Author: joannegiacomini

Understanding Autism and Figuring Out How To Handle Emotions- My Son’s Exceptional Puberty Journey

So the last few days have been about Michael coming to terms with handling turbulent puberty while also acknowledging his autism. He told me he asked many of his classmates at his adapted school if they have autism. Some of them answered yes, some of them said no. Michael said they have other challenges or different brains which they have shared with him. Michael also said he thinks some of them may have autism, but are not sure or don’t know and he thinks they may have it as they stim like him or do other things he says people with autism do. Dad and I told him many years ago when he asked what autism was, that he had it, and explained how it meant he sees the world differently than a lot of people who don’t have autism. Recently, I read him a great article our Educator gave him that explains what autism is written by someone with autism for someone with autism. It was eye opening for me too, and I thought that I knew pretty much all there was to know about autism, at least from a neuro typical person’s standpoint.

What I found most interesting was how Michael asked me questions about consent and law abiding behavior, and how a lot of people with autism handled the world around him. He is learning how to deal with anger, frustration and aggression while being aware that he needs to follow the same principles of respect for self, others and property that we all need to follow.  He understands his brain works a little differently, but Dad and I have been telling him that a different set of rules do not apply to him as a result. Yes, his learning materials can be adapted, he has his own IEP, but he still has to follow the same law of safety that governs all people in the world, autistic and non-autistic. I am proud of the questions he is asking me though, about people, about consent, about sex, about feelings towards the opposite and same sex. I am proud that he is thinking about the big questions and wants to make good choices.

Exceptional Parents, does your child know about their different brain or sense that they are not the same as anyone else? Have you held off telling them until you feel they are ready? In the end, you need to listen to your parenting gut. Some kids want and need to know right away. For others, the time to have the conversation is a long way off. Whatever you decide, remember your child’s unique way of viewing the world, whether they are in puberty or not, is part of what makes them special and their contribution to the world something incredible. Remember, we are all here for a reason. 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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The Eureka Moment When Your Exceptional Child Connects Their Own Behaviors and Consequences

It has been a long hard two years. I look at how far our family has come in understanding anger-Michael’s anger and our own. This goes beyond behavior and reward charts. This means really understanding where anger is coming from, what is being triggered, what is in and out of our control, and how to control it. Michael by far I am the most proud of, as he is the child and he has a lot more hurdles to overcoming anger than any of the adults around him. This week, even with some tough days, I had the pleasure of seeing and hearing Michael make the connections of what his behavior (good and bad) got him. When he had positive moments, I celebrated with them. When he had negative moments, my heart broke for him, yet I was happy to hear him say, “I lost out on that fun activity because of my behavior. I have to learn to control my anger.” Yes! This may not sound like much, but a child who is extremely impulsive and struggles with self-esteem and hyperactivity, realizing he can have control over his actions, even if it is not always easy, is huge. At least for me it was.

Things that Michael has started doing is using fidget toys again to keep his hands busy so they are not doing anything inappropriate like squeezing or touching without permission. Michael has also started using his words to express how he is feeling. For example, he will now tell us that he wants privacy and no reminders about getting up in the morning. He sees the time on his alarm clock and will get up and in the kitchen at an agreed upon time. The same goes for his bath or shower time. We have discussed his schedule and he knows what he has to do. If he gets a late start, he has to hurry through, but get the important things done. He has learned that good self-regulation begins with learning how to use tools to calm ourselves down and having medication that helps make this possible.

I have also learned what words or phrases set him off and make it harder for him to calm down. He is learning how to not panic if Dad or I forget and in our anger use trigger words. After all, he will sometimes use words that trigger us, and Dad and I have to use the same tools to self-regulate and set a good example. When we do not, we need to come clean, apologize, and move forward. After all, everyone out there has trigger words. A civilized society exists when people learn to communicate beyond their initial anger impulses. There is a lot of discussion, clarity and consistency now in how Dad and I parent, how we explain things to Michael, and how he communicates to us as well. It has made an amazing difference and I finally see a light at the end of our behavioral tunnel, so to speak.

Exceptional Parents, are you struggling with challenging behavior from your Exceptional Child now? Whatever form it takes, remember first calm down and observe your child. See what they are doing and why. What is the root cause of their behavior? Are they frustrated? Do they need attention? Are they overwhelmed and lack impulse control? Chart it-what happens before the behavior, how they react, and what happens including what you do. From there, you can work to teach them proper ways to self-regulate and learn some tips yourself about keeping calm in the storm. 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.

Boy or Man-Surviving the Transition to Exceptional Puberty

I miss the days when Michael was predictable and when I, as his Mom, could make all his decisions. My life had so much stress in many ways, but was easier to understand in others. Now, I have what I have been praying for- a young man who is responsible for making his own decisions, good and bad, only sometimes they are not the right ones in my book. He will fall. He will get up. He will start over. Sometimes not. And I need to be ok to step back and let him do it. But boy, is it hard. There is a huge weight off my shoulders when I realize HE is the only one who can decide on his course of action and suffer the consequence or get the benefit. I am only a guide to show him a healthy way to grow.

On the positive side, I am seeing a maturity in Michael that I have never seen before. I am seeing him handle disappoint better than ever before. I am seeing him ask for more responsibility at school, and at home for more space. No more, “play with me Mom,” it’s now,  “I want to listen to my music  and call my friends. Take me somewhere please so  I can navigate or look at video games.” He will turn to me to share confidences and ask questions. There are lots of questions. Still, peers play a HUGE role. I am both grateful and worried, as he will do anything for his friends. This is the time to show him how he needs to make sure he is following good examples, not bad ones, all the while avoiding the teen temper outbursts that will occur from time to time. My little boy is becoming a man in body and spirit. He is grappling with other neurological challenges and physical ones at the same time. I have never needed patience and serenity more than I do now. I rely on God and the wonderful people he has surrounded me with on my journey, to help guide Michael on the best possible path. Yes, he is still learning how to find his way, as his mother is learning to navigate.

Exceptional Parents, are you grappling with a major age milestone change right now with your Exceptional Child? Remember, stay calm. Express unconditional love to them.  Listen to what they have to say, and just be there to show them how to be a positive light in the world. In time as they grow, they will find their own vibration and what it means to be themselves. They will also learn how to love themselves for who they are. 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.

Stepping Back To Help Your Exceptional Child Self-Regulate- 5 Ways To Do It

The thing I used to hate the most when Michael was little was hearing him cry. The long crying spells and tantrums used to make me feel inept, helpless and desperate. What was I doing wrong as a mother that my baby would not stop crying? I used to marvel at other Moms in parks, shopping malls, at church. They seemed to keep their wits about them and not die a thousand deaths every time their child cried. Both my mother and mother-in-law tried to reassure me. That is how he is communicating. They were right of course. The calm Moms I witnessed all around me were right too. But then so was I. You see, Michael did not know how to self-regulate, and I did not know how to teach him to do that until much later when I realized that kids with special needs take longer to achieve these milestones than other children.

I think it all stemmed from my own childhood. I had been an EXTREMELY sensitive child who would cry whenever upset. Self-regulation had been challenging for me at that time, but I learned to shed tears to a supportive mother and later on my own as an adult in the comfort of my own room. I suffered a lot until my thirties though, until I learned how yoga, exercise and meditation could help curb  stress and anxiety. I also learned that it had to be ME who fixed my problems and no one else. After a burnout I realized if I didn’t learn how to be responsible for my own emotions, I would continue to suffer. There was no such thing as superwoman. It was not a healthy place to be in.

Fast forward to motherhood. I knew I had to teach Michael self-regulation and didn’t want him suffering till adulthood before he found his way, but after coming to terms with his diagnoses, I  couldn’t help but worry, could he do this, could I teach him? I was feeling overwhelmed and wondering how to teach a child whose brain was so different than mine. Where would I start?  I was helped by great psycho educators as well as other therapists who gave me good tools. I also picked the brains of my Mom friends and found out what worked for their kids.From all those wonderful individuals (as well as doing some of my own brainstorming) here  is a list of ways to help your child  self-regulate:

