Samantha Enjoys Christmas in a Different Way

(Guest post by Monica McDivitt – Monica blogs at Like a Butterfly)

Samantha is running back and forth in the front hallway. She is flapping her arms and giggling. I watch, smile and walk into the kitchen to prepare breakfast. Suddenly, I hear bells jingling on the Christmas tree. I look over and see the top of the tree moving from side to side. I stop what I am doing and walk over to the family room to see what Sam is up to. Is she pulling an ornament off of the tree? Trying to sit on or tackle the tree? I enter the room. She is wearing her pink and gray leopard print gown. Her hair is messy but it is pulled back into a ponytail. She is sitting quietly in front of the tree, admiring the lights and trinkets. I know she was probably trying to sit on the tree but all is good. She is safe and happy and that is all that matters.

John and I carefully purchased a new tree this year because Sam had mangled the old tree. After 4 years of being leaned on, sat on and knocked over, half of the lights were no longer operating and the bottom branches were touching the floor. It only took one day before this new tree began to look like the old one, except this one has the multicolored lights instead of the clear ones. John and I figured Sam would enjoy the different colors.

The truth is that Sam doesn’t understand Christmas or any other holiday. She is usually quite easygoing but will run and look for a quiet place to hide if there are too many people around. She will refuse to eat in a large social environment, even if she is at home. For this reason, we miss out on many extended family gatherings. If we do attend, John and/or I have to chase Sam around to make sure she doesn’t grab and eat dirt from houseplants, play with toilet water, break something or go into meltdown mode. I then find myself explaining her behavior(s) to family and/or friends. Though I do not mind educating others about Sam, the ‘chasing around’ and meltdowns are not fun and the only solution to this type stress and chaos is to have holiday events at our own home where Sam can feel safe and disappear into her room if she feels the need to do so.

Sam is sweet, smart, funny and craves her routine. She recognizes that many things are different this time of year so we continue to follow a routine throughout the holidays. I know it sounds dull and boring but John and I must do what is beneficial for Sam. When change does occur we do our best to get her through it successfully. Since Sam is nonverbal and still does not understand how to use communication devices, I often wonder what goes on in her mind. How does she feel? What is she thinking? Is she afraid? I am not sure if these are things I will ever truly know but I have much faith and hope and continue to work with her daily.

For the time being, I know she likes Christmas trees, lights and ornaments. She picks one ornament off of our tree each time she passes and by the end of the night several ornaments are scattered throughout the house and I find myself picking up the same ones every night. I also know that she doesn’t care about presents and never demands anything (except her baths or snacks). It can take several days after Christmas before she is interested in opening a single gift. Tissue paper, bows, tulle, wrapping paper, gift bags are often more interesting than the gifts themselves and this is okay. As long as I see a smile on Sam’s face I know she is content. This is Sam. She is easy to please and John and I are blessed.

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About Guest Blogger

This post was written by a guest contributor.  Please see their details on our Contributors page.  If you’d like to guest post for Different iz Good check out our Write for DIG page for details about how YOU can share your stories and tips with our community.

Top 10 Christmas Wish List 2011

Please take a peek as the first “Top 3″ items won’t take a bite out of your money budget – Just a small bite out of your time budget!

  1. Share the Different iz Good website , Facebook page – facebook.com/DifferentizGood and our Gift a Voice Project with your online community.
  2. Donate any used cell phone, smart phone, iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad for the Foundation’s Gift a Voice Project.
  3. Host a Gift a Voice Cell Phone Drive.
  4. Apple Gift Cards
  5. iTunes Gift Cards
  6. Amazon Gift Cards
  7. New iPod Touch or iPad
  8. Buy stuff from the Different iz Good store
  9. Cash Donations – Any Amount (Cash, Credit Card or PayPal)
  10. Sponsor a person with communication disabilities:

Approximately $600 will buy one NEW iPod Touch, Proloquo2Go (or similar) AAC Application, iMainGo speaker/case or similar and a cover (exact cost will depend on needs of recipient).

Approximately $1,200 will buy one NEW iPad, Proloquo2Go (or similar) AAC Application,  speaker and a case/cover (exact cost will depend on needs of recipient).

If you’d like more information about our Wish List items please comment below, comment on our Facebook Page or send an email to list @ differentizgood . org.

Gift a Voice FUNdraiser – Vino for Voices

Whose ready to have some FUN while at the same time raising money for the Turning Views Foundation, Different iz Good and Gift a Voice?

Clark is our next Gift a Voice Recipient

We’ve got a great time scheduled for Wednesday, March 30th, from 6-8 pm at Kona Gold Coffee and Wine Bar y’all! An informal night of fun, wine, chocolate (Dorinda’s Chocolates to be exact!! YUM) and appetizers.

March 30, 2011, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Kona Gold Coffee & Wine Bar
3304 South McCarran Blvd Reno

Over TWENTY FIVE donations for our over the top awesome raffle!  Ranging from Jewelry to Gift Certificates to Wine to Oil Changes to Massages to Bread Baskets to Chocolate to Limousine services to Dental Exams to Books to Chiropractic Exams and all things in between!!

