Janice Yeung

Five Conversation Starters with a Special Needs Child

January 15, 2014 in All Blogs, Education and Parenting, Our Blog


Whether your child is loud or quiet, there is still value in maintaining quality conversations with your child, and guiding them into meaningful discussions. Here are a few conversation starters with your child to develop their skills in critically thinking about issues and expressing their own opinions.

1. Ask your child to evaluate yourself.

Have you ever thought that it would be valuable if you asked your child what his/her favorite thing is about you? Not only will you feel very encouraged, but you would know what you are doing right. Knowing some things that your child does not like is also useful because you could work on doing things differently and have your son see that you are willing to work on becoming a better parent for his/her sake.

2. Discuss movies together.

Movies are great tools to bring up interesting topics to talk about. Disney and Pixar films are guaranteed great family movies. Classic ones like Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Lilo and Stitch and so on are great conversation starters for topics of friendship, disjointed families, parent-child relationships, treating those who are different and so on.

3. Talk through conflicts.

When conflicts come up about which sibling should get a certain toy, or when a child feels forced to do something, talk through it. Be calm and try to resolve the conflict by showing that as a parent, you are in a partnership with your children. Solve problems together even if at the moment you are not getting along. This will teach your child valuable skills on compromising and teamwork.

4. Bring up sex.

It is never too early to talk about sex.  Here is a guide to what you could talk about at your child’s specific age. Even when your child is only 2 or 3 years old, you can still teach them the right terminology for private body parts. When they are toddlers you can give them simple descriptions for how a baby lives in a mommy’s tummy and a general idea of a sperm joining the cell of an egg to create a human being. When your child steps into puberty, you can talk more about sex-related topics in the news. Talking about sex upfront with your child avoids them looking for answers through the media or through online sources.

5. Build compassion.

When you pass a homeless person, or if you see a case of bullying, teach your child compassion by asking them what positive reactions they can give to people who are less fortunate. Be a model yourself for advocating for the poor, the needy and the marginalized. Guide your child into talking about how they would like to help those who are in need and it would help them become people who reach out to others.


Were these conversation starters helpful for you? What other ways do you spur purposeful discussions with your child? Let us know by COMMENTING below! Please SHARE this article if it was helpful to you! 

Janice Yeung

Top Five Ways to Encourage a Special Needs Parent

January 9, 2014 in All Blogs, Education and Parenting, Our Blog

If you are a special needs parent, you know what I am talking about. While you love your child dearly, accommodating to their one-of-a-kind manners in functioning, learning and playing can be a challenge. While trying to figure out your child’s diagnosis and special needs in parental care, you might be frustrated with the lack of social support mechanisms and groups.

Not just that, friends and family members sometimes let you down. They might be scared to babysit your child when you want a night out; at a gathering they might be fearful because they do not know how best to interact with your child; they might even stop inviting you to occasions because the event does not provide accessibility services. We know how you feel and we are determined to make a change. Here is a list of the top 5 ways to encourage a special needs parent in your extraordinary journey. Be encouraged!


 1. Understand the condition first.

Before you make assumptions, stop and listen to the parent explain what his/her child’s diagnosis is. You could also do your own research and educate yourself about the conditions of dyslexia, ADHD, autism, Down’s Syndrome and so on. The parent will appreciate you taking the time to understand what his/her child is challenged with.

 2. Be positive!

It is no exaggeration to say that a happy soul injects sunshine into the life of parents with special needs children. With a warm smile on your face, a batch of freshly baked cookies in your hands, you just might make their day. Be affirmative; give words of support and a warm bear hug when needed.

 3. Be accepting.

Even though a lot of children with recognizable challenges are shunned by society and face discrimination, you do not have to see them as less capable than other children. Play with special needs children just like how you would with other children! Run around, frolic, have fun! Other than giving the children opportunities to develop healthy social interactions with others, you would also be showing the parents that there are people out there who see their children as more than their diagnoses.

