The Best Montessori Tips for Families with Special Needs

Our family has used the Montessori approach to homeschooling for over six years.  We discovered it after stumbling upon a Montessori website in search for ideas on how to reach our children after an experience with a private special needs school that failed.

We've never turned back!

Now, not only do we educate using this method, but base our entire home and lifestyle around it.

When it comes to sharing my best tips and advice about anything, the first thing that comes to mind are those focused around the Montessori Method.  It has changed our lives for the better in so many ways.  Here are the best Montessori tips for families with special needs. 

The Best Montessori Tips for Families with Special Needs


But first an introduction.

History of Montessori Method and Special Needs

The Montessori Method is a way in which children can be educated, designed by Dr. Maria Montessori (1870-1952).  Dr. Montessori was first and foremost an Italian physician who began working with children in an asylum.  Most intrigued by her own observations she began to study and research ways to reach the children with varying needs and disabilities.

The Best Montessori Tips for Families with Special Needs-History of Montessori Method and Special Needs

Her discoveries, combined with the research of many before her led to the design and implementation of lessons and materials that the children in the asylum reacted positively to.  They responded so well to her method that they were able to score the same or above their typical peers on standardized tests.

After leaving the asylum Dr. Montessori pursued more education and then once again worked with children with varying needs, this time those living in the slums of society.  Her method was unbelievably successful and further developed.

From that point on she continued with her method working with typical children, leading to significant advances in the way children are educated.  Her methods remain well known in Europe but were mostly forgotten in the United States after World War II.

I find it odd that Maria Montessori's work is so often tossed aside today when it comes to educating children with special needs.  Instead Montessori schools are often thought of as places for the rich and well educated, due to high costs for admission.  If only more families with special needs could learn about her work and apply it in today's society!

The Montessori Method and lifestyle have completely changed how we view and live our lives.  Our children are happier, healthier, and so in love with learning.  They are active participating members of our family who contribute in all aspects of household tasks and responsibilities.

We have tried therapies, behavioral techniques and so much more with little to no luck.  Yet when we introduced the Montessori Method the kiddos couldn't get enough of it.  The approach, materials, work, and lifestyle are exactly what they needed.

As we've continued our journey with Montessori over the years we've realized there are tips we wish all families with special needs could learn and apply.  I share them with you today.

The Best Montessori Tips for Families with Special Needs

1.  Follow the Child

Dr. Maria Montessori was adamant about observing the child and following their interests.  This was the case in both home and classroom environments.  Montessori settings are designed to allow the child to pick their own work and activities at all times.

As we have followed this advice with our own special needs children, they have progressed further than we ever anticipated.  Those times when we've tried to go against this Montessori approach we have been met with behaviors and regression.  Following the child has taught me that when a child is ready, they can do anything, but if they're not, no matter how hard you push, progress won't happen.

Through this principle we've also learned that it's okay to go along with our children's obsessions and self-stimulating behaviors.  It's only once a child feels safe and regulated that they are ready to learn and grow.

The Best Montessori Tips for Families with Special Needs-Encouraging Independence
By Ilya WWW - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=44982869


2. Encourage Independence

In today's culture children are brought up in an adult world where everything is out of reach and/or impossible to accomplish without help.  We worry about things being broken or children getting hurt. Child proofing is all the rage.  Parents of children with special needs often take even more precautions to make sure everyone stays safe.

In a Montessori environment children are encouraged to be independent in as many ways as possible.  Child sized furniture, materials, and tools are highly recommended.  Children are taught practical life skills using sharp objects and glass containers at a very young age.

One might think this is a recipe for disaster but as children are taught to use materials appropriately, at such a young age, they begin to show pride and respect for their things and surroundings.  They feel special. It's a privilege to be trusted with such responsibility.  As they work, they become more independent gaining self confidence and pride in who they are.

A child with special needs benefits even more as they're able to advance with fine and gross motor skills in ways that would otherwise not be possible.  Every aspect in life where they can become more independent is of benefit to both the parent and the child.

