RSS

Tag Archives: ADD

Top 10 Ways to Keep Kids Regulated and Engaged During the Holidays

Top 10 Ways to Keep Kids Regulated and Engaged During the HolidaysWhether or not you have a child with special needs during the holidays, everyone in the house—adults and teens included—can get ramped up and a little “off” during the lack of routine, irregular eating and sleeping patterns, and increased social interactions of the holidays.

As facilitator of a FOCUS Group for Special Needs Parents at my church, I brought in a 20-year public school occupational therapist within our congregation to do a parent workshop on “De-Stressing the Holidays.” With Linda’s permission, I share some helpful tips for all families at a particularly stressful-yet-fun time of year. Perhaps there are some last-minute stocking stuffer ideas you can find here as well.

10. Social Stories (to help with emotions, disappointments, fear, anxiety, etc.)

The holidays often come to us as a mixed bag of expectations and emotions. Children are excited, perhaps nervous about a family get-together, have pent-up energy and frustrations, and have trouble staying regulated among the extra sugar intake, late nights, and unpredictable schedule. “Social stories” can have pictures and words; they walk through holiday-time scenarios so kids know what to expect and that feelings can be unpredictable and very normal. Here is a great web site I found for social stories on everything from anticipating blood draws to the dentist.

9. Calendaring

Children need a sense of what to expect when the normal routine is disrupted by holiday events and time off school. A simple printed-out calendar with pictures or words (depending on the child’s developmental age) can be a great way to take away the “What are we doing today?” question that visits us twenty times a day and give kids a sense of knowledge and control; they could even express “wants” on it (like “see a movie” or “play a game”). They feel a part of the family calendar when they can see it. Read the rest of this entry »

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Dear Parent of a Child With Special Needs

Dear Parent of a Child with Special Needs:Dear Parent of a Child With Special Needs

I have something to say to you.

I want you to take a deep breath.

I want you to stop blaming yourself (if you do).

I want you to know that on a day that demands much emotional, physical, mental, or spiritual energy to advocate or meet the needs of your child, if that’s all you do, you’re a rock star!

I used to tell myself my child’s disabilities were because I was depressed for a short period of time when he was young.

That I didn’t stimulate his brain enough.

That we didn’t color and do puzzles as much as I did with my other kids.

That I was to blame. I had a lack. I brought this on.

That I should have fed everyone more organic food and cleaned with natural cleaners—and lived on a farm.

That my few piles of disorganized mess were to blame for all executive functioning problems in all family members through several generations.

My if onlys?

If only I read up on all this during the early intervention years. Read the rest of this entry »

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What’s Growing in Your Soil?

What Is He Planting in Your Soil?-2There is truly nothing about me that has a green thumb. I’m really proud of myself if I can keep a few hanging baskets alive two-thirds of the way through the summer. I’m not outdoorsy garden girl by any stretch of the imagination. I take my Vitamin D in a pill and sit outside only when I have to watch my kids in the pool. Summer sunlight does horrible things to my fair skin (trust me, I used to live in the South Pacific!), and pollen makes a beeline for the inside of my nose as soon as I exit my house to walk the dogs.

This is why it made absolutely no sense to me when a few weeks ago I felt a strong prompting to buy some pots, potting soil, and various seeds. I had no idea why I drove to Walmart one day with those items on my list, but I felt compelled to have them, as if someday in the near future, God would fill in the blanks for this assignment.

I went about my usual business for weeks, not doing anything about those pots—wishing I suddenly became Grow-It Jane but knowing I really was Read-and-Drink-Lattes Bonnie. Even my husband and children were puzzled when they saw the potting soil, but they know me well enough by now to just nod and move on with their day.

You would think that I would have learned how much I do not actually know after last year’s sunflower seed episode.

(After I finished rolling my eyes up in my head that my son came home with a sunflower seed to plant on the last day of first grade, we watched that 6-footer grow all summer—trusting it was more than a weed but not really sure for about 9 weeks. Know when it bloomed? First day of second grade. Yeah, it took a lot of trust not to toss that thing from its pot into the woods and assume it was another loss before it actually gave us beauty.)

God’s promises are just that: Ones we can’t see fully until they bloom. They are there, climbing toward heaven as if to give a holy nod to the Big Guy in the Sky until they reveal themselves to us.

Sometimes it feels like we go on blind trust, doesn’t it?

