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Changing Your Dreams: Parenting a Child with Special Needs

Changing Your Dreams: Parenting a Child with Special Needs

By Lara Kitts
This podcast is about the unique grief we carry, changing our dreams, and how to care for ourselves when parenting a child with special needs.
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15. After Acceptance with Liza Blas

Changing Your Dreams: Parenting a Child with Special Needs

15. After Acceptance with Liza Blas

Changing Your Dreams: Parenting a Child with Special Needs

18. Knowing What Your Special Needs Child is Feeling: A Magical Interview with Jennifer Waller
This is the last episode of my first season of the podcast and I appreciate each and every one of you for being with me and listening and learning! I’ll be taking a short break over June and July to be a full-time mom. I’m excited to come back in August for season 2! I may pop in a couple of times over the summer with a mini episode or a quick check in. But, season 2 will start in August. As the parent of a child with special needs, I find myself with a lot of questions about my daughter’s well-being, health, her education and the future. Over the years, I have learned how to get clear answers about things for myself. Today’s conversation is with Jennifer Waller, mom to 7-year-old Bear, who has autism. She too had questions, so we sought out some spiritual guidance and wanted to share it with you. I really enjoy sharing my intuitive gifts with other special needs parents to help them get clarity too! Feel free to message me if you’d like more information on how to work with me like this.  Host, Lara Kitts Website, Flight Club and Blog Facebook Instagram
May 26, 2021
17. Mom vs. Caregiver with Jess Ronne
Today’s conversation with Jess Ronne covers a lot of ground. From puberty to poopy diapers, and the grief of not giving enough to your other children, we explore what it means to be a caregiver vs. a mom. Jess Ronne is an author, speaker, podcast host at Coffee with Caregivers, and the founder and executive director of The Lucas Project—a non-profit dedicated to providing recognition and respite for special needs families. She and her husband Ryan live in Michigan with their 8 children, including their son Lucas who has profound special needs and autism. Her story of beauty from ashes has been shared on The Today Show, Daily Mail and Huffington Post and is detailed in her memoir Sunlight Burning at Midnight and in her new book Blended with Grit & Grace releasing June 15, 2021. Host, Lara Kitts Website, Flight Club and Blog Facebook Instagram Guest, Jess Rone Websites at, Instagram Facebook
May 19, 2021
16. Finding Self-Love with Lara Kitts
Self-care for special needs parents can be elusive. I break down easy ways to make it an everyday part of life so you, too, can have inner peace and healing. Few parents in this unique role give themselves the time, compassion, and grace needed to truly take care of their overall health. I acknowledge that all the teachings and clichés of self-care, like fill your own cup so you can pour into others, do not tell special needs parents how to fit self-care into their lives in a meaningful way. To balance such a heavy load, parents must add self-care into their lives every single day. I teach them the elements to make that possible. My three elements of self-care are:  1) The Foundation: mindset and mindfulness – Parents must believe they are worth the time and money.  2) The Methods: bite-sized pieces and habit stacking – This makes using the tools attainable in their overwhelming lives.  3) The Tools: meditation, journaling, spending time in nature, saying no, movement, gratitude, affirmations, and creativity. Host, Lara Kitts Website, Flight Club and Blog Facebook Instagram
May 12, 2021
15. After Acceptance with Liza Blas
Liza Blas is a storyteller and the host of the Very Happy Stories podcast. She brings hope, empowerment, and validation to parents raising kids with unique challenges. Liza delivers inspiring stories and shares her best practices for healing through her podcast, speaking engagements, and personal transformational coaching. Her stories are inspired by her personal experiences raising two children, both challenged with conditions like depression, anxiety, ADHD, OCD, PANDAS and chronic Lyme disease. Prior to launching her podcast, Liza was a top commercial real estate broker and developed IVF medical facilities, autism schools and surgical centers in the Chicagoland area. In her free time Liza enjoys yoga, entertaining friends with yummy gluten free and dairy free dishes and spending time with her family. Host, Lara Kitts Website, Flight Club and Blog Facebook Instagram Guest, Liza Blas Instagram
