Category: School Concerts

School Concerts, Singing and Joy To My World-Exceptional Pauses at Busy Times


So today is Michael’s annual holiday concert. He and his class were practicing the song and poem they will be reciting. He was told to practice it at home but he did not want to. He is all practiced out. As is usually the case, he is nervous for the concert, but I know once he gets on stage he will do amazing. He has a great voice that projects, and a wonderful stage presence. He is so relaxed and natural up there. But it is always the anxiety and the what ifs that trip him up.

Change is hard for Michael. Changing from one season to another, school to vacation and back again. And the change of routine before the fall school session ends always has its challenges. This year it is coupled with our doing bathroom renovations and this week, Mom misplacing her keys and fighting a cold. That meant no after school outings which has been difficult for Michael. He did the best he could under the circumstances, but he is desperately trying to organize the next few days. I haven’t been much help as I’ve been preoccupied with work and house things, and trying to figure out when I’m going to wrap presents and do the holiday baking. Tomorrow is a great opportunity for us both to slow down a bit, not worry about work or planning, and enjoy the day together. I look forward to it as I know connecting has been, and always is, challenging for Michael and I at the beginning of the year.

Exceptional Parents, how do your Exceptional children do at school concerts or with performing? Is that easier than one on one for them or do they shy away from the spot light? The most important thing that a parent can remember is to make sure they are encouraging their child to always do their best, and to tell your child that you are proud of them for trying, no matter how things turn out. Also, take time like school concerts to really stop in the season and pause. Talk, really talk to your child and put their mind at ease about what will be happening. This is a hard time for kids with autism, as it is for their parents. We must always realized though that if they and we are tense we cannot learn well and grow together. So relax, unwind and sit back and enjoy the show. Until next time.


am a writer and parent coach at “Exceptional Parenting/Exceptional Balance.” I am passionate about empowering parents to trust their own instinct when raising their exceptional children with autism, and remembering that parenthood is as much a journey for us as childhood is for our children. You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and GooglePlus. For more information on my parent coaching programs, and to book a FREE 30 Minute Consultation, see my website:

am a writer and parent coach at “Exceptional Parenting/Exceptional Balance.” I am passionate about empowering parents to trust their own instinct when raising their exceptional children with autism, and remembering that parenthood is as much a journey for us as childhood is for our children. You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and GooglePlus. For more information on my parent coaching programs, and to book a FREE 30 Minute Consultation, see my website:

OCD, Ritualistic Behavior And Michael Transitioning to A New Season-Winter

So the last two days have been hard. There are no ifs, ands and buts. Michael is tired, stressed, and due to the cold and rain he has not been able to get outside at recess and out to the park with me. Even when he did, he talked in the gloomy rain with me after one half-hearted run for Dooki his imaiginary friend who he was running for. The Stimming Lady asked him to do it. When he starts talking about her, imaginary friends become more rampant and I see him repeating his words while reading, becoming very particular with door closing/opening and other general ritualistic behavior, I know he is stressed. The problem is those hormones are kicking in and when I ask if he had a bad day at school or he is stressed he will yell,

“No, Mommy! I am yelling because you are saying things I don’t like.” He will also hit me, himself, try and damage property and then it is sad. He breaks down and cries. I have been so exhausted this week with work and not sleeping much, it wore me out too to hear him. And he doesn’t just cry. It’s loud gulping sobs which he then pushes out with great gusto. I don’t think it is a behavior, but it is exhausting to listen to and watch. He sometimes wants me physically close when he does this. Other times he likes to be alone. I am nearby, but I want him to try and figure out how to let out his emotions, and then come to me to calmly talk. This is the difficult part for him. We are working on that together.

Exceptional Parents, how do your Exceptional Children react with rain and being indoors? Are their emotions harder for them to deal with? Are there more challenging behaviors at home? The important thing is to, as usual, be a little bit of a detective and see what is happening around them that could be contributing to this behavior. It is not an excuse for it. But always remind your child that you are there to talk when they are ready. Until next time.



