Month: September 2018

How To Give “The Talk” To Your Exceptional Child

Ok so I’ve known Michael is in puberty and has been for awhile, but the last few days I have noticed  something has changed. His feelings for girls and women have changed. He is talking more about feeling “all tingly and getting goosebumps” when he sees a girl he likes and about getting excited seeing girls. He has a crush now on an older woman (he has had MANY in the past), and talks about wanting to marry her. It is still very sweet and innocent, but yet I can feel it, the undercurrent of more to come. His body is changing daily. A friend recently commented on his voice sounding deeper. He wants more independence when going places. He calls up friends and has detailed long conversations where he is not silly. But mostly, he is becoming interested slowly in other girls. He announced to me at dinner tonight that he likes girls. I told him, “I know.” I wanted to joke, since you’ve been about four. But, I sense that there is more to come. All the hormones, the meltdowns, the testing, the sometimes “surly” pre teen I am seeing is then followed by the boy who came home today and shared his very teenage type feelings with me. He was calm, collected and organized.

Another change I am noticing is that he will stop me if I try to help him by saying, “I can do it Mommy. I am a senior now. ” It’s true that he is on the senior side at school now. He is so proud of this. In fact, when he is acting out and sometimes even below his age level even with the challenges, what really works to get him to stop and think about his behavior is, “are you really being a senior now Michael?” He will quickly check his behavior, and move on. I can see by the questions he is asking, from relationship ones to world ones, that I have to go out and do more homework to be ready to answer the questions I know he will have soon. I am beginning to read up on all I can regarding autism and puberty. I want to be able to answer his questions honestly, directly and without embarrassment. Not that I am embarrassed. The body changing is a natural and beautiful thing. Love and sex are beautiful things. I don’t know how he will really understand it all, but I plan to try and do my best to see things from his perspective.

So if as a parent you see your tween or teen struggling with questions about puberty, how best can you address them?  I think the best thing to do is to read up on how other adults with autism handled their own puberty experience and what they were told, for better or worse. I also think reading articles from psychologists experienced with working with exceptional kids in puberty can be another good tool, followed by using your own personal experience to make your child realize they are not alone. Now, if your experience off puberty and its explanation by family around you was negative, obviously do the opposite. If your family explained puberty in a positive way, go with that. And finally, however you answer your child, just remember to let them know their questions are normal and that you love them no matter what.

Exceptional Parents, what has been your experience if your Exceptional Child is in puberty? No matter what remember stay calm, be patient, and tell your child everything they are feeling is normal. Reassure them that you are there to help them through the challenging moments, and that there is always help out there if more intense issues arise.  Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with Autism, ADHD, OCD  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.

 

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How To Navigate Puberty With Your Exceptional Child

So Michael is in puberty. He actually has been for awhile.  What I have seen over the last two years is a child who is fighting for his independence while simultaneously trying to handle the ups and downs of coping with emotions that are sometimes out of his control. This is further complicated by his other conditions and his diabetes. Still, I am proud to see the inroads he has made, and equally frustrated when there have been battle of the wills between us. I admit to sometimes getting too caught up in trying to control the situation. This is exactly what infuriates tweens and teens the most, a battle for control. I am learning that while Michael needs my rules and structure on the one hand, he also needs me to be able to step back and give him some room to make mistakes or decisions that may be for the best. This is not always easy for me to do, but I am learning when I need to step in, and when I need to step back.

Here are some tips I can offer for other exceptional families navigating puberty:

1) Stay calm: There is nothing worse when your kid loses it and you do too. Keep your cool.

2) Let your child set the pace whenever possible: Give them leeway for decisions whenever you can, whether or not it is a good or bad decision, as long as it does not endanger them. Don’t always try and correct them. They need to learn MANY times often through trial and error.

3) Be open to new therapies and medications: It is also good to keep an open mind about new therapies and medications that could help your child function more calmly.

4) Be prepared for sexuality as if they were neuro typical: This is both cool and frightening for many exceptional parents, as we are both happy if our child is experiencing sexual thoughts, but worry how to explain things to them. Go with their flow and speak in simple concrete language to explain things.

5) Seek help and support with a sexologist certified to work with special needs kids or a good psychotherapist:   It’s important to line up your team to help your child navigate puberty ideally right before they hit puberty or shortly thereafter. These people will be able to give you and your child support on how to handle the difficult moments puberty can bring.