May 5, 2021
14. Sibling Series: Amanda Yoder and Andréa Vugteveen
Amanda Yoder describes what it’s like to have much of her life shaped by growing up with her younger brother, Spencer, who has autism. The uncertainty and violence that is often a reality in families living with autism lead to a life of anxiety and hiding behind a mask of perfectionism. Upon going to college, Amanda began to find out who she really is and at age 22, she still wonders what her future with her brother holds. Andréa Vugteveen is a Sibshops Facilitator, Children and Youth Coordinator/Volunteer Coordinator for Circles Grand Rapids, Social Work Lab Instructor at Calvin University, and Spiritual Direction Apprentice. Her purpose and passion is to walk alongside people, empowering them to thrive. One of her favorite ways to live out her purpose and passion is through her role as a Sibshops Facilitator. Sibshops are monthly peer support groups for children and youth who have siblings with special needs. She has created safe and engaging communities of support, encouragement, understanding and education for sibs in the Grand Rapids area for the past eight years. She’s looking forward to expanding the impact of Sibshops by bringing groups to Ottawa County this summer. TEDxSanAntonio - Alicia Arenas - Recognizing Glass Children Host, Lara Kitts Website, Flight Club and Blog Facebook Instagram The Sibling Support Project Founded in 1990, the Sibling Support Project is the first national program dedicated to the life-long and ever-changing concerns of millions of brothers and sisters of people with special health, developmental, and mental health concerns. Our work spans books and publications, online communities for teen and adult siblings, and workshops and training. We are best known for helping local communities start Sibshops—lively peer support groups for school-age brothers and sisters of kids with disabilities and health concerns. Grand Rapids, MI Area Sibshops Facebook page Ottawa County, MI Area Sibshops Facebook page
April 28, 2021
13. Sibling Series: Brigette Heller
Welcome to the fourth episode in our Sibling Series. Today, we talk to Brigette Heller. Brigette grew up with a sister who had Cerebral Palsy, epilepsy and was deaf, and who has since passed away. She now has children who have their own needs, including a son with autism and ADHD. Brigette is an adventure seeking, curious soul whose true passion resides with those who feel on the outside of normal or trendy but want to live a FULL life with all the happiness involved. These are her people, she is them and she believes that life on the outside is beautiful. She leads a group called The Strong and Capable to help others find their way there. TEDxSanAntonio - Alicia Arenas - Recognizing Glass Children Host, Lara Kitts Website, Flight Club and Blog Facebook Instagram Guest, Brigette Heller Website Instagram
April 21, 2021
12. Sibling Series: Marina Carlucci Goody
Welcome to the third episode in my sibling series of Changing Your Dreams: Parenting a Child with Special Needs. I will be talking to each of my guests in the sibling series about a TED Talk that I watched recently from a woman who grew up as a sibling to a child with special needs. I encourage you all to go to the show notes to find the link and watch it. It discusses the term Glass Child, which is given to siblings because they often feel see-through, with their sibling’s needs always coming first. It’s an extremely moving presentation. Today’s guest is Marina Carlucci Goody. Marina grew up as the sibling to two brothers who had seizures and both passed away. Growing up in the 60’s, her parents didn’t talk to her about any of it and she was left to navigate her fear, grief, and guilt all by herself. Thank you for joining me in this raw conversation about what that was like and what her recommendations are to parents today. TEDxSanAntonio - Alicia Arenas - Recognizing Glass Children Host, Lara Kitts Website, Flight Club and Blog Facebook Instagram Guest, Marina Carlucci Goody and Goody Girl Flower Farm Instagram
April 14, 2021
11. Sibling Series: Shannon Patch