Read the rest of this entry »

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What I Learned at the IEP Roundtable

IEPRoundtableI’ll admit it. Part of me was terrified.

Sitting around the table with everyone who had assessed my child over the past few months, or in some cases—years—was intimidating.

What were they going to say? Were they going to kick him off the boat—not because they don’t want to help him—but because he ranked in need behind other kids when it came time to dividing up the special education pieces of the School Budget Pie?

I had come to find each of these specialists and staff members endearing in different ways. For better or worse, we had been contractually married for several years in the common cause of my son. We were linked, convenanted by legal documents and a mutual desire to help him.

But what if, once we got around that table, the budget dropped between the two sides of the table, dividing us abruptly in half like Moses parting the waters of the Red Sea? What if a former Ally in the Care of My Son now became a Defender of Policy, Keeper of the Budget?

Read the rest of this entry »

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Be Still and Walk with Him Awhile 

BeStill

“’Be Still’ isn’t just for crisis mode.
That’s simply where we found it.
It is a new way of life, ensuring the health of our family.”

Today, I am so excited to be featured as a guest blogger at “The Urbane Flower.” My piece, “Be Still and Walk with Him Awhile,” can be found here.

Check out this uplifting blog site that my new friend Heather Gee put together!

I look forward to Heather guest-blogging here at “Espressos of Faith” very soon!

 

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Top 10 Reasons I Love Living with Tigger

Top 10 Reasons I Love Living With Tigger

I have to pause sometimes at School Return Time when I’m low on sleep and trying to track with the beautiful ADHD brain that comes home and pitches 1,000 ideas to me at once.

It’s a fascinating mind that can do this. He has my utmost respect and admiration,

but

I have to remind myself to be fully present.

  • To not just “uh-huh” him, to engage with follow-up questions
  • To acknowledge a few of those ideas
  • To affirm that his heart to publish a series of 11 dog adventure stories (with a bubble on the jacket to market my book, LOL–his idea–he even asked me first!) is seen for the kind intentions that go with it

Too many “stop it, slow down, pay attention, settle down, be still”s in his day already. Someone needs to plug in and hear what he is really saying. For anyone who loves a ‪‎special mind‬ out there, here’s something we must be careful of: Monitoring our own frustration levels and responding to a few of those brain races can make a significant difference in those children feeling heard.

The busy, quick-motion ADD/ADHD mind can feel unheard much of the time. Some of it is how they are wired: We might respond, but the ADHD child is already moving on to the next 12 things before he/she gets an answer.

My goal isn’t to be a perfect listener. I couldn’t fully track with the Tigger mind in my house despite my best efforts. But I can do a very simple thing: I can listen for the theme of the moment, and I can respond.

And I can dwell on why living with Tigger is a precious gift that teaches me more about myself and about life than I would otherwise know.

So, here are my Top 10 all-time favorite reasons why I love living with my bouncy-minded, springy-bodied child…

10. ADHD Super Powers. Jump-dancing to a real beat in his head while doing a fluoride rinse while brainstorming ideas for his next dog book while smiling at us while shaking off hair from the haircut I just gave him while humming = ADHD Super Powers, and ADHD Super Powers are to be envied and admired.

9. Multitasking Visionary. He brainstorms like a beast, furiously scribbling down ideas in artwork and words. He’s a visionary who plans to save birds from other animals getting them, run a toy factory, and patent his ideas on how to make and market ant killer before someone else figures out his formula—all at the same time.

8. Fast-Talker. Talking swiftly is an art form to him. He has perfected the art of race conversation. I can’t in any way keep up with it, not even with New York’s finest taxi cab drivers jumping on the highway that is his mind, but I am forever in awe of it. Incessant chatting is also our first clue that attending (focus) is going AWOL. It’s a red flag we’ve grown to appreciate before the spiral into anxiety.

7. The Absent-Minded Professor. Picking up clothes and reminder lists? Who needs to do that when you’re already thinking about ten adventures you’d like to have in the next five minutes? While the rest of us appreciate when he stops leaving evidence of himself draped across all surfaces, there is something to be said for rockin’ it carefree and using the mind for other pursuits.

6. Spontaneity. He’s fun to be around because you never quite know what will come out of his mouth, and it’s often very funny. And yes, sometimes, it’s so impulsive, it’s embarrassing, but I’m learning to be that way too—less uptight and more spontaneous—and I don’t have ADHD. Maybe we’re all more fun now because of Tigger—yeah, I’m pretty sure we are.

