Walks of Motherhood

Walks of Motherhood is a local parenting resource for parents who have children with special needs.

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Summer Camp Guide 2024

Friday, May 3, 2024
Disclaimer: The listed camps are located in the Charleston, SC Tri-County area. Please reach out to the camp organizers to determine if any would be a good fit for your child. 

It's that time of year again. We're inching closer to the summer which means school will be out for summer break. If you're anything like me, you're probably thinking ahead of what to do with your child.

For me, it's a tad challenging determining what to do because most summer camps lack the staff to support children with special needs.

As a parent to a child with special needs, it isn't always easy finding the proper childcare. My biggest concerns are wondering what will they do if Liam is triggered? Will they be able to help if he's struggling with something? Will they understand if he's stimming or feels overstimulated? Will they understand that he's a picky eater and has to bring a packed lunch?

I have to constantly consider those things before choosing childcare for Liam. I can't take the risk of placing him somewhere that isn't capable of providing him with the resources and support he'll need.

Here in Charleston, there aren't an extensive list of summer camp options for children with special needs. But, there are some.

I've compiled a list of summer camps for 2024 that are designed for children with special needs.

Beyond Basic Life Skill Summer Camp: https://www.beyondbasiclifeskills.org/programs

Playful Palms Therapy Enrichment Summer Camp: https://www.charleston-sc.gov/1719/Specialty-Camps

Camp Wonder CHS: https://www.campwonderchs.org/information.html

Camp Rise Above: https://campriseabove.org/

SOS Care Summer Camp: https://soscaresc.org/programs/charleston-summer-camp/

SOS Care and Goose Creek Recreation

Dates: June 10-13, June 17-20 (2 weeks)



SOS Care Summer Camp (Park Circle)

Dates: July 1-3, July 8-11 (2 weeks)



Beach Cowboy Fitness Summer Camp: https://beachcowboyfitness.com/summer-camp/

For those that aren't in the Charleston area, you may be able to find a local camp at the website below:

SCDDSN: https://scddc.sc.gov/managedsites/prd/scddc/camps.html

Know of any special needs summer camps? Please feel free to comment below and I'll get them added. 

Understanding Echolalia

Sunday, April 21, 2024

What is echolalia?

Well, to be honest, I had never heard of this term before our son's autism diagnosis. So, I'm going to assume a few of you may not know what it is either.

Echolalia is the repetition of words, sounds, and phrases.

Typically, this is quite normal for children learning how to speak. It's how they strengthen and develop their speech by repeating what it is that they hear. But as they get a little bit older, they begin to take what they're hearing and form their own spontaneous thoughts and words. However, Liam sort of remained in this stage in those early days.

It was actually our first early sign that pushed us to get him evaluated.

As Liam was turning four, we noticed that he wasn't really able to express himself as most kids his age. If we asked him a question, he struggled to find the words to respond.

Instead, he would repeat what was being asked.

It began to raise concern because he wasn't able to communicate what he needed or engage with the other kids his age.

He couldn't tell us what happened in his day. He couldn't tell us if he wanted a burger or chicken nuggets. He was limited in the way he could communicate with us.

Liam could repeat back what was being said to him. He could recite all of the lines of his favorite TV shows. He would spontaneously repeat statements that he heard throughout the day. All unsolicited and unprompted.

We could be walking in the middle of the mall and Liam would break out reciting all the lines of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse or something he replayed frequently from his favorite toy. It wasn't uncommon for us to be walking through the JC Penney and he is repeatedly saying out loud "It's the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse".

It was all so new for us and we weren't quite sure what to make of it initially. I think we just assumed because he was technically still speaking, this wasn't a communication issue. But once we started to observe him struggling to interact with others outside of family, we began to understand how this could potentially impact him as he got older.

I remember when we were trying to teach Liam how to respond when being asked his name. If someone said, "What's your name?" Liam's natural response was to repeat what was asked. Strangers obviously wouldn't understand why he was repeating their question. I'd see the smiles on their face turn into confused looks right before they'd completely disengage from Liam.

I would then feel obliged to explain to them that he is autistic or say to them we're working on that. But, it broke my heart how quickly they gave up on communicating with him. Looking back, I guess I can't blame them if they didn't understand what echolalia meant. To them, they probably thought Liam was mocking them or just being rude.

