Monday, November 12, 2018

CP Tag

Hey, guys!  It's been a while.  It's National Novel Writing Month, which means I am writing something besides a blog.  (Weird.)  At the end of October I did a Twitter review of Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper.  You can check that out here if you missed it.

Otherwise, I just saw a post by my friend Zahraa, at The Disabled Muslim where she recently shared Two Tags and An Explanation for Where I've Been.  

I really liked the CP Tag, and decided to do it here:

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Review: Grey's Anatomy 14x07 "Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story"

Tara and I watched this episode last night, and Tara commented how she missed reviewing things together.  So, we thought we'd comment on the disability representation here together - because what better way to celebrate four years of Tonia Says:

Happy Bloggerversary - 4 Years at Tonia Says (Part 3)

Finally, it's here, friends!

Tonia Says was created on July 29th, 2014 - and little did I know what great things would come from it.  Friendships, connections to the disability community, the opportunity to share my experience and have it mean something.  Have it help others.

Without further ado, here are the Top 3 posts on Tonia Says.  Thanks so much for being here.

[Image is: a cake with four candles being lit.]

3. Let's Talk About the Gap Between Disabled Adults and Parents of Kids with Disabilities - Another good one from 2016, tackling a difficult topic.  There's no denying that there's a gap between most nondisabled parents and disabled adults.  But today, I'm proud to say, one of my closest friends is a parent of a child with CP.  It is possible to bridge the gap, and I am so glad for that!

2.  An Open Letter to Whitney Ellenby - The only post from 2018 on the list, but I am glad it's this one.  The abuse of disabled children often goes unacknowledged, unreported, and excused.  There's never an 'understandable' reason to harm a disabled child.  

1. Parenting Kids with Disabilities: What You Can't See (Invisible Aspects of CP)  - So, I'm not gonna lie, I'm super happy that this post is the top one.  When brainstorming for the parenting series back in 2017, this post almost wasn't part of the series.  But my sis (who always has the most brilliant ideas) said: "What about a post describing all the things about CP parents can't see?" and bam.  When I sat down to write this, words just poured out.  I went back to it several times, to add more content that I had overlooked.  And it makes me so happy to know that people in the CP community as well as the nondisabled community who have a child with CP in their family have been so receptive to this post.

Click here for Part 1 and Part 2

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Happy Bloggerversary - 4 Years at Tonia Says (Part 2)

Tomorrow's my bloggerversary, and I thought, to celebrate, I'd continue counting down the Top 10 posts I've written here (by views) since I first started blogging.  (Part 1 is here if you missed it.)  

[Image is: a cake with four candles being lit.]
The countdown keeps going today with the sixth, fifth and fourth most viewed post on Tonia Says:

6.  Dear Parents Whose Baby Has Just Been Diagnosed with CP - Going back to 2016 for this one.  (Actually reads like an earlier version of what ended up being my summer series in 2017.)  As always, wanted to get the message out that a CP diagnosis is not the end.  It's part of what makes your baby / child who they are.  

5.  Let's Talk About the Effects of Consistent Patronization - Another 2016 post here, about yet another topic I had never seen discussed.  There was not even a term for this, though I looked high and low for one before I wrote this post.  I'm really glad this one is widely read because I think it's important, as it speaks to an issue that really does not get talked about.

4.  What You Need to Know About Blogging About Your Disabled Kids - This one goes back even further, to 2015, and talks about a super important topic.  In an age where almost everything is fair game as far as blogging goes, I felt it was important to try and come up with some basic guidelines that protected the disabled kids / community from exploitative blogging that is so pervasive.

Tune in tomorrow (the official bloggerversary) for the Top 3 posts from Tonia Says!

Friday, July 27, 2018

Happy Bloggerversary - 4 Years at Tonia Says (Part 1)

Friends, on July 29th it will be 4 years I've been blogging at Tonia Says!  Can you believe it?

[Image is: a birthday cake with four candles: two candles lit, one being lit, and one yet to be lit.

Over the years, I have written many posts.  I want to share with you the Top Ten posts since I started blogging here.  Keep reading for 10-7:

10.  Parenting Kids With Disabilities: Autonomy and Consent - This was the final post in my parenting series last summer, and an issue I am super passionate about.  Too often, people with disabilities are treated as though or "no" does not matter, and that often starts in childhood.

9.  Parenting Kids With Disabilities: Helping Your Kids Accept Their Diagnosis - Another post from the summer series of 2017.  I'd read a lot of these types of posts by parents of kids with disabilities but nothing seemed to exist written by someone in the disability community.  So, this post was born.

