Category: medication

New Meds, New Exceptional Beginning?

Parenting an exceptional child is a challenging business, both for the exceptional child and their parent. As I begin to understand even more about Michael’s brain, I begin to see how he needs help in controlling his impulses, therapeutically and medically. And now the problem lies in finding the best treatment plan that will help him all around. The medication we have tried up to now did not help him like we had hoped. We are doing our best as parents to apply the strategies we have learned to help Michael control himself or learn from his mistakes. We also are learning better how to control ourselves and our reactions or overreactions to behaviors, though it is not always easy. Still, the right medication seems to be the missing key ingredient in helping Michael achieve a balance for his unique brain and for all of us to help him be at his best.

There are the challenging moments when peer pressure, puberty and any silliness is taken to the next step. I see my smart child make inappropriate choices in words and actions when I know he knows better. This is based on some misguided notion that friends expect him to do it, so he does it whether it is acceptable or not. Fortunately we are not talking about super socially deviant behavior, but it is still something that must be curbed so he could learn from it. I don’t want peer pressure taken further when alcohol, sex and drugs will come into the picture, and trust me, with my child in full fledged puberty all of the above are not that far away.

Then there are the moments when he is not only reachable, but wants to relate to me. Those are the precious moments where I want to cry as I think, “I have not lost him. I have not lost the connection. I must honor it and know that my little boy is still there, just maturing as I wanted him to.”  Today, I noticed that Michael asked me to put down my phone and talk to him. I was finishing typing up a text quickly and did not know he was ready to interact.

“Mommy, I want to talk to you. Please put your phone down and  listen to me.”

I did. Another time he shocked me when he asked me to stay and watch him play at an extracurricular activity.

“No, Mommy. Stay and watch me play tennis. Don’t come back when I am done.”
I had assumed he would have wanted me to leave, as all the older kids in the lessons are dropped off by their parents for an hour and then picked up when it is finished.  But he asked if I could stay and said he liked that I was there.

The last medication we tried for attention made it harder for him to control aggression, so we are back to trying another medication. He is hardly having any aggressive outbursts, but I have to say since he came off of the last med, I am noticing more silly things and so-called verbal diarrhea. He also is admitting that he needs help to focus in class as he is having a harder time there again. On a positive note, he is starting to keep better track of things, listening and following his routine. This was even better when on his ADHD meds though.

He also asked me if I was proud of him. I told him that when he listens, focuses and does a great job or tries his best,  I am extremely proud of him. When he is silly, deliberately copying negative behavior from friends, I am disappointed as I know he can do better as he is a smart kid.  I hope I am not stifling his self-confidence, but want him to know that appropriate behavior is expected of him, and that I know he can deliver it even with challenges.

Dad and I bring up medication as another tool that he can use to help him make the most of his amazing brain and focusing so he can learn and do his best, both academically and socially. We want him healthy and happy most important of all, and the way to be balanced for anyone, is to have a quality of life where we are in control of our thoughts and actions. Then we can give the world our best. Hopefully, this new medication can help him do that.

Exceptional Parents, how has medication helped or hindered your Exceptional Child? It has to be a fine balance with finding the right medication and therapy to help your Exceptional Child. As a parent, you need to keep advocating, working with your child, and believing their team will only want what’s best for them-personal and academic success that will help them achieve what they are meant to achieve. Keep an open mind and keep encouraging your Exceptional Child’s gifts. That will help them in the final stretch. Until next time.

Staying Calm Through Your Exceptional Child’s Storms- How You Can Bring Them Back To Themselves

Tonight was one of those nights I was hoping were behind Michael and I. It was a night where Michael totally lost it, his temper, his sense of control, and his ability to use his strategies to calm down. He had had an aggressive outburst with me after school, and even the way he has been talking this week is fueled with aggression and anxiety. I’m sure the new medication for focus is a major reason, but he has argued with me that it is helping him. I see improvements in other areas, so I have been watching and waiting to see if it is truly working and if he is better off overall being on it. What has NOT been happening though, is Michael using strategies to calm down anger and anxiety when he starts escalating. In the winter time, he was using the Zones of Regulation with strategies to find a balance. In the last two weeks particularly, he has been struggling greatly at regulating himself. Then we introduce a medication with possible side effects of aggression, loss of appetite and insomnia and BINGO he gets the aggression one. It has been hard to handle for all of us.

