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About Us

Sean, 2; Michael, 5, and Ben, 7

2009

This blog is about our journey through the world of a child with special needs. By sharing our experiences we hope to help other families who may be in the same situation. Ben is a sweet energetic redhead with two younger brothers, Michael and Sean. My husband, Ryan, and I try to keep up with them. These stories are intended to shed insight into our lives and also pass on the wisdom we have earned over the past several years.

When I started to write at eSpecially Ben, my intention was to help other families who may be experiencing similar situations while raising a child with special needs. To my surprise, the site has grown to a place where I learn along with my readers as new issues develop. While relying on my inspiration, our son Ben, I take one day at a time. eSpecially Ben tries to show all the sides of parenting a child with special needs - some posts make readers cry, laugh and on a really good day, think.


Ryan and Vanessa married in 1998.

Ryan and I met at college - he was a freshman and I was a senior. We eventually started dating and married several years later. My educational background is in working with college students. Before children, I coordinated leadership and personal development activities in the Student Life Office at the local university. I continued working part-time when Ben was born, but it was too difficult because evening and weekend hours were required when working with the college population, so I eventually quit altogether.

Writing has proven to be a great way for me to share my feelings and express my emotions. And in the process, I have made amazing connections with so many other families. I hope to continue writing and perhaps pursue other subjects, even fiction, in the future.

2022 Update


Our boys are teenagers now: Ben is almost 19; Michael is 17 and Sean is 14. Since 2012, I've been writing professionally for regional and national outlets about art, business, parenting and travel. Read my stories here: Vanessa Infanzon

We are always learning and as Ben transitions to adulthood, the stakes seem higher. I've started a new series, "Parenting an Adult Child with Disabilities." The first post is here: Talking about the future.

Happy reading!

Popular posts from this blog

Catching up with Ben

  I wish I had more time to write on eSpeciallyBen . Ben teaches us lessons on a regular basis: Smile often, give hugs, sit down and savor the moment, grab someone's hand to let them know you care and laugh with abandon–even if it annoys your brother. Ben will be 18 this summer. He attends high school in-person and enjoys seeing his classmates and teachers each day. In the photo above, it's 6 a.m. and he's can't wait to get on the bus. As for most people, the pandemic has been tough. Ben's in-person activities, camps and programs were canceled. He's happy to see grandma when we met on a Charlotte greenway or park. Ben seeks out social interactions and being quarantined away from friends and family was even more difficult because he didn't understand why. Ben's teacher sends me photos of him throughout the week. They just finished a rousing game of catch here.  Thank you for following eSpeciallyBen. If you want to see what I'm working on now, find me

A Lesson on Supplemental Security Income

In October, I received a letter from Social Security Administration saying that Ben no longer qualified for SSI AND we owed a very large over payment for two years of SSI that Ben did receive. The letter showed that we owned two of the same car. I knew this was wrong and immediately wrote a letter. I thought it was a computer glitch. Over the past five months, I have met with Social Security, spoke with several people over the phone and wrote countless letters providing documentation to show the cars we actually owned and filed appeals for the decision to revoke Ben's SSI during the two year period they think we owned these two cars. Tomorrow I have another meeting. I am hoping we can get this straightened out. This situation has caused a lot of stress for us and has taken a tremendous amount of our time trying to unravel the problem. I have not written a post in almost a month, partially because my brain power has been consumed with this issue and the bathroom saga (qualifies

Parenting an Adult Child with Disabilities: Talking About the Future

Ben in the middle with Dad (left), Carla Payne with Aging Care Matters and Mom This is the first of several posts about parenting an adult child with a disability. Ben will be 19 this summer; I am learning along the way. As always, I hope to pass on resources and wisdom. Discuss the future.  If your adult child is able to participate in planning for their future, ask them how they envision it. Let them draw a picture. Ask them to tell you a story. Maybe they can sign a few words that mean a lot to them. Find a way to get them involved. How do they see themselves living? By themselves, in a group home, with another family or with a sibling? Where do they want to live? In another city, in an apartment, in a house? How far away do they want to live from family? What level of independence can they handle? Do they want someone to check in on them? Do they want to find a job? Do they need a job coach or supportive employment? Who will help them with their finances? Is there someone they tru