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Saturday, July 8, 2017

OK It's Almost Time

Summer time goes so quickly! Here is the trajectory.

1. A couple of weeks for children and parents to adjust and settle into summer.
2. Swim lessons
3. Summer camp
4. Summers sports leagues/camps/2 a day practices
5. Family Vacation
6. Vacation Bible School
7. Summer reading and library visits
8. Go to the pool
9. Camping on the weekends
10. And BACK TO SCHOOL shopping!

My friends who are teachers tell me they need to start preparing for fall after July Fourth. I learned this more last summer than any year in the past. I was getting my son ,who is diagnosed with a disability, prepared to go away from home to college. He was going 6 hours from home so I needed to make sure He had what he needed in his dorm room. I couldn't just drop by and bring him something.

Last summer, I researched, purchased and packed. This summer, I want to figure out exactly what I did and document it. I'll share this with my readers over the next few weeks.

My thought initially was to make my son's room and supplies easily accessible. He would have so many challenges managing all the change and new situations that his room could be a place of Predictability. It worked out well for him.

See you next week as we start the "Off to College" Series.

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Friday, June 16, 2017

Summer Stress

The first couple weeks of summer vacation are exhausting! They are hard for all mom's but those families have a child with learning differences: it can be really difficult. If you are ready to wave the white flag----hold on for a little while longer. You don't have to give in to all of your child's demands just to survive the summer. But why is it so hard?

Let's take a step back and look at things from your child's perspective.

1. This is change. It's actually a pretty radical change. There has not been more than 6-7 schools days off at a time for nine months. This is going to last for a while. It might be a little upsetting to the child's system.

2. Life at home is never as structured as the day at school. Most children with learning differences thrive on structure. It is a dependable schedule giving a child a sense of what to expect. In the summer, many days and weeks don't resemble each other. This is true for children who go to the same daycare as they do before and after school care. It is true if there is a babysitter at your house.

3. School age children are use to being gone without demands from home for several hours a day. It's an independence that has been lost. All the demands come from mom, dad, a grandparent or a sitter/nanny. There is not as much break from these people.

4. There will be day camps, vacation Bible school, overnight camps for many children. It's fun for the kids but it is also stressful. New places, new adults, new peers each week. Some weeks there are lots of activities and other weeks it's more just hanging out at home or with a sitter. It's hard for many children to make this many transitions constantly throughout the summer.

5. Vacations can be fun but also stressful. Some pre-planning can really help with heightened anxiety.

After thinking about how hard the summer transition is for kids, it encourages a parent to be long-suffering with the children as they transition to this "new normal."

Next week, let's consider how a mom manages the summer transition especially when she has been stretched as far as she can handle. This is real. I've been there. You have been too! Let's look for some ways to handle this early summer stress!

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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Summer Goals

I have taken a few weeks off from blogging working on other projects. One of those has been building my knowledge on executive functioning. I have had a lot of interest in this subject because of my son's weaknesses in managing his belongings over the years. When he went to away to college last year, he received weekly executive Functioning support. It has made such a difference. 

Over the last few years I have been able to attend some executive skills trainings. I started about three years ago attending Minnesota Autism Society's training by Jill Kuzma. Since that time I have read and listened to anything I could find on this subject. Recently, I was able to attend a seminar led by Sarah Ward. It was truly a game changer for me.

Over the next several weeks, a summer goal is to help students and parents understand how executive functioning affects life more than one would think. Summer is such a great time to work on this area because the schedule is more laid back and no pressing academic demands. It will be fun to see the gains and how they help once the fall schedule and schoolwork begins.

Next week, we'll jump into helping your child remediate some lacking skills in this area.

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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

You are loved!

On this Pre-Mother's Day week of posts, I want you to know you are loved!

Your child(ren) don't only love ❤️ you but need you.  You are the glue that holds things together for a child with learning differences.  When the life gets crazy in a child's world, you are the calming influence.  Your voice is comforting.  Your face is reassuring.  Your touch is calming.  Your voice can calm like no other.  Your investment creates such stability for the child.  All of these have created a relationship of love between the two of you.  Even on the hardest days, there is a smile that comes over your face when you see your child.  Even with the sleepless nights, aggressive behavior and hours of helping with homework, you love that child and he loves you!

There are many others who love and appreciate you.  Hopefully, family and friends let you know.  But even if you get little appreciation from others, there is One who loves you beyond what you can even imagine.  The God of the Bible loves you in a way that is beyond comprehension.  

