Exceptional Family Vacations-Changes In Going With The Flow

We are midway through our family vacation this year. Due to many circumstances, it looks a lot different than it has in other years. This has been an adjustment for all of us, and though we have had our moments of stress, we have also learned a lot about compromise, together and alone time, and working together. What I have enjoyed is the unpredictability of some of our activities and how that has shaped how we handle ourselves and the other family members. Sometimes I have been the one saying to chill and go with the flow. Sometimes Dad or Michael have been reminding me of the same things. Either way, things have somehow managed to work out for everybody in the end, even if getting there was not easy.

Michael has continued to amaze me with what he does and does not tolerate. As he tells me, this is not the old Michael.  LOL. He is liking to do a lot more things away from crowds this summer, and his love of driving around has taken on new dimensions. We’ve pretty much had a family drive-a-thon to new areas, eating out lunch, and exploring that way. On the home front, Michael is also exploring more of our neighborhood by foot. This is both exciting and has taken Dad and I some getting used to.

As I mentioned before in the past, family stay or vacation must be a compromise that all the members can live with. Everyone must have preferred activities that other members respect. And family members must respect everyone’s personal and emotional space. There is also budget and other health issues to consider. In the end, as long as every member in the family is getting something positive out of the vacation and enjoying each other’s company for the most part, you are doing ok. Things to ask yourself and your family: what would be your favorite things to do on family vacation? where would you like to go? what are the family’s health restrictions? What are the family’s budget constraints? how will you be traveling or getting around?

Once everyone can answer the above questions, you can start playing a vacation or stay cation that works for everyone. And remember, just because it is a stay cation, you can still have fun. Order in more often or go out to avoid cooking and dishes. Have a family movie in. Check out local beaches or pools. If it’s a vacation, budget for the right hotel and location where everyone is comfortable, has fun activities to do, and can go to get space away from each other. There is no wrong or right way to take a vacation. As long as there is a decrease in your stress level and you have fun experiences alone and with family, you are on the right track.

Exceptional Parents, what does the ideal vacation look like for you? Remember, it has to accommodate your family and your unique situation. This will probably change yearly or every few years, so evaluate to see what is working and what is not. You’ll know you are on the right track if everyone has some positive memories to share and has learned more about one another spending time together. Until next time.

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Remembering To Laugh Through The Drama-How To Survive As An Exceptional Family

This has truly been the summer of laughter and tears. Puberty with an exceptional child can do that to you. Michael has grown up, literally and figuratively, in so many ways this summer I can’t believe it. I am so proud of the young man he is becoming. He is able to go out walking by himself, biking by himself. He is doing his own diabetes injections, and every once in a while when I have a hard time, he is able to remind me to use the strategies I tell him to use. Tonight, once again, he decided to clean his room and get better organized. ON HIS OWN. I am speechless and happy. He went to bed no hassles, wonderful.

Then there are the times during said days when there are raised voices, harsh words spoken, articles thrown across the room and meltdowns happening over seemingly small things. This is hard for Michael. This is hard for us. Once we get through it though, I make sure I have a laugh. We have to parents. If we don’t laugh at the absurdity of different brains misunderstanding each other about trivial things at times, strange family conversations that only another exceptional family would ‘get’ (I know my friends, both virtual and in person  reading this will say, hell ya!), and our own stress levels that sometimes need a release, we’ll be done for.

Parents and caregivers remember this. Our kids are incredible human beings. They have so much to offer. Sometimes their parents, unless similarly gifted can’t get their offspring’s brain, that may more closely resemble Uncle Joe’s or Aunt Patty’s than Mom’s or Dad’s.  Sometimes they do resemble your brain, but you’re not their yet, not quite grasping your own uniqueness. You get the picture. The thing is, you need to laugh with them and teach them to laugh with you. Life is an adventure. Our job as the adults is to help our kids see it.

Exceptional kids are warriors parents, in a world that does not always get them, even when they are driving us nuts.  And even if you and they are lucky to have people around, family, friends, therapists who ‘get it’,  who ‘get’ them, you ‘ll still have moments when you need to say, it’s been a hell of a day. Let’s laugh and celebrate that our kid survived, we survived, and we have people out there rooting for us and looking forward to laughing with us.

