Staying Sane In Insane Times-This Exceptional Mom’s Guide To Finding Her Patience Again

I love Michael to pieces. I love his smile, his sense of humor. But then there are those days, those tough parenting days when you can’t wait for bedtime slightly after 6:15 am on a Saturday morning. Yes, you heard me. Michael was up at 6 am sharp fighting with his Dad. The two of them were letting me “sleep in”. I can tell you. I was not sleeping, but trying to hide in my bed. If there had been a way to get myself a cup of coffee and climb out the bedroom window into  the car to enjoy said cup of coffee I would have done it. Alas, I sucked it in after saying a quick prayer and emerged out of the bedroom to face the music. I managed to help Dad calm Michael down, but it was just one of those days that started out hard, and ended in difficulty too. No tears or crying on my part this time, just bone tired exhaustion. Michael was extremely overtired and that didn’t help. Sunday went a little better, but there was still so much testing, so much drama. What saved me both days was a bubble bath, some wine, reading a new fiction book and my freelance article writing. Having writing be a part of my life is so important now. It helps me connect to the artist in me.

But getting back to how I handled things with Michael. I felt both discouraged and stressed. Discouraged that I didn’t hold my patience as well as I would have liked to. There was lots of raised voices and lots of frustration alongside constant reminders about using calm corners, calm cards, strategies etc. This applied to me and Michael, and I think I rebounded well for both of us in the end, but there were some moments when I just felt so tired. What got me through is remembering I am not alone. I have support. I used humor too. And I started looking at different ways I have lost patience and gained it back. I thought that this was a useful thing for me to remember the next time I felt discouraged. What were some of the things I thought of that helped? Here they are:e

  1. Let it Out: As hard as it may be to lose it, sometimes doing a little bit of letting out frustration is good. It is healthy for our kids to see us process anger, and we will see hopefully that we are being a little silly over dramatizing something our kid did. If we start unraveling further, its time for an adult calm corner. DO NOT HESITATE to set this example to your child.
  2. See the Struggle-Not The Insults: This is hard. As an Exceptional Mom, when your child is insulting you, hitting you or doing anything  he/she can to push your buttons, you may have a hard time seeing their pain, but the pain is real. After a hard night with Michael yesterday, I said at the end, “I know you don’t want this. Why are you not letting me help you Michael?” He responded to my shock, “You want to help me? You can?” Gone was the cheeky rudeness to get his way. It put a new perspective on our fight.
  3. Reward Yourself With a Treat As You Would Your Child:Moms, you’ve had a hard day. It didn’t go as you planned. You feel discouraged, stressed, like a bad Mom. You are not. You did your best. Now it’s time to give yourself some self-care. Take a bath, watch a movie, read a book. Do what makes you feel whole. And forget the housework. Give yourself the night off.
  4. Remember To Choose Love Over Being Right:If you are trying to one your kid, neither of you wins. Also let your child know you are there to help them be successful.
  5. Mediate, Exercise, Pray or Do All Three; Get in touch spiritually with your inner self. You will handle everything better when you.

Exceptional Parents, how do you find patience when you’ve lost it? How do you figure out how to rebuild your calm after the storm so it is easier to show your child how to rebuild theirs? As with anything, you need to see what works for you, your child and your family. Generally though, eating, sleeping and exercising are great ways to sharpen one’s mind. Remembering things of the spirit; prayer, yoga, meditation are great ways to also get in touch with yourself. And when you are in touch with yourself and calm, you can better help your child find their patience and self-control when they have lost it.  Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker, and parent coach. As the parent of an exceptional child who is raising me to lead a bigger life and purpose, I understand the challenges nonetheless of raising a child who truly thinks out side the  box and has difficulties at times with the way many others see the world. My passion is helping parents to handle the challenges of raising their children to be fully functioning in our world, as well as teaching them the miracles that their child truly is in spite of the difficulties. I truly believe in helping parents lead lives of hope, health, and balance for their own sake and that of their children’s and family’s. For more information on my coaching programs or to book a FREE 30 MINUTE EXPLORATION session with me, see my website: www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.

