special needs parenting
As the pandemic continues, some families are reaching breaking point.
It's hard to believe it's been five years since autism entered my life. My son is eight now. Raising him remains a mystifying experience, yet I have learned some valuable lessons along the way:
People with autism are not all violent, unthinking, unfeeling or uncaring, incapable of progress or love. When supported in a loving environment and by people who believe in them and their potential locked within, most of the kids can go on to be very successful and lead fulfilling lives with loving relationships.
Autism officially entered our lives on June 7th and then again June 14th, 2005. Not only was this new territory -- it was no man's land. Scary quicksand territory. Never before had our parenting skills been put to the test as it was in the latter half of 2005. Not just our skills, but our belief in ourselves as parents.
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?
What kind of mom drugs her kid? The mom who is tired of walking on eggshells, wondering who her child will hurt today. The mom who is tired of watching her baby suffer inside his own skin. The mom who, fighting back tears, dutifully takes the scrap of paper from the doctor with the round glasses.... What mom does that, anyway? The kind who will do whatever it takes to help her child feel better, even if it means doing precisely the thing she vowed never to do.
Children whose parents do not work together to co-parent amicably, maturely, and fairly, have children who feel overwhelmed, neglected, and stressed. It's time for the adults in the room to take the next step in acknowledging what they need to change in their lives to give their children all they've got.
Blended families don't feel in unison or in sync right off the bat; it's not something that happens overnight. It takes patience, love, understanding, compromising and time. In our case, it took us a few years before we felt in sync, like a real authentic family. Having a child on the autism spectrum made this journey even more delicate.
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?
For parents of children with special needs top that with a tenfold of anticipated stress and anxiety that accompanies the thought of maintaining a manageable environment while "doing Disney." Our main goal was to make this trip as easy and enjoyable as possible. Thinking through the many catalysts that could trigger a breakdown and the tools that we could use to manage them, here's how to take away the cringe-worthy worry, survive Disney with special needs, and keeping everyone smiling.