 4. Walk together!

An African proverb says, “If you want to walk fast, walk alone; but if you want to walk far, walk together.” It is so worth it to educate your family, friends, co-workers whenever you can of the importance of accepting those with intellectual or physical challenges. Challenge them to stop using derogatory language. Inform them that it is wrong to single out people who are more awkward or clumsy. Teach them that they should embrace values of love and equality. Generate a tidal wave of attitude and cultural change!

 5. Be the rep!

There can never be enough advocates for special needs children and their parents! Show your love for people with special needs by being their voice. Join support groups and call out schools, media and state legislators to ask for changes that you want to see in your neighbourhood. This cause is worth the fight! Show the world that children with special needs are not burdens, but rather, they bring unique gifts to the world!


Show special needs parents that they are not alone in this fight. Let them know they are included in the community and that you are walking with them in this extraordinary journey. Be a life-changer today!


Like this article? SHARE it so more people will read it and be encouraged! Do you have any opinions on whether these tips are helpful or not? COMMENT below to let us know! You can also pitch articles to us if you would like to see them posted here! Simply email janice@healthrehab.ca



December 23, 2013 in All Blogs, Education and Parenting, Guest Posts, Living, Our Blog



Our friend, Abby Nelson from www.Nannyclassifieds.com, wrote a great article on about how you influence, motivate and inspire your children everyday through everything you do. Your children are always watching, observing and learning, so being cautious about the choice you make, the feelings you project, your responses and actions are extremely important. Read more from the article and get great tips on ways to learn to be more cautious to serve as a better and more positive role model for your child by clicking the link below. After all, you are their greatest hero.



3 Ways to Have a Healthy Relationship with Your Child

December 16, 2013 in All Blogs, Education and Parenting, Our Blog

It is an art to maintain a healthy relationship with your child. As parents, it is almost natural that we assume that we know it all: what’s best, what’s good, what’s bad, which way our kids have to go, what they should do in life, etc.

We easily become anxious because we are afraid that our children would neglect to do something or make the wrong decision.

I would suggest that parents reflect on when they were children in the past, how they felt when they were constantly being told off or being given commands that cannot be refuted.

Building a healthy relationship with your child starts from Day One. While it is true that it takes time for a child to grow and mature, I do not agree that parents should always think that their children do not understand what they want or have no thought put into their decisions. Here are a few ways I would suggest to parents who wish to build a healthy, happy relationship with their children.


1. Talk to your child.

Too many times we talk ‘to’ our child but not ‘with’ them. A lot of parents simply command their children to perform, but they do not take the time to understand what their child thinks or whether they understand the rationale behind the order or not. Explain to your child the reasons behind why you think they should do things in a certain way, instead of simply not permitting them to say, go to a drinking party or come home later than midnight.

2. Do not argue.

Arguments with children never go anywhere. It just becomes a war of words where everybody will be frustrated and little will be achieved. To conserve time and energy, you would benefit a lot more from sitting down and discussing with your child calmly with open ears, listening to what he/she has to say. Often times, children do not receive lectures well because no one wants to have their lives dictated by another.

3. Talk on your child’s level

Bring yourself down to your children’s level of intelligence and maturity and explain to them in their own words the situation they are in.  Do not forget that this is your child’s life, not yours. Our job as parents is simply to prepare them for the life that they will have, so that when they become adults, they will have the readiness to make decisions for themselves.


To develop a strong, independent character in your child, the most important thing is to remember to develop a friendship with your child, like how you would with any other person. Stop thinking about the hierarchy, and start thinking about building a healthy, mutual relationship with your child.


Did you find this article helpful? What other tips do you have for other parents in communicating openly with their child? Let us know by COMMENTING below! SHARE our article on your personal page for other parents to benefit from the tips as well! :)


Janice Yeung

Ten Ways to Inspire Happiness in Your Child

December 11, 2013 in All Blogs, Cerebral Palsy, Conditions, Developmental Delay, Education and Parenting, Our Blog

According to the National Comorbidity Survey-Adolescent Supplement (NCS-A), about 11 percent of adolescents have a depressive disorder by the age of 18. The risk for depression rises as a child gets older. The World Health Organization even announced that major depressive disorder is the leading cause of disability among Americans aged 15 to 44.

