Month: October 2018

Exceptional Halloweens and How To Make Sure Your Child Stays Safe and Calm

So over the years you could say I have learned what NOT to do on Halloween with Michael. He has, of course shown me what does not work. I have also, sometimes with planning, sometimes accidentally learned what does work to make the evening enjoyable and safe. Discussing in advance how far out and how long you will stay out walking, for example, is one important thing to do. This avoids fights and meltdowns over when to come home. Another good thing is going over the “trick or treat” script with your child as well as what is the social protocol when someone opens the door. I had forgotten to tell Michael when he was little NOT to walk into the house and start chatting. Some kids are social and don’t understand that this is not proper and could even be dangerous.

As far as what I accidentally learned though, that was more interesting. I learned, for instance, that Michael could see scary costumes and decorations and actually like them. I also learned that Michael has a lot more walking stamina so I make sure to be rested and dressed warm for our Halloween outing. I also learned that he likes to give as much as get. He really enjoys giving out the Halloween candy to the trick or treaters before heading out himself.

On that note parents, here are some things to remember when planning your Halloween outing:

  1. Make sure child knows the Halloween protocol for safety and security.
  2. Make sure you have a set start and end time to avoid meltdowns.
  3. Make sure your child knows the social rules of trick or treating.
  4. Be prepared for your child to teach you things about what they like and don’t like.
  5. If possible, invite a friend to go with your child. It’s company for them, and company for you too with another adult present. 😉

Exceptional Parents, what are your tricks of the trade for a successful and happy Exceptional Halloween? Remember, even if last year’s was a disaster, you can learn from what went wrong. You now know what NOT to do, and you can gently show your child too. The most important thing to remember is to be safe, rested and stay together. Getting an early start and finishing before everyone is too tired is also important. In the end, your instinct as a parent will help to guide you best on how to help your child have a fun time. Happy Halloween! 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,



Recognizing Hyperactivity and Deliberate Behaviors-Clues To Look Out For

So Michael is a complex child. Figuring out what makes his tick is half the fun or stress, depending on the day, of course. He even has the experts baffled at times as to what he is doing and why. So I, as his mother, am not going to get stressed when I can’t recognize immediately if his behaviors are deliberate acting out or hyperactivity he can’t control due to his ADHD. I am learning how to slowly decipher both, thanks to becoming a better observer of Michael and also asking our team’s opinion as neutral observers of Michael. So far what I have come up with as cues for parents to look for if their child is asking out of hyperactivity or due to behaviors is as follows:


  1. Child cannot seem to control what they are doing: Your child will look baffled and confused when you confront him/her with what they did or said. They may be touching things or people they should not touch, (i.e. body parts), vocalizing loudly, or saying things at random. They will need gentle reminders to calm down.
  2. Your child seems to cycle with intense moments then crashes exhausted or tired: This occurs when your child is running around happy but all over the place, then when they finally settle they seem to have no energy and can’t move.
  3. Your child is laughing uncontrollably and can’t seem to stop: That one is probably obvious, but sometimes people may think that it is a behavior to get your attention. This is usually not the case, and it is linked to hyperactivity or over stimulation.


  1. Your child is performing a negative action and looks at me as he/she is doing it: Hands down, if your child is doing something inappropriate such as cursing, banging  or throwing something while they are in your presence, chances are this is a behavior. They want to see how far they can push you before you either cave in to their demands, react and pay attention to them or they get away with not doing a specific task.
  2. Your child is angry and starts yelling when they faced with doing something they do not like: This is usually a behavior and by acting up they hope to avoid the task.
    Sometimes kids do a mix  of both of these things, especially kids who have autism and ADHD. This is where they need the proper guidance so parents and caregivers don’t overreact to the hyperactivity and behaviors, and instead set a calm example of what it means to practice self-control and self-regulation.  Only when your child can learn to control how they handle their emotions, will they be able to have better self-control and make better choices.

Exceptional Parents, do you have a hard time differentiating between behaviors and hyperactivity in your Exceptional Child? Take heart that sometimes even the experts get stumped by our kids, due to the fact that all kids handle medications, therapy and so much of life in a different way, including kids on the spectrum. This is why it is important to really get to know your child and what makes them tick. Your team also needs to keep an open mind about this too. Never close any door that could lead to answers and help your child be their best self. And in the meantime, be there to let your child know they are loved, safe, and that you will support and help them always. 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,

Still Breathing-Weighing The Pros and Cons Of Medications For Your Exceptional Child

To say that we have been on a journey with Michael is the understatement of the year. To also say that medication have been helped and hindered this journey, is also in that same category. Still though, I have to say that I am glad we have tried all the medications we did, even the ones that did not work out. Michael is on one medication that is helping him a lot at the moment, but needs more. It is just a matter in our case and Michael’s most importantly, of finding the medication that will help all his issues- his ADHD, his OCD and his anxiety without making his aggression fly through the roof or affecting his blood sugar. We have to always consider his blood sugar due to him having Type 1 Diabetes. So far 4 of the 5 medications have helped the other issues he has faced amazingly- his ADHD, his OCD and even anxiety related to his autism. However, his aggression has always increased with all but one. Eventually, we have had to get him off all but one of the medications due to this. He was having a harder time controlling his temper and the outbursts would be longer. The one he is on is still helping a lot.

Still, even with this, I am so grateful for all the medications he has tried. No, I am not crazy. The thing is, he has learned strategies so well while on all of these medications. He has learned how to better regulate himself. He now uses a card he designed and refers to it to calm himself. His Educator has given us strategies as well to help him ask for help or attention before his emotions escalate. He was not receptive to many of these measures prior to medication being introduced. Dad said the same thing the other day to me and I agreed. He actually is more responsive now since we introduced medication, even ones that did not end up working for the long haul. The one he was on the longest really helped him the most with aggression control, but it took its toll in the end in weight gain and blood sugar regulation so we said good bye. I don’t regret that decision. There are days when I feel discouraged that we have not found the perfect medication and therapy combination, but I know we will. Michael, in spite of the challenges, is an amazing boy. He is doing well at school, socially, and is improving at home too, where he is challenged the most.  He is connecting the dots about how his behavior affects things, and is wonderfully receptive to any medication or therapy we try. He has always been a very open minded little boy. I am so glad to see that he is not giving up on fixing his issues. Dad and I are not either. We see his potential-the wonderful boy and one day man, and all he will be able to offer the world. He is seeing it too!

Finding the right medication and therapy is often a challenge for a child with ASD and ADHD. Add in other diagnoses, and the water gets ever murkier. This is why I know Dad and I need to be patient just as Michael is. We need to continue to show Michael we believe in all his potential- with cooking, people skills, music, art and life. Michael loves life, people and being at the center of life. We love having him there. It has been hard having to step back from a lot of our family activities while we get behavior issues under control, but I know we will get to the point where Michael will get back to where he was before and we will as well. He is constantly amazing me with his questions, his observations of life, and his continuous interest in what is being taught at school. Everyone loves his enthusiasm, and as long as we can get him to develop an awareness of how to handle anger and anxiety, I know we are on the right track.

Exceptional Parents, how has your Exceptional Child fared while on medication? If wonderful great! If not so wonderful, don’t despair. This may mean either medication is not right for your child, or else you may not have found the right medication. The point is you will never know what works until you try everything. Don’ t be afraid to try different types of medications and see for yourself what does or does not work. Also, don’t be afraid to try different therapies to complement the medication and vice versa. Finding the right balance is what will help your exceptional child succeed. 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,


How Your Patience Can Help or Hinder Your Relationship With Your Exceptional Child

It’s been one of those challenging weeks, but not in the way you’d think. Michael has actually been doing a little better, though he has still had his moments when frustration and aggression have built up. It’s me who has had the challenges on the home front. I have had more issues keeping my cool at home, though I have managed. The thing is I have erupted after Michael has gotten on the bus in the morning or gone to bed. I have allowed myself time to fume, cry, yell or just breathe out the stress of the morning or evening. Sometimes I have allowed myself a little chuckle. After all, in spite of the challenging moments, there have been funny moments related to his puberty, like when he has made comments that are less than flattering. Hasn’t ever child in puberty done that? Or times when he has behaved so typically like a tween who is WAY cooler than his parents, that I have said, ok, it will be ok Joanne. He is not your average child. Nor will he ever be. But you are not your average Mom either. You have mornings like this one when you are in physical pain (I pulled a muscle in my calf), and are tired, so your patience is not the best. But you will get through it. You will breathe, laugh, remember that you can learn from the mistakes you make this morning, like making a big deal that he was taking his time to come do his insulin injection. He still managed to get it done in time. Or rushing around when he wanted to talk to you for fear you’d forget something when there was still time to double check. You both survived and made school and work on time.

It’s a juggling act keeping your personal space and respecting your Exceptional Child’s personal space when they have a hard time respecting yours. Michael will sometimes pull me close. Other times he will push me away, literally and figuratively. Then I hear him talking to his friends proudly telling them about me and Dad. He loves and respects us. This doesn’t always come out when we calmly ask him to follow his morning and evening routine. When we gently reprimand him for breaking rules of swearing or other social no no’s. Then he is not the sweet little boy talking gently to us. He is the little rebel who feels that his parents are against him. He makes excuses for himself based on the fact that his brain works differently.  I have (and fill in all the blanks). I get both angry and sad at the same time. Yes, his different brain causes some issues in how he sees and reacts to things, but it must not be used as an excuse for him to get away with anger, bitterness or fear. We are telling him this. He is learning this as well.

I am proud to see Michael using his calm card, other strategies and making positive changes. I am also proud that he is pushing me to up my ante and change my bad habits, such as how I sometimes overreact to his moods, hyper and angry, practice better self-care, and ask for what I need from my family as well as admitting it to myself. This has been a challenging week for me on all fronts, as I have learned what I can change in me to be a better person- more patient, forgiving and open. I need to take better care of me. I need to laugh more. I need to rest more. But above all, I need to see that Michael, like me, is trying, really trying to get better using whatever tools he can at his disposal. I need to use my tools so I don’t lose perspective and remember that no matter what, I can do this motherhood thing like I do this life thing. It is not always easy, but it is an amazing ride. An exceptional child really opens you up in all ways possible and shows you what you are made of. Like my fellow exceptional Moms and Dads, I realize I am made of strong stuff-not perfect, not always getting it right, but of learning, growing through the hard times, and becoming a stronger parent and human being overall.

Exceptional Parents, what have you learned from your Exceptional Children on your tough weeks? Yes! That is the way you need to start looking at all the bad times. They are not meant to break you. They are meant to build you up as a parent and caregiver, as well as build your child up. They are meant to make you become a more open, forgiving and calm person. Your child and the world need more calm souls. Remember, you can become that calm soul. Cultivate more peace and forgiveness towards your child and then you will be able to do it more towards yourself as well. 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,

When Your Exceptional Child Connects The Behavior Dots- 5 Positive Signs To Look Out For

We have just come off of a relatively good weekend and I am overjoyed. Notice, I do not say perfect, because  really,  with an exceptional child is there ever a perfect weekend? With any child is there a perfect weekend? I would say probably not. But for me, this weekend was the closest thing to perfect we have had in awhile. Why? Well, for one thing Michael is connecting the dots and understanding how his behavior impacts his life and ours. He is also using the new strategies we have been putting in, and when he messes up, has been apologizing legitimately. It has been wonderful to see him “getting” it.

I have also seen him so with it. He has been so observant of all things happening around him. He has noticed little things and asked me questions about the why’s and how’s. This has been a great comfort, as there have been some really rough days when he has tested through anger, as well as been so fearful and anxious. My heart has been breaking for him, and I have praying we find the right therapy and medication mix that can help him control himself and self-regulate at all times. He has been sensing when he is off and out of control, and asking me for help.

So, what have been some of the things I have noticed to show me Michael is connecting the behavior dots and that I think signify that all exceptional kids are catching on to a new structure or behavior program being implemented at home? Here are 5 of them:

  1. Using a calm down card immediately or close after getting angry: This is a great strategy our Educator told Michael about. When he gets angry, he is to take his card where he drew a picture of himself calming down. He is now using this card almost right away and it is helping a lot.
  2.  So alert to everything around him and admitting his mistakes: Another positive sign, is that Michael, though always observant, has started really picking up on fine details of how he needs to organize his schedule, day and night time. He is also taking things like homework and finding lost objects more seriously. He is apologizing when he gets upset at us and says hurtful things.
  3. Is handling the concept inappropriate behavior=negative consequences  and expresses regret about his choices-vows to learn: When he has chosen to be inappropriate and I have calmly put in the negative consequences for this behavior, Michael has expressed genuine regret for his choices and told me he misses his positive routine. For example, at bedtime he was being inappropriate so did not get his full bedtime hug and kiss, but simply a very quick good night. He told me he would do better next time. He likes the extra hugs and our evening bedtime prayer ritual!
  4. Saying he/she loves you and is happy with you: Some kids will say it, some will want to spend more time with parents or at home. Regardless, it means kids are getting the message that by listening and learning from their mistakes, things will only get better in their life.
  5. Talking about you positively to friends and at school: When your child is able to talk about family life positively to teachers and friends at school, and even shares cute anecdotes about you with them, you know your child is really understanding that they have a lot to be thankful for.

Exceptional Parents, are you seeing good changes in your child’s behavior after trying out new behavior tools in the home? If not, maybe it’s time to change your expectations for your child and what they are capable of at this time. Have a look at the behavior plan you have in place. What is not working? That is where you have to tweak and be willing to try new things. The main things in any successful behavior plan is consistency, allowing time for new ideas to take shape, staying calm and in control of your emotions, and most importantly of all, understanding that sometimes at the beginning of new changes in how you relate to your child, their behavior will get worse before it gets better. This is actually a good sign. Hang in there. Breathe. Allow a few days to a week. You will most likely see signs like the ones above. If you mess up, admit it to your child and yourself and learn from it. Let your child learn from their mess ups too. This is all a part of being human and learning to grow as an exceptional family. Above all, be proud of your child for trying and doing the best they can to succeed. Things will start to happen for the better if you keep an open mind. 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,


Educational Halloween Fun With Your Exceptional Child


It’s almost that time of year again-Halloween! Even with all the issues we are going through as a family, one of Michael’s favorite holidays is Halloween. He loves the whole premise of the costumes, trick or treating, as well as decorating for the holiday. Don’t all kids! As he gets older,  I try to use holidays as teaching opportunities to work on things like reading, math or other subjects.  There are so many good sites out there where parents can find interesting educational tools to practice teaching concepts in a fun way with their children. One of my favorite sites is They have lots of puzzles, word searches and other holiday themed sheets where kids can have fun and learn at the same time.

When your child is having a good day or is bored and needs something to keep busy with on a cold fall day in October, the following worksheet could be a great choice. Worksheets like this are also wonderful for teachers who can use them in the classroom to make learning fun as kids will be practicing grammar around a favorite holiday:

As a Mom, I love sharing new tools and sites to help exceptional families. I hope that you find these tools helpful and fun when learning and spending quality time as a family. I also hope it helps engage your child’s learning and imagination to the fullest.

Exceptional Parents, how do you make learning fun for your Exceptional Child? Remember, no matter what tools you use, follow their pace, level of interest and engagement. You will always be successful if you go that route. Until next time.

Disclosure Statement: I received the  PDF samples included in this blog post from for review purposes only. I was not compensated in any way for my writing. The opinions stated here are solely my own.

 I am a writer, speaker and parent coach whose son with autism and Type 1 Diabetes has shown me a whole new way to see the world and embrace the joy of the moment! I believe in empowering parents to trust their own instincts when it comes to their children, and in helping them parent with love, respect and confidence towards their child.

For more information on my coaching services, see my website:, and for a free 30 minute consultation session contact me at Also to receive a copy of my FREE E-BOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” click on


An Angry Child Is A Scared Child- Taking A Breath, Learning More Exceptional Parenting Lessons

So to say things have been tough in our family lately is the understatement of the year. More has been coming to light for us about Michael’s emotional issues. I have always known this deep down inside, but only recently have really discovered something. That something is how much Michael’s anger inside is related to feeling afraid, powerless, and out of control in the world. He has so many insecurities, and despite being able to articulate this feelings well, feel the tension in his body, it is still hard for him to self-regulate. We also have yet to find the right medication and therapy combination, so this is wreaking its own havoc on a very intense brain. Some days I have felt like I could not get through another day of walking on eggshells around him or handling yet another meltdown and aggressive outburst. Dad has felt the same. Still, we are both slowly seeing some progress. That progress is Michael understanding that his anger, both angry words and actions, have consequences at home. And when we mess up as parents due to our own stress being high or being tired or both, we chalk it down to a lesson learned and move on to NOT make that lesson again.

Michael is a child who holds back ALL the anger from school, all the horrible thoughts, but at home feels safer to express them in all his rages. When I am feeling tired and weak, it is hard to be compassionate and see the anger for what it is-fear. But when I am feeling strong and in control, I am aware that when he loses control and looks quite scary and older than his years, he is still a scared quiet little boy who does not know what to do. It is then up to Dad and I to model calm, collected behavior, to reach out and show Michael that he does not need to be afraid. He just needs to learn to self-soothe, use his strategies. We have taken great comfort, after a very hard start to the week, that even though Michael is still having blowups, yesterday and today he is recognizing, “I need to use my calm card. I need to breathe.” Also, due to Dad and I putting down firmer boundaries over unacceptable behavior- (i.e. losing points he is accumulating towards a bigger prize, outings in the community) he is beginning to recognize and immediately apologize for his mistakes as he is seeing what is costing him when he is misbehaving. I have felt a lot more respect for Dad and I as the week has progressed whenever we have been consistent.

Consistency is what is the key. No matter how much the child is upset, angry, afraid, the parent needs to put boundaries in place. I have sensed a closeness from Michael since I began doing this. He has expressed his love for me more frequently, and reiterated how he wants to get better so he could live peacefully with us and in society. Things like this have made the hard nights easier to bear. I see that Michael is a tough kid, and that I may not have been giving him enough credit to cope with stress. As he matures, he needs to know that we trust him to behave in a certain way, and that he is bigger than his fears always.

Exceptional Parents, have you sometimes missed your Exceptional Child’s fear for anger? It is easy when we see them blowing up that it is all about the anger. But really, anger is just the child feeling super powerless, and like they have nothing to hang on to. This is where you come in as the parent. You remind them about their tools, let them use them to calm down, and stay close by for emotional support. Once your child realizes they do not need to be afraid and they can handle things, the power games will disappear. Until next time.

Feeling stressed about special needs parenting? Looking for tools to cope with raising your child while handling your own emotions at the same time? I will be there alongside you. As a parent who has been there and is still handling more challenges, I know what needs to be done to help your family be healthy and in balance.

For more information about me and my journey as well as my coaching programs,  check out my website,  as well as my FREE E-BOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL PARENTING” at 

Am I Up For This Exceptional Mom Thing Anymore-Taking Stock and Knowing You Can Do This Parenting Thing

The last two weeks have been some pretty tough weeks for our whole family, and weeks that once again, have had me asking myself, am I up for being Michael’s Mom anymore as if there was really a choice, right? Of course I  am up for it. I love him and anyway, I need to be up for it! He is my flesh and blood. I brought him into this world and it is my duty and vocation to give him the tools he needs to be a successful and loving contributor to the world. But it is so hard. I I love him so much and see all his potential, all his talent, all the incredible things he brings to the world, but supporting him (and myself and husband) through the rough turbulent times have made me think that sometimes I can’t, or dare I say it, don’t want to do it anymore. I know he is the one dealing with his multiples mental health and physical issues, it is not happening to me,  but as his guardian, I am being challenged every day too and is Dad. It has been rough on us as individuals, and rough on our marriage. I look forward to the day when things will settle and then think, will it? What is settling for an exceptional parent?

Still, that is the life of a parent, and for me my passion in life alongside writing. I have a passion for helping kids who are different. Where other people see a damaged child, I see a child whose potential has not yet been tapped. Where others see an “obsession” I see a talent that has yet to be explored. Of course, it is easy to see this in other special children. I do not live with them. I do not have to handle raising them while simultaneously running a house, trying to keep up with family and friends, and work on my marriage. This is the reality of my life and all parents’ lives. This is the reality of most exceptional parents’ lives. What I am realizing though, is even when I am at my lowest thinking all Michael’s aggression and anxiety is something over the top for me and that I can’t handle it, I begin to  remind myself of something important. How have I handled things up to now? I have learned much.  What has Michael taught me about myself, good and bad? How have I grown as a woman and person? I guess I will continue to grow even more.

Yes, there is pain in parenting an exceptional child, especially when you cannot reach them or they are seemingly against you. Really this is fear, anxiety, oppositional issues and puberty. Sometimes there are other issues too. But as the parent you’ve got to remember not to take it personally. You’ve got to remember there will be good days when you get where they are coming from and days when you are clueless. There will be days you want to run screaming off into the night complete with plane ticket in hand,  and days where you celebrate the victories they have achieved doing things you never thought would be possible.  There are a lot more off the positive days, I can happily assure you. And there will be days you may think they are better off without you, a parent who can’t possibly do what the experts do, but then quickly realize, no one knows your child like you. No one can tell the said experts who your child is, what their strengths and limitations are, and fill in the blanks about the unique individual that they are.

Experts will come and go. You will assemble many teams. If you are lucky, they will be fantastic, as has happened with us. I truly believe that when that occurs it is  because God, fate and the Universe will bring them to you and you to them through reflection and soul searching. Meditate on what you and your child need. Be honest about your family’s struggles.  You are up for the journey as hard as it gets. So is your child. They are made of harder stuff than you think.  You are ready to move forward with your child, love them for who they are, and as long as you stay calm and practice self-care, you will always always be their best advocate and voice for a world that may not always get them.

Exceptional Parents, have you ever thought you weren’t enough for your child and that your ideas of parenting were wrong for them? Have you ever felt that you are not able to move your child forward on their exceptional journey and they are unhappy and stuck with so many issues? You are not alone. There are so many parents who want to give up on their child or who feel their child has given up on them. Sadly, some parents follow through on this. They need not. They are not failures. As long as they are working in their child’s best interests- making sure their child has life’s basic necessities, stimulating therapy and positive family and friendship experiences, their child is on the right track. And remember, no matter what, parents never stop advocating for their children and their well-being. Children will  sense this down to the bottom of their soul. 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,

Being The Harbor For Your Exceptional Child

How many times have most parents thought what the heck have I gotten myself into in becoming a parent? I can tell you, I have thought this SO many times as an exceptional parent. I love my son more than anything in the universe and could not imagine life without him, but oh, to have the experience I have now in parenting him years ago. And even now, there are times I think, where do I go from here? Puberty, multiple diagnoses, and just general testing of boundaries, makes exceptional parenting a  minefield for most parents. But what I have learned in the hard moments is to trust in my parenting gut when I know and do not know what to do. When I know it, I do it. Easy enough. When I am unsure and on new ground, I meditate and calm my inner mind. Next I ask God and the Universe for guidance. I ask to be directed to the right people and resources to help Michael. I am never let down. Within days, my path is cleared and I have new tools. My confidence builds and I move forward again.

Michael has taught (and continues to) teach me SO much about my patience, anger, strengths and limitations. I have been broken down and rebuilt as a Mom, woman and human being. He has humbled me to work on my frailties while helping him work on his. I have had my eyes opened when I have misinterpreted what he is feeling. I realize that no parent can know any child one hundred percent, whether they have special needs or not.  And I have also learned how to make the tough choices. How to do things he does not like. How to teach him to cope with stress. This is a daily struggle for both of us. How to navigate my marriage with an exceptional child in puberty, how to navigate and practice self-care with an exceptional child in puberty, and most importantly, how to admit when I need a shoulder to cry on-family, friend, deity or all of the above. I do not hesitate now, even with all I’ve learned, to say  “I’ve had it. I need help. I need a break.”

Every parent has to learn to do this. Every parent has to learn to teach their child to do this. Every parent needs to know when they need to switch on or off. If you do not know, talk to someone about it. If family or friends don’t understand, seek professional help. The sooner you are in good shape, the sooner you can help your child reset and understand them better. In the meantime, keep these tips in mind to be your child’s safe harbor:

  1. Sleep Enough
  2. Eat Enough
  3. Laugh Enough
  4. Share Enough
  5. See Your Child As Struggling In Themselves, Even In Their Darkest Moments With You.

Exceptional Parents, are you often your Exceptional Child’s safe harbor? If you feel that lately you are the one needing that harbor, it is ok. Remember, even when you feel you can’t go on, you will find a way to do so. You are your child’s safe harbor. Keep your own lights on and your vehicle ready to help, and you will be able to see your child through any challenge. 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,

Recognizing Deliberate and Uncontrollable Behavior In Your Exceptional Child


The last month has been a little bit of a whirlwind for Michael and I. We have both been trying to wrap our heads around the changes he is going through- Michael asking for help, and me turning to our team, great articles, and mostly to God as well as doing a lot of inner contemplation of my feelings as a Mom, particularly as Michael’s Mom and how I could do this exceptional Mom thing better.

“Is the new medication going to help me Mommy?”

This was Michael’s intelligent and heartbreaking question to me this morning. We have tried a few new medications to help him control his severe anxiety and phobias, and all have ended badly. Michael’s brain chemistry is not compatible with them. This is a true of a lot of kids who have ASD and other mental health challenges. Of course, every person is different so that makes it difficult to find the right medication/therapy formula too. But I felt so bad. So bad that as his Mom, I could not find the miracle solution to help my little boy as I did when he was younger, before puberty and diabetes hit and changed his body so completely.

“I hope so honey. Remember, we won’t know until we try it.”

I decided that in spite of a very rough week with Michael due to the side effects of yet another medication gone bad, I needed to remind myself to praise the moments when he was calm, thoughtful, and handling things beautifully. I needed to see when he was in control, and when he was not. A couple of times this week I forgot this message and simply got angry myself. It did not go well for either of us. Michael’s Educator reminded me he is not well at the moment. He needs the right formula to heal, and until we find it, we need to cut him some emotional slack. It does not mean allowing aggression or abuse, but supporting him in finding positive tools to calm himself and modeling those tools myself.

I have had some moments this week I have regretted as a Mom. I yelled and was less patient than I wanted to be. I was feeling sorry for myself which is understandable. Raising an exceptional child is a 24 hour a day job. But Michael is the one living it. Michael is the one that wants to be like everyone else and can’t. This is another thing he says that breaks my heart in a million pieces. But then come the moments when he gets it and I think, it will be ok. We will be ok. He is back to mapping out areas to go, watching cooking shows, and talking to friends on the phone. These were all things with OCD that flew out the window this summer with his fear. He is also more observant, savvy and catches on quickly to so many things. He is so smart when he chooses to focus. But then there are the times that he can’t stop himself from being distracted. He can’t turn off. I get so worried and angry, worried because his blood sugar has been going up due to the medications he is on, as well I am sure as stress and lack of exercise during the week as we both get in later.

I get so angry that I can’t fix this. I can’t make it better. Then I remember, I am separate from Michael and he from me. I love him and he loves me, but although I can support and show him the right path to take, I cannot make him take it. It is so frustrating, and I hope in time we can find the right balance for him. Until then, all I can do is see what is in his control and what is not. What is in his control I am encouraging him to take charge of. What is not in his control Dad and I are trying to help him with. Here is where the patience comes in to not take the hard times personally. I tend to do this. What am I doing wrong as a Mom? I used to know him. I used to be able to reach him. Now I have this argumentative, anxious stressed child that I don’t always have the answers for. I know that is not realistic. No mother can know her child one hundred percent. We’v all got to be patient, not take each other personally, and go from there. That is what I have started doing as a Mom

Exceptional Parents, are you able to see what your Exceptional Child can and cannot control concerning their behavior? Once you see the pattern, you’ll know more how to help them handle it and learn ways to handle your own guilt. It is not your fault. You are separate from your child and need to know that you and they are responsible for your own emotions always. Until next time.