  1. Let them cry or feel anger: This is the hardest thing to do, but remember crying and getting angry are not what the problem is. It is not being able to stop the tears or the anger from growing. That is where the destructive parts come in. Having them come up with strategies like stepping away to breathe, going for a short walk, squeezing something can help calm the storm of anger or anxiety.
  2. Talk about when you’ve lost control and how you reacted to fix it: Depending on how much your child understands and can communicate, it is important to share your own experiences with anger and sadness honestly. This does not mean every detail. They should not bear the burden of your emotional issues, but telling them what you did that worked or failed will be helpful for them to find strategies.
  3. Ask them what they think would make them feel better: When your child is calm, ask them what they like to do to be happy. Also, observe what they seem to gravitate to when upset. Do they like hugs, movement, deep pressure? These are indications of things you can suggest as self-regulation tools.
  4. Teach them how to show unconditional love to themselves: Sadly, this is something most adults lack or have difficulty with-self-love and acceptance even when our faults rise to the surface. Before you can teach a child to love him/herself unconditionally though, you must show them how you love yourself unconditionally. This means that even when you mess up as an adult, you take responsibility, calm down, name what you did wrong, and start the healing process. We all make mistakes. It is ok, and is part of life.
  5. Give them choice and remind them it is THEIR job to calm themselves down. Too many exceptional kids are told what to do by the adults around them. Yes, adults need to guide them, but it is important that in guiding them, you do not tell them HOW to calm down. There is not one way. There are many. They have to (with gentle loving guidance), figure out what tools will work for them. Another thing to remember. It is their job to calm themselves down. Not yours. Not their therapists. Not their teachers. This is so hard for a parent, but invaluable to make your child accountable for how they feel and who they are.

Exceptional Parents, how many times have you wished you could take back  a stressful event or events from your Exceptional Child’s life? It’s not a good idea. The thing is, resilient kids are made when they are forced to find ways to handle their own individual stress. Our kids need to be given tools to handle their anxiety, anger and depression. But we can’t be constantly rescuing them. If we do this, we will make them feel as if they can’t do it on their own. As hard as it is, parents have to be offer support, tools and their own life experiences as guides and suggestions. Then it’s time to step back, let your child fall and pick themselves back up. Eventually they will learn what they need to do to succeed. Remember, a different brain is not an inferior brain. Your child can and will come in their own if they see you believe in them and love them for all they are. 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

Your Exceptional Child and Their Exceptional Brain-Being Ready To Handle Anything

So I’ve mentioned Michael is in puberty. It has been an interesting journey as his Mom with lots of ups and downs. What continues to amaze me though, is how perceptive he is. Yes, kids who are exceptional can experience crushes, sexuality and have questions like any child would. Some will be older asking these questions, but some peak early. My advice is be ready to answer the questions the same way you would have if your child did not have special needs. Keep language simple. Stay calm and let them know you are there for them. Michael has progressed from asking questions about puberty, to asking why his body behaves how it does, to crushes, to sex, and everything in between. There is still a lot of of innocence in his questions and he is happy with simple answers. For now. I am ready for the more complex questions though. I have been formulating for awhile what to say, and am getting ready with some good articles and books that will fill in the blanks that may be hard for me to explain. This is especially true as I am a female explaining male sexuality to my son.

We are also lucky that Michael has a male teacher this year and a lot of male support staff. I know they will help fill in any blanks I have been unable to fill in. I was surprised so far how easy it has been talking to Michael about puberty, sex and grown up feelings. I’m sure there will be times it will challenging in the future, but as long as a parent remains truthful, honest and calm, it can be a very informative exchange. Like in the past, I was amazed about how he can understand certain concepts. It’s really good I stopped underestimating what he knew and where he would be at a long time ago. This way I am ready to meet him where he is, and share what I know to guide him lovingly to answers.

Exceptional Parents, are you stuck helping your Exceptional Child through a difficult or challenging time, whatever the subject is? Are you amazed how much they know or want to know? This is why it is a called a spectrum. Your child will continue to shock you with what they know and want to know. They will also shock you with what they understand. Sometimes your explanations will be clear. Sometimes they will not understand and ask for clarification.  That’s ok. You will figure out what to say.  As long as you are honest with what you know, how you feel about them, and what information you are willing to uncover to fill in the blanks, it will help bring you both closer together. Most importantly, they will learn to trust how their brain works and that asking questions to someone who loves them unconditionally is the best way to learn. 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 Help Your Exceptional Child Build Life Resilience- It All Starts With You!

So this morning was one of those mornings with Michael that did not go as planned to say the least. It ended with a fight right before the bus came, no time for apologies on either end, and me sitting down to collect my harried  stressed out thoughts, and accidentally knocking over my traditional full “sigh of successful morning routine done” second cup of coffee  on to the floor with coffee and cherished cup coffee shattering everywhere. The irony was not lost on me as I selected that particular mug from the cabinet earlier that morning for its reminder to stay positive. The mug had been inscribed with “Worry Less, Smile More.” I have the whole series from a local Dollarstore and love them for their uplifting messages to me as I start my morning . What can I say? Some people have “Word of the Day” Calendars, I have coffee mugs, but I digress.

Anyway, as I sat there fuming at my son and myself for how poorly we handled our emotions, how strategies at self-control were not practiced, and how I wished I could crawl into bed with a good book and stay there, I thought of one word.   Resilience. Resilience means learning to stand strong in the face of defeat or stress or unexpected developments. It means not being afraid to get back up on the horse no matter how frustrated, angry or tired we are. I also thought that resilience is what makes or breaks all of us, child or adult, exceptional or not, and what helps us succeed in this world. I’ll never forget the words a teacher of Michael’s once told me.

“Joanne, forget academics. If he has the basics down pat, that’s all that matters. What is most important are life smarts.”

She went on to tell me that he had many life smarts, and she saw more emerging. However like Dad and I, she was worried about how he handled things like anger and frustration. Her exact words were,

“He’ll be fine as long as he doesn’t bring home that anger and frustration without knowing how to cope with it.”

She knew about his struggles at home with Dad and I, and she rightfully was concerned, as were we, about him bringing that anger home as an adult to a roommate, partner or in a group home facility, wherever he would one day reside. We knew we had to act and began working on teaching Michael resiliency along with his home team. At school he also has an amazing team that works with him. Team Michael is incredibly supportive on both fronts, and when I think I cannot do this Exceptional Mom thing anymore, I remember, I have my people.

So, this got me thinking about teaching Michael resilience in the face of things going wrong or being stressful.  How could I do that? Of course I’ve read (and been recommended) lots of great parenting books. I’ve talked to my Mom friends who are also invaluable resources. But what really stands out for me lately, is how am I showing personal resilience in my life when things don’t go my way? It depends on the day. Some days are easier than others. Days I’ve invested in more self-care and time alone to regroup have obviously made me more resilient than days I have been burning my candle at both ends. Still, resilience is a work in progress and something we always need to work on . So how can we help our child be more resilient to life’s obstacles? Here are some ways I’ve found have worked:

  1. Challenge Them With Unexpected Changes Once In A While: It’s important they learn to expect the unexpected as life is not always predictable. Just to make sure they are not completely overwhelmed though, have a predictable routine the rest of the time.
  2. Teach Them How To Use Strategies To Control Hard Emotions: Give your child options of how to calm down-deep breathing, yoga positions, fidget toys, sensory tools and for older children, a social story or visuals to help them figure out what to do.
  3. Share Your Successes and Failures With Your Child: Share your resilient and not so resilient moments with your child. Help them see what worked and what didn’t.
  4. Help Them Let Out Hard Emotions Safely: It is equally important to know when it is ok to let out hard emotions and when is the time to wait to do this. Regardless, emotions and admitting we are angry, scared or frustrated should never be pushed down, but handled in a calm, controlled way.
  5. Help Them See When Others Are Struggling and Buddy Up: It is also good if you could help your child see when family or friends are struggling and how they could remind these people to use strategies to calm down and regroup. This way your child will not feel alone.

Exceptional Parents, what are some of your resilience tricks to stay grounded? Remember, there is no wrong or right answer. The important thing is that your child learns that they are not at the mercy of their emotions, but can exhibit control with the right strategies. 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.

 

Staying In Your Groove As An Exceptional Parent-What Makes You Tick?

