Category: Tips to help with anxiety

5 Tips To Help Your Exceptional Child Handle Their Emotional State

Michael has made a lot of progress in learning how to self-regulate when it comes to anger and stress. As I’ve said before, both therapy and medication as well as hard work on his part, have helped him see what changes he has made to made. It has also been a lot of hard work on Dad’s part and mine to remind Michael to go to his own tool kit and see what is the best method to use in calm down in the particular situation he is in. The tool kit is constantly changing.  At first this stressed Michael out. He was worried that his old strategies were not working , or that he did not have any more new strategies. Just tonight he was having a hard time with regulating and I reminded him to use a strategy that worked for him. What he was working was clearly not working, as he was acting verbally and borderline physically aggressive. He seemed discouraged for a moment, but then realized, hey I could try this. I was very proud of him when he did use a strategy that worked and he turned the evening around big time.

What tools do work for kids or what could be in their tool kit? It really depends on what calms your child down. Like us, they are individuals and have their own tastes and preferences. It’s important for you as their parent to learn if they like or need movement to calm down, massage, squeezing, bouncing, walking or being left alone to breathe. Ask them questions and offer them different options to try. With time, you will see what works for them, and most importantly, they will see what they like. Here are 5 tips to help you help your exceptional child along the way in understanding their emotional state better:

1)Talk to them when they are calm: The worst time to offer advice about new strategies or using different ones is when they are already upset. It’s important that they are in a calm state when you talk to them and that you are too. This is when good techniques can be suggested.

2) Show them various visual options: Show them fidget toys, chewing gum, bouncing ball, a trampoline, offer them a blanket to curl up with or wrap around themselves. You can show them pictures online or draw images and help them choose.

3) Have them make an anger box: Have them make an “anger box” where they can write down what they are angry about and talk to you about it when they feel ready. If the child is younger and not as literate at writing or has difficulty writing, have them draw you a picture of why they are angry.

4) Remind them you are there for them always: Emotional support cannot be overestimated. Remind your child that you are always there to help them no matter what by listening and providing support.

5) Remind them that they have a choice to deal with their emotions in a positive matter and that anger is ok: This is a tough one. Kids will offer think anger is bad when parents initially tell them to use strategies to handle their anger. The thing is, the anger is not bad, it is often the way they handle their anger. This is where the child needs to be reminded that it is ok to be angry, but they need to vent in a positive and calm way. That makes all the difference.

Exceptional Parents, how are your children progressing in handling their emotions? If self-regulation is hard for them, don’t worry. It takes time, patience, and practice, both on your child’s and your part to help them learn how to manage their emotions. If you both have a hard day or week, don’t stress about it. Learn from the bad, celebrate the good moments, and go from there. Until next time.

Feeling stressed about special needs parenting? You are not alone. I have been there before realizing the gift of who my son is.  For more information about me and my journey, check out my website  as well as my FREE E-BOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL PARENTING” at 




Thinking Outside The Box- 5 Exceptional Parenting Tricks To Get You Through the Day

outside box.jpeg

Every once in a while every Exceptional Parent gets a day, a night, or a few consecutive days and nights of challenges from their Exceptional Child,  where they are pretty much crying out, why, why, why, is this happening? My child was fine, now they are giving me behavior after behavior. They are challenging everything I say or do. They are setting out to be difficult, it seems. Parents, there is always a logical explanation even when we are too tired or frustrated to see it. I have just personally come through a series of days like this with Michael. I blame it on several factors. One of these was the weather. It pretty much rained the whole long weekend and rain and Michael’s moods have never mixed well. It limits him doing anything outside in the fresh air. Being an active kid, this makes staying home and keeping busy even harder.

The second factor was him still being in the process of adjusting to his diabetes and managing sugar highs and lows. This weekend there were a lot of highs. I don’t know if  it was due to anxiety about not being outside, not having the routine of school and fears about some new nighttime stresses that have come up (or in spite of them), or maybe it was the fact that a new activity was started this week and though he was looking forward to it, this also was new and a little scary. The third factor was his preteen angst and rebellion to be more like his friends. This has been a biggie. It started way before he was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes and felt bad taht this singled him out from his class buddies. The peer group has assumed an all out importance, and as parents we are battling it now. I think part of the reason he is even staying away from church is that his buddies don’t go. The tween years are hard on all kids. Add in a mix of autism, diabetes, and anxiety, and any kid, and thier parent, would have challenges with behavior, temperament and such.

Still, I was pretty much in stress mode all weekend long handling one challenge after another with Michael.  Family outings were sacrificed, couple time with my partner, and writing time for me. It was not easy. So what helped me survive and help Michael and my partner, through this tough weekend besides wine you may ask? LOL. A few things worked. A few didn’t. Here are my survival tips for Exceptional Families on those challenging long weekends:


  1. Have a plan on paper: Yes, it’s like a battle plan. Lay it out for your child, other children and partner. This is how we are going to proceed. Yes, your child may rage against this. Explain that they can help plan it with you, but a plan needs to be there so that peace can reign. Then do it.
  2. Cry and take time alone to recharge: Let it out Moms and Dads when it is safe to do so. Let out your emotions through tears, a journal, a walk. You will be recharging your battery and emptying yourself of pity so you can better help your child.
  3. Give your child tools to empower them: When your child is calm, give them tools to empower them. If they like social stories, let them choose stories that help explain difficult emotions. If they need to have a place to vent, help them make an “Anger Box” to write and share difficult feelings that they can write down and express with you. If they need a sensory corner, make one with pillows, a tunnels some squeeze toys that they can use to regulate.
  4. Reach out for professional help for your child: Does your child have therapists, a team at school? If not, can your local health center or pediatrician refer you for psychological resources to help your child? Follow up on it. Also, do some research on your own via reputable internet sites, as well as through other families and what has worked for them.
  5. Take it one day at time and know tomorrow is a fresh start: I saved the hardest tip for last. This is so hard when you’ve had a series of rough days as an exceptional parent. However, it is SO important to never give up on your child progressing and learning from their mistakes. You are their best advocate. If you don’t fight for them, who will? If your partner and yourself are both burned out, seek individual and couple counseling. You need it to be the strong parents your child needs. Also, get some weekday or weekend help for your child in the form of a mother’s/father’s helper who can take them out while you recharge. This is good for them (change of scenery and person) and good for you.

Exceptional Parents, have you ever felt like giving up on Exceptional Parenting and that you weren’t the parent your Exceptional Child  needed or wanted? Did it ever seem too hard or overwhelming? You are joined in this by all parents at one point or another. Remember,  stay in the moment. Do the best you can. If uncertain, reach out to your community, and breathe, and communicate with the Universe asking for answers. You will find your direction and things will turn around for the better before you know it. Have faith. You are never alone. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach whose son with autism and Type 1 Diabetes 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:, and for a free 30 minute exploration/consultation session contact me at Also to receive a copy of my FREE E-BOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” click on


How To Handle End of School Year Anxiety- Yours and Your Child’s

Over the years end of school anxiety has gotten better. I am lucky that Michael understands what is happening, what he has control over and what he does not. He will always be a kid who worries about which class he is, which teacher he will get, and yes, he will worry about summer camp, even if he is returning to the same one from the previous year. This is not the case this year, but it is all good. Still though, even with this advantage, it is still difficult. Combine that with hot weather usually, and as a parent you have a child who is wired, stressed and hyper. The only good thing about the cool rainy weather is that Michael and I don’t have to contend with that element this year, but the other ones are in place. So what’s a parent and child to do to handle this time of the year gracefully without too many screaming fests? Here are some tips I have picked up over the years:

  1. Make a schedule of the summer ahead of time: Yep, once again write it all down, print it on computer, put it on a tablet or draw/laminate it. You know what works best for your child. And even if they fight you on it, (been there, done that, am currently renegotiating that) say it is for you as well an do it. This removes A LOT of the stress.
  2. Look at the positives: Help your child see the positives at this time of the year: playing outside when weather is nice, field trips, end of school parties/bbq’s etc.
  3. Have a reward system set up: This is good if there are lots of behaviors. If they have something positive to earn by end of the day, it will change their mindset.
  4. Talk or don’t talk: Some kids feel better talking about their stress. For others, this only feeds it. Find out where your child fits on this continuum and do the one that will put their fears at ease. Set aside a time each day to talk without interruption. For those that get overstimulated and anxious with too much talking, set a time limit and boundaries. We will decide that on this day. I will give you an answer etc.
  5. Lots of physical activity and movement: Have them move around a lot doing sports, going to a park, jumping on a trampoline. This will let them handle a lot of the anxiety that comes with pent up energy.

