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Joanne Giacomini

Writer, speaker and parent coach. I help coach parents to a happier and healthier place in their special needs parenting journey.

My name is Joanne Giacomini. I am a writer, speaker and parent coach, at “Exceptional Parenting/Exceptional Balance,” www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com. I also blog about how my son with autism is raising me at “Exceptional Mom/Exceptional Child,” www.exceptionalmomchild. com. I write regularly about parenting and autism at “Huff Post Parents Canada”, “M List by the Suburban,” and “Parenting 101” by the Suburban. I have also been featured on “BlogHer Family-Special Needs,” “Yummy Mummy Club Canada,” “Scary Mommy”, “Her View From Home”, “Romper”, “KidsOutAndAbout,” and many other publications. I write about parenting and lifestyle issues at “The Things,” “Baby Gaga and "The Talko."

I have a FREE EBOOK on "5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY" available at www.exceptionalparenting.com/EBOOKS , and am working on a book about how my son with autism has changed my life, “5 Ways My Exceptional Child Has Made Me an Exceptional Human Being.” I offer four coaching programs to help parents find the tools they need to address challenges with their children, as well as to help empower them in their own parenting journey. You can follow me on Twitter @exceptmomchild.
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How To Make Halloween Autism-Friendly

Halloween is a fun time of year for most children. They love getting dressed up in costumes, going to parties, as well as going trick or treating where they get the best thing of all, candy! But for many children with autism this is a very difficult holiday. What can a parent do?
10/20/2016 02:21 EDT
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5 Ways To Help Your Special Needs Child Enjoy Summertime

Our son used to have a really hard time with summer. It was so bad many years ago that I was scared that I would begin to hate summer, my most favorite time of the year. The solution for our family was gradually introducing my son to all the wonderful things summer could hold, but on his terms. This way he had control, and slowly our family started enjoying this time of year.
07/04/2016 07:50 EDT
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6 Parent/Teacher Interview Tips For Special Needs Parents

Well, it looks like we are at that time of year again, the Parent/Teacher Interview where you see how your child did over the course of the semester and where they are going next year. For parents of children with special needs, this can be both an exciting and terrifying visit. You hope they have improved, and if not so much, did you maybe do something wrong, did your child, did the teacher not reach them?
06/03/2016 01:11 EDT
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Becoming A Special Needs Parent Changed Mother's Day For Me

My child was not developing like other children. He was beautiful, happy, but separate from us somehow. I was scared. We still celebrated Mother's Day, of course. I was still overjoyed to be a mom, his mom, yet now I felt I was failing him. A year after that when we knew he had autism, our celebrations took on a new turn.
05/06/2016 08:49 EDT
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5 Ways To Handle Spring Fever, Special Needs Style

I know for my son, when Spring hits, so do more sensory challenges, particularly when the weather zigzags between hot, cold, rainy, humid etc. What's a parent to do grappling with regular spring fever, and not wanting to do homework combined with bigger sensory issues? Though it requires some minor tweaking each year, I have come up with 5 ways that help our family survive Spring Fever each year.
03/21/2016 04:41 EDT
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How The Right Teacher Can Make A Difference In a Special Needs Child's Life

In those early days of my son's autism diagnosis, I had completely lost my parental instinct in "getting" my son. And then I did find those wonderful therapists and first teachers at my son's adapted preschool. The school showed me the way to getting my son the help he needed. When he started at his adapted preschool, the first thing his teachers taught me was how to enjoy playing with my son, not to "make him" talk, but to "engage him," to bring him into the world where he could see how much fun we could both have when he played with me.
02/08/2016 03:50 EST
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5 Signs Your Special Needs Child Has Mental Health Issues

There is still so much misinformation on mental illness in society, especially in the workforce and in schools, where young people and older adults are stigmatized as being unproductive, lazy or exaggerating their behavior, when really they are dealing with very real mental health issues, ADD, ADHD, Autism, Bipolar or other depressive disorders. These individuals need our help, not our judgment.
01/26/2016 06:20 EST
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How to Teach Your Special Needs Child to Ride a Bike

Watching my son take off at top speed down our small street yesterday filled me with a feeling of awe that I can't explain. You see, he struggles with gross motor skills a lot, though he does with fine motor skills. Lots of kids with autism do. And though he has always been interested in learning to ride a bike, it came slowly.
10/20/2015 12:23 EDT
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5 Fun Fall Activities For Your Special Needs Child

By keeping our kids back from activities, we don't only do them harm by not exposing them to different experiences, we also deprive ourselves and the rest of our family from good, old-fashioned family fun. I used to be one of those overprotective parents when it came to my special needs son. Not anymore. I have to say that our adventures as a family have gotten better for the most part.
10/03/2015 08:23 EDT
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5 Ways I Helped My Special Needs Child Overcome Learning Fears

My son is one of those kids that doesn't like learning in school. His anxiety is way up about reading and math, and he wanted to stay home from school the other day. He is very smart, and when challenged in a fun way or in a way that engages him one-on-one, he will sit and learn. But it's hard to find that combination when teaching him in a classroom with other children.
09/25/2015 12:14 EDT
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5 Ways for Special Needs Families to Handle Anxiety

These five tips can be taught to children and adults. At this time of year, as children and their parents are frazzled with back to school, multiple extra-curricular activity schedules and homework, I think this can be especially helpful. It can be a family's lifesaver in our ever increasingly fast-paced and stressful world.
09/19/2015 09:08 EDT