Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Repost. Survival tips for parents of special needs kids. Or any kids, for that matter.

I came across this on my own website (oh wonder of wonders) and was not sure if I'd ever blogged this one. It amused me, so here's to amusing somebody else with the same thing.

And yes, I did make two posts in one day. Where's my award?!

Tip #1: Some things never change

Remember when your son or daughter was a sweet little newborn? All that advice you got from friends and family, particularly concerning sleep, remains useful years later. Sleep when they sleep. If you're dead tired, taking a nap will recharge you and will also replenish your supply of patience. If Jaymes passes out on the couch, so do I. He's recharging for some more havoc, why shouldn't I?

Tip #2: Target agrees, different foods should not touch!

Target sells the cutest little plates that are just perfect for kids who do not like their food to touch. They are the type with little sections, and come in all kinds of cute shapes, sizes, and colors. Jaymes has a dinosaur one, a fishy, and a barn. Sierra has an owl and a heart. No fits because the mashed potatoes touched the green beans.

Tip #3: Toys that they don't see often will save you, everytime!

We have a secret stash of toys that the kids see once in a blue moon. At an appointment, a funeral, someplace they need to be quiet. It works like a charm, but be warned: You MUST keep the toys hidden and only brought out occasionally, because as soon as your child realizes it's sticking around, the toy loses it's appeal.

Tip #4: Don't hold it in...

What's your outlet? Mine is writing. When I'm at my wits end with Jaymes and want nothing more than to jump off a cliff screaming "I HATE AUTISM" I write my feelings down. I acknowledge that dark side of living with autism and I accept that I cannot and should not be positive and sunshiney about it 24/7. It's not healthy! We all have to blow off steam sometimes, holding it in will just make us go insane. So go ahead and scream into your pillow, write a grumpy rant, hop in the car and sing to your loudest music. Let it all out, and you'll soon feel that positivity returning.

Tip #5: Because I said so...

We as parents should never feel that we have to be apologetic or feel silly about things that matter for our kids. If you as a parent think your child needs to be on a GFCF diet, enforce it! don't let anyone make you feel stupid, correct them when they tell you one little bite of cookie won't hurt. It doesn't matter who is right, you're the parent and it's your call. Stand up for that.

This goes for behavior too. When I have Jaymes at Walmart, and he is doing something we do not allow (for example throwing his leg over the side of the shopping cart and dangling), I often feel self conscious about redirecting him because people hear him shriek and give me the stink eye. As hard as it is, we need to be able to look past that and just do what needs to be done. Letting Jaymes get away with thast behavior isn't going to help him any, and if he falls it'll be quite painful for him. Better to endure some nasty looks than to let a negative behavior become one that your child thinks is ok.

If you feel your child should not be vaccinated, or should be on a customized schedule rather than getting everything at once like the doctor usually does, speak up. I personally prefer to vaccinate, but for Sierra I do the staggered vacc schedule because she has in the past had a reaction (not autism causing, a physical reaction that put her in the hospital for 4 days). I have been fortunate to have only experienced pediatricians who are respectful and willing to work with parents, but from what I hear, this is not the norm.

Speak up! Tell the doctor your reasoning, and what you would like to do. Don't tell them "The vaccine mafia is trying to kill my child!", they will dismiss you as a wingnut. Be calm and rational, and stick to your guns. Don't back down. Anything can be won if you just keep to it.

Right or wrong, we are the parents, and what we say goes.

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