Wednesday, May 23, 2012


As soon as we knew that Cruz had special needs, we knew we wanted to do more to get involved in the community. We weren't exactly sure what that looked like but we knew God had big plans for the little guy. We knew we were given this little guy to learn from him and in turn help others and give back. It's amazing to think of all of the times Cruz has pushed my buttons, how drained I have felt, and how I longed for some type of program that might help be another outlet for him. It's amazing to see how God stirred it in our hearts and immediately brought people into our lives like Deb Fusek and Brooke Allen. In just two weeks the first ever Superstars program will begin. This summer program for special needs kids will focus on social skills and preparing kids for the classroom. 

It’s amazing to think of how many families are going to be blessed, how many kids, siblings, and parents are going to be able to grow and connect. It’s not just the kids with special needs that will benefit from this program. Their siblings will greatly benefit as they are learning how to share, play, and exchange with other kids. Their future classrooms will and peers will benefit as a foundation is being layed for appropriate behavior. Parents will benefit not only watching their child grow, and continue to work on listening skills but will have a chance to meet other parents and connect with them in ways that only parents can.

When you finally realize that your child has special needs one of the first things you wonder about is the quality of life that your child will have. Everyone wants their child to fit in, to make friends, to be able to sit in the classroom with their peers, to be able to participate in extracurricular activities. Everyone remembers the triumphs of our youth. Whether its playing with friends on the playground, playing sports, being a play, riding bikes, swimming…. Everyone wants their child to be able to do these types of things. It is this type of class, this type of therapy that will help set them up for success.

The Superstars program is being created to fill a gap in services offered in our community.  There is no other Social Skills and Movement class offered in our area for this age group of 3-7 year olds.  This is a very important window of time in the development of children.  The children's faces you see in the pictures below are some of those who will enjoy the lasting impact of the Superstars program. This type of program would normally be out of reach since most insurance plans do not cover developmental disabilities, leaving many families to struggle to pay out of pocket. This is why POINT Performing Arts partnered up with The Reach Effect to take in donations to lower the cost to families....

Monday, May 21, 2012

Disney World

There are few places on earth that have seemed so magical to me as Disney. No matter my age or state of mind I have been able to escape, let down, and enjoy myself. I'm not sure how many times I've actually been but I can probably credit my previous visits as a child with the influence to be a theater major. This however was my first time to go with kids, with 5 kids under the age of 7, to be exact. My usual excitement was mixed with natural anxiety as I wasn't sure what to expect of the two plane rides, nap times, long lines, and total sensory overload... for all the kids and even myself. Left to forego my usual selfish tendencies to ride the thrill rides and satisfy my own whims, I prepared myself to wait in incredibly long lines to receive a hug from adults dressed up as cartoon characters. Looking down from 10,000 feet it is probably really hilarious. Our first morning we attended a character breakfast. As soon as Minnie walked in my kids flipped out. Wren was screaming in excitement and practically elbowed her way across the room just to touch the mouse. Cruz mirrored her excitement and I knew the trip was going to be amazing. There was truly something magical about the mouse.

Taking a prime position for all of the parades was well worth the 45 minute wait. All of the kids jumped up and down, waved, and yelled to get a look from Woody, Buzz, or any of the Disney characters whether they actually knew who they were or not.

The kids got their faces painted, watched live stage shows, and the little ones even got to ride a few rides.

Because Cruz is a sensory seeker, he craves constant stimulation, he was in heaven. He was never lacking adrenalin or excitement. There was constant, noise, visual stimulation, special treats, rides, you name it. When nap time rolled around we simply reclined the stroller and let them crash out. At times they'd have to cry it out but you never really noticed the volume of their cry above the roar of the crowd. My little adrenalin junkies loved the rides, even Pirates of The Caribbean. They would have gone on any ride that they were tall enough to go on. They had a blast, especially with their cousins being around all week. There was never a dull moment... literally. Even if we were back at the hotel the kids were non stop until they fell asleep. It will be fun to do this again when the smallest ones are 40 inches so that they can ride all of the rides!