This is an old blog that I started in 2006. I keep it because it has a lot of historical data and people still come here. As of September 2016, no new updates will be made here. All new blog posts and writing/publishing related news will be posted over on my new site at

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

This October, Let's Celebrate Our Special Kids!

By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

October is National Sensory Awareness Month, as well as National Downs Syndrome Awareness Month. Throughout October, several parents will be sharing their stories of challenges and triumphs right here on my blog. 

These parents have children with sensory issues, Aspergers, Autisum, seizures, ADD and ADHD. The purpose of these blog posts are to bring a sense of community in helping each other understand and share each other's challenges, to inspire and uplift one another, and to let others know they are not alone. 

I'd like to kick off the month by telling you about my daughter, Celina, who was born with a life-threatening seizure disorder where she would stop breathing and need CPR. After three weeks of numerous tests in the neonatal intensive care unit, we requested a transfer to Brenners Children's Hospital at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. It was the beginning of her recovery and healing. 

They were finally able to get Celina's seizures under control with medication, but it was the first of many hospital visits over the next three years. My husband and I would NOT sleep well for the next five years. We were told that Celina may grow out of her seizures and to be aware of signs of delayed development. 

As believers of God's awesome power and healing, we took her to church and had the elders anoint her with oil and pray for her. Celina's doctor took her off her seizure meds at the age of three, and she only had one febrile seizure at the age of five. It was the last!

By this time we were noticing some delayed development, but we didn't know what to do about it. We held Celina back two years in K5 since she was a young five-year-old. The following year they still weren't ready to send her to first grade. I refused to hold her back in K5 a third year. The private Christian school where she was enrolled refused to let her stay. With much prayer, we finally enrolled her in the public school system and it turned out to be the best decision we could have made.

They had an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) where Celina would have measurable goals that would be realistic to her abilities and would allow her to learn at her own speed. At this time she was diagnosed with Sensory Integration Disorder and began occupational therapy and received speech therapy from school. At age seven she was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). The public school system's special resource teachers worked with her in ways I would have never considered. Slowly, we began to see improvement. 

We tried a couple of ADD meds, but they didn't work. We were able to keep her off ADD meds until puberty hit. All of a sudden her grades dropped, and she began crying all the time. Fearing a deep depression would set in, we took Celina to her pediatrician. He suggested we try a new med. After a month, her body adjusted and the side affects went away. Her grades came back up, the crying stopped, and it was wonderful having our child back. Celina has now been on this med for three years. It has worked wonders. I thank God that he gives people the technology to develop such things to help people. 

Celina is now 14 and this year she jumped three grade levels in reading. She's on grade level for the first time. Delayed development doesn't mean a child won't achieve their grade level, but that it may only be delayed. The good news WILL happen. 

Parents, don't give up through the challenges or give in to worry. Have faith! For God is in control when we let Him be.


Thank you so much for sharing, Jennifer! I have seen a few pictures of your daughter on your FB account, and she is beautiful. Praise God for His healing hand, and praise Him for giving us the knowledge and ability to help those who are in need. I look forward to reading posts by other people throughout the month!

Emma, Thank you! She's growing up so fast. The other moms have some incredible stories. I'm looking forward to sharing them with everyone.

I so appreciate you sharing your story, Jennifer, and inviting us to share ours. So encouraging for those of us earlier on in the journey to hear of Celina's progress.

Joanne, I'm glad Celina's story is inspiring to you. I'm hoping to hear from some parents with older children--maybe even some adult children or those in high school. That is the BIG step next year.

Jennifer, your story touched my heart. I am so happy to read how your daughter is progressing with her new med. What a wonderful feeling for her parents!
My son, who has Asperger's Syndrome, began his college classes this fall, and it has, at times, been a bit of a challenge. Yet, he is doing well, and growing into a young man with signs of self-motivation and self-reliance we have prayed to see him in for years. What a blessing! Our special kids are truly an inspiration, aren't they?

Dee, I'm so glad to hear from you about your son. I was hoping a parent would respond who has a special needs child in college. Since my daughter will start high school next year, college is definitely on our mind, but we know she may need special accommodations.

Is he in a community college or a 4-year university? Does he have an IEP plan or does he take a lighter load than most kids? I have so many questions!