Tag: communication

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

 

 

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How To Get Your Special Need Child To Open Up To You

 

Communication is something tough for all Exceptional Children, including the super verbal ones like Michael. And now that he is entering puberty, yikes. Out come the metaphorical claws and holding back. He has openly said that he is keeping details of his day from me. He has openly told me not to touch him. He is not a baby. He does not want my hugs like before. And he does not want to play certain things. ” I am a big boy now.” He’ll tell me. I’m proud of his growing up, but this combined with his smart mouth where he’ll utter things like he is the boss and in charge, and well, I love my child but there are days I don’t like him. There are days I say the wrong thing too. He is already making sure he gets ALL his birthday presents he had asked for. We told him he will get most, and he cannot be looking at getting everything. That is not possible for any kid. I got so angry to  that I called him a spoiled brat. I felt so ashamed once the words were out of my mouth. He was pushing his luck, testing his boundaries, but is not spoiled. Yes, we give him things, but not oodles. It was my anger at him pushing me more away and yet demanding more from me with questions, challenging my authority, and complaining that we had to stay home yesterday afternoon due to freezing rain. At bedtime, he asked me if I meant the comment I said or did I say it in anger. He says a lot of bad things to me in anger, which he apologizes for. Dad and I are always reminding him to think before he speaks and to use better language. I admitted that I failed on these accounts that evening myself.

We also had a fight at bedtime with stalling, but then lying down next to him for those ten minutes he opened up and apologized for everything. I accepted and told him I loved him. Another time I was lying there wondering if I was staying too long next to him after a very challenging evening where we’d had several face offs. We’d made up and it was quiet. I was just about to leave when he shared something with me a classmate had done.

“He threw a computer Mommy. ”

“Oh my. Were you scared Michael?”

“NO, but I did jump. Then the teacher took him to the psychologist’s office and it was ok in the class.”

I would not have had the privilege of hearing this had I not been in his room at 9:15 pm that night. It showed my how exceptional kids open up at the strangest times and in the strangest ways to their parents sometimes. It also reminded me how in spite of how much he is testing and wearing me down lately, I must be firm, clear on what I expect, but also show him how important he is to me and how much I love him. Yesterday afternoon I had to work for a few hours. He asked Dad to wait for me to start the movie that he wanted to watch. He really wanted to watch it as a family. Usually for the logistics, Dad will be with him while I work and vice versa. Other than church or visiting family, we are not often in the same room. We are trying to remedy that now.

Exceptional Parents, how do you get your Exceptional Children to share things with you? I think the first thing to do is just be present for them, physically, mentally and spiritually. Show them and tell them every day how much you love them. Make them feel special because they are even when they drive you crazy. Love is about being there through it all. Make sure they know you are. 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: http://www.exceptionalparenting.net.

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

 

 

 

 

 

Classical Mommy, Beard Daddy-See Ourselves Through Our Exceptional Son’s Eyes

 

So the other night at bedtime I was cuddling with Michael, over twelve minute (not five, not ten, but twelve) minute cuddle before I left his room. We were lying side by side and he grabbed me in a hug. Then he said the strangest and cutest thing:

“Mommy, you are a classical Mommy, and Daddy is a beard Daddy.”

Ok Daddy with the beard I got. When he hugs and kisses his Dad he sometimes rubs up against stubbble on Dad’s cheek, but classical Mommy? What did that mean? I asked him.

“It means classical. You help people Mommy. You help Mommies and Daddies and kids with autism.”

My eyes welled up with tears and I hugged him back hard while my own heart soared. He understood what I was trying to do with my coaching and writing.  He understood how I wanted to help people and give back to others what had been given to me; hope, community and belief again in myself as a good parent with a child who simply thinks outside the box and needs special guidance. He would lead me if I let him.

“Will you always help me Mommy?”

“Always buddy.”

“I love you too Mommy. You’re the best Mommy I ever had.”

Then we did our usual ten minute good night kiss (he is ever the lovey dovey one at bedtime) then he asked me where I would be, upstairs on the couch or downstairs working. Most of the time he knows what the answer is.

“Downstairs  working buddy.”

“You’re going to do your blog?”

“Yes, honey.”

We said our good nights and off I went to work while Michael went to bed. As I made my way downstairs to my home office I started thinking about all the changes I’ve been noticing in Michael. He is becoming even more observant about the details of my life and his Dad’s. He is picking up nuances in conversations, (ones he is supposed to overhear and those he is not). Dad and I have to be really careful. And he is becoming a really thoughtful young man in the way he expresses himself and his caring ways towards his friends. We do have to deal with some insensitive  feelings he doesn’t always realize he is displaying, but we understand that it comes with the territory of having  confused social understandings sometimes about people and occasions. We are handling it.

Seeing his displaying this kind of maturity though, knowing his own mind so clearly, whether he is happy or upset, is really inspiring for me. On the days when he and I struggle, I remember how smart and special my little guy is and know that whatever he will do one day in the world it will be an incredible contribution.

Exceptional Parents, how many times have your Exceptional Children amazed you with things they’ve said or come up with? Our children have such a unique view and vision of the world. It’s important we encourage their unique mind and what comes out of it. They will do amazing things and constantly surprise us and the world if we show them how cool we know they are. Until next time.

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

One of the hardest and most stressful times of the year for special needs families is fast approaching. Are you and your exceptional family ready? 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

Imaginary Friends and My Exceptional Child Building New Worlds

A month ago I had tears in my eyes. They were tears of happiness. My little guy was developing imaginary friends again and better yet, was creating them with craft material like glue, scissors, scotch tape and construction paper. He told me the name of the main character, Dooki, and his various friends, Glegle, Samosa and a few other names I can’t remember at this time. No matter. He is doing crafts. My kid. The kid who hated fine motor. He is writing semi-legibly, the kid who hated doing anything fine motor and hated writing. I am beyond overjoyed. He has reached another milestone in development. Oh, and he is back to writing stories about his characters. I am so proud! It just goes to show how parents can never underestimate what their child will do. They can even learn to enjoy an activity they previously hated doing.

Yes, we have had challenging behaviors, puberty is hitting, and have had to navigate some pretty interesting conversations about hunger, poverty and religion, but I see Michael growing up more each day. He is changing. He even asked me for Legos. Ok, he only wants Star Wars ones, and a police car and ambulance. But what amazed me is he is getting back to playing with toys and things age appropriate more or less. Kids with autism have trouble with make believe and playing. Thinking abstractly is hard for them. They are literal beings. Still, my little guy is changing all that, while he is helping change mine and the world’s perception of autism. His friends are doing it too. Autism is such a vast spectrum. It’s important we never underestimate our child’s potential, wherever they may fall on the spectrum.

Exceptional Parents, what new worlds are your Exceptional Children building for themselves and you? How are they changing your perception of what they are capable of daily, weekly, monthly, yearly? All of our children have abilities and will surprise us if we let them. Encourage your child’s interests, loves and passions, and most importantly, never stop believing in their potential to rise above any challenges in their lives. They are strong individuals, and they will persevere if they know they have their caregivers in their corner. Until next time.

One of the most stressful times of the year for special needs families is fast approaching. Are you and your exceptional family ready? 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

 

Bedtime Sharing And Stalling-How To Know The Difference

 

Michael may have delays in expressive and receptive language as well as grapple with some fine and gross motor delays. He may have other emotional challenges due to autism, but he most certainly is as intelligent as anyone. Kids and adults with autism are just as capable and just as smart as the rest of us. I am happy to say that I no longer doubt or worry about that, though I do worry about his innocence sometimes. That is something beautiful too however, and I hope the world will never take that away. I just want to prepare him as much as possible to get along well.

What I have found are the amazing ways and capacity he has for tapping into his emotions in a pure way and how he can manipulate in typical kid fashion. It is frustrating and exciting at the same time to see the milestones he has achieved. This week has been a tough week with Dad putting him to bed for a few nights as I was out. Dad was also having a rough time himself, and Michael picked up on that and things did not go well between them. So what did I do last night? I tried to be there to do more hugging, emotional connection, and love. It worked! When Dad came home, Michael was no longer angry and hurt with what had occurred between him and Dad. He hugged his father good nigh,t and went off to happily do his complete bedtime for the first time in two days with me. Perfect, right? Not quite.That is when the stalling and silliness for bedtime began. And that was when a pretty reasonable one hour and a bit bedtime got stretched to one hour and almost forty five minutes, with me barely tearing myself away the end. Sigh. I’d been had.

 

What Dad and I can usually recognize, but sometimes still fail to do, is real bedtime stress and “bedtime stalling” as I like to call it. Our Exceptional kids are very smart, and can read us like books. Though I don’t regret the connecting we did with lots of talking, hugging and being there, I also see how Michael used this to push his bedtime limit a little farther. He was making up for a rather military approach over the last two nights that Dad had to push for due to his aggression and anger. It occurred to me last night that the pendulum had swung too far in either direction. Tonight at bedtime I will be better able to recognize the signs of stalling versus real affection. What are these signs you ask? Here are some indications:

  1. One more time”…: Yes, one more minute to get a toy, one more trip to bathroom. You get the idea. And be careful if your child is aware of your getting stressed. They will start playing you with off putting behaviors so you  get upset and they gain more time.
  2. Feeling angry for a good reason vs a silly one: As your child’s parent, your gut will tell you when they are truly worried about something. When Michael told me last night why didn’t Daddy hug him like I do, I realized he missed that from Dad.That was no act. When he started doing silly walking to shower and I called him on it as he got angry, well that’s another story.
  3. Humor masking fear or stress versus silliness: Humor as a shield is another way some of our kids function , and even some adults. If we look closely though we will see if what they are joking about is something stressful to them. Then we can act accordingly.

Exceptional Parents, do you give your Exceptional Child credit for being able to stall and be silly? I hope so. Just because they have a different brain, does not mean they are not intelligent and capable of misleading us or manipulation to get their own way as any child. And count yourself lucky if they are manipulating. It means that everything is adding up as it should be, and they are developing and moving into their own. Until next time.

Tired of anxiety controlling you and your child? Download my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” http://www.exceptionalparenting.net/EBOOKS

 

 

Assertion and Limit Setting-How this Exceptional Mom Is Finding the Balance

 

Michael’s character is changing faster than meets the eye, in a good yet challenging way. It is both bewildering and exciting, and combine that with a busy work schedule and pushing through my own personal boundaries, and well, it makes for a crazy life lately. We are dealing with different feelings about friends, activities, and learning how to impose reasonable limit setting on what behavior his Dad and I expect of him. We are telling him that it is alright to not agree with everything we are saying and we sometimes feel the same, but respect, remaining calm and in the moment, as well as present-centered, is what is the most important thing.

Michael is great at negotiating. He will try and see what he can get away with, where he can push, and if he is not able to push beyond what is considered reasonable and we are firm, a small fight will ensue. It used to be a big fight. But now he is learning how to control his emotions better overall. Still, empathy and respect for others’ feelings is something that is hard to understand. And his Dad and I are having to constantly readjust our parenting. I was told that if he starts testing, doing milestones that were not done when younger, and showing more emotion, then it meant that he is coming into his own. It is obvious and we are happy to see that. But are there any tools we are using to help reach Michael in his new developmental phase? Yes. Here they are:

  1. Make regular time to talk to your child about their feelings: This sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s not easy with parents so busy with work, other children, and stuff around the house. Still, you need to make that five to ten minutes a day time to really listen to your child and hear them. They will sense it and start opening up.
  2. Give them some control: This is imperative. We have made sure to give Michael some control over some things. Things like do you want to watch a video or color, do you want to read a book or go to the park? Despite the fact that many kids over test their boundaries, this is more than ever cause to give them some choice in determining their future, with limits of course. And if you over give as Michael’s Dad and I realized we did, eliminating something from his schedule that we did not need to, you can always play catch up later.
  3. When they are acting out, look for the why behind the behavior:  This one has me baffled a lot of the time. However, now I am beginning to see that when Michael really challenges us, is when he is feeling taxed to the max and does not know how else to be heard.Our response is to calmly assess and see the why behind the behavior. And if not, listen till we figure it out.
  4. Have a set schedule of activities: Routine will really help kids in feeling in control, and their parents in handling things better too. 🙂 I speak from personal experience here. Yesterday morning Michael was nervous and I was not far behind due to us having forgotten to set the daily schedule. Then I suggested: “construction paper to plan out the day.” And guess what, success. Control was back in the land!

Exceptional Parents, how have your Exceptional Children tested you? Have you passed with flying colors? Have they? It’s ok if it’s been a struggle. As always, take from the struggle the lesson. What could you do differently next time to set the example for them? The suggestions given above are simply guidelines. You have to tailor rules that work for your child and your family. Remember Moms and Dads, you know best. And if you need support, don’t hesitate to reach out. Until next time.

Tired of anxiety controlling you and your child? Download my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” http://www.exceptionalparenting.net/EBOOKS

Issues of Control and Needing Love-Michael’s and My Exceptional Journey

child, family, generation

Michael is going through a period of life now where he is asserting himself. He is becoming more independent which I love, but it can sometimes be annoying. How, you ask? Well, he will insist on doing EVERYTHING by himself. And by that, I mean like for instance if I got the food for his snack he would take the food, put it back in the cupboard and get it himself. It is a part independence/part OCD thing, but I am proud all the same. I am trying to teach him though that you can work together with someone in a team AND be independent. That is proving the harder lesson to teach, but we are getting there slowly.

As frustrating as it is when he tests my patience with doing things over, and knowing he can’t swear will say a silly word, I know my little boy is blooming. When I get frustrated, I remind myself of when he was little and I prayed he would be aware of us. Then he was. Then I prayed he would begin talking and communicating, and he did. Then I prayed he would read and write which he is starting to do. The next thing I pray for is for Michael to learn to handle this anxiety and stress and figure out when he can do things himself and when he can ask for help.  I am proud he is communicating stress to me.

Yesterday evening Michael and I navigated baking together for the first time in about six months. It was trying at times and fun at others. All of the time I was reminding him about balance, asking for help or clarification if you needed it, and then telling me he was ready to do it alone if I was still being the protector Mama. I am getting better at stepping away from that role though. I am learning that even if it is harder for Michael or takes longer, he needs to experience doing things on his own by himself. I am proud as I watch him struggle then figure it out. I was not allowed to do this until I was older. It impacted my confidence, and I want to make sure Michael’s confidence gets a boost before his twenties. My parents did their best and what they did helped me, but hindered me in other ways. I hope to teach Michael to fly with confidence at a younger age, and still show him the unconditional love my parents still have for my brother and I now that we are adults.

Exceptional Parents, when do you notice your Exceptional Children pulling away from you to seek control? When do you notice them pushing into you at other times for reassurance of your love in their way? It’s important as you know, to strike a balance between the two, control and love and let them see that by working with you they gain independence and keep your love. Until next time.

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Filling Up The Mom Cup To Help Your Exceptional Child

The best thing that I did for myself this long holiday weekend was sleeping in? No! It was getting up super early so that I could have time to meditate and exercise. Yes, you heard me! Weekends are no longer the rest time they were prior to children. They are rest of a sort from my job, my business, but they are the busiest time of the week in family time. That is why I need my energy, my center, and my sense of humor when Michael throws me curve balls. He will sometimes be rude and push his luck by challenging his boundaries with me. At other times, like on Sunday morning, he will come down and meekly ask me “Mommy, please can I have breakfast with you right away?” And of course, I will abandon my writing, the dishes in the sink, the laundry waiting to be folded in the basket and devote myself to him: body, mind and spirit. That is the job of a mother. Any mother.

