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gillian marchenko

Author and Speaker

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10 things teachers should know about Down syndrome

about Down syndrome

10 things teachers should know about Down syndrome It’s that time of year again. Backpacks are bought. New tennis shoes are donned. Back to school. It’s also time to educate our teachers on what they should know about Down syndrome. I have two girls with Down syndrome. Polly is going into 2nd grade, fully included with an aid, and Evangeline is going into 1st grade in a special education school. When a parent asks me how to find a good school for their child with Down…

The gospel and depression

The Gospel and depression

The gospel and depression It is enough: now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers. (1 Kings: 19:4 ) “Will you speak with a visitor named Jean?” my husband asks at church. “I think she’s depressed.” I’m confused. How can he suspect depression after one conversation? Of course, he can’t know for sure. Soap box Mental illness is difficult to diagnose. Careful screening and training is a must. One may assert depression for other reasons; a couple of…

Special needs and guilt management

Guilt management and special needs

Special needs and guilt management Guilt management and special needs – hard, hard, hard, hard, hard topic. For most parents, guilt is a big part of their lives anyway. But for a lot of moms and dads who have children with special needs, it can be immobilizing. I’m one of those parents. I have two kids with Down syndrome and I struggle with guilt all the time. Am I doing enough for them? Are there other therapies I don’t know about? Why does that mom…

How to help a depressed friend

help a depressed friend

    People often ask me how to help a depressed friend. That depends.   If you are not super close, help a depressed friend by: -Reaching out via text or with a card letting her know you are praying for and thinking of her. -Leaving a small gift or a meal (without the expectation that she will open the door). -Praying for them regularly.   If you are a bit closer, help a depressed friend by: -Doing all of the above. -Noticing when she is…

Depression is lonely, It helps to identify why

Depression is lonely. I know because I am lonely when I am in a major depressive episode. Saying that depression is lonely probably makes my husband sigh and people in my life cringe because they try to be there for me. They want to be my friends and I reject them. Can I be honest? It makes me sigh and cringe, too. Loneliness is part of my illness. It is a battle, friendship that is, one in which I’m often unable to tackle even though…