What has Michael taught me over the years? Are you sitting down? This could take awhile. 🙂  For starters, he has showed me how to truly be more at ease with myself after MANY years of denying who I was. He broke me down first, as all children do, exceptional and otherwise.This breaking down was necessary for me to build my true spirit, fight for what I want, and see the things I needed to work on in order to achieve my dreams-having more patience, having more confidence, developing boundaries for myself and around others, and just plain learning how to stay in my daily groove in order to do the work I was supposed to do. This is a give and take process. Some days I am in that groove very easily. Other days I am triggered as a Mom. I now remind myself that it is ok. I am human and learning. The thing is your child will figure out what triggers you quickly and use that when they are frustrated. This is where it is important to remain calm, collected and neutral. By doing this , you will teach your child that you are the calm in the storm and that you can teach them to be that calm as well.

The thing is that it is essential for an Exceptional Parent to know what sets them off for the worse. Any kind of trigger your child or someone else provokes that upsets you will get in the way of helping yourself and your child handle their stress and anxiety level. It will also cause you to undermine yourself and question your own coping mechanisms. Stress is a part of life, personal and professional. It’s how we handle the stress and the tools we use to help ourselves grow, that will make all the difference for us and our children. When we stay in the groove, we apply tools that have worked for us in the past to calm our minds and bodies. Things like yoga, meditation, exercise, getting enough rest and having alone time, are all good tools to help us build our parenting resilience to life, and showing our child to do the same thing. Also, never stop learning and asking what you could do better as a parent and human being. That will guide you in the right direction.

Exceptional Parents, how do you stay in your groove and set the example for your Exceptional Child? It’s ok if sometimes your child is more in their groove than you are in yours. It means the lessons you taught them are working! It also means you need to give yourself some down time to come up for air, chill out, and begin again with breathing, focusing on the present moment, and staying positive that you will find a solution to help yourself and your child through the stressful moments. 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.

 

Letting Go Of Pride, Asking And Accepting Help For Yourself And Your Exceptional Family

I have a hard time asking for help. There, I’ve said it. Maybe there is a support group for this out there. If not, I’ve often thought how I should start one. Many women, especially exceptional Moms, have a hard time admitting the world is closing in on them. But this is normal. We all experience times when we need to reach out and ask for help or accept help in order to move forward in a healthy manner. This month I experienced this firsthand.  I developed a case of severe tendonitis. I am still healing from it, and  I am now seeing what the Universe and God have been trying to tell me since the fall. Slow down Joanne. I also had two bad muscle pulls in my legs. They didn’t slow me down as much as the tendonitis, but I was not able to do my yoga or exercise and even meditate comfortably. What did I say to myself? As soon as I heal, I will go back to exercising 3 times a week, and yoga along with my daily meditation. I need to do this to feel whole, in balance and to be my best self. What I did I do instead? Make excuses to not exercise.

Yes, I was stressed with all the issues we have been dealing with concerning Michael, even though things have been getting better. Yes, I was tired. Yes, I needed to write and was glad that I did and am glad I am still doing that. But I broke a sacred promise to myself about self-care and it showed in my patience and energy level at home. Before long, I felt overwhelmed as I could not bring myself to ask for help from family and friends.. There it is. Asking for help, and eek, accepting it. Hard concepts for me and for most women. We are so used to keeping to ourselves, fighting our kids’ battles, and fighting our own. We don’t want to appear weak. Weak doesn’t get services and help for our kids. Weak makes our child feel frightened and our family fall apart, or so we tell ourselves.  Weak means we can’t cope and we will drown. This is a fallacy.

We want to carry our family, and we often do, but at the cost of our own mental and physical well-being most of the time. So what can we do if we feel we are burning the candle at both ends? It’s one of the easiest and hardest things in the world-ask for help from those around you. Ask family and friends for physical and emotional help. Ask the Universe and God to lead you to people who can open up doors for you and your child, but most important of all, let go of the fact that you are weak if you need to ask or accept help of any kind. The strong parent does this, for themselves and their child. Don’t wait for a stressful life event to remind you of your mortality. I knew better, but still it took me getting a physical injury to be reminded of the support from family and friends that I have. Everyone has rallied around to help me and my family move forward and we are all doing fine, including me. It’s time I remember the lesson fate has been trying to teach me from the beginning-ask for help for you an your family IMMEDIATELY when you need it. Don’t wait for a stressful life events strike.

Exceptional Parents, how good are you at asking for and accepting help? Both are important in order to be reminded that you are not alone, that you are strong enough to show your child that you can support them in every way possible as you accept support when you need it, and that you will grow from the help and love around you 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

When To Organize And When to Be Spontaneous In Exceptional Family Life

Believe it or not, there are still times when I wonder whether it’s best to plan ahead of time with Michael or be a little more spontaneous in family life. After all, both of these  elements are important in building a well-rounded person. Though I know how important structure and predictability is to any child, especially a child with autism, learning to handle the unexpected is equally important. This could be anything from changes in plans, to disappointment to coping with overwhelming feelings. Kids need to be taught this and to practice it with their family and in other settings.

In Michael’s case, he needs more structure than anything else, but lately I have been noticing happily that he is becoming more flexible and able to understand things that are difficult, concepts that are challenging. He will also ask for clarification, and is really one to negotiate a situation to see if things can be good for him and me. It is actually kind of cute. I, for my part, am happy to see that he is starting to understand that certain ambiguity is part of life.

Things parents can begin to do to teach their child to handle adversity and challenges is to talk about challenges and how your overcame them, admit fears and that this is a normal part of life, and introduce various scenarios (role play) and ask your child how they would handle something like that happening. If a child is not there verbally, then using pictos to illustrate the situations,  having your child draw out scenarios is another. Don’t be afraid to be creative! This will help your child take more from what you are teaching.

Exceptional Parents, how do you teach your Exceptional Child about predictability and spontaneity? How successful have they been at picking up either or both concepts? I would love to hear your stories! In the end, if there are problems in comprehension, it just means you need to return to the drawing board and try something else. Remember, never underestimate your child’s intelligence or resilience. They will be successful if you set them up for success and teach them to believe in themselves as wholeheartedly as you do. 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

 

Noticing And Rewarding The Positive Moments Of Your Exceptional Child

Michael amazes me. I have said this before, but now more than ever, I see his future potential when I see the mature moments he is capable of, despite the challenges. This is something I hold on to, for when things are tough, they are tough. He has been doing so well out in public at doctor’s appointments in particular. There is a new maturity in how he handles medical information about his diabetes, his eye health and his mental health. He admits his struggles with controlling his temper, and is scared about how he loses control. Dad and I are constantly trying to help him tweak new strategies to get calm and stay that way. I am also learning how to reward the positive moments. This means verbally and with a points system where he earns a certain amount of points for a predetermined prize. Praise and time spent going places with us is one of his favorite rewards.

I have to admit that I sometimes forget about how important it is to acknowledge the positive moments. I am trying though. I truly believe that all kids want to do good, act appropriately and control their impulses. Some of them are wired differently though, so impulse and self-control are challenging.When parents don’t have the right tools to handle kids with these issues (or have those issues themselves), this can spell disaster for self-regulation in these kids. The good news is that children can be taught how to control impulses and self-regulate, even exceptional kids. It just takes A LONG time and  A LOT of patience on the part of families. But we can’t give up on them. It is especially important that when we see they are truly connecting with positive parenting changes we are putting in, tough love initiatives, and wanting to be with us even if they are the surly teenager at other times, we are certainly doing something right.

So what things should a parent watch for to reward? Here are some:

1) Your child does things without being asked: This is important as a lot of oppositional kids need to be told over and over what to do.

2) Your child wants to be with you: A lot of challenging kids will not want to listen to parents or be with them. If this changes and they want time with you, success is happening.

3) Your child is polite and respectful- manners, talking calmly and being sympathetic to you: This is awesome if they are doing this. Most challenging kids want to get a rise out of you by doing negative things. If they are instead happy to get attention by positive things it is all the better.

Exceptional Parents, how do you reward positive behavior in a challenging child? Do you sometimes forget to acknowledge it? If so, how about charting positive behavior like you do negative? This could be a great way to remind yourself (and your child) of all the time they do well and make good choices. It will help them and you not lose faith about a positive future. Until next time.

Are the parent of an Exceptional Child struggling with how best to handle challenging behavior?  I can help you find your confidence as a parent again. For more information about my journey and coaching programs, check out my website: http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com. Let me help personalize tools that will help your Exceptional family thrive!