29 06, 2013

Get up and Keep Moving: Raising Resilient Kids with Autism

Living life is akin to riding a horse. One day you trot along quite serenely, the view is lovely, the air refreshing and the pace is invigorating. You and your horse travel in rhythm. Out of nowhere a sudden noise spooks the horse that is carrying you and in an instant your torso is thrown willy nilly into space and your heart leaps out of your chest while your stomach hurls up into your throat. Gravity is not your friend today. Luckily, you have been raised to be resilient and expected to stand up, dust yourself off and get on keep moving when life’s events throw you down. You have learned that the horse will settle, the journey will continue and you will enjoy the ride again. Letting our kids struggle is usually one of the toughest parts of being a parent. It can be agonizing to see them disappointed,

23 06, 2013

Clearing Up Blurred Boundaries

One thing is for sure: raising a child with autism does not come with a manual. There are no blueprints to follow for grandparenting a child with autism either. Each family will have different issues and different needs. Boundaries must be clearly delineated by open and honest communication.  Sometimes, under the guise of “help” grandparents create more anxiety and shame. Insisting that your child ‘really must do this or that’ in terms of medication or therapy can leave your adult child fraught with guilt. Your intentions are good;  you want the best for your grandchild. But be honest with yourself: you are not the one living with the day to day drudgery and exhaustion of raising a child with autism. At the risk of being too blunt, you don’t get to choose. How do grandparents work with their children who have different priorities and values? The reality of life is

16 06, 2013

Celebrating “Real” Fathers

Today we are celebrating the men all over the world that have demonstrated real love; the kind of unconditional love it takes to raise a child with autism or any disabilities. Some may be biological dads, grandpas, uncles, unrelated men or step dads.  Today we celebrate: The men who are able to look into a child's eyes and see love staring back. They see potential and gift where others may see challenge and disability. Men who didn't run when things got hard. They stuck it out and did the best they could with what they knew and what they had. Men who offer relief, affirmations and hugs to exhausted moms. They take their turn at answering the 500 questions or changing the diapers. They get up in the night so that mom can have rest. They play games, sing songs, read stories and live an active role an a child's life. Men who advocate for their

6 06, 2013

Will Someone Unplug Me Please!

I recently attended a dance recital. I must admit, I was mesmerized. But, not by the dances. A young toddler behind me played quietly with an empty water bottle and zipped it through the air with a slightly audible SWOOSH. When the bottle fell and rolled to my feet - I couldn'€™t help but join in his game. I too, simulated the flying motion through a couple loop de loops and back onto the 'rocket'€™s'€ landing pad. He smiled and continued playing. The parents apologized and I assured them that I was not the least bit upset. In fact, I was ecstatic! Would you agree that humans in North America carry out their days in similar fashion to a pet hamster on a wheel? Round and round we go, spinning at high speeds until at some point we fall off the wheel or collapse in utter exhaustion. With all due