Tag: autism

Navigating Exceptional Family Anxiety And Following Your Child’s Cues

adorable, baby, bear

Spring is around the corner so I know that is one of the reasons Michael is starting to get more anxious He has, however, made great progress with using strategies to handle his stress such as talking about his feelings, going to a calm spot to recharge, and crying without hitting himself, others or property.  I have seen how hard he is working and our home token system has been fine tuned as well. He has been testing us with this, but understands the way it works and overall I am very impressed. He has adjusted to some changes in my work schedule, and now communicates his fears and anger better too. We are happy to see the aggression and horrible language replaced by true expressions of fear and anger and worry. The thing is that Dad and I are worried just how anxious he is about everything and how much control and reassurance he needs to have about everything in his life. Dad and I are worried about how hard he is on himself, how he stresses about things he is good at, and how upset he gets when something can’t get resolved immediately. We are constantly looking to add more tools to his toolbox, and are strongly considering some medication for his anxiety, though we are nervous about this step.  There are pros and cons as with everything else. We need to find out all we can and then make the best decision possible.

At the same time I am beginning to see that Michael needs a little more TLC these days. He is a little clingier in some ways, only wanting me to put him to bed, worried when he can’t find me in the house and talking A LOT when he does find me. Yet, he openly says he does not want to share certain things about his day with me and he does not want me to hug or kiss him unless he specifies when or where on his cheek. As I said before, he is a tween with  some little boy fears left over. I am simply reminding him I am there if he needs me. He has also been there for me too though. When I was feeling particularly stressed one afternoon, he wrapped his arms around me and said, “you’re the best Mommy ever,” and “it’s ok if you are sad or got angry Mommy. We all feel that way sometimes.” My favorite is still when he will give me a big hug/squeeze due to love and sensory issues an then say, “Ahh, I love Mommy’s neck. It is so warm. It is like a spa.” Our relationship has gotten much closer. And even with Dad they fight, but he loves his father very much and jumps up in excitement when Dad’s key turns in the lock. It’s just navigating the worries, the obsessive questions, and the loudness. I know they are all due to stress, and we are doing our best to remind him to pace himself, but it is not always easy. Still, we follow his pace. I have learned new ways Michael needs me.

 

He’ll need me to reassure him, to do a quick drawing or explanation of what’s about to happen or sometimes it’s reminding him how proud I am of him. Other times it is stopping completely what I am doing and focusing on him. He and I both do well with that and it works to help us both feel calm and connected. Last night for the first time in awhile, I was able to give Michael his full bedtime routine. At the end as he wrapped his arms around my neck and we cuddled for the ten minutes I stay in his room, he sighed happily and said, “this is my favorite part of the night. I love when you lie down with me and I can hug you.” My heart melted instantly. I quickly went over all the things I did right and vowed to set us both up for success with future anxious times.

Exceptional Parents, how do you handle your child’s anxiety and stress? What is part of their toolbox and yours? The hardest and most important thing to remember is to stop and really look and listen to your child and where they are coming from. Only when you see their pain and hurt, (and stay calm and centered yourself), can you guide them to make healthier choices for handling stress. Until next time.

 

How to Handle Anxiety And Sensory Issues in an Older Child

analog, binder, blank

This week has been an interesting week with Michael. Well, pretty much every week is interesting. Some weeks are more challenging than others, good and bad. Last week was a good week overall, but I did notice a lot of anxiety in Michael. The good thing is he is learning to express himself better and talk about his feelings. The bad thing is that the same measures that used to work (offering him sensory massages, pillows to squeeze and showing him his exercise ball) don’t always work. He will sometimes actively fight me on even trying these techniques. This is what I am calling the curse of the tween hormones, with a touch of autism. I add the last part for a little bit of humor to get us through the tougher moments when Michael is pretty arguing with us about everything. This morning it was when he would do his chores so he could accumulate money to buy his next toy. Weekends are tough as the structure changes, and though it has been nice taking a break from extracurricular activities, Dad and I now he needs them again. The brain break was good, but physically for stress relief and sensory reasons we see how he really needs to move.

