Saturday, October 9, 2010

Heads up on a new talk show (and more awareness for our kids)

Last week, I got invited to a luncheon to talk. Given that I can be quite the blabbermouth, especially when encouraged, I was excited. Even better: It was a luncheon for The Talk, a CBS show debuting October 18 about topical issues seen through the eyes of moms (think mom version of The View). Best of all: I'd be dining with the co-hosts—Holly Robinson Peete (a major advocate for kids with autism), Sharon Osbourne, Marissa Jaret Winokur, Leah Remini, Sara Gilbert and Julie Chen (all advocates for speaking your mind).

A preview of The Talk:

In person, every one of the women looked just as fabulous. Sharon Osbourne is surprisingly petite—about my height (5'2") in heels (I guess her huge personality makes her seem taller). The women are all really funny. And they all have big mouths, but in the coolest of ways. Who wants small mouths on a talk show?

There were about 10 bloggers there, and the co-hosts were genuinely interested in hearing what we wanted to see on the show. Holly Robinson Peete mentioned she'd be touching on special needs (yes, awesome). I should have asked if Max could be a guest one day—he could be an expert on car washes (his current obsession, as many of you know). Sabrina wouldn't be a good contender, given her track history meeting celebs.

We discussed working mom guilt, kids bullying kids, man-bashing. We heard about the time Marissa accidentally locked her little guy in the car, and how beyond ticked off Sharon Osbourne was the day she found out a kid had given her girl Kelly drugs. She basically threatened to "chop off his willy," said in that Sharon Osbourne way. That maybe made me a wee bit scared of her until afterward, she spontaneously gave me a hug.

Obviously, we get all sorts of good discussions going on our blogs about raising kids with special powers, but if there's the possibility of airing these concerns—AND celebrations!—on national TV, that would be pretty damn fantastic.

Which issues about kids with special powers would you want to hear discussed on The Talk? Or just issues about life as a mom? One of the things I'd love them to bat around is how parents of kids with special needs can help integrate their children into the mainstream—and how parents of typical kids can better help their kids mingle with ours. That video of the Florida dad who went commando on the bus where kids regularly teased his little girl with cerebral palsy would have been a great launching point for a discussion, though it'll be old news by their air time.

The Talk wants to hear from moms, and I'll be sending your suggestions their way, so please share!

Photo/Dawn Sandomeno


  1. I've been following the news about this new show coming up. I'd love to see more discussion out there about the stress of raising special needs kids. There's tons of info out there about autism, for example, but not a lot about how stressful it is for the parents. It needs to be okay to say that you're struggling. It needs to be okay to say that of course you love your child, but this is REALLY HARD. I think so many of us feel that we're expected to be positive and upbeat all the time, and that if we complain at all, people will think we're bad moms or that we don't love our children. And that just adds extra pressure that we really don't need.

  2. Wow, you're getting to be quite the celeb yourself, Ellen. I'm not a parent but I have a disability as you know. I'd like to see focus put on the bullying of those with disabilities. The bullying focus seems to be only on gay teens for the moment. While that is a problem, the disabled who experience bullying are never mentioned save for that father you talked about. The disabled are even less likely or, perhaps, able to defend themselves so awareness must be raised regarding how pervasive a problem this type of bullying is. Celebs must be as vocal about this victimization as they are about any other.

  3. Okay, not that I'm totally stalking this post, but I totally agree with emailmarcy (above). My Little Dude has already been on the receiving end of some (minor) bullying in preschool, and he simply does not have the social/verbal skills to even respond. It breaks my heart and makes me afraid for what the upper grades hold for him.

  4. You met Sharon Osbourne?!?!?
    Me = jealous.

  5. I agree with everybody so far. I am also jealous that you met all of those wonderful ladies. I am anxious to watch this show!

    I think the first comment from stark raving mad mommy is perfect. I would love to see the daily living of special needs kids and their families on the show. I want them to show how hard it is on the parents and the siblings. I want them to show just how alone we feel somedays.

    I would love for them to follow this with how important it is for extended family to help out with just listening to parents share their feelings, or even offer to help in the daily living needs.

    Also, I would love to see them explain about the hidden things such as doctor appointments, therapy session, school problems, paper work and how hard it is to navigate the system in getting any assistance.

    I can't wait to see what other parents say in your comments!

  6. I'll do a shameless plug here...

    Raising a kid with a rare disease or life threatening condition is fantastically stressful...but some great advocacy work is being done.
    We are so empowered to make a difference for our kids and a talk about healthcare reform, healthcare and social media or communities that support causes would be a great angle for CBS. (Just sayin')

  7. I'd love to have them duscuss the whole topic of OT issues: sensory, executive functioning,over and understimulation etc. So many parents don't know what these things are, and so many of their kids have at least one of them.

