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Hope in Autism Disablility. Jesus. Hope. Tue, 02 May 2023 02:22:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Interview with Sandra Peoples: Self-Care for Special Needs Parents Tue, 02 May 2023 05:00:00 +0000 Sarah and Sandra discuss self-care for the special needs parent. It's not about naps and bubble baths.

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Episode 18

Interview with Sandra Peoples: Self-Care for Special Needs Parents

Sarah and Sarah discuss what self-care looks like for special needs parents, specifically moms, and how those who love them can support them.
(Hint: it’s not about naps
and bubble baths!)

Stick around at the end for a fun conversation about comma placement and parentheses grammar.


Sandra Peoples Interview

by Sarah Broady | Self-Care for Special Needs Parents

Sandra Peoples Interview, E18

by Sarah Broady | Self-Care fo Special Needs Parents

Hosts & Guests

Sarah Broady

Sandra Peoples


Producer & Editor: Sarah Broady

Music: Benjamin Broady

Logo Design: Tammy Lanham

About Sandra Peoples

Sandra Peoples (M. Div, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary) is one of the leading voices in the special-needs community. She is the author of three books, including her most recent release, Unexpected Blessings: The Joys and Possibilities of Life in a Special-Needs Family. Sandra is currently a PhD student at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in the area of family ministry with an emphasis on inclusion for special needs families.

Sandra serves the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention as their special-needs ministry consultant, helping churches around the state start and strengthen their disability ministries. She also teaches a disability ministry cohort through Gospel Centered Family. Sandra is a monthly cohost for Key Ministry: The Podcast, where she will share her perspective on family aspects of disability ministry and inclusion. She and her friend Tiffany Crow also host All Access, a yearly conference held in February in the Houston area for ministry leaders and volunteers.

A Special Note About Syble Wood

Our family would like to share the heartbreaking news that Syble Dean Wood of Pearland, TX passed away on July 24, 2022 due to undiagnosed gallbladder cancer at age 44. She is survived by her parents, Carl and Thresia Wood who have been her lifelong caregivers. She is also survived by her sister Sandra Peoples, brother-in-law Lee, and nephews David and James and her sister Sarah Bolstead, brother-in-law Jason, and nieces Jayme and Carly. Her loss is also mourned by her aunts, uncles, cousins, and many friends.
Syble was born on December 27th, 1977 in Duncan, Oklahoma. As she was growing up, she was supported by many teachers, therapists, and friends through the Duncan school system and at First Baptist Church, Duncan. In 1997 she moved with her parents to Pearland, TX where she returned to high school, making new friends there and through her involvement at First United Methodist Church, Pearland. As an adult, she worked numerous jobs and enjoyed volunteering at Christian Helping Hands food pantry in Pearland. Her life was a gift to everyone who knew her, especially her family members who loved her and looked forward to receiving birthday cards from her each year.

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Great Expectations Sat, 22 Apr 2023 02:29:21 +0000 The post Great Expectations appeared first on Hope in Autism.


You don’t know what you don’t know. And you never know what to expect.

I didn’t know what to expect.

December 20, 2007 was the day of our appointment. I didn’t know for sure what was coming, but I had a pretty good idea. After hours of testing, even re-testing to make his score better, the psychologist sat with me in the empty waiting room highlighting the border between “Moderate” and “Severe” on the very simplified scale of the Autism Spectrum Disorder according to the DSM IV at the time. She told me my son was on the border of being severely autistic. I asked her what we were supposed to do, and she compassionately shrugged her shoulders and told me to keep up with the therapy he was already in. That was it.

I don’t know what I thought would happen at the end of that appointment. But I left with a bit of relief that we finally had an answer, a twinge of guilt that I should have done this sooner, and a knot in my stomach not knowing what to expect for the life of my son.

I didn’t expect this.

It might sound strange, but I struggle a lot with guilt at this stage. Guilt that my son is in the position he is currently in, while friends with children with the same diagnosis are living a completely different life, but one that we used to know in the beginning of nonverbalness and meltdowns and confusion and grief. There was joy in the little things, but all the “little things” to everyone else were huge things to us.

Things like enjoying snow falling on his face, compared to previous years of meltdowns because water dared to grace his skin. Imagine walking from the car to the house in the rain because we didn’t have a garage with a child whose sensory system became overloaded from a light sprinkle. Let’s not discuss bathtime or hair washing.

Our saving grace? Movies.

Kids love movies. Oh, but Sam  l o v e d  movies. Movies were safe. There was a clear beginning and a clear end with occasional surprise post-credit scenes. There was fun stuff in between with sounds and music and visual effects, and lovable characters sold just down the road in Target’s toy aisle. We lived in the magical world of Disney’s Cars for years. He hates to admit it now, but he was obsessed with Frozen too. He didn’t just watch these movies. He immersed himself in them. Sam stims in a way that is called scripting. He memorizes the lines and then acts them out, imitating each character’s voice with their lines. Verbatim. He still does it to this day. It helps him process and get things out of his system.