Our children love the independence that Montessori has brought to our lives. They are able to help with so many household tasks.  Child size tools make the jobs easy and fun.  Keeping items within their reach at home is so beneficial as they can independently accomplish all tasks desired.

And for those worried about safety issues, I can assure you if a child feels safe and is regulated, they are able to handle the responsibility that a Montessori environment brings.  Our youngest child often rages, throwing and destroying things, but she always leaves her Montessori materials and items throughout the house alone.

The Best Montessori Tips for Families with Special Needs-Encouraging Movement
By KJJS - https://www.flickr.com/photos/41423390@N00/8411395449/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=38556780

3. Encourage Movement

When Dr. Maria Montessori worked with children, she learned very quickly that one of the worst things a teacher or parent could require of a child, is to have them sit still for long periods of time.  In Montessori environments children are encouraged to get up and walk around.  They transfer their work from shelves to their work space.  Work spaces may be at a table, on the floor, or anywhere else where a child feels comfortable.

Dr. Maria Montessori developed a curriculum that included movement.  She encouraged significant time be spent outside in nature.  Work tasks in and outside of the home are part of the Practical Life curriculum (similar to occupational therapy and physical therapy).  These help children to develop coordination along with fine and gross motor skills, while at the same time helping the child stay regulated.

Words can't express how much movement has helped our children throughout the day and while learning.  They have no need for breaks, because they are able to keep their bodies regulated.  Our children spend an average of about three hours a day outside running, jumping, and playing, half of which occurs before our learning for the day begins.  They sleep so well when they are constantly moving throughout the day.

I am so in love with the Montessori philosophy.  Second to my belief in God, my Eternal Father, Jesus Christ, His Son, and the Holy Ghost, I have never believed in anything more strongly.

Dr. Maria Montessori put so much work and effort into understanding how children with special needs learn and function at their best. When we apply these principles in the classroom and at home, the results are amazing.  I can not begin to compare when it comes to modern day interventions and philosophies.

If you are not familiar with Dr. Maria Montessori's work and philosophy and have children with special needs, I highly recommend looking into it.  It has changed our lives.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy the posts and pages below.

Montessori Homeschooling Support and Resources Free Printables Special Needs Support and Resources
If you'd like to learn more about Montessori and special needs these are great resources!
The ABCs of Montessori and Special Needs The ABCs of Montessori and Special Needs Community
This post is part of the Parenting Children with Special Needs Series.  If you'd like to read more advice and best tips from experienced parents, check out the posts below!

Parenting Children with Special Needs Series-The Best Montessori Tips for Families with Special Needs

The Best Montessori Tips for Families with Special Needs

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There Is So Much More to Montessori than Shelves and Materials

We've been in our new home for almost three weeks now without furniture, shelving, or storage pieces (with the exception of bins and boxes).

I'll be honest.  It's been a wee bit of a challenge for me.  I like a clean and orderly home with everything in its place.  Our situation has me pondering a lot about Montessori and what it means.

I've come to realize there is so much more to Montessori than shelves and materials.

There Is So Much More to Montessori than Shelves and Materials

This post contains affiliate links.

In our current home, I don't have shelves. I don't have a place to set out learning activities.  Heck, I don't even have a table.  Until we close on our house in NY there is no way to purchase these items.

I started to become discouraged because it appeared that using the Montessori Method wasn't possible right now.  If I didn't have shelves, a table, or printed activities, I just couldn't pull it off.

Thankfully my feelings of despair only lasted a few minutes before I realized that these feelings were the most foolish ones I'd had in a long time.

Montessori is not just about kid sized furniture and shelving units.  It's not just about specific materials or even printed activities.  Yes these things are good, but if that's all we do, we're missing the point.

Montessori is a state of mind.

It's a philosophy.

It's a way of life.

Just because I don't have beautiful shelves arranged with activities, or a table for my children to work at, doesn't mean that all is lost.  There are so many other aspects of Montessori that are 100% doable in our present circumstances.

And so, over the past week, I've made it my mission to focus on different aspects of Montessori that I CAN do as much as possible.

