Category: diary, journal, craft,

Art, Creative Expression and The Maturity Journey – My Exceptional Son’s New Found Love in Making Bracelets


Michael has always been artistic. He learned to sing whole songs before he could talk. He loved music and dancing to all kinds of children’s music. After that, he graduated to playing musical instruments like his toy electric piano, his toy accordion and a tamborine. He put on concerts for us where he sang popular pop song lyrics and improvised with the music on his instruments. But drawing and arts and crafts, that kind of art, was always something he struggled with both in school and at home. He’d look at me as if I had two heads if I mentioned making crafts at home or doing anything arts and crafty. Yes, he was artistic, but not in the crafty way, if you know what I mean. That is why this year at school, an now at camp, I am extra impressed and proud that he growing to regard art and any kind of fine motor art work as fun and interesting.

His favorite subjects at school are now music, science and art! The work he brought home this year blew me away! It was especially beautiful for me to see how he is growing in maturity, despite the tough year with challenging behaviors that we had. It made it even nicer to experience as a result. And now he has been at a new camp this year. It is going very well, and he started making bracelets. Yes, you heard me. He started beading bracelets on his own! He made one for himself, and one for me and his Dad (the two pictured above), and now he is working on bracelets for the rest of the family, grandparents and cousins! It has blown me away how into this he is, and I am so proud of his growing confidence and maturity. It is also helping him transition from that strange age, 10, when a child is not a baby, but not a teenager. And though he is developmentally delayed so he is not quite 10 in all areas, in many he is and is struggling with how to entertain himself when he is home.

“I don’t want to play with toys Mommy. But I hate board games. What can I do alone?”
This morning in the car on the way to camp, we talked about different games I would show him in August when he is home from camp, and different things he can now do in the evening before bed. I spoke about puzzles, drawing and painting that he likes to do, playing on his instruments and then Michael added beading bracelets. Yes, his ability to entertain himself at home, which is still hard, is on the way to being realized.  I am so proud of his maturity, and I am trying to go with his flow. A few weeks ago we bought face paint at an arts and crafts store as Michael has also become fascinated with face painting at summer outdoor festivals. In his typical ambitious style, he wanted to be able to paint Minions and Yoda tattoos as the artists there did. I had to burst his bubble and inform that it takes years of training to do that. He was a little disappointed, but I’m happy to say that he experimented and made his close approximation of Yoda and Minions that he could. He had a lot of green and yellow paint on different days to remove. 🙂 Still, he enjoyed doing it himself, and even used his chore money to buy the paint. I’m so glad that I can encourage him to explore different interests. It has truly helped him to mature and me to see that mature little boy growing.

Exceptional Parents, do you remember to let your child explore their interests and creativity, no matter how fleeting they are? Within reason of course, all parents can find ways to let their children explore their creativity so that they could hone in on things they love. You never know where it will take them in terms of development, and maybe even future job possibilities. 🙂 Remember, let your child explore, enjoy, and fall in love with different forms of art. It is truly a way for them and you to grow closer together. Until next time.

Story Telling and the Art of Imaginary Friends-My Exceptional Son’s Growth


So as Michael is coming down off some behaviors he is turning back to some positive ways to handle all the energy and ideas in his head. My little guy is going back to storytelling! I was so excited to see him writing another story yesterday. The theme was the same as the last one. Our cat, Princess, and his imaginary friend, Meeko, (the raccoon from Poccohontas) go to another shopping mall, pull pet food from the shelves, spill the bags, eat the pet food, and then get in trouble with police as they don’t want to pay for the pet food they eat. They go to jail, but another friend comes to pay the fine to bail them out. Yes, guess who has been asking police questions. 😉 Still I was excited that Michael was starting to make creative connections again, and wants me to read this story out loud at a future writer’s meeting. J I was proud that he was channeling some positive energy in a good direction. I was also glad to see him calm, and talking about how he needs to stop swearing, hitting and using aggression. He is starting to connect the dots about other outlets for his creative and emotional energy.