I didn’t know what to expect.

I have a very clear, distinct memory of watching him script Cars one day, as he flew Lightning McQueen through the air, shutting one eye tightly closed to get a good look at him in the light right in front of his face while mimicking, “Kachow!” I was partly enjoying watching him delight in his imaginative play, partly fascinated by his memory as he scripted the lines perfectly, and partly grieved, wondering where he would end up one day, what he would end up doing, who he would be, and how God would use him to impact the world.

Because everyone has an impact on the world around them, seen or unseen.

I remember thinking that it would only be fitting if somehow movies played a part in his life one day. Maybe the Lord would redeem these years, these moments of immersion and perseveration, and maybe Sam would play a part in creating movies that other kids and adults alike would find themselves immersed in too. I remember thinking how cool that full circle story would be. How maybe it would somehow redeem all those years of hard.

I didn’t know what to expect. But here we are.

Sam has come so far since that first date of diagnosis. He’s fully verbal and has been mainstreamed in school. We had a brief stint of a few years where homeschooling became necessary and then he entered high school mid-year when we moved to Indiana in 2020. He was a cross-country runner from elementary school through his junior year. He is an incredible photographer. And he’s still obsessed with movies. He graduates high school in less than two months. He decided he wants to pursue cinematography and make movies. He wants to create worlds for others to get lost in. Characters they will both love and hate, and love to hate, and hate to love, and love to love. Movies provided a way for him to understand and engage with the world. We understand more about life by watching parts of it play out on a screen. We engage with others because everyone loves movies. Movies gave him a language he didn’t have on his own. It’s what he based his college essays on. They were beautiful.

I didn’t know what to expect as he pursued some of the top cinematography schools in the country.

He applied and was accepted to Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD,) Emerson College, and Columbia College Chicago. He made a valiant effort and went through the incredibly tedious application process for NYU but was denied. Their loss.

He has made his final decision and has accepted the invitation to be in the BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts) for Film and Television at Columbia College Chicago. The BFA is an invitation only a selected few receive. He was one of only four individuals in our state to be accepted out of over 400. He is one of only a couple hundred out of the thousands who applied for the program across the country. His GPA of 3.94 made him eligible for the honors program, and he has accepted that as well.

I don’t know what to expect.

I’ve already launched, as they say, one kid into college. His older brother Ben is currently a freshman pursuing film scoring and composition at Berklee College of Music in Boston with a full tuition scholarship. Emerson would have been a 12 minute trip between the brothers had he chosen it. But now, we’ll be launching this kid straight into the heart of Chicago, a little over 5 hours away (instead of over 15, so I’m okay with that.) He doesn’t have a full tuition scholarship, but it’s fairly close, all things considered. We are so grateful for that.

It’s strange business, this whole letting go thing. I’ve always managed every part of Sam’s life. Always. This isn’t to say I was completely alone as our family and friends and churches we’ve been a part of have been an army of support that we couldn’t have managed well without. But day to day? I made the appointments. I learned all the therapy things so we could continue what he learned in therapy all the rest of the hours of the week at home. I fought insurance. I lobbied for better services. I educated everyone about autism. It’s why this blog even exists. I went to every IEP meeting. I called meetings with teachers and principals. We took him out and about because he can’t live at home in his room in quiet movie-induced solitude forever. Turns out, he’s a bit of an extrovert like his mom. He needs people.

That’s something not expected of people with autism. They say the opposite. But autism is never what you expect. Sam has always surprised us.

I’m the one who suggested photography when he showed interest in a career in movies but was too overwhelmed at all the possibilities – producer? director? cameraman? visual effects? I found him teachers and mentors who taught him about the art of photography because it seemed to make sense that he would need to know the rules of photography in order to understand the rules of film. We took him wherever he wanted to go for a good photo shoot. We turned him loose in D.C. for the day because he needed to get the perfect sunset shot of the Washington Monument. (I’d show it to you, but I’m currently not allowed to share images until he edits them in order of when he took them. Maybe in a couple years I can show it to you.)

I helped him look at colleges that had both the type of program he wanted that fit the criteria of being in a big city (that was a thing he really wanted,) and also had accommodations he would need. I made phone calls and sent emails to ensure we were preparing as best we could. We filled out forms and had meetings and sent in applications for academic and single housing accommodations with official proof for why all of it is  needed.

I don’t know what to expect.

He’s not guaranteed the type of housing we are asking for. He’s had about a minute’s worth of learning how to navigate public transportation in Chicago itself, and he’ll have to do far more of it without us standing right beside him showing him how to do it. Our oldest called me one time from a bus stop in Boston asking me about what he should do and where he should go to get back to campus. I was completely helpless. I couldn’t tell him which bus to get on, or what time it would be there. It wasn’t lining up with what his information was telling him and he was confused. It was very late at night, and we were both starting to get anxious for him to get back to his dorm. But he figured it out and arrived safely about an hour later, confirmed by text I made him send me so I knew he wasn’t dead in a ditch.