What I’ve tried to impart to Michael is that he has his community- his family, his special needs friends and family, our church should he want to come back to it, and his therapists. All of them see his amazing self and want to help him be the best he can be. The rest is up to him. Mom and Dad have to make sure to keep themselves up to par too. And when they are stressed, just laugh about the absurdity of life when different brains clash, different worlds collide, and people are willing to say,  “I need to look at things in another way even if it’s only funny to me and certain other people, even if it’s weird. I need to let loose and maybe in doing so, the world will see, there is not only one way to be.”

Exceptional Parents, do you use humor with your Exceptional Child and family members to handle stresses that exceptional family life can bring up? If not, it’s never too late to start. I know our family will be ok when  I can laugh about strange things that happen and they can too. I know that when I laugh about Michael’s funny anecdotes,  I am also giving myself permission to laugh about my own. We all have our moments, and by accepting ourselves for who we are, we teach our children the same message of patience, love and acceptance. Until next time.

How To Help Your Exceptional Child Child Overcome Their Fears By Overcoming Your Own

The other day after a difficult afternoon with Michael. Once he had calmed down and was ready to talk, something occurred to me. I was also in the process of overcoming my own fears and doubts while Michael was dealing with new puberty ones. Some days were really tough, for both of us, but these were journeys we needed to be on. I also used the experience to help Michael after I realized my experience could be useful to him. On one of our after meltdown chats, I shared some of my fears with Michael.

“Michael, you know you are not the only one who has to handle dealing with fears and facing things that are scary. I am facing things that are scary to me.”

“Really Mommy?”
“Sure. You know you ask me why I am stressed when I am driving to new places. Well, I hate being lost and navigating to new places .That is a fear I am overcoming. My new GPS helps you and you, of course.” I smiled.

Michael did too.

“But you are always so calm when you talk to me and I am screaming. ”
“Yes, I am. I am using my strategies to stay calm.  And when I am scared like I was last week on the road, I really appreciated what you said.”
“What did I say?”
“You said, “Mommy just breathe. Another time I was really upset and told you I needed to be alone. You told me,  I love you. Do you remember?”
“Oh yeah. Now I do.”
“You were using your strategies. See, we both have hard moments and are working on handling fear. But when we use our strategies to handle our fears, we can handle things. Everyone has something they are handling.”
I wanted Michael to know that even with a brain more prone to anxiety and stress, he is not alone in handling stress and fear. We all have to do this. What matters is that we have support from family, friends and good strategies. There is no shame in sharing experiences with others. It’s then we realize we are not alone. Everyone is dealing with something.

Exceptional Parents, how do you help your Exceptional Child handle their fears and normalizing what fear is? Do you share your experience of fear with them? If not, it’s a good idea. Once your child understands they are not alone in having fears or worries, they will see it is normal, and connect with you on a whole new level. Until next time.

Personality Changes In Your Exceptional Child-When To Panic And When To Say It’s Puberty

So I have been feeling worried about Michael. Yes, I am a worrier and prone to anxiety myself. But, I have been seeing a little bit of a personality shift in my tween. He is going from a very extroverted social kid to being a little more withdrawn and not wanting to be in big places doing big things like in the past. The scariest thing at first was how he didn’t want to be around big crowds in stores, parks, beaches, pools. This was not the Michael I have known since infancy, who although would get overwhelmed, loved talking to and socializing with different people. Puberty has brought many changes, and one of them has become a greater awareness of his environment, appropriate and inappropriate things to do, and self-conscious thoughts. Was the medication causing this? Was he depressed? Or was this normal?

I am beginning to think this is part of Michael’s normal adolescence. His awareness of the world around him and the noises, social norms and other things expected of them, has made him a little more self-conscious and shy. I don’t think it is anything to worry about, though I do worry about his retreating socially a bit. A lot of the fights we’ve had lately have been around me saying he can’t let fear push him away from trying new things. He has taken it that I am trying to push him full force into talking something fearful, when I am clarifying with him that no, I don’t mean that. What I want is for him to tackle his fears slowly, break down the worry into small pieces, and then see how he can be successful. I think he is starting to believe me, though we are having hiccups along the way. What parent and tween don’t, right?
I am happy to say that I have seen a great maturity in Michael and how is handling his meltdowns lately. He is learning what he is doing right, and where he needs to improve. He spoke tonight that he stopped himself from throwing something in anger and let out his rage in crying and punching a toy meant to be a release for his anger. I commended him for doing that, though I have to admit it broke my heart to hear him crying. He also said it helps him to have one of us nearby when he is having challenges, both to see him through the tough time, and after when he is calm to talk. I realized this is not a child who is not well. This is a child who is slowly learning about his nervous system and how and what works for him to handle anger and anxiety and reset himself.

Red flags for a child would be complete pulling away from family and friends, complete personality changes social or solitary, and any kind of repeated destructive behavior where lessons were not learned and the intensity of it got worse. I am thankful that this is not the case. In fact, even on the harder days, we are seeing improvement. It just means more resilience is demanded of Dad and I as we need to have the patience and compassion to show Michael we will never give up on him so he does not give up on himself.

Exceptional Parents, have you noticed any personality changes in your Exceptional Child? If so, have you been able to pinpoint if they are in trouble or simply growing up? As always, you need to trust your parenting gut in figuring out what it is they need. If in doubt, get a professional opinion. In most cases though, sooner or later your child will tell you that this is who they are in what they say or do. Then you will know how best to support them from where they are at that moment. Until next time.

Tools To Get On The Same Emotional Page As Your Exceptional Child

So Michael has been having some social fears this summer. He will go to crowded places for brief periods of time, had no trouble at summer camp where he knows people, but is feeling a little overwhelmed going places with me and Dad. I agree with our Educator that I think he is just so much more aware of everyone and everything around him, and due to difficulty with understanding some social cues, I think he would rather stay away from people than make a mistake socializing. I wish I could say that I have been more understanding with this. It’s not that I have not been understanding, but lately his tween anger, rude comments and  adolescent posturing combined with the anxiety, has made me feel a little overwhelmed. Some days are easier than others, and I always try and see the gifts Michael has, but I don’t always shine anymore than Michael does. We do our best to regroup and start again.

Don’t get me wrong. We still have good moments. He has come so far in independence with organizing himself, managing his diabetes and of course, his amazing ability to navigate any street or area in our city. The most fun is having him direct me around town as I have zero sense of direction.  He is starting to try and learn other cities now! Still, it occurred to me today when Michael expressed frustration that I don’t listen to him and that is why he gets mad and I echoed the same sentiments, that we needed to sit down and look at new tools to work collaboratively as a family. Here are the ones I am putting in place:

1) Make lists of things you want to fix together The trick to making these lists is that both you AND your child sit down together and write what improvements each of you could make so that communication gets easier.

2) Praise the good efforts they are making even if there are still mistakes: Michael had been feeling that even when he messes up the times he doesn’t do not get praised. I was actually feeling underappreciated myself in this area as well. After having a few fights this week, we each took time apart and then made a deal to look for the good in each other. We also both told the other one we like spending time together, just need to improve how we communicate.

3) Remember your child is having a harder time than you: Sigh. This has been tough for me. Most summers it is as I have Michael 24/7 a lot more than during the school year and he is not in routine the same way as in school. Still, even during a rough patch earlier today, I reminded myself that as overwhelmed as I am with Michael in puberty, with his unique brain and diabetes, for him this is all way more stressful to handle. Compassion for your child needs to come first. Then for yourself.

4) Tell them you love them even if they don’t say it back: Yep. Mine is too cool to say I love you and does not want hugs. I get “I like you” and high fives, tens or twenties. It’s ok and I know normal for a lot of kids in puberty to do this. The fact that he says he wants to spend time with me, is discouraged when I am upset, and does silly inappropriate things to get my attention, show me I matter to him. I am starting to say I love you more often and not go to bed mad. I also remind him I am always there to talk about things whenever he needs me.

5) Take care of yourself and tell them why you are doing it: Make sure your child sees you doing things that make you happy. When Michael asks me “why are you going outside again?” He is upset that I am not in the same room as him, but I explain that being in the yard is my time to recharge, unwind, be creative and occasionally let out big emotions. When I come back in, I am calmer and able to handle things better with him. Then we have time together.

Exceptional Parents, what tools do you use to handle the ups and downs of life with your Exceptional Child? As long as what you use works for the two of you, the formula is correct. Remember, they need to feel as listened to as you do. They need to know you respect them, love them no matter what unconditionally,  and that you will never give up on them.  Until next time.

