We hear a lot about “resilience” among those who live with chronic adversity. What exactly does this mean and why does it matter? Two veteran parents/providers take a look at this topic as it pertains to parents of children with special needs.
Therese and Lynn are moms of adult daughters with special needs. Therese’s daughter, Sabah, is now 32 so she has had many years to reflect on how parents build resilience in the face of adversity. She recalled the early years when she felt the guilt that many moms feel and her focus was on “fixing her” with many therapies and interventions. At the time, she wasn’t aware that she was grieving but she was. She wondered “why me” but also thought “why not me?” It was in Sabah’s teenage years that Therese shifted the focus to her quality of life. One thing that helped was that her family never did treat Sabah as disabled and always included her wherever they went. Therese also always had expectations of her daughter, not by any other yardstick but her own, meaning that she knew she could learn and grow toward whatever her capacity might be. Read full post »
Today we share a blog written by veteran parent Janice Lawrence. She writes about her experience with feeling isolated due to the many challenges autism can present.
Guest writer: Janice Lawrence
Right now there are three extra people in my home and still, I’ve never felt more alone. Having a special needs child brings with it a host of complications that are difficult to traverse or even explain. Isolation is one of those difficulties.
When my son was younger, cuter and generally more adorable, I would try to function as I had with my older child. The older and less cute that we both became, the more difficult that became until I am a ghost of the woman I used to be. Today my son is nearly my height and much easier to identify as special. That is a curse and a blessing. On the one hand, people are much more likely to give us a wide berth when we are maneuvering in public. Conversely, that distance is a barrier to any kind of human connection. People are much less likely to approach us today than they were when he was smaller and more adorable. Read full post »
Today we share a new resource that has just been made available online!
Understanding Autism: Reflections and Insights from Parents and Professionals is a DVD created for families following an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis in their child. It is intended to provide support via parent stories from other families with children on the autism spectrum as well as useful information from experts in the field. The content is approximately one-hour long and is available freely online in the “Videos” section of the Seattle Children’s Autism Center resource page.
The Understanding Autism DVD was created by the University of Washington READi Lab and ASAP! Program.
We hope this resource is helpful and that you share it with others. Thanks!
Today we continue with learning what mindful self-compassion is and isn’t and try a simple exercise.
About Self-Compassion (from a Mindful Self-Compassion workshop with Kristin Neff, PhD)
Self-compassion is not:
- Self pity (“Woe is me; no one knows the pain I do”)
- Self esteem (Tied to what we do/achieve rather than who we are)
- Self indulgence (Short –term pleasure or escape)
- Self-kindness (Treating self with care and acceptance)
- Common humanity (“We all struggle. I am not alone.”)
- Mindfulness (Allows us to be – without suppressing or exaggerating)
Read full post »
To date, our most popular blog is Why Do Kids with Autism Do That? Not surprising I suppose, as we are always trying to figure out why our kids do what they do. We gathered more puzzling questions for our panel of providers and invite those of you who offered your own insight and perspective last time to join in. This time we asked Brandi Chew, PhD, Jo Ristow, MS, CCC-SLP, and Soo Kim, MD to share their thoughts and this is what they had to say . . .
Why do some kids with autism . . .
Learn unevenly – seem to take one step forward and then one back
Jo: The answer to this question could fill a book! In my practice, I see a lot of this unevenness when kids have difficulty translating (or generalizing) learned skills to different people, environments and items/activities. For instance, I’ve seen kids learn that they can touch a photo on the iPad to activate voice output and request a Skittle, but then not be able apply that learning to touching different photos Read full post »