It’s tough though, as he is at the age when he does not like challenge. Our school physiotherapist warned us that due to a mild hypotonia, he may not like being physically pushed to go a little farther. But in order for him to get strong and build muscle,  he would need to move as this would help him. When he moves, just like any child, he also burns energy, feels more relaxed and positive, and handles stress and sensory issues better. It’s a tough balance, and one I am slowly learning to navigate as the mother of a tween. In all areas, he is growing up, pushing us away in daytime, and then pulling us closer at night. Sundays he dreads going back to school even though he is doing well. It is the pushing of limits. He wants to play it safe, as we are trying to teach him that only by taking risks can he make progress. I find that by giving him some freedom, I am helping him learn his own power. But then I must remind him, these are your strategies to calm down. Let’s write them on a paper. Let’s look at pictures of the equipment. Now you try what works.

Exceptional parents, what sensory issues/anxieties are your experiencing with your Exceptional Child? Are they close to or at the tween age or younger? You will see your child move through cycles, no matter what age they are. There will be good days and bad days. There will be victories and setbacks. The most important thing you can do is remind your child that though there are rules they have to follow with you and adults around them, they also have a measure of control over their life, their anxiety, and their sensory issues. Praise them when they make a good choice. Calmly redirect when they stumble. And if you need a minute, give yourself a time out to breathe and move forward. Only if you are calm and centered, can you help your child move forward into independence as stress-free as possible. Until next time.

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: http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.

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 joanne@creatingexceptionalparenting.com or 514-827-7175 to book your Skype session. www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com

 

Save

Unconventional Activities and How to Bring Your Child with Autism Out of Their Shell

 

So we are trying our best to keep things spontaneous and predictable for Michael, and give him the best mix of the bunch. For the winter, he wanted a break from structured winter activities, so other than swimming lessons during the week, the weekend is unstructured time that we and Michael have structured together. Michael has his favorite shopping mall that he likes to frequent on Saturday and Sunday mornings, then he usually goes sledding with Dad on Saturday afternoon, runs an errand or has recently started watching movies or playing video games. Sunday I am doing my best to convince Michael to come back regularly to church with me, and then in the pm it is skating in the public arena and the library and or impromptu musical concerts. Dad and I try to go with his energy and interests, along with some limits. We have been successful most of the time.

What really impressed me today, was the fact that Michael was excited to call up his classmates to join him and his Dad for a movie date next Saturday. He took the initiative to dial their numbers and have a phone conversation. At first, I thought we could manage it without practice, but it was hard. We then did a few more practice runs then Michael did an amazing job. It was stressful and exciting for me as his Mom to watch him reach another milestone. This means a lot when we see him struggling with anxiety and defiance with us. It is comforting to see the positives and remind ourselves of it.
Exceptional Parents, how do your Exceptional Children do with structure and unstructured time? What are their interests and strengths? Play to that. When we speak and pay attention to our children’s strengths, we encourage them to do the same in their own life. Until next time.

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: http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.

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 joanne@creatingexceptionalparenting.com or 514-827-7175 to book your Skype session. 

 

 

 

 

 

Bedtime Battles-10 Ways For Exceptional Moms To Cool Down

So I did it again. I know better. I know how audio visual, and nighttime anxiety, and testing behaviors come out at night. And still, still I gave Michael a chance to get a later start on his bedtime routine. It quickly became a bedtime battle with Michael getting upset and me yelling. Really, I’m more disappointed in myself as I know better usually. He’s a great kid, but like any kid, he will do what he has to do to stall going to bed.

“I’m not tired Mommy. I can go to bed at 10:00 pm.” Yeah right. Then his eyes are closing at school, (his own admission) and I can see by the end of the day he is fried. So, I said it before but I did not stick to it. Sometimes, even with good intentions us Moms make mistakes. Starting tomorrow, I will be more firm that with a heavier bedtime schedule he needs to start earlier or else do a shorter routine. And I will plan on enforcing this more strictly and holding myself accountable. Another thing I did wrong was that I was not forceful enough after school that I needed to work. Michael was testing and rude, then apologetic and clingy, so much so that I got no work done after school then no work done after dinner due to fighting about bath so I was, well, feeling sorry for myself and licking my own wounds so to speak. I know now that this will not help anyone so I will not do it anymore.

Last night made me think of all the ways I can learn to hold my emotional stuff together and give other parents tips on what works for me. Some of these are harder to implement than others even though I know better, but I am getting there. So, here are my 5 tips:

  1. Rid yourself of your own emotional angst:  Lots of parents, Moms especially, keep their own feelings in until they burst. Don’t do this. You don’t help your child or yourself and you cause lots of stress that is not necessary. If you feel anger or resentment at your child, yourself, your partner, find a productive outlet to release it and do something positive for yourself.
  2. Make sure you are sleeping enough: Sleep deprivation or exhaustion does not help anyone in your family. A person will not tolerate stress well until they are rested and calm. The world will still turn if you go to bed early a night or two. Try it.
  3. Remind yourself your child is not trying to make your life miserable: It is hard sometimes when we are frustrated and tired to see challenging behavior for what it really is; a child’s cry for help and attention. We need to not take it personally, see what is bothering them, and go from there. But, we need the emotional distance from our own feelings before getting there.
  4. Breathing and meditation: I know. I’ve probably said breathing and meditation a million times in my blog posts (and will put them in a million more), but it is so important to take are of yourself with mindfulness and staying the moment. Even when I fail to do this, yoga and meditation have showed me HOW to get back on the right track.
  5. Exercise regularly: Finally am getting back to a regular exercise routine in 2017. I always am shocked how I make excuses not to do something that makes me feel wonderful inside. I was having some mini anxiety attacks earlier in the week, and then I realized why: tired and not exercising to handle stress. I did one workout this week and am planning two more, but even after one I felt like a million dollars. I did a 2o minute Zumba routine. Do anything Moms. Walk. Go on a treadmill, swim, bike. Your body will thank you a million times.
  6. Get a massage or go to a spa: For those of you lucky enough that your partner can do it, ask for one and give one in return. It’ll spark something else. For everyone else, go every  few months if you can afford the splurge. Lots of spas have gifts cards, discounts and I like to go to a Hammam experience at a local spa near me. It is in my price range and can tide me over till I get a one hour or one hour and a half massage.
  7. Make quality time with your child before bedtime to bond: When you are truly bonding with your child in all senses of the word, you will feel the connection. They will not need to act out and will feel secure and you won’t get upset.
  8. Find out what about their behavior is triggering you: This is something I just learned about recently. What our kids do that bug us is usually what we did to our parents or how they responded to us. See if you can get to the bottom of it by journaling about your feelings or talk to a therapist.
  9.  Spend time out with family and friends: This is important to do alone and with your child. You’ve got to see them in a good context and not just in when they are misbehaving.
  10. Cry, scream, write, get it out of your system: Don’t be afraid to let out your emotions when you are alone and it is safe to do so. You need to leave room for everything in your body, mind and soul, including the bad emotions.  As long as it is cathartic and does not make you delve deeper into depression, it is the way to go.

Exceptional Parents, do you have your own tricks to stay calm with your children that are different from those above? If so, great. I’d love to hear them! If they work, more power to you. If not, feel free to try any and all of the above. The important thing is to remember we all have our breaking point, but to try to not let yourself get to that point for everyone around you. Until next time.

  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: http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.

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 joanne@exceptionalparenting.com or 514-827-17175 to book your Skype session. 

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: http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.

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 joanne@creatingexceptionalparenting.com or 514-827-7175 to book your Skype sessions. 

5 Ways to Find Your Special Needs Child’s Skills and Help Instill Confidence

 

Michael is a sassy and social kid. I love him. I love him not only because he is my son, and well, that’s what Moms do, but because he tries so hard to learn things and even when he doesn’t succeed right away, he doesn’t give up. Sometimes it is heartbreaking seeing him struggle with things neuro typical kids have an easy time with. But that is normal for him, given the fact that his brain works differently and it takes his body time to process things. I am so impressed when I see him working so hard. I know it’s not easy, but he does his best and is cheerful most of the time. Then there are the times that are hard. Michael’s anxiety will get the better of him. There will be demands for continuous repetition of what he already knows, tantrums and tears and though he is learning to control the physical outbursts and swearing, those will come sometimes too. It is heartbreaking to watch and as a Mom and coach I am constantly refining my own tools to figure out how best to help him.

This is why recently it has occurred to me that encouraging his talents and gently nudging Michael in that direction can solve a lot of the self-esteem problems. That is what Dad and I are doing, and not in a way that we are trying to force him to become a protegee of some sort, but just to be as good as he can be doing something that he loves. We have known since he was a baby that Michael was musically inclined. He loves songs, memorizes lyrirs and tunes by heart and loves to dance. We had a bad experience with piano lessons when he was too young, so are now waiting, but were amazed at seeing him dance in Hip Hop class last year. We are now encouraging him playing his musical instruments at home, piano, guitar and accordion while he sings songs, and I think the time has come for either voice lessons or music lessons, such as piano. He is also our little GPS navigator and knows where to go and how to use Google Maps. His latest career interest is becoming a map designer, and in a touching statement to me, he said, “I want to work from home like you Mommy, in a home office. ” Ahhh.

But how can parents bring out a child’s interests and figure out what they love/do not love? Yes, not all our children will be savants, but it does not mean they won’t offer amazing things to the world and be less anxious and be happier people. 5 Ways to Find Your Special Needs Child’s Skills and Help Instill Confidence:

  1. See what they gravitate to: This is easy with kids who have autism in most cases. They tend to like to watch the same thing over and over, do the same activity etc. In that activity or act, lies an interest in something. If it is a television show, perhaps they are artistic and they can be directed to performance, singing or behind the scenes work.  If they are building blocks of Lego, then these kids could be future engineers etc.
  2. Praise them when they do these activities: A parent’s or caregiver’s praise can go a long way. It will show the child that they matter and their skill matters not for financial gain, but because they are good at something.
  3. Find other kids that like these activities and hang out: Another great thing to do is to find other kids who like the same things as your child and try to organize play dates or if it’s a class, have your child try a trial run. They will get a kick seeing how they have a talent like a lot of kids.
  4. Give them the time at home to explore: Let them free play with toys, instruments, blocks etc to get a feel.
  5. Encourage them and talk about their talents: It’s important if you see an interest that you talk to your children about the fact they are good at this or that and to keep up the good work.

Exceptional Parents, what are your children good at? Chances are you already know and need to only push them gently in the right direction. They will have fun and you as the parent will be happy that you trusted your instinct as a parent. It is always the right place to start. Until next time.

 

 

 

Honeymoon’s Over- Autism Behavior Triggers And How Exceptional Parents Can Learn from Them

So this afternoon the honeymoon period was over, the honeymoon period of NO behaviors for a good three weeks. I wasn’t clear and concise with something. I said one thing, then changed my mind. Michael was hungry, tired. It was just before dinner. As a matter of fact, I was getting dinner on the table. I said something he did not like. He started protesting, yelling, then before I could stop him, he broke a glass that was near the sink. Immediately he looked to see if his hand wasn’t cut. It wasn’t. I informed him this had cost him one of his tokens. He was upset, started to hit his head and continued trying to bargain with me and justify what he had done. I told him to calm down. I spilled the water from draining the pasta that I had cooked, and was losing my temper too. I quickly took a deep breath, and told Michael to go get washed up for dinner. We would talk at dinner. He finally listened, did what he was told and we talked strategies- how he could have handled himself better, why he needs to listen (not just to get things), and the importance of learning from our mistakes. It was a good conversation. Due to losing one of his 6 tokens, he did not get the usual one hour reward of time on the computer as he normally did, but the thirty minutes he gets for earning 5 tokens. We show him he can still succeed, and next time do better.

I’m sure this scenario plays out, and will play out I’m sure, many more times at homes where exceptional children reside. It’s normal. They don’t hear the boundaries. They are tired. They get frustrated and don’t have good coping mechanisms and they blow. It’s not easy. Even children who are on medication have these moments. I used to wonder as a Mom who has not gone down that route, if this would solve the problem. I think it is helpful, like any intervention, but should be used when it is used, in conjunction with good anger management strategies. When the child is aware and can grasp consequences for their actions, this is the best time to teach. I always do a rewind with Michael after such an incident and have been for the last year. I think it is helping him like it helps me, as long as we don’t overdue it.

