• 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/

    November 16, 2019 · advocacy,inclusion,dear everybody,disability
    “Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world... All things break. And all things can be...
    October 23, 2019 · inclusion,disability,Halloween,special needs,fun
    Bella and Petie are ambassadors at the Holland Bloorview Hospital, and as ambassadors they...
    October 20, 2019 · advocacy,inclusion,guest blogger,disability,special needs
    Raising children isn't easy, and I’m just a mama who is trying to figure it out too. Like other...
    October 5, 2019 · parenting,sibling,disability,family,young carer
    He’s typical of many siblings, lost in the shadows while the limelight shines on his disabled...
    August 30, 2019 · advocacy,playground,accessibility,inclusion,interview
    In 2005, Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities was created to address the concern of inactivity in...
    August 16, 2019 · parenting,sibling,disabilty,family,young carer · 2
    Providing feedback is an essential part of effective learning. For educators, “feedback provides...
    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
    All Posts
    ×