I don’t know what to expect.

Will Sam call me in a meltdown because he’s lost? How will I help him? “He’ll have to learn how to help himself,” I can hear you say. Yes, I know. But this is different. What if he’s misunderstood by strangers and something happens?

What ifs can start to bleed into paralyzing fear, if I let it.

When discussing what to do about college back in the fall, I was using the metaphor of baby birds learning to fly as mama birds pushed them out of the nest. Emotions welling up, he asked me, “But mom, what if I can’t do it? What if I fall?” And I jumped on the opportunity to use the ever so trite cliche and in all seriousness with tears of my own replied, “Yes, you might fall. You’ll probably fall a lot. But Sam… what if you fly?

I have always had high expectations of Sam, despite his autism, sometimes because of it. I knew he’d do well when he landed big roles in theatre because memorization is kind of his thing. And he was amazing. I have always pushed him harder than maybe even my other kids. I never wanted him to think or ever believe of himself that he couldn’t do something because he has autism. I never want anyone to put him in a box that says autistic people have to do things this way. I didn’t want him boxing himself in either. I’m okay with other ways, as long as it’s what is truly needed. But sometimes those other ways are just safe. Sam’s not safe, meaning he’s always taken risks. He’s always put himself out there, even if he’s afraid he’ll fail. Most of the time, he succeeds and even thrives.

The safest choice isn’t always the best choice.

It would be safe for him to just stay here and never leave. It would be safe not to teach him how to drive. It would be safe to tell him to stay in the backyard and not take walks next to busy roads (on a sidewalk. He’s not walking the shoulders or hitchhiking, I promise.) And I never wanted others to think we don’t hold him to the same standards as his brothers. We do, but sometimes it looks a little different. Autism has been a valid reason for why he has struggled with things, and will continue to struggle. There will always be challenges and there will always be progress and five steps back and two steps forward or one step back and 10 steps forward. But it’s never an excuse to get out of taking those steps anyway. We might give him some grace with some things. Everyone needs grace. But he doesn’t just get a pass. Professors and bosses and directors and producers won’t just give him a pass. He has always worked hard for everything he has achieved, and I have no doubt he will do the same in college and beyond. I’ve been there for all of it. And now for the first time, I won’t be. That’s a scary place for this mama bird to be in. But it also holds so much hope. 

So when I start down the road of negative what-ifs, I try to remember to ask myself, “Yes… but what if he flies?

I don’t know what it will look like. But I expect that he will.

If you want to help Sam in his college journey, he has applied for a scholarship and written an essay called “How Movies Helped Me as an Autistic Person” that has been published on the scholarship website below. The decision for the winner will be made in part based on how much engagement his essay gets, meaning how many people click the link to his essay. While I truly don’t like making requests like this, we would greatly appreciate any support by clicking the link to read his essay. If you want to go above and beyond, please also share it on social media. I would love it if you would tag @hopeinautism so we can track it as well, though that part is not necessary.

How Movies Helped Me as an Autistic Person

This guest post is by Samuel Broady, a young man who was diagnosed with autism at 2 and plans to attend Columbia College Chicago. Samuel is applying for the Spring 2023 Making a Difference Autism Scholarship via the nonprofit KFM Making a Difference.

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Preparing to Launch Tue, 24 Aug 2021 01:29:14 +0000 The post Preparing to Launch appeared first on Hope in Autism.


It’s 8:22pm on a Monday evening and I was resting my eyes on the couch (okay fine, I was taking a nap) as my husband practiced the piano. As he worked through various passages of a highly challenging piece, the sharp pangs of multiple flats pierced my heart. This wasn’t for his choir pieces at school where he teaches. He was practicing for our son Ben’s college audition. He’ll primarily be applying to the Berklee College of Music and our alma mater, Belmont University. His first choice is Berklee. I was roused from my catnap by the sudden urge to write through the flood of feelings I am experiencing (often) as I prepare to launch my firstborn from the nest in less than a year.

I’ve been hyper-aware that every moment is a moment I may not remember, and so I must cherish each one in its time. They say the nights are long, but the years are fast, and when my baby boy was small enough to be snuggled tightly in my arms, I remember thinking, “yes, but these nights are so long.” It seemed years would never pass. But pass they did and 17 and a half years, one month, and 12 days later, here we are.

Earlier today I heard Ben practicing his scales on his alto saxophone. Tonight, his father practices the accompany part as if it were his own audition. I began to imagine the scene in the audition room. Ben would introduce his father as his accompaniment partner. I wonder if they might be impressed that father and son can play so magnificently together. I smile to myself as Ben has now joined in the practicing, and it’s truly a magnificent sound.

