Category: Play Skills

Mom Camp Begins-How To Have As Stress-Free A Time With Your Exceptional Child As Possible

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So today is the day. It is the day that Michael will be home with me alone for two straight weeks. It’s not a lot compared to some families whose children don’t go to camp, I know. Still, for us, for me, with an extremely active and anxious kid, keeping him busy during these two weeks is anything but relaxing, though I enjoy our time together. It’s become an art over the years, and I think we’re pretty much at the point now that Michael and I know each other well, he knows and understands I still need time in the day for my writing and editing jobs as well as for my personal health and housework, and time to take him places and truly enjoy spending time with him. It’s a balance for both of us and we have our ups and downs. I have found that having a system is our best bet. What is our system for having fun and staying sane at home during our mother/son bonding time? Here is the system that works for our family:

  1. Write It All Down: We have a dry erase board where we write out the activities we will be doing outdoors with rain substitutes too, of course. Michael now writes it out on our dry erase list and calendar and enjoys this planning phase.
  2. Have Rewards For Your Child: Yes, rewards for good listening; staying calm, using strategies. All of that works for Michael and I, and helps him stay motivated to behave for both of us.
  3. Repeat To Your Child You Are Happy They Are Home: I must confess there are times I feel less than enthusiastic about this. Hey, I’m human and need my space, but as he has gotten older, he is learning how to make his own fun at home and it is fun playing sports with him, swimming with him, and going out with him. I build up excitement about his time home with me by talking about the cool things we will do and trying to put some variety into the day. He loves that.
  4. Schedule Play Dates With Other Kids If You Can: This is hard as everyone has a different summer schedule, but try and schedule in a few play dates with friends to spice things up if possible. We will be doing one this week and others in two weeks hopefully, near the tail end of our family vacation.
  5. Have Fun Home Time Built-In Or Outside-Home Time: Both of these are harder if your kid is a homebody who does not want to go out or a jet-setter who never wants to stay home. Parents have their work cut out for them, but slowly they can introduce a half day spent home or out to get their child used to something different.

Most kids respond well to some sort of structure. As long as there is some flexibility in activities, a parent who knows her child well will usually not go wrong. As long as your child is getting some fresh air, exercise as well as time at home to chill out, you and they are off to a good start on your time alone together.

Exceptional Parents, how do you survive times in the summer when the kids are with you all day for a fixed period of time?  What tips have you offered friends? The thing is there is not one system that works perfectly for every child. What I have used is a general one that works for most exceptional kids, but as your child’s parent you know them best and know what will keep them stimulated, happy and as relaxed as possible. It’s also important that you as Mom and Dad, find time to recharge your parental batteries, especially when they are home. Whether it’s squeezing in a workout, taking time for pleasure reading or talking to and seeing other adults when your child is with another adult, doing this will keep your batteries charged and you calm ready to handle anything. So, trust in balance for you and your child.  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

 

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Join Or Fight The Stim – That is The Question

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Stimming or stim- a self-stimulatory behavior that pretty much all people with autism do to regulate their nervous systems, handle stress, anxiety, noise and excitement in their own way. This is something all of their neuro typical parents fear. Why? Well, when they are stimming they are not responding to us most of the time. They are lost in “that world” the world where non autistics don’t go, the one where we as parents do not feel wanted, the one we fear as that was where our children were as babies  when they were unreachable pretty much most of the time. As they got older, whether they became verbal or not, chances are they got more reachable, they joined us in our world and we felt, great our child is here now. Let’s teach them. Let’s have a relationship with them. But did we join them in their world? In short, yes.