Exceptional Parents, are you or your Exceptional Child feeling stressed handling the day to day effects of puberty? Is your child having a hard time understanding what is happening? Reach out for help. Everyone from your child’s doctor, to other parents, to schools can have good strategies to offer. Yes, there is not a lot of information on how kids who are exceptional handle puberty from their perspective, but search out blogs of adults on the spectrum who have been through this. They will have words of wisdom to offer you and your child. Finally, as a parent it is important to trust your own gut when it comes to how best to help your child through this exciting and challenging time. Don’t be afraid to experiment while also trusting that you may know exactly what they need to move forward confidently in their future. Until next time.

Feeling stressed about special needs parenting? You are not alone. I have been there before realizing the gift of who my son is.  For more information about me and my journey, check out my website :www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com  as well as my FREE E-BOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL PARENTING” at http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com/ebooks. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meltdowns And Learning From Them-How Best To Help Your Exceptional Child

As Michael has gotten older, many things have changed. What has especially become more difficult to navigate have been his meltdowns, or breakdowns when he has become overstimulated, stressed and angry. I realize he and we are dealing with many different challenges to how he views things, and this has affected me on figuring out how best to help him. OCD is still a killer for me. I am still trying to wrap my head around this aggravating, frustrating and stressful condition. I feel so angry sometimes that the compulsions Michael feels inclined to do take up so much energy and stress. With a new medication to handle it, the compulsions have gotten better, but the problem is still there, and when Michael becomes overwhelmed with other stimuli, we have a weekend like we just did with lots of behaviors, hyperactivity and aggression. It was not that Michael wanted to do this or that we wanted to bring it on. But sometimes as parents, we only see the triggers too late and then it all has to come out.

I am happy to say that though it was a rough weekend, we all learned what NOT to do. This is always my takeaway when Michael has a hard time or Dad and I do understanding him. If we cannot give ourselves a break and learn from the mistakes we make, how can we expect Michael to be less hard on himself? So, in lieu of our weekend, here are some tips I can offer to parents on how to help your child post meltdown:

  1. Sympathize with them: Remember, no child would choose to fail at regulating. If they are overreacting, it is because they do not have the mechanisms to control their anxiety in place. See what new tools you can give them.
  2. See what your triggers were: Your triggers? Yes, sometimes as parents we inadvertently make aggressions and anxieties worse or escalate them when we overreact initially or are stressed out. Of course, you are not to blame for your child losing control. They are. But you do need to remember to stay as calm as you can to give them a calm model. I am still learning that as a Mom.
  3. Share your successes and failures with self- regulation: I truly believe that sharing your own struggles with controlling stress in your life could help your child immensely. Tell them what worked or did not work for you in the past.
  4. Give them as much control as you can: Often times meltdowns happen because your child does not feel they have choices  OR you have given them too many choices and not enough boundaries over what they can and cannot do. Have a balance and show them by modeling how you do this in your life.
  5. Check on your child’s overall health-sleep, food, medication and see if anything needs tweaking: Finally, seeing if something in their regime needs to be adjusted. That could be what is setting them off to have the meltdowns and making it harder to recover afterwards.

Exceptional Parents, how do you handle things post-meltdown with your Exceptional Child? As long as compassion and sympathy are present, as well as clear strategies to help them replace the negative behavior, you are well on your way to helping them learn to understand their emotions better and on you doing the same. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with Autism, ADHD, OCD  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 Help Your Exceptional Child Handle Their Emotional State

Michael has made a lot of progress in learning how to self-regulate when it comes to anger and stress. As I’ve said before, both therapy and medication as well as hard work on his part, have helped him see what changes he has made to made. It has also been a lot of hard work on Dad’s part and mine to remind Michael to go to his own tool kit and see what is the best method to use in calm down in the particular situation he is in. The tool kit is constantly changing.  At first this stressed Michael out. He was worried that his old strategies were not working , or that he did not have any more new strategies. Just tonight he was having a hard time with regulating and I reminded him to use a strategy that worked for him. What he was working was clearly not working, as he was acting verbally and borderline physically aggressive. He seemed discouraged for a moment, but then realized, hey I could try this. I was very proud of him when he did use a strategy that worked and he turned the evening around big time.