Before our children were born, we asked all those fun questions – “you think he’ll take after us and get into music?” People asked us if we’d be upset if we didn’t have musicians in the family. Such a ludicrous question to ask. Of course not. We’d be so proud of the hobbies and gifts our children had even if music wasn’t among them, just as we are of our other children who don’t share the same level of enthusiasm for music. But now that we have an amazing young musician to share these passions with, I can only tell you it is a joy unlike any other. But not because it’s what we also do, although that certainly has some sway in our feelings. It’s because he has worked so hard for so long to come as far as he has. He found something he loved at an early age in the 4th grade thanks to an introduction to band instruments, and he pursued it with the vigor and loyalty we have come to appreciate about our firstborn. Ben is nothing if not passionate and loyal, and his music demonstrates these qualities even in practice. I absolutely love watching him blossom as a musician.

What makes my heart twinge is realizing these gifts will soon be leaving my home. I only have maybe 10-11 more months to have a TV show interrupted with the singing of his saxophone drifting down the stairs from his studio he created in our guest bedroom. Less than a year to be serenaded while we set the table for dinner. Only the blink of an eye before he latches his saxophone it its leather case one last time, not to head to band practice or to put it away like I’ve been telling him to do for three days now, but to permanently set off for a new adventure. Sure, he’ll be home for college breaks, but it won’t be the same. It’ll be the end of an era.

I’m not ready. I have what seems to be all this time to prepare these next several months, and it’s not enough.

I feel now as if someone is surgically removing my heart, one incision at a time. One cut here tonight listening to him practice for his college audition. Another cut tomorrow when he says something funny, and we laugh together. And more and more cuts, deeper and deeper as we escort him onto the field for senior night, or he performs in the musical at school, or we have silly arguments at the dinner table, or learns of his college acceptance, or he finally walks across a stage to accept his hard-earned diploma. Little by little, time is slipping away quietly and painfully but quickly, and there’s nothing I can do about it.

Except to enjoy the moments. Moments with laughter that hurt so much that I can’t breathe. Moments with (his) snarky comments and (our) raised eyebrows. Enjoying his guacamole on Taco Tuesday because he seriously makes the best guac. These are the moments that happen while the second-hand gently ticks by.

The thing is, I really like him. I’ve talked to all kinds of parents over the years, and frankly, not everyone truly enjoys their kid. If Benjamin weren’t my son, I’m pretty sure I would want to be his friend. I’d want to hang out with him. It’s just a bonus that, for now, I still get to tell him what to do… and pay for all his stuff. But really, I love just being with him. His presence in our house is unique, as is that of each of our children. But they’ll get their own blog post one day. Whenever he’s not here, the dynamic changes, though not in a bad way. It’s just different. It’ll be hard to get used to on a regular basis. So sometimes when he’s at band practice or galivanting with friends while the rest of the four of us instead of five are eating dinner together, I imagine that’s what it’ll be like. And my wounded heart kind of jumps a bit.

Not yet,” it whispers. “Please… just not yet.”



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Easter Episode: Redeeming Love by Anne Steele Sat, 11 Apr 2020 20:46:31 +0000 Sarah talks through the hope of Easter with a reading of Anne Steele's poem, Redeeming Love. Easter might look different this year, but we can still celebrate the Resurrection of Christ, all things new, and the hope of glory.

The post Easter Episode: Redeeming Love by Anne Steele appeared first on Hope in Autism.


Episode 17

Easter Episode: 

Redeeming Love
by Anne Steele

Sarah talks through the hope of Easter with
a reading of Anne Steele’s poem, Redeeming Love.
Easter might look different this year, but we can still celebrate the Resurrection of Christ,
all things new, and the hope of glory.



Sarah Broady


Producer & Editor: Sarah Broady

Theme Music: Benjamin Broady

Narration Music: Inside the Moon
Stephan Siebert

Logo Design: Tammy Lanham

Redeeming Love

Anne Steele

1. Come heavenly love, inspire my song With thy immortal flame,
And teach my heart, and teach my tongue The Savior’s lovely name.

2. The Savior! 0 what endless charms Dwell in the blissful sound!
Its influence every fear disarms, And spreads sweet comfort round.

3. Here pardon, life, and joys divine In rich effusion flow,
For guilty rebels lost in sin, And doomed to endless woe.

4. In our first parent’s crime we fell; Our blood, our vital breath,
Deep tinged with all the seeds of ill, Sad heirs to sin and death.

5. Black o’er our wrath-devoted heads Avenging justice frowned
While hell disclosed her deepest shades And horrors rose around.

6. Wrapt in the gloom of dark despair, We helpless, hopeless lay:
But sovereign mercy reached us there, And smiled despair away.

7. God’s only son, (stupendous grace!) Forsook his throne above;
And swift to save our wretched race, He flew on wings of love.