What did I learn from last night’s episode? Yes, I am a parent coach and have learned many strategies to cope with my own anger, stress, and feelings of being overwhelmed in the last three years. But I am also a human being, and I have my breaking point. I allow myself the room to make mistakes, learn from them and regroup. I could have paid a little more attention to my words and been more concrete. Now, I’m not blaming myself for Michael’s outburst. His feelings reactions are his responsibility. But I am only saying that I need to be conscious of my words, stress level, and what I mean. With exceptional kids, they can often go from 0 to 100 very easily, particularly at times of the day when they are tired.  Michael has made leaps and bounds in his awareness. As I have blogged before he is even trying to do some neuro typical manipulating (as all kids do), with it in mind. I am proud, but it also means as a Mom, my job title got harder. It’s ok. I am ready for it.

Exceptional Parents, have you recently had breaks in your honeymoon behavior period with your children? How does this make you feel? It’s normal if your first reaction is stress and despondency. Self-pity sometimes comes in too. Give in to it for a few moments, but then it’s time to get back in the saddle. Think of the gift of the mistake. Learn from it and help your child to learn from it. Together the two of you will become stronger and closer as a result. 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: http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.

Looking to beat those winter blahs? Download my FREE EBOOK: “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com/EBOOKS

 

Exceptional Alone Time-Recharge, Re-Energize and Help Your Child Learn Its Value

As I climbed into my lovely hot bath with the required candle burning in the corner of the tub, I thought how wonderful it was to take this time for me last night. I usually don’t allow myself this luxury at nine o’clock at night. On the weekends, I try to make time to spend with my partner. We hardly have time to talk during the week. Or sometimes I will get back to my fiction writing or to reading the latest novel I have started. I always say I will take this time to unwind in the bath by myself when the house is quiet and only the cat is patiently waiting outside the door for me to feed her. But yesterday was one of the few evenings I allowed myself to do this. Why, I thought? I need to do this a few times a week. It is free respite, in my home, and I was so zen I did not even need the glass of wine I was looking to drinking afterwards. I drink my lemon water, went to do some Social Media work, and the headed off to bed. I slept really well.

As Exceptional parents, we have so many more stresses and worries about our children. We have strains and guilt, and think that maybe we could have done better today. Why didn’t we? Even when things are going well like they have been for me with Michael, I still question and second guess myself sometimes. Michael will remind me faster than I him , “Mommy, you’re doing a good job.” I have taught Michael well and his self-esteem is strong. So is mine in every respect pretty much, even as a mother. There are those moments when I lapse though and am hard on myself. More therapeutic things could have been done. More I love you’s could have been said. But now I stop myself. I am enough. He is enough. We are enough. When I stop to take a rest by a nice bath, a good book, a night out or listening to music, I remind myself that I am strong, beautiful and doing the best that I can. Michael is doing all of these things too. I have taught him how to take care of himself and now he reminds me.

White Hot Mug on Book Near Linen

Exceptional Parents, how often do you recharge and take respite at home in your territory? Your child needs to see you prioritizing that as they prioritize their relaxation, health and well-being. It’s only by doing that, that both of you will grow stronger and healthier and be able to tackle the big issues up ahead. 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: http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.

Looking to beat the winter blahs? Download my FREE EBOOK: “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com/EBOOKS

Surprises On The Autism Path-Development and Revisiting Our Own Limitations

Today I finally read the Occupational Therapist’s report on Michael’s progress in his last OT Workshop. He participates in many of these sessions that work on fine motor development with hand writing, manipulating objects, cutting and pasting in crafts as well as gross motor strength. I have learned over the years that all these skills the rest of us NT people take for granted learning, are hard for kids with developmental delays and autism. As tears threatened to fill my eyes, I read, as usual, how Michael mastered yet another skill like cutting a shape out of construction paper, or twirling a pencil, which is something he could not do in the fall when he started. There are always so many obstacles he overcomes and everywhere on the paper it is written how cheerfully he cooperated and how much fun he had. My heart both breaks for the difficulties he has to face in learning things the rest of us take for granted along with the pride in his victories and the gains he has made.