 

 

When Your Exceptional Tween Reaches Out-How To Meet Them Halfway

Puberty has been challenging for Michael. I have said this before. He is dealing with a lot of different emotions and feelings and having to learn to self-regulate and practice impulse control. Thankfully aggressive behavior overall is going down, and even anxiety. He is recognizing his strengths and giving himself credit. Dad and I are working on reminding him of that. He is also recognizing his limitations and asking for help. What I am impressed about and very proud of him for, however, is that he is willing to meet us halfway now. Yes, we are compromising as parents and child. This is mandatory when your child has ADHD or a different kind of brain  with lots of other challenges, as from the beginning, they see obstacles and the world in general in another way than you do.

Where am I seeing compromise? Michael understands we make the rules for his general well-being, and if he wants to stay up later, do a fun activity longer, he checks with us.  He also will give different ideas concerning controlling anger and if they don’t work, go looking for what else he can try. He is trying to learn how to get out there socially in an appropriate way, AND communicating how he feels about his relationship with us. The other day he got upset when I was heading downstairs to write;

“Mommy, can you stay upstairs until I go to bed and go write downstairs after? Can you stay in the same room with Daddy and I. You can write here or read, right?”
“I can, but you’re listening to music with your headphones anyway.  Does it really matter?”
“Yes. If you stay here with Daddy and I (Dad also had headphones on watching his videos). I know we are a family.”

“We’re a family wherever we sit Michael. We do lots of things as a family.”
“But I miss you.”
My heart swelled with love. He may not want hugs and kisses from me, but he wanted my presence. He wanted the security of us all in the room together even if we were doing different things. My big boy cares and wants to bond with us still. Lately he has also been sharing more confidences with me, and a biggie everyone, he has been confessing things he did wrong, opening up by saying; “I don’t want to lie to you Mommy.” I am so proud of how he is growing up. Dad and I tell him that. Other than his points rewards system for drives, we are also watching his behavior and seeing that he can be left alone for short periods of time now. We are looking into letting him go on bike rides and walks (short) on his own. I think he sees the trust we are putting in him and he is finally seeing he can put that trust back in himself.

So what have I learned from meeting my exceptional tween halfway?

1) Write out a list of expectations (both of you): It’s important that both parent and child know where each stands.

2) Keep the lines of communication open by BEING physically and emotionally available for your child:  Ask about their day, find opportunities to talk and stay nearby. You’ll never know when you’ll be missed otherwise.

3) Compromise on things like bedtime and rewards but makes sure it works both ways: Don’t be such a stickler for the rules. Pick your battles with your child, but remember, have a consequence for either of you if you step out of line, and learn from the rough times as much as from the good ones.

4) Remember your child’s limits: This is hard when they are in heavy negotiations and you think that your child can’t be limited in self-control or learning, but they are. Their very different brain does not work like yours so misunderstandings will occur if things are not clearly outlined.

5)Love your child through it all: This one sounds obvious, but too many times we are frazzled and frustrated and forget that our child is struggling even when they are angry and yelling at us. It’s important after they calm themselves down and you do the same, that you show and tell them you love them always. They need to know they are accepted for who they are.

Exceptional Parents, how have you met your Exceptional Child halfway? What has been the result? I’m sure you both came out winners. It’s important to remember we all have bad days or weeks. We need as parents to teach our children how mistakes, fears and hurts help us learn. And then show them, through our example, how it is done. Until next time.

Taking Self-Care One Step Further-Where This Exceptional Mom Goes From Here

“What happened to you? Why are you so tense? ” The massotherapist asked me.

I go every few months for a massage, but have never been this tight before in the shoulders and neck. I have not known her very long and really did not want to go into the details of my stress, my family life, our house that needs fixing but there isn’t the time or money for it, and my worries about family health issues.  Also, everyone has their stress, their problems. And in some ways things have gotten easier with Michael. The thing that hasn’t gotten easier are my expectations for myself. I have been trying to do it all, like so many Moms, and we come to the point where our bodies just say enough. Enough carrying the load. You are tired. You need a break. This summer I have acknowledged where I have been falling short in my self-care ALL year around, not just in the summer. I have gotten good at it, but improvement can still happen.

The thing is it means getting out of my comfort zone and pushing myself to take the best care I can of me.  It means telling people around me I can only do this much and I will not live with anything else but this standard. It means not settling for any family communication which does not include overall respect for all its members as a whole and as individuals. It means giving myself permission to cry, get angry and feel sad if that is how I am feeling. It also means not being afraid to be happy even if others are not. It means being true to myself in every sense of the word. This is what I have been teaching Michael and I realize I need to start applying it to myself.