What tools do work for kids or what could be in their tool kit? It really depends on what calms your child down. Like us, they are individuals and have their own tastes and preferences. It’s important for you as their parent to learn if they like or need movement to calm down, massage, squeezing, bouncing, walking or being left alone to breathe. Ask them questions and offer them different options to try. With time, you will see what works for them, and most importantly, they will see what they like. Here are 5 tips to help you help your exceptional child along the way in understanding their emotional state better:

1)Talk to them when they are calm: The worst time to offer advice about new strategies or using different ones is when they are already upset. It’s important that they are in a calm state when you talk to them and that you are too. This is when good techniques can be suggested.

2) Show them various visual options: Show them fidget toys, chewing gum, bouncing ball, a trampoline, offer them a blanket to curl up with or wrap around themselves. You can show them pictures online or draw images and help them choose.

3) Have them make an anger box: Have them make an “anger box” where they can write down what they are angry about and talk to you about it when they feel ready. If the child is younger and not as literate at writing or has difficulty writing, have them draw you a picture of why they are angry.

4) Remind them you are there for them always: Emotional support cannot be overestimated. Remind your child that you are always there to help them no matter what by listening and providing support.

5) Remind them that they have a choice to deal with their emotions in a positive matter and that anger is ok: This is a tough one. Kids will offer think anger is bad when parents initially tell them to use strategies to handle their anger. The thing is, the anger is not bad, it is often the way they handle their anger. This is where the child needs to be reminded that it is ok to be angry, but they need to vent in a positive and calm way. That makes all the difference.

Exceptional Parents, how are your children progressing in handling their emotions? If self-regulation is hard for them, don’t worry. It takes time, patience, and practice, both on your child’s and your part to help them learn how to manage their emotions. If you both have a hard day or week, don’t stress about it. Learn from the bad, celebrate the good moments, and go from there. Until next time.

Feeling stressed about special needs parenting? You are not alone. I have been there before realizing the gift of who my son is.  For more information about me and my journey, check out my website :www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com  as well as my FREE E-BOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL PARENTING” at http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com/ebooks. 

 

 

 

Seeing Your Exceptional Child Through Their Teacher’s Eyes- A Heartwarming Experience

Our family has been blessed to have had wonderful teachers for Michael since he started at his adapted school at age four and a half. Even before, he had an amazing experience at his pre-school with equally incredible teachers. All I can say, is that Michael’s teachers have not only supported him, they have supported me. They have helped me learn tools for the home to help him be more at ease. They have showed me ways to operate more calmly and effectively in the home, and finally, they have showed me a side of my child that I may not have seen previously: his ability to be independent, to plan, to socialize, to try new things.

It’s not that Dad and I did not challenge and stimulate him. I think we did all we could and all we can now. He is involved in many activities and regularly gets out in the community with us to stores, the library and other places. But school ends up showing a parent a different side of their child. They show the parent what the child is capable of in a group setting. They show the parent that the child likes challenges or needs more of them if they are struggling. Finally, a good teacher works with the parent as part of the team. As I always say, “Team Michael” is composed of his teachers, his therapists at school, his therapist and doctors on the home front, and us, his parents and the rest of the family. If we all collaborate and work to help him grow stronger and more confident, we are doing our job. If we don’t communicate as effectively, his coping ability will suffer.

I have seen a huge maturity and change in Michael over the last year, particularly in how he is managing his anxiety, aggression and stress. I know that the tools he has learned from school, the various therapists he has worked with at school and at home, as well as medication and maturity have made a huge difference. This makes me see how the whole has to be in the parts in order to have results that will make everyone come out the winner.

Exceptional Parents, does your child have the right team for them and their needs? Are their teachers on the same team as you and are you on the same team as them? This is of utmost importance if the child is to succeed. Have a plan of action in place with your child’s team  and make sure that you all want what’s best for your child- to be happy, healthy and safe living up to their full potential. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with Autism, ADHD, OCD  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 Use Rewards To Bring Out The Best In Your Exceptional Child

Ok so let me start this post by saying that I was originally against the idea of using rewards to get Michael to learn to use good behavior. I remember the exact conversation I had with his educator that went something like, “Isn’t that useful ABA type stuff for when kids with special needs are young and really don’t understand why the need to listen? He’s 11.” She quickly reassured me though that rewards can work well at any age, and even so-called neuro typical adults use them. You know those times you say, if I push through this deadline I’m going to go get a double latte with whipped cream after work, or I will treat myself to dinner out? Well, guess what parents, you are doing the reward system too! Obviously it is not something you will be continuing with your child indefinitively, but if it helps get them back on the right track as it has done for Michael, then go for it.

We have been using a points system where after Michael earns a certain amount of points, he can redeem it for a favorite video game or toy, small and not too expensive. We are now starting him on earning more points for a bigger reward, and have given him several options to choose- eating out at a favorite restaurant, a more expensive toy or a longer outing with Mom or Dad at a coveted place. What I have been impressed by with Michael, is how the combination of finding the right medication, along with good anxiety management tools and a behavior system that he really seems to understand, has been paying off. He is really getting how to control his words, actions and thoughts. Yes, there are still aggression and outbursts, but there is less of them, andd they are quickly followed by the use of strategies as well as learning lessons. He also has the added incentive of working towards something with his points. Dad and I could not be more proud of the hard work he is putting in, all among managing diabetes, OCD and the regular tween/teen hormones.

Exceptional Parents, have you ever been nervous about trying a strategy with your Exceptional Child that you think will not work? Never close the door on anything, as long as it is not something that will hurt your child of course. And if something worked when they were younger, don’t be afraid to fine tune and come back to it. Always go with your child’s flow. Praise their efforts. They will know when you really feel proud of them. And bask in their success with them. It means you got them that much closer to a life of independence and becoming contributing members of society as they deserve to be. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with Autism, ADHD, OCD  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.

 

Hyperactivity In Your Exceptional Child- How To Find The Balance

Hyperactivity In Your Exceptional Child- How To Find The Balance

So this post is about balance, balance for the child and the parent. Physical, psychological and spiritual balance, because only when we as adults and our children have that balance, do we come close to experiencing some kind of peace. It is not always easy or obvious to us parents what our exceptional child needs. And the thing is, most exceptional children have more than one official so-called diagnosis, whether we want to admit it or not. They have may Autism and ADHD, or Autism and learning disabilities or anxieties or all of the above. The thing is, our kids need strategies to manage their hyperactivity as we do, whether we their parents are neuro typcial or not. The thing is, it does not really matter. All of us get unhinged at times. It’s coming back to our center that matters, and only if we could do that can we feel whole. That is why it is so important that we show our exceptional child how to do that.

It has been a tricky journey for us and Michael in this regard. Michael was never just a straight autism brain as many had told us. We always saw the extra anxiety, phobias and hyperactivity that made up the rest of the wonderful person he is. I saw this because it is all good. I would not have Michael any other way, but I do want him learning how to manage his anxiety and other issues to live life to the fullest as he deserves to. He is a bright, happy, engaging little boy who has lots to offer to the world. As long as he is able to learn to self-regulate himself in a fast paced stressful world, he will do ok.  Let’s admit. This is hard for even us so called neuro typical adults. Imagine kids faced with additional challenges. That makes it all the harder.  Still, finding what works for your child, reminding them of their coping mechanisms and your pride and belief in them can go a long way.

Things that have worked for Michael self-regulating have included deep breathing, sensory massages, physical activity and sensory activities like play doh, thera putty, trampoline jumping and swinging. I have always helped Michael see how finding ways to self-regulate can help him, us and everyone around him. I have also reminded him how his “different brain” can do so many wonderful things, so he can definitively figure out how to handle hyperactivity too. He just has to ask for help, take time to think and pause for what he needs, and to know that all people, both exceptional and neurotypical have struggled with these questions.

As for me as an exceptional parent and other exceptional parents, we also need to know what strategies work to calm us. Are we runners, meditators or bathers? Do we like going out with friends to unwind or prefer an evening at home alone? Do we like reading, movement or tv? Finding our own balance as parents can also help us parent our child more effectively.

Exceptional Parents, are you feeling at a loss as to how to help your hyperactive exceptional child? Take a deep breath. You are not alone. First, offer suggestions to your child that you know can work. Second, be open to trying new things.  Third, let your child lead you to what they think they can do to calm down. You may be as surprised by their insight as you are by your own. The thing is, both of you know what to expect by now, and even if not, know what can possibly work and be brave enough to share it. Now it’s your time to go for it. Your child will be happy you trusted in them and they will learn to trust themselves too. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with Autism, ADHD, OCD  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 Accept Your Exceptional Child’s Strengths and Limitations By First Accepting Your Own

It was a busy end of the week and weekend, which is why I did not get a chance to post. That and starting a really bad cold, which thankfully, is now on its way out. Still, even when I am not writing about Michael, I am learning from him  as he is always teaching me about special kids like himself and about the world at large. Somewhere in the middle of all that I learn something about myself as well. What I was reminded of over the course of the last few days was a lesson Michael has shown me many times over the years. I was given a glimpse last week into many of his strengths, but also as in the past, many of his weaknesses. Some of these weaknesses I was aware of, others are new. Navigating OCD and ADHD when we have all pretty much mastered much of ASD and Diabetes has been a challenge. But even these difficulties for Michael and me have not caused the most problems. For me, it is those moments when I see Michael as different, really different, and I have a hard time accepting that there are some things he does not understand or may never understand. The funny thing is other people around him do not seem bothered by it, but I am.

For example, we were in one of his favorite shopping malls over the weekend. He likes to do his rounds as we can them, visiting the assistant manager of one of his favorite stores, and popping into other stores. He has also developed some strange stims with elections coming up in our neck of the woods. He likes to go up to the voting signs and kiss them. He likes certain candidates and is a little disappointed he cannot vote. We told him he will have the option when he is eighteen years old. 🙂 This is cute, of course, but also odd. Then there are the times he will go into the local butchers and pick up the meat to feel it and smell it. It is sensory. He has done this with other foods. People around us smile at him lovingly, but I get worried. This is what makes him stand out and makes him different. I worry that people will not always be so accepting of how different he is in some ways to them. Now, of course he is like other non exceptional kids in many other ways. He likes sports, video games, going to parks, but what could be holding him back from many opportunities I fear are some of these strange mannerisms.  Then once I think this I am ashamed. Ashamed because I truly believe now in my forties that what makes us all unique and special is what makes us different from one another, whether we are neuro typical or not.  So what if we don’t fit into a cardboard box of someone else’s definition of what regular behavior looks like? The world needs to learn to embrace difference, and I need to be ok to embrace my child’s oddities, even the ones related to sensory issues or OCD. As long as they do not hurt anyone, why am I stressed and sad when I see this?

In short, the other night when sitting alone after Michael had gone to bed, I thought that for me standing out and being different was always a challenge until I turned forty years old. And it’s been a battle to continue to push myself past my own insecurities over what will people think, what will people do, will people accept me? As I have watched Michael be who he is from birth with no filter, no restraint, a loving and free spirit who brings such joy and light into everyone’s life that he touches, whether family, friends or strangers, I have had to face that my worries about Michael being more-more quiet, more academic, more focused, more whatever are really about my own worries about me standing out, being me, and being true to the me who is ever changing and surging forward.

I have also realized that I can teach Michael to be more socially appropriate, patient and respectful to the best of his abilities. The rest lies with him and what he will do on his path. As for me, I need to keep questioning why even though I now celebrate my differences and what makes me uniquely myself more and more everyday, my strengths and limitations, there is still a scared part of me holding back. I decided this weekend to  her a hug and tell her she will be alright, more than alright. I have decided to gently take her hand, tell her there is no fear to be herself always and everywhere. I have decided that in order to fully love my child and not worry if I am doing “enough” to help him move forward, I first have to love me enough to see that as long as love, patience, respect and belief in the talents I have is present all the time, I will sometimes falter and worry about Michael’s progress in comparison to other exceptional children. There is no need to worry. He is doing great. I am doing great. We both need to work on strengthening our limitations and celebrating our strengths. I am so proud of Michael and I am so proud of me. We have both come far on our exceptional family journey in all areas of our life, and I truly believe, that as long as we continue to keep learning and growing together, things will only get better.

Exceptional Parents, are you as hard on yourself as an Exceptional Parent as you are on your child? If so, take heart. You can always learn to let go of the idea of perfection. No one is perfect. That would be boring and stressful. Having flaws and beauty are what make life interesting. Celebrate the strengths your child has as you celebrate your own. Work with them on accepting their weaknesses and learning ways to compensate and support those weaknesses. Never compare yourself to anyone else, parent or child. You are your own special unique person and that is reason enough to celebrate. And, as always, thank your child for teaching you this patience and kindness that you now have towards yourself and others as a result of parenting an extraordinary child. Until next time.

Feeling stressed about special needs parenting? You are not alone. I have been there before realizing the gift of who my son is.  For more information about me and my journey, check out my website :www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com  as well as my FREE E-BOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL PARENTING” at http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com/ebooks. 

