Month: March 2018

Adapting Easter to Your Exceptional Family- 5 Things To Do

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Spring has Sprung and it is the Easter long weekend . Exceptional families all over are celebrating with family and friends, but also wondering how to adapt the celebrations as easily and painlessly to their child’s own sensory system and personality. The way to have a successful celebration varies as much from child to child as from family to family, but there are several things that are great to keep in mind while a family is looking how to make the holiday weekend go as smoothly as possible:

  1. Have a schedule/plan of what is happening all weekend: Though it is not particularly exciting, in many cases having an advance plan of what the family will be doing will cause a lot less anxiety for an exceptional child and those around them. Knowing what to expect and when can decrease a lot of meltdowns and stress surrounding change.
  2. Incorporate fun family traditions year in/year out: Just as you would do with a neuro typical child, have family traditions that you carry out that your child can gravitate to- Easter Egg Hunts, dyeing Easter eggs, a traditional family meal, a special family outing. They will look forward to these events as markers and enjoy the predictability of them.
  3. Decorating the house for Easter: Even if they are young, decorating the house with their crafts or buying decorations can make a difference in how they perceive and look forward to the holidays.
  4. Keep bedtime and wake times as close as possible to usual ones: This is a tough one, but an overtired exceptional child will not be one who adjusts well to change. It will be tougher than ever. Make sure they get enough rest.
  5. Make downtime for you as a parent: Another tough one! Parents must also try and find some downtime for themselves in order to be able to handle the tough times they may encounter as well as enjoy the good times. Even if it’s stealing away for a short walk or a cup of coffee and some web surfing in another room, it counts parents! You took a break!

Exceptional Parents, what are your secrets to having a great Easter/Passover weekend? Remember, whether your weekends have been successful or not in the past, never be afraid to learn all you can from what worked as well as what did not work. Never beat yourself up. You, like your child, are a work in progress, or rather a parent in progress learning all you can about patience, love and hope from your child. Remember, do the best you can and that will always be enough. Your child will feel your love and belief in them. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.

Asserting Independence and Fitting In With Peers- The Exceptional Child’s Dilemma

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Michael has hit puberty a while ago. I remember thinking a year ago, why did it have to occur so early? He has rebelled about everything from religion, to what kind of games he is allowed to play, to what kind of friends we want him to be around. It is exhausting, and we have only just begun! We are not yet in full physical puberty where changes are REALLY evident to sexuality to well, all those things that will cause my hair to turn completely grey. Still, albeit that it is early, it is all normal. I am glad. The only thing I was not glad for was that I was not prepared for it at first. I had to tailor myself to this man child who was emerging. He needed Mommy for some things, and for others it is friends that rule. Interesting. I never thought when I learned that Michael had autism that I would be handling neuro typical type puberty issues. I was so naive when he was younger. But seeing the older boys with autism at his school did give me some indication that puberty for him would be like for most boys, only with a twist, his own personality’s twist and an autism one.

I knew peers would matter to some extent, but I did not expect that Michael would gravitate to the boys that did risky things. I also did not expect that Michael himself would test limits with us and even a bit at school, though there it is silly not serious. With us it has been more serious. It is both comforting and perplexing and means MAJOR adjusting of my parenting style and Dad of his.  Still, we are so happy (Dad and I), to see that Michael is finding his way. There are self-esteem issues we need to work on. He is SO hard on himself. He does not quite see how amazing he is, but then again neither did Dad or I at his age, neither do many children. These are things we are trying to instill in him daily, so that he could appreciate his talents. The thing is, he is trying so hard to fit in with peers he is not being himself. He does not see when he does not do this, that he suffers and with no reason to suffer. It is hard to not be influenced by peers and to stand on one’s own two feet. I hope that as he gets older and matures, he will act closer to who he really is. All Dad and I can do in the meantime, is simply encourage his independence and tell him we are proud of him when he makes good choices.