5. “The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers Is Tiggers Are Wonderful Things!”*  Stairs, couches, and items jumping off of stairs and couches are meant to be enjoyed with enthusiasm and Tarzan-like agility. Why be boring and walk, stride, or amble, when you can bounce indiscriminately all over the house, furniture, wooden and concrete structures, etc.?

4. Practicing Still. No efforts are small. Even the frustrating moments before a timed math test are huge, but in the attempt to decrease distraction, we learn to be more still as a family during times of concentration—not all of the time, but enough to remind ourselves that quiet can be good. We don’t need noise all of the time. Tigger has plenty of that inside his brain. And we all have more than we need of that in our daily lives. “Still” doesn’t happen often, but when it does, we treasure it, and we learn to practice it. And when “still” doesn’t go as planned, we bounce as we process a thought because “the wonderful thing about Tiggers is…” (refer back to No. 5).

3. Celebrating Small Moments. There is victory in not reading the same sentence over and over again and being able to move on to the next one. Focus and concentration are not taken for granted when they don’t come easily, and Tigger is open to celebrating small moments in big ways. We define success differently because of him. It has softened our edges and has made us more understanding of the different forms that accomplishment and achievement can take.

2. New Vocabulary/Keeping Positive. We are learning to take “Be still!” “Sit still!” “Focus!” “Pay attention!” and replace them with words that have more meaning for someone who can’t do those things. We’re learning: “You can do this.” “Take a deep breath.” “One piece at a time.” “I love your mind.” “Wow, great job sticking with the worksheet until you finished it.” Can’t we all use a retake on some of the things we say regularly? Tigger makes us more mindful of what comes out of our mouths.

1. Loud, Risk-Taking Love. Everything about Tigger feels like a loud explosion sometimes: the emotions, the frustrations, the perseveration, the energy level, and the noise. But he also oozes grace and compassion because he knows what it’s like to sit with a weighted lap pad or on a yoga ball at school, to be called out of class for services, to need extra time to process a test, to be told endlessly to start his work. He knows that unwanted spotlight, the pain of disappointing adults over and over again for not meeting expectations, and the longing to not be different. So when another kid is struggling, he has compassion radar the likes of which would shame the best of clergy. He gets it. And he loves deeply, risking big emotionally just as he does in almost every other area of his life to get that intense feedback. He feels in big ways.

Tigger loves out loud, and I can’t imagine not getting to have a front-row seat to that. It’s an incredible honor and a privilege.

These are my particular top 10. What are some of yours about your own Tigger, or, if you have a child/loved one with different struggles, how have you caught glimpses of the blessings inside the challenges? What has he/she taught you that has changed the way you view and approach the everyday?

I’d love to hear from you!

*”The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers” was written by Richard Sherman.

More blogs about our journey to loving ADHD can be found here (click and scroll down). The beginning of our ADHD journey (and how our faith in Christ brings us much peace and strength through each challenge) can be found in Not Just on Sundays: Seeking God’s Purpose in Each New Day.

**This blog is also featured at Grace & Truth Link-Up, Saturday Soiree, Coffee & Conversation, and Mom 2 Mom Link-Up #23.

 
16 Comments

Posted by on January 31, 2015 in ADHD, Tweens/Children

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Frazzled and Faith-Tested? Let Me Introduce You to Grace

Frazzled and Faith-Tested-Let Me Introduce You to Grace

Do you see that?

Hear that?

Sense that?

People are watching us. They want to see how we do this whole life thing with faith in Christ.

Will we slip up? Will we yell at God? Will we forget what the cross was for?

I can’t really say. Some of us might.

Life is hard, and the fluffy moments are not really what faith is for, are they? Sure, faith is present in those moments, but faith is not tested when life is cuddly, warm, prosperous, and carefree.

Yesterday, I felt like several balls were in the air at once. I had just gotten over being bed-bound for two days, and I had just survived the Let’s-See-All-Specialists-for-Myself-and-My-Children-All-in-the-First-Two-Weeks-of-January stress that I put on myself. Yup, eye doctor, dental torture, mammography, child psychiatrist, child therapist, pediatrician, and a long line-up of other such Happy Copay Collectors. I was apparently fulfilling some kind of unrealistic New Year’s resolution to maintain the family health. It felt like penance more than anything else—although for what, I wasn’t quite sure.