How would you be able to tell if your child’s changes in mood are transient or whether they are symptoms of an impending depression? Instead of having wishful thinking that your child would not get depression, why not be proactive in encouraging happiness in your child as you are taking care of him/her today?

We’ve compiled a list of the top ten ways to inspire happiness in your child. We are sure that they would help you focus on your child’s psychological wellbeing.


1. Do things that spark energy.

There is nothing better than a good round of fun exercising or games that get you sweating and panting for breath. It has been proven that exercise alleviates symptoms of depression and anxiety. It releases feel-good brain chemicals called endorphins, and reduces chemicals that run in the immune system which cause depression. Moreover, as the body temperature rises, feelings are calmed and your mind stops focusing on worrying

2. Play with variety.

Variety spices things up. Do not just take your child out to the movies all the time, think of other activities that would also guarantee a great family bonding time. There are plenty of options: farms, zoos, museums, beaches, parks, amusement parks and so on.

3. Play music.

Celebrate often with your child by playing his/her favorite music! Whether it’s Disney songs, teen pop, rock and roll or even classical music, blast it on the stereos and have a dance party with your child!

4. Make art together.

When words do not come out, deep emotions can be conveyed through art. In these cases, Play-Doh and a blank canvas could be your child’s best friend. Sculpting clay or drawing lines on a sheet of paper could release depression and become a sort of communication that is more inward-focused.

5. Go back to nature.

How many of us just sit in front of a computer screen for hours and call it a day? Open up you and your child’s eyes to the world outside. As Pocahontas says, “Come run the hidden pine trails of the forest, come taste the sun-sweet berries of the Earth, come roll in all the riches all around you.” That’s right, we all need to learn how to paint with all the ‘Colours of the Wind’.


6. Create a loving environment.

Families are made to be together for a reason. We were supposed to support each other through the thick and thin, to love each other the way they are and to be able to listen to each other even through hard times. Focus on the relationships, not just with your child, but also with your spouse, parents, in-laws. Nurture a loving environment for your child to grow up in.

7. Do not compare your child with others.

Comparison is deadly. It means not looking at all the great things about your child, and only dwelling on the negatives in him/her. Instead of immobilizing your child in criticism, learn to criticize constructively. The key is to calmly analyze the situation and offer suggestions in ways that your child could have done better.

8. Express your confidence in your child.

Recognize that your words have a great impact on your child: whatever you say to them could either build or break. To make your child feel happiest and most fulfilled, instill in them a sense of how much you are confident in them.

Shawn Achor, New York Times bestselling author of Before Happiness and CEO of GoodThink, says, “Children who believe that they have a high potential continue to strive and as a result we get to see more of what their brain is capable of accomplishing. True happiness requires both a gratitude for the present but also a deep-seated aspiration for the future.”

9. Go through struggles with them.

Some kids need more discipline than others. Some are born intellectually or physically challenged. But this does not mean they are incapable of achieving greater goals in life. Stick with them in the process of working through their struggles with them. Do not give up.

“We have to push it,” says Hayley Maclaren, mother of Poppy who is a 2-year-old girl with Cerebral Palsy and quadriplegia. “We have to be cross to be kind. Poppy is not happy to spend four hours a day learning how to walk, but I think she’ll thank us very much when she is older. It has been hard for her, but it is important for her to be happy in the long-term.”


Hayley Maclaren, mother of 2-year-old Poppy says that she is a very happy child in general.

10. Encourage. Encourage. Encourage.

Even if your child does not believe in himself/herself, you have to be their champion. “Poppy has a lot of determination and we believe that she could do anything she puts her mind to. She will always have Cerebral Palsy, but we do not want that to be the reason that she says ‘I cannot do that’. She can do anything and we do not want to hold her back,” says Maclaren.