Shannon Patch is a government affairs professional from Buffalo, NY. She has spent over a decade working in New York politics, including for U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Now, in addition to her work for global hospitality company, Delaware North, she is a Councilwoman in her hometown. Her sister, Tina, is the inspiration for her work in government, especially advocating for people with special needs. Tina is 33 years old and lives in a group home, but Shannon assists with many needs the home does not necessarily provide. TEDxSanAntonio - Alicia Arenas - Recognizing Glass Children Host, Lara Kitts Website, Flight Club and Blog Facebook Instagram Guest, Shannon Patch Instagram
April 7, 2021
10. Sibling Series: Remi and Paige Kitts
Today’s episode is the first in our Sibling Series. I interviewed my own children about being a sibling to their sister with special needs. You will hear first from 11-year-old Remi, and then from 15-year-old Paige. My children are my greatest teachers. I have learned so much from each one of them about human nature, what each one’s soul needs from me as their mother, and what I need to do to grow and evolve in this life. I find lately, that I sit back a lot and just watch them with awe. They inspire me to be better and I’m incredibly grateful to be their Mama. Host, Lara Kitts Website, Flight Club and Blog Facebook  Instagram
March 31, 2021
9. When Your Child Has a Super Rare Disease with Jessica Fein
Jessica Fein is the mom to three beautiful teenagers, the middle of whom has two rare diseases that make her 1 of 6 in the entire world. Listen as Jessica takes us on the journey of her daughter’s diagnoses and illness. It’s a story of love and hope like you’ve never heard. Host, Lara Kitts Website, Flight Club and Blog Facebook Instagram
March 24, 2021
8. Simplifying Your Home, Time, and Mindset with Sarah Reckman
Today’s guest is Sarah Reckman. Sarah is a social worker with over 10 years of experience in mental health, and the mom of 2 little girls who love life!  She is on a beautiful journey, reclaiming freedom from anxiety, pursuing a meaningful career, and embracing each new stage of motherhood. She created the blog, The Wholehearted Mom, to support moms who are experiencing stress, anxiety, and burnout. Her passion is for moms to be able to embrace calm, and declare abundance, clarity, and joy over their lives and motherhood. This episode is packed full of great information, so many nuggets of wisdom, and concrete action steps toward reducing stress. Guest, Sarah Reckman Website and Blog Instagram Host, Lara Kitts Website and Blog Facebook Instagram
March 17, 2021
7. How to Look on the Bright Side with Isabelle Mosca
Today’s guest is the delightful Isabelle Mosca. Isabelle is mom to young adult twins, who both have diagnoses that required her to be a strong advocate for them from the beginning. For over 20 years, she has run the non-profit organization she founded when they were little, called FACES 4 Autism. Isabelle and I discuss her journey through the hard of parenting children with special needs to her life on the bright side now, where she values the importance of self-care and finding joy. And, I am enthusiastically going to be a part of Isabelle’s upcoming fundraiser, which puts a new spin on a good old-fashioned telethon! This “Lve-Streaming” virtual event is happening this week, Friday, March 12 on the FACES 4 Autism Facebook page and their website, from 4-10PM Eastern. Be sure to tune in on Friday and stream some love their way to help fund their social programs and events. Let’s get to it! Where to find us: Guest, Isabelle Mosca website FACES 4 Autism: Facebook page Instagram Life on the Bright Side: Instagram Facebook page Host, Lara Kitts Website Facebook Instagram
March 13, 2021
6. How to Nurture Special Needs Siblings and Spouses with Alana Miller and Lindsay Grohowski
Alana Miller and Lindsay Growhowski are moms to 14-year-old John and 10-year-old Brayden, who has intellectual disabilities. As a stepmom, Lindsay has been in the boys’ lives since Brayden was a toddler and John was in Kindergarten. Alana is a Family Resource Specialist for KidsPeace, a therapeutic foster care agency in Richmond, VA. Lindsay is a Middle School Counselor. And just last year they started a small business called, Say Hello Threads. Their mission is to be conversation starters and advocates. They hope that instead of teaching children not to stare, people will instead teach them to say hello when they see someone who is different than they are. Although 10-year-old Brayden is mostly non-verbal, one of his favorite things to do is say “hi” and “bye.” And as his moms, they just want people to acknowledge him and converse with him even if he is not able to respond verbally past the “hi”. Alana & Lindsay website - Instagram and Facebook - @sayhellothreads Lara  website - Facebook - @larakittsllc Instagram - @lara.kitts
March 3, 2021
5. How to Support a Special Needs Family with Rachel Horcher
My guest today is Rachel Horcher. Rachel or “Raya” is like the Mary Poppins of coaching! She is a certified Holistic Resilience Coach. She will come in when you most need it, to help you cultivate resiliency, clarity and strength and leave when the winds change. Working with her will give you a safe space to first unpack and then FEEL ALL the emotions and unspoken words. You will learn tools to release some of that shit utilizing multiple modalities, gain clarity and make choices and changes to live a life that feels good. Rachel also happens to be the mom of 2 beautiful kids. They all three share a rare genetic disorder called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. But it wasn’t until her daughter was two that they learned of it. Her daughter, who has a long list of other diagnoses as well, is dramatically impacted by this disorder and struggles with many health issues. Rachel shares with us how she uses her training to provide for her family as a single mom as well as help her cope with all the challenges she lives with. She will also share a very valuable message to listeners who do not have a child with special needs. Don't miss it! Connect with Rachel: -  - Connect with me:  - Join Flight Club: Subscribe to my blog:
February 22, 2021
4. The Importance of Community with Shannon Klenk
Today’s episode is a conversation with the delightful Shannon Klenk. Shannon became a special needs mom through marriage. And now, as a Happiness Coach and Self-Care Strategist, she shares with us about the importance of community in your self-care plan, what her 3 E’s are, and how she became “finally effing happy”. Instagram >>> @FinallyEffingHappy Listen to Finally Effing Happy >>> Connect with Shannon >>> Community >>>
February 15, 2021
3. Healing Anxiety with Kelly Winkler
In today's episode, I talk to Kelly Winkler about how her journey of parenting a child with anxiety and panic attacks lead her to understand and heal her own anxiety. She found her voice through advocating for her children, and now she has her own podcast! She teaches bite-sized tips for adults to help the kids in their lives gain control over their thoughts and manage their lives through breathing, meditation and mindfulness. Her podcast is called Mindful Moments for Families and Schools and this is her transformation story. Podcast – Mindful Moments for Families and Schools IG - @mindfulmomentsforfamilies  FB - Kidding Around Yoga with Kelly
February 8, 2021
2. Divorce and Special Needs Parenting with Wendy Steinberg
My guest today is Wendy Steinberg, also known as the Caffeinated College Coach! Wendy is the mom of three boys, who all carry some sort of diagnosis. We talk about her journey through finding answers for her son’s developmental delays, the pile of grief she’s carried, how she lost herself along the way, and what it means to be a single mom of children with special needs. * Join my FREE 5 Day Challenge, It's Your Turn, to learn my tips and tricks on how to take care of yourself while you're taking care of your child with special needs. Register at  * Wendy Steinberg  - Instagram - Facebook Group 
February 1, 2021
1. Changing My Dreams
I wanted to start this podcast because I have learned a great deal in the last few years that I feel called to share with other special needs parents. Today’s episode is my story of grief and transformation. My story so that you can get to know me and we can become friends. How do we live a beautiful life with chronic stress and grief? How do we nurture ourselves while we nurture our children with special needs? How do we make ourselves a priority when they need so much? Be sure to subscribe to the podcast so you don’t miss any of it.
January 25, 2021
The chronic and ever-renewing grief of special needs parents is barely identified and rarely talked about...until now!  I'm Lara Kitts.  I hope you'll join me on my podcast, Changing Your Dreams: Parenting a Child with Special Needs.  It's about our unique grief, transforming your dreams, and how to care for yourself along the way when parenting a differently-abled child.  I will explore various types of grief and the effects it has.  I will talk to field experts and special needs parents at different stages of their journeys.  We will discuss how grief has affected them, how they have evolved, and focus on important ways to take care of yourself.  Look for Changing Your Dreams: Parenting a Child with Special Needs in January 2021!
November 9, 2020