Four Things No one Warns An Autistic Parent About 

Being an autistic mother has had some challenges, all of which I had to learn and problem solve.  It is after all whats parenting is all about. No one can tell you exactly what you are going to go through, or the right things. I would not ever change this challenge that I was given.  In fact, it has helped me to become a better person, mother, and business owner. I have gained so much more than I could ever imagine. I was determined to do what was best for my son. 

If you have an autistic child, I am here to share some of my personal thoughts, inspiration, and battles that I have gone through: 

    • You are going to cry. Embrace it and let it happen. It could be better, it could be worse. It doesn’t matter. You are a mother to a special needs child and it is TOUGH. You wish things were different.. Just let it out and know you are doing the best you can. You will cry for every little milestone, but also for all the goals missed. There will be a lot of comparison, but only compare your child to how far they have come and NO ONE ELSE. 
    • You are going to be super protective. No questions asked. There was a time when I didnt put him into programs because I didnt think he was ready or because people couldn’t handle him/us. You aren’t going to take any crap from anyone. You will be mama bear with a full wall built around the both of you. 

 

  • You are going to research and take risks. Let me tell you, there is not enough research out there. There just isn’t stay off Google and find advocates to talk with. Take risks in new things and new developments. I know that I took a HUGE risk by signing my son up for neurofeedback. There isnt enough data or information out there about it, but I took that risk because I knew it could be a great benefit if it worked. 
  • You will learn to NOT judge other parents or kids. We are all at different levels, we are all different and just cant compare or judge one another. We need more happiness and acceptance in this world. Period. 

   

I used to think of having an autistic son was ‘bad’ but it has made me patient and the best mother I could be. I wouldn’t have it any other way and I LOVEE all the things about autism and Antonio.  I learn to LOVE every single milestone and praise him. We have to learn to not see autism as being something so different and negative, but in reality it is pretty incredible.   

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Focusing on Your Child’s Strengths for Success

Guest blog post by Jennifer Elia-

If you have a child with special learning needs, you know the frustration for trying to make progress. You are both working so diligently to find a solution and make it over the learning roadblock. At times it seems insurmountable. What do you do when your child’s education get derailed by struggle and you have exhausted your options?

You focus on their strengths and let go of what isn’t working!

The Counterintuitive Success Formula

In a society driven by stats,  data, and success the answer to a problem is always try harder. Right? Wrong!

Drilling math facts for two hours instead of one is not the solution. We want to fill gaps with more of what is missing, but instead of filling the valleys, I propose you need to build longer bridges.

When it comes down to it, every person has strengths and weaknesses. Some may be more obvious but it exists in every human being. Special needs children are no different.

Not Different, But Amazingly Unique

In fact, special needs children are different, just each and every person. Our difference is what makes us special–not our high grades, our prestigious job titles, or our award winning talents. What makes us each special is that every one of us is different. Those differences work together to create a pretty amazing world.

Just like a tapestry, we each have a thread of life to share. Sure the crimson thread is more noticeable, but the white and gray threads give the picture definition. The beige adds depth and light. Take out any one color no matter how noticable it is in the complete work and the masterpiece becomes second rate.

Start with What Is Good

Everyone needs some basic knowledge to get through life, there is no denying that. Completely abandoning math or social skills would not be advisable for anyone. However, we are more than what we cannot do!

Just as no one should be defined by a diagnosis, our life should not be defined by our weakest moments, by our biggest struggles, nor by our current flaws. No one is perfect.

Focusing, as is typical, on what needs work creates an environment of defeat instead of success.

You paint beautifully but you still have not learned your times tables. Obviously, you need to paint less and spend your afternoons doing flashcards.

Have you or your child ever been in that situation? There is a passion and a gift that is beautifully blooming, but the glaring deficit is all you can see. STOP!

Start from A Place of Strength

Before building a system to overcome whatever is holding your child hostage in his educational journey, create an environment for him to enjoy what sets him free. It does not have to be academic if the struggle is academic. It does not have to be physical if the struggle is physical. It just has to be his passion and unique gift.