8. Th’ Almighty former of the skies Stooped to our vile abode;
While angels viewed with wondering eyes, And hailed the incarnate God.

9. The God in heavenly strains they sung, Arrayed in human clay:
Mysterious love ! what angel tongue Thy wonders can display?

10. Mysterious love, in every scene, Through all his life appears:
His spotless life exposed to pain, And miseries and tears.

11. What blessings on a thankless race? His bounteous hand bestowed!
And from his tongue what wondrous grace, What rich instruction flowed!

12. The dumb, the deaf, the lame, the blind Confessed his healing power;
Disease and death their prey resigned, And grief complained no more.

13. Infernal legions trembling fled, Awed by his powerful word;
And winds and seas his voice obeyed, And owned their sovereign Lord.

14. But man, vile man, his love abused Blind to the noblest good
Blasphemed his power, his word refused, And sought his sacred blood.

15. Still his unwearied love pursued Salvation’s glorious plan;
And firm the approaching horrors viewed Deserved by guilty man.

16. What pain, what soul-oppressing pain, The great Redeemer bore;
While bloody sweat, like drops of rain, Distilled from every pore!

17. And ere the dreadful storm descends Full on his guiltless head,
See him by his familiar friends Deserted and betrayed!

18. While ruffian bands the Lord surround, Relentless, murderous foes;
Meek, as a lamb for slaughter bound, The patient sufferer goes

19. Arraigned at Pilate’s impious bar, (Unparralled disgrace!)
See spotless innocence appear In guilt’s detested place!

20. When perjury fails to stain his name, The mob’s envenomed breath
Extorts his sentence, “Public shame And painful lingering death.”

21. Patient, the cruel scourge he bore; The innocent, the kind!
Then to the rabble’s lawless power And rudest taunts consigned

22. With thorns they crown that awful brow, Whose frown can shake the globe;
And on their king in scorn bestow The reed and purple robe.

23. Ah! see the fatal cross appears, Heart-wounding, dreadful scene
His sacred flesh rude iron tears, With agonizing pain.

24. Exposed with thieves, to public view Could nature bear the sight?
The blushing sun his beams withdrew, And wrapped the globe in night!

25. Then, Oh! what loads of wrath unknown The glorious sufferer felt;
For crimes unnumbered to atone, To expiate mortal guilt!

26. The Father’s blissful smile withdrawn, In that tremendous hour;
Yet still the God sustained the man With his almighty power,

27. ‘Tis finished,’ now aloud he cries, ‘No more the law requires’
And now, (amazing sacrifice!) The Lord of life expires.

28. Earth’s firm foundation felt the shock, With universal dread;
Trembled the mountain, rent the rock, And waked the sleeping dead!

29. Now breathless in the silent tomb, His sacred body lies:
Thither his loved disciples come, With sorrow-streaming eyes.

30. But see the promised morn appear Their joy revives again;
The Savior lives; adieu to fear, To every anxious pain.

31. His kindest words their doubts remove, Confirm their wavering faith;
He bids them teach the world his love, Salvation by his death.

32. Triumphant he ascends on high, The glorious work complete
Sin, death, and hell, low vanquished lie Beneath his awful feet.

33. There, with eternal glory crowned, The Lord, the conqueror, reigns;
His praise the heavenly choirs resound In their immortal strains.

34. Amid the splendors of his throne, Unchanging love appears;
The names he purchased for his own, Still on his heart he bears

35. Still with prevailing power he pleads Their cause for whom he died;
His Spirit’s sacred influence sheds, Their comforter and guide.

36. For them, reserves a radiant crown, Bought with his dying blood;
And worlds of light, and joys unknown, For ever near their God.

37. 0 the rich depths of love divine! Of bliss, a boundless store:
Dear Savior, let me call thee mine; I cannot wish for more.

38. I yield to thy dear conquering arms, I yield my captive soul:
0 let thy all-subduing charms My inmost powers control!

39. On thee alone my hope relies: Beneath thy cross I fall,
My Lord, my life, my sacrifice, My Savior and my all.

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Songs for the Weary, Hopeless, and Grieving Thu, 31 Oct 2019 17:47:39 +0000 The post Songs for the Weary, Hopeless, and Grieving appeared first on Hope in Autism.


Post Tenebras, Lux

Songs for the Weary, Grieving, and Hopeless
Read full postOn Social Media

I began a blog series on Post Tenebras, Lux, which means, “after darkness, light” upon inspiration after attending the Sing! Conference hosted by the Getty’s. The series is posted on the Key Ministry Special Needs Parenting blog, but I’m including the first part of the post below. You can find a special social media post shared by Joni Eareckson Tada about this series by clicking on the “On Social Media” button above.