It's interesting. Without the preparation of activities and classroom work that is usually part of my daily routine, I find it so much easier to focus on other parts of Dr. Maria Montessori's method, some of which are far more important.

Perhaps being without furniture and shelves is a hidden blessing in disguise?

Here's what I've been focusing on.

Observation

Have you ever stepped back and just observed your child?

  • How does she play?
  • What is she drawn to?
  • What interests does she have?
  • How does she problem solve?
  • What does she want to learn?
  • How does her body move?
  • Does she like to stay still?
  • Is she a helper?
  • Does she like things orderly and clean?
  • How does she respond to various types of sensory stimuli?
  • What does she talk about?

Since we've moved and I'm not as focused on "getting things done," I've had the time to sit and observe each of my children.  I've taken a step back and listened to their questions.  This is not to say that I didn't observe my children before, but this time has been different.  There are no distractions.

Observation is one of the most important aspects of the Montessori Method.  It is the way we learn to follow the child.  Without observation, we can not be an effective Montessori teacher or parent.

As we observe and follow, it is amazing how much we're able to help our children learn.  Observation doesn't require shelves and materials.  It can occur every day in our natural environment if we allow time for it.

Observation this past week has taught me what my children can and can't do on their own in our new environment.  It has taught me when I have to supervise and when I can leave my children to fend for themselves. In some cases, I observed that our environment needed the smallest tweak in order to allow for complete independence.

Work

As I observed my children over the past week or so, I've learned that they really do enjoy work opposed to free play.  They desire tasks with a purpose.  If the task involves physical activity, that's even better.

Due to these observations I have provided more opportunities for my children to do work.  They have torn down trees, collected firewood, picked fruit, prepared meals and so much more!

It's always best to have child size tools to accomplish work tasks, but if you don't, not all is lost.  There are so many projects at home or outside that don't require special materials.  Don't hesitate to involve your children in day to day "work" tasks.  These tasks not only teach them necessary life skills but lead to a path of independence  and self satisfaction that can otherwise not be attained.

Independence

So often it is much easier to do something for our children than to wait patiently for them to do it themselves.  But when given independence to learn and accomplish tasks on their own, children flourish.

Independence does not require the purchase of shelves or Montessori materials.

It can be as simple as rearranging items so that they are in reach.

It can mean teaching rules and boundaries in order to give more freedom in an environment.

It can also mean sitting back to observe and follow, rather than giving orders.

Through independence children can develop confidence in their abilities to function in the environment around them.  They learn to have respect for themselves and their surroundings.

At our house in New York the children had to be supervised when outside due to the circumstances of our neighborhood.  We had a very small backyard.  Playing in the front yard wasn't an option.  At our new home in Virginia there is wide open space for the children to roam free in the front, back and sides of the house where I don't have to keep as close of an eye on them.

I won't lie, we have gone through more band-aids and bandages in two weeks than we did during an entire year at our home in NY.  I have never seen so many bumps and bruises on my children.  There have been other fun adventures as well.  But the more independence I'm able to give them, the more they are thriving.  They're also realizing it's not a big deal to have a scrape or a bruise, which is so nice!

Natural Learning

Too often we think that Montessori means activities placed on trays, and beautifully arranged on shelves.  But this concept is only a small piece of what Dr. Maria Montessori taught.  Learning occurs everywhere, not just in a classroom or a Montessori space created in the home.

The earth is an absolutely amazing place to live, filled with such beauty and awe.  Let us remember to enjoy all that it has to offer.  Go outside.  If that's not possible, focus on day to day tasks in the home, or even simple conversations related to questions our children have.

Natural learning situations require no preparation.  They just happen.

This week while outside, we've discussed the sounds cicadas make.  We've watched a spider and beetle go head to head.  Sunshine has learned the ins and outs of picking peaches.  Princess experienced first hand how wineberries taste if you pick them too soon, and then learned exactly how to tell when they're perfectly ripe and ready to eat.

