The blog of photographer and musician, Kim Ayres

5 Minutes for Special Needs

5 Minutes For Special Needs

There's a new website just launched called 5 Minutes for Special Needs, aimed at people looking for support, insight and inspiration.

Whether it was just coincidence, or just reflective of the fact more Mothers than Fathers blog about their children with special needs (noticeable even in my own link-list - With a Dash of Something Extra - see sidebar), Tammy, the editor-in-chief, realised the group setting up the website were all mums. So Tom and I were recruited to periodically put our own perspectives.

However, I am assured I was approached because of the quality of my writing rather than some sort of Affirmative Action plan :)

Although my daughter, Meg, has Down's Syndrome, it's not something I blog a great deal about. This isn't because I'm ashamed, rather it isn't much of an issue most of the time. I still maintain bringing up a child with DS is 98% about bringing up a child, any child. Thus most of my posts about Meg, are just dad-daughter-family posts.

However, sometimes it does become an issue - primarily when needing to deal with different educational, financial and/or medical authorities. And at this point, my own experiences might be of use or insight to others who face a similar situation.

From here on in, then, I now have a slot for the 2nd Thursday of the month to write about anything related to DS or Special Needs. And by coincidence, the first Thursday of this month happens to be the launch day of this new site, so I get to be there right from the start.

So, pop over to 5 Minutes for Special Needs - my post is called Special Needs or Individual Needs? - and say hello.

And if you think it's something you or anyone you know might be interested in, then add it to your blogroll.


~Melissa~ said...

So glad to see this site! I look forward to reading your entries.

savannah said...

as you wish, sugar! xoxo

Eryl Shields said...

Excellent, I'll pop over in the morning when I can focus my eyes. Best of luck with it.

PI said...

Well I'm not dressed yet but your wish is my command - sometimes.
PS I was doing a post at 5am

Kim Ayres said...

Melissa - welcome to my ramblings and thank you for taking the time to visit and comment :)

Savannah - :)

Eryl - 'tis true, being able to focus the eyes makes such a difference when trying to read. I'm beginning to learn this as my eyes seem to focus less easily these days.

Pat - nude blogging? Either you stil have your central heating on or the summer's much warmer in the West Country than in Scotland

Eryl Shields said...

Tell me about it, these days I need a separate pair of specs for every individual activity!

Got into focus and read your piece: brilliant, insightful, challenging...
Well done.

Kanani said...

Ah, Kim!
Those are tough blogs usually. At least for me.

I know from experience my son values his privacy. And so, I've never run his photo on my blog.
And like my friend Melanie in Australia, I dispensed with sentimentality a long time ago (by the way, Melanie still hasn't heard from Andy).
But I read your piece and I quite agree.

I think a lot of parents who write these blogs are talking about young children. I notice as they get older, more happens and a lot of parents are afraid to share the "ugly." That's why I always let Melanie write on my blog. She shares the real stuff about her runaway, schizophrenic, bipolar son Andy. She sugar coats nothing. And I think there has to be room at the table for parents to get a good dose of that.

Anyway, good job!
And yes, I like how you write about you and Megan.
By the way, I'm off to Seattle. Send me your address and I'll send her and Rogan a post card.

Doug Dog said...

Hello Kim,
Wow! My first experience with this topic on such a unique, personal level. In my life, there has never been an instance of Individual Needs to contend with among either family or friends; I must have led a very sheltered existence.

I think you have it 100% right, referring to the situation as Individual Needs, rather than Special Needs. It’s really about Meg and her journey through life; a different trek than others, perhaps, but no one’s movement through the life cycle is the same as another’s. How much better it is when approached as simply a family working together, solving problems as they occur. Your comment about “not being ashamed” rings a bell with me; there is absolutely NOTHING to be ashamed about!

In your post on “5 Minutes for Special Needs”, the labeling of groups of people seems to happen a lot. Because of it, there is far too much hatred in the world, and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better.

I wish you continued success, and hope that the new web site provides additional comfort for you and your family.

Kim Ayres said...

Eryl - thank you :)

Kanani - I've certainly noticed most of these blogs are about younger children. But then I think they're usually set up by people who are struggling to come to terms with their child's condition and blogging helps them to connect to other people in similar situations, so no longer feel so isolated. So largely it's about reassurance that the world can turn out OK, if slightly different from expected.

As our children get older, so we have learned to cope and have less need to express our fears and angst to the same degree, so write about it less.

My approach has always to been to try and stress the ordinariness of the situation, and so yes, sometimes my kids can be the most wonderful things in the universe and sometimes they can be a complete pain in the arse.

A postcard from Seattle would be wonderful - I've emailed you our addresss :)

Doug Dog - welcome to my ramblings and thank you for taking the time to comment.

Mostly it's about the notion of "Other". If we see people of a different colour, religion, outlook, intelligence, disability or whatever, as "other", then it easy to dismiss, to alienate, to dehumanise. But once we realise we are all human, we all have feelings, concerns, loves, hates, fears etc, then we don't see "other" but "alike".

And then we are able to move forward far more positively.

Mary Witzl said...

I'm not surprised that you were picked to do this because of the quality of your writing and not to level out the gender representation. Just as I read your second paragraph I was formulating my comment to this effect -- then I read your third paragraph and nodded.

I'll go read your post!

Kanani said...

Hi Kim,
Yes, I'm packing today and your address is amongst the papers.

There are so many good resources for parents that do a good job at exposing the really difficult waters. Bipolar Kids and also Flipswitch for depressed teens is another.

Kim Ayres said...

Mary - thank you :)

Kanani - They look like really interesting sites, thanks

Tammy and Parker said...


Seeing as I actually know several Dads that blog, I can honestly say that it was the writing that led me to choose you. Ha! :)

And let your friend Kanani, that as a mom that blogs about ostomy bags....I , too, tend to keep it pretty real. lol

Kim Ayres said...

Thank you Tammy, I willnow allow myself a *SMUG* moment...

problemchildbride said...

Well done, Kim. I can think of no better writer for the job than you.

Kim Ayres said...

Thanks Sam :)

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