But what the world doesn't understand is that repeating what is being said is actually how Liam processes information. Sometimes, it's even how he tries to express that he heard you and just needs a moment to gather his words.

Unfortunately, we live in a society that operates on a ton of unwritten social rules. Making it challenging for someone like Liam to know what to say in certain exchanges.

In the beginning, fully understanding the nature of echolalia was difficult for us too. Liam would sometimes say the same things over, and over, and over, and over...and over again. Not exaggerating. It could go on for a hot minute. Which, in truth...it drove us mad sometimes.

For most neuro-typicals when you hear the same sound or noise over and over again, it can easily be labeled as obnoxious or just down right annoying. I wouldn't be honest if I didn't admit that for his dad and I that's what we experienced too. Our natural instinct was wanting the repetition to stop. But after Liam's autism diagnosis, it started to make more sense.

If you were to Google search "echolalia" right now, the dictionary definition would include the word "meaningless". But trust me, this isn't meaningless at all.

With the help of speech therapy, we've been able to provide Liam the tools needed to find his words and to be able to express himself. As his parents, we've also had to learn new ways of communicating with Liam.

Sometimes it can indicate that he is feeling anxious or upset. If he's in a new environment and unsure of what's happening, he may repeat to himself "It's OK" or he may say "You got to be patient"; statements we have said to him in the past to reassure him in moments he may feel anxious.

To a stranger, they may hear Liam reciting these statements to himself repeatedly and find it odd. But we've learned it's how Liam navigates change and comes to understand what is happening.

But also, sometimes, he just does it because it sounds funny.

You ever have a song stuck in your head or a word that just sounds really funny to say aloud? Well, it's kind of like that for Liam sometimes.

As a society, we must learn that communication isn't a one size fits all. It's important we change our viewpoints on societal norms to truly understand and recognize that not everyone processes and receives information the same way.

The best advice I can offer, create space and give room, and be patient.

Often times we realized that if we gave Liam a little bit of space he usually gathers his words. Sometimes he just needs a moment to pull them together in his head. What's worked for us was creating a space for Liam to repeat things until he's able to build from them.

Now, when I pick him up from school he's able to tell me about his day. Definitely a huge milestone for us.

Local Autism Resources

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

I believe that every parent deserves access to the resources needed to help your child or loved one thrive. Whether you're looking for advice on how to navigate your child's diagnosis, or resources to help you better understand their needs, I understand that sometimes finding that information can be difficult. Not to mention, you don't know what you don't know.

In the beginning of our journey, there were a lot of support out there that we had no clue about. I thank God everyday for the helpful people He placed in our path that guided us to the many things we've been able to utilize for Liam.

As promised, I wanted to make sure I compiled a list of resources our family used to get Liam the services and support he needed after his autism diagnosis.

On this list you'll find organizations that conduct evaluations, offer therapy services, and provide support programs to help your loved one with special needs.

Just this past Spring, we were able to find a program that offered a free introductory swim lesson for kids with special needs. We've found organizations willing to pay for summer camp. We've found programs that hosted events that were sensory friendly to cater to our little ones.

As a disclaimer, this list is exclusive to those locally in the Charleston, SC area.

However, with some research, I have found that most (if not all) regions offer assistance. You may find that some of the organizations below have branches in different regions or may be listed under a different name specifically to where you live. But hopefully, the items below will give you a push or some guidance to where you can begin searching.

As always, if you need any help or guidance, please feel free to contact me.

Evaluations/Early Interventions

Baby Net
Department of Disabilities & Special Needs (DDSN)
MUSC Developmental-Behavioral Services
Beautiful Gate Center
Bright Start
Child Find
Carolina Coast Behavioral Services


Note: Most services require a referral from your pediatrician or a medical diagnosis to receive/begin services:
MUSC Physical & Occupational Therapy
MUSC Speech Therapy
Beautiful Gate Center: Speech, OT, ABA
Carolina Coast Behavioral Services: ABA
New Horizons: Speech, ABA
Palmetto Music Therapy
Charleston Music Therapy
Melody Music Therapy
Carolina Speech and Language Center-Summerville
Coastal Therapy Services
Happy Hearts Therapy: OT
Carolina Milestones: Speech, OT, PT
Kid In Development