Indoors the girls decided to line up the shoes in the front entryway from biggest to smallest.  Sunshine asked if she could help make her lunch.  Both girls learned how to mop hardwood floors.  The boys studied paper wasps from their bedroom window.  There are always natural learning experiences to be had.

Teacher/Parent Transformation

It's so easy to want to dive into the Montessori Method head first and race to implement it perfectly.  Unfortunately this is a very unrealistic goal.  In order for Montessori to truly become a part of us, a transformation has to occur.  The transformation that I speak of is not one children go through.  It's a transformation of the parent and/or teacher.

This does not happen as trays with activities are arranged on a shelf.  It doesn't occur when setting up a Montessori environment.  Transformation occurs as we come to understand Maria Montessori's philosophy and truly embrace her vision.

How can we do this?  It is impractical for everyone to become Montessori certified.  Instead we can begin with reading books written by Dr. Maria Montessori.  If you're looking for a place to start, select one of the books below.  They're absolutely fabulous!





I try to read from one of Maria Montessori's books on a daily basis.  It helps keep me in the right mind frame.  Not a day goes by that I don't learn something new.  Dr. Maria Montessori's work is truly inspiring!

If you don't have child sized furniture, shelving, or Montessori Materials, please don't despair.  There is more to Montessori!  Focus on observing your children.  Identify work that children can help with without the purchase of child-sized tools.  Encourage independence.  Allow time and focus for natural learning experiences.  Give yourself time to transform as you dive into Maria Montessori's life work.

There is so much more to Montessori than shelves and materials!

If you enjoyed this post you may also enjoy the ones below.
Montessori Homeschooling Support and Resources Montessori Activities and Free Printables The ABCs of Montessori and Special Needs

There is so much more to Montessori than shelves and materials.

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8 Tips for Attending a Hot Air Balloon Festival with Special Needs

Life has been just a tad different since we've moved to Virginia from New York.  This has also caused some changes in holiday traditions.  The 4th of July has always been a tricky holiday.  Neither one of our girls enjoy fireworks.  Crowds of people, a late night outside in the dark, and the scents of alcohol and smoke filling the air are huge triggers.

Our boys on the other hand love fireworks and everything that has to do with the 4th of July.  Most often my husband Jason and I split up for the night, one taking the boys and one staying behind with the girls.  But this year we found a way to celebrate that everyone could enjoy.

What did we do?  We went to the local hot air balloon festival, bright and early in the morning to watch nine hot air balloons set up and take flight.  It was an absolutely amazing experience that the kiddos will never forget, set up perfectly to accommodate everyone's special needs.  Here are all of the details of our experience and 8 tips for attending a hot air balloon festival with special needs.
This post contains affiliate links.

8 Tips for Attending a Hot Air Balloon Festival with Special Needs

1. We chose to attend the event bright and early in the morning when there were less people around.  The fewer people the less chaos and anxiety.  Because the kiddos had just woken up, they were at their best, which is always nice.

2. Knowing there would be fire and loud noises from the hot air balloons, we made the decision to watch from a distance.  This was a significant benefit to those with sensory issues and to those who don't like large crowds.  Being away from crowds also made it possible for the kiddos to move around when needed, as the whole process from beginning to end took quite a long time.


3. We made sure to dress appropriately for the event bringing along extra sweatshirts and blankets just in case.  Though most days here are around 90 degrees F, the mornings are still very cool.  I wanted to make sure no one was uncomfortable.  Everyone was wearing sneakers and brought along our handicap strollers.  We knew we'd be out in a field and there would be a lot of walking.

The family up bright and early to watch hot air balloons take flight.

4. I also remembered to bring bug spray.  Insects are everywhere here in the Blue Ridge Mountains, morning noon and night.  Ticks are also abundant.  Knowing we'd be in a field, I didn't want to end up coming home with everyone eaten alive.

5. Lastly, I remembered to bring sound blocking headphones.  If you're not familiar with hot air balloons, you may not know that they can be quite loud as they're filling and rising.  Even at a distance you could hear the distinct sound.  It was great to know that the headphones were there if Sunshine needed them.