100% of the event fee goes to our Gift a Voice project.  Kona Gold is donating the space, the wine and the appetizers and Dorinda’s Chocolates is donating the chocolate.  Kona Gold is also donating all their tips for the night to our Foundation!!

Bring your inactive and used iPhones, smart phones and cell phones for donation to our Cell Phone Recycling for a Voice Drive.  Receive (1) One FREE raffle ticket for each phone donated.

Join us and support those in our lives with special needs and those with communication disabilities!

Help us spread the word about our Vino for Voices event by sharing with your Facebook Community and pressing that little ole “Like” button below!! We appreciate it times a million y’all!!

(After check out please print your PayPal receipt as that is your ticket to “taste”!!)


Sponsored and hosted by:

Delicious Mouth Watering Chocolate Provided by:

Bring Your Smile ‘Cause Photography Provided by:

Filming Provided By:

My Kid Rides the Short Bus

(Guest post by Loni Scovill Smith –  Loni blogs at His Apraxia Journey)

Why Different iz Good Exists!

When I was growing up in the 80’s and 90’s, there was a stigma attached to kids that rode the “short bus”.  I believe most of it stemmed from ignorance and fear.  Back in those days, when you saw the short bus, you imagined it was filled with kids afflicted with the worst of the worst disabilities.

My son rides the short bus. And he isn’t afflicted with the worst of the worst. In every way physically, he seems normal. He looks and acts like any other five year old in preschool. He’s social, fun, smart, stubborn, but very different in one specific way – his speech is unintelligible.

I am a mother in the age of the internet, a time when information is at everyone’s fingertips. I live in a decade where we can stay connected with others virtually; I have easy, accessible ways to pass on information to others about my son’s condition. Whether it’s through Facebook posts, my blog – His Apraxia Journey, or even this Different Iz Good blog, people can learn about Ian’s speech apraxia and having that knowledge eliminates the fear or ignorance that they might have been experiencing. That’s pretty darn cool.

Because of social networking and the plethora of information readily available at our computers, the doors of acceptance have been opened wider than ever before to our children with disabilities. Knowledge is beautiful.

As I prepare my son for the probability of attending a special education kindergarten in the fall (complete with another year of riding the short bus), I revel in the fact that he is loved and accepted by all of those around us. There is not a horrible stigma or fear and ridicule attached to him, rather, there is joy with each new word he speaks clearly, there is celebration for the success he finds in the special help he receives. There is compassion.

My kid rides the short bus and everyone celebrates his differences. Being different is no longer scary, it’s acceptable. It’s understandable. It’s beautiful.

Wanna share this one with your Facebook Friends?  Go Right Here – Thank You!!

Luke T from Valdosta Georgia

Introducing Luke T from Valdosta Georgia y’all!  Luke is our next Gift a Voice recipient!  We are blessed and grateful to be able to assist Luke in communicating his wants and needs to family members and those around him.  Imagine knowing what you want to say and not being able to articulate it?  Let’s help this handsome young man!!

Luke T is a happy, energetic and curious 2 year old. He brings great joy to his family and friends. He lives with his mother, father and 8 year old sister, Maggie. Luke appears to be a normal little boy in every way, except that he does not speak. It is obvious that he wants to talk. Whenever prompted, he makes a genuine effort to try to repeat words or sounds. However, very few utterances or approximations are clear enough to be called words. He does get frustrated when he can’t communicate his wants or needs.

He interacts well with other children and adults, making eye contact, smiling and gesturing in lieu of words. He loves to go to the park and swing. He also likes to go to the mall. He plays peek-a-boo, chase, and jumps on the trampoline. He adores his big sister, b.k.a. “Gee Gee”. He enjoys going to gymnastics class and playing with puppies.

Please share with your Facebook Friends y’all!! Thanks much!

Voice Off Day – Saturday, October 23, 2010

Saturday, October 23rd is Make A Difference Day!!

Here’s how we can make a difference on October 23rd.  Participate in VOICE OFF DAY!!  Spend some time Saturday NOT using your voice or your mouth to communicate. Choose 20, 40 or 60 minutes during the day Saturday and ONLY communicate using technology to bring more awareness to how beneficial technology and social networking are for non verbal and speech impaired. Let’s really experience what it’s like to not have a voice and how technology and social networking have given a voice to the nonverbal and speech impaired.

Post in your Facebook and Twitter stream about VOICE OFF DAY in honor of Make a Difference Day.   Post our slogan “Different iz Good . . . Spread the Word” with a link to our website or Facebook page.  Do this at least 3 times throughout the day on Saturday!!

Use the “share” button at the bottom of this page to tell your friends and connections about our VOICE OFF campaign to Make a Difference on October 23rd! Download the Different iz Good logo and use it for your image/avatar on Facebook and Twitter all day on Saturday, the 23rd!  To download or use the image url simply hold down your control key while clicking on the image.  You will get a menu where you can copy the image or copy the image location.