how to advocate for your student through these additional ARC materials.

Sex ed for all.

A recent article in USA Today spotlights the dire need for sex education for students with disabilities. Ensuring young people with disabilities have access to relevant, age-appropriate, and affirming sex education can help them achieve autonomy and self-care, not to mention quality relationships and more fulfilling lives. This issue has been previously addressed in Another Normal, but much-needed change is unfortunately slow. According to USA Today, only five U.S. states mandate inclusive sex ed for students with disabilities. Requirements vary not only by state, but also by school district. Progress depends on parents, it seems.

This CA program serves as an excellent model for other communities. And this social story exemplifies how we can and should develop materials to educate and empower young women in particular.

How can you influence things where you live?

‘Til death do us part.

August is a great time for parents to learn alongside their children. And we all have a lot to learn to plan effectively for the future. In honor of National Make-A-Will Month, here’s a website offering free assistance with this daunting responsibility. Preparing in advance for our death (no matter how scary) is a gift to ourselves and our families. More information on how to develop a holistic future plan for your child with disabilities can be found here.


Another Normal is a newsletter dedicated to helping families with disabilities bloom and thrive. Thanks for being here.

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Interested in learning more about one-to-one coaching? Contact Kris for information on what this might look like for you, including outcomes, availability, fees and more.

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