Exceptional Parents, what are some of your words of wisdom for dealing with your child’s end of year anxiety? Remember, for everyone the techniques may be slightly different and need to be tailored to your unique child. Also, don’t despair if they do not work right away. Any new system (behavior or reward) takes time to take effect and for the house to get used to doing things a certain way. Have patience, take care of you, give your child a chance to adjust and together you can both face the summer with optimism. Until next time.

The Invisibility of Autism And Handling Unexpected Circumstance


Yesterday late afternoon was one of those days I wish Michael had some sort of sign identifying his autism to the world. I don’t often wish for this, not because his autism is anything that is bad, but because I truly believe that no one should be thought of as one of the many things that define them. Michael has autism, but he also has an amazing brain for navigating, a great sense of humor, and a terrific singing voice. But yesterday arriving at the our local pool for his swimming lesson, the unexpected through his orderly world into a tailspin. A normal routine of him changing in the family change room with me keeping him on target with time and setting up his clothes in a change stall so he does not walk around the room naked did not happen. With it being Spring Break in our neck of the woods, it was public swim at the local pool as well. There were many families who took their little ones to enjoy an afternoon of swimming indoors on a dreary rainy day.

We arrived at the locker room and it was packed with tons of parents and kids. I’d never seen it like this before though. We had ten minutes to change and no free stalls or areas to change. I knew Michael would have to go into the men’s changing room as he could not come with me in the women’s. He is not 6 years of age or under anymore. I prepared him for this, and I had raised my voice to be heard above the chaos in the change room that he would need to change for his swimming lesson in the men’s locker room. That’s when one of the mothers told me that there had been a serious swimming accident with a child and that they had cleared the pool. No one was allowed in. It was not the pool we usually swam in, but as the shock of what had happened took over me, I uttered the usual, oh my goodness, and then thanked her for telling me.

I explained to Michael this new change and went back to the front desk to see about the lesson. We waited and few minutes later someone came back to tell us that we would have the lesson and where to go. I went over with Michael verbally what he had to do, but he had problems in the locker room. He asked if I could wait outside. Then he didn’t know where the stalls were and kept walking around half naked in the room. Finally, I could hear voices of other boys telling him to put his clothes on. The main door to the locker room was open so he came a few times to say hi. Suffice it to say, it was stressful for both of us.He was angry that those boys were “yelling” at him. I explained they were trying to help him. They didn’t know he had autism and was not sure what to do. I explained that he could have asked them where he could change and ask questions. I did not know the layout of the room and could not go with him. So a sign or some  sort of indicating that he has challenges with sequencing and changes in routine would have been helpful here. But that is life. It is unpredictable and we have to teach our kids with autism how to go with the flow and handle the unforseen. In the end after some arguments and tension, we moved on.

Exceptional Parents, how many times have you found yourself in situations where your child can’t process what is happening around them and others do not know that there is a reason why? How do you handle it? Ideally, parents need to stay calm and firm, and afterwards use it as a learning experience. All children need to learn to go with the flow, and though it is harder for Exceptional Kids, with time and effort it is possible. Until next time.

How Sensory Regulation Helps With Challenging Behaviors


I began to see a big shift in Michael the day he began to notice he had sensory issues and how he could handle or regulate these. The first time was about four years ago. He was having issues when he first came in from school, a usual difficult time of the day for all kids, but particularly kids with neuro developmental issues or autism. We began working with a great Psycho Educator who suggested, based on his activity preference, what she called a “calm box or corner.” In this box would be objects like squeeze toys he could use and beans to play with, all these to handle with his hands which helped calm him down. The “calm corner” was similar for his central nervous system. It had toys like this as well as stuffed animals to squeeze, a ball, a boxing punching bag if he was angry etc. There were also pillow that he could put on top of him or around him like a fort. As well, it could include his swing and trampoline and a play tunnel to run through. And guess what happened? After talking with him about his feelings of anxiety and overload and how he couldn’t come home and yell and throw things, one glorious day Michael connected the pieces. He came through the door, looked at me and I could tell he was wiped out. He said:

“I need to go downstairs to my calm corner and run through my tunnel.”

He was six years old! I was so glad he was beginning to make that connection of body and mind and learn to start regulating. Michael’s sensory issues even now interfere with his functioning sometimes. We are now back to using gum which helps him focus, stay calm in situations where he is nervous or tired. We have also ordered him some vibrating toys as he likes to clink toys against his chin and if no toy is available use his hand. He was starting to leave a red mark which was worrying us so we have now implemented that. The exciting this though is when Michael started connecting the dots and was able to communicate his needs to Dad and I. From there, we have all been able to come up with tools together where Michael gets the final say as to what works.

Exceptional Parents, are you struggling to help your Exceptional Child regulate their sensory issues? Are they exhibiting a lot of bad behaviors due to this? You are not alone. It happens to all of us at one time or another. Just remember to try and communicate with your child. Ask them how they are feeling and help them learn to be their own little detective in figuring out how they can meet their sensory needs. If you play detective as well, you will be able to see what sets them off and what helps them. It will be the gift of a lifetime when they have tools to handle the difficult times in their life. And you as a parent will be calmer and happier seeing your child manage their stress so well.  Until next time.

Are you looking to make changes in your special needs parenting life? Do you need support on your journey?  I am a writer and parent coach who is 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. For more information on my parent coaching programs, and to book a FREE 30 Minute Consultation Session, see my website:

SPECIAL OFFER: February is the month of love. We show love to our children, partners and friends But what about to ourselves as parents? Do you know how to practice self-care and truly love the amazing parent and person you are? If you need support in this area of your life,  until Feb. 28th I am offering a FREE ONE HOUR one on one coaching session, as well as a second one hour one on one coaching session at 50% off regular price. Give yourself the gift of self-love, and learn some great tools to begin to put your needs first so you can parent in balance. Contact me at or 514-827-7175 to book your Skype sessions. 

How To Get Back Into Routine With Your Exceptional Child

Well, for most of us today is the day kids are back in school and some parents are back at work. It is a happy day for some, not for others. You know your ages. 🙂 But all jokes aside, it is a struggle for a lot of families to get back into routine. All people, with and without children have a hard time getting back into the swing of things after vacation, but with kids you have the extra thing of getting them organized and ready for school. We all know what does not work for us or our kids, but what are some of the true and tested things that do work? This is tricky. With Exceptional Children, a lot of the traditional stuff the rest of us use may not work or even make things worse. In our house we’ve used a combination of a few things, and every year Michael tries different strategies himself, good and bad, in preparation for the first day back.

  1. Get a good night’s sleep the night before: This is a no-brainer for all us, but something many forget. If you are tired the first day back, things will be harder. The best scenario is to make sure your child and you get a good night’s rest. If that can’t be managed, if parents are rested at least they will have more patience to help their child.
  2. Remind your child about seeing his/her friends if that is incentive or some other thing they like at school: For some Exceptional Children, seeing their friends is great incentive, especially if they have not had a chance to see them over the holidays. For others, maybe they like the bus ride or some other subject at school or recess.
  3. All kids are feeling the same as them: This is a tricky one due to theory of mind, but I’ve found as Michael has gotten older he will appreciate hearing how he is not alone in stress about “back to school.”
  4. Remind them of future PED DAYS/Spring Break or give immediate rewards for a good first day back: Again, teaching them to look forward to something works too if they are able to understand this concept. For those who can’t do this yet, the promise of a favorite activity, treat, or other special reward can go a long way to helping motivation and a positive attitude.
  5. Give them (and yourself) time to adjust: The first week back for everyone will have its challenges. Go in knowing that. Try to keep your sense of humor as a parent. Give yourself little rewards at the the end of the day for making it through- a bath, reading a chapter from a favorite book, watching a favorite show etc.

Exceptional Parents, what are some tried and true methods that have worked to make back to school work for you and your family? Remember, as long as rest, patience and love are involved in some form you can’t go wrong. You will find the right formula and adjust it to your family and household. Go easy on yourself too when you make mistakes. You are only human after all. Happy first week back! Until next time.

5 Different Tools to Help Your Exceptional Child With Challenging Emotions

We are pretty much at the mid point of the holidays now. Michael has adjusted somewhat, yet there are still the difficulties with scheduling and knowing what is happening next. We cannot replicate school with the standard visual schedule up on the wall where very little changes, nor do we want to. I used to want to when he was younger. He would suffer so much in those days being away from friends and his routine. Now though, he is happy to be home, well I mean away from school. He doesn’t like staying home, but that is another blog post altogether. 🙂 He is learning how to structure his own free time as well, but what I find difficult sometimes is how to help him learn to handle his stress and anger. He is becoming increasingly annoyed at reading social stories, and insists that a visual schedule at home with times and what we will be doing is for babies and that is not him. At least he still writes down stuff on a calendar! What to do?

I started thinking the other day of what tools I have used that have worked to help Michael and not help him. As a parent and parent coach, I make sure to learn from both. I have found generally, that the techniques below work very well for helping guide you and your child through the challenging times:

  1. Look at what led to the behavior: This works every time. When we look back, we will see a pattern. In EIBI Or ABA, they call this ABC’s: Antecedent, Behavior and Consequence. All parents of children with autism know this well. What was child feeling before the behavior? What behavior resulted from it? And what was the consequence for them? A lot of parents unintentionally respond to negative behavior by giving in to the child, yelling themselves, or by calming child down and not letting the child learn to do it. It’s important to see where we fall in this dynamic.
  2. What worked in the past? What haven’t you tried? This is another good one. Sometimes in the heat of the moment as parents it is hard for us to stay calm and focused. Afterwards, we can look back and remember what worked to help the child the last time?  It’s a good idea to write it down so we have it on paper.
  3. Spending quality one on one time  really listening to child: This is a great preventative measure in most cases to challenging behaviors. It doesn’t mean giving in to their every whim to keep them happy, but being present for your child will help them feel more secure, and less likely to engage in troubling behavior. This needs to be done regularly. Enjoy sharing with them an activity that they love. Michael loves to talk or play tag and hide and seek with me.
  4. Keep snacks and water handy: Sometimes challenging behavior can be headed off at the outset if the child is not hungry or thirsty. If they are regularly being kept busy and are fueled with good food, they will be that much more able to get a grip on their emotions.
  5. Getting enough sleep and rest breaks in the day: This is super challenging for busy active kids, but it is important they have periods of activity and rest. Schedule it in advance, and make the rest period fun. Set them up with a favorite book or movie or video. Be nearby to monitor.

Exceptional Parents, what are some of your best tools for helping your Exceptional Children? Remember, the most important one of all is love and unconditional acceptance of them, in good times and bad. This does not mean condoning bad behavior. This means reminding them that they are capable of holding it together and doing right, and of course, encouraging them and praising them when they do get it right. That will also help move everyone to success. Until next time.

Are you looking to make changes in your special needs parenting life in the New Year? Do you need support on your journey?  am a writer and parent coach who is 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. For more information on my parent coaching programs, and to book a FREE 30 Minute Consultation, see my website:

Want to start the New Year off on the right foot with handling anxiety and stress better? Download my FREE EBOOK on “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY”



After the Festivities Are Over-5 Ways to Fine Tune And Help With Difficulties


As you will all see this post is late today. VERY late. I am in “Christmas Recovery” mode which lasts for two days before we go into “Birthday Recovery Mode” for Michael with which I need another day’s recovery, but that is a separate post. 🙂 Like most families with exceptional kids, the holidays are beautiful and stressful all in one breath. There are the moments you see them sitting quietly and listening and you take a breath in and are able to talk to family. Then, there are the other moments when, well, you look forward to coming home and having that nice glass of wine when they are finally asleep. I had many of both moments throughout the day yesterday. I had my discouraging moments when I was kind of feeling sorry for myself among my family whose children are neuro typical and listen. Then of course, I immediately felt guilty. Guilty due to the fact that Michael, and all kids like him who have autism or are exceptional in some other way, are doing the best that they can. It is not an excuse for rudeness and disrespect. We had a talk yesterday about how he needs to follow the rules, and if he is having a hard time he needs to tell us. I also reminded him, as he knows about his autism, that it is not an excuse to be used to misbehave. We know he is capable of more than what he is doing. We spoke some more this in the am. He is so anxious, has a lot of difficulty regulating himself and friendships are challenging though he is starting to learn how to play and talk with his many good friends.

What did I learn this holiday? Well, every year I look at what our family did right and what we did wrong. I tally them up and keep it in mind for the next year. This year, my mind is in a better place. I not only accept that there will be ups and downs in the next two weeks, but I am using better ways to cope with my own feelings of success and failure as parent. We all have those moments. We are human. What are the ways I fine tune my own thinking for future holidays? Here are 5 of them:


  1. Each day I do the best I can with what I have: This is my new mantra. I have moments when I doubt myself and my mothering, but I remind myself what I remind Michael: do the best that you can and go with your instinct.
  2. Get as much sleep as you can or grab a rest here or there: Sleep is essential. The first two days of the holidays I slept a total of 10 hours, never mind the bad sleeping of the nights before leading up to the holidays.What I did instead to make up for it, was grabbing a rest on the couch when Dad was with Michael. He did the same. This morning I felt much better waking up after seven hours of sleep.
  3. Laugh at the silly things: Our kids do SO many silly things. As long as it is not rude, it’s alright t to laugh. Hey, sometimes even the rude things are a little funny like when Michael repeated back to me when I was getting upset, “Mommy, you’re not using your strategies.” Just don’t laugh out loud.
  4. What went right? What could I change? This is where can see what strategies worked in preparing their child for a family visit and which didn’t. Don’t beat yourself up. I learned that arriving near the beginning of my family gatherings at a house is easier on Michael even if he gets bored and we have to leave early. Coming in midway like we did this year was too overwhelming for all of us.
  5. Have a wind down routine after if you need to: Oh yes. Now after two days of celebrating with both our families which is wonderful but exhausting, I make sure to take my glass of wine or spirits (or both) with me and curl up with a good book. It’s my way to unwind from the two days and tell myself, “Girl, you survived and learned what to do and not to do.”

Exceptional Parents, what are your holiday survival techniques? How do you recover alone and as a family? Another great thing is to not be afraid to cry or let out anger in a constructive way. The holidays are not picture perfect for anyone, except in the movies. I also highly recommend popping into online parent support group and attending any in person ones you are a member of in the new year. Comparing notes with others in your shoes will remind you that you are not alone. You and your families are doing the best that you can. 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. For more information on my parent coaching programs, and to book a FREE 30 Minute Consultation, see my website:

It’s the holidays, one of the most beautiful and crazy times of the year! Do you need new strategies to cope with anxiety and stress? Download my FREE EBOOK on “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY”




Ready, Set, Go-How to Teach Your Exceptional Child to Accept the Consequences of Their Actions

I am proud of Michael for so many things. He is becoming increasingly independent in dressing, eating and deciding on his likes/dislikes. His navigation skills are getting better. He is learning how to behave in stores and how money works. And at school he is reading and writing beautifully. But it is on afternoons and evenings like this when he is overstimulated, unable to regulate himself that he struggles so intensely. This time of year is always hard on him too. I feel for him, but yet I know he knows better and could do better. He says he loves no homework, but the lack of structure makes it difficult for him. He has nothing to do after school. Couple that in with a fun day today of the Santa Breakfast where he had too much food, then did not like the park he went sledding to, as well as feeling tired and boom, he had his first meltdown right after school. His challenging behavior goes from hitting us, to hitting property, to hitting his head. Then he will swear, the “f” words, the “s” word. It is continuous. It is done to drive us crazy and see how far he can push.

He has openly and happily said that at home he doesn’t have anything to lose. I corrected him on that by telling him not so. We may not have a behavior tech on staff, but if he loses all his tokens and continues, he will lose his reward and if he continues after that, he will lose his fun bedtime routine. Dad and I remaining calm, but it is difficult when he is yelling and asking us to repeat ourselves and trying to control every move we make, by following us and yelling and crying. He is fighting for himself, and the negotiating he is doing make me see the future lawyer in him. Still all jokes aside, the energy he is wasting could be put to better use, calming himself down and asking for help. Finding the right formula for the right time of year is the hard part.

Teaching our kids to de-stress and feel their anxiety before it blows out of proportion is the challenging part. It is particularly challenging when techniques that used to work don’t work anymore. I make Michael part of the solution process, though so far we have only had minimal success. I am trying to get him to be more in touch with his body, with what is happening inside before he volcanoes and I can’t stop him from hitting me, himself or property. It is not a tantrum, not a meltdown, but a little bit of both. He is enraged and I stay nearby to make sure he doesn’t do serious damage, but yet can’t touch him. That is another problem. He is on the cusp of puberty, so he is restricting my hugs and kisses, unless on his terms. It is understandable, but makes for a further stress in helping him. As with all anxiety and anger management issues, it requires lots of trial and error till as a parent you find what works for your child. We have our ups and downs, and then find our middle ground.

Exceptional Parents, how do you handle the challenges of behavior in your child? What methods have worked for you? What have not? The important thing is to never give up trying to reach your child. If you make a mistake, admit it to yourself and them. But also, have them own up to their mistakes. If a child cannot take responsibility for their actions, you will not be able to reach them no matter what you do. And take heart. We all make mistakes. Tomorrow is another day. 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. For more information on my parent coaching programs, and to book a FREE 30 Minute Consultation, see my website:

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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.

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