Time to Learn

May 10, 2024

Recently, I had a long conversation with our son, Andrew, about the word “disability.”  He doesn’t like it.  He said he prefers to focus on his “ability” and the “dis” part offends him.  He uses the term “special needs” and says this describes his cerebral palsy and intellectual differences best, he thinks.  I had no idea he felt this way and was intrigued by all he had to say.  Words matter.  A lot.  Preferred language is constantly changing, I know. Perhaps asking individuals what words they prefer is a good first step to building and refining our own vocabularies.

I’m wondering…what words do you prefer?

In today’s issue of Another Normal, I’m sharing information about upcoming events that focus on these important words: Happiness, Independence, Sexuality, Learning.

I hope you’ll be able to participate in learning opportunities that interest you and the people you care about.  Whether they experience “disabilities” or “special needs” or “special abilities” or are “differently-abled,” I hope you’ll help them learn to bloom in whatever ways make sense for your life.

I also hope this newsletter helps you do that.  Thanks for being here!

We don’t get everything right anywhere in life, but particularly on a pilgrimage like this there are a lot of times that we stumble. There are a lot of times that we get something wrong. That’s okay. That’s how you learn.

– Patti Davis, on her caregiving journey with father Ronald Reagan


Monday, October 11, at 7:00 p.m. EST

Tonight is the first session of a free 6-week Zoom series that examines what happiness is and how we can choose it, even in the face of great adversity and conflict. Sponsored by the Wholebeing Institute and based on the new book Finding Unshakable Happiness, which delves into the science of how we respond to the world around us in order to experience more happiness in our own lives.  So proud of my dear friend and advocate Joanne Travers, who will help lead the November 1 session on living with intention.  Mondays from 7-8:30 p.m. (EST) starting this evening.  Hope to see you there!


Sunday, October 24, at 7:00 p.m. EST

Please join me at 7 p.m. EST for a Q&A Zoom session about transitioning a loved one with special needs to independent living.  In advance of the session, you’ll receive a link to privately screen Here We Are, an award-winning film that addresses this topic in poignant and beautiful detail.  It’s the story of a son and his father, a man and his wife, a mother and her family – and the struggles of life, plans, dreams and letting go.  I’ll be joined by leaders of the Stamford Jewish Community Center and Abilis, a CT-based nonprofit providing services to families with disabilities throughout all stages of life.  It promises to be an enlightening and informative discussion, which I hope you can share in.  Click here for additional information and registration.

Monday, November 1, at 2 p.m. EST

Join sexuality educator and national expert Katherine McLaughlin, founder of Elevatus Training, for a free online event that explores how to address sexuality one-on-one with individuals with I/DD. She will explain why this topic can be difficult to approach and provide useful tools to help you become more comfortable and confident when communicating about this sensitive topic.  Sign up here.


Wednesday, November 17, at 6:30 p.m. MST

Join educators from Canada’s Foothills Academy in Calgary for a virtual webinar on how to succeed in life with learning disabilities, including ADD, ADHD and more.  View the inspiring new film Normal Isn’t Real and engage with experts in a post-screening Q&A.  This film and informational online event are aimed at students Grade 7 and above, as well as parents and professionals who work with children who learn differently.  Register here

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.

Contact Kris

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