Give your child a taste of success and enjoyment, make that a priority as you bolster the needs and wants. Here are some examples:

  1. Your child has an unbridled passion for horses (pun intended) but reading a simple sentence is as difficult as emptying the Atlantic with a spoon. So, you take some time to learn more about horses, sign up for riding lessons, and turn science into an equine anatomy study.
  2. Your child is Miss Personality, her outgoing and loving nature attracts everyone to her, and in her spare time she hosts pretend radio shows for her stuffed animals, however her gross motor skills are far behind age level. So, you set up a podcast channel on Itunes and help her market her first podcast to family and friends.
  3. Your son is a math genius, his fascination with solving equations as big as your house is mind-blowing, but his interpersonal skills are lacking and he struggles in group settings. So, you employ find an open access class online through Harvard and let him try his hand at being one of the youngest kids in the class.

Abandoning The Struggle for The Strength

None of these actions will erase what is causing your child to struggle. Their needs are still very present, and require assistance and support. However, they will give your child that taste of victory in being who they were meant to be!

On of my favorite quotes is from St Catherine of Siena,”Be who you were meant to be and you will set the world afire!”

Can you imagine the world set afire by your child? Yes, the first child will need Orton Gillingham intervention. Sure, the second child requires physical and occupational therapy. Most definitely, the third child needs social skills and coaching on how to interact with others. However, one of that should ever define any of them.

When life get overwhelming because of special needs, focus on the special, not the need. Taking a short break, whether it be days or months depending upon the situation, and allowing the child to just be who she was meant to be will help diffuse the frustration and allow that special, unique, amazing little person of yours to show the world what she is really made of!

About the author: Jennifer Elia, homeschool mentor, curriculum creator, blogger, and author, is Founder of Aurelius Cabrini Homeschool Resource Center which is dedicated to giving homeschool moms the tools they need to thrive in their home education career. Jennifer provides one-on-one mentoring, personalized and original curriculum plans, and practical advice for those just beginning their homeschool journey, as well as those who just need a little boost. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and four children whom she has been educating at home for the past 10 years. When Jennifer isn’t busy researching the best curriculum solutions, she enjoys gardening, crafting, and writing. You can find Jennifer on Facebook and Pinterest.

Focusing on Your Child's Strengths for Success

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The Constant Battle of Being a Mother

You can’t have it all. I hear people say their baby hasn’t slept in years! I hear others say they have chronic ear problems. I hear people say their kid is behind. There are so many moms who are worried and down when it comes to this. 

I often find myself comparing and getting upset. Most of you know my son is incredibly behind. He was sick for a good 6-9 months, we found out he had asthma! Then found out he had mono and then he had chronic ear infections! We had to do several ear tube surgeries. My kid is so behind because of his hearing and I constantly worried and put the blame on myself.

Now we are questioning if he is autistic and we are getting him tested. I haven’t given this much thought because honestly he is who he is and I’m going to love him no matter what.

I see kids his age who run, climb jump skip and have full sentences we aren’t even close to that. But then I hear that those kids don’t sleep through the night and mine does. So you have to give and take on times like this because you can’t have it all.

I can’t compare my kid to anyone else because he has been through a lot. Everyone goes through obstacles or problems its only natural. Some kids have been through a lot and others have been sick once in their life. I am okay with all of it because it made me stronger and love my kid much more.

I don’t want moms to compare or say “I could never do that” or feel bad for me because at the end of the day… I get all the hugs kisses and laughs I need to know that my son is perfect the way he is. We, as mothers, are all in this together. We need to help each other out more and stop comparing.

Maybe he will catch up someday maybe he will catch a ball and talk in sentences right now I am happy of how far we have come and how we have went through an extremely hard time where I constantly worried about my baby boy.

So the moral of the story is we can’t compare and feel bad for one another. It will drive you nuts. Every kid is unique. Every kid develops different and has their own personality. We can’t force kids to be someone they aren’t let’s let them play outside in mud and be kids and stop worrying (easier said than it is) but truly!

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