Haven’t we all been there as Exceptional Parents? We tell our kids all the time not to be afraid. We break down big events and scary milestones into small steps for them, show them how it is not so scary after all, how they can do it if they just believe in themselves and take it one minute at a time. When was the last time we did this for ourselves? Many of us are stuck in old patterns- destructive habits, relationships, moods, whatever it is that isn’t serving us anymore. The butterfly is my favorite symbol for regeneration and rebirth. This summer I have taken the rebirth even further. I am challenging myself with breaking out of the old mold into new things.  So this summer, take self-care to the next level. See what it is telling you to do for the rest of the year. Don’t be afraid to challenge old beliefs, thoughts, and habits. In the end, everyone in your family will win. Until next time.

ADHD Surprises-Why You Should Never Underestimate Your Exceptional Child

“Michael, is everything ok? It’s time for your shower?” I was calling to him from the living room couch to his bedroom. He had gone in to get his pajamas and shower stuff in order to start his bedtime routine.

No answer.

“Michael, are you feeling alright”

I had learned that if he was upset with me he would usually answer right away in a negative way, and I was worried that maybe he wasn’t feeling well. He could have had a low blood sugar due to his diabetes. He would not have a lot of energy.

“I’m fine Mommy. I’m cleaning my room.”
I almost fell off the couch! My son, who was one of the messiest kids I knew, was cleaning up his room. I was both amazed, excited and annoyed. He chose to do this at his bedtime. Sigh.

“Michael honey, that’s great. But you can continue tomorrow. It’s bedtime soon.”
“But I want to be able to find things. I know it’s getting late. I’m almost done.”
He  cleaned one section of his room, and then did go to do his shower. Still, one of the things I worry the most about Michael, after how he controls his anxiety and anger, are his organizing skills. Yet, here he was showing me how capable he was of handling things on his own, trying to manage something very hard for him-executive function skills. I was embarrassed that though I truly believed in my child’s potential, there are times I underestimate him. I always try and encourage him, remind him of his strengths, and believe in him. He is so strong, can handle so much. Much more than me for sure. Yet, I still make this mistake sometimes. Parenting is hard work and when your child has challenges, it is easy to get caught up in a lot of stress and turmoil.

I’ve had other moments in my life when Michael has surprised me happily. Each time I say I will keep an open mind and do for a few weeks, but then the stress of life happens and I forget to honor my promise to remind myself that my son is doing the best he can all the time, even when he is having a hard time. This is when he needs me to be at my strongest. And if I’m not, that’s ok. It just means I have to learn from the experience, be gentler with myself so I could be gentler with him too.

Exceptional Parents, when has your Exceptional Child surprised you? In most cases it was probably when you least expected it. Always keep an open mind. Don’t listen to what categories other people may put your child in. You know their uniqueness and quirks. Go with that, and always believe in them so they can continue to believe in themselves. Until next time.

Looking Within To Become Whole-How Working On Your Own Personal Quirks Helps You Parent Your Exceptional Child Better

July was an interesting month. It was a month of a lot of personal ups and downs for me where I had to come to terms with a lot of fears that were building up inside of me. As I got mentally and spiritually stronger, facing my own fears and doubts, as in the past, I found the people, the articles and the activities/places that helped me start to move forward and grow again as an individual and as an exceptional parent. I realized that I wanted to speak my mind even if the words I said were  difficult for me and for those around me. I decided that I could not tell Michael to share all his scary feelings if I was afraid to share my own. It is important to share anger, frustration and sadness with those closest to us and admit them to ourselves.  I finished off July coming to this decision, and now have started August on this right foot.