Exceptional Parents, if your child is in puberty, how has it manifested itself? Are you and they surviving the ups and downs? Remember, there is no script that fits every child. Go with your child’s personality and encourage balance, balance in them forging friendships as well as being true to themselves. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.

 

 

 

Teaching Life Skills To Your Exceptional Child

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It has come to my attention since most of Michael’s aggression has gone down considerably, that we need to get back to working with him on life skills again, you know, things like tying his shoes, personal hygiene, preparing his school bag for the morning etc. Michael is in many ways ahead of peers. He started making his lunch independently last year, and is quite good at showering, that is , when he chooses to do it. We are going through a little rebellion on the “why do I have to shower every night” front. He wants more time to have fun or relax. Brushing teeth is also something that is too time consuming he says, so he does a rush job. The problem is the fine motor work required to manipulate the toothbrush to do a good enough job cleaning. It is the same thing with using utensils. He will do the bare minimum, as he is in a hurry to eat to get to more fun stuff, but as a result, does not perfect his technique in this area either. Michael has lots of patience to learn at school, but at home he fights us. He wants to do fun things with us and alone and not work. However, as he gets calmer, I want to squeeze in teaching these ADL skills. They will be instrumental to his full independence one day.

The other life skills I am working on with Michael now are social skills of how to have a conversation, how to wait for others to answer, and how to be friendly without being overbearing. We have been lucky that he has taken some Social Skills workshops through our community organizations, and I hope that he will do more next year. However, I also want to continue the work of encouraging him to carry these skills forward. Now that I feel I am comfortable carb counting for his diabetes without recording every little bite of food he eats every day, and not charting all his behaviors as I have a pretty good idea of what to send our educator, I feel like we can move forward and help Michael with this next leg. It is both exciting and challenging, but things at home are definitively turning a corner.

My challenges have always been remembering that no matter what, I am always Mom first then helping with therapeutic measures. Also, that though I am not a therapist, I am the primary one to advocate for Michael, and that my role is to teach him to do as much independently for himself as he can. This will be the ultimate tool to help him with his success in life one day. I also give myself permission to make mistakes, to not always know the right technique of how to teach things that came easily to me and are more challenging for Michael. That’s what our team is for, and it is ever expanding. It has to be for an Exceptional Family if they are ever to get anywhere. This does not mean that a child is always sent for therapy. But consulting therapists, educators, counsellors, and participating in various activities will give you and your child a glimpse into what they are capable of and where they can go. In the end, your child will gravitate to what interests them, and they will look to you for encouragement when trying new things. Be there to encourage them to try the new. Be there to encourage them to work on skills to help their independence. Be there to praise every initiative, whether it results in success or not. I have been blown away by Michael’s progress, and this is due to his amazing efforts and to me never losing sight of what he is capable of.

Exceptional Parents, how do you teach life skills to your Exceptional Child? Remember, always go with their flow first. They will be your best teacher. Secondly, always trust your own parenting instinct that they are ready or not for the next chapter of what to learn. You will usually be right on the mark. If there are oversights, you will still be able to surge forward and fill in the gaps that are missing. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.

5 Ways to Handle Spring Fever In Your Exceptional Child

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So Spring has sprung on the calendar, although not officially with our weather systems here in Canada. Still, I could tell by Michael’s behavior, that his body is adjusting to the hour change (more daylight), and has a lot more energy than he normally has in the winter. This has also meant that his sensory system has shifted, so that he needs to move and groove a lot more in order to find his physical and psychological equilibrium. As he gets older, the great thing has been that he has been able to recognize what he and his body needs, most of the time to feel calm. When he has had trouble, I have been able to remember what has worked in the past. I have offered it to him and most of the time he has made use of a lot of the tools.