I, for my part, was so happy to see him doing something constructive with his time. He has so much energy, emotional and physical. I like how he is recognizing it, and making sure to use it wisely and the look on his face when I praised him yesterday said it all. Even though  we are still having our challenging days, (and they can be challenging), I am so proud that Michael is learning to slowly self-regulate, move through difficult moments and come out a stronger little boy. I like how he is going back to his imagination and not just looking to play video games and watch videos in his free time.  A balance of everything is healthy. He also is agreeing to stop the toy purge completely and remember that he can still play with some of his toys. He has not outgrown all of them after all. I like how he is learning to balance school, work, and tolerating being at home, which is something he does not like, but which sometimes needs to happen.

Exceptional Parents, how are your Exceptional Children playing and showing you their emotional growth? Most of our kids do it in small amounts. Sometimes they take two steps forward, and sometimes it is two steps back. Still, we have to look at the momentum and that they are trying and moving forward. As their parents, we can’t wish for anything more than our children learning, growing and trying new things. Until next time.

Exceptional Alone Time-Recharge, Re-Energize and Help Your Child Learn Its Value

As I climbed into my lovely hot bath with the required candle burning in the corner of the tub, I thought how wonderful it was to take this time for me last night. I usually don’t allow myself this luxury at nine o’clock at night. On the weekends, I try to make time to spend with my partner. We hardly have time to talk during the week. Or sometimes I will get back to my fiction writing or to reading the latest novel I have started. I always say I will take this time to unwind in the bath by myself when the house is quiet and only the cat is patiently waiting outside the door for me to feed her. But yesterday was one of the few evenings I allowed myself to do this. Why, I thought? I need to do this a few times a week. It is free respite, in my home, and I was so zen I did not even need the glass of wine I was looking to drinking afterwards. I drink my lemon water, went to do some Social Media work, and the headed off to bed. I slept really well.

As Exceptional parents, we have so many more stresses and worries about our children. We have strains and guilt, and think that maybe we could have done better today. Why didn’t we? Even when things are going well like they have been for me with Michael, I still question and second guess myself sometimes. Michael will remind me faster than I him , “Mommy, you’re doing a good job.” I have taught Michael well and his self-esteem is strong. So is mine in every respect pretty much, even as a mother. There are those moments when I lapse though and am hard on myself. More therapeutic things could have been done. More I love you’s could have been said. But now I stop myself. I am enough. He is enough. We are enough. When I stop to take a rest by a nice bath, a good book, a night out or listening to music, I remind myself that I am strong, beautiful and doing the best that I can. Michael is doing all of these things too. I have taught him how to take care of himself and now he reminds me.

White Hot Mug on Book Near Linen

Exceptional Parents, how often do you recharge and take respite at home in your territory? Your child needs to see you prioritizing that as they prioritize their relaxation, health and well-being. It’s only by doing that, that both of you will grow stronger and healthier and be able to tackle the big issues up ahead. Until next time .

Are you looking to make changes in your special needs parenting life? Do you need support on your journey?  I am a writer and parent coach who is passionate about empowering parents to trust their own instinct when raising their exceptional children with autism, and remembering that parenthood is as much a journey for us as childhood is for our children. For more information on my parent coaching programs, and to book a FREE 30 Minute Consultation Session, see my website:

Looking to beat the winter blahs? Download my FREE EBOOK: “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY”

Surprises On The Autism Path-Development and Revisiting Our Own Limitations

Today I finally read the Occupational Therapist’s report on Michael’s progress in his last OT Workshop. He participates in many of these sessions that work on fine motor development with hand writing, manipulating objects, cutting and pasting in crafts as well as gross motor strength. I have learned over the years that all these skills the rest of us NT people take for granted learning, are hard for kids with developmental delays and autism. As tears threatened to fill my eyes, I read, as usual, how Michael mastered yet another skill like cutting a shape out of construction paper, or twirling a pencil, which is something he could not do in the fall when he started. There are always so many obstacles he overcomes and everywhere on the paper it is written how cheerfully he cooperated and how much fun he had. My heart both breaks for the difficulties he has to face in learning things the rest of us take for granted along with the pride in his victories and the gains he has made.

But then the hard part for me as an Exceptional Mom comes. The part where the therapist mentions “continuing his gains” by practicing the following exercises at home whenever we have a chance. And they are never difficult or expensive per se. But Michael would never do them with me. I always would feel like a failure as a parent that I could not continue the therapist’s work at home on weekends or holidays or summer vacation. Yesterday morning was no exception after I read the note. Except. Except something amazing happened. He was home on a “Snow Day” the whole day. The weather was terrible. I had to work. After playing the inevitable games by himself and watdching a movie he was getting antsy. I sucked in my breath and decided to dare it. I suggested going to Pinterest and finding a craft activity together that we could do. I almost fell  off my chair when he agreed. He blew me away! He did most of it himself and when I praised him, I saw the look of pride, happiness and excitement that he had created something. He even complimented me on my craft abilities, which suck by the way. I told him that and you know what he said?
“Mommy, don’t say that. I think you’re good at crafts.”

The child raising the parent. The child trying something new when the parent had almost given up. I was shown an amazing lesson by Michael today. 1) I am not a failure as a Mom if I can’t get him to do crafts and 2) I should never give up trying new things, with him and alone.

Exceptional Parents, what kind of surprises are your Exceptional Children capable of if you throw them a curve ball or something different? Don’t give up on something because it has not worked in the past. Keep trying. Keep believing. And always know your child will surprise you for the better if you give them the chance. Remind them they can do anything as can you!

Are you looking to make changes in your special needs parenting life? Do you need support on your journey?  I am a writer and parent coach who is passionate about empowering parents to trust their own instinct when raising their exceptional children with autism, and remembering that parenthood is as much a journey for us as childhood is for our children. For more information on my parent coaching programs, and to book a FREE 30 Minute Consultation Session, see my website:

JANUARY SPECIAL: Refer a friend to a six month program, and receive 2 one on one coaching sessions with me at 50% off. 

Looking to make a fresh start in 2017 with the way you handle anxiety in your special needs family? Download my FREE EBOOK: “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY”



Exceptional Vision Boards For Exceptional Moms and Their Children

vision board 1.jpg

So another January has come and it was time for me to produce my Vision Board for 2017. I did my first ever Vision Board in 2015, after reading up on them and the way they helped people manifest exciting things in their life. I found out about Vision Boards after consulting with a life coach at the time who helped me see what direction  I needed to take in my life. I went online and that is where I learned about making vision boards. The last two years have been an adventure. I always set out with the things I want to find and usually do end up finding, but always end up with a surprise or two in what actually ends up on the board. I do my board two-sided, one side for what I want to manifest in my personal life, and one side for what I want to manifest in my work life. This year the two look the same. This makes me happy, as it means my work and home life are merging as I wanted it to for so long. Michael is the most important thing in my life. As his Mom, I want to be available to guide and help him, and in order for me to be at my best, I need a career where I have flexibility, joy, and the ability to work around his schedule. I have found it in writing and coaching parents. I have wanted to work at my own business for a long time, but didn’t trust myself or the process to get there. Michael has changed all that for the better, and made me see where I belong in work, as he made me see where I belong in life.

vision board 2.jpg

In doing my Vision Board the last two years, it has also helped me reconnect to the woman I was prior to being an Exceptional Mom to the Exceptional Mom I am now. I have learned to let go, trust my instincts, and enjoy the process of building the board. It takes about two hours, two uninterrupted hours that you need to devote to figure out what you need to get more of in your life and work towards. Only when you have a visual and a plan, will it start coming together. Each year when I do it, I find myself applying the things I do when I help Michael navigate through life and learn to advocate for himself: breathe, stay calm, trust yourself, and know that someone always has your back. There is something so powerful in  that. Also you need to trust in the process. It will guide you. It is fluid. As thing evolve, we can put them into the Vision Board. It is similar that when things evolve with our Exceptional Child, we adapt the IEP and other therapies to their improvement. When we do that, we see other amazing things happening. For example,  Michael saw me and his Dad doing a Vision Board each this weekend and he decided to create his own! I was so proud of him. He is reaching out to the Universe too to see exactly where he belongs.

Exceptional Parents, how are you manifesting good things in your life and your Exceptional Child’s life? How are you learning to trust your instincts when it comes to what is right for you and your family? A visual guide like a Vision Board can really help you move forward with your dreams and life plan. And remember, your child  is watching everything you are doing. Teach him or her to manifest their own greatness. Until next time.

Are you looking to make changes in your special needs parenting life? Do you need support on your journey?  I am a writer and parent coach who is passionate about empowering parents to trust their own instinct when raising their exceptional children with autism, and remembering that parenthood is as much a journey for us as childhood is for our children. For more information on my parent coaching programs, and to book a FREE 30 Minute Consultation Session, see my website:

 Do you need new strategies to cope with anxiety in 2017? Download my FREE EBOOK on “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY”


The Issues Behind Challenging Behavior for Exceptional Children

There should always be consequences for behavior, good and bad. Kids, as well as adults, need to know that they always have choices when it comes to how they act, as well as what they say and do. Sometimes though, challenging behavior in our exceptional kids has more to do with what they are not receiving from loved ones, whether intentional or not. With Michael lately, Dad and I have unintentionally been creating some mixed signals and have been doing our best to clear it up. Michael has to some extent been acting up as all children do for extra attention. I guess he felt he wasn’t getting enough positive attention, so out comes the negative ones. He also was testing us to see how far he can push us, who is really in charge, and where he fits in with everything on the home front.

His school psychologist gave him a really good exercise to do which he did this morning. It is called a”Thought Diary.” He needed to write down what he was thinking and feeling right before good and bad things happened, or rather good and bad consequences happened. It was helpful. He told me how he saw a particularly difficult afternoon we had yesterday. I was surprised that he thought after his three strikes you’re out I would give him a fourth chance, but he also told me how I had promised him some together time, and then due to an unpredictable late day turn of events, it did not happen. He also had told me he misses me and wants to spend time. This surprised me as we’ve been home together since Christmas with just a little bit of time he had alone with Dad. But it was the quality of our time together, not the quantity. I have been busy with work and have been squeezing in as much as I could in between family activities. It occurred to me on Sunday when we spent the whole day as a family how well the day went. There were no behaviors, no aggression and although minor testing, nothing big. I realized that challenging behavior on all fronts is exhausting, but also means the child is hurting and doesn’t know how to reach out.

Later today a favorite babysitter is coming to play with Michael. I am going to use this time to recharge my batteries, and do things I need to do to regain my sense of calm, happiness and patience.I have lost these in the weeks leading up to the holidays. Normally, the holidays were only about parental stress, but this year with working and parenting a special needs child I felt the pressure even more. Though the work was my escape from autism, it also tired me out. By recharging my own batteries I know I will be able to pick up on when Michael is feeling lost and have that much more energy to handle his emotions as well as my own. I also know my sense of humor will come back.

Exceptional Parents, what have your learned from your Exceptional Child’s challenging behaviors? What does it say about them? What does it say about you? Sometimes our reactions will increase or decrease their reactions. Don’t beat yourself up. You are doing the best you can. It’s important we all keep track in our own “Thought Diaries” how we are feeling before events and what we can change to make communication flow better between us and our children. But remember parents, it all starts with a healthy and balanced adult. Only when we can handle stress in a positive way, are we able to model that for our child. Until next time.

Are you looking to make changes in your special needs parenting life? Do you need support on your journey?  I am a writer and parent coach who is passionate about empowering parents to trust their own instinct when raising their exceptional children with autism, and remembering that parenthood is as much a journey for us as childhood is for our children. For more information on my parent coaching programs, and to book a FREE 30 Minute Consultation, see my website: http://www.exceptionalparenting.

It’s a new year. Are you thinking of new strategies to handle anxiety? If so, download my FREE EBOOK on “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY”

Imaginary Friends and My Exceptional Child Building New Worlds

A month ago I had tears in my eyes. They were tears of happiness. My little guy was developing imaginary friends again and better yet, was creating them with craft material like glue, scissors, scotch tape and construction paper. He told me the name of the main character, Dooki, and his various friends, Glegle, Samosa and a few other names I can’t remember at this time. No matter. He is doing crafts. My kid. The kid who hated fine motor. He is writing semi-legibly, the kid who hated doing anything fine motor and hated writing. I am beyond overjoyed. He has reached another milestone in development. Oh, and he is back to writing stories about his characters. I am so proud! It just goes to show how parents can never underestimate what their child will do. They can even learn to enjoy an activity they previously hated doing.

Yes, we have had challenging behaviors, puberty is hitting, and have had to navigate some pretty interesting conversations about hunger, poverty and religion, but I see Michael growing up more each day. He is changing. He even asked me for Legos. Ok, he only wants Star Wars ones, and a police car and ambulance. But what amazed me is he is getting back to playing with toys and things age appropriate more or less. Kids with autism have trouble with make believe and playing. Thinking abstractly is hard for them. They are literal beings. Still, my little guy is changing all that, while he is helping change mine and the world’s perception of autism. His friends are doing it too. Autism is such a vast spectrum. It’s important we never underestimate our child’s potential, wherever they may fall on the spectrum.

Exceptional Parents, what new worlds are your Exceptional Children building for themselves and you? How are they changing your perception of what they are capable of daily, weekly, monthly, yearly? All of our children have abilities and will surprise us if we let them. Encourage your child’s interests, loves and passions, and most importantly, never stop believing in their potential to rise above any challenges in their lives. They are strong individuals, and they will persevere if they know they have their caregivers in their corner. Until next time.

One of the most stressful times of the year for special needs families is fast approaching. Are you and your exceptional family ready? Do you need new strategies to cope with anxiety? Download my FREE EBOOK on “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY”


Video Game Joy And Fine Motor Enjoyment-The Next Milestone To Celebrate

How many parents of kids with and without autism celebrate them playing video games? Let me see a raise of hands! I didn’t think so. And if I didn’t have a son who did not struggle with fine motor stuff, crafts and building, I would not have cared. What made me excited about Michael’s blossoming interest in playing video games with his Dad and doing Dooki and other craft building with construction paper, scissors, scotch tape, and glue, is that it means he has turned a page in his development.

In the last month, I have seen how he is gravitating to doing things that are challenging for him, and better yet, he is liking doing it. He proudly showed me his cutting skills the other day. Today he talked again about the special game he would play with the craft toys he made himself. He saved that special game to play with his father. I am awed and amazed developmentally and social skills wise. Michael will always love movement, sports and going out places. Yet I see a change in him as he is approaching his 10th birthday. Maturity is moving alongside rebellious moments of testing me and telling me he does not want to listen sometimes or does not like what I say.


How did I manage to help him? I can’t take for credit for this one, other than saying I have always encouraged exploration of different toys, ways of doing things, and learned to be patient when Michael has hit a standstill or is stuck. I will demonstrate or talk about things and let him come into his own. Here though, I credit all the fine motor with his school, therapists, and the wonderful extra-curricular activities where there were fine motor and craft components. As for the video, there I credit his peers who he copies and likes to emulate. His buddy last year loved Star Wars and now Michael does too. It is the same thing with Legos now and other toys. I love it. He has his own mind, but is slowly becoming interested in what those around him like to do. He has emerged from his shell, and is coming into his own little person. There are frustrating moments still, but we handle them together on the same page now.

Exceptional Parents, what new developments do you see your Exceptional Child doing? All our kids are moving forward in one way or another. Sometimes we are so busy we may miss it. Don’t worry. Take a deep breath. Look around you. Look at how far your child has come in learning, and praise them for that. Celebrate every little victory. They deserve it. Until next time.

Tired of anxiety controlling you and your child? Download my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY”

Pretend Friends, Crafts and Experimentation With Control, Anxiety and Self-Direction

Michael is going through another phase of exploration now, with making pretend friends out of crafts materials. As with anything he does, he does it with an intensity that is hard to sometimes understand for me. This is mixed in with his little mini rebellions of not wanting to listen to things I am saying that he does not like lately. Last evening was a tough evening for both of us. We manage to turn around things around after school, but were not lucky at bedtime. He just couldn’t stop talking about the next phase of his plans for his craft creations, and was asking me about things he wanted me to be doing with him on the upcoming PED DAY. My crime was telling him that we would talk about it the next day as it was bedtime and if he wanted his story and massage we needed to get a move on. The process had already been moving too slowly. Maybe it was that. Maybe he was tired. Regardless, things went from tense to tantrum very quickly. I finally had to leave and have Dad take over.

This is not the first time this has happened in the last little while. It is becoming increasingly hard for Michael to listen and I am still trying to find the reasons behind this breakdown in communication. We have done some beautiful bonding in the last month. I am doing my best to be there and present for Michael; in the morning, at snack time, at dinner time, and at night time when he lets me. This new phase is challenging for me too. It is accompanied with hitting and a new one, hair pulling, if he is upset. I reiterate that there is no hitting, pulling or screaming. He needs to calm down and use his words. At school he is wonderful. His skills are increasing and he has lots of friends. Still, he seems strained and going through the motions. We are looking for ways to bring the joy back for him, for us. It is hard.

I have joined him in his craft building, and, as with everything Michael is interested in, am taking an interest myself in it to show him support. He has surprised me by asking for Leggos and wanting to try building  with them. This gives me hope after Dad and I figure out just why listening to something reasonable is so hard for him lately; put on your winter jacket, get ready for bed. etc. I take it one day at a time, and know like with the other phases Michael has gone through, we will figure out new tools to handle this one.

Exceptional Parents, what tools do you use to help your child when they are going through another challenging stage? What tools do you use to help yourself? I think it all starts with love, love yourself enough to show respect for you and your boundaries, and then teach your child that they need to have that same respect for themselves and for you as their parent. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different things to reach them, and have patience. It will all work out and you will reach them in whatever new phase you are in. Until next time.

Tired of anxiety controlling you and your child? Download my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY”


“The Connected Heart Journal”: Another Exceptional Tool For Parent/Child Bonding




As Michael gets older, I get braver in thinking of things I would like to try out with him. We have had a few moments where we wrote some silly stories, and as most of you know, Michael has quite the imagination to write. I could see him doing fiction one day, but I digress. 🙂  Lately though, we have been having some communication stress and strains what with budding tween hood coming our way. 🙂 Things have started improving in our bonding. How have I reached him? It’s been in listening to him and in telling him stories from my youth. Storytelling and sharing feelings about our lives is something that never goes out of style, including in these high tech times.

Lately, as I have also shared, I have had the fortune to have the right material come into my hand to guide Michael, me as well as help all the parents all around me to trust their gut and become the parent they want to be for their child. As I learn new things, I share them. This type of “pay it forward” thinking has been passed down to me by the woman in my clan, you could say, blood and non-blood all my life.  So, what has tweaked my interest now, is a wonderful diary made especially for parents of elementary-aged kids. It is called “The Connected Heart Journal” and its creator is one Sumitha Bhandarkhar.  What is great about this journal, is that as Sumitha says;

“On the surface: A beautiful, one-of-a-kind, keepsake journal for kids. Under the hood: A smart and powerful parenting tool.”

What this means is that the questions, exercises, and topics are done in a way to facilitate parent/child interaction at all levels. You don’t need oodles of time a day to do this. As parents know, especially those of us with Exceptional Children, there are so many things to do in a day; therapy, homework, extra curricular activities. There are no dates in the book so you and your child can fill it in at your leisure. The diary uses fantasy and magic to capture the child’s interest, and gives parents questions and ideas to guide them in their discussions with their kids. It is meant to be done jointly and separately. The link for further details and a wonderful video with more information can be  found here:


Yes, some children will have an easier time with the concepts than others, but we all know our kids better than anyone. You can easily tailor the message with your own positive comments towards your child. If they cannot write in the journal, parents can write in it for them or they can draw pictures. The important thing that keeping a diary together can do is teach the child about love, gratitude, and reaching out to children while they are young. This way when they are older, that bond has been cemented and they know where to turn. Michael knows who is at the top of TEAM MICHAEL after himself. It is his father and I.

Exceptional Parents, are you on the lookout for new tools to help your child manage communicating and sharing in a more effective way? Are you looking to teach empathy, kindness and how to trust? A diary is a great way to start and a great routine to get into with your child at the beginning or end of the day. Whatever you choose to do with your Exceptional Child, know that the time you spend with them is precious and irreplaceable. Make sure you teach them that time with loved ones is something we must always build into a busy day to create close and lasting relationships for life. Until next time.

Disclosure: This is not a paid endorsement, but my company logo will appear on the product’s site as a supporter of this product. The opinions mentioned here are strictly my own.