But Michael lately has been pushing and pulling Dad and I in a million different directions. Some stressful, some entertaining. I can say one thing. I am so grateful, and not just coming off of Thanksgiving in Canada yesterday, but extremely grateful to have Michael in my life, to have a child that has opened my eyes to what is possible to do in the world even with limitations. I’m not saying there are times I have said I am not strong enough to be his Mom. Or questioning why I had children. I have those days. I long for the freedoms of time, space, friendships, time with my partner I had prior to Michael’s arrival. But then I remember there was am emptiness in my life that Michael filled.

His being, his personality, the way he tackles the world head on. He is positive, tries hard, and even when scared or anxious, pushes himself forward. He believes in getting things done, in getting his way at all costs, (even when he gets in trouble). He is admirable for his gumption, for trying to decipher what the rest of the neuro typical world is dong. He works hard, charms all who see him. He comes into a room and lights it up like a firecracker. He is funny, intelligent and quirky. And even when he drives me bonkers I thank God for him every day of my life. I ask for strength to be the strong mother he needs, and help other parents see the beauty that is their child, especially when that child is driving them crazy. That is not always easy to do. That is why making Mom space for me helps me make space for Michael, in all of the stress, in all of the behaviors, in all of the great times we have. Yesterday on Thanksgiving I went for a long walk and park in the morning with Michael and in the afternoon Dad, Michael and I went for a long drive and Michael got to fly his new kite. Seeing the joy of him running with it and laughing made my day and week. I would not have been able to enjoy this if I had not taken care of me this weekend too.

Exceptional Parents, how do you squeeze in “you” time on a weekend and “child ” time with your child/dren? How do you balance it all? Sometimes it is hard. You may only find pockets for you. Remember, it is important for you to find that pocket to fill up your parent cup. This way when your child comes for a drink, you are not depleted and can keep replenishing their supply. Take care of you so you can be the best for them. They deal with a lot and need us to be strong. Until next time.

Feeling anxious in your Exceptional Family? Download my FREE EBOOK: “5 WAYS TO MANAGE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” http://www.exceptionalparenting.site88.net. 

Puberty and Holding Back The Exceptional Way- Why This Mom Is Choosing Not To Worry

There have been a lot of inconsistencies with Michael lately, but I think a dear friend of mine was right when she speculated my nine and a half year old son may be going through puberty or at least the beginnings of it. Why do I suspect this? He is seeking me out on his terms for hugs and time and talking, but is holding back in other ways. It’s hard to tell though, as Dad and I are also having trouble with him listening and testing limits more at home. He is sensing our very different parenting styles, which we have to be careful of. Dad and I are realizing that it’s alright to parent a little differently, as long as  your child knows that both parents have the same rules. His school team has been very helpful in making some suggestions to us along these same lines, and we may consult further professionals for tips in supporting Michael and ourselves as best as possible.

I have also become concerned that he is not telling me what is happening at school or revealing only a little.  This has been hard to get used to, but started only about a week or two ago. I’m not sure what has changed. Perhaps he resents all of us talking about him and thinking we are up against him. I disclose to him that I am talking to the staff at his school in order to help him and us learn techniques to better listen and get along with one another. Maybe he wants his space. When he gets aggressive and challenging, it is so hard to be truly present and patient, but I am learning. I have learned much in the last few years about parenting with patience, and acknowledging where I need work or improvement. Don’t we all, neuro typical or exceptional. We all have things to improve upon.  Michael shows me daily how to be more patient and understanding towards him and myself.

Exceptional Parents, how do you treat changes in your Exceptional Children? Do you worry or embrace them, or do a mixture of both? It’s important to not let worry  overcome your better judgement, but at the same time have your detective hat on and follow any trail that seems suspicious. Remember, most of the time, it is just your child entering a new stage of development. Testing, challenging, retreating, coming back. Your child will do all these things. It’s important as their parent to stay close by, and let them know you care and are there to listen and support them always. Until next time.

 

Feeling stressed about special needs parenting? You are not alone. Download my FREE EBOOK on “5 WAYS TO MANAGE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” here: http://www.exceptionalparenting.site88.net.