Poppy Maclaren’s parents Danny Maclaren and Hayley Maclaren take her to four hours of functional education therapy each day. They believe that Poppy will benefit from the long-term effects of learning to perform various daily functions independently.


We hope this article inspired you to spark happiness in your child. What are your ideas for raising a happy, healthy child? Let us know by COMMENTING below!


Janice Yeung

Five Perks of Parenting a Child with Special Needs

November 28, 2013 in All Blogs, Cerebral Palsy, Conditions, Education and Parenting, Our Blog

You’ve had enough.

As parents of children with special needs, you are often looked upon as having the worst of the bunch. Teachers complain about attention deficit in your child during classes, passers-by on the street gaze at you with a mixture of sympathy and fear of a diagnosis they know little of, family members giving cordial greetings when you attend gatherings and yet still do not quite know how to interact with your child.

But you’re sick of all that.

What most people don’t realize, is that all you want to do is to scream to the world, “I love my child and I am proud of him, I do not care if he has special needs or not!”

We know you are sick and tired of the harshness of this world, so here we are to agree with you and let everyone know what the top five best things about parenting a special needs child is:

1. Joy

There is so much more joy in parenting a special needs child than other children because the happiness that a special needs child exudes is infectious.

Amanda Belcher, mother of Maggie who was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy when she was 17 months old, praises Maggie because she can “smile and laugh, she has a sense of humor and she loves to laugh at things.”

When your child smiles even though you know that he/she tries harder than others to achieve certain functions in life, it’s the most heartwarming thing in the world.


Amanda Belcher (right) sees her daughter Maggie (diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy when she was 17 months old) as gifted and loveable as her other children without Cerebral Palsy.

2. Individuality

Each child is born differently, and as most parents would agree, special needs childrens’ diagnoses give them a unique character that no other child could match.

Belcher says, “When I see Maggie I do not see her diagnosis, I see her as herself and the diagnosis is only a part of who she is, but I recognize that she is still more than just that.”

Realizing each child’s gifts and talents is the most rewarding feeling because you begin to understand how each person can contribute to the world in his/her own unique way.

3. Love

You begin to realize how much you can love a person.

Your children with special needs are not burdens. In fact, they are far from being difficult. They are your most precious jewels.

The process might be stretching but through it you realize your capacity to truly embrace and appreciate someone for who they really are.

Belcher states that, “My husband and I believe in molding our children to become valuable members of society. Our goal is to guide them towards a loving path, to teach them to love other people and to love God.”

IMG_0894Amanda Belcher (left) believes the most important thing she could teach her daughter Maggie is to love God and love other people.

4. Support

Through taking care of a special needs child, you begin to appreciate all the support you receive from all directions. Family, friends and even social workers all chime in and provide encouragement or care in some way. This support becomes so valuable that you start to recognize what ‘no man is an island’ means.

You begin to let go of pride, ego and self-sufficiency, and start to open up for the people around you to show you love and be your source of strength.

5. The Miracle of Life

As clichéd as this might sound, many parents would agree that it is through caring for a child with special needs that they begin to get a glimpse of what a miracle it is to be given the gift of life.

Seeing their child achieve one after another milestone is extremely encouraging. To learn to not hold back their child from certain circumstances because they want their child to become more enabled is a hugely enriching process.

Belcher admits, “I only want Maggie to be held back by her own choice, not by circumstances. She is such a blessing to me and I am just amazed at how she just loves people and is so welcoming. I want to guide her to achieve the best of her abilities. God gives you strength.”


Maggie Belcher has been “accomplishing amazing things”, according to her mother Amanda Belcher, she can roll, sit and crawl properly after enrolling into a functional education program.

We hope you were encouraged by this list whether you are a parent or not. Leave your COMMENTS below and please SHARE this article if you liked it! :)

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