Category: support networks

5 Ways To Know You’ve Found The Right Therapy Team For Your Exceptional Family

 

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From the very second Michael was diagnosed, I knew our lives had changed forever. At first, of course, like all new exceptional parents, I did not trust my own parenting instincts. I did not think I could parent my child, let alone find the right help for him to get him to communicate with us. I also was worried that I would not be able to pick the right therapy team for Michael. How could I when there was so much choice out there, good and bad, and how would I weed out the good from the bad? In those days I prayed hard to God to lead me to the right people. Those parents I spoke to later on who were not religious or spiritual also spoke of relying on something bigger than them in the universe that would lead them. And lead them (and me) this force, whatever you want to call it, did.

I was lucky to find the right adapted preschool for Michael, the right adapted school that he is flourishing in now, and in between, the right therapies, both private and public, that have made all the difference in Michael’s and our family life. Today after work as I made my way to see Michael’s educator, I felt very fortunate indeed to speak to her about Michael’s progress and difficult areas, to fill her in on our last visit to the psychiatrist and what was happening with his diabetes. I was happy to share the progress that he has been making thanks to a lot of her suggestions to us and him, and happy to know that even when talking about the rough parts, she would be armed with information to share the help Michael and us on our family journey. She is often full of great ideas, and will ask if I am familiar with a technique or behavioral intervention before she introduces it. She knows that I did training in ABA and work with special needs families, so am aware of many of the techniques used to help children on the spectrum and with ADHD.

What I love most of all, is the trust and respect she puts in me and Dad to parent Michael. That is the same trust I have encountered with previous therapists, Michael’s psychiatrist, and his school teams, both past and present. I have also hard resounding, “It’s a pleasure to work with you and your husband. You both want to learn and help Michael be all he can be.” A parent needs to hear this to have the courage to go on in tough times and on tough days. This is also want you want from your team, as the one thing I have learned from the beginning of Michael’s diagnosis is that the parent is the child’s best advocate and help. If we can’t guide the time,  no one can. After all, no one knows your child as best as you do.

When I can feel comfortable disclosing ANYTHING to therapists, and I can see and feel their admiration and pride in Michael and in his future possibilities, I also know I have found the right person or people to help us guide Michael to his full potential. Here are 5 things to look for to know you have found the right therapist or therapy team:

  1. The therapist respects your child for who they are.
  2. The therapist cooperates and suggests strategies that are in line with your family’s values system.
  3. The therapist is happy to give you “homework” or things that you can do with your child, alone with your partner and as a family to help your child grow and have the best possible outcomes.
  4. No one talks about your child being less than or bad. Your child’s brain works differently than yours and you and they need to find ways to connect halfway to have positive interactions.
  5. You feel better after working with them as does your child. You apply the techniques they suggest and many work.

Exceptional Parents, how did you go about picking your child’s therapy team? How happy are you with them? If the answer is not positive, it’s time to ask around for new people to add to your team. The best results and the happiest families come when they work with the right therapists, interventions and techniques that are right for their child and family. This is not a ‘one size fits all’ dynamic. There is sometimes much trial and error. The things to trust are your child’s reaction to the person and your own gut reaction. If it is positive, keep them on your team. If not, cross them off the family team and go back to the drawing board. You and your child will be much better off long term. 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.

 

The Importance of Support Networks For Your Exceptional Self

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Today it struck me as it does many times how lucky I am. Yes, in spite of feeling stressed, worried and angry at myself I have had one of those days when I saw all the good around me and all the support I truly have. I have always been blessed with a great family who have helped me by listening and offering ways to help Michael. But today it was the friends and strangers around me that showed me that I have a whole other exceptional support network to remind me that I am fortunate and blessed. I received gifts, praise and a kind ear from people who were friends or co-workers, and on a day when things were already going well with Michael, put an even bigger smile on my face. Things have been progressively getting better with Michael’s moods since the weekend. I think the extra time we spent together with a PED DAY and a weekend of sledding and Santa visits cemented the rest. But I digress. In all my stressful encounters with Michael over the last month, my work, and trying to manage taking care of our home, I have forgotten about my exceptional care network of people. These are not just the family I sometimes take for granted, but my wonderful friends, childhood and writer friends, and my co-workers who have all had positive and affirming things to say as well as offering me their ears and support during challenging times.

Too often exceptional parents forget they have a network of people there to help them if only they reach out. Sometimes sadly, they don’t take the time to form this network. Both scenarios equally happen, though many of us have more people who care about us than we think. The thing is that we need to reach out to our network of family, friends, co-workers, neighbors and ask for help. Let them know we are struggling and need to chat over a cup of coffee or dinner or over the phone or online. We also need to offer our own ears to hear them out. As stressed and down as I have gotten over the last three or four months, I have tried whenever possible to reach out to my network and ask how they were doing, listen to them, organize a get together. These things were as much about keeping my sanity as helping them keep theirs. Even in my darkest hours, I have seen how not alone I am, how fortunate I and my family are to have the people we do in our life that shower us with time, gifts, praise and support. Dad and I try our best to give back  to these souls who have given us back our life and positive outlook. All I could think tonight as I had one kind word and deed after another occur in my life is how important reaching out to people is. This could be virtually, in person, with a surprise gift, with a kind word. And for exceptional parents, this can make all the difference when they are having a bad day, week or month with their child. And if they are not, they will remember,  I have these people in corner to remind me I am not alone.

Exceptional Parents, how does your support corner look right now? Do you have your exceptional people around you before the hardest season of the year hits with your child or children? If not, fear not. It is never too late to find your people. Look for a support group online or in person. Reach out to friends and family who have reached out to you. You need each other to remember how precious, fragile and beautiful life is. You need each other to laugh, cry and commiserate with. You need to remember that you are not alone and neither is your child. Reach out, give of yourself and ask others for help at the same time if you need a kind ear. Chances are they are looking to help support you as you have done to them. You are also showing  your child something valuable, that they are not alone and that they have support too. 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