Four kiddos watching the hot air balloon festival.

Now I rocked the tips I've shared above, and then there were a few others I didn't do so well at that I thought I'd mention, so your first experience can be even more successful than ours.

6. Learn how hot air balloons work before you go and watch them set up and launch for the first time.  The kiddos had so many questions, and though they were mesmerized, they wanted to know all of the ins and outs.  This can be done through books, experiments, etc.

7. Bring lots of snacks and drinks along.  There is a lot of waiting and standing around as hot air balloons set up and prepare to launch into the sky.  We were there for two hours, which was much longer than I expected.  Because it was so early in the morning and I wanted to be sure to provide incentives for good behaviors, I told the kiddos we would pick up a special breakfast afterwards.  If I could do it again, I'd bring the breakfast with us.

8. Don't forget binoculars!  Whether you're close to the action or farther away, seeing the details of each balloon and the set up process would be so much nicer with binoculars.  Dinomite regretted not bringing his and commented on their value as we were watching.

Without the binoculars the kiddos still really enjoyed the entire morning.  They loved watching the balloons fill with air.  Each balloon was different in design and color.  The only hiccup we had was when one balloon started to come close to us in the sky.  It kind of freaked Sunshine out a bit, as she worried it would fall on top of us. Thankfully once it decided to go another way, she was much better.

Our sweet Sunshine's reaction when a hot air balloon flew overhead.

The boys on the other hand enjoyed every single minute of the morning.  They LOVED watching every step of the process and couldn't get over how magnificent the balloons looked both on the ground and in the air.  I'm guessing we'll be doing this again next year!

The boys watching hot air balloons set up and take flight.

After we watched all of the balloons take flight we headed to the store to pick up some yummy breakfast treats that everyone could enjoy.

Our 4th of July breakfast!

Then we all took a nap.

It was the best 4th of July yet and the first one we've spent all together in a very long time.

What did you do for the 4th of July?  I'd love to hear about it!

If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy the posts below.

Autism Support and Resources PTSD Support and Resources Transportation Activities and Free Printables
8 Tips for Attending a Hot Air Balloon Festival with Special Needs

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Gift Ideas for Little Girls

Princess' birthday is this month and as always we've put together a wish list for extended family.  I won't lie. It was a bit challenging this time, as over the years it's become clear that Princess can't handle a lot of stuff.  Her destructive tendencies and unsafe choices make gift giving difficult.  Add her emotional age of three to the scenario...

I could think of no better title for this wish list than Gift Ideas for Little Girls.  In so many ways, even though Princess is turning eight, she's really only three.   There are some areas where she's developmentally and cognitively age appropriate, such as reading skills and some interests, but when it comes to toys, she's not even close.
Gift Ideas for Little Girls
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After the last round of destruction in her bedroom, my husband Jason and I decided that only soft items and a few books are safe to keep there.  Thankfully she can be supervised in other areas of the house when cooking, baking, coloring, stamping, and watching movies.  Here is her newest list!

Baby Doll and Accessory Gift Ideas for Little Girls

Princess received her first Baby Stella at Christmas and absolutely loves her.  She's quite envious of all of her sister's accessories and has asked for some of her own.


Baby Stella Dress Up Ladybug Costume*

Baby Stella Snuggle Sleep Sack*

Baby Stella Fanciful Frills Holiday Dress Purchased

Baby Stella My Treat Outfit*

Baby Stella Grocery and Soft Food Set*

Baby Stella Sweet Dreams Doll*

Princess has since destroyed her doll and no longer needs any accessories.


Hand Puppet Gift Ideas for Little Girls

Princess has also been envious of Sunshine's hand puppets and has been asking for some of her own. The two play with them on a regular basis.

HABA Prince Glove Puppet

HABA Grandma Glove Puppet Purchased

HABA Hansel Glove Puppet

HABA Gretel Glove Puppet

HABA Magician Glove Puppet

HABA Dragon Glove Puppet

Horse themed gift ideas for girls.

