The Parenting Cipher Logo
June 4, 2021

[Ep. 210] Electric Relaxation: Conversation special needs mom need to have

In this episode of The Parenting Cipher, join Kendra Lendsey, host of The Yo Fly Aunty Podcast, and Genie for a conversation that all special needs moms need to have. From how parenting changes as we get older and dealing with the isolation of being a special needs parent to strategies on how to be the best advocate for your child, Kendra and Genie share their stories and experiences. They discuss grades, stepping on other people’s toes, the power of writing, and much more on this episode of The Parenting Cipher

Midlife Flyness

“Black women navigate things. We are the underpinning of society. We make it look easy, but that don’t mean it’s not heavy and hard to do.” Kendra spoke the truth so, to make her 40s “look easy,” she shifted her thought process. Kendra was not entering a midlife crisis. She was entering her Midlife Flyness. Being in her 40s in this midlife space, she knew society would try to count her out as old or take advantage of the skill sets acquired over the years without paying her, her true worth. Oh no! As Kendra put it, “Aging is a level up, not a liability.” You aren’t the same person – well, you aren’t supposed to be the same person – as you were when you were in your 20s, and 30s. With each decade, trials and tribulations, positives and negatives, you are supposed to be reshaped into a better, albeit experienced you. As a wife, mother, friend, and aunty, Kendra remembers to thrive in Midlife Flyness one day at a time. 

Flex Your Advocate Muscle

Having a Ph.D. in Mommyhood means you have unique experiences that give you permission to be an advocate. Black people have been known to ignore the signs and not seek diagnosis for their children. It’s considered a new thing, at least within the past 20 years. Before that, Black people would say, “Your child is slow,” or use some derogatory word. Now that we know better, we are doing and should do better. As parents, we must advocate for our child. We must pay attention and so we will notice when something doesn’t seem quite right. 

It’s ok as a parent to question everything. If you don’t know, talk to the teacher and write emails to the school management. You may feel as if you are stepping on toes but as Kendra says, “F their toes!” The schools, public and private, are supposed to be advocates for our children but let’s face it, oftentimes they don’t know themselves or they are judging and misjudging our children. It’s up to us, the parents, to make sure the schools don’t Spot Check our children. We must request full psycho-educational testing. This test takes weeks, and your child will miss school yet, it’s all worth it. It’s better for your child to miss those few weeks of school, than for your child and you to miss out on the betterment of their childhood had they been accurately diagnosed. High functioning children are aware of their differences, and it hurts them to not know how to accept their differences. Children can get depression too. 

Watch for Systemic Racism

“It is important for white people to know all history. You do yourself a disservice when you only know the side you’ve been told.” – Kendra. With the pandemic causing us to be at home and our children having virtual school, parents got to see how teachers interacted with our children. Just know, how they spoke on-screen, was how they spoke in the classroom. Parents got a chance to be made aware of conversations in the classroom that were beyond Black History Month. When the school is footing the bill for services your child is receiving based on their IEP, watch how the specialists interact with your child. Remember, energy speaks volumes too. Just because they are specialists doesn’t mean they are for your child. If you happen to get a Black specialist, remember, “All skin folk ain’t kinfolk.” Watch them as well. 

I’ll leave you with one last Kendra Lendsey quote, “Being quiet doesn’t mean things are peaceful.” 

Genie Dawkins

Host of The Parenting Cipher, Genie Dawkins is a single mother of four and has over 25 years of being a parent advocate of special needs children. In addition to obtaining her Certification in Integrative Health Coaching, Lateefa holds an M.S. in Non-Profit Management and a B.S. in Social Sciences. Genie is the best-selling author of two books “Not My Child: Navigating Your Child’s Learning Difficulties with IEP’s and Education Resources” and a recent release “The Joyful Family Planner”. As an educational advocacy specialist, her mission is to help parents achieve a balanced life and overcome inevitable challenges both at school and home in a way that empowers parents and children.

About our Guest:

Kendra Lendsey is author, lifestylist, model, public speaker, and the host of the Top Rated The Yo Fly Aunty Podcast, which is all about aging forward, enjoying life, and embracing your midlife flyness. She believes aging is a level up and not a liability. Kendra has a 16-year-old son who is on the autism spectrum and a younger son with dysgraphia.  


Insight from this episode:

  • Benefits of aging, letting things go, and the space of possibilities that is mid-life.

  • Strategies on how to react when other people react to your child, including other family members.

  • Tips for getting others on board with what you know is right for your child and giving voice to the things you see that are wrong. 

  • Reflections about systematic racism and how it’s affecting our children.  

  • The importance of modeling advocacy for our children and how to do it even when you’re not sure how. 


Quotes from the show:

  • “Especially for Black women, we navigate things-- it looks like it’s so easy-- and we are the underpinning of society. We hold the whole circus together. We’re the net up underneath it all. And we do it with such ease that people forget that it may look easy, but that don’t mean that it’s not heavy and it’s hard to do.” –Kendra Lendsey The Parenting Cipher Ep. #10

  • “I always knew with my oldest, I didn’t ever want him to be inside of the social circle because I like that he’s a quirky Black boy. I like that for him. I like that there’s a space for him now in the world.” –Kendra Lendsey The Parenting Cipher Ep. #10

  • “In our community, it is new. And the experience of having other parents advocate for Black children is new. And to be openly saying to someone my child is on the spectrum is now. And then to have to educate whoever you’re talking to is really new.” –Kendra Lendsey The Parenting Cipher Ep. #10

  • “People who provide services to your children can be bullies.” –Genie Dawkins The Parenting Cipher Ep. #10

  • “If you feel at an early age that no settling with you.. Go to the school and keep on them.” –Kendra Lendsey The Parenting Cipher Ep. #10

  • “As parents, we do a lot of things instinctually, and we don’t think of it in the parameters of how can someone else do it and how can you copy this in the classroom. But if you were really to sit there and try to think of a solution, you would think of it.” –Genie Dawkins The Parenting Cipher Ep. #10

  • “Your own unique experiences give you permission to be an advocate for whatever it is that you need to be an advocate for. And ain’t nobody going to advocate for your child like you.” –Kendra Lendsey The Parenting Cipher Ep. #10 

  • “From the Book of Black Momma Chapter 1, here’s what the fuck we’re not going to do.” –Kendra Lendsey The Parenting Cipher Ep. #10

  • “Don’t Blind CC the superintendent and everyone else. CC them, so they can see see you.” –Kendra Lendsey The Parenting Cipher Ep. #10

Stay Connected:

Genie Dawkins

Website: Genie Dawkins

Twitter: @genie49317

Facebook: Genie Dawkins

Instagram: @geniedawkins

LinkedIn: Genie Dawkins


Kendra Lendsey

Website: https://www.yoflyaunty.com/ 

Twitter: @Yo_Fly_Aunty

Facebook: Kendra Lindsay

Instagram: @yo_fly_aunty

Spotify: The Yo Fly Aunty Podcast

The Parenting Cipher

Website: The Parenting Cipher

Patreon: The Parenting Cipher

Itunes: The Parenting Cipher

Spotify: The Parenting Cipher

Twitter: @ParentingCipher

Facebook: @Pcipher

Instagram: @theparentingcipher

Youtube: The Parenting Cipher


Post-production for this episode was provided by Podcast Laundry.


The Parenting Cipher Logo

Copyright © 2023 The Parenting Cipher – All Rights Reserved. Designed by Arising Co.

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram