Day: March 20, 2018

Impulsivity and Managing Its Ups and Downs With Your Exceptional Child


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,