I thought, finally waking well, that it could be that often-just-out-of-reach day of rest. I wrongly assumed, after a four-day weekend off from school, that my kids would be in their respective learning institutions, and me? I’d catch up on some things—although I’m not putting the Christmas decorations away yet. I’m not that ambitious, and after all, my daughter tells all her friends (and their moms) that I keep them up until Valentine’s Day, so why ruin that little rumor? That’s too hyperbolic to pass up! 🙂

But then, after completing some tasks and starting to bury myself under some nice flannel sheets for a half-hour snooze, 

the phone rang.

It was the middle school nurse. The Day of Peace and Catch-Up came crashing down. I had to pick up my sickie Little Chickie. (I knew she was really sick because she’s my best patient and one tough cookie.)

After settling down Chickie, I headed to the elementary school to help with math in my son’s class, but when I arrived, I saw that The Look That Rips My Heart in Two was on his face.

The one where he’s given up.

The one where he’s overwhelmed and tear-filled but hiding it because he has looked over his math sheet a gazillion times and doesn’t know how to start.

Dear ADHD: Some days I admire your amazingness, and I want your incredibly swift-moving mind. But today, you put that look of failure and disappointment on Little Man’s face, and I just want to bash your face in. Love, Not-Feelin-the-Love-for-You-Today-ADHD, Mom

I choked back that sick feeling and shushed that haunting voice…the one that whispered to me we were doing last year’s depressive spiraling all over again. I got a grip, pulled my big girl trousers (such an awesome, antiquated word!) on, and backed off. I helped other students in the room. I kept a distant eye on him, but I didn’t hover, and I didn’t display Mama Panic.

Awesome Teacher and I exchanged a knowing glance. She would catch me up later. It was okay. She’s got this.

Faith-tested? 

Yes, it’s very hard to understand the “whys” of the struggle and if it will ever end. I cried on the way home and had this conversation with My Very Best Friend:

“Jesus, You know how much I love him. How I want to help him.” And then I said: “You love him so much more! So much more. I know You do.”

And with that statement of faith came a peace that I cannot explain.

But I find that in these testing moments, declarations of faith in God release His work in our lives. 

He certainly doesn’t need our permission, but it’s like a big nod or “go-ahead” that we trust what He is already doing and about to do.

James 1:3, ESV, James, brother of Jesus, speaking

…for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.

The day didn’t end before a dog ate something she shouldn’t have and my oldest fell sick on the way home from karate. Some days just stink like a sewer. And this was my post on some social media platform (can’t even remember which one now) by the end of the day:

Daughter is sick, is vomiting, and son needs . Don’t we all some days ?

Okay, what happens when we’re frazzled?

When I’m frazzled, it usually means scrapping everything I had planned and begrudgingly accepting a rework when illness/crisis/advocacy can’t be put down. To me, not being able to do it all used to equate to feelings of failure. Ridiculous, right?

Dinner might not be made.
Deadlines may suffer.
I might not meet the needs of Children #1 and #2 as well as I would like to, since #3 needs my help right now.
The dogs may chew the couch or leave a little mess because they aren’t getting the usual dose of attention.
Dust might pitch more than a few tents on my furniture.
Permission slips might not be signed on time.
Tests might not be assisted in being studied for.
My spouse and I might be quick to quarrel.
I might rage at times about the feeling of lack of control a disorder or disease may bring.
Kids might go to bed after a cereal dinner in the clothes they wore to school.

These sound like silly standards, right? And yet, how many of us get derailed by not meeting them?

But I can’t do everything. And neither can you.

So, I ask God to help me do my best, but I try to keep in mind that:

The only one interested in me beating myself up is the liar to my soul.

It certainly isn’t God, even on the days I’m wondering why I fail to trust, why I slip into measuring myself by ridiculous standards, why I forget I’m only human and need His amazing grace to cover where I fall short.

Maybe you’re going through something significantly tougher than what I describe here in my own personal anguish about my son. Jesus’s hand is warm whenever we remember to grab it. I’m squeezing it tightly. You can too.

He never leaves us. And He holds up what we cannot carry when we ask Him.

Deuteronomy 31:6, ESV, Moses writing

Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.

More anecdotal stories about an everyday relationship with God can be found in Not Just on Sundays: Seeking God’s Purpose in Each New Day (includes Book Club Discussion Questions).
 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: