Tag: changes

Teaching And Learning Life Skills-What My Exceptional Child Is Teaching Me

Sometimes there is a day when I see it all coming together and I worry less, especially lately. Yesterday, was such a day. Michael did so well. There were changes in our plans in the am. With some advance warning and options, he had a fun morning at home while I worked, and in the afternoon we adjusted the schedule slightly too. He wanted to go to some stores to buy a toy for a friend and to spend some of his holiday money on some stuff for himself. I especially liked that he was spending some of the money on a friend. His birthday has kind of gone over the top this year, which has been challenging for everyone. I also was so proud of him for how he handled paying at the cash, counting out his money, as well as understanding the concept of how much things cost. It is coming. Life skills. Independence. When he succeeds, I see his confidence blooming. For a Mom who is seeing just how anxious he is and how much stress he carries around, this is truly a victory.

Between communicating better this week, seeing how good behavior is rewarded and learning to apply basic life skills, I know how not only Michael, but all exceptional children can succeed with the right tools. He also helped me be more patient. In watching him at the stores looking for my guidance and when he made a mistake apologizing, I realized how there had been times recently when for various personal reasons I may not have been as patient and calm as I wished I had been. It’s hard. It’s especially challenging when both parent and child are tired and communication is not clear. This is when the parent, who in theory is usually the calmer one, needs to take a deep breath and get control of a situation that could become stressful. Easier said than done. Yesterday, I was exhausted. But I remembered to stay calm on the outside and inside to set the example for Michael. I remembered how I always tell him to “turn it around” so at moments when my body was crying out for coffee and quiet, I reminded myself, he is watching how you handle yourself if there are challenges. Model calm, quiet, peace and he will learn those things eventually.

Exceptional Parents, how has your Exceptional Child started growing up? This is essentially what I have been seeing with mine. They all grow up in different ways, and help us grow up too; either by guiding them and ourselves better, teaching us more patience, and reminding us that even when our kids drive us crazy we love them to pieces as they do us. They and we are doing the best that we can. Let’s do our best together by encouraging, loving and modeling calm. Until next time.

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Exceptional Mommy Resolutions for 2017

We are almost at the close of another year. It’s incredible how fast the time goes whether we want it to or not. As I look back over this year, I see how far Michael, his Dad and I have come as individuals and as a family. Dad and I have started to not make any more excuses for where we are not and start to work on where we want to be as individuals and as parents. We have showed and continue to show that to Michael. It is hard sometimes. There are days of self-pity for all of us. But I am happy that I can now step back when I am in this mode and look at myself as if I am a character in a play and even laugh a little, “Oh, there she goes singing the I have no time for me card. Oh, there she goes singing the oh this is so hard card.” And I realize. Things are only as hard as we want to make them. Sure, there are challenges in life and obstacles. But if we break them down into small steps, we can succeed. If we instead decide to pity ourselves, we cut ourselves and our abilities short.

resolutions, scrabble

2016 was a terrible year for a lot of close people around me. Family and friends have struggled and continue to struggle with health issues, personal and psychological. Dad and I struggled to help Michael when he started exhibiting more challenging behaviors and had to rule out more serious mental health issues, which we were so relieved were not present. We also had to look at our own personal situation: financial and our home and see what changes we needed to start making to move forward. We had our share of challenges too. Isn’t that always what a New Year does? It’s a chance to start over fresh and make positive changes. So, here if anyone is interested, are my Exceptional Mommy New Year’s Resolutions:

  1. Show more patience and kindness: This is something I am going to start doing with me first and then work outwards with family, friends and the world. When we feel positive and light we affect those around us with that same light.
  2. Take care of my overall health: I do a pretty good job here, but I want to really make a point to continue my regular meditation, yoga, exercise routine along with eating well and regular medical checkups as well as prioritizing things like personal time to read and unwind. As a business owner my leisure time is non existent at the moment unless I’ve had a really tough day. That is going to change.
  3. Work on my fiction regularly and send out a completed fiction novel to publishers: I have my dream job of freelance writing and love connecting with parents as a coach. The problem is that I do not have a heck of a lot of time for my fiction writing. I want to carve out regular fiction writing time and send out an old novel to publishers. You never know ! 🙂
  4. Make time for more prayer, spiritual reading and reflection: This is something that I have been talking about since the fall. I will make the time to do this, as I have seen just like exercise, without my time in prayer and reflection, other things in my life come apart.
  5. I will try new things that scare the bleep out of me: I did a few of these in 2016. More to come in 2017. I have seen that it is only by pushing ourselves to the edge of that cliff that we can say we are truly alive and growing. We need to trust that there is a net to catch us below. God help me, I will teach this to Michael too. Autism or not, he has to learn to trust his instincts and I will work with him to do that.

Exceptional Parents, what are some of your New  Year’s resolutions for you and your Exceptional Child? What do you need to let go of and move towards? We all have things we want to change. Use this time as a time of rebirth and renewal. Teach your child to make realistic resolutions if they are capable of it. If not, model for them your own personal transformation, the best example you could set. Wishing you all a Happy and Healthy New Year in 2017! 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, see my website: http://www.exceptionalparenting.net.

It’s almost the new year.  Do you need new strategies to cope with anxiety? Download my FREE EBOOK on “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” http://www.exceptionalparenting.net/EBOOKS.

 

How To Help Your Exceptional Child Navigate Rigidity and Control Issues

Michael is an amazing little boy. He has truly opened up my eyes to wonder, exploration, and the little things that matter; like how much fun it is to go for a walk in our neighborhood, to learning how to better navigate in my car, to paying closer attention to messages disseminated in the media on the news and in songs. He is a joy to talk with, and I love his questions. But there are days, days when the questions turn into arguments and protests, and he will say, funny as it sounds afterwards, “I am only getting upset because I don’t like what you are saying.” It is exhausting as a parent to handle, though I know it is not his fault. He feels very powerless in his world, and this is his way of trying to get some control back. Autism is a different way of seeing the world, and the world is not adapted to reflecting back security to someone with autism, particulary our crazy, fast-paced world, which is even hard on a lot of the non Exceptional population.

Like a lot of Exceptional kids who have autism, he can be quite rigid in his thinking and sees things as only how they affect him. His Dad and I are teaching him gently to be aware of feelings; ours, teachers, friends. It has its challenges for Michael and us. I also know that the rigidity is due to the overall anxiety he feels and lives with daily. As Temple Grandin herself has explained, it often felt to her that she was living life at the edge of a cliff, where any minute she might fall down into the abyss. On days when Michael’s worries, arguments, and intense discussions wear me out mentally, I remind myself of this. He is living at the edge of that cliff, not me. I have lived with anxiety all my life, and even thought I had an anxiety disorder two years ago when I suffered my second of two burnouts. Though I don’t meet the criteria for an Anxiety Disorder, I did struggle with stress and managing my feelings all my life. In adulthood, I learned about exercise, meditation, and yoga and their benefits. These are tools that Michael’s Dad and I are showing him, hoping he will gravitate to some even if not all, and help himself to better handle control issues.

He loves to exercise, did yoga for a brief time, and is learning strategies like using fidget toys as well as incorporating his old tools of rocking swinging or bouncing to handle stress. Still, I know there are more things we would like to try and do to help Michael understand how his body and mind work. As always, these tools would help his Dad and I too to better understand his emotions and help him. At school, he is doing Cognitive Behavior Therapy, a children’s version, and that is proving to be extremely helpful in him dealing with challenging emotions.

Exceptional Parents, what tools do you use to help your child with anxiety and control issues? As always, traditional sensory methods, exercise, breathing techniques, and having the child learn to express their emotions, helps tremendously. Never be afraid to reach out and try new things, and as hard as it is for you as a parent on those tough days, don’t ever give up on your child. They need you to believe they can navigate the world on their own as you know they can and will. Until next time.

How are you and your special needs family handling the hour change and shorter days? If you are challenged by this, download my FREE EBOOK: “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” http://www.exceptionalparenting.net/EBOOKS

Exceptional Report Cards And Dealing With New Elements

Today is Parent/Teacher Interviews at Michael’s school, and I am so very proud of him as usual. He has an amazing report card with progress in every area and the comments I keep seeing are, “Michael is so positive, eager to learn and a good friend to his classmates. We are very pleased with him.” It’s music to a Mom’s ears, and tomorrow in addition to hearing the usual positive stuff as well as how I can further support his challenging areas, Michael will also have a St. Patrick’s Day party at school and a scavenger hunt. He is excited about these activities, but is nervous about a slight change in his schedule; staying behind after school in a special after school program that the school has once a year on Parent/Teacher Interviews Day. Usually he goes to see his grandparents, but as they are still a little under the weather recovering from the flu, this is our best bet. Because he has never done it before Michael is scared. I wrote a social story for him that we read a few times so that he could feel he has a little control over things. That is what it is about control and feeling that he is master of his destiny. I hope this small gesture can give him some comfort as he learns to navigate the world.

 

I completely understand where he is coming from. There are times I want to know everything possible about what is happening so I could have that full control, being a tad on the anxious side myself. But if there is one thing I have learned in life, is that learning to “go with the flow” and leave some things up to fate will usually help life turn out better, even better than if we had planned things. This takes time to accept and come to terms with, and for some of us, it only happens in adulthood.

Exceptional Parents, how good are you at letting go and going with the flow in your own life and with your Exceptional Children? How do you help your children and yourself find the balance between the two? I think it’s a matter of reminding yourself you have some control, and the rest is in the hands of a Higher Power who will guide you along the way if you are open for it.  The important thing is that your children learn from your positive experience of balance in your life. Until next time.