Southside E-Magazine

Sunday, February 12th, 2012

Click the pic to view a sneak peek of the magazine – upcoming events involving transition.

Southside Support is a member driven non-profit.  As part of our membership benefits, we are pleased to present a quarterly magazine filled with stories, pictures, information, and advertising to keep families informed on the Southside. The inaugural copy of the magazine will be out soon on this website for all to view.  Subsequent copies will be available to members only. Information about membership will be posted soon. Membership dues from individuals, families, and businesses are primarily used to offset costs associated with website, offer members-only events, and help as seed money for initiatives that help connect families to community, like the College Bound Conference.

For advertising or membership inquiries, please contact Raissa Chandler at (770) 713-6731 or by email at

Challenger Baseball Registration Now Open

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

Follow us on facebook.

Please follow the link to register your child, age 4 through high school graduate to participate in Challenger Special Needs baseball. Cost is $50 per season (there’s a spring season and a winter season). You’ll have to create a login for yourself as an adult, then add your children to the list. Runners and siblings welcome!

Walk up registration is available this week!

.Tues. January 17th, from 6:30-8PM at the Kedron Aquatic Center

.Saturday, January 21st, from 10AM-4PM at the PTC library

.Sunday, January 22nd, from 2-5PM at the Kedron Aquatic Center

General Information:

Ø Challenger is a division of play within Little League Baseball

Ø Peachtree City Challenger is a division of play within Peachtree City Little League

Ø Peachtree City Little League is governed by an elected Board of Directors

Ø John Ashcraft, your new Challenger Player Agent, is now a member of the Peachtree City Little League Board of Directors. John can be reached at 404-886-8865, email:

Ø Peachtree City Little League is 1 of 10 leagues within District 4 Little League – which covers a 15-county area

Ø We encourage participation in the Peachtree City Challenger Division from any of the 15 counties served by District 4. Please visit the district website for information about our other leagues:

College Bound – Learning Personal Advocacy

Saturday, January 14th, 2012

College for my kids has been on my mind lately. This is because a friend and I are hosting a College Bound Conference for students with Asperger’s and assorted learning differences in early March. The story behind the conference is a long story and I’ll save that for another time. In the next few blogs, I want to focus on what I’ve learned through researching colleges and life after high school, and how that applies to changing up goals in my own parenting and IEP’s.

The biggest idea I’ve learned through this process is that once your child has turned 18, he’s essentially responsible for speaking up for himself to get accommodations or other supports in college, on the job, or anywhere, really. My extreme intuitive nature make me a natural parent who hovers and speaks up for her kids, but I’ve learned I can’t always be there. So, I’m making changes personally to try to unplug my hovering nature and let them practice speaking up for themselves. First, I’m encouraging them to answer questions when someone asks them something. I often interpret what they are saying to other people, but I’m going to quit doing that, and let them develop their own way of communicating. Second, I’m going to question them, “Tell me what you need” to get them to practice articulating their needs, whether it be something simple like a drink, to something more difficult to convey, like comfort. Third, I’m going to encourage appropriate interactions where they have to speak up for their needs in the community, like making them order their own food at McDonald’s.

But this concept of personal advocacy doesn’t have to remain at home, it can be reinforced in school. I’m going to make sure at my upcoming IEP sessions that we have more advocacy and life skills goals. Now that we’ve made it through the self calming goals, I want to focus on their understanding that if they are stuck, either emotionally, physically, mentally, or academically, they can ask for help. I want them to be able to articulate what’s wrong, come up with potential solutions or accomodations so they can get themselves unstuck, and remember to say thank you at the end when the solution comes through. When the kids were non-verbal, all I wanted was them to tell me they loved me. In hindsight, it took a lot of building blocks to communication, before I could hear those words. I know in advocacy, it’s the same. But by designing with the end in mind, the school will be able to help me understand those building blocks to advocacy.

To get started in understanding advocacy, I found a nice article in Disability Scoop, and online magazine. There’s lots of short movies on YouTube that explain how self advocacy works in adults and students. Here’s one that’s a cartoon and another that’s a Parent to Parent of Georgia youth. I hope you decide to teach your children, or even yourself, the power to speak up for your needs.

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The Pumpkin, the Egg, and the Witness

Saturday, October 29th, 2011

This is my post for Parent to Parent of Georgia’s blog, but had to jump the gun and share.


“Excuse me ma’am, have you ever read one of our periodicals before?” the lady asked me as she’s handing me an Awake tract.

I was thinking, “Really?! I’m being evangelized to by a Jehovah Witness while I’m decorating a pumpkin on my tailgate at dawn in a Kroger parking lot. How surreal.”

What I said was, “No thanks.” As she walks away, I throw in, “Good for you for approaching a stranger with your faith first thing in the morning.” She looked puzzled and walked faster away from me.

How did I get to this place in time? Well, it had to do with Pumpkin Walks and pitching eggs off a roof. Read on to get the details.

My daughter’s school participates in the local city’s Pumpkin Walk every year. Each student is asked to decorate a pumpkin for placement in the walk. In the past, they’ve won cash prizes for sheer quantity of produce that lines the walk.

This year, I had forgotten about the walk. The morning the pumpkins are due, I was explaining this to my daughter as we were walking toward the special ed bus.

“I’m sorry, we forgot to make a pumpkin for today.”

Desperately exasperated, “But Moomm! We HAVE TO HAVE a pumpkin!”


Flashback to first grade.


The highlight of science in first grade was getting to insulate an egg and watch the Principal toss it off the roof of the school to see if it survives. We didn’t participate (send in an egg), and boy I heard about it. Notes from school claimed she cried for hours after the event. More boo hooing when she got home from school. I scarred my child over a cracked egg.


Back to the present.

The conversation fifteen feet away from the bus.

“So Mommy will make you a pumpkin?”


“What do you want on your pumpkin? How should I decorate it?”


Because of her interest in diseases and syndromes, I said, “Shall I put spots on your pumpkin, like chicken pox?”

“No Mom, I don’t want diseased pumpkin.”

“OK, I’ll decorate it and make sure you know it’s yours.” At this point, she’s on the bus and I had no idea how I was going to decorate it.

It was now 7AM, and I had one hour before pumpkin deadline to purchase, decorate, and deliver a pumpkin she would recognize as hers. That was not diseased. Good thing I love these kinds of challenges.

7:05 Scoured house for supplies – sharpie marker, tape, hat? Wait, no time to heat up glue gun, so I couldn’t attach a hat. No hat. Considered affixing various past art projects like a tag. Found artwork – a picture of a Mario Kart. Perfect.

7:10 Rain was in the forecast. Laminated Mario Kart graphic onto a bamboo skewer to stake into the pumpkin. Got dressed and drove to Kroger.

7:14 While I drove, decided to decorate the pumpkin as Mario, the character from Nintendo games to go with the Kart.

7:20 Arrived at Kroger. Produce section has NO pumpkins.

I found and interrogated the produce manager. “Are you out of pumpkins?”

“No, they are all outside.” He led me outside, having to unlock the front doors that blocked us from the quickest way to the pumpkins.

There were several giant bins of pumpkins. We looked in the closest bin. Large, sad looking pumpkins. 5 of them. We continue to the next bin. 7 to 10 medium pumpkins lining the bottom of the crate. I did not want to have to climb in just to get a pumpkin. Next bin, many more medium sized pumpkins within arm’s reach. The produce manager plucked the closest one out of the bin. It’s lopsided and has a stretch mark. “Ok, I’ll take it.”

7:25 Ran inside the store with the pumpkin, self scanned, swiped card for $4.28, and ran back out the door to the back of my station wagon, where supplies were ready.

7:30 Drew Mario’s mustache (poorly), eyes (better), smile (crooked), and hair (ok). Stuck in skewer with Mario Kart graphic. Admired work.

7:35 Chat with Jehovah Witness.

7:37 Headed for school.

7:49 Delivered pumpkin to patch. Challenge completed with 11 minutes to spare!

Whew! What a parent goes through to help a child avoid disappointment.

I asked my daughter the next morning what she thought about her pumpkin.

Her reply, “Huh? What pumpkin?”


Happy Halloween!

Transitioning to College from Disability Scoop

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011
Here’s a link to a Disability Scoop Article that highlights how successful students are transitioning from high school to post secondary options, and ultimately independence.

Do you have a youth with a disability who wants to be independent when they “grow up”? Stay tuned for more information about the College Bound Conference.

Job Trends for students with and without disabilities

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011
 I found this interesting article about job trends up to the year 2018.

According to the study, the most jobs that will be available for everyone are in the following areas:
1>Sales and Administrative Support
2>Blue Collar Jobs
3>Food and Personal Services
Based on the chart on page 25, students who graduate from high school will be the majority of the workers in these top three growth categories.
Does this suggest that college is a waste of time? Maybe, if you are happy with staying in these categories for the rest of your working life. You’ll still need to be able to work with people, take and follow directions, have good customer service skills, and good work habits. Learning these skills takes time.
However, if you are striving to be in a more technical, managerial, or healthcare position, you’ll have to invest in a bachelor’s degree for better odds at winning a job.
And education? You’ll have to stay longer for a Master’s degree to be competitive.
Stay tuned for more information regarding career and college trends.

Paying For College

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011
On the NAMI webpage, there’s a link that lists several organizations who provide scholarships for students with disabilities.

January traditionally starts the new “paying for college” cycle. You should start to look out for Federal Student Financial Aid forms, and start downloading scholarship applications as soon as they become available.
Having money to pay for college, just like any other condition (disability or otherwise) should not be a reason to not start college. If there’s a will there’s a way.
Happy Hunting!
Incidentally, on this link shows student chapters of NAMI on campus. In Georgia, Augusta State and Columbus State are beginning for form chapters. May be worthwhile to look at their offerings to see if it may be a good match for what you are seeking.

5 Things

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

On facebook, I get requests all the time to “pick my 5” for the day – the 5 things I can’t leave the house without, the 5 best places to vacation, etc. In trying to decide where to start in the world of blogging, I discovered that 5’s were not a bad place to start. So here’s my first list of 5’s for you.

The 5 things I wish I knew when I first got my child’s diagnosis.

  1. I am not alone. You are not alone. Don’t feel like you alone understands your situation. However, within your circle of friends and relatives, you may be alone. Reach out, find others with similar diagnoses in their families and seek their advice.
  2. My child still is an extension of me. Your child is still an extension of you. Regardless of the circumstances you find your child in, you are allowed to continue to hope that the best that is in you has been genetically and environmentally passed down to your child. The same spirit within you that drives you to not quit on your child is the same spirit that lives within your child that drives them to not quit on you.
  3. I will spend a lot of time and great sums of money panicking to get the “best” for my child. You will spend a lot of time and great sums of money panicking to get the “best” for your child. Breathe. Relax. Plan. Rome was not built in a day. Your situation will not be resolved today. Or at your next pediatrician’s appointment. Slow down your pace and prepare for a longer run.
  4. I will not be prepared for the grief involved. You will not be prepared for the grief involved. The Kübler-Ross model for grief is denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Sometimes your grief will not be in that order. Sometimes, you’ll go backwards in the model. It is natural to grieve.
  5. My child and I will get through this and both come out stronger. You and your child will get through this and come out stronger. Kids with diagnoses and parents and siblings who support them are special people. Know that your life may feel like a rocky climb, but the view at the top (or even during stops in the climb) can be quite spectacular. Take a moment every now and then to reflect at how far you have come.

I hope you find my blogs this year to be informative and inspiring. For now, I bid you safe journeys, good choices, and well being.