Tag: milestones

Exceptional Birthdays, Milestones And Surprises Along the Way

So I can’t believe it. Today is Michael’s 10th birthday. My little baby boy is officially entering into the double digits! I can still remember how I held him briefly in my arms and counted his little fingers and toes before his Dad whisked him away. I had to be sewn up from my C-Section.  I could not be more proud of him and his accomplishments, and even with the ups and downs of behavior, I have had so many proud Exceptional Mommy moments. The first one was last year when he began to read by himself and learn to write legibly. The second one, when he began to understand where his emotions were coming from, and how he could feel the tension in his stomach before he erupted. The third thing that stands out is how he is now choosing his friends based on common interests, respect and other regular kid reasons. He is growing up. It is not always easy for him or us, but we are in this life together for a reason. God has a master plan and I am proud to be part of it. I do my best to go along for the ride.

As many other Exceptional Parents have shared with me, our kids make or break us. Most of us are made stronger due to them, both in their times of strength and weakness and our own. It’s impossible not to grow when raising a child that tests all you have as parent and human being. They see right down to your core and beyond. They force you to do that and you grow and figure out what the heck it is this life is supposed to be. That is not always something I see as a gift, especially when I am struggling with redefining who I am, but in actuality it is. It is the closest thing Michael and kids like him have to reading people, as long as they learn to trust their inner compass in a world that does not always get their literalness and need for complete explanations and control. Oh, another thing I am super proud of. Michael’s keen sense of observation. He will see what someone is wearing or doing and comment on it. I am learning how to praise that power of observations while teaching him to keep those details to himself. He may make a fine writer one day, I say. 🙂

Exceptional Parents, what are you most proud of in regards to your Exceptional Children’s accomplishments? They all have talents be it musical, memory, computer, or other. Praise them. Encourage them. Set appropriate and healthy limits. And if you fail, admit it. Tell them what you need to fix to grow. That will continue to help you both grow for the better. 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.

How are you holding up this holiday as an Exceptional Parent? 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

Milestone Jump for My Exceptional Son- Articulating Feelings, Fears and Making Sense of The World Outside


So Michael continues to amaze me. I know I say this a lot and it must sound boring to a lot of people. We have our highs and lows like any family, but what I am continuing to see from Michael more and more each day is how well he is able to articulate how he is feeling, what he is upset/confused about, and what makes his angry. The challenge, however, is how to handle these intense feelings. He will still have moments he lashes out physically with hitting and will utter angry swear words. Immediately, he apologizes though. He is beginning to understand the consequences behind his actions learning to do damage control.

At the same time he is learning to push boundaries, to see how far he can aggravate, yell, cry and what will happen. Will I give in? Will his  Dad? Will we still love him? It is funny. As much as he sometimes will openly say, “You’re the better parent” to his father if I upset him and vice versa if Dad upsets him, in the next breath it’s “I’m sorry Mommy. I’m sorry Daddy. Do you forgive me?” Last night I had told him how proud I was of his academic achievements and how well he did at some social events in our community. Michael looked at me almost in shock and said, “Really Mommy? You’re really proud of me?” Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not a perfect parent. Heck, I’ve admitted that often enough in print and verbally. But I do my best to hug and tell Michael I love him very much every single day and night. I also tell him I am proud of him and want him to be safe and healthy. Still, like all kids, he needs to hear that reinforcement of the “I love you” many times. I don’t mind. I am so amazed with how far he is going. I am also beginning to understand more and more each day how to help him. He, of course, is guiding me. Most recently he shared something with me:

“Mommy, do you know why I repeat things sometimes, like at bedtime I say, “see you tomorrow morning two times?”

“Why buddy?”

He pauses. “It’s because I want to make sure it happens. If I say it a few times, it will happen.”

Wow. He is able to process and understand how his brain works.And share that with me. Of course. That makes sense. I smile and feel both joy at his realization and pain that he is suffering with worry about this.

“Morning will always come Michael. No matter how many times you say it or not. Day and night will always come. It is outside of our control.”

“Really Mommy?”

“Yes, honey.”

Another incident a few days later he shared with me how he only wants to go to adapted activities where he knows the kids because he hates change. Even if it is adapted and those kids have autism like him and other things similar to mine, he doesn’t know them. Wow again. He is making those connections and bringing me along for the ride in understanding them.

Exceptional Parents, do you see your children connecting the dots emotionally in their inner and outer world? Are they able to let you in to help or meet you halfway? That is the tricky part. Until you are both able to meet at the halfway mark, communication is challenging. Be patient. Play. Interact with them at their level the games that interest them. In time you will find a way in to their world as they will to yours. That is when the next milestone will be achieved. 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


Birthday Parties And Understanding of Friendships

I was so proud of Michael this weekend. He blew me away with everything he seemed to be able to handle effortlessly. He wrote in beautiful handwriting in his friend’s birthday card, did amazing with sitting on Santa’s lap at the mall, and then handled losing his tooth and going to see the “Santa Train” all without losing his composure and remaining calm. As it was  a swim party I saw how well he has improved with swimming too. He knows how to do the front crawl. But the best part for me, was how proud of himself he was. The awareness of his strengths is increasing. The awareness of his weaknesses are too, but he is learning strategies to handle that as well.

I am seeing my little guy growing up. He is choosing which people he wants to be friends with. Along with that, comes a lot of responsibility in learning to be polite about who you want to play with and invite. This is something Dad and I are working with him on too, as it is one of those abstract things that is hard for him to decipher. There are also some friends he has “outgrown,” and again we are reminding him to be polite and kind. You don’t need to be best friends with everyone, but all people deserve self-respect just as you do. I found myself close to happy tears watching him show me what he can do, what he understands, and how he is starting to learn how to have back and forth conversations with kids his own age and adults. This is also beautiful to see and I am so glad he is able to understand this.

There are, of course,  days that are very tough and challenging. He will take away the lesson from it though, which is amazing. Before, it would have fallen on deaf ears. He was not able to understand the lesson. And even when we have to teach it a few times, if Dad and I are calm, he will grasp it. That is another important thing for caregivers to remember. Every child is different and will develop differently, including on the autism spectrum. Parents need to remember that too and cut themselves and their kids some slack.

Exceptional Parents, what memorable things have your Exceptional Children done lately? When do you see they are at their best and what is the most efficient way to motivate them? Maturity will happen as they grow, and it is important we grow with them too. Parents need to stay calm, focused and positive, while they encourage their child to do the same thing. Until next time.

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