The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness..Jeremiah 31:3

Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

Psalm 136:26 Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever.

Deuteronomy 7:9 Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations,

These are great scriptures to remember how much God loves you.  I don't want you to forget how God's is demonstrative.  He loved people (including YOU) not just as creator but as redeemer.  Here are a few verses of God's active involvement to bring us into a relationship with Him.  

Ephesians 2:4-5 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved—

I John 4:9-10.   This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

Mom, remember you are loved.  Your child loves you intensely.  God loves you even more, more than you will ever know.  He loves you because He created you in His own image.  He showed His love by the ultimate sacrifice of his son, Jesus.  Jesus died for your sins to bring you into a relationship with God, the Father.  Know that the love of God is an extravagant love toward you.


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Monday, May 1, 2017

Hats Off to All the Therapy Moms

Continuing with a salute to moms parenting a child with learning differences! 


I know you take on the role of a therapy mom often. It is very individual to your child, family and yourself. There is no one size that fits all as a therapy mom. It may be serving...

1. Chief researcher about your child's diagnosis and the needs S/he has. This is a major part of a therapy mom's role.
2. Developing your child's team. Finding the "right" people to work with your child is a full time job. There are new issues that arise and others who are unavailable to continue in their current role on the team. There is a constant need to find and secure people on your child's team.
3. There is homework from therapy sessions to do with the child. It takes time and effort to follow through.
4. There are supplies to buy and/or make for home programs.
5. There are therapy appointments and collaboration to do with professions who work with your child. On the other side, you may be training others how to work with your child. Especially with child care providers.

Yes, you are a therapy mom! It is a hard job but very essential. I salute you! It is making such a difference in your child's life!

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Sunday, April 30, 2017

Mother as Advocate

This week leads up to Mother's Day. The posts this week will center in on the roles that a mom plays in the life of a child with learning differences. Today let's talk about mom as Advocate. 

As a mom, I advocate almost everyday. My son is away at college so it is the least I've ever done. It might be talking him though something that heightens his anxiety. It might be an email to the autism program graduate assistant. In fact I just got off the phone with her and my son. We were problem solving various ways of handling three final exams on one day. Advocating looks different these days. Many times I advocate while including my son as a way of modeling things he needs to do himself.

As a mom, you advocate at least once a day with the school, a dance teacher or a child care provider. More likely, you may advocate at least once an hour. It is tiring, demanding and often overwhelming. Advocating takes tremendous patience, gentleness while being assertive and strong diplomatic skills. Perseverance is absolutely essential. I'm not telling you anything you don't know. Advocating is one of the most difficult and important roles you play.

This is a week of celebrating mothers. Today, I want to tell you that the advocating you are doing makes an enormous difference. You are helping your child to have environments that are best. Your advocating is teaching others what this child needs. It is a way that your child will step at a time.

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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Mom, Do You Need Some Incentives?

Many of our children who receive special education services complete inventories about what motivates him/her. This is how the teacher gets your child to do hard or non preferred tasks. I remember telling myself as a college student that when I finish this chapter I will go and get a Coke. I was rewarding myself for getting through tedious information.

Let me ask you a question. What are the things that motivate you? I know, you have too much to do parenting, taking care of your home and a slew of others things to worry about motivation. I lived in that world for a lot of years. The thing I found was I worked all the time but never At a very strong pace. I slowed down because there was no real reason to speed up. I could of gotten more done but never enough to feel like I could take a break. Since I never "rewarded" myself, I accomplished even less and a vicious circle had been placed in motion. 


If you are going to fare well in the special needs parenting race, you need to find some ways in to energize yourself. It takes good strategies to run a full marathon. That is what is necessary in parenting, especially with children diagnosed with learning differences. A sprint will zap your energy and you won't be able to finish the race. No one wins when that happens.

This might look different for you than it does for me. It might be doing something alone like a trip to Target without the kids. Another person may need to take some creative thing on Pinterest and find a way to accomplish it. A girlfriend Starbucks outing might be another choice. If you recharge by Intellectual pursuits, it might be time to plan a trip to the library or take a class. It might be a variety of things. I can remember organizing spices and staples into Tupperware. I have done cooking days making a month of meals. I spent time at Panera reading books.

Find an incentive that can keep you going on the long road of your daily ups and downs of special needs parenting. Once you figure out what it is, work hard at implementing it into your life!

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