Mommy Moment Mondays: I Sterotyped My Kids


I talk… a lot. I especially talk a lot when it is a topic I know or feel I know a lot about. So when it comes to talking to a group of moms about being an advocate for your special needs children I want to jump up and down raising my hand screaming “pick me!” because I can’t contain all the information, helpful advice, funny stories, realizations and resources I have accumulated over these short years. I just want to word vomit over everyone. And then I start sounding like a know-it-all. I hate that most. I don’t think I know everything, but I have been through so many different experiences on this topic that I feel what I can saw and the little I do know can help and be comforting to some people; whether or not you actually want to hear it. So today I was overjoyed when someone like me, who has much older children, was speaking at my MOPS meeting. I wanted to soak in every bit of information she was going to word vomit on me; I just couldn’t wait. I would be her in so many years and I am a little afraid of that. I am starting to look for people like me who have been through this type of parenting before- parenting older children with special needs. I felt it was a sign that I needed to hear what she had to say today. I just didn’t imagine how dejected it would make me feel.

Her talk was great. It touched base on the main points I always give to parents who have just received a new diagnosis for their child. You have to be your  child’s advocate; but her message was more than that. She described how you needed to be an advocate for all your children; not just the one who require additional care. That was when I realized it; all these years I had been so proud of myself for not really labeling my children and what I was actually doing was defining them.

I lump Bug and Diva into a group that requires more time, more of my energy and more of my attention to parent because of their special needs. In the corner sits SB, happy as a lark, but with her own parental requirements that are not being met. The speaker’s point that touched me was that just because her two oldest children did not require any above average assistance to navigate life, didn’t mean that they would not eventually need someone to fight for their rights.

I like to talk about how I treat my two ASD children as “normal” as possible. I don’t want them growing up feeling things are made different (or easy) just for them. I want them to experience life as humanly normal as can be. I strive very hard to make that happen. I put them in preschool, dance, sports and schedule play dates. Ask me if I have done that for SB. No, Why? I felt like she doesn’t need the extra attention (and she is only 2). That is my mistake. She may need more.

I noticed it briefly with Diva before she was diagnosed. It is a behavior where one child sees all the extra attention, people, and “fun” games and work the other child gets to do. They child without the therapy starts to get upset and feels lonely and like something is wrong with them. Not realizing, it is the total opposite. As quickly as I saw that train of thought appear on Diva’s face she was diagnosed and given her own set of “friends”. I haven’t seen that mind set in SB yet; but I know one day it will come. When that day does I need to be ready. I actually need to be ready now. I set her to the side mentally at times knowing she is fine, “normal”. However, it’s wrong and it is now that I realize that I do sterotype my own children into categories of special needs and “normal”.

Where Diva and Bug need me to fight for OT, speech and other services including IEP’s or 504’s; SB will need me to fight for her to be included in games and activities. SB is a lover, not a fighter. She is strong willed but not competitive. She will happily watch her siblings play games and try to join, but as soon as she is rejected she shuts down. Someone needs to fight for her. Someone needs to show her that if you aren’t able to play that game, there are many more that will come along. She also needs someone to fight for her and show her that she is always loved. That just because she doesn’t have her own “friends” filtering in and out of the house all week long, doesn’t mean anything is wrong with her. It means just the opposite. It means she perfect. Not perfect because she is “normal”, but perfect because she is exactly who God made her and wanted her to be. It was God’s choice to give these three precious gifts for me to grow and nurture into amazing humans. It is my choice to accept and love them for who they are no matter their labels, abilities or inabilities.

Therapy Thursday…Speech!

Once a child is diagnosed with autism, it is common for a lot of interventions to be recommended for the child.  Occupational and speech therapy are just some of those interventions, and they are both extremely effective in helping kids on the spectrum make progress towards their goals.  Sometimes as a parent it can be hard to know how to support our kids as far as their therapy is concerned.  We might feel like we are not “expert” enough to help.  While I firmly believe it is our most important job to be our kids’ parents first since we are the only ones they’ve got, I do feel that we can help our kids succeed.  I came across this website of speech activities that can be done with kids on the autism spectrum and had to share.  They don’t require you to be an expert or take tons of time.  The site is chock-full of ideas that you can make your own so they work for your family.  All it takes is patience.  And more patience.  Then sprinkle some more patience on top of that.  🙂  Best of luck!

Mommy Moment Monday…A teenager with autism describes what it’s like

Screen Shot 2013-09-09 at 5.57.41 AM

Two little kiddos to be exact.  That said, our house is never boring, usually not quiet, but always full of love.  I hope that’s how they feel, anyway.  Not to say I don’t ever get frustrated, raise my voice, or lose my temper.  But, I hope that at the end of the day no matter what challenges we’ve faced my little guys know that we love them unconditionally, will always be there for them, and that they can count on us.

That said, there are times that I am so frustrated I can’t even see straight.  One issue that seems to be a constant frustration for us is sleeping.  My oldest gave up naps at two, my youngest still takes them semi-regularly at three, but they both have a hard time turning in at the end of the day.  And they get up early.  I mean, E…A…R…L…Y.  Like my husband leaves for PT at 5:20 and one of them has already been up almost a half hour.  Ay, ay, ay, is all I can say. I find myself asking, why can’t they just sleep?  Why can’t they just close their eyes and rest?  My husband has said he thinks it’s an issue where they just can’t turn their brains off.  We’ve all had those nights, where our thoughts keep us awake.  But, what if it was like that more often than not?  That’s why I found this youtube clip to be particularly interesting.  It’s a teenager describing what it’s like to have autism, and one of the things she talks about is her thoughts, constantly running in her head.

Her message is awesome, and I just want to hug and thank her for sharing.  Since my little ones are not at the point where they can always articulate to me what’s going on in their minds, I found this to be very insightful.  I’ll try to keep this in mind the next time we’re playing chase-the-kids-back-into-their-room at nap or bedtime.  Hopefully, they’ll know that I’m doing it out of love.  And my desperate need for some sleep 🙂  Have a great week, everyone!