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Where’s the instruction manual?

Sometimes I have wished that kids came with an instruction manual.  This is especially true when raising a child with special needs.

Most parenting books are designed to help parents gain the skills and expertise needed to raise healthy, well adjusted children.  Parents of kids with special needs desire that same thing, but the message we get is different.  Many professionals feel that we are not knowledgeable enough to make crucial decisions concerning our children.

I was talking with a friend who’s daughter has autism.  We were sharing stories about our struggles to get proper services for our kids over the years.  Each of us had experienced face-offs with professionals who tried to intimidate us by saying that they were the ones with the education, knowledge and experience to know what was best for our child.  Yet in these instances, our internal mommy-instinct was screaming back at us that the course outlined by the professionals was exactly wrong.  I told her that sometimes I had to bring out my mama-bear to protect my cub and then watch out!

Both of us are grateful that we found other professionals who agreed with us.  They helped us create appropriate educational programs, therapy regimes and medical protocols.  Our kids lives have been blessed because of the mentoring we received from these particular individuals.

Other families we have met are not so blessed.  Even with all of the changes in disability awareness and advocacy, some families are still under-served. I know several families that moved to different US states in order to get their child the services they needed.  Others have hired legal teams to fight the established educational system to create the appropriate program for their child.

Even though we are not handed instruction manuals when our kids are born, we can find mentors along the way to help us.  Published books, newsletters, Facebook groups, local advocacy groups and other parents have all assisted me at various times when I needed it.  They became my instruction manual.  We learned to gain the information we needed and then summon our courage to fight the needed battles for Nick.

If you are looking for the instruction manual, create it.  That’s what we did.  There are many that will help you.

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Announcing that I have finished a book with the working title of “The Fairy Fort.” I am currently pitching it to publishers. Keep checking back to watch the progress of my newest novel.

Here is a quick glimpse of the story.

Sarah Doherty is an 18-year-old living in rural Ireland at the tail end of the Great War. Plagued by severe epilepsy, she is protected by her parents and lives a sheltered, secluded, lonely life. The Fae, local Irish fairies, interfere with her life. She falls forward a century in time through the local fairy fort of standing stones. She had a seizure in 1918 and woke up in 2020. The 21st century world includes life-saving prescriptions, physical comforts and the independence and freedom she seeks. The locals are welcoming and Andy Mclaughlin, a handsome young historian, is intriguing. She doesn’t want to return home.

Then a letter arrives from Boston divulging the story of Sarah and Andy’s lives that are deeply entwined in the previous century. They are not yet in love but as they seek to verify the letter through online resources, they feel a growing obligation to their unborn family and to each other. What would happen to their posterity living in Boston if they don’t return to 1918? Even if they do make it back, her parents can never know what happened to her or that would change everything.

This Young Adult time-travel romance explores the question: Do we have the freedom to make choices or is free will an elaborate illusion?

This is my third book. I love reading time travel romances. I am an advocate for epilepsy awareness because my 43-year-old son has intractable epilepsy. As a genealogist specializing in Irish research, I live part of the year in the village where the story is based. I wrote the book to help young adults understand that difficult situations can change your life. Sometimes miraculously.