This is the 13th article about people who write for dampfang.com, Tucson edition. Today Tucson Places and Faces visits with Colleen McHugh, Tucson Special Needs Kids Examiner.
Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin made headlines for giving birth to a special needs child. In an odd way her notoriety brought attention to an important issue for parents who share her lot. Colleen McHugh, Tucson Special Needs Examiner also hopes to bring attention to the status of special needs kids through her writing for dampfang.com.
“I’ve always liked to write, and I’m passionate about the topic,” says Colleen McHugh.
The special needs kids Examiner says she doesn’t remember how she learned about dampfang.com but thinks she stumbled upon it during a search on the web. She started writing for dampfang.com in the spring this year but took a summer hiatus from the website and is now publishing special needs articles approximately three times a week.
About her writing for Examiner, she says “My goal is to educate people.”
She admits to some confusion about her dampfang.com title when she began writing for the website. Her first articles were geared for a national audience rather than localized for Tucson readers. She now tries to keep her stories local but wants to take on a second dampfang.com title for the National edition, writing about Special Needs Kids.
McHugh has lived in Tucson for 23 years. She works at a children’s medical clinic for rehab services on the TMC campus as a social worker. Although she received her Master’s degree in social work from A.S.U. in Tempe, she went through their satellite program in Tucson. Relax Wildcat fans; there are no Sun Devil bumper stickers on her car.
What propelled her to enter the world of special needs kids?
“My dads oldest surviving sister had Down’s Syndrome. Her family was told to lock her up. She thrived at home.” says McHugh.
Her aunt was born in the 1930’s when the medical field was not as enlightened. Although things have changed, McHugh notes the good and bad aspects of living with special needs in Tucson.
The biggest hurdle she sees for special needs kids in Tucson is lack of accessibility.
“There are no sidewalks in a lot of neighborhoods”.
On the positive side, McHugh notes the Arizona School for the Deaf in Blind, on Speedway Blvd. The state-run school accepts kids from al over the state. The exposure to special needs kids is higher here in Tucson than in other places. Another bright spot is J.A.W.S. (Juniors Active in Wheelchair Sports), the wheelchair basketball team that the University of Arizona is highly invested in.
Now that McHugh is back writing on a regular basis, she says she plans to run articles on Sundays that spotlight specific needs. Her most recent article spotlights Spina Bfida issues. To read her articles, visit her dampfang.com site at this link.
In her spare time she indulges her interest in genealogy. Her two genealogy blogs are: omchodoy.blogspot.com and onchorations.blogspot.com. She also has a lovable dog named Izzie who allows her to write about his adventures at izziesworld.blogspot.com
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