So, what has worked for our family and our Exceptional Child? Here are 5 ways that you could handle spring fever with your exceptional child:

  1. Use sensory tools: For us tools like a trampoline to bounce on, a swing (an indoor one in our basement or one at a park), as well as sensory massages such as Wibargher Protocol and Qigong Sensory Massage have been godsends to help Michael as well as Dad and I  bond, and help restore some de-stressing for Michael.
  2. Making sure child is getting enough sleep: This is such a hard concept for so many kids on the spectrum, but getting a good night’s sleep is imperative to managing so much other stress. If you need help establishing good sleep hygiene, speak to a sleep specialist, psycho therapist or educator. When the family sleeps well, everyone feels better.
  3. Understanding the connection between longer daylight hours and child’s energy: I see it every year around this time, but may still be taken by surprise at the high energy output my child gives in the spring. He may not want to wind down for bed early and may put up a bit of a fight. What we have learned to do is to make sure that we have a busy structured routine to keep Michael occupied so even with the extra daylight, he will get tired at an appropriate bedtime.
  4. Winding down of routine means up of anxiety: Then there is the fact that school gradually begins to wind down with less structure and work as the months wind down to the end of the school year. This is hard for a lot of special needs children, and the best thing to do is understand this from the outset. If you do as a parent, you’ll know that their anxiety will be gradually going up, so patience with them is the best thing  to show. Give them extra time for homework and other things in the home.
  5. Get outside: Finally, fresh air is so important for body, mind and spirit. It is important to do one’s best to get outside as much  as possible during nicer weather so as to experience what only the fresh air can give- peace, serenity and a clear mind to work through problems.

 

Exceptional Parents, what tips do you have for helping your Exceptional Child handle Spring Fever? Remember, you know your child best and can be the judge of what strategies they need to do to help them get through the day. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.

 

Tensions in the Exceptional Family When Your Exceptional Child Is More Comfortable With One Parent Over Another

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Being a parent is hard work. Being the parent of an exceptional child is doubly hard or more at times. What is even harder, even when both parents of said exceptional child are on the same page, is if your child gravitates more to listening to one parent over another. It is not always the same parent either who gets the good behavior. Sometimes children will do a little bit of a seesaw and test showing favoritism to one parent over another. Mainly however, the child seems to gravitate to the parent who is calm and in control of their own feelings the best at that moment. I have seen it first hand with Michael. Like most children, he will see things only from his own perspective, so may think that Dad or I are mad at him when we are just being serious and busy. This will translate in his mind that we don’t love him. And unless we reassure him that we love him by gestures and verbal reassurances, he will receive a false message.

It is frustrating for both parents when the child feels more comfortable with one over another. The so-called “better” parent and the other so-called “lesser” parent feel guilt , anger and worry. It is so important that parents are on the same page with parenting their exceptional child, but sometimes as in this case, unless the child knows they are loved by both parents equally, they will attach more to one parent to the detriment of the other. In this case, both parents have to work to see what is the missing link in why the child is acting out. What are they getting from it? There have been times that Michael has been aggressive to only one of us. Looking back, I have seen why clearly in hindsight, as has Dad. I also now see when things are going well, what we are doing. This is due in large part to working with several psycho educators and a great educator who have helped guide us as parents to not take behavior too personally and tweak what we are doing. It is not that we are doing things wrong, but that we not aware of what our child is picking up from our cues. It is all about being a conscious parent.

Don’t ever believe any professional of any kind who tells you they have ALL the answers to figuring out your child or worse, can FIX them. Our exceptional children do not need fixing. They need understanding, strategies, tools, and tweaking, like us as parents, like all of us as individuals. Any kind of good professional help whether it be medical, psychiatric or educational for us and our child, needs to assume at the forefront, that parents know what to do deep down inside, but are sometimes not trusting in themselves to take the next step. They also may not know enough of what is triggering them and their child to act out or turn inwards, equally disturbing. Charting when meltdowns and behaviors occur can really help families see a pattern. With outside help and sometimes even therapeutic  support for the parents themselves, all can benefit. There is never any shame in seeking therapy for yourself, your partner, yourselves as a couple, and for the whole family.