It’s Spring. The weather is changing and sometimes exceptional children have a difficult time managing big emotions. Is your family struggling to handle emotional challenges? Maybe you need to tweak the way your family handle anxiety? If so, download my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com/EBOOKS

DJ Michael Identifying Songs and Finding His Own Dooki Style

 

I have always been impressed with Michael’s musical talent. His singing voice as well as his memory for song lyrics have been in evidence since he was a baby. Lately though, he has been amazing me with more abilities. He has been listening intently to all kinds of music on the radio, and learning the names of all different artists and their musical style. His favorite music is pretty much hip hop, though he also likes dance music and anything R&B.  My Mom used to be amazed as a child when I knew all the names of different artists and genres, as well as song lyrics. Now it looks like Michael has inherited that particular skill from Mom. 🙂 I like how he is using music to regulate, calm and relate to the world. I also like how he is expanding in the way he is beginning to see the world, and people in it.

Yesterday was parent/teacher meetings at Michael’s school. As usual, it was a great success. What I was particularly proud of him for, was how he has matured since the beginning of his school year. I think in a big way listening to music and letting it communicate to him was a big part of this reason for his growing up. Dad and I told him as much about our pride. He is learning how to communicate, move and question different things happening in his life. Music shapes a lot of emotions and I know it is helping him shape his emotions better. And even when we have challenging nights both due to him holding in emotions all day and testing how far he can go with us, I know music and other ways to regulate will bring him back to us and himself.

Exceptional Parents, what helps bring your Exceptional Child to their next level of understanding and learning about themselves and the world around them? What gives them confidence in themselves so that they do their best? For some it is sports. For others it is art. For still others, it is science or another passion. Find your child’s passion and encourage them to go for what they love. They will have everything to gain for striving to do their best and knowing that you are in their corner.

My name is Joanne Giacomini. I am writer, speaker and parent coach  looking to help parents find their strength, love and balance in their own life so they can parent their child with autism with that same amazing energy. I offer one one coaching for individual sessions, six month coaching packages, as well as workshops and speaking engagements. In order to see what best suits each parent and family, I offer a free consultation/exploration session of 30 minutes where parents can see what would best suit their needs. For more information see my website: http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com. 

Finding the Balance of Meeting Your Own Needs and Your Exceptional Child’s

This is  a toughie. We all know as parents how important it is to take care of our children. In their childhood is when their perceptions of life, health and learning are found. They learn about their worth through us, their parents. So what we do and not do has a big impact. But what about us as parents? What if we can’t take care of our children? What if we are sick, physically or psyschologically? What if we need lots of time to heal. Well, the next thing we need to do is take care of ourselves so that we can be strong for our children. And if we have problems being strong for them, we find people who can be in our absence so they have a good example and we can heal.

Parents need to give themselves the right to heal or to have down time. It’s what makes things work well with their child. Over the years I’ve had my ups and downs as a parent and individual. Lately, what has been working for Michael and I is though is that I have been being clear when I need to work, when I am taking some me time, and when I am with him. He doesn’t always understand that I work at doing different things. He will say it is his time now and no one else’s. I don’t need to work. And then I do feel guillty as I mostly work from home so I am hone but not home. My home office works most of the time, but sometimes there are even issues with this when he is home. I have learned though to block off appropriate time with Michael, for work, and for me for down time, though that is in short supply these days. My key goal for April is to replenish my energy a little more. How do I do it? We plan out a schedule on paper and talk about this in advance if there are no or very little misunderstandings.

Exceptional parents, how do you balance meeting your own needs and your child’s? This is such a delicate thing, but so important . Our kids need us to be strong for them , for us , and for the family. We need to be honest with how we are affected by our emotions, take our kids to be responsible for theirs, and move forward together in confidence. Until next time.

All Exceptional Children Are Created Equal-Happy Down Syndrome Awareness Day!

I’ll never forget the day that my ultrasound results came back . The voice of the technician on the phone made my heart freeze. I needed to make an appointment to see my doctor. During the visit with my obstetrician she looked over the results with me. There was a possibility that my baby had Down Syndrome. It was something about his neck fold being a little on the thick side. I was in shock.  All I knew about Down Syndrome was the health risks and I became very afraid.

“You are not that far along if you want to consider termination.”

The words pierced my heart like no weapon ever could. My baby. My baby is who the doctor were talking about, and there was no way he was going anywhere until it was his time to come out of me. I instinctively wrapped my arms around my stomach. I somehow knew he was a he even then.

“No, I am keeping this baby no matter what. I am religious doctor, and God will guide me to give me the best tools to help my baby whatever he has. Is there anyway I could know for sure. I want to be prepared to help him in whatever way I can.”

She looked at me without hesitation: “Then we will talk no more of termination. Would you be interested in doing an amnio?”