I had the privilege of attending the Sing! Conference hosted by Keith and Kristyn Getty, who are modern-day hymn writers and talented musicians. It was three and a half glorious days filled with beautiful music, incredibly talented musicians and songwriters, teaching by some of the most influential pastors of our day, and biblical encouragement from Joni Eareckson Tada herself. Thousands of people from all over the world descended on the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, TN for this incredible conference, and 16,000 attended a concert of music and preaching at Bridgestone Arena, where Joni led us in the most moving and soul-stirring a capella singing of “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name,” the likes of which I wonder if I’ll ever experience again this side of heaven.

Being immersed in that worship-filled environment for three days straight was most refreshing and needed for my weary soul. To be surrounded by people singing praise and worship, knowing we all have our baggage and various temporary and permanent thorns, yet there we were: singing our hearts out, being encouraged in song with the voices of thousands uplifting our hearts and minds to focus on the One who loves us most, the only true Hope we have in this fallen world of darkness and despair. The One who allows trials, challenges, hardship, disability and death uses those things to make us more like Christ, redeeming the despair into delight through the light of Christ. He repurposes it all into something more beautiful than we ever thought possible; He strengthens our feeble knees to stand on a solid foundation of hope, that He is making all things new, both now and forevermore.

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Hope Anew: Creating Community with Jonathan and Sarah McGuire Mon, 30 Sep 2019 16:32:58 +0000 The post Hope Anew: Creating Community with Jonathan and Sarah McGuire appeared first on Hope in Autism.


Episode 16

Hope Anew:

Creating Community with

Jonathan & Sarah McGuire

“We have to build a new vision for what life will be going forward – grieving what isn’t anymore, and building
A NEW vision…”

Sarah talks with Jonathan and Sarah McGuire about their ministry organization, Hope Anew, and the new online community that launches October 1, 2019. They share their story as autism parents, the isolation they struggled through, the drought of rest Sarah went through, and how their family coped and handled those struggles. Through everything, they’ve created a ministry to parents of children with unique needs and disability, and are launching A NEW ministry specific to creating community. I’m so excited to introduce the McGuires to you if you don’t know them already, and I highly encourage you to check out the incredible resources on their website, Hope Anew.

Hosts & Guests

Sarah Broady

Jonathan & Sarah McGuire

Show Links

Facebook: @hopeinthetrenches

Twitter: @hope_anew

Hope Anew Website

Hope Anew Podcast

5 Minute Vacations: Click on the website link above and sign up for updates to get the FREE PDF! Or click HERE and watch the video of Jonathan’s presentation at Inclusion Fusion Live! 2018.


Producer & Editor: Sarah Broady

Music: Benjamin Broady

Logo Design: Tammy Lanham

About Jonathan and Sarah McGuire

Jonathan and Sarah have been married 18 years and are the parents of two boys. They began their journey in special needs 12 years ago with the birth of their youngest son who was allergic to all food except sweet potato, and severely autistic.

In addition to being parents, Jonathan and Sarah co-founded Hope Anew in 2016. Hope Anew is a non-profit that comes alongside parents of kids with special needs on the spiritual and emotional side of that journey guiding them toward Christ-centered hope and healing. They connect with parents through a curriculum-based Hope & Healing Workshop they wrote and facilitate as well as writing, speaking, and podcasting focusing on the unique challenges of special needs parenting. And there is now a new facet to Hope Anew, which is their online community for parents of children impacted by special needs and disability that launches October 1, 2019!

5 Minute Vacations for Special Needs Parents

Do you ever feel like you never have a moment to yourself and it is all you can do to get through the next minute? By implementing the strategies in this free resource, you will be better equipped to care for your family over the long haul. Watch the video or get the PDF for FREE by signing up for updates on Hope Anew. If you chose not to sign up the first time, try opening the link in a new browser or on your phone and signing up. 

About the Hope Anew Community

Often parents of children impacted by disability and special needs feel alone and like no one gets it. We’ve created a laugh together, cry together, pray together community that helps parents navigate the path ahead of them so they can thrive in the midst of life’s challenges.

  • On 10.01.19, you’ll be able to home click the Join Now button on this page.
  • Follow the onscreen instructions to complete your registration.
  • You’ll receive a welcome email with the details you need.

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The post Hope Anew: Creating Community with Jonathan and Sarah McGuire appeared first on Hope in Autism.

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The Inclusive Classroom in Children’s Ministry with Jared Kennedy Fri, 13 Sep 2019 01:00:35 +0000 The post The Inclusive Classroom in Children’s Ministry with Jared Kennedy appeared first on Hope in Autism.


Episode 15

The Inclusive Classroom in Children’s Ministry with Jared Kennedy

Sarah talks with autism dad and children’s pastor, Jared Kennedy, about creating inclusive classroom environments for children’s ministry. They discuss tools and strategies leaders and teachers can use with individuals with unique needs in their classes, as well as boundaries if a teacher suspects a diagnosis, but the parent has not provided any diagnosis, or there hasn’t been any testing yet. They talk through the books Jared has written and the free resources available on his website, Gospel Centered Family.