8.  What You Need to Know About Pushing Someone's Wheelchair Without Permission - For this one, we're going all the way back to 2015!  Such a common issue in the disability community and again I'd yet to read a cohesive piece offering any insight or advice on the matter.  So, I wrote this, and it caught on.  I'm really glad it did.

7.  Book Review:  Me Before You by Jojo Moyes - Every once in a while, I read something, or watch something on TV and I post a review sharing my thoughts.  Long before this became a movie (November of 2015) I read this book and had to write up my thoughts.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Interview with Alice Kina Diehl

Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing Alice Kina Diehl.  You may remember back in February, I caught sight of her character, emergency medical dispatcher, Stephanie Gaskins, on an episode of the FOX show 9-1-1.  I blogged about the rare moment of positive representatation in this scene.

TONIA SAYS:  Authentic media representation for people with disabilities is sparse.  How did you first become interested in acting?  Was it something you always dreamed of doing, or something you grew interested in as you got older? 

ALICE KINA DIEHL:  I started acting when I was five years old. I had family members that were involved in the business way back when, and luckily they shared their gifts with me. But, it really started because I love movies so much, and I wanted to be a part of them.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Guest Post: How People With Disabilities Can Prepare For Parenthood

I was contacted recently by Ashley Taylor, from asking to write a piece with advice for those of us with disabilities on how to prepare our lives and homes for parenthood.  Here is her piece:


Having a child is unlike any experience in life. The combination of joy, stress, and wonder cannot be understated. For the first time in your life, an entire human is completely dependent on you. That’s an amazing experience everyone should enjoy, which is why you are so excited about being pregnant.

But will your disability make a stressful time even harder? Will it interfere with raising your child? To be honest, everyone needs some tips and advice to prepare for parenthood. As with most aspects of having a disability, you will do some things differently but can otherwise be a great parent to your child. You just need to make some preparations, including some minor changes to your home.

Image Source: Pixabay

Making Your Home Ready

When you come home from the hospital, your baby will spend most of its time either in their crib or in your arms. But as explains, they almost become mobile and quick before you know it. That’s why you have to make sure your home is safe.

Make sure all cleaning products are out of sight and behind a locked door. That’s also true for any medication you have to take to help with your disability. Don’t assume your small baby cannot reach what you can. Instead, keep it all secure. Use child-safe locks on cabinets whenever possible.

You’ll also need help keeping the place clean. It’s not like an infant needs a sterile environment, but they will need clean clothes, floors, and toys. If you can do this all by yourself, that’s perfect. If your disability makes that harder, don’t feel bad asking friends and family for help.

Preparing For A New Life

Besides getting your home ready for a newborn, you have to get yourself ready. Every parent faces the same loss of independence when they have to care for a child. However, The Mighty explains that you can face heartbreak if you feel your disability is getting in the way. Just remember that all parents struggle from time to time. As with life as a whole, just because you face different challenges doesn’t mean you cannot be successful. recommends that you view parenting challenges that come from your disability as a way to bond with your child. Celebrate your differences by doing all you can to help your kid with (not despite) your different needs. As your child grows up, they can see your disability as something special that makes your relationship unique.

You’ll also have to worry about your finances. That can be tough if you’re on disability payments, which means you’ll have to be smart with your money. Consider speaking with a financial planner to learn how to secure an income that helps you raise your child.

Don’t Forget About Yourself

As the days turn into months, you will experience the joy of being a parent. But you can also feel a bit lost and overwhelmed. That’s why you have to remember your own needs. Whether that’s something related to your disability or not, you cannot ignore yourself.

That’s why The Treehouse recommends you practice some self-care in addition to taking care of your child. Eat well, get some exercise, and although it’s very hard during the first few weeks, get some sleep! Don’t feel like calling in a babysitter during this time is a bad thing. If it helps you get the rest and rejuvenation you need, then that means you can be a better parent to your child. That’s especially true for any needs related to your disability.

Enjoy This Special Time

Although being a new parent can be tiring and stressful, it’s worth it. You can make this time a little easier by preparing your home, getting your finances in order, and taking care of your own needs from time to time. Regardless of your disability, you can be an incredible parent this way.

Ashley Taylor is a disabled mother of two wonderful, amazing, energetic children. She met her husband, Tom, while doing physical therapy. Tom had suffered a spinal cord injury due to a car accident and uses a wheelchair for mobility. Ashley and Tom knew they wanted children and knew they would have to adapt their lives and home in order to make this dream come true. Ashley is happy to say that they are the proud parents of two healthy, wonderful children and their disabilities haven’t stopped them from leading a happy, fulfilling life