Helping My Kids Cope with a Learning Difference

I was honored to be featured as a podcast guest with Child Life on Call. This is my second appearance and the focus was on supporting my children through their learning differences of ADHD, dyslexia, dysgraphia, and coping with anxiety.

Like many, parenting through the pandemic and adapting to distance learning wasn’t easy. My youngest, Blake struggles with dyslexia and dysgraphia. He was doing really well in school and with outside support prior to the lockdown. As soon as he had to go online to finish his second-grade year, his confidence went down the tubes.

I also witnessed my oldest, Gavin who has dyslexia, dysgraphia, ADHD, and struggles with anxiety become overwhelmed with his middle school curriculum online.

As a parent, I have had to learn to navigate the special education road. Learning terms like Individual Educational Plan (IEP),  baseline assessments, and understanding my children’s legal educational rights. 

Take a listen to our story and share it with others who are coping with learning differences.

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Giving Parents a Voice: Child Life On Call Podcast

Child on Call Podcast

I am over the moon to feature an extraordinary Certified Child Life Specialist on the blog today. Katie Taylor, has taken her passion for working with parents and children from the hospital walls to the radio waves. She is empowering them to share their stories and connect with other families.

Guest Blogger, Katie Taylor founder of Child Life on Call

I was kneeling down next to a new mother in a dark pediatric intensive care room. The only light was from the sun peeking through the curtains and the monitor from the three IV pumps connected to her 3-week-old daughter. While I introduced child life services and education on ways to continue bonding with her newborn, despite their abrupt and emergent hospitalization, she said something powerful.

With tears in her eyes, she looked right at me and said, “I feel like I’m the only one in the world feeling this way. I feel so alone. So helpless. Tell me someone else has been through this before.”

It hit me like a ton of bricks. Her words lit a deep fire within me to do something more; Child Life On Call podcast was born.

I’m a huge podcast fan. Listening to them takes me to another world. Whether I’m laughing or learning something new, I leave my commutes feeling a sense of renewal. What was missing in the podcast world, I discovered, was a community for parents who feel the overwhelming emotions associated with having a child who has an illness or medical condition.

I don’t have a voice for radio, I didn’t have any of the equipment (not even a desktop computer), and I had absolutely NO clue about how to start a podcast, but I wanted to create a resource for parents and I felt podcasting was the way to do it. Parents could plug in their earbuds as their child slept in the hospital bed next to them and be transported to a community of stories and support. I had to make this happen.

Child Life on Call Podcast.jpg

One year later, the Child Life On Call podcast was published. Although the quality isn’t great and the technical errors have given me sleepless nights, the mission has been steadfast. The podcast features stories from parents of children with an illness or medical condition.

In Season 1, parents courageously describes personal and emotional experiences associated with having a child who has been through medical experiences. Season 2 will feature more stories from parents and from child life specialists currently working in the field.

Katie taylor

You can follow along with this podcast on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, through www.childlifepodcast.com, and you can listen on iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn and Google Play.

My hope is that this continues to be a resource for parents as they sit in the loneliness that is hard to avoid when you have an ill child. My hope is that child life students recognize the weight of the vulnerability shared by these parents and the honor we have as child life specialists to support families. My hope is that this grows into a community that truly does support parents and families experiencing hospitalizations and illness.

Learn more about Katie and Child Life On Call from her website, at childlifepodcast.com and click here, if you are interested in sharing a story.

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There is always an interesting story of how a child life specialist discovered the field and how they provide services in a non-traditional way.

I was thrilled to be interviewed by a child life colleague, Katie Taylor, from Child Life On Call. Listen to the podcast and find out my journey to the child life profession, community-based practices, and advice for parents.

Click here to listen.