In addition to practical ideas and steps for ministry leaders and teachers to use with families, Sarah and Jared also talk through how spouses grieve differently, and the encouragement of hope we have in Christ as our High Priest who empathizes with us in our suffering.

Jared Kennedy Interview, E15

by Sarah Broady | A Special Hope Podcast

Hosts & Guests

Sarah Broady

Jared Kennedy


Producer & Editor: Sarah Broady

Music: Benjamin Broady

Logo Design: Tammy Lanham

About Jared Kennedy

Jared is husband to Megan and father to Rachael, Lucy, and Elisabeth. He serves as Pastor of Operations and Families at Sojourn Church Midtown in Louisville, Kentucky, as Children’s and Family Ministry Strategist for the Sojourn Network, and as an adjunct instructor at Boyce College. He is author of The Beginner’s Gospel Story Bible and co-author of the PROOF Pirates and Clap Your Hands, Stomp Your Feet Vacation Bible School curriculums. Jared contributes to The Gospel CoalitionEthics & Religious Liberty Commissionand He Reads Truth. You can follow him on Twitter and check out his website, Gospel Centered Family

About The Beginner’s Gospel Story Bible

This gospel-centered Bible storybook by Jared Kennedy contains fifty-two Bible stories retold in a simple and compelling way for toddlers and preschoolers. Each story highlights for young children God’s story of redemption through Jesus and the unexpected ways that God’s grace and mercy are revealed throughout the Bible.  Trish Mahoney’s brightly colored illustrations highlight each story and add fun teaching elements of counting, opposites, patterns, and object recognition to keep the youngest child’s attention. 

About Jesus Rose for Me

Every Easter, we celebrate that Jesus is more powerful than death. But what does that mean for your little one? Jesus Rose for Me by author Jared Kennedy helps toddlers and preschoolers understand the true meaning of Easter in a personal, memorable way.

This board book is a part of The Beginner’s Gospel Story Bible series. For children ages three to seven, this beautifully illustrated book begins with Palm Sunday and ends with Easter, when Jesus rose for us. Children will learn that Jesus is our king, and that everyone who trusts in him is part of his forever family.

Help your kids understand that Jesus died for us and rose from the dead. Because of the compelling content and modern, vivid illustrations, children will live in the joy of the greatest truth of all: Jesus is alive!

This conversational book simply tells the story of the gospel and invites children to respond. Jesus Rose for Me helps toddlers and preschoolers celebrate that every day is resurrection day.

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The post The Inclusive Classroom in Children’s Ministry with Jared Kennedy appeared first on Hope in Autism.

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Transitioning a Child to Residential: Battling Fear, Grief, Guilt, and Striving for Hope with Deb Abbs Fri, 23 Aug 2019 01:00:28 +0000 The post Transitioning a Child to Residential: Battling Fear, Grief, Guilt, and Striving for Hope with Deb Abbs appeared first on Hope in Autism.


Episode 14

Transitioning a Child to Residential: Battling Fear, Guilt, and Striving for Hope with Deb Abbs

As a special needs parent, have you felt fear about your child’s future? Do you struggle with doubts about decisions you’ve made, grief over the fact that you even had to make those very decisions? Do you feel guilty for either how you’ve handled a situation, or even your own emotions?

Sarah Broady talks with Deb Abbs about “the other ‘R’ word,” as Deb puts it, Residential, through their family’s story of transitioning their teenage son Luke from home to a residential boarding school for children with disabilities. They talk through the all-encompassing fear, grief, and guilt that Deb’s family faced as special needs parents and the hope they have held onto throughout it all.

Transitioning a Child to Residential with Deb Abbs

by Sarah Broady | A Special Hope

Hosts & Guests

Sarah Broady

Jolene Philo


Producer & Editor:
Sarah Broady

Music: Benjamin Broady

Logo Design:
Tammy Lanham

About Deb Abbs

Deb Abbs graduated from the University of Illinois–Champaign/Urbana with a degree in journalism, and works as a freelance blogger, as well as a disability ministry coordinator for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship in Illinois and Indiana. Her writing has been featured in several magazines, and her book, Life on the Spectrum, written along with several other authors, came out in the fall os 2018. You can find Life on the Spectrum on Amazon as well as the website. She and her husband, Mike, who is a police officer, have two children, Brandon and Luke, as well as their crazy English bulldog, Crystal. She also contributes to Key Ministry’s Special Needs Parenting blog, at which you can find her writing, as well as Patheos.

About Life on the Spectrum

No matter who we are or where we come from, autism has taken us on a common journey. Our faith has given us a common hope. We are different – black, white, male, female – but we all have children with autism.These are our stories: our struggles, our failures and triumphs, our parenting, our faith and a bit of everything in between. Along the way we realized we are not alone. Our lives, though not the ones we imagined, have given us new purpose and meaning. Our children have something unique and beautiful to offer the world. And to us.