I was emailing his psychiatrist to express my concerns, when he started mouthing off at me and getting upset. I had just come in from an outing with him so told him to stay with his father while I went downstairs as I needed a break. I needed physical space away to breathe and not let his anxiety and anger take me along with him, and as Dad had not seen him all night, I figured this would be an opportunity for them to talk and Michael to calm down. Instead what happened was that Michael escalated more . Dad was tired as I was the night before and could not help.  I raced up the stairs two at a time and got Michael to his bedroom after he had banged the wall a few times, shouted horrible things and been jumping up and down so hard I thought the floors would break in half. We got to his bedroom and he was still yelling.  I kept repeating, “Michael breathe. Michael breathe.” And I stayed with him. It was scary. In the past though, after we talked about it, Michael would say, “I needed you there at the beginning to remind me what to do. I forget Mommy. I can’t do it alone.”

So I stayed and eventually the screaming and cursing stopped, and I heard two big breaths. Then two more as he held my hands and breathed with me.  I knew he would be ok. Then, when he was able to express remorse for what he had said and done, I told him he was forgiven. I also reminded him though, that he needed to use strategies to calm down as soon as he started feeling himself getting upset and anxious about anything. We talked about what could work, what doesn’t work, and what may work. He came out of his room realizing that depending on what the doctor recommended, he may be on a lower dose or off the current medication for focus and hyperactivity.

I was proud of the fact that even though he was saying and doing some pretty scary things I kept in mind three things- 1) my child was out of control 2) my child did not mean what he was saying and 3) my child needed me to be the calm one through it all, no matter what. I was happy to say I was successful, and he finished his bed routine  promising me he’d find new positive strategies to help with anxiety and anger. You see, I learned that his old ones did not help anymore and he said, “When I let myself get really angry and let it out, I feel better.” I agreed it’s good to let anger out, but not when you become physically or verbally dangerous to people around you. After I explained it that way, Michael understood and said he would do better. I know he will. My heart breaks for him that finding balance is so hard- balance in focus, balance in controlling emotions, balance in life. His brain works differently than mine, and he has so many incredible things to share, but the fact he is always ON definitively takes its toll on him and those around him. I am learning how to respect who Michael is while respecting myself and finding a compromise so both of us can respect each other’s differences and learn from one another.

Exceptional Parents, how have you managed to support your Exceptional Child when they have been in crisis? If you stayed calm, congratulations. The best thing an exceptional child can have is a parent who is a calm, safe haven for them when they are in turmoil. As much as you are unraveling, knowing that you’ve got their back, will often help them find the strength to try again. Also never forget that no matter what your child says or does when angry, it is not who they are. It is their reaction to whatever stressor provoked them. Be patient and loving. Unconditional love, having ways to talk together and strategies to handle stress, will be the ultimate thing that will help you both in the end. Until next time.

 

How To Regroup And Forgive Your Old Reactions To Exceptional Parenting Stress

The last week has had its challenges in our household. Michael is trying a new medication for his ADHD to help with focus in school. I was told that any differences, either good or bad, would be noticed in the first few days of taking it. Let’s just say we have seen a little bit of both kinds of differences, though I am not fully convinced it is not working, but questioning if it is. That has been part of the problem. Michael is telling me how it is becoming easier for him to focus at school, and that he rocks and claps his fidget a little less than before. However, at home he is more outspoken and easily angered than he was prior to taking the medication. I am conflicted. The fights and the repetitive nature of what he is saying to set me off, have me believe it is more than provocative behavior, yet that is what provocative behavior is, right? I also don’t want him on too many medications, unless they are working. As a result of my conflicted feelings and worries, my patience has not been the best the last few days. We have had some fights. I have reacted in ways I am not proud of. It’s been awhile since I’ve felt this way at home. I thought I’d said goodbye to the easily provoked Mom who became frustrated with her hyper active tween, and inadvertently triggered him by some of her comments. Last night after Michael finally went to bed because on top of a fight he also had low blood sugar and needed to wait to retest before having his bedtime injection, I went downstairs and started researching the medication he was on. I also researched ADHD some more, to try and understand this different brain that is so like and unlike autism.

I realized I had come far away from listening to my child over the last week. I was too busy worrying if the medication was right, if he was having side effects, if it would counteract with his insulin and other medication, that I forgot to trust in two very important things-Michael’s instinct about how he feels and my own about my son. I was so busy worrying if the outbursts at home were due to the new medication and if we should stop it, that I was tuning out Michael saying he is feeling good, and to please try it for a little longer. Strangely, as much as end of day has its challenges, Michael actually seems happier since he started the medication and more organized with getting ready for school, bed and other activities. We are having less fights about sequencing stuff. So what does this mean? I think that sometimes as parents we stress so much about every little thing and read too much into things being one way. It’s important not to micromanage too much, step back, and listen for your child’s feedback, especially if they are on medication and are older. They can tell you how they feel.

It’s also ok to occasionally slip up and get angry. You’ll move forward into a calm and zen way of parenting your exceptional child then something stressful will occur and you may temporarily fall back on old habits. Don’t stress. Recognize the angry and scared part of yourself. Nurture it. Forgive yourself your mistake, and apologize to your child. Michael and I both spoke about our mistakes, and and Michael said to me this morning, “Today we start fresh Mommy, right?” Of course, I answered right away.

Exceptional Parents, do you ever feel that making a mistake in how you react to your child is the end of the world? It’s not. It just means that you need to do some more nurturing towards yourself and your fears and worries. It also means that you could be tired and need a break. It’s ok if you feel provoked by your child on occasion. Use the mistake as a learning experience for yourself to get stronger, as well as to show your child that we can grow and become stronger after moving on from mistakes. Tomorrow is always another day after all. Until next time.

 

Recognizing Hyperactivity and Deliberate Behaviors-Clues To Look Out For

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

Hyperactivity:

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

Behaviors:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information about me and my journey as well as my coaching programs,  check out my website http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com,  as well as my FREE E-BOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL PARENTING” at http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com/ebooks. 

How Our Children Strengthen Us And What We Need To Remember On Our Parenting Journeys

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“You are amazing with him. You are redirecting him when he is inappropriate. I work with special needs kids.  I completely understand.”

This was the opening line of a Mom sitting near Michael and I in the waiting room to see his pediatrician for a follow up visit on our tumultuous year handling aggression and hyperactivity as well as his diabetes. Michael had been commenting on how much he likes her legs, as he is fascinated by women’s legs and will say this now in puberty without worry about consequences, along with other hyperactive behavior. I understand this, but have been trying to redirect him to more appropriate ways to handle his feelings.There have been many ups and downs since last summer, but this week, there have been many more ups. Still, as I have been blogging this week,  Michael’s hyperactivity and lack of impulse control has been VERY high.

He always had a hard time waiting in lines, doctors appointments and at amusement parks. Now that he is off medication for aggression that was not working, his impulsivity had no medical help, so to speak. He was happy, silly and as he has entered puberty, checking out women’s legs. He has always had a fascination with legs, and now will openly stare at women in capri pants and comment on their legs out loud. He will smile and try and talk to them too. It is cute in a way, but also highly embarrassing and inappropriate. I have been handling it by both trying to calmly discourage it by asking him to keep up with me and not stop, as well as try and ignore the staring. But this in the office could not be ignored. Not knowing this woman’s background, I was worried, so out loud in a calm voice I told Michael that I knew it was hard for him to wait and that he was off his old medication, (signs to the person that my child is not trying to be rude), but that he must stop trying to get her attention, talk so loudly, and try and be silly with standing up. He also had a little video game with him and I repeatedly directed him to watch it. To no avail. Dad was waiting near the intercom on the other side of the room, to hear when we would be called to see the doctor. When this woman identified herself and told me that she was impressed how calm I was, I thanked her for her kind words and patience, and in that moment realized I’d come a long way in the last little while, including the last year. I was patient. I was understanding of my child. I was trying to show him compassion while also teaching him how to be appropriate in the world.

 

Then, entering the doctor’s office, Dad and I had our questions for the pediatrician as well as our update since the last visit six months ago.  Dad mentioned our difficulties as did I, as well as the good moments. When he talked about the difficulties, he mentioned how I handled most of them, being the parent who is with Michael the most. I got my second surprise of the way as the doctor commended me for my calm demeanor and the “I don’t know how you do it, you are amazing” comment. I simply answered, Thank you, but I just do. He’s my son. All my Mom friends do the same for their kids.” Wow, I thought. The Universe sent me these two people today to remind me that I was reaching Michael in a positive way.  Although there were family dynamics that need improving, and trust me we are working on those, I was complimented today by these two women for a reason. God is speaking to me. I am doing something right and people see it. I need to see it and acknowledge it.

It’s not easy being an exceptional parent. You realize your child is exceptional and they are the ones struggling to fit in in a world that is foreign to them, yet until they can really advocate for themselves, you are the one who needs to do a lot of the heavy lifting for them. You need to be strong. You need to be positive. You need to show them hope, strength, resilience. Then, a surprising thing happens. You develop hope, strength and resilience just when you thought life could wipe the floor with you. You become your own advocate. You start to change the way you see your own life, even  separate from your child. Yes, it’s not always easy. There is stress, personal and maybe professional. You don’t have a lot of personal time or time for relationships. Maybe you have money issues. Maybe not. But, you start to see, if you have your health,  a passion for something you can call your own, family and friends around you that love and support you and make you laugh, you are blessed. Even through the hard days and nights, you can pass this on to your child, and show them that they are a gift to themselves, to you, and to the world. And it all starts with one or two people reminding you that you are amazing on a day when you are worried you are not getting what your child needs.

Exceptional Parents, what strength have you gained from your child? Yes, even when we make mistakes as parents or feel weak, we are our child’s strength as much as they are ours. Other people around us will see we are working hard to teach our child to be the best they can be, and we need to take that in and remind ourselves that as challenging as our children are for themselves and us, that challenge is preparing both of us for further growth. There is a purpose for them. There is a purpose for us. We need to keep growing together, and remember as hard as things get, we need to stay positive for our kids, for ourselves and for those around us. Reach out and connect with other parents if you feel yourself losing your hope and belief in you or your child. Your community will be there to remind you that you are doing work of the spirit that is necessary for everyone to grow stronger and better. 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

Stepping Back and Getting Clear On What You And Your Exceptional Child Need Now

Our weekends have been getting progressively better, though there is still aggression, frustration and anxiety as Michael continues to hone in on his ability to control how he feels and what he does to us and himself. Regardless off how frustrated and overwhelmed I sometimes feel, I am proud as I see him making progress slowly in so many areas. Some days are better than others. Some days I am more tolerant and stronger than on other days too. And on some days when I feel like throwing in the towel completely, I find myself suddenly knowing exactly what direction I need to take. I call this my spirit talking to me. Prayer and meditation have made this voice very strong, and when I can’t hear it, I get quiet, physically and mentally so I can hear it more clearly. This weekend I heard it when it said we needed to take Michael off a medication he is on. I have been wanting to do this for awhile, but was worried. This medication originally helped so much with aggression, and what if things got much worse if he went off it? I did not like the side effects of it, and the new me has decided she will not fear the unknown. The only way to see what worked, medication and therapy and frankly life-wise, is to try and risk failure. And what is so bad about failure anyway I found myself thinking this weekend? It really means we are alive and human. Mistakes make us grow stronger. They make us appreciate the good times. Just like when we are sick we appreciate being healthy. You get the drift.

This summer has been another summer of growth for Michael and our family, and not just in terms of his health and challenges. Dad and I are being pushed to make personal changes too, as well as changes in our marriage, and in what we can expect from one another as each lets the other one grow. There have been LOTS of growing pains. There have been lots of moments when I have felt angry and said, why is it so hard? But, at other times, things have gone so smoothly, so easily. Decisions like taking Michael off his medication is so far going well. Encouraging Michael to join another soccer league has been a success. Pushing myself to clean out the junk, literal and figurative in my home, mind and heart, is helping me to see myself for who I am now, and what I want to change or improve upon, no excuses, no self-pity. We all have our crosses to bear as a good friend once said to me. She is so right. I am often awed by people who do not let life’s stresses and strains make them bitter. I decided five years ago to devote myself to becoming one of those  people. Those closest to me say I am. And when I start to stray from those good intentions, family and friends help me find my way back.

Now that I am back, wow! What a difference it makes being my body. What a difference it makes in how I treat myself, advocate for my son, and treat those around me. Even on hard days, I see my negative emotions for what they are-transient and temporary. I recognize exhaustion, self-pity and anger as things that I haven’t addressed and so I do and make the necessary changes. As a exceptional parent, I have been able to make positive changes and relate to Michael in a calm and loving way, due to operating from my soul upwards. Parenting with your gut is not easy work, but as long as you take care of you, remember the beauty and uniqueness of your child, and stay positive no mattter what, your heart and soul will guide your mind to the right place, people, and therapies for your child.

Exceptional Parents, are you feeling stuck wondering how to help your Exceptional Child through a rough time? Are you personally feeling stuck? As hard as it is, step back and look inside of yourself. How are you feeling? Are you tired, angry or scared? Before you can help and hear your child’s cry for help, you need to hear your own soul’s cry for help and heal yourself. You will know you are on the right track when your thoughts about life are more positive, you practice gratitude in even the most challenging times, and you admit when you are overwhelmed. Meditate, pray, exercise, reach out to others. Get counselling. Do what you need to do so you can get back in the flow of your life and give your Exceptional Child what they most need now-hope and love from the most important person in their life-their parent. 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.

Signs That Your Exceptional Child Gets Their Anxiety And How To Help Them Find New Strategies

Eureka! I found myself saying this the other day in my head when Michael had an “Aha” moment. This moment was so important as it has shaped the last three days of our family life. Michael has finally began understanding his severe anxiety and his phobias  and how to start using strategies. Thank goodness he is a child who can talk to me about his fears, real and imagined. Besides doing this, however, he is also learning to detect signs that his anxiety is growing. He experiences stomach aches, tension, and panic attacks. The panic attacks are new. He will start to cry and say he does not want to be home. Home is where even when structured, he can hear the inner critical voice that says things he gets overwhelmed with and he can never be as busy than he is outside the home.The first time he shared this with me my heart broke. The only consolation was I could commiserate. As an anxiety sufferer myself, and one who has been on that roller coaster of emotions for most of my forty odd years, I was able to tell Michael that his inner critical voice exaggerates and even lies. It is a scared voice that needs support and acceptance as well as love from the rest of him. Once he learns how to love all of him, his anxiety will lessen. I know this, as I have learned tricks over the years to manage my own anxiety. I am constantly honing new mental muscle to be able to cope as well, and know that I can and will reach out for help whenever I need it.

In the meantime, we are doing the great exercises his Educator has given us for anxiety. They range from writing out scenarios of fears along with the worst and best possible outcomes, as well as wonderful ones that teach children about red thoughts and green thoughts, red thoughts being negative or stressful ways of looking at events, and green thoughts being positive ways to frame things in their minds. They also talk about how problems can be viewed as challenges to be overcome. Finally, he filled out a sheet that had him read situations and he had to label them as an Antidote or a Poison. Michael got them all right, and I could see him beginning the process of understanding his own anxiety. We talked about how everyone has anxiety as well as fears and phobias.

So how to know when your exceptional child gets their anxiety? Here are some of the signs:

  1. They recognize signs of fear in their bodies: The first time Michael was able to say his stomach or head hurt, I knew we were on the way to him recognizing the first signs of anxiety.
  2. They cry or are angry more often: Anger and anxiety often go hand in hand. As I have told people, Michael cycles in and out of anger and anxiety most days. Lately it has been anxiety, and I see the panic attack as he will cry and tell me he is feeling overwhelmed.
  3. Appetites change or diminish: This is so true, though if your child is on medication for anxiety or aggression, that will affect appetite too. Still, you will see that some times they say they are scared and don’t want to eat. At other times, you will see them eat more.
  4. They want to learn ways to manage it: The day that Michael was eager to do the homework and strategies to manage his anxiety, was when I knew he was ready for it.
  5. They start applying what they have learned. As a Mom what has made me most proud, is to see Michael using the belly breathing I have showed him to manage his anxiety, start replacing his negative thoughts with positive ones, and slowly move back into meditation and mindfulness. He has also went and retrieved old articles and read them to himself to figure out how they could help him.

Exceptional Parents, what are your stories when your Exceptional Child started to understand how to manage their anxiety and stress? Every child is different, and they will regulate their emotions differently too. The important thing is when you see your child practicing the strategies you have taught them, looking at articles or books that help them regulate, and asking for help. This means they are ready to take the next step-that is, managing to control their own fears and knowing that they are the true masters of their destiny. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker, and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism, ADHD and type 1 diabetes, is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom by showing me how different brains view the world in a whole new way! 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 them to do! 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.