Our family has been lucky to get good therapists and professionals working with us from the get go. A huge advantage has been that Michael is flexible with professionals and has worked amazingly with them since childhood, and Dad and I have always been willing to open our home and our thoughts about what we could do to make things easier. We don’t think anyone has all the answers, but we want to find ways to manage the difficult times so we all can grow together and become versions of our best selves. The last two years for our family have been particularly rough, but we have all learned a lot about ourselves in the process. I have learned over and over again to trust myself when I sense that things were not right. Fight for the right help to get Michael to learn to be his best and one day advocate for himself, and start prioritizing my own self-care as highly as I have Michael’s care in the past. Dad is realizing this too. If we as parents don’t put self-care at the top of the parenting list, we have lost the battle before it has begun.

Exceptional Parents, does your child have a favorite parent? Do they show this favoritism openly or is it more hidden and only comes out in behaviors? Regardless, the solution is for both parents to be open and honest with the child about their feelings, talk with each other about what they agree and disagree with in parenting, and finally be willing to make adjustments in how they communicate in general so that there are no misunderstandings. Remember, all parents have been in the”fallen” camp at one moment where their child preferred the other parent. As long as both parents communicate openly with each other and their child, the problem will eventually get resolved and new ways to parent and live together will happen. Until next time.

 

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.

How to Balance Giving Time To Your Exceptional Child With Time For You

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It is so important that your Exceptional Child knows you are there for them. The time you spend with them, however much time, needs to be undisturbed, and they need to sense that they matter in every sense of the word, as of course, they do. The way to do this, at least from my personal experience, has been to have a great routine down pat where a certain amount of time per day is spent in parent/child interaction. Michael and I have this time after school when we talk about the day and have a snack together. Though my home/work situation has changed over the years, I have always made our time after school a priority. This is when I listen to Michael’s concerns, am open to hearing about the highlights of his day, and have fun laughing and boding together. The days this goes the smoothest though, are the days when I have recharged my own parenting battery previously.

How do I balance my parenting batteries? It is through regular meditation and yoga, continuing to write my novel and poetry, reading for pleasure, going out to writers’ groups and socializing with my Mom friends, as well as listening to music that fills my soul with hope, joy and love. I also make time for walks, zumba, date nights with my partner, and other ways I can be in nature and recharge my batteries alone by watching favorite shows or taking in a movie. This means different things for different parents, but in the end, it is all about self-nurturing and taking care of oneself. When a parent is strong in themselves, they can better be there for their child as well as show their child as example of strength and beauty at work.

A child will quickly pick up if you are into their frequency, and those kids who are exceptional, will pick up that much faster. Their frequencies are more sensitive and they zone in to moods and people that much more quickly. This means that the onus rests on us to practice better self-care both as an example of using good strategies, as well as being strong for when times get tough with our exceptional child. They will test and get angry when they are feeling insecure and worried. They will also test when they feel they are losing ground with you to show that they have power. This is usually when they feel they have less power than ever. What can a parent do? We can show them where they have power and how they can use it. We can also show them where we have the power and it is ok to trust us as we have their best intentions at heart.

Exceptional Parents, how do you prioritize down time with your Exceptional Child? Do things go better when you have had down time for yourself? Most likely yes, right. It is only when we are feeling whole and calm, that we can help our children feel the same wonderful things inside themselves. Until next time.

 

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.

 

 

5 Tips To Survive The After School Anxiety And Worry Your Exceptional Child Brings Home

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Ah, the homecoming after school. It is the time of day most kids who are exceptional both love and stress about. It is a happy homecoming away from school and responsibilities, yet it also means open space, less predictable structure, and if you child is anything like mine, anxiety shoots up high like heat on a thermostat in the winter. What can a parent do to stay calm in the face of their child’s anxiety storm about the “after school routine?” Well, for starters structure it. Yep. I know. Our kids do need to get away from structure and learn to live with downtime, but parents, let’s face it. Our kids are hard-wired to be anxious. It’s in their DNA. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, if they learn ways to handle it, handle their feelings, and structure what they can. It’s also important that you, as their primary caregiver, learn to handle your own stress about downtime and structure. It is your job to take care of your stress level so you are open and calm for them, just as it is their job to handle their own feelings.  Now, this does not mean that every parent and child will be stress free every day. That is impossible. But, if a parent knows what sets their kid off, try to do less of that. It’s also important to know what helps them feel calm and centered and do more of that.

It’s the same for us as parents. I know for me that if i do not get my five to ten minute coffee and time to collect my thoughts sitting in my favorite chair waiting for the bus to arrive, the evening will go VERY differently with Michael. It will be harder for me to deal with any upheavals. But if I am centered, calm, and able to stay in the moment, no matter WHAT HAPPENS, I can help Michael do his best to find his center. On that note, here are 5 tips to survive the after school homecoming when there is anxiety:

  1. Take 5 minutes or more if you can for you: This is so important. You cannot predict what kind of a day your child has had. However, if you are calm and in control of your stress level, that can translate to more patience for their outbursts, especially if they are negative.
  2. Remember your homecoming from school: Think back to how you felt coming home from school. Weren’t there days when you wanted to throw that school bag across the room? You had good and bad days too. Did you have someone to turn to who got it? If so, great. Be that parent to your child. If not, that’s too bad, but you have a chance to redo history. Be the parent you needed growing up.
  3. Consider an after-school program if your child can handle it: Sometimes the time when your child comes home does not give either of you much of a parent/child breather. Consider an after-school program where you can have freedom of when to pick up your child. This could be the lifesaver you and your child need to have less stress and anxiety.
  4. Work with your child in advance on tools to prepare for after-school homecoming: This requires advance planning, but with the help of therapists, teachers, and other Moms and Dads, (as well as your own parenting brilliance), find tools that can help your child calm down on their home from school. Help them anticipate how to deal with their anxiety and stress and learn ways to manage it. There are so many great tools such as books, resources on the internet and on You Tube for meditation, yoga and breathing techniques that you can hopefully find at least one for your child to try.
  5. Go with the flow and adapt: Sometimes you try everything to stay calm and show an example of zen like behavior and your child still blows up like a volcano. Don’t worry. You did your best. So did they. There will be calm days and days like your home is in volcano mode. Go with the flow. Learn from the experience, good and bad. I have seen in my parenting and professional experience that our children teach us all the time in positive and negative moments. Make sure they learn from you in all moments, and don’t be afraid to let them know that life is about moving forward.

 

Exceptional Parents, what are some life lessons you have learned about school home comings? What would you do differently now in retrospect? Remember, life is not happening to us, but for us, (and our children), as the saying goes. We all can grow together. Find strategies that work. And most importantly of all, show one another unconditional love along the way for being who we are. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.

Impulsivity and Managing Its Ups and Downs With Your Exceptional Child

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So life is getting better. Aggression has gone down immensely, but impulsivity is going up immensely. Or maybe this is just my imagination? Maybe Michael has always been THIS impulsive, but due to the aggression, anxiety and other autism and possibly ADHD symptoms, I did not see it? Hard to tell. Professionals cannot also see what is autism and what is ADHD all the time, and if they are one and the same. It is even harder for parents, so hard it makes our heads hurt. Or maybe that is just me. Still, at the end of the day, autism, anxiety, adhd or sensory issues, whichever it is, the individual affected by all of this has a name.  In my case his name is Michael. He is  my son who is an incredibly talented, energetic, versatile ball of energy whom I love to pieces. He has so many gifts and struggles like the rest of us sometimes to show love, to regulate, to live in our complex world.