From creating a new normal for the holidays to re-thinking sibling relationships, from asking “why?!” to how to cope moving forward, Life on the Spectrum faces the reality of living with and loving our autistic children from a perspective of faith. Each chapter begins with a Scripture that has become dear to us, shares our stories, exploring how God’s truth can actually be lived out in the messiness of our lives on the spectrum, and ends with questions designed to help us reflect, rethink, and ultimately grow closer to Christ.

Come on this journey with us. Be encouraged. You aren’t alone either.

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The post Transitioning a Child to Residential: Battling Fear, Grief, Guilt, and Striving for Hope with Deb Abbs appeared first on Hope in Autism.

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The 5 Love Languages for Special Needs Families Is Finally Here Thu, 01 Aug 2019 13:00:43 +0000 The post The 5 Love Languages for Special Needs Families Is Finally Here appeared first on Hope in Autism.


Episode 13

The 5 Love Languages for Special Needs Families 

Jolene Philo and Dr. Gary Chapman have co-authored a book on the 5 love languages just for special needs families and it is finally here! Sharing Love Abundantly in Special Needs Families: The 5 Love Languages® for Parents Raising Children with Disabilities is available for purchase through Jolene’s website, or on Amazon. 

Host Sarah Broady talks with Jolene about the book, how it came into being, all the ideas for families to use the 5 love languages with their families – with spouses, typical siblings, and children with disabilities, and the hope Jolene has to share through it all. So many books written for parents, while excellent resources, can’t really be put to use by special needs families for a vast variety of reasons. This book has been requested time and time again, and providentially, Jolene Philo is answering the call and addressing these specific needs for special needs families. Thank you Jolene for the work and heart you poured into this, and thank you especially to Dr. Gary Chapman for saying yes to this book! 

About Jolene Philo

Jolene Philo is the mother of a son born with life-threatening special needs and the daughter of a father severely affected by multiple sclerosis. She’s written 5 books about caregiving, special needs parenting, and childhood PTSD. She is currently co-writing a book with Dr. Gary Chapman about how parents of kids with special needs can use the 5 love languages in their families. She is a speaker and blogs at She and her husband live in Iowa.    

About Sharing Love Abundantly

“With a frank and honest observation on how disability can unravel family unity, this book inspires and equips us to live out our faith as we interact with those we love.”

-Joni Eareckson Tada, founder & CEO, Joni and Friends

Between the worry, the doctor’s appointments, and the thousand small challenges of everyday life, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and exhausted. The idea of showing abundant love to every member of your family can feel like a daunting task. Jolene Philo has been there. And in this wise, warm, practical guide, she and Dr. Gary Chapman show you how the 5 love languages can help strengthen your marriage and family life—whatever your needs. Sharing dozens of stories from parents of children with special needs children, they teach you how to:

  • protect your marriage amidst the stress
  • discover and speak the love language of your child—even if they’re nonverbal
  • accommodate the love languages for children with special needs and disabilities
  • show love to every member of your family when you have limited time, money, and energy

Having a special needs child shouldn’t mean sacrificing a full family life. Learn to share love abundantly no matter your circumstances.

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The post The 5 Love Languages for Special Needs Families Is Finally Here appeared first on Hope in Autism.

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Meant for Community: An Interview with Lorna Bradley Mon, 15 Jul 2019 01:00:30 +0000 The post Meant for Community: An Interview with Lorna Bradley appeared first on Hope in Autism.


Episode 12

Meant for Community: An Interview with Lorna Bradley

Lorna Bradley’s research focuses on how churches can provide a holistic welcome to families raising children with special needs by meeting the emotional and spiritual needs within the entire family. She is the author of Special Needs Parenting: From Coping to Thriving, has led parent support groups for seven years and worked in welcoming ministries for ten years. Sarah and Lorna discuss specific ways churches can minister to *and with* special needs families and share stories of hope as families are welcomed into true community within the church.


Hosts & Guests

Sarah Broady

Lorna Bradley


Producer & Editor: Sarah Broady

Music: Benjamin Broady

Logo Design: Tammy Lanham

About Lorna Bradley

Rev. Dr. Lorna Bradley, an ordained deacon in the United Methodist Church, received Master Theological Studies and Doctorate of Ministry degrees from Perkins School of Theology. Her research focuses on how churches can provide a holistic welcome to families raising children with special needs by meeting the emotional and spiritual needs within the entire family. She is the author of Special Needs Parenting: From Coping to Thriving, has led parent support groups for seven years and worked in welcoming ministries for ten years. She and her husband of 30+ years have an adult son on the autism spectrum.

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The post Meant for Community: An Interview with Lorna Bradley appeared first on Hope in Autism.

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