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Thriving in the Midst of Chaos: Parenting With Special Needs Kids

Feb 11, 2021

Episode 76: Live Like Sean With Guest TJ Nelligan

In this episode, we discuss living like Sean; living your best life. When Sean was young, he was diagnosed with an intellectual disability. Guest TJ Nelligan initially began mourning the child he thought he was going to have. After that, life got busy managing doctor appointments, medications, and therapy appointments. A friend later told him about Special Olympics. TJ and Sean went to check it out and loved it. They and their entire family quickly became involved in the organization.


Through raising Sean, TJ learned lots of lessons. The first was to advocate for your child by heavily researching and visiting schools to find the right fit for your child and then get involved in that school. Will this school meet the needs of your child and maximize their ability through the school’s resources? When an issue arose, TJ never backed down.


Another lesson is be present. Sean always lived in the moment, which made everyone he met feel special and seen. By being present, Sean made lots of friends and enjoyed every moment of his life. It also led him to some really exciting experiences that wouldn’t have occurred had he not lived in the moment. Gratitude is another lesson. Sean only focused on his strengths, which led him to be a grateful person. Tying that with being in the moment, he woke up every day with a great outlook and enjoyed every day. Over time, this led TJ to see Sean’s strengths, rather than deficits. Sean taught TJ to be happy. Find your passion and it will bring you happiness. You can make your own happiness by being in the moment. Happiness is a journey, not a destination. Ignore the destination and work on the journey. To stay in the moment, TJ now focuses only on what he can accomplish that day. Allow your child to inspire you. For TJ, that was in part from the Special Olympics. He found that that organization and unified sports really helped. These led to so much more kindness. TJ found it important to include TJ and everything. Make sure the children have time around their peers and spend time in the community. Help your child find their passion.




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Show Music:

Intro Outro: Intro Outro 2 by Mattias Lahoud under CC-BY 3.0 License (

Theme Song: 90s rock style by monkeyman535 under CC-BY 3.0 License (

Self Care Song: Green and Orange No Water by Duncan Alex under CC-BY 3.0 License (


Hosted by: Jessica Temple 


Disclaimer: Our show is not designed to provide listeners with specific or personal legal, medical, or professional services or advice. Parents of children with health issues should always consult their health care provider for medical advice, medication, or treatment.

Copyright 2021 Jessica Temple