With Michael, this was something I fought for years, stopping him stimming. He likes to rock and “clink” his chewy or any other kind of soft toy. He carries it everywhere, and if he is told at school, camp or at an activity to put it down he will. He will also put it down for logistics like eating, showering and toileting, but he will need it the rest of the time. I fought for a while to try and get him at first to stop stimming, not understanding that it is as essential as breathing for him as it is for all autistic people. You see, I was afraid of stims, and as a parent I still have to stop myself when he is stimming from panicking a little that my little boy will be so happy doing that he won’t want a relationship with me. I used to even tell the grandparents when he was younger to interrupt the stim and try and stop it. I’ve known better for years now. The only thing I do tell him, and that is as much for his making his way easier in the world, that he should stim a limited amount of time in public when he is with other people and do more at home. I tell Michael this both so he could be more in the moment with others, and also so he does not get comments and stares from people that do not understand. When he is home he can stim when he likes. This particular weekend he admitted he got carried away stimming and ended up going to bed late. Dad and I gently reminded him even at home, he has control over it, and can decide when to stop.

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As a parent, it took me years to change the mindset of seeing this practice as helping my child. I read and continue to follow many wonderful blogs written by autistic adults, one in particular that talked about stimming parties he had with his autistic friends. Last night at bedtime, I spoke to Michael about this. His response? “Wow, Mommy. That sounds so cool. You mean a party where I could stim with my friends?” It has really opened up my eyes about what Michael and other people with autism need. I also have some wonderful friends who though not autistic, have had mental health issues themselves like me. Their brain also works a little differently than the so-called norm. One of them once said to me, “Have you ever tried joining Michael in the stim? Do the dance Joanne.” How beautifully put. And I thought, yes, yes. She is right. As soon as I stopped fearing the unknown to my brain, that was when my relationship with Michael deepened. I wished I had known this when he was younger, but at least I learned it in his early childhood years. I now see how his stims are a part of him, just like his interests and his physical appearance, just like his smile and the rest of his personality. There is not one thing I would change about Michael. He is perfect in every way. I want to help him be successful at life, handle our world the best way he can. As I’ve said before, it’s a stressful world for those of us without different brains and sensory systems. For our kkids, it’s a daily battle to get through it sometimes. They,  and the adults with neuro developmental differences around us, are the unsung heroes of our times.

Exceptional Parents, do you “do the dance” with your Exceptional Children or do you fight it? It’s scary I know. You don’t want to feel you are losing them again. Here’s a secret. You won’t. You’ve shown them how cool our world can be with you and other loved ones in it. There’s neat things for them, even with all the stress that goes with it. So join them in their world once in a while. Let them take you by the hand and guide you on the adventure of what things look like from their perspective. If they see you trust them, they’ll trust you all the more. Happy trails ahead. 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.

 

Letting Your Inner Self Shine Through-What Exceptional Kids Teach Us

facepaint.jpegSo Michael is at the point in his development that he wants to learn to play with toys or games, but does not know where to start. He has asked his teacher in the past and me to show him. I feel so proud that he wants to learn to do something that does not come easy. He is an imaginative child. He has written some simple, short stories about his imaginary friend and our cat going on adventures. Yes, he is quirky! And he has some figurines left from his previous toy purge and he is looking for ways to play with them. It is tricky for him. He has imagination, but it does not work like everyone else’s. This is an advantage as he comes up with new ideas and new ways to see the world. But it also makes it harder for him to see how the rest of us play and interact. It’s kind of like when I have to show him not to run up to someone he knows and start talking to them if they are talking to someone else already, it’s knowing him how to be himself in a world that is not like him, where a lot of people kind of fit the same mold.

What is so cool about Michael and kids like him though, is that he really does not care what others think. This is the flip side. Sure it’s due to the way his brain is wired, but it’s refreshing and humbling for me as his Mom to walk by his side. Last Friday he had pajama day at his camp. They also did face painting. I decided that we would pick up pizza for dinner and after camp Michael would come with me. I told him we could go home briefly to remove the face paint and for him to change. He told me no, that it didn’t bother him to go into the store in his pajamas with face paint. Wow. I don’t think I could have done that even now. It took me until my early forties to really stop caring what people thought. Michael, knows this lesson at ten. I think it is autism’s gift to him and to all people like him. As they operate the way the rest of the world does, they have their own moral code, and show us, it’s not bad. It actually can be fun if you let yourself think and live outside the box. This is truly neurodiversity, and it’s important that while parents teach their child to fit in, they must also help the world understand that it is a beautiful thing to stand out.