I quickly responded with a no as I knew there was a risk for miscarriage. It had taken me almost two years for the miracle that would become Michael. I was not taking any chances.

“No, is there anything else? If not, I will start doing my own research and find out more about Down Syndrome.”

She quickly told me about a more detailed ultrasound that could be ordered that would give a probability of what issues my baby had or didn’t have. We did the detailed ultrasound which revealed my baby’s chances of having Down Syndrome were very small, but I have to tell you, Dad and I still read up on Down Syndrome. I had family and friends who told me the difficult side of what kids with Down Syndrome faced, but I also heard from friends who told my what a miracle these kids were. I then remembered a little baby boy on the swing in the park with his Mom tat I had seen way before I was even pregnant. He had Down Syndrome. He and his Mom were so happy. I couldn’t see their happiness truly that day. I only saw that I could not be that mother and how hard it must be to raise a child who was different. I was wrong. I now knew a mother’s love for her child ran deep, even before birth in many cases.  In the end, Dad and I did all we could to learn what we could as we wanted to be prepared to welcome our baby whoever he or she would be with all the support we could and then some.

Those who know my story know that my son Michael was not born with Down Syndrome at  all, but three and half years later would be diagnosed with autism. I have many friends whose exceptional children have Down Syndrome and all I could say is that similar to children with autism, they are amazing little human beings. They struggle, they persevere, they have victories, and difficulties and they are absolutely beautiful on the inside and outside. I have learned much about Down Syndrome and other Syndromes. Like children with autism, children with special needs who are exceptional teach us neuro typical adults far more than we could teach them.  I learned that day what kind of mother I would be. A mother who would fight for her child no matter what society would see him as. So today, I want to wish all my friends and their children  Happy World Down Syndrome Day. I will be wearing my different colored socks loud and proud today and remembering what a gift these children are to our world. Until next time.

How To Avoid Making Consequences Sound Like Threats-My Exceptional Parenting Dilemma

 

So I am moving into a new area with Michael. This area is one where he continues to push the envelope in seeing how far he can have freedom while professing his love for me even if he is being rude and disrespectful, and me trying to sound cool, calm, and not fazed by his obvious preteen angst to see how far he can go. This goes well some nights, and on other nights, not so well. You see, I am also trying to master the art of not only staying calm(which other than this hour change week I do pretty darn good, I must say, 🙂 ) , but I also want to stop threatening Michael with, “You don’t listen, and you won’t get so and so.” It’s getting tiring even to my ears, and though I know he is still learning about consequences and learning for the sake of learning, I still do want him to aim to do something not due to me threatening that he will lose something else, but because he sees the merit of doing it.

We are still using the token system, but rather than tell him each time he lost a chance or gained one, I just wait the day out and tell him how he has done. So far, it is going well. I don’t want threats to be part of our relationship, even if the end result is him listening. It is so hard when he does everything to push my buttons, but last night I looked at a particular challenging bedtime routine and asked myself- what is Michael trying to tell me? There was a mix of swearing, mocking me and other family members, ripping one of my possessions, imitating me counting down to him getting ready. It was one in a serious of annoying and frustrating experiences this week since the hour change, but for the first time in awhile I looked, really looked at what Michael was trying to accomplish. When he calmed down and apologized  to me, fixed what he broke, and got ready for bed and was having his glass of water, I asked him what was bothering him. He shared it with me and apologized again. He was sad when I told him there was no time for bedtime story, massage and me lying down with him due to his antics, but he understood. I was also glad that I had seen what was behind his behavior: ovvertiredness, fear of going to bed as he hates nighttime, and worry about the next day what he would be facing at school. The evening ended on a good note.

Exceptional Parents,  how do you stay calm with Your Exceptional Child and avoid making threats? How do you let what they say not phase you in order to teach them to remain calm and composed in the face of stress? This is not an easy feat, but one that is so important. When your child sees you love them no matter what, but they lose self-respect and your respect by acting out, they will start to learn to find other better ways to get your attention and regulate appropriately. Until next time.

