Jennifer Butler

Jennifer Butler

About Jennifer Butler

Jennifer is the mother of 2 children and more 4 legged furry babies than she (or her husband) cares to count. Both of her children have primary immune deficiencies and her son is also on the autism spectrum. Jennifer is a full time Organizational Communication professor whose research focuses on work family balancing. Jennifer spends her spare time rescuing animals and advocating for her special needs children. She does this by focusing much of her energy on service dogs for children and being a school board member at her children’s school. You may contact her on Facebook, on Twitter, or at her blog, Caden’s Tale.

The Parent’s Guide to the Medical World of Autism by Dr. Edward Aull

I recently had the opportunity to review The Parent’s Guide to the Medical World of Autism by Dr. Edward Aull.  Dr. Aull is a behavioral pediatrician who has been diagnosing and treating patients with autism spectrum disorders for more than 30 years. Published in 2013 Dr. Aull acknowledged the new DSM-5 criteria but chose to continue using the DSM-IV terminology because he felt it was [...]

By | 2014-04-23T09:00:26+00:00 April 23rd, 2014|Categories: Books, Resources|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

The Truth About April and Autism Awareness – My Experience

Autism Awareness Month….The month to share experiences and resources for those living with or hoping to learn more about autism, or the month for those in the autism community to fight over organizations, events, word choices, and a lot of other “stuff?” I don’t doubt that every fight that is occurring on Facebook pages, Twitter posts, or blog comment sections starts from a genuine place.  [...]

Making the Decision to Homeschool

Like I mentioned in my previous post about virtual schools, it just wasn’t an option that was ever on our radar.  My husband and I both work full time and neither of us had any significant challenges in the public school system so we just assumed that our kids would attend as well.  Ah the assumptions we make before we become special needs parents… My [...]

Rare Disease Day 2014: Join Together For Better Care

If all the people in the world with a rare disease lived in one country, it would be the world’s 3rd most populous country (The Global Gene Project). According to Rare Disease Day’s website a rare disease is defined in the United States as one that affects fewer than 200,000 individuals at any one given time.  There are approximately 6000-7000 known diseases that fall into [...]

By | 2014-02-26T09:00:23+00:00 February 26th, 2014|Categories: Events / Activities, National|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Virtual Schools as Another Homeschooling Option

My husband and I had never ever in a million years planned to homeschool our children.  Our reasons were simple: we knew little about curriculums, knew even less about what children should learn at each grade level, and we both work full time.  Then special needs struck and we found ourselves with a child who was always playing catch up or dealing with the school’s [...]

The Traditions in a Home of Special Needs

Tradition…the repetition of an honored event or activity commonly shared with friends and loved ones that holds symbolic meaning to the participants. Every year around now I start gazing longingly at magazines and reading social media updates eager to learn more about the traditions my friends and their families share. Oh how I love those impish Elf on the Shelf stories, or the passed down [...]

By | 2013-12-30T09:00:26+00:00 December 30th, 2013|Categories: Family, Holidays|Tags: , |0 Comments

The Black and White of Recommended Age and Autism

Recommended Age. You know the phrase--it is located prominently on the front of every single toy that you consider purchasing for your child.  You know the label--the one that triggers flashbacks to every developmental report you have received from the psychiatrist, school IEP team, the pediatrician, etc. You know the reports--the ones that give developmental age versus your child’s biological age.  And then you know [...]

By | 2013-12-02T09:00:48+00:00 December 2nd, 2013|Categories: Autism / Asperger’s|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Employers and Special Needs Families

Every parent who works outside the home knows the challenges they face when their child wakes up sick on a scheduled work day.  A 2012 study by the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital found that 50% of parents with children under the age of 6 reported difficulty making arrangements other than missing work when their child was ill.  In addition to the challenges [...]

By | 2013-10-16T09:00:01+00:00 October 16th, 2013|Categories: Family, Parenting|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Tip: Introduction Letters to Your Special Needs Child's Teacher

If your child has special needs of any kind, you are probably familiar with IEPs or 504s.  They present a tidy clinical picture of who a child is as a learner, with the primary focus being on the child’s weaknesses and goals for the upcoming school year.  When I started to think about all of the assessments, evaluations, summaries, and other clinical documentation that my [...]

By | 2013-09-11T09:00:12+00:00 September 11th, 2013|Categories: School, School Relations, Tips & Tricks|Tags: , , , , , , |0 Comments

What to Consider When Choosing a Service Dog Agency

In my previous posts, I have talked about the role that service dogs can provide in a differently-abled individual’s life as well as personal considerations before moving forward with a service dog commitment. Stories of desperate individuals raising money for a service dog agency who then skips town with the money or provides a poorly trained service dog unfortunately aren’t uncommon.  In today’s post, I [...]

By | 2013-07-24T09:30:09+00:00 July 24th, 2013|Categories: Medical / Therapies, Therapies, Tips & Tricks|Tags: , , |3 Comments

Is a Service Dog Right for You? What to Consider Before Considering a Service Dog

You might recall from my previous post that a service dog can be a dependable helper, a tool to maintaining or regaining independence, and in some cases the lifesaver that you have so desperately needed.  If you were intrigued by the variety of tasks that service dogs can perform, you might even be wondering if a service dog is right for you, your child, or [...]

By | 2013-07-17T09:30:33+00:00 July 17th, 2013|Categories: Medical / Therapies, Therapies|Tags: , |4 Comments

Primary Immune Deficiency – 5 Things to Remember and How You Can Help

My daughter is 12 years old and was diagnosed with a primary immune deficiency disorder when she was four years old.  She had been sick from birth, had picked up a wide range of illnesses ranging from an encounter with a child in the ER who had just been adopted in China to diseases she was vaccinated against (Remember those antibodies I previous discussed… they [...]

By | 2013-04-24T09:00:51+00:00 April 24th, 2013|Categories: Immune Deficiencies|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Understanding Primary Immunodeficiency for PI Awareness Month

April, among other things, is Primary Immunodeficiency (PI) Awareness Month. Although often represented by the blue ribbon, the PIDD community is also one of the “zebra” disorders.  Doctors usually learn in their first year of medical school that when they hear hoof beats, they should think horses, not zebras.  Zebra disorder is a slang reference to disorders that are uncommon or rare, but share symptoms [...]

Special Needs Parents Marriages – Why Some Succeed

Last summer we actually had a hot summer in Minnesota (at least by our state’s standards); some of our flowers died almost immediately, some fought a little longer before they succumb, and some thrived.  The ironic part though is that every pot contained the same soil, the same seeds, and received the same amount of sunlight and water. No plant faced any more challenges than [...]

Gender Equality Month in March

March is Gender Equality Month. While it is something we try to think about all year in my house, the month gives us a reminder to stop and focus on the history that we take for granted and the challenges still ahead of us. I think by now we all know that gender is a societal construction. We learn what it means to be feminine [...]

By | 2013-03-04T07:00:53+00:00 March 4th, 2013|Categories: Events / Activities, Inspiration / Laughter, National|Tags: , |5 Comments

Relationship Worries With Special Needs and Neurotypical Children

I am the proud mommy of 2 beautiful children—my daughter is a beautiful, outgoing, and smart pre-teen while my son is a gorgeous, smart, and funny 6 year old.  He’s on the spectrum, she’s not.  Being a mommy though trumps the spectrum or having even a neurotypical child in that I have my hopes, dreams, and worries about both of their futures and the relationships [...]

123TokenMe (Pro) – An App Review

When I received the request to review 123TokenMe Pro (by I must admit that I wondered why I needed an app to replace my good ole fashion sticker reward chart.  I’d go so far as to say I was even skeptical.  The app quickly showed me several solid reasons why this was better than any paper chart system that I have ever used.  The [...]

By | 2013-02-03T07:00:15+00:00 February 3rd, 2013|Categories: Apps, Resources|Tags: , , , |4 Comments

Making New Years Resolutions in a Family with Special Needs

New Year’s Resolutions…… lose weight? Drink more water? Cut down on Coca-Cola? Exercise more? Make more home-cooked meals? More time with the family? Wear dress clothes to work more often? Update my blog more? Step away from the computer when the kids are around? Shop more? Spend less? Get more organized? Be okay with the kids not putting their clothes in the logical color-coded piles [...]

By | 2013-01-16T10:57:58+00:00 January 16th, 2013|Categories: Inspiration / Laughter|Tags: , , |0 Comments

In-Sync Activity Cards – A Product Review

If you have ever read anything in the In-Sync series and wondered how you could implement similar ideas at home, these activity cards are perfect for you. These activity cards were developed by Joye Newman and Carol Kranowitz.  Newman has a Master of Arts degree from George Washington University in Education and Human Development with a specialty in Perceptual Motor Development.  In addition to significant [...]

Christmas Phonics – Reviewing an App from AbiTalk

Recently I had a chance to use the AbiTalk Christmas Phonics app with my kids, and wanted to share it here. I found the Christmas Phonics app to be appropriate for any beginning or pre-reader who is learning single letter sounds. Over holiday breaks we are often looking for fun but educational ways to keep our 6 year old son with autism engaged.  He is [...]

By | 2012-12-22T07:00:28+00:00 December 22nd, 2012|Categories: Apps, Resources|Tags: , , , , |2 Comments
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