Exceptional Parents, when was the last time you saw your Exceptional Child’s eccentricity as one of their gifts? Remember, you can show them skills, like play skills, but in turn they have lots they can show you, like how to be true to who you are inside and  not be afraid to let your own inner quirkiness shine through. With the two of you showing the other what it’s like on the “other side”, you can both learn and grow together. 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.

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” http://www.exceptionalparenting.net/EBOOKS

 

5 Ways to Reconnect With Your Child Who Has Autism

Michael and I have had our ups and downs in recent months. Now, we are on the ups again, and even when there are difficult moments, as I’ve said in previous posts, we gain equilibrium. He is learning how to manage his emotions as I am learning to manage mine. It is normal with any child that you will have moments of connect, and moments of disconnect. It is how you learn to navigate them that will make all the difference. That is what I have discovered with Michael, and hopefully, he with me.

Michael has been learning how to handle his feelings better. How to cry, talk about his emotions, and not resort to challenging behaviors to get his needs met. Some days are easier than others. Last night was an example where he was stressed, but quickly went to his room to calm down and managed to regulate himself. I was so proud of him. Yes, there were outbursts. Yes, there were moments when he hit objects, his head and yelled at me. But I stayed calm and quietly reminded him to redirect himself. And he did! It’s a beautiful thing for a Mom to witness on a tough afternoon for her child that the lessons his school psychologist, teacher and I are helping him with, are sinking in. He was a champ.

But, if as a parent you are having trouble reconnecting with your child, what can you do? Here are some ways I have found to reconnect with my son who has autism:

  1. Be there physically, mentally and spiritually there for them: Simple right? Wrong. On days when work calls, another child beckons for your attention or you are just out of it yourself, this is challenging. Still, this is mandatory that your child senses you are there listening to them in body and spirit. That’s when even if they have challenges, they will get through them as they know their parents are there for them.
  2. Make sure you check in with “you” throughout the day: As a parent, this is crucial. When was the last time you checked in with how you are feeling emotionally, physically or spiritually? If you are burnt out, frustrated, and have not been taking care of yourself guess what, your kids extra emotional sensors will pick up on it. And you will be no good to them or you. If you are having a tough day and can’t do all your self-care things, be honest about it. Do something gentle for you so when they come home, they sense it too.
  3. Listen to what their interests are and go with it: This is so important. My little guy is now into making imaginary friends and houses. Go figure he wants to do crafts! At the  park, he wants to race for his imaginary friends. Again, I am going with it, as it is encouraging his imagination, fine motor development and communication. Don’t tell your kid it’s weird and move on. Go with it. Remember also, it’s the weird people who get things done and move the world.
  4. Let them cry or yell as long as they are not destructive: This is one I have learned the hard way. I let Michael release all his emotions crying, yelling, stress, as long as he is not aggressive. Aggressive behavior is not allowed as it doesn’t help anyone. I let him release his emotions and it is truly helping him come in his own.
  5. Cuddle and bond in whatever way you can: Some kids get to a certain age and don’t want cuddling in the daytime, but many enjoy cuddling at night, kissing, hugging. I make sure to have this time with Michael or give him that time in some other way by talking or laughing in the day. Kids need to know you are there for them.

Exceptional Parents, how do you reconnect with your kids who have autism? How do you tell them you love them and are there for them? They know you are even if they don’t ask the question or can say the words. Say it. Hug them. Spend time with them doing what they love, and most importantly, make sure to tell them how special they are to you. They need to hear it at least once a day. I love you is so important for all of us to hear. Until next time.