 

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach whose son with autism is opening my eyes up to living life in a whole and balanced way. I am passionate about helping other parents of exceptional children thrive as individuals and in their relationships with their children. For more information on my coaching packages, or for a free 30 min consultation session, contact me at http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com

 

5 Ways To Avoid Mama Drama With Your Exceptional Child-What This Exceptional Mama Learned From Reacting Too Much

I am a good mother, really I am. I help others parents and children learn to be more patient with one each other as I know what happens when parents and kids don’t hear each other out. I pride myself on my self-control, and on what Michael, my son, has taught me about my self-control and what I needed to change in me to be a better parent. It is not easy being a parent, and being one to an Exceptional Child is extra hard at times. I have not felt it as this hard since the Christmas holidays as I have this last couple of days. I have not been taking the best care of myself. Busy with work, not exercising, and the hour change have affected my level of patience this week. Michael has also been busy at school, overtired and not been able to get outside to play. Fire and oil for the two of us. This has not been more evident as in the last two days where Michael has seemed to exist solely to stress me out with fighting and testing over everything, been disrespectful and pushing my buttons. And I, oh yes, the patient Mom who teaches other Moms how to ignore attention seeking behavior, not go down to the child’s level of yelling, failed this week. When I was reflecting how I lost control of my temper and got frustrated on 3 different occasions, I now have a list of what not to do to add to the mama drama with your exceptional child:

  1. Do not yell back. This is hard. The child yells at you and insults you. Anyone else and you retaliate back with screaming and insulting. With your child not a good idea as it just stokes the fire of their anger more. Anger is a way of getting a parent’s attention. Maybe they are feeling neglected, worried , stressed. A child that is not able to get their parent’s attention as easily doing positive things will react with aggression to get it. I yelled back and called Michael disrespectful. Afterwards, I realized if I had firmly and calmly told Michael we do not yell or insult, things would have defused sooner. I also thought to myself when was the last time I gave him positive attention. I will make a point to find him being good in the next few days.
  2. Child hits you- do not react with anger or repercussions just firmness and stepping away: When your child slaps or hits you, someone else or property, it is wrong and needs immediate consequences. You yelling and screaming at them is a natural frustrated response, but only gives them fuel to do more. It is better to try and remove them right away from the situation than try and reason with a child who is not reasonable at that moment.
  3. Do not cry in front of child if possible: This happened to me a few days ago. My anger was drained and I began to cry. Michael started to laugh and imitate the crying to get more of a rise out of me. Good I ignored him here, and soon enough he stopped. I learned to try not to react within earshot so he will do or say anything for attention.
  4. Do not ask them why they are doing what they are doing: I was so angry that I started trying to figure out why was he fighting me on going to swim class, coming in from the outside, I said things like “what’s wrong with you?” “why are you acting like this?” This is not the time for a heart to heart. An exceptional child who has lost control needs a firm, calm parent to keep things simple y telling them exactly what they need to do. “If you choose not to listen we go home.” NOT “I can’t believe you are doing this to me again…” I know. It’s easier said than done with any child when we are upset and they are pushing our buttons, but mandatory we stay strong, give simple statements and move forward from there or else no one wins.
  5. Do not overload them with what they are losing, show them what they are winning by listening: We have a token system where Michael gains rewards when he listens. I regret that I kept firing off each time he lost a token when he was deliberately being rude. It became a contest, who could misbehave quickest or take away a token quickest. In the end neither of us won. It’s not a contest. As a parent you want your child to learn to show love, respect and make good choices. You reward the positive, look for the positive, and remind the child that they could always start again.

Exceptional Parents, after a parenting fail or fails, what is your takeaway? How do you learn to parent better? That is what turning it around is all about. We all make mistakes. Our children teach us as much as we teach them. If we look behind their behaviors to see what they could be telling us, it will be easier for us to adjust our own emotions as parents and role models to help them achieve maturity and respect.  We all can start fresh and turn it around, kids and parents alike. If we realize that, we can learn from our mistakes and get stronger. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach whose son with autism is opening my eyes up to living life in a whole and balanced way. I am passionate about helping other parents of exceptional children thrive as individuals and in their relationships with their children. For more information on my coaching packages, or for a free 30 min consultation session, contact me at http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com

 

How To Change Negative Forecasting With Positive Thoughts-Challenges for Exceptional Parents

Ah yes. When our child is feeling negative and worried, they tend to have negative thoughts about the present and the future. These thoughts would be along the lines of things not working out, such as things at school, with friends, with family etc. I have these kinds of situations with Michael, especially during times of transition like Spring Break to home and back again, or else summer vacation and back again etc. It is hard to keep my own attitude positive sometimes when Michael is so worried about things and will stress, worry and whine. But, I am beginning to see how important it is to do this. You see, when a parent is able to “turn it around” and be positive in spite of a negative day, hour or week, it will make all the difference in what you are trying to teach your child to do, which is be positive, overcome obstacles, and make the best of a situation.