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Handling Nocturnal Fears-Exceptional Tag Teaming


The other night Michael had trouble sleeping again. It wasn’t so far fetched as he had a big event the next day (his first ever dance concert in his dance program), and this is usually when his night fears come out. It was a difficult early morning rousing for all of us, but in the end, Michael did manage to sleep a few winks as did Mom and Dad. It was challenging though, for me to keep my patience with Michael while fighting tiredness and the returning of bad sleep habits. There was lots of back and forth, and then Dad fortunately heard the start of anger in my impatient voice and took over with helping Michael use his newly learned strategies. We did amazing couple tag teaming, and the next morning that came WAY too early we spoke of what worked, what didn’t, and why Michael had the issues he did.

I was worried that Michael would be left with no confidence in himself that he had these fears. He kept repeating he is not proud of himself that he couldn’t handle the night fears, and it broke my heart. He was me many many years ago, until I found my formula. But, the good news is that Michael surprised me the next day by saying he learned what he could do differently the next time and what he could change. My little guy is growing up, and I am growing wiser too. Michael helped me see that I don’t always have to do things alone. I can rely on Dad to help me and him out if I wearing thin. We all worked as the tag teaming duo, and though it was tiring for us that day, we had a good day as a family. It showed me that what I tell Michael in the day is true at night too-you can still turn it around.

Exceptional Parents, what do you need to turn around in your parenting for your selves or your child? What can you learn from past mistakes or moments of weakness? Our Exceptional Children are our greatest teachers. We need to be honest, look at the messages we are sending out to them, and most importantly, learn together how to handle stress and fears at all times of day and night. It will help us grow as people on the inside and out. Until next time.

My Little Ninja Has Found His Path


What can I say about Saturday morning’s dance concert. It was truly one of my proudest moments as Michael mother. There stood my little guy on the stage with his friends from dance class, doing his ninja dance performance. The confidence, the precision, the lack of fear and enjoyment I saw on his face proved to me once again, that he can truly do anything he sets his mind to. It also gave me the confidence as a Mom to trust my gut. I’ve been gently encouraging him towards performing on stage since he asked us to record him singing and dancing at home to songs he memorized or dancing he made up. He also loves to play instruments and improvise. Yet, due to his fear of performing on stage, that is what kept me back from pushing him too much a few years ago. Then two years ago they noticed at his school concerts how much he loved to sing. As a result, the last two concerts had him singing at the microphone with a buddy. My baby is growing into a beautiful flower and I will never doubt encouraging his love of something again, even if he is afraid. We’ll do just baby steps as we’ve done with encouraging singing and dancing.

I have to confess something right now. I LOVED performing as a child AND was terrified by it. I sang in choirs, tried out for plays, and would have taken dancing but instead amused myself by being near the front at aerobics classes. I am shy and nervous in front of large crowds, but put music on and I am a different person. It is like with writing. I am absorbed into those art forms and become one with them. I don’t know how else to explain it.  I was afraid that I was starting to live through Michael, and didn’t want him feeling pressured to sing, dance and perform because Mom loved and would love to share that with him. I encouraged him at church choir for the same reason, but when he told me he wasn’t ready I held back. I’m glad now. If it’s meant to be, it will be. I see that I was right as a Mom and saw in Michael what was really there in him: love and talent for music and performance. I know now that he will only continue to find his path with art and mapping and it is exciting to see the future he could make for himself following his passion. I’m thrilled as is Dad to be along for the ride. I pray for the means to continue to encourage all his loves and help be a part of shaping the incredible human being he is becoming.

Exceptional Parents, what is your gut telling you about your Exceptional Child’s talents and passions? Trust whatever it is saying and if there is an interest to try an activity, let your child explore whatever it is. That is how they will find their path. If if happens to be along the same interest line as yours, don’t question it. They are your children and may share some of the same passions. Encourage, support and step back. You won’t regret when you see them shining in the spotlight of their accomplishments. Until next time.



Dance Concerts And Music: The Connections That Bind Us


Tomorrow is Michael’s big dance concert. He will be performing with his dance school on stage and is nervous, but excited. Apparently, his class will be ninjas and he is the one who will announce them when they come on. 🙂 Dad and I are very excited to see him perform, and me, well, I’m emotional as usual. I always bring plenty of Kleenex to his school concerts and enjoy seeing him sing and dance. The last two concerts he was the one at the microphone singing with a friend. I was so happy. He loves music and movement as I have mentioned before, and I think music and all art really, are wonderful ways of reaching children and accessing their learning power, all children.

There is something with exceptional children and music and dance though, a connection, a bridge between their world and ours. Music and dance does help create conversation, understanding and sharing among people of different backgrounds, beliefs and languages, and dancing just transcends all boundaries as you don’t need to speak. You just need to feel. Michael drove by the school where the concert will be held with Dad the other day. I found out when his class is going on, near the beginning of the two hour show. These are the things we will remind him of to prepare him as much as we can for an exciting yet scary event, going up on stage.

I remind him that it is normal to be scared.  I still feel that way when I talk in public for work,  but there is more of an excitement now than fear. It’s also about conquering that fear of trying something new and bridging the gap between you and your audience, helping them understand where you are coming from. When things are going well for everyone, you and the audience are in the zone of relating and it is a beautiful thing. Connection through music, dance, speaking is powerful.

Exceptional Parents, what connections have music or art formed for your Exceptional Children? How have they began to relate to people around them after being exposed to music? I truly believe that is the connection between all of us, sounds, waves, bring us all into harmony with one another. We need to encourage each other to reach out in this way, and we will grab the attention of our children, our family and friends, our world. Good luck on making connections through music and movement between you and your children. Until next time.


School Concerts and Exceptional Joy Of Music



This morning Michael and his class will be performing in their school’s annual Spring Concert. I know what he will be wearing and which two songs he will be singing, but other than that, I have not been told any other details. My little guy wants to surprise me and has told me how loud he will be singing for me, his father and his maternal grandparents who will be attending. His teacher is encouraging his amazing singing voice and he is so excited to perform for us in this one of the many performances he has given at his school. I am always blown away by how well the kids do, how much fun it is, and increasingly how much more comfortable Michael is getting with performing. I am usually filming and crying or at the very least emotional seeing my little guy up there doing so well. He is beginning to see that performance is one of his strong suits among others, and I couldn’t be more proud of him.

I remember the feeling I had performing in school plays. It was terrifying and exhilarating at once! I even tried out for a play once, but I was always put in the choir for my singing voice. To this day, music like writing is my solace, my relaxation, my muse, my spirituality. I like many different types of music, both listening to and singing, though I am not opera material as Michael is neither. We used to duet together when he was younger, something I would love to do again, only now that is older he likes to have the stage all to himself. I am so glad he is finding this means of expression with singing and dancing.



We always joked that he was a performer from birth, but seeing him grow into singing and dancing and being confident in himself is wonderful. I have a reason for feeling this. I never felt good enough growing up, except when I was singing and later writing. That is where I stopped being me, boring old Joanne, and was transformed by the music or words into another realm. It was like when I prayed, yet there of course I felt excepted by God. I know God loves everyone. With music it was like I was in another realm, a human one that is spiritual too. I think Michael feels this too. Music is so much more than just sounds and words. It is cathartic, it binds us, it bonds and brings back memories of people, time, place. I will hear a dance pop song and there I am in a bar with my girlfriends in my early twenties, another time I’ll hear a romantic song and think of when I slow danced to that song with my now husband, finally I’ll hear another song and it will bring me back to a random memory, my brother and I lip synching with our street friends one summer as we pretended we were a rock band. All good memories that made me grow as a person, all because of music. I know Michael is absorbing this too, especially as his latest favorite thing to watch are You Tube videos of his favorite pop, rock and hip hop songs. No more cartoons for my nine year old! And I see the connections being made.

Exceptional Parents, what has music done for your Exceptional Child and you? How does it help you and them deal with emotions, expression and life? I hope that your child will get to participate in as many concerts, musical performances and artistic ventures as possible. Music and the arts can open so much for them and will broaden their world and horizons as well as yours. Until next time.