Tired of handling anxiety and stress? Download my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” http://www.exceptionalparenting.net/EBOOKS

 

 

 

Snow, Snow and More Snow-The Joys of Sensory Play Outside

The first snow fell Sunday night into Monday. And, like any child, Michael was ecstatic when he woke up yesterday morning. He asked about building a snowman and was crossing his fingers about having time to play outside at recess. I promised him, regardless, we would do something outside after school. Unfortunately, he did not come home with his snow pants, but we still want to race in a nature park nearby and watch the ducks after our race and walk. Michael loves being outside and so enjoys the snow. He, as well as I, are looking forward to sledding, skating and doing all kinds of activities outside.

For exceptional kids who have many gross and fine motor challenges, being outside can be great to help them build up their muscles. Walking in deep snow or up a hill with their toboggan, skating, building a snowman and making snow angels, all work either the larger limbs of their body (gross motor), and/or hands, fingers and arms, (fine motor) skills ,in a fun way that gets them moving and releasing a lot of pent up energy. When Michael was a baby, being outside was difficult for him. The temperature and the feel of the snow was something weird, though he did enjoy eating snow, and actually, much to my frustration, still does. He also went through a period where he would be outside for ten minutes, then tell me he was tired and wanted to go in. I realize now that was his low muscle tone that had to build up tolerance to movement and coordination. But, as with everything else, once Michael built up that tolerance, did he ever go. Now, he is my little movement machine, loves to be active, and, as a plus, has gotten me to be active too.

Exceptional Parents, do you have trouble getting your little ones outdoors? Are they sensitive to light, cold or not liking to get dressed up in snow gear? Start slowly with small spurts of time outside so your child can build up tolerance to being outside. Do fun things with them. Remember what being a child was all about; making snow angels, building snowmen, running, your cheeks all nice and rosy, sledding. If they see you engaging in fun play with no pressure, they will eventually be curious enough to want to join in. Not sure how to do it? Sure you do. Just be yourself. They will be comfortable with you and eventually be able to be themselves. As always, trust your parent’s gut on how to do this. You know your child. Until next time.

Tired of anxiety controlling you and your child? Download my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” http://www.exceptionalparenting.net/EBOOKS

 

5 Ways to Find Your Exceptional Child’s Strengths

Lots of times when we talk about Exceptional Children, or children whose brains work differently than the rest of the population, the next thing we tend to hear is how to fix them. Parents will hear about lots of ways to curb bad behavior, different challenges, defiance and learning disabilities. This is all good and true that our children need to be helped and learn to manage these behaviors so that it doesn’t impede the rest of their life and potential, yet sometimes we as their parents are the very ones who overlook their strengths without realizing it.

After having attended and helped facilitate at a parent support group last evening, it reminded me how often as parents we forget to look for the wins our child accomplishes and tend to focus only on the losses. This is easy as at school we will tend to hear from the teacher only if there is a problem. We as parents will also comment more when they misbehave at home or in social situations than when they are listening. It’s important that we cut ourselves some slack if we do this, however, as we are only human. However, it’s important that for our child’s sake we make more of an effort to see their strengths instead of their weaknesses. This is how we will build them up and help them overcome their fears and grow into the person they are meant to be.

How can we find their strengths as parents? Well, again as the person who knows them the best we need to trust our parenting gut when observing them. This means being a parent detective and watching for things like their interests and encouraging those to flourish. And it is important to encourage what THEY love and not what WE think they should love. But who else can we find their strengths? Here are 5  Easy Ways:

  1. Pay attention to so-called obsessions: Yes, society labels these obsessions, but in reality what they are is your child’s passion and interest. If you can turn that interest into several career possibilities, you’ve got lots of potential. My little guy LOVES directions and navigating. He loves music and dance. So right there we’ve got tour guide, map designer, and musician/composer in the mix. There could also be a dancing career or a career as a bus driver/cab driver.
  2. Spend quality time with your child NOT quantity: This is so important. When as a parent you are either playing with them in the park, taking a walk, watching a movie together, you are bonding and showing them you are there for them whenever they need to talk. While they will learn that you are there for them, you will start seeing how they handle themselves in different situations and be able to help them build on what they know. Most importantly, just enjoy being with them.
  3. Get therapy or self-care time for you to build yourself up: This maybe should have been number 1. I know that when I am not doing well, neither is my son. When a Mom is in the right frame of mind, calm, organized and feeling happy and good in her bones, she can see the good and beauty in her son. It is easy to see that in them when you first see it in you.
  4. Watch how they interact socially: Watching how they interact with peers, family, and strangers without judgment, will help you see as a parent where they need your help the most and where they are the strongest. Make sure to praise what they are doing right.
  5. Expose them to new situations: This is a tough one if you have a nervous, shy or even an unpredictable child who will do just about anything. Still, they will not be able to show you what they are capable of, unless you put them in a situation with a bit of challenge. Taking them to a new playground, store, event, or signing them up for a new activity will showcase what they handle well. If things are hard, you teach them how to handle it and praise their flexibility.

Exceptional Parents, do you model your own strengths for your Exceptional Child? Often times, if a child sees their parent doing things they love and being positive, they will internalize a more positive self-image. Again, if you are positive and see the good in them, they will learn to see the good in you and in others. All this will mean a happier life ahead for all. Until next time.

Tired of anxiety controlling you and your child? Download my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” http://www.exceptionalparenting.net/EBOOKS

Soccer Connections And Friendships Formed

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Michael’s Dad and I are very excited that he is back to playing soccer again this summer. There is something about the game of playing soccer that is fun and simple. I’ve always loved the idea of parents sitting on the sidelines watching their kids play a simple game with a ball, getting fresh, and learning about team spirit, and really what it takes to make it in the world with a healthy dose of cooperation. What I especially enjoy is that Michael has found a soccer team that for him is a good fit. It is smaller than a team he was playing on previously, and for him that’s important. He tends to get swallowed up in big groups, lots of coaches and lots of kids. As he grows, he may be ready for more competitive teams, but for right now, he is right where he is supposed to be. He also has a crush on his head coach, who also babysat for us once. He has “married her,” and looks forward to seeing and sharing things with her at every practice. We have to remind him she is there to coach all the kids, but of course she and the other coaches understand. It is an adapted team which really helps as all the kids are exceptional, and the coaches know how to handle them.

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Michael’s Dad and I enjoy talking to the other parents as we do at his other activities which are also adapted. They get it and they get how our kids do things a little differently, and are smart in their own right. They get how hard it is for our kids who want to be active, but do not always have the options on non adapted teams or cannot keep up with the pace on these teams. Most importantly, as our exceptional kids realize they are not alone in the way they are, their exceptional parents realize it too, talking to other parents facing the same challenges of raising an amazing child or children who are not textbook.

Exceptional Parents, do your Exceptional Children do extracurricular activities? Do you go the adapted or non-adapted way and how do you and your child find them? The important thing to remember is to follow your child’s interest in pursuing activities along with their capabilities. Don’t ever push them too far beyond their comfort zone, but be there to give them a little nudge to get out there and meet other children, learn about playing, and allow yourself the opportunity of meeting parents who are facing the same journey as you. Until next time.

 

 

Writing Out the Day = Success And Day Camp Enjoyment

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This week I have been collectively holding my breath. I finally released it this morning with relief and happiness. It was Michael’s first week at a new non-adapted camp. Last year he did well at another non-adapted camp, but he did not like his companion/shadow, and the experience was less than favorable. At this year’s camp fortunately, it is the complete opposite. He loves the camp, his companion/shadow and looks forward to going each day. We only signed him up for two weeks just in case, but it seems to be successful. I have not seen him this happy at a camp in awhile. He is kept busy, he does crafts, and he has even made a little friend. He is excited to go in the morning. There is no problem with him getting up, getting dressed and out the door. He goes for more hours a day but that works for him. He is a high energy kid. And this works better for me too as I can get more work done. 🙂 And, as a bonus the camp is right up the street from us. It’s great all around. I had forgotten the last time I saw my little guy this happy.

As a Mom I have been humbled once again by Michael this week. He has amazed me with how well he has adapted to a neuro typical environment, how well he can articulate and follow the day with a few reminders only, and how well he is using strategies to calm down with me when he gets anxious. One of these is drawing out the day on paper with words and pictures. Sunday was a stressful start for us, and not surprisingly, he was a little nervous due to a change in routine. We were not going to church, but Dad and he were driving me to a speaking engagement. As soon as he got up and I noticed how anxious he was talking a mile a minute and challenging everything Dad and I said to him, I asked him to draw out the day as we had planned it on the dry erase board previously. It was amazing!

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Just as drawing stick figures or looking at pictograms had helped in the past, seeing him write out the words I felt the energy in the room change. I also saw his physical body relax, his breathing calm. He was a new kid. My little guy is learning how to manage some very difficult emotions and feelings by using his own strategies and techniques that work for him. I, as his Mom, am also learning to trust my gut and what I know works for my kid. I’m also learning to observe him closely and really see what he is feeling and what tips I could give him that empower him to find the solutions. I have had so many moments in the last few days that were WOW moments. He has come so far. He has achieved so much. I felt that he started the summer at a much younger age, and is maturing now into an incredible little man. He is really coming along in sports. He loves soccer, tennis and is starting to take an interest in basketball. He loves asking questions and learning about the world around him. And he is learning about limits even when he doesn’t like them. And oh, his sense of humor is growing more by the day.

Exceptional Parents, how is your child’s level of functioning in the summer? Are they happier or more stressed at home or camp? It is not a black and white issue for our kids, and many fall in between with reactions. As you learn more about what makes your child tick, you will be able to fine tune things that make them more comfortable, and what to avoid. Trust yourself as their parent and look to your child for changes that help them feel better. The important thing is to encourage them to grow into themselves at their own pace and in their own time. You will do it as will they. Until next time.

 

Therapeutic and Fun Benefits of Art for Exceptional Children

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The other day Michael had a new sitter come and play with him while Dad and I went out for a long awaited date. It went phenomenally, and in addition to him liking her, he also got to explore another medium once again, art. This sitter is an art teacher, and asked due to the rainy weather, if she could bring over some art supplies and they could paint, draw, create if the mood struck. I almost told her no, but something told me to say yes. It did indeed rain the other day, so Michael had to stay in the house with her. They couldn’t do the parks and splash pad visit up the street that he had been anticipating.  But the other reason I said yes, was due to the fact that a few summers ago, Michael created some beautiful paintings at home in our backyard. I also saw what he created at school this year, and I was amazed. I asked the sitter if she wouldn’t mind bringing art supplies. He may not be interested, but you could try, I said. I have to say I was utterly amazed with the beautiful art he created as you look at the following. He used shaving cream and various other paints and effects to create what you see. It is creative, and was therapeutic for him to make at the same time.

The most telling thing for me though, was his happy smiling face when we came home and the excitement he had in showing us his creations. Other than one small incident one time with a sitter (whom he has since asked for me to call), he does amazing with everybody. Yet there was something unique about this art experience. He was very excited to show us his work and talk about this sitter. I was so happy that she reached him in another way, and that they connected so well. I was glad Michael has found another outlet to let loose and explore too. Music, drawing, and painting are good for exceptional children to have different experiences about themselves and their roles in this world.

Exceptional Parents, do your children enjoy art in the form of painting, drawing, sketching? It’s such a great medium to help them explore their creativity, as well as a great way to express themselves sensory wise. Start by giving them access to painting supplies, paper, easel (children’s ones are cheaper), and like me, keep it outside or in a room that you don’t mind may get dirty like a corner of the basement or even outside in the backyard as I did one year. 🙂  It’s important for children to explore different ways of expression. This will help them regulate, find other potential talents, and just enjoy the process of creating something uniquely theirs. They will see how beautiful their creations are, just like they are. Until next time.

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