Michael and I have had a tough week so far. With the hour change, I expected as much. I knew he would have a hard time as well as me. But, what I did not consider was how hard it would be for both of us to control our emotions. There were times in the last two days that I was as frustrated as Michael which made the stressful moments worse. So, what did I learn? I learned to try and take some time to step away from the stress and de-stress while modeling positive relaxation techniques to Michael. I also learned to admit when I was feeling tired, fed up, and needed down time so I would set a good example for my child. Finally, I learned that automatically assuming things would not work out for the day, evening or day and evening is not a good strategy for either parent or child. As the adult, we need to show the child to believe in themselves and how they could turn around their bad behavior so that things could start going well.

Exceptional Parents, how many times have you had moments when you  said to yourself, my child is not doing well today and it is a write off? How many times have you gotten angry because of this and told your child negative things? We all have bad moments. Don’t ever write anyone of, yourself or your child. Learn from your mistakes, and have the courage to move forward. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach whose son with autism is opening my eyes up to living life in a whole and balanced way. I am passionate about helping other parents of exceptional children thrive as individuals and in their relationships with their children. For more information on my coaching packages, or for a free 30 min consultation session, contact me at http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com

 

 

 

 

How Giving Your Exceptional Child What They Want Is All That Matters

Give your child what they want means spoiling them, right? They need to always do what you say and nothing else. And exceptional kids need even more tough love or they will totally milk the sympathy card. We’ve all heard this, right Exceptional Parents? To some extent it is true. Kids need firm boundaries, structure and parents and other caregivers who are not afraid to say no. This needs to happen, but there is not only nothing  wrong with giving Exceptional Kids what they want, it is sometimes even necessary to show them they matter and that you get things that they feel. I have been noticing this lately with Michael. When he sees I will give in to certain activities and things, he is more apt to listen and open up to me. Some people in the past have said I am spoiling him. I do not see it as that. I see it as showing him his feelings matter as much as mine.

There is a fine balance, of course. A parent can see where their child is truly struggling and when they need a breather. This is when it is ok to give in and let them do something fun. The work can wait. Other times, and it will happen, your Exceptional Child will try and use the “I want to dothings my way” card to get out of doing work, challenging stuff, or other activities that they do not want to do. As I’ve mentioned before, parents need to be good detectives and pay attention to little clues. This will help them see if the request is legit or not.

I had a really challenging day with Michael a few days ago. After our argument when he was talking to me it broke my heart when he told me, “Mommy, you don’t listen to me. You don’t understand me.” I pride myself on usually being very open to his thoughts and feelings. When I went over the conversation, I realized he was right, I was not really listening. It contributed to escalating our fight. That day I learned to take a breath, calm down and center myself, before seeing how best I could help Michael express himself without anger and further blowups. It works, and now we  rarely have this problem.

Exceptional Parents, do you always take the time to listen to your child like you want them to do to you? It’s extremely challenging, especially when we’re all busy and tired and overwhelmed. It is mandatory though, if we want our children to learn empathy that we practice it with them by showing them that we care about what they want to do even if it’s not in the game plan that day. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach whose son with autism is opening my eyes up to living life in a whole and balanced way. I am passionate about helping other parents of exceptional children thrive as individuals and in their relationships with their children. For more information on my coaching packages, or for a free 30 min consultation session, contact me at http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com. 

Back To Routine After Spring Break- 5 Things to Do, 5 Things NOT To Do

Spring Break is officially over in this house as Michael returns to school, and I return to my regular work routine. Last week went relatively well with some minor ups and downs, with more downs than ups by the end of the week. This, of course, was due to the break almost being over and change being imminent, as well as Michael becoming increasingly tired as the week wore on. He was up early every day in anticipation of his day, but was still going to bed his usual time between 9:00-9:30 pm. Still, as I see each year, I know what I need to fine tune for future long breaks (can anyone say Easter Break in a month) 🙂  when he is home with me for an extended period so both of us have an easier and more fun time. Here then, are the 5 Things I think are great to do to get back into routine after Spring Break, and the 5 Things Not to Do To Get Back Into Routine:

5 Things to Do To Get Back Into Routine:

  1. Do Go To Bed Early If You Can: This one goes for parents AND their kids. It’s a tough one, as school lunches, clothes need to be prepped and ready, but the more rested the family is, the better everyone will fare.
  2. Talk About The School Day in Advance: This means what will be happening work and social-wise. If kids have pictos or a visual schedule, start looking at it with them early in the week if not sooner to better prepare for school re-integration
  3. Commiserate With Them About Challenge And Share Your Own: Now, this does not mean to stress them out about your own back to work schedule or worry them about theirs. It means to simply affirm that it is normal to be tired and nervous, but they have their strategies and they will be fine.
  4. Remind Them They Will See Friends or Promise After School Reward: For those exceptional kids who are social, remind them that they will see the friends they did not see over the break. For the others, tell them there will be a treat for good listening after school.
  5. Do a written or picture schedule of their whole day including at home: For many kids the unknown is frightening. This way they will see what to expect.