Lowcountry Autism Foundation
Autism Society of South Carolina
Project Rex
Clap Your Hands
Camp Rise Above
Be The Change
Just Bee
Sunny Sensory Shop


Social Security Administration Supplemental Income
Carolina Children’s Charity
Walk For Autism
Five Fish Foundation
Medicaid Insurance
TEFRA Insurance

Early Signs of Autism

Although my family knew what autism was, we really didn't know what to look for in those early years. Knowing what I know now about autism, the early signs were definitely there. But because Liam was capable of so many other things, we minimized those signs and believed he'd catch on with time.

When I look back at younger videos of Liam, I now understand the behaviors we noticed or challenges that he had. I often times have to remind myself to extend grace for not knowing. I used to feel immense guilt for not getting Liam the help he needed sooner. I believe we assumed autism would look like what the media portrayed it to be. But unfortunately, that's just not true.

The reason it is identified as autism spectrum disorder, is for that very reason...it is a spectrum. One person with autism doesn't look like the next person with autism.

For Liam, medically speaking, he is considered "high-functioning". What this means is that he is capable of doing most things on his own and doesn't require as much assistance. But, it doesn't mean he doesn't need assistance and support at all. I believe there are several that fit this category and often times fly under the radar because to the naked eye, they wouldn't right away notice those areas of special needs.

In this article, I plan to debunk a few of those by sharing some of the early signs we first noticed in Liam.

Unique Play With Toys

Liam never quite played with toys in the way they were designed to be played with. He would either line them up in a very strategic order to his liking, or...he would fixate on just one aspect of that toy. If the toy made a noise or lit up when a certain button is pushed, he would only play with the toy for that very reason.

In any attempt to get Liam to play with the toys outside of how he preferred to play with them, he was incredibly unhappy.

Head Banging

Liam would rock his head to fall asleep each night. It was a gentle thud, but it was a tad out of the ordinary for his dad and I. We had never seen this before. Imagine hearing a constant thud over the baby monitor and to find your little one rocking their head up and down on their pillow until they finally fall asleep.

We would attempt to stop him, but he would continue. When we presented this to his pediatrician we were told this was common for some young boys and he'd outgrow it. Liam wasn't hurting himself. This was actually his way of self-soothing. He doesn't do this as much anymore, but he resorts to this when he's having difficulty falling asleep.

Repetitive Behaviors

It's common for children to engage in repetitious behaviors, but the frequency in which we observed Liam do this is what left us wondering if it was common. We later learned the term for this is called "stimming" or self stimulation. Whether he's bouncing, waving his hands, or simply doing the same movements with his body, it was how Liam expressed himself.

Heightened Sensory Sensitivity

Liam was sensitive to noises, textures, and brightness. If we were in a grocery store and the music was too loud, Liam would cover his ears. If he even got the smallest wet spot on his T-Shirt, he would want it changed immediately. When Liam was younger, he hated public restrooms because they were too loud and too overstimulating for him. The sounds of the hand dryers and toilets flushing were much for him.

Not Engaging Socially

Liam didn't have an interest in playing with the other kids. This could be because he struggled to communicate with them. But while most kids chased after one another and made up a game, Liam was often off to the side doing his own thing. If another child asked him to play, Liam struggled to grasp the concept of the game they were playing which eventually led to the other kids leaving him out. Liam socially wasn't aware of the kids' interest in him. He was perfectly content doing his own thing.

Delayed Speech

The biggest indicator that pushed us to getting Liam evaluated, was his speech delay. Although Liam was verbal he struggled to form his own thoughts. Most of his conversations were scripted or he'd repeat what was being said to him. This term is called echolalia.

Liam was able to express his wants and needs, but any time he was asked a question or prompted to respond...he would just repeat whatever was being said to him. He'd also frequently repeat lines from his favorite TV shows or phrases he may had overheard throughout the day.


Although these early signs were indicators for us that Liam needed some assistance, there are several others that fall in line with children on the spectrum. If there is ever any uncertainty or doubt about your child's developmental milestones, it's best to speak with your pediatrician to assess if your child needs further evaluation. Early intervention gets ahead of the curve to provide your child or loved one with the support and resources they need.