When Sarah Kalis walked into the room with her son, Crew, I saw more than just a mother and her child; I saw a beacon of hope personified. Sarah, a former special education teacher turned medical mama, joins us to share the profound lessons and stories from her life with Crew, who has cerebral palsy. Her candid narration of the transformations she’s undergone – from shock and grief to acceptance and advocacy – is a testament to the power of resilience amidst the unpredictable waves of parenting a child with special needs. This episode is dedicated to every parent who finds themselves on a similar journey, as we offer solidarity and comfort in knowing that even in the depths of challenge, there is community and support ready to lift you up.

Navigating the often-uncharted waters of disability parenting, our conversation extends to the wider aspects of entrenched systems that impact families like ours. The frustrations with healthcare policies, the inadequacies of insurance systems, and the fight for necessary resources are all on the table as we discuss Sarah’s own experiences within Illinois’ challenging framework. It’s not just a dialogue but a rallying cry for collective advocacy and systemic change. And amidst these heavyweight topics, we also celebrate the small victories, like achieving milestones and acquiring adaptive equipment, because joy and gratitude are just as vital to our stories as the obstacles we confront.

Drawing on her background as a special education teacher, she underscores the indispensable role parents play in shaping their child’s educational journey. The chapter on empowering parents in special education reveals strategies for more impactful and collaborative IEP meetings, highlighting the importance of parents’ insights and strengths. We conclude with a powerful message of hope and support, reminding listeners of the monumental impact they have in their child’s life. We urge families to harness their innate strength, to lean into the support network around them, and to keep moving forward on the path to accessibility and inclusion. Share this episode with someone who could use a reminder that they are not alone, and join us as we continue to support and empower each other through every challenge and triumph.

Get your copy of She is Charlotte: A Mother’s Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual Journey with Her Child with Medical Complexities by Emily K Whiting on Amazon

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