Category: independence

Spring Fever-Exceptional Changes Over the Years

So we are officially in Spring, and have been for awhile actually. And this year is no exception to all the other years. Michael is acting weirder than normal. I see it in other exceptional kids as well. Our Educator re-confirmed to me tonight that she too sees kids with different brains having more challenging moments during these months. This was a consolation. I was worried as I find Michael has regressed with some of the ways he is dealing with anger and stress. I blamed a lot of it on his last medication, but now am wondering if I was wrong. There are a lot of ups and downs in our kids’ lives and different ages bring with it different challenges. For example, toddler hood to school age child is one challenge. Then school age to tween/teen is another one. I am going through this watching Michael as a tween/teen handle all the angst that goes with that. When he was little he needed to physically move only. Now, it seems he needs to vent verbally and probably move physically to get out his emotions. I have to be careful how I approach this subject, however. The reason is that Michael is rebelling against so much, he will probably try and rebel against me even if it is in his favor as I am Mom, the adult, and in some ways the enemy at this teen age, unlike cool friends or friends he wants to emulate. I don’t take it personally. In some ways, I even celebrate it. He is growing up. I just worry how to still show him I love him. I do this with words, gestures, and when I can sneak it in, a pat or tap on the shoulder. I say a lot of “I love you’s,” and “I am proud of you’s.” I hope it sticks. That’s all I can do.

I have always figured out what Michael has needed during the Spring months to balance out, even in the summer months. Each year is a learning curve though as Michael and his needs change. This year I can see he needs to learn better self-regulation and build on what he already has down pat, recognize when he needs to move physically, and when he needs to talk to an adult. I need to learn to step back more, yet be clear on what I expect him to do and be. I am getting better at this, but still have times when this is challenging and Michael and I run into friction. I am making an effort to be clear to him and honest to myself so I know where everything is going.

Long walks, sports in the park, organized and other, as well as exploring new hobbies and time spent with friends, are ways to help Michael continue to regulate, have fun, and get more confident with himself. I am looking to helping him learn to do things more independently from me this spring and summer, while still having fun mother/son time and mother and son alone time where each of us get to have our space.

Exceptional Parents, are your Exceptional Children experiencing spring fever? Are they out of sorts or acting strangely? Have a look at their activity level. See if they can switch things up by moving more, doing different activities, having more play dates, spending time alone finding interests, and in the end, make sure they know how to self-regulate and learn how their body and brain work and what they need to do to feel at their best. This is what will help curb things like aggression, behavior and outbursts. Until next time.

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Exceptional Handling of Life’s Challenges-How My Exceptional Son And I Learn From Eachother

“Mommy, you don’t have to call the nurse to tell her to do my lunchtime injection. The needle on my pen is too tight. Here, let me replace it and the NPH pen will work.”

These were the words that came out of Michael’s mouth on Tuesday morning when we were on our usual race against the clock to do his two diabetes injections, so he does not need to do a lunchtime injection, have him eat his breakfast, get dressed and make the bus. He’d gotten a later start that morning and was his usual talkative self IN SPITE of the fact that we had about ten less minutes than usual. I, remaining calm on the outside, was a little stressed on the inside, and when stressed on the inside, my technical dexterity is the first thing to go. Hence, me thinking this injection pen had malfunctioned when it had not. It had happened legitimately in the past, so I wasn’t totally crazy. Still, something told me to trust him, oh yeah, it was the voice that said, Michael is cool with handling his diabetes, way cooler than you. You worry a lot about this and tense up. Well, as you can imagine I was right to listen to that voice. Michael fixed the pen, I gave him his two injections as usual, and away we went with the morning. What did this incident teach me? I need to be able to tune into Michael’s strong areas and grow stronger in my weaker areas.

Diabetes is something I have come to expect is part of Michael’s and our life. I kind of had no choice, but I don’t like it. Not one bit. I also am someone who is a tad squeamish about blood, needles, (giving needles and seeing them given), and argh, there is all that number crunching when calculating carbs at every meal. As a word person, numbers is SO not my thing. 🙂 This is my challenge as a parent and individual, and though I have risen to it, it has been tough. Michael, on the other hand, has excelled in handling his diabetes. It has been implementing new ways to handle emotions, deal with ADHD and anxiety that have been his more challenging areas. He has often turned to me for support with that part of his life, and here I can advise him. I have seen tremendous improvements in how he handles his emotions and responses to them. I’d like to think just like him watching him calmly take charge of diabetes management, he can see me calmly taking charge of showing him how to manage his emotional regulation. He has often asked me, “Help me Mommy. What do I do?” Over time, we have found ways to help him manage his emotions. There is still a lot of tweaking involved, on his and my part, but I can see him listening, really listening to what I have to say and following through with it. I have done the same thing when he has taken the wheel and showed his responsibility towards managing diabetes. His next exciting venture-learning how to do his own injections. As he has taken charge of controlling aggression and outbursts, Dad and I have told him that we will show him how to do his own injections very soon.  All he needs to do is demonstrate the same calm, collected behavior on a regular basis. Then, we know he will be ready.

Exceptional Parents, what have you learned from your Exceptional Child and what have they learned from you? Remember, you are both constantly in a teaching/learning mode together. As you begin to pay attention, you’ll see your child’s life lessons become yours and vice versa. It’s important to help support each other and overcome personal weaknesses as well as celebrating individual strengths. This will strengthen your child’s confidence and yours. Until next time.

Are you the parent of an Exceptional Child struggling with how best to handle challenging behavior? Are you worried about development, anxiety, or doubting your abilities to help your child become the best they can be? 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! 

Finding the Balance Between Mother And Nurse To Your Exceptional Child

We are all nurses and caregivers to our children, whether they are exceptional or not. The title pretty much belongs to all parents, Moms in particular, who are usually jokingly referred to as the chauffeur, cleaning lady, teacher, parent and nurse/caregiver. But all of this takes on a whole new level for most Exceptional Parents whose kids have other underlying physical and psychological health issues. Everything from keeping track of medication, various doctors appointments outside of the usual yearly checkup, dental and eye checkup visit, as well as therapy visits for speech, occupational, physiotherapy and psychology/psychiatry can take its tole. In this role, parents (again usually Moms, though sometimes Dads too or a mix of the two), are always the expert and advocate of their child and the ones at all meetings and tabulating data and charts before said meetings. All in all, it can be utterly exhausting, and you wonder when you get to build a regular parent/child relationship with your child where you hope to gradually transfer over some of the physical and mental health care decisions to your child when they are older. It’s a long road, and one not entirely possible for some families to eventually do. Still, it’s important that parents remember that though you take care of your child medically, you are still their mother. This means as their mother, to the best of your capacity in that role, you help forge self-reliance, independence and advocacy so that they can do the best possible to take care of themselves one day.

I’ve had a lot of difficult conversations with Michael lately as has Dad about his diabetes. Michael has been resentful of the fact he can’t eat like his friends at one moment, then will go to the other extreme, as happened the other morning, and be super critical of my meal choices for him. In those moments I sigh with frustration at the unfairness of his rigidity in thinking I am making a mistake and causing his sugars to rise (sometimes this is true, sometimes it is not as I and Dad are still in the early phases of learning about carb counting and making the right balance of food choices etc.).  I have actually cursed diabetes out loud and the extra burden it has put on Michael and on Dad and I as parents. Don’t get me wrong.  I do not want any pity. No Exceptional Parent does. None of us want to know that we are heroes. We are not. We are simply parents doing what parents do, loving and taking care of our child the best we can. Our kids too are doing the best they can. I will take praise for Michael too as do most of my friends for their kids, as our kids do overcome so many challenges navigating a world that is foreign to them. But even our kids are kids at the heart of it all, and just want to belong, have friends, and be the best they can be.

So my point about finding the balance in being a mother and nurse is this; make your peace with where you are with your child in any given moment. If it’s a moment where you are resenting the nurse role, have yourself a good cry, throw some pillows around and ask another adult to step in and take over so you can have a break. If it’s a moment where you are feeling strong, remember to bond with them in the same way you did BEFORE you knew they had a diagnosis of any kind. Remember, first and foremost above everything else, they are your child. They have their own likes and dislikes. They have their own personality. They are their own little person with talents and struggles, just like you. Bring out their best. Show them how much you love them no matter what they do, because as your child, they are loved because of that. Take time to play, talk, and laugh together. As they get older this may get challenging, but carve out time alone together- at meals times, in the car on the way to activities, or just on the fly. You will find the balance in the same way you did when you were taking care of a newborn long ago. You will learn to multitask and prioritize what is important.

Exceptional Parents, how do you balance mother and nurse roles for your Exceptional Child? Do you take time for you and a personal life in there as well? It’s important to not only have some alone time away from parenting when you have a complex care needs child, but you also need to make time for being together with your partner, other family members and friends. When you have time away from your child, you will come back refreshed, come back full circle, and be able to have a clear definition of what being a well-rounded Exceptional Mom is like. Until next time.

Are you the parent of an Exceptional Child struggling with how best to handle challenging behavior? Are you worried about development, anxiety, or doubting your abilities to help your child become the best they can be? 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! 

How My Exceptional Child Showed Me How To #TakeTheMaskOff

I am very impressed with the whole neurodiversity movement as a movement to show the world that kids with autism, ADHD, and any other so-called disability just have different brains and lots to offer the world if it gives them a chance. I have also learned how I, as a Mom of a neurodiverse child with a different brain and view of the world, have been guilty of masking. In the early days of Michael’s autism diagnosis, I was worried about his rocking and obvious physical movements. I was worried it would alert negative attention to him and get him labeled in a deviant way. I was wrong. Yes, people asked why he did that. People were curious. And many knew about autism. Some more than others. I am still overwhelmed by the people who “get” Michael in a way that took me time to get him. Sometimes they are people who are neurodiverse, of course. Other times though, they are people with their own challenges who just understand a kid who thinks outside of the box. When I started seeing more of myself in Michael, it both excited and frightened me. Wow. Now I had a responsibility to try and understand his brain which was different from mine, but yet, not all that different. I have anxiety. I sometimes shy away from people and talk too much, or not enough. I also felt different inside growing up. But back to Michael and this whole incredible movement of people who want the world not to regard them as less than, but as capable, in their own way.

Masking, at least from what I understand it to be, is pretending to “pass” and be something you are not, not autistic, not with ADHD, not with anything else. In other words, assimilate with the “normal” or “neuro-typical” people,  by behaving the same as them or not standing out. People who are exceptional can do this, but at a price. I have seen it in my own child, and it pains me. There is nothing to be ashamed of in being different. I proudly tell people Michael has autism and talk about the other ways his brain works differently, and I make sure to say that though it is sometimes challenging for his Dad and I to understand him, we respect him and want him to do what he needs to do to be the person he was created to be and do what he was meant to do here on earth.  I’d like to say I was always so enlightened to have practiced this, but no I was not. I tried to get him to “pass” as a baby, and when he did not as he got older, I did not venture out too far from our immediate family and special needs community.

As Michael has gotten older, he has done the venturing himself and taken me with him. I found myself telling him in hushed tones, “don’t stim too much with your toy. People will think you are being aggressive.” “This is the way to act so you don’t draw attention to yourself.”  “People with autism and people without share the world together and you can’t always expect them to understand you honey.” This was my fear talking. Fear of Michael getting bullied for being different, especially in light now of intense anxiety and other hyperactivity issues. It was also my fear of not being able to protect him and advocate for his uniqueness and amazing brain and abilities. Then, as usual, Michael surprised me with doing what I think I had  originally been prepating him for, and didn’t know it. Michael has started educating others about his autism and diabetes and other challenges. He explains to kids at parks why he stims. Today he shared a story at camp where kids asked him questions about his fidget toy and diabetes supplies. Michael went on to tell them about his autism, diabetes and suspected ADHD. He told them why he stims and why he carries the toy. They were interested. Some kids did make some negative comments, but a boy in the group who has a brother with autism said, “hey guys, leave him alone .People with autism need to stim. It helps them. It’s all good.” Wow. I also need to mention that he does not have a shadow or companion at the camp he is at now. This is the first year we have tried this, and he is doing well. He is literally out there in the world on his own, and I could not be more proud of how he is starting to advocate for himself. This is happening while he is struggling with coming to terms with so many other things.

After some difficult moments tonight, Michael shared this story with me and I felt humbled and in awe of him. He is so strong. I told him that I was so proud of how he is telling the world who he is. Yes, there have been moments he has tried to use his autism to get things his way, ” (and that will be another blog post) :), but tonight he showed me how important it is for people with autism to take that mask off. Yes, not everyone is comfortable to do it right away, but as parents and caregivers of special kids, we need to make the world see them not as disabled or less than, but as the capable individuals they are. The world needs people with autism and people with autism need to be able to be themselves at all times.

Exceptional Parents, do you embrace who your Exceptional Child is? Do you let them take the mask off in public as well as private or worry what people will say? It’s a process as a parent and as someone with an exceptional brain will tell you. It comes with time, patience, and humility. Be open to reading blogs and articles from people who have autism. Try and understand their world as they are working so hard to understand yours. Help society accept all differences as beautiful. Together, we’ll make the world a wonderful place. Until next time.

Feeling stressed about special needs parenting? You are not alone. I have been there and lived these very words before realizing the gift of who my son is and what he has helped me realize. If you want to have more information about me and my journey, check out my website http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com and my FREE E-BOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL PARENTING” at http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com/ebooks.

 

 

How To Handle The Unexpected And Go With Your Child’s Flow-More Life Lessons From My Exceptional Child

 

So Michael’s latest summer camp  experience did not work out. He felt bored at this camp, and though he was afraid to tell me at first, he found the courage this morning. I was sad, yet proud of him for having the strength of character to share his thoughts with me. I have been noticing more and more in the last month, how Michael is opening up to me more with questions, observations and in saying funny things. This warms my heart, though I have to say, having him home with me for the first time ALL DAY  today in a long while was a little overwhelming. You see, my child is a chatterbox and talks about many different topics all at the same time. His fast speech is matched by his fast physical pace. He is a boy with lots of energy. It has been a relief to me to see this side of him again.  Michael and Dad and I have had a tough two years handling his aggression and how to help him learn tools to handle it. With one medication in the fall that did not work, we then tried another one in January. It worked beautifully in calming him and helping him focus better when doing tasks as well as when doing sedentary things like watching a movie in a theater or homework. It worked so well for about four months, but then I started slowly noticing more side effects from the medication and his aggression gradually going up again.

One of the more concerning side effects was weight gain and stuttering. He has been a fluent speaker for years. But another thing it took time for me to see was his happiness seeming to diminish. He did not seem to have that same crazy energy and sense of humor as before. I missed it. I tried to tell myself, and at first it was easy, that he was better able to learn the therapy tools he was being taught to handle his anger, and he was calmer, However, he just did not look like my little boy. Friday night after a very difficult evening, I spoke to his psychiatrist and asked if we could take him off this medication. She agreed and told me what I needed to do. In three days time, he was off of it. I could not believe the difference. There has been very little aggression or anger, and when he has an episode he has been able to apply strategies to calm down on his own. He also is happy, really happy again. He is singing songs, dancing!

These are things he had stopped doing. One thing that has taken me time to get used to is the boundless energy that comes out in strange places, like today at a store he got overstimulated and started acting silly. A month ago, the incident would either not have happened, or would have been more low key. It took some adjusting in my parenting style to handle this type of behavior, but I also see that his time on this medication taught him how to slowly start applying the therapy strategies his Educator had introduced to him. It has been nothing short than amazing to see how he is blooming.

I have also seen how I am applying my parenting strategies differently too, understanding so much more now about his brain and how it works. It is not always perfect. There have been times I’ve lost my temper. Sometimes it was understandable. Other times, it was more about, “can you go to bed already because I need Mommy alone time,” also understandable, but more for me than him. Still, the unexpected, a bad night which was the final key to altering something major in Michael’s therapy, to handling him pulling out of an activity which I usually did not do as smoothly, has shown me how both Michael and I have grown in the past eleven months. The unexpected now does not frighten me as it used to, and Michael is slowly starting to learn that too.

Exceptional Parents, what unexpected things does your Exceptional Child teach you every day? It is usually the small things that we overlook at first, that are the eye openers that our child is growing up- how they talk about stress, how they ask questions or make statements,  how they look  or whether they speak of certain people or places in a positive way. Be present in that moment them. See how they handle themselves and what they do. Chances are they will help you learn to be more present in your parenting life and life in general. Until next time.
I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com

Keeping The Emotional Bond and Handling The Distance Of Your Exceptional Child

So puberty has hit our household, and with it comes new demands and issues-hormonal and otherwise. Michael still needs my love and hugs, but I can see the times he is starting to pull away from me and Dad, in a healthy way. Then there is the not so healthy turning to friends and peer groups that offer the challenges of silliness, swearing and other “forbidden” at home topics. This is where I am still getting my feet wet as an exceptional mom, but getting there. I find myself asking the question Michael’s preschool teachers first told me to ask myself when he was three years old, “if he did not have any  challenges, would you dress him or have him learn to dress himself?” Now the question is at eleven years old, “if he did not have any challenges, would I be telling him who to hang around with or what not to say?” Of course, the answer to both questions is yes, I would be doing my best to teach Michael independence, and if he made a mistake with dressing or choosing the wrong crowd, step in and gently steer him in the right direction. I am lucky that he is still listening and values his bond with Dad and I.

Of course, he still needs to learn from mistakes. When he got in trouble at school for being silly with a friend and lost his recess by having to stand on the wall, he was very upset. He told me it was not fair. I told him that he was warned by the teacher on duty if he continued not listening the consequence would be no recess the next day. He had to pay that consequence for not heeding the warning. Yes, he has attentions issues and hyperactivity.  Yes, he has autism and some rigidity issues. But that is not an excuse to not follow the rules. At home as well, Dad and I are seeing a lot of “tween” rebellion. It is both exciting and stressful along with navigating other things. However, I have to think. He has to go through puberty with us, his neuro typical parents, who although can relate to some of his stressors, cannot truly know what is inside his head. We are all learning together. We are learning to continue confiding in each other, giving each other space, and forgiving one another when we make mistakes.

Exceptional Parents, how are you faring in puberty if you are at that stage? Is it harder than the delayed terrible two’s? Remember, your child is feeling things twice as intensely as you, so compassion is in order as well as patience with them and yourself. Treat your child as you would any child, while at the same time keeping in mind that some things may need to be tweaked or adapted in helping our kids understand their emotions more clearly. Until next time.

 

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com

Patience, Patience and More Patience- 5 Ways Our Exceptional Kids Can Learn This Lesson and Teach It To Us Too

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Today for the millionth time in the day I thought to myself how many times Michael teaches me patience and how to hold on to the better part of myself. He does this by, you got it folks, testing me left, right and center. It’s the same with all children, and some adults for that matter. Most people have their issues to work through, and some when they see they can get a rise out of you, well, they do their best to get that rise. Kids who are exceptional are not only capable of this, but often seek it out due to low thresholds of tolerance for stress, sensory issues or just not really understanding the social cues of the neuro typical world. I often remind myself, and have been lucky to have been reminded of this with the professionals who have worked and work with our family, that Michael and kids like him are wired differently from birth. The way they view our world, is through their lens, similarly to how we from the neuro typical world view their world from the inside out. “Do you see me? Do you really see me?” becomes the mantra for how both of us perceive each other. However, with respect, true respect for our differences, strengths and weaknesses, we can help one another so much.

Every day, even on the days I have felt like a failure as a Mom, Michael has shown me how courageous I am and how courageous he is. Michael has pushed us both out to sea and found an island for us to live on. On this island, the sky is the limit as I know it will be for Michael. . The two of us are adventurers in this sea of life, as I think all parents of all children are. However, what is important to hold on to is how our kids will help us build patience when we feel we can’t go on. In what ways will they do this? Here are some of those ways:

1) They will make us face our fears: Exceptional kids have to face their fears and in doing so, they push us exceptional parents to face our fears too. Over and over I have had to face what has been uncomfortable for me to face and you know what, it has helped me grow and become stronger. The same will happen for you!

2) You will learn to see EVERY child as an individual: Every parent of every child knows their child is an individual before anything else. But sometimes all of this gets lost when we are busy fighting with them to finish their homework, be polite like so and so, listen like so and so. Of course, it is important that all our children follow rules and learn to get along in the world, but if we don’t hone who they are as individuals and patiently wait to see what they will make of that, we are not doing them or ourselves any favors.

3) They will help you learn what your triggers are: Oh yeah on that. Little kids know what set us off, and if we can figure out what kind of people push our buttons, we are truly ahead of the game as parents and human beings. Michael has shown me how to go to find my happy place, go to it, and how to help him find his way to his, or at least give him the map to do so.

4) You will have oodles of energy to handle other people’s issues in your life thanks to your child: I cannot say enough how overall Michael has helped me learn to help and commiserate with many other adults and children around me and have patience for them. I always say, like Michael, like me, these people struggle to find patience. Let me be someone who helps them along the way.

5) If you let them, your child will let you learn to laugh at the craziness of life: This was a hard one for me several times in my life, but as I become more experienced as a Mom and Michael grows up, I feel that life with an Exceptional Child, can be an adventure where there are lots of laughs and craziness in a good way, if we let those feelings in. It is not always easy or possible, but Michael is showing me more that I need to learn to laugh at the craziness of life in order to be able to move forward.

 

Exceptional Parents, how has your Exceptional Child taught you patience? Remember, one day at a time will help you focus on all your child is and all you are in order to be your best and strongest. You are both in this adventure for a reason. Until next time.

 

 

 

 

5 Ways Our Exceptional Kids Make Us Face Our Personal Difficulties and Overcome Them

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Ah, this morning. How I wish I could have replayed some parts of it differently. I wish I had had more patience when Michael, who never gets up until thirty minutes until the bus gets here, and who today when I needed to get myself organized earlier with my usual routine, shower and dressing woke up two hours earlier than he needed to and was very chatty. I also wish I had given Dad enough information about the morning routine so things would have gone more smoothly for both Michael and Dad. Lastly, I wish I had left the house earlier not to have felt so frazzled by the way I handled Michael’s routine being off, therefore throwing off my routine. I did everything but my meditation and yoga routine which  normally is done as soon as I get up. This helps me enormously with handling stress and anxiety better, but today with Michael up and following me around it was challenging. It was not the end of the world, but I felt frustrated that I also was so thrown off by the change in our family schedule for one day.

The next question I asked myself was, what could I learn about myself from this experience? What was Michael teaching me today? I truly believe that as much  as we teach our kids they teach us more. Today was just one of the ways I felt that Michael teachers me about myself, and about what I love and what I want to improve upon. I believe all our kids show us ways to get over our difficulties. How? Here are 5 ways:

  1. They help us learn to laugh at ourselves: When I looked back at the “me” of this am getting annoyed and stressed about some small changes in our family routine (like Michael being up early), I realized that yes, it can be stressful to have a motor mouth child when you like quiet in the am, but this is a small problem compared to the bigger ones and to laugh it off. Life is too short to do otherwise.
  2. They teach  us to be more patient with ourselves: This is a biggie for me. Michael has taught me to be more patient with myself, with all of my emotional stuff, and to go easy on the hard areas in my life by showing me the compassion and love I show him. You need to practice what you preach parents!
  3. They help you face your own challenges as they usually have similar ones: This is so true. Michael’s big challenges are his perfectionism, absolute need for control and his difficulty in new social situations. These were all my issues when I was a child  and a young adult. I’ve come a long way, and Michael reminds me how I have to impart these life lessons to him to teach him that he can change the difficult areas if he is willing to venture out into the unknown and risk failure.
  4. They push you to live in the moment: You cannot successfully parent an exceptional child and not go with the flow. This is really true of parenting any child, but with an exceptional one you will have so many curve balls thrown at you that you need to choose to swim in the tide. This will only make you stronger as a parent and person.
  5. They push you to change yourself for the better: This is pretty much true for all parents again. If you can’t be your best self, you won’t be your best parenting self. In helping our kids achieve milestones that many may say are impossible, we start to see that there is much we can do that we thought was impossible as well. We learn to never give up as we have told them.

 

Exceptional Parents, what life lessons have your Exceptional Children taught you? How much have you grown since becoming their parent? It’s so true that as parents we raise our children while they are raising us. Never for a moment doubt your power, or theirs, to make an impact on the world and on other families. Remember, parent and child, we are all here to do great things. Until next time.

 

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.

Learning How To Be Present-What Our Exceptional Children’s Gifts Can Teach Us

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Yesterday morning I broke with my usual morning routine of working until close to lunch time before Michael and I went out. We left a little earlier, as we were doing something that I had promised Michael we’d do all summer-a long bike ride that he would navigate. Every time we attempted it, either we had a visit to clock watch for or the weather was too warm or rainy. Yesterday was the perfect day as we had no set plans in the afternoon so could take as long as possible on the bike ride. You see, Michael planned the trip from beginning to end and we didn’t know how long it would take. I was sure it would be most of the morning though, as we were going far out. So off we went. It was magical, it was fun. The day was perfect. It was sunny with cloudy periods and the temperature was not too hot or too cold. Michael navigated us through and we had a great time.

What I also took from this bike ride and time spent with Michael is what I take from most off the things I do with Michael. This is how he is teaching me to be living more in the moment. I have to admit that this “working holiday” with Michael has been a little on the tough side for me. I decided to still continue working while he is home, albeit a little less than I do during the rest of the year, working mainly in the early am and later pm. My challenge yesterday, and the past two weeks with Michael at home, has been to not think about my work that needs to be done and fully enjoy being with my son. This is not always as easy as it sounds, but I have succeeded most of the time. Michael has helped me enjoy this part of my summer more than any other part as he is getting me out moving in the fresh air with swimming, biking and parks. Yesterday was hard for me to relinquish control over my time and work space at the beginning, but I rewarded by a great morning bike ride, some laughs and exercise. Living in the moment is the gift Michael is teaching me, as I show him how to do fun things too and be mindful, not anxious too.

Exceptional Parents, are you living “in the moment” with your Exceptional Child? Do you always worry back or ahead? If so, try and catch yourself. Breathe. Enjoy the time you have with them. They are only young once, and those days when they will want to
play” for all kids will pass as they move on to other things. Embrace the things they like to do and their passions. Really get into enjoying spending time with them. If you let them, your children will bring out the child in you. You will also help them practice life skills and possible future job skills. You never know. With your child leading you, life is full of possibilities. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach whose son with autism 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: www.creatingexceptionalparentingg.com, and for a free 30 minute exploration/consultation session contact me at joanne@creatingexceptionalparenting.com. Also to receive a copy of my FREE E-BOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” click on www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com/EBOOKS.

Between Boyhood and Manhood-How to Handle Questions About Maturity from Your Exceptional Child

Michael is at that interesting age, not quite a young man, but not a baby yet either. He is really not a baby, and will remind me of that daily. It is still complicated further by the fact that developmentally in some ways he is still a little boy. So as his Mom I am constantly bouncing between the three; little boy, tween, and developing young man. His questions about life, his future, and even little tiffs about doing things for himself due to the fact he is “a big boy Mommy,” are all ways I am seeing him truly growing up before my eyes. It is wonderful. And the questions. Oh the questions he asks. I have to be careful sometimes when I answer. We are both talkers. I will often give long answers which will have me talking a lot. Then he will talk a lot, and with Michael it’s tricky. Talking about things can make him more anxious in some ways. It feeds the anxiety. Yet talking is important to get his feelings out. It is also my way to explain how I am feeling.  Now thought I am finding a way to talk less and listen more to him. I am also learning to talk in shorter sentences and encourage him to do the same. There is no need anymore to work on building his vocabulary. What he needs to work on now is more understanding people’s facial expressions, emotions, and how he fits into the conversation.

The morning with lots of talking are fun and exhausting at the same time. Still, I remember the days I prayed he would talk to me. They are here now and that is wonderful. I hear from parents who have the opposite problem, a child who cannot speak or communicate verbally, and that is so hard in another way. There is fine balance between verbal and non verbal too, that both camps of Moms want to find. That is the way to have a great relationship with our children. They must know when to speak and when to be quiet. We must teach them to grow up independent while also following parents’ rules which keep them safe. With a child who has special needs there are lots of different things going on at the same time. It is challenging. They have to wear many hats to survive being day to day in our world and fit in with the other people around them, and we, as their parents, also have to wear hats, hats to help our child understand neuro typical people and help neuro typical people understand them.

I used to be all about getting Michael to fit into my world, the neuro typical world. I did not see how weird it must be for him. The whole other county, other language people speak that our exceptional kids don’t always get. What has helped me as an exceptional parent is reading blogs by other exceptional adults who have autism or other neuro developmental challenges. They understand Michael in a way I am only learning to. They show the rest of the world that does not have an autistic  brain how people with autism think, feel and what they can contribute. I am humbled when I read their blogs, and consider it my duty to help the world understand people like Michael. He has brought such joy into my life, our family and to people around him. He struggles to understand things in the world, but still he is happy, positive and loves simple pleasures- time with family and friends, navigating Google Maps, cooking and baking. He makes me realize how talking and listening to each other are important for all of us.

Exceptional Parents, how are you handling the age transitions with your Exceptional Children? Do you feel like you walk a tightrope sometimes figuring out how best to explain things or when to stay quiet? All parents have to juggle this to a certain extent. In our case, it just means that we need to surround ourselves with good support systems: other parents who get our struggle, reading about or talking to adults who have autism to get more of a look inside our children’s brains, and making sure to promote neuro diversity, not just because of what our kids have taught us, but because it’s pretty cool how different we all are and that needs to be celebrated, even if sometimes we have crossed communication lines. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach whose son with autism 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: www.creatingexceptionalparentingg.com, and for a free 30 minute exploration/consultation session contact me at joanne@creatingexceptionalparenting.com. Also to receive a copy of my FREE E-BOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” click on www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com/EBOOKS