Does it really matter what he has or does not have? I think not. I was speaking to a close friend today and telling her about our situation. We don’t know how best to help Michael with his rising impulsivity. What medication can help? What behavioral strategy? Does he really have ADHD? Some professionals say yes. Some say no. I am beginning to see it does not matter what he has. What matters is that we find the best way to help his brain and body function at their best to be all he can be in the world. That world is complex and a person, any person, needs to be able to adapt to all the things expected of him. Michael struggles so much with sequencing, controlling his emotional outbursts and expressing himself. For all his language abilities, he is still challenged in this area. I know social skills workshops will help, different therapies we still want to try, like art and music therapy, will help. But in the end, doesn’t he really need what we all need? Love, pride in his work, and acceptance of who he is to the core by those around him. I found myself telling a friend the other day, “Michael is Michael.” I meant it in the best sense. Michael is social, extroverted, has no filter and says what’s on his mind. Michael is a kind son and friend who loves those close to him in his own way, and Michael is intense, good and bad, in everything he does.

I think the best way to help Michael with impulsivity is by starting to help him understand what is in his control and what is not. Secondly, how to help him manage his emotions in a calm way. Third, remind him he is not alone. And finally, show that unconditional  love when he messes up sometimes like we all do, myself included. He needs to know it is human to err.

Exceptional Parents, do your Exceptional Children suffer from impulsivity? Do they seem to be prisoners of it sometimes? Remember, this is a difficult area for kids with autism. Be patient. Try out new things to show them ways to self-regulate. Ask other parents what has and has not worked for their child, and most important of all, tell your child you love them every single day. Remember, they are doing the best they can and so are you. Until next time.

 

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day-Great Educational Site (Education.com) To Keep Your Exceptional Leprechaun Busy!

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I love the whole idea of St. Patrick’s Day! It is one of those days where we are all Irish at heart, I think. Of course, for many Exceptional families, things like parades may be a little too intense sensory-wise, as well as overwhelming for their children young and old. These are things sadly then that a lot of us parents avoid attending with our children as a result. We have yet to try doing one of these with Michael, though we are considering doing it soon, either this year or next. However, if a family still wants to mark the day, there are lots of fun things they can do. We have put up decorations in the house, worn green on the official day and to work and school the day before if it falls on a weekend like this year, and cooked a meal or baked things with green as the theme. That is one of Michael’s favorite things as he loves cooking!

Now that Michael is older, I am looking for other things to keep him busy, festive and in the spirit of St. Patty’s though. One of these things is looking at websites with games that can keep my little guy busy. A great website that caters to kids of all ages, as well as to parents and educators, is one that I am so glad I found out about online. It is called Education.com, and it has many wonderful worksheets to keep kids learning, busy, and having enjoyable creative time alone or with siblings and friends. There are so many worksheets to choose from that help support those skills, such as great spelling resources For example, here is an easy St. Patrick’s Day word search that is perfect for your little exceptional leprechaun: https://www.education.com/worksheet/article/st-patricks-day-spelling.

It can help engage kids at all levels and there are sheets for all ages.You can find this and many other worksheets on this site. I know what I will be getting Michael to try out next time the weather is too cold to go out and he says he is bored! 😉

Exceptional Parents, what activities have you tried with your Exceptional kids during holidays like St. Patrick’s Day? Are they into mazes, worksheets and solitary fun on paper? If so, check out this site. If not, it can also be a way to introduce things like spelling, writing and math in a fun and non-threatening way to an exceptional kid who thinks outside of the box, and may not respond to classroom methods of teaching. Remember though, that whatever resources you try to help your Exceptional child grow, don’t be afraid to experiment and try new things. You’ll never know what could or could not work unless you try. Until next time.

Disclosure: I was not compensated in any way, shape or form for this post, either by payment, gift, or by affiliate links. This opinions stated in this blog post are strictly my own, and I wanted to share them with my readers. 

