Can you introduce yourself and let us know your involvement in the special needs community?
My name is Pierrette d’Entremont. I am the mother of three girls, our middle daughter has Tourette Syndrome and sensory issues. I have Tourette Syndrome and I am bipolar. I have also had sensory issues my whole life. These diagnoses only came at the age of 19, after many awfully hard school years. As a result, I designed a special needs tool to help with sensory motor issues, the Kid Companions chewelry tool. It lets kids chew or fidget discreetly and can double as a parent-worn teether or nursing necklace for infants. This became clear while breastfeeding our yougest! (Note: Pierette sponsored one of our first giveaways! We are big fans of her chewelry!)
How did you get involved in The Coffee Klatch? Do you have a specific role there?
I got a Direct Message from Marianne Russo asking if I would be interested in such an adventure. It’s right up my alley since I communicate much better via “live typing” versus “live talking” 😉 It comes as no surprise then, that my role is mostly behind the scenes. I helped design the logo and twitter background and tend to be online via tweetchat or the message board during blogradio sessions. This summer I was tremendously busy with our Kid Companions business and have had to take some time off, but with fall and back to school, I should be a more regular moderator.
What are your goals in your work at TCK? What do you hope people get out of it?
I hope that parents of special needs children can see that their child can have a succesful and productive life. If my own mother (@lornadent on twitter btw) had labeled me and put me in a special needs “box”, I may not be who I am today. I do have Tourette Syndrome. I have both motor and verbal tics. As a young adult this, along with an unmanaged bipolar disorder was intensely painful and difficult. Many times due to adults and peers misunderstanding my situation. These disorders do not affect me cognitively, in fact just the opposite, and this can make things challenging too. By educating and supporting parents, like we do via TCK, I hope to indirectly reach some of the kids out there. Children that are suffering with mental health issues and sensory issues that are often hard to explain and hard to understand.
How has being part of TCK changed your personal life? Do you have an anecdote to share about that?
I find that I can, by a few keystrokes, reach someone else in a similar situation. The world seems very small in our network and borders non-existant. Issues and challenges facing kids with special needs are certainly not unique to countries. Certainly our laws and school systems are different but we all have common ground and this parent forum alows us to share ideas and solutions that work (or don’t work) in our areas.
Is there a particular show you’d really like to call our attention to? Why was that one you want to make sure your readers don’t miss?
Well, the Temple Grandin blog radio interview was certainly a not-to-be missed edition. I listened to it with our 7 y/o daughter and she listened intensely 😉 I liked the second session with Dr. Duncan McKinlay, perhaps because there were many people with Tourette Syndrome online at the same time and we could all communicate easily and quickly.That is often not the case with us, we tend to make each other tic ;). It is also a relatively rare disorder, so speaking with others that have TS is always interesting. Dr. McKinlay is also very easy to speak with and has a wealth of readily available information. Many of the shows I’ve enjoyed the most are open actually forums. We have a set topic and then the ball rolls along with parents and health professionals joining in throughout the hour.
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