1 09, 2016

A New School Year: What are you Thinking!

It's that time of year!  The words "Back to School" ring loud in the ears of parents, students and educators. Schools, families, businesses and communities are hearing the rally cry and readying themselves for the inauguration of a new school year!!Some are celebrating the new start and others are bracing for a new year and the anxiety about the unknown. As we busy ourselves with back to school shopping and a return to more routine in our daily lives, I think it is equally important to prepare emotionally and mentally as adults who love and/or work with students with autism. It is well documented that our mental attitude and our thoughts play a huge role in shaping our reality.Time for a Check on your Thinking…Is your mind harboring resentment about what resources you don’t have ?Are you ‘stewing in your own juice’ about the lack of support your child with autism will have or the demands

21 06, 2015

I Love you Anyway, Dad

Dad, I am not the child you thought I would be. You love me anyway. I cannot do the things you hoped I could do. You cheer for me anyway. I have interests that are very different from yours. You participate with me anyway. I don’t respond to you the way you would expect. You engage with me anyway. I sometimes behave in ways you don’t understand.  You keep learning anyway. My future may not be what you planned. You encourage me to grow to be the best me anyway.   Sometimes, you get impatient and frustrated with me, I love you anyway. Sometimes you feel scared and your heart hurts, I see your bravery, love and courage anyway. Thank you for loving me the way I am Dad. Thank you for letting me love you, the way I can. Love, Your Child with Autism   Copyright©2015JenniferKrumins

20 03, 2014

When Production Comes to a Halt

What just happened? Where did that sweet child go? Just as you feel as though you and the child are in a good, productive groove...KABOOM! In a flash there are tears, frustration and what seems to be an explosion of outright defiance. Been there? Sometimes our students or children with autism do a sudden about face and jolt us with their disobedience. Perhaps tasks or activities that had previously been accomplished with minimal support now seem to produce volcanic eruptions of emotions. What do we do? How should we respond? Our authoritative gut instinct may tell us to get tough and stand our ground by demanding the tears stop and the work gets done. Too often we jump to conclusions: "He just doesn't want to do it! "He is just being stubborn! He wants out of the work! He is just pushing my buttons!"  For the record, that thinking is OUR

2 02, 2014

Will I EVER be Done????

When I look at the mountain of laundry that never seems to shrink, my shoulders sag and my energy wanes. I know that when I get one load done, there will be more…and   more. It is a never ending chore.                                                    Perhaps that is how some students with autism see the tasks ahead of them at school. The school day becomes a litany of tasks that are imposed on me. This happens in addition to the fact that I am trying really hard to stay calm after the roles of each member of the cooperative group I am in were changed. I am trying to ignore the sounds of the kids scraping their chairs on the floor and I feel like there is no way

26 09, 2013

Is Your Anxiety Getting in the Way?

Picture it. Your child’s screech pierces the air as you pass by the aisle of treats in the grocery store. Your intelligent brain tries to reassure you that you are right to not give in to the demands for candy, but, your ego’s voice is screaming, “Give him the damn candy and shut him up! EVERYONE is looking at you!” Next scene. You are an educational assistant and you and the student you assist are calmly and discreetly entering the classroom and joining the other students in a learning centre.  Without warning, your dream of discretion is shattered by fingers gripping securely into your arm and the force of a determined pre- teen drag you backwards. Your face turns red, your arm throbs and all eyes are on you. How do you feel in each of these scenes? Is your heart pumping fast, climbing up in your chest, face flushing,

20 09, 2013

Does God only give special children to special people?

Personally, I don’t think so. I think it’s fairer to say that people CAN BECOME a better version of themselves when they raise special children. Disabilities happen. Diagnoses happen. It is how we respond to the events that makes all the difference in our lives and in the world. Life events leave us with a whole plethora of choices in how we will react. Some choose to ignore the child’s atypical development; bury their heads and hope it goes away. Some choose to let their anger and bitterness spoil their spirit and their relationships. Some choose to become “warriors” and fight for their children. None of these responses is bad or wrong in and of themselves….if they are temporary reactions. But, when they become cemented in a pattern of response…the results are problematic.  I don’t pretend to know God’s mind. The God I believe  in is a God who loves perfectly

6 09, 2013

Slow Down Production

The autism consultant tells us that we need to use visual schedules to break down tasks into smaller more manageable steps. Eager to do anything and everything to improve life for the child and ourselves, we log on to the computer and launch into the creative flurry of making visual symbols and pictures for schedules and supports. Sometimes, we get so excited about finally knowing what to do that we forget the 10 binders full of pictures from the last creative burst! Step away from the computer...think first... You are starting to sprint and it is a marathon, not a race, remember?      Visual schedules are an awesome tool to use for expectations or situations that repeatedly cause problems. If you find yourself constantly needing to explain, coax or threaten a child with autism to wash his hands, hand in homework, put items away, move to the table when

3 09, 2013

Back to School Advice for Teachers and Kids

Mom's advice: A friendly reminder to all of my kiddies that going back to school may be brutal for some kids. Watch and listen carefully for those who may be nervous, sad, or lonely....even the teachers! Be compassionate and kind. A smile can go a long way to easing stress. AND don't forget to speak positively! Stop yourself from getting caught up in any negative trash talk, gossip and judgement...about other kids and teachers. A good year starts with good thoughts.  Be true to who you are. Leave the masks, facades, bravado at home and let your classmates and colleagues know the real you, right from the beginning.

2 08, 2013

Staying on Course: Sticking to Plans and Being Consistent

I always starts out with the greatest intentions. I will not nag or threaten. I will keep my paperwork up to date and organized. I will maintain the data for each child each week. I will not lose my cool. I will follow through with consequences. I will maintain the token award chart. My plan goes smoothly for two weeks...if I am really diligent. But then, like water on pavement on a hot day...POOF! I am back in default mode and I can feel the best intentions literally slipping away from me.  This scenario plays out in both my role as a mom and a special educator. I am inconsistent to say the least. It drives me crazy! I know that consistency is a key ingredient to reduced anxiety, increased self esteem and motivated learning for all children, and especially those with autism. So, do I give up? Not a

26 07, 2013

Make Peace with Mistakes: Raising Resilient Kids with Autism

If we want to raise children that will bounce back from disappointment and failure we have to teach them and model how to make peace with mistakes. Failing is a sign that we need to correct our course, make changes and try again. Mistakes make us humble (if we let them) and they remind us of our own vulnerability. When we choose to allow children to see us make peace with our own mistakes we demonstrate that mistakes do not render us unlovable or immobile. We can move forward even with our imperfections.  Do you berate yourself for mistakes, even small ones?  Do you feel think of yourself as stupid when you error? What do you say to yourself when you are wrong?  These are all clues as to what we are teaching our children. Our children need to be able to acknowledge mistakes made, apologize without any reservation and