• I am a mom, a wife, a teacher, and an advocate.

  • My name is Andrea Haefele, and there is more to what you see.

    Can you look beyond my labels?

    When we see labels as the sole defining feature of who people are, we dehumanize them. They become ‘the other’, not worthy of our time and not our problem. By doing so, we become the cause of the problem.

    This blog is my outlet to share and reimagine myself beyond what people see. I am not ashamed of being the mom, the wife, the teacher and the advocate. My labels make me different. Sharing my voice through this blog is my therapy to help me feel comfortable in my own skin, to reach out to families who live with disabilities, and to create healthy dialogue to see the positive in our differences. I hope I can inspire others to recognize their blind spots and to look beyond the labels.

    No one has a claim to the word, normal. I am human. We are human. Wonderfully human. I am #TheMomBehindTheLabel. Welcome to my blog.

  • the wife

    /T͟Hē,T͟Hə/ /wīf/

    I am a wife, but struggle to be the wife I vowed to be. Statistics predict that marriages, where parents are raising a child with special needs, are at an 80% - 90% divorce rate. I get this, as there are days where I am sure that my husband wants to divorce me. I know that I can be difficult to live with. I am a perfectionist and do not allow for anything less than… especially when it comes to our children. I run my life as a series of items on a to-do list and there are days where I just cannot let go of that list and make time for my husband and our marriage. I am learning to let go and to accept help so that I can be the wife I vowed to be. My husband teaches me to live in the now and to find joy in everyday life.

    the mom

    /T͟Hē,T͟Hə/ /mäm/

    I am a mom of a daughter who has special needs. Bella will continue to require my care as she grows into adulthood since her disabilities prevent her from being independent. I am a mom of a son who, according to medical practitioners, is ‘typical developing’. He is, however, by no means ‘typical’ as he comes with his own set of challenges. Although both my children are on opposite spectrums of growth and development, both constantly challenge me as a mom.

    the teach·er

    /T͟Hē,T͟Hə/ /ˈtēCHər/

    I am a health and physical education teacher who tries to inspire students to move with competence and confidence through healthy active living. I strive to understand students’ physical, cognitive, social and emotional well being, as it is vital to doing my job well. I am passionate and dedicated to my profession, and am always learning how to bring creativity and innovation into my classroom. I believe that making movement meaningful is for everyone of all abilities.​

    the ad·vo·cate

    /T͟Hē,T͟Hə/ /ˈadvəkət/

    I am the advocate who will fight for children who don’t fit society’s mold. I am a researcher of my daughter’s special needs and the numerous identifications that come with her exceptionality. I am the spokesperson for my daughter’s education and will ensure that she receives the programming and services she requires and deserves. I am the politician who knows my rights as a parent and the power of my voice. Some may see me as ‘that’ parent, but I will be quiet when I need to listen and I will scream when I need to be heard.

  • Blog

    /bläɡ/

    December 7, 2018 · education,award,advocacy,advocate,special education · 9
    I’ve had the opportunity to work with many experienced and skilled educational assistants (EA) in...
    November 25, 2018 · special needs,special education,advocacy,respite,strong mom
    My husband and I rarely go out. And when we do, we make sure we use this valuable time to...
    November 17, 2018 · advocacy,playground,inclusion,accessibility
    This past summer I wrote about the importance of inclusive spaces, specifically for our family as...
    November 3, 2018 · special needs,product review,New Balance,disability,Holland Bloorview
    Walking has always been a challenge for Bella. When she was 1 year old, I clearly remember...
    October 13, 2018 · education,teaching,special education,interview,physical education
    Meet my colleague and friend, Kim Tanaka. Kim began her career as an elementary teacher, and...
    September 26, 2018 · health,physical education,gym,education · 8
    Behind Gym’s door you may find yourself in a crossfire game of dodgeball. Although Gym say that...
    More Posts
  • so·cial me·di·a

    /ˈsōSHəl/ ˈmēdēə/

  • help·ing Hand

    /ˈhelpiNG/ /hand/​

    Recognize my disabilities. Emphasize my possibilities.

    Thank you to the following organizations who continue to have a helping hand in our journey.

    Sick Kids Hospital
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