 

Feeling stressed about special needs parenting? You are not alone. I have been there and lived these very words before realizing the gift of who my son is and what he has helped me realize. Besides the wonderful professionals we have worked with and continue to work with, family, friends, Mom friends in particular, make up mine and Michael’s biggest cheering section.  If you want to have more information about me and my journey, check out my website http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com and my FREE E-BOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL PARENTING” at http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com/ebooks

 

 

 

The Growing Pains of Helping Your Exceptional Child Get Organized- 5 Things NOT To Do

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So this morning yet again we had a minor battle in getting ready for school. Ok, I had the battle while Michael got up and moved VERY SLOWLY wondering what the big deal was? I was trying so hard to be one hundred percent calm. I did about an eighty percent good job I’d say, only blowing my top near the end when the bus arrived and Michael was still putting on his boots and jacket. Sigh. At least he MADE the bus today, not like the other few days this week where I ended up driving him in not due to him deliberately trying to miss the bus, but due to getting up late, moving slowly, and not understanding that he did not have the same amount of time when he got up at 7:30 am and the bus came at 8:00 am versus when he got up at 7:00 am. Sigh again. The medicine he is taking does make him a little sleepier, but we still had this battle from time to time without medication. What is the culprit, you might ask? One word. Sequencing, parents. In other words, making sure one thing flows smoothly into the next without stress. This is SO hard for kids with autism, ADHD, learning disabilities and delays of all sorts. It can, however, be taught. It just requires patience, and learning from one’s mistakes if we make them. And though I know better, I have still forgotten and made mistakes from time to time.

So what things would I avoid when trying to help Michael get organized in the future? Here are 5 of them:

1) Don’t Rush Them: This is SO not helpful yet so normal. When a parent  sees the time flowing and that they must get to work and get their child out the door, they will inevitably start rushing and yelling at their child. At this point, it will just make things worse. Try to slow down your breathing and calmly tell them what comes next. Then step away.

2) Don’t Do It For Them: Again, this is normal. In the heat of the moment, it’s ok to help them pack that bag and hand them their coat to make the bus, class on time. But on a regular basis, it is important to make sure that they get organized (dressed, bag packed, lunch made etc.) themselves. The way to do this is by having a picto or written sequence available for them to look at in advance and study. This way they know what to do ‘in the moment.’

3) Remember the difficulties they have in planning out a schedule from start to finish: This means keeping in mind that there is nothing wrong with their brain. It is just WIRED differently and needs different ways to organize and move ahead. This means the aforementioned schedules, visuals, and discussions at their level about what is expected to unfold.

4) Step back when they make a mistake and help them learn from it.: When they make a mistake and you see it, remind them it’s ok and that they could learn from it. Give them options and depending on their age, ask them what they think might work. Remind them, we all make mistakes.

5) Be prepared to repeat the lesson A LOT before it is learned: And THIS is a tough one, especially for parents. Our kids with autism and other challenges need repetition. They need to learn the same sequence of events, and then learn to generalize it to other contexts. Let me say that this is not for the fainthearted parent. Make sure you are calm, in a Zen place, and feeling patient when you support them. You will need to do this many times before they grasp the lesson. They are intelligent, but their brains speak a different language than yours.

Exceptional Parents, what successes and failures have you had with your child in helping them with getting organized at any time of the day? Remember, it is all about routine, predictability, and control, at least as much as they are in it. Be patient with your child and be patient with yourselves, as you are this journey of learning together how to understand each other. It will pay off in the end. Until next time.

 

Feeling stressed about special needs parenting? You are not alone. I have been there and lived these very words before realizing the gift of who my son is and what he has helped me realize. Besides the wonderful professionals we have worked with and continue to work with, family, friends, Mom friends in particular, make up mine and Michael’s biggest cheering section.  If you want to have more information about me and my journey, check out my website http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com and my FREE E-BOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL PARENTING” at http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com/ebooks