About Shawna

A little bit about Shawna Wingert and Not The Former Things

Shawna Wingert has had the honor of being featured on Today.com,  The Huffington Post, The Mighty, and Autism Speaks. She is a regular contributor at  Simple Homeschool, For Every Mom, Scary Mommy and Weird, Unsocialized HomeschoolersShawna is the author two books and is currently working on a third. All of them take an honest look at the day-to-day realities and the heart behind mothering two boys with special needs.

She lives in Southern California with her voice actor husband and her two awesome boys.

Contact Shawna –


Shawna Wingert

PO Box 11085

Burbank, CA 91501


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A Note From Shawna:

This blog is about motherhood and special needs,  and homeschooling. Most importantly, it’s about the joy we can find in everyday moments. It’s about how I can really mess things up, and how in my failures, I learn more and more about grace.

Somehow, there is nothing better than hearing another parent whisper, “Me too.”

So, me too. You are not alone. Not even a little.


Please let me be perfectly clear – I am not an expert. I am just another mom, trying to figure out how to best help my children, and live well in the mess.

I fail all the time, y’all. All. The. Time.

I am a private person. I have social anxiety. I only like talking to people who I already know and that already know me. I have two delightful, terrifyingly different children that require so much attention and energy. I have a complicated marriage to a man I really, really want to serve well. There are so many reasons not to do this.

Yet, at the end of the day, I know it’s matters that we share. I know it’s important to encourage each other through all of this. Somehow, there is nothing better than hearing another parent whisper, “Me too.”

So, me too. You are not alone. Not even a little.

Please join me as I share all the sweet, and sometimes ugly, things that make up this precious, redeemed life.

With love,



21 thoughts on “About Shawna

  1. Shawna, I loved it! My husband is on staff at our church and he leads a group of volunteer called Shadows, who are trained to sit beside each of our special needs children and help them navigate Sunday school and children’s worship at their level. They are also trained to take their special friend to a quiet spot also and interact in quiet activities if that is needed. It is a amazing ministry and our volunteers love, love, love their ministry. Parents get the opportunity to study Gods word with peers and worship. Just wanted to pass this model along…thanks for sharing your journey!

  2. I am in tears after reading this. We are struggling at church with our 4 year old who suffers from SPD and PDD. They said he is a bit of a mystery. He exhibits many symptoms of autism or Aspergers except he doesn’t have any problems with being social so they just gave him the diagnosis of PDD. No one ever understands the PDD or SPD and many people think he is just out of control or just needs more discipline. We get bad reports every Sunday and it’s very very frustrating. Even I can’t do a lot with him at church when I’ve tried attending preschool worship with him, he’s rocking, spinning, rolling, inappropriately laughing, making odd noises. He’s the sweetest kid, he loves people, but once worship or Sunday school starts, a whole different side of him comes out. I get frustrated myself so I know the teachers must get frustrated as well. He never wants to go to church anymore because he spends most of his time in time out. I just dont know what to do anymore. If any one

    1. I didn’t get to finish that. :/ If any one has suggestions I am more than willing to listen and give them a try. I’m at my wits end.

      1. Hello Mr. Boyd,
        I know this is a very late reply to your comment, but I wanted to know if your family has found any relief in the area of church ministries? I hope so! My daughter and I have been very blessed by our (midsized) church’s special needs ministry called gLo. It is set up almost identically to the comment on 5.15.14 by Beth. My child has a ‘one-on-one’ volunteer who hangs out with her during childrens’ church and has a little box of activities with a tailored version of the day’s lesson fit to her learning style. They provide an area away from the very loud and over stimulating worship area where they can still hear the music and there are smaller areas inside the big (gym) room with bean bags where she can chill out and work at her own pace. When she’s up for it, they join in with the larger group. Her current one-on-one is an amazing 14 year old young lady and when she needs help, there are always adults nearby to summon the special needs pastor and they both have my phone number too. Before this church, we attended a smaller church where we were not made to feel comfortable or welcome when her behaviors escalated even though we’d been in the group since she was a baby. It’s very sad.

        We live in Salem, OR. I hear that more churches are developing similar programs and I hope your family can benefit from one of these in your area. If your church is new to this concept, see if your pastor can check out 99balloons. They have some really great getting started programs.

        Best of luck to you, your son and your family. Keep fighting for him. He needs to have a faith community who embraces and supports him (and you-his family).


  3. I’m really enjoying your blog. I also have social anxiety and find blogging helps me connect without feeling overwhelmed. I’m contemplating homeschooling our little ones. I’d love to know your experience with it, if you’re in the mood to share. 🙂

    1. Welcome! I am so glad you are here. I have written a few posts about homeschooling. Overall, I will say it has been the best thing for all of us. It takes a while to settle in, but once we did, it changed the boys’ approach to learning and helped calm down so many of their “issues”. I will post a few links here for you and highly recommend you take a look at the Resources Tab for recommendations as well.
      Thank you for your comment.

  4. I found you because someone on my fb autism support group posted one of your blog posts. What a t blessing today, when I really needed to read what would be my words if I bothered to blog. 😉 I completely relate to what you’re writing. Re: this “about” post, just have to say, your comment about God using a fallen woman made me shake my head. A friend of mine made a quilt with the names of the women in Jesus’ genealogy. The ones mentioned are Rahab, Bathsheba, Ruth… the ones who would never have been chosen by the world… the “fallen” and redeemed. It’s always been God’s way, to take the things that are not, and say yes to them!

  5. Hi Shawna,
    Just heard your podcast on Ed Snapshots and wanted to stop by. Our children have many of the same acronyms so I really enjoyed your talk :). Looking forward to reading more on your blog. I have had the book, “The Spark” on my Amazon wish list for a year now so I think it’s ready to move to the cart after your suggesting it! Love your story.

  6. So glad to have found your website. Mine is offline at the moment, but I’m hoping to be back up and running soon. I don’t have a special needs homeschooling tribe in real life, so I’m trying to find one line.

  7. I don’t normally comment but I have so enjoyed reading your posts that I just had to let you know. It seems as though we may be kindred spirits. I too parent children with multiple special needs, including autism, adhd, anxiety, ptsd, sensory processing disorder, reactive attachment disorder and pediatric bi-polar disorder. For having that many disorders we are pretty orderly, and chaotic, and fun and scarey and amazing all at the same time. I appreciate your openness and transparency. It’s refreshing to know others are walking a similar road and finding the beauty in the brokenness. Thank you and keep writing.

  8. Shawna, I read one of your posts today, about your son being 10, and not able to read. I have been there, still going through it. My daughter is 10, still not reading at “grade-level.” It is hard. She doesn’t like being different, and having to go out of class for learning center. She has been doing vision therapy since last March, and that has helped. But she also has mild dyphonesia, so struggles with phonics, and we think she may have dyslexia as well. I homeschooled all the kids up until 2 years ago. I put her in school last year thinking they would help us figure out why she couldn’t read—worst year ever, with the exception of the eye doctor recommending us to the vision therapy program. She is bright, funny, creative, caring, and none of that seems to matter to some people, the fact she can’t read at the “proper level” overshadows everything else. 🙁

  9. Hi Shawna! I’m so glad you said ‘me too’. I’m going to start homeschooling my special needs twin boys next year. And my husband is also in entertainment. I feel that I’m going to find a lot of inspiration, advice and hope in your blog. Thanks for sharing the joys, the beauty and the mess. x

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