But then the hard part for me as an Exceptional Mom comes. The part where the therapist mentions “continuing his gains” by practicing the following exercises at home whenever we have a chance. And they are never difficult or expensive per se. But Michael would never do them with me. I always would feel like a failure as a parent that I could not continue the therapist’s work at home on weekends or holidays or summer vacation. Yesterday morning was no exception after I read the note. Except. Except something amazing happened. He was home on a “Snow Day” the whole day. The weather was terrible. I had to work. After playing the inevitable games by himself and watdching a movie he was getting antsy. I sucked in my breath and decided to dare it. I suggested going to Pinterest and finding a craft activity together that we could do. I almost fell  off my chair when he agreed. He blew me away! He did most of it himself and when I praised him, I saw the look of pride, happiness and excitement that he had created something. He even complimented me on my craft abilities, which suck by the way. I told him that and you know what he said?
“Mommy, don’t say that. I think you’re good at crafts.”

The child raising the parent. The child trying something new when the parent had almost given up. I was shown an amazing lesson by Michael today. 1) I am not a failure as a Mom if I can’t get him to do crafts and 2) I should never give up trying new things, with him and alone.

Exceptional Parents, what kind of surprises are your Exceptional Children capable of if you throw them a curve ball or something different? Don’t give up on something because it has not worked in the past. Keep trying. Keep believing. And always know your child will surprise you for the better if you give them the chance. Remind them they can do anything as can you!

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: http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.

JANUARY SPECIAL: Refer a friend to a six month program, and receive 2 one on one coaching sessions with me at 50% off

Looking to make a fresh start in 2017 with the way you handle anxiety in your special needs family? Download my FREE EBOOK: “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com/EBOOKS

 

 

An Inside View Into My Son’s Way of Thinking About His Autism-The Quirky, The Fun, The Challenging

The last few days have been really interesting ones with Michael. He has been calm, listening well, and telling me he is listening for his rewards. But he has also been staying in control of his emotions and letting me help redirect him when he needed help managing things. It has been a relief to see he is finding his emotional equilibrium again. I worry so much when aggression is present, but am starting to see my part in helping exacerbate or move it along. I am also seeing my part in helping tone it down.

The most interesting thing to happen was that Michael began to tell me where he comes up with a lot of his ideas and the things he says. The latest thing he is saying is “Mommy is made up of clay. She is soft with soft hands and face and legs.” When I asked him where he learned this, he said he came up with it proudly. He loves clay and he loves me. It’s kind of like when he tells me he wants to write a story and later is talking about wanting to work at home in an office like me, but instead of writing he wants to design maps. I am so flattered that he is copying me and emulating some of the good stuff. God knows, he has copied some of the bad stuff like language I have said in anger that I regret. It is wonderful to see him developing like this.

There are still the times he challenges me with minor behaviors to see how far he can go, but most of the time now we are settling into a nice relating back and forth again. I have heard many  “I love you’s” and “You’re the best mother ever.” It’s nice to hear. There are times I feel I could do more, say more to make things better for him though he is doing well. I think every parent wishes that. But parents of exceptional kids, are always on the lookout; what could we improve? Michael’s sensory issues are out of whack so am talking to the OT to see what we could tweak there to help him. Yet through all of this, as I tell people, he is still raising me to be more aware of myself as a mother and person, of my own boundaries, issues, strengths and weaknesses. He is and always will be my champion.

Exceptional Parents, do you often  have an inside view into your child’s mind with autism? Do they grant you that willingly or do things sometimes slip out that you see or hear? Regardless, whatever way you find out about it it is a gift. It is a gift to see how our child’s brain feels things and sees the world. It gives many more tools to learn to help them get what they need so that they can learn and become the best they can be. 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: http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com. SPECIAL OFFER:  NEW YEAR’s SPECIAL: Refer a friend to a six month coaching program, and receive one individual coaching session for 50% off. 

Looking to make a fresh start in 2017 with the way you handle anxiety in your special needs family? Download my FREE EBOOK: “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com/EBOOKS