Launched in 2015, Bringing Up Betty is a podcast for parents, caregivers and anyone else who loves someone with special needs. Bringing Up Betty is a companion for these folks, allowing them to connect with one another and share their stories. It focuses on the unique stories and struggles that come with raising kids with special needs. I like to think of Bringing Up Betty as a means to shed some light on the truth about special needs parenting.
Parenting is one of those dichotomous adventures that produces extreme joy and frustration, love and annoyance. From my limited experience, parenting a child with special needs can take these extremes to a whole new level. Hope and fear, confidence and doubt, pride and discomfort, joy to jaded – all in the span of a few minutes. Knowing that other parents are out there and experiencing the same challenges and triumphs can give us something to hold on to. Like most of us, I try to focus on the positive, but I really want this project to reflect the real too, even if that means we venture occasionally into the crushing, devastating and disgusting stories that accompany this journey.
Why a podcast?
Podcasts are my favorite companions for drives to therapy, afternoons folding laundry, and late nights emptying the sink of dirty dishes. There are hundreds of amazing and valuable blogs and websites out there and I love to steal away for a few moments of indulgent reading on the iPad as much as anyone else. But I also enjoy listening to something interesting and entertaining while I’m doing the things I have to do. My favorite podcasts are about real people and their stories, and since parents of special needs kids have some pretty amazing stories, I thought a collection of those stories would make a great podcast. Hopefully Bringing Up Betty can accompany you during your most dreaded chore to make the time pass a little more quickly and thoughtfully. You can find Bringing Up Betty in iTunes and Stitcher.
Betty is my cute two-year old daughter! She is our second child and she came into the world early in the morning during one of the worst snowstorms of the winter. When she was eight months old she was diagnosed with a rare genetic syndrome called Potocki-Shaffer Syndrome, associated with a deletion on her 11th chromosome. She also has cortical visual impairment, which means her brain doesn’t consistently process what her eyes see. We love her to pieces and it’s impossible to imagine our family without her. Betty is learning and progressing everyday, albeit at her own pace. Right now she rocks a zebra-print wheelchair, but you can also find her in her gait trainer, adaptive stroller or stander (I’m beginning to feel like I should open a PT gym). She loves to be tickled and always wakes up happy. Betty loves all food, and her favorites are stroganoff, bananas, and ice cream. If you’re interested, you can read more of Betty’s story, or listen to me tell her story in episode one.
Who are you?
I’m Sarah. I’m married, I’m raising two sweet girls, and I believe that my family is the most important endeavor in which I’ll ever be involved. That said, some days I feel accomplished if I just keep everyone alive. Running, sugar, my etsy shop and the occasional Netflix binge help me maintain my sanity. I hope that this podcast, blog and community will help you maintain yours. I am not an expert, coach, therapist or doctor, but I am a mother. My husband and I – and often our oldest daughter – are bringing up Betty.
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