Over the past year Princess has become interested in horses wanting to learn all about them. We are hoping this will lead to good things and possibly some riding lessons in the future which could be wonderful therapy for her.

The Kingfisher Horse and Pony Encyclopedia Purchased

Movie: Flicka Purchased

Book:  Black Beauty Purchased

Melissa & Doug Wooden Horse Stable Stamps Purchased

Melissa & Doug Horses Jigsaw Puzzle Purchased

Wonderful World of Horses Coloring Book Purchased

American Girl themed gift ideas for girls.

American Girl continues to be a name that Princess enjoys.  She's not one for the dolls, but she loves the books, movies and cookbooks.

DVD: American Girl 4 Favorite Movies

American Girl Lea 3 Book Set

Book: American Girl Paige Paints the Sky Purchased

American Girl Breakfast & Brunch Cookbook

American Girl Parties Cookbook

Book:  American  Girl The Care and Keeping of You 1


Summer clothes gift ideas for girls 2017

Princess is in desperate need of clothes.  I was able to purchase some before we moved, but most are for NY weather, not Virginia weather.  The kiddos play outside so often and get so dirty that we're not longer able to wear an outfit for more than one day.  Princess needs more summer pjs as well.

When I purchase clothes for my kiddos, I always purchase them in outfits. If I can't find tops and bottoms that match, I don't buy them because they'll never be worn.  This is why you'll notice tops and bottoms paired up below.  If you're unable to purchase a complete set, know that Princess will not have anything else that goes with the single piece.

We are very big on modesty in our home.  Our girls wear longer shorts and shortsleeve shirts. No tank tops, cap sleeves or short shorts are permitted.

Books Make Me Happy Graphic Tee Size 10 with Navy Playground Shorts Size 10 Purchased

Smart Girl Graphic Tee Size 10 with Pink Playground Shorts Size 10 Purchased

Explore the Galaxy Graphic Tee Size 10 with Pink Playground Shorts Size 10 Purchased

Flamingo Ballerina Graphic Knit Tee Size Size M with Medium Wash Denim Bermuda Shorts Size 7

Girls Sky Blue Gem Shortie 2 Piece Gymmies Size 12

Girls Pillow Pink Giraffe Shortie 2 Piece Gymmies Size 12

Carter's 4 pc Flamingo Set Size 12

Dancing Print Sleep Gown Size 12

Sock and shoe gift ideas for girls summer 2017
Princess is also in desperate need of socks and shoes.  She had almost grown out of her shoes a couple months ago.  Then she had a growth spurt.  Princess wears Nike shoes because they are the narrowest shoes we can find to fit her feet.  In New York we barely ever wore sneakers during the summer, but here we're wearing them on a daily basis, which means more than one pair is necessary.

As Sunshine has grown she's taken over all of Princess' socks.  This leaves Princess with barely any.  Thankfully she LOVES socks.  So receiving socks as a gift is something that she looks forward to.

Blue Mermaid Knee Socks Size M Purchased

Flamingo Crew Socks Size M

6-Pack Crew Socks Size 8-16

Blue Sky Paisley Socks Size M

Bright Coral Zebra Socks Size M

Coral Palm Tree Socks Size M Purchased

White Chevron Socks Size M Purchased

Stripe Ankle Socks Size M

Converse Chuck Taylor All Star High Tops Color Pink Size 1Y

Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Low Tops Color Pink Size 1Y Purchased

7-Pack Week Day Ankle Socks Size 8-16 Purchased

Nike Kawa Sandals in Pink Size 1Y

We are getting excited to celebrate Princess' birthday in our new home and hope the PTSD that comes back to haunt her each year will diminish.
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To Save a Child

What are you willing to do to save a child?

We fostered and adopted.

We put our lives on hold to work on attachment in hopes that it might work out alright in the end.

We've attended parenting classes.

We've met with behavioral specialists, doctors, therapists, etc.

We've read every book we can get our hands on.

We've tried medication.

Yet still, we're faced with a dark cloud looming.
To Save a Child-One family's journey to helping their special needs child.
This post contains affiliate links.