 

Staying Calm When Anxiety Turns To Anger-How To Help Your Exceptional Child

Things have been getting a lot better at our house as Michael is learning to manage his anger. He is using tools like deep breathing, pausing, taking a break in another room, and slowly learning that it is ok to admit he feels out of control, as long as he waits to talk about his feelings once he is in a calmer state. Handling emotions like fear, worry and anger have always been rough for Michael, like they are for many exceptional children. They are usually hard on themselves and feel bad that they lose control. They don’t see that others, adults too, often have moments that they wish they could take back, and instead feel ashamed when they can’t reign in their emotions.

Slowly over the course of the last year with Michael’s Educator, we have been showing him with various great tools, articles and resources, that he alone can take charge of his emotions and make better choices. Also, he has learned that when he makes a mistake, he can always try again and learn from the mistake. This has been one of the hardest things Michael has had to face, forgiving himself and realizing he is a great kid even if he messes up sometimes. He’s a lot like many kids in this way, hard on himself by saying he is not a good kid when he makes poor choices. All kids need reassurance that they are on the right path. Dad and I have always tried to show Michael our love for him, and to tell him that we have made mistakes doing and saying things that we regret. However, it is never too late to learn from these mistakes and become stronger. It is also never too late to admit when we were wrong and grow from it.

As an exceptional parent, I have learned how me staying calm, being forgiving and re framing what Michael is saying and doing in the most positive light possible, can often turn a negative situation in a positive direction much more quickly. Yes, your child needs to realize that they have control to say and do things differently and be willing to try new things, but you as the parent can help pave the way for them by talking about your own anxious and angry moments and what you did to change and become more positive. If you are learning along with your child, admit this too. Kids appreciate knowing that even grownups have hard times and days and can learn from it.

Exceptional Parents,  how have you talked your Exceptional Child down from anger and anxiety to calm serenity? I’ll bet it’s when you yourself were calm, reasonable, and just physically and mentally there to accept them in all their stressful and even when they make mistakes. Think how you feel when you mess up as an adult and have a reliable family member or friend listen to you unload. Give your child that time as angry as you may be for their behavior, recognize that their anger and anxiety is due to them feeling powerless to control their emotions. By you controlling yours and staying focused on being calm, you are giving them the best example for building their own serenity. Until next time.

Battling OCD And Remembering The Child Behind The Challenges

So lately OCD has been the big thing in our family. Michael’s aggression has gone down in a big way. Dad and I are so proud of him using his strategies, talking about his fears, and asking for help. This has made all the difference for him and our family. It has also meant that Michael has been able to see the strength he has behind all his challenges, because no matter what, our kids do have some control over their behavior. They must be able to see that  and know that they are in control. That is important that all of us have that input, including our kids.

The thing is OCD is a tough thing to battle and learn to live with. We have always known Michael had it. I’ve felt it in my bones since Michael was a baby, and prayed I was wrong as it is not an easy thing to live with.  I had ABA therapists tell me to stamp it out immediatel when I spoke to them of my suspicions when he was five years old. I myself have found nothing redeemable about it. Autism is a gift in so many ways as is ADHD. They simply mean a different brain or way of seeing the world. Anxiety. Well, heck. All of us have anxiety, exceptional brained and neuro typical brained. But OCD? It seems to be just another stressor with nothing redeemable. I know  we could look at it as “attention to detail,” or “focused”, but more often than not, it borders to the obsessive and takes away from so much enjoyment. When Michael has been in its clutches (and Dad and I with him), we’ve often felt so discouraged and stressed. I’ve done my best to stay positive and use strategies like his Educator and psychiatrist have said, such as “stay focused on the task,” and “breathe through it.” But sometimes it is not as easy as that. A new medication we are trying for OCD will hopefully help, but in the end, I know as with everything else, it is remembering the child behind the challenges, the human being, that will help him and us learn to live with this latest challenge. Michael is Michael and will always be the unique human being he is. Dad and I have to remember to nurture his confidence in his coping, stress management and abilities, so that he knows that no matter what  he can do it. I know he can do it. I truly believe that no person is given more than he/she can handle . God helps us all learn from our challenges. Michael is no different and neither are Dad and I as his parents. I also know that with time Dad and I will see the gift of OCD and what it brings to Michael’s life.

Exceptional Parents, are you battling new issues with your Exceptional Children or are you facing ones you knew were there but did no want to contend with? Either way, take heart. Your child and you are stronger than you think. Devise a plan of action to hande personal and family stress. Find ways to regroup individually and together, and in time you will see that you will be able to handle anything that comes your way. Remember, growth often happens through difficult moments for all of us . Until next time.