So what does this have to do with exceptional parenting, you may be asking? Well, I was having a harder time being compassionate with Michael when I wasn’t in touch with myself. I was having a hard time being patient, trying out new things. As I took self-care to a whole new level, reminding myself why I had to make changes in what I said and did with my family, things started to turn around for me personally. Our family communication improved. Things began to look brighter. It’s not to say that it is easy. Change is never easy. It is scary and uncertain but exciting too. In trying things a new way, you are showing your child that they will be ok if they do things a little differently. The thing is that kids pick up when we are feeling scared or overwhelmed. Michael would ask me, “you are ok Mommy, right? You aren’t depressed.” He’d heard me talking to Dad about when I was depressed and burnt out over six years ago. I’d assured him that no, I wasn’t depressed, but that sometimes I would feel sad or overwhelmed and that’s when using my tools helped. If I wasn’t using my tools, I would struggle, just like him.
As I’ve said before our tools as parents may look different, but as long as you are doing things that balance out your levels of stress, help keep your mood optimistic and hopeful, you are on the right track. It’s also important to remember that time alone is as important as time spent with family and friends. Even five minutes reading at night means you carved out some space for you. A short walk after dinner or watching a favorite movie is another great way to recharge. Finally, listening to a great music cd or calling up a friend. I make sure to have all or many of the above on my to do list if I feel overwhelmed or stressed.  Depending on how you feel, you’ll know which tools work.

Exceptional Parents, what do you need to tweak on the inside to feel like you can parent your best? Your heart knows what it needs. Remember to listen to it. You’ll know you did when the right people come into your life and your child’s, and things improve all around with you and with your child. Until next time.

This Exceptional Mom’s Step Closer To Living Neuro Diversity

This afternoon something really special happened. Michael and I had a chance to speak with an amazing young man on the autism spectrum in our community. This has been something I have wanted to happen for a very long time, but with busy work and school schedules it did not happen. This young man and Michael had hung out together at an extra curricular activity years ago and the friendly bond had been mutual. Michael used to ask about him, and over the years I had meant to try and arrange a meeting, but life got in the way. Fast forward to June when I contacted this individual to ask him questions about his tween and teen years and how autism affected him while maturing given the challenges Michael is experiencing. He was a wealth of information and asked if Michael would like to talk with him in person. It would also mark the first time I would meet him face to face. We have corresponded by email, Facebook and spoken on the phone only previously. I was excited and so we set up a day and time to meet. This afternoon late in the day was the meeting.

What an experience! For me watching someone so like Michael, but yet not him, (you know the saying, once you’ve met one autistic person, you’ve met one autistic person, ) I was loving listening to how they talked, what they talked about, and how they shared thoughts, feelings and laughter together. I was included in the conversation too, for which I felt privileged. There was one moment when Michael heard about all this young man is doing and has accomplished so far in his twenty something years, and said, “Wow, you did all that with autism!” The comment made me laugh and then feel sad, as Dad and I have always told Michael his autistic brain is something to be proud of, and that the only difference between him and someone non-autistic is how they see the world a little differently and need to find what their strengths are and what they can contribute.

Different means we can learn from each other. So my comment back to Michael was, “Yes, he did all that with autism like you do all the amazing things you do with autism. Your brain is beautiful and I wish I could do some of the things you guys are talking about as easily.”  The young man agreed wholeheartedly, and I saw Michael’s happy surprise. It’s the same thing with Michael’s ADHD. I have pointed out over the years how many celebrities and singers have this kind of brain, then added; “look at what they have accomplished. You can make your dreams come true. Just believe in yourself like Daddy and I believe in you.”

For me watching two people with autism talk so openly about victories, struggles and their unique brains,  helped remind me how normalizing who are kids are is what counts the most. It is hard for them when they are around people  who even though well meaning,  may misunderstand what autism is and isn’t. Even Dad and I sometimes forget what Michael needs to hear. He could be looking away and still listening. We need to relax with the look at me. He needs time to finish his thoughts, stay on track, and have gentle reminders to use strategies to stay calm and focused. He also needs to be reminded that autism is a part of who he is and it will not limit him as long as he takes advantages of the strengths he has with the kind of brain he has- hyper focus on interests that could form a career, energy to carry him forward, and an ability to see the world in a different way and get others to follow suit. His explanation for loving traffic jams? It helps me to slow down. I never will look at traffic the same way again! Ironically, Michael and all children and adults I talk to or read about, have taught me to slow down in my life, to look at things from a different perspective, and to see how learning to embrace differences makes us all better human beings in the end.

Exceptional Parents, when was the last time you celebrated your Exceptional Child’s uniqueness within the autism spectrum? If it’s been awhile since you told them everything about them is awesome, now is the time. Even the things about a different brain that you don’t get, take the time to learn and speak to an individual who is autistic.  They will no doubt open up your mind to what is possible with acceptance, respect and compassion. Until next time.