Medications can only help so much.

Doctors, specialists, and therapists do their best, but no one has all of the answers.

We can follow advice given in parenting classes, but it doesn't always work in every situation.

Attachment is a very hard thing to repair once broken.

Mood Disorders are very hard to treat in young children.

Autism becomes a very complicated thing when combined with a mood disorder and Reactive Attachment Disorder, all in the same child.

Here we are.  

The specialists have said that it's very likely Sunshine will be in residential by the time she's 8 years old.

She is finally stable with the help of medications, but of course they have side effects.  And wouldn't you know those side effects are to a point now where we have to wean off one medication and try another.  The vicious cycle never ends.

We've always said we're willing to do whatever it takes to save a child.  After all, none of this is Sunshine's fault.  It just happened.  So we pray and we hope and we pray some more.  That's when it dawns on us.  There's one thing left to try.  We can change her environment.

The thought of sending our daughter to a residential facility breaks me to the core.  All of the attachment work we've done...  All of the progress she's made...  And yet we know that this may be a reality in the future, despite our best efforts.

Sunshine makes her own choices, which then all have consequences.  When the safety of others is threatened, she's held accountable.  If she puts herself in danger, it's our job to make sure she's safe.  We can teach her right from wrong, but that still doesn't mean she'll choose the right.

For the past ten years our family has lived the city life.  Our home has been large with too much indoor space, and not enough outdoor space.  Playing outside is only possible with an adult present due to safety concerns related to strangers and neighbors alike.  In fact this Spring, circumstances were such that our children preferred not going outside.  There was too much chaos.


We needed to change our environment.

For over a year we've been trying to apply for home modification grants and other funding to create an environment where Sunshine would thrive.  Every single time we've been blocked due to red tape about rules and regulations etc.

My husband and I felt so stuck.  What were we going to do?

And that's when we saw it.

The perfect house.

It just happened to show up in my facebook feed.
To Save a Child-One family's journey to helping their fhild with special needs.
Never in a million years did we think we had a chance of actually living in this home.  For one, it's in Virginia.  We've been living in New York.

The price was most likely out of our reach, especially with all of the land.  But wait?  It wasn't.

Our house in New York would never sell though.  Or so we thought.

It has a buyer.

And so...  

We have moved to the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and are living in the most beautiful old farmhouse I've ever set eyes on, complete with two acres of land for our children to roam.

The house meets Sunshine's needs.

She's able to run and play for hours without worry or fear.

We've only been here a week, and she's already functioning better than we've ever seen.  All of our children are.

Yes there have been sacrifices.

This home is much smaller than our home in New York.  Our furniture pieces were too big.  So were our Montessori shelves.  All of them were sold before we came.  They're easily replaceable.

But, at the same time, small has been so nice.  It's more manageable.  And Sunshine... She has always done better in small spaces.

It's been wonderful to start from scratch, building a Montessori-inspired home that will meet the needs of all of our children.

My husband has returned to work full time.  He now works for the county as a mental health emergency pre-screener.  We miss him dearly at home, but it brings great comfort to know he works directly with those who may be involved with Sunshine later on if things go downhill.

We consider ourselves so blessed.  Our prayers have been answered.  The view from our home is beautiful.  We can't get enough of the fireflies at night.  Our first campfire in the backyard is planned for the weekend.  Fresh new paint will soon be going on the walls of each of the kiddos' bedrooms.

The last three months have been exhausting and more work than we could have ever imagined.

We've had to:
  • Prepare our home to sell.
  • Sort through and pack up all we could take with us.
  • Sell off all of our items that we couldn't bring.
  • Drive from New York to Virginia with four special needs children.
  • Drive a moving truck from New York to Virginia with what things we could bring.
  • Unpack and settle in our new home.

It's all been worth it.

We are so ready to begin this new adventure in life.  We are out to save a child... our child, in any way we can.  She now has the freedom to run, in a world that is smaller, which seems to be exactly what she's needed.  Oh how we pray it will be enough to save her from a future that seems so dark.  She is so worth saving!

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