5 Things NOT To Do To Get Back Into Routine:

  1. Push Kids About Bedtime: If they are REALLY not tired, let them stay up quietly in their room reading a book, listening to soft music or talking to you or another adult. Many kids harbor a lot of fears about the future, especially those who are exceptional and who have autism. Let them share their feelings openly and honestly.
  2. Talk About School Too Many Days In Advance: As an Exceptional Mom, I have made the mistake of preparing Michael TOO MUCH in advance for change which ironically causes more tension and stress for both of us. Unless your child needs three or more days to prepare for school, let them chill out till a day or two before you remind them of the upcoming change.
  3. Let Them Sleep In First Morning Back: BAD idea. I tired this once as Michael had slept terribly. All it did was make his first day back more stressful for both of us in the morning rush, and he was still tired that evening. As hard as it is, get yourself and your child/dren moving quickly and early in am so that they and you can start your morning on time.
  4. Don’t Yell At Them Even If You Are Losing Your Mind: This is a good rule of thumb all the time, but especially when pressure is on, if Mom and Dad are calm, children will slowly gravitate to that even if they are initially yelling and not listening.
  5. Pack Lunch and School Bag In the Morning: Try and do it all the night before. This will help everyone if they are moving slower in the am. I know I move slower when back form holiday, so don’t expect my child with special needs who has sequencing issues to have an easier time.

Exceptional Parents, what are some of your do’s and don’ts for getting back into school and work routine for your family? Remember, you will have moments you are screaming and pulling your hair out. Try and do these on the inside. If you fail, admit it, learn, and move on. Our kids will gravitate to our realness if we speak to them calmly about our own errors and what we have learned about ourselves and how we handle stress. Also, if you see them rockin’ it on their first day, second day or week back, tell them. Praise goes a long way with all of us. Our kids can feel our love and pride in their accomplishments. This will also help them see the light at the end of their first week back in routine; the weekend! Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach whose son with autism is opening my eyes up to living life in a whole and balanced way. I am passionate about helping other parents of exceptional children thrive as individuals and in their relationships with their children. For more information on my coaching packages, or for a free 30 min consultation session, contact me at http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com. 

How Understanding Consequences Helps Kids With Exceptional Needs Navigate Life

What do a lot of kids with behavior issues or trouble understanding struggle with? Anxiety. All of us do to a certain extent, but kids with exceptional needs more so as they do not always understand why things are happening and what the purpose is. Understanding consequences for actions is also a tricky area for them to navigate. That is why only when they get the WHY is the HOW easier and life is better for all around them. Michael and I had a wonderful day yesterday for this very reason. He was understanding how the good listening, cooperating and loving behavior would get him a good reward by the end of the day, his audio visual time and how having many days like this will not only help our family get along better but help him work towards an even bigger reward, time with a refurbished IPAD we were given. Now this sounds like bribery, and it is to some extent. But Dad and I are working to slowly teach him that listening results in good things. It’s kind of like the old have a piece of fruit and get a cookie. Eventually the cookie has to be phased out. The parents decide when the time is right.

I have been noticing how Michael has been listening better and his anxiety has gone down. It is making a difference. Now, we are working on moving towards teaching Michael that there are always consequences for actions, good and bad. We are encouraging him to make the good choices for good consequences, and as tiring as it is sometimes, if he has made bad choices which led to bad consequences we talk about the why’s and how he could do better next time. I can see the progress he is making. It is also an important reminder to his Dad and I about how to conduct ourselves, be responsible for our actions, and teach Michael to do the same.

Exceptional Parents, how do you help your Exceptional Child understand positive behavior and how they could manage their anxiety and stress? We all have our tricks and we all know our children best. The most important thing is to be patient with our children, try to see the world from their eyes, and make things in their world as clear as possible so that they can move forward with confidence. Until next time.