    Also that as parents we have rights from the school system, and how to navigate that.

    All great suggestions above me too.

  8. Don't forget about kids with special needs who turn into adults with special needs. There are TONS of programs for young ones -- therapy, school, etc., but what happens to them when they age out of the public school system? What do they do all day? Where will they live? I'd love to see model programs for adults with disabilities that allow them to live lives with meaning and dignity, rather than just warehousing them in nursing homes.

  9. First I have to say I am Jealous that you got to meet Sharon! Huge fan of hers and Ozzy!
    Second Congrats! what an amazing opportunity for you!!!
    I hate that the show is on during the day, I will have to find ways to tape it.
    As a big advocate for the education rights of our children I would have say that I would love for this to be addressed on the show. As we all know it lacks what these kids deserve.

    I would also love to see more about Down syndrome. I think the Autism community has done a phenomenal job in raising awareness, and it is now our time to shine.

    The other topic that is dear to my heart is single parents raising a special needs child. It is not easy. We are not stay home moms, reading books, playing with kids, and have time on our hands to do all that needs to be done. We have to work, be career orientated so that we can provide for our special angels. It is tough, and it is a lonely road. Unfortunately there is not enough information, or awareness on this.
    Looking forward to seeing the show.

    Thank you for all that you do!!

  10. The need for respite services for parents of children with special needs.

    The prevalence of severe seizure disorders and the terrible numbers of children who die of epilepsy.

    The need for more inclusion of people with disabilities, beginning in early childhood when the culture can actually be changed.

  11. Lots of great topics have been suggested here. Someone should promote ways and places to vent and be heard (like blogging and reading blogs) - Mommy Wants Vodka has a group blog "Band Back Together" where I am going to try to put up a CP resource page but I could use any and all help from all of you, or one of you can dash over and beat me to it. I'm still kinda new to the game.

    One anonymous commenter here raises a huge issue, and one that I hope and pray will never be part of my family's life, because we are blessed in the level of "special powers" we got in the lottery, but the services available for adults with special needs are pathetic. In Utah, you can apply to get services from the state Division of Services for People with Disabilities - and literally wait ten or more years to have a single dollar's worth of support. State law actually says if there is no money in the pot, then all services can be denied. Obiously, this pot never grows, so an adult with say, Downs, might wait years for services and then only get benefits when an older recipient dies and makes space in the group. Really, it is that bad. You make do with Social Security and nothing else, just whatever the family can provide. They've cut employment training over the last few years, so people who could learn self sufficiency skills are simply not given the opportunity. The situation is horrific and no one here talks about it.

  12. I'm SO GLAD they are doing a show like that (FINALLY!!! A talk show specifically for Mommy!!). I'm also SO GLAD you went and are a spokesperson for specialstuffs. Most awesome.

    I'd like them to cover something on Ds. Make it less scary, portray something about Ds as it is now, not how it was. With an abortion rate of over 90%, I think awareness is vital.

    Also: I agree with a PP - talk about the struggle of being a parent of a child with a disability and normalize it.

    Last one: I'd love to see something that normalizes disability too. It IS the largest minority group that anyone can join at any time. It IS a normal part of the human experience. Let's talk a little more about it... make it a little less "special"

    Sorry this is so long! I've got a big mouth too.

  13. These suggestions are all excellent fodder for discussion. Obviously, these ladies will have lots and lots to talk about but I'm hopeful they will keep these ideas/themes in mind.

  14. Ellen - we met at Type A out in the lobby. I saw this pic on Dawn Sandomeno's facebook page and thought that was you! Sounds like this was an amazing afternoon. Please let me know if your travels ever bring you to Charlotte, NC.

    Gwen Poth

  15. Wow


    This is wonderful

    I'm so happy for you

    How about kids with chronic disorders and autism

    Thanks for sharing

  16. Would like to see a discussion about children who have been through trauma - not just fires, flood, or earthquakes, but also phyical, emotional, and sexual. Theses kids live in a different world of special powers.

  17. wow! that's so cool!

    I agree that bullying is a big issue. I'd also like to see a discussion about helping kids with disabilities learn about relationships and sex. It's a tricky issue, one I think parents could use some help with (okay, I'm talking about me right now)

  18. I would love to see discussions about techniques & education for children who 1) are non-verbal, 2) have serious attention/hyperactivity difficulties and/or 3) have very hard to deal with behaviors (such as pica, dangerous climbing, bolting, etc.). It would also just be nice to see such issues receive air time on mainstream tv!


Thanks for sharing!

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