A+ for the Teacher

from: Aspergers: A Mom’s Eye View

From my years as a Project Manager, I’ve learned the importance of teamwork for a successful outcome.  When I first faced the unknown obstacle of Gregory’s Asperger Syndrome, I tackled it the best way I knew how – with my ‘business analysis’ hat on to determine the best way to help Gregory improve his behaviors and coping skills.  I researched as much as I could and then turned to recruiting key players within the school to become part of our ‘team’ to address these issues.

We were very fortunate that Gregory had a wonderfully experienced, nurturing woman as his 3rd grade teacher.  Mrs. A had been working hard to help him, relying on her instincts, since we didn’t yet understand the issues.  She was in fact, one of the people who drove my search for answers, after she made an insightful comment about Greg, “I think there is more going on here [than Tourettes].  I have never seen a child be so hard on himself.”  Mrs. A would be the first prospective ‘team member’ that I approached. Continue reading

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Managing Sibling Rivalry Between A Kindergartner And An Older Child

byDouglas Gorney

www.babycenter.com

Why siblings clash

If your kindergartner is the baby of the family, he knows by now that his older sibling has some of the independence and privileges he wants for himself, while your firstborn is discovering that she does not want her little brother tagging along wherever she goes. The result: arguing, name-calling, teasing, tattling, pushing, and hitting that will occupy your kids for hours on end and ultimately threaten your sanity.

The truth is, some brothers and sisters bicker their whole lives, so accept the fact that a certain level of background noise is unavoidable. On the other hand, it’s a good idea to teach your children the importance of treating each other respectfully and resolving their own conflicts. Refereeing sibling rivalry isn’t for the faint of heart. But with some careful navigation and lots of understanding, you can minimize the headaches and make life at home more harmonious.

What you can do about sibling rivalry Continue reading

Autism and Parenting: 5 Tips To Reduce Stress

by Laura Shumaker

My heart was racing.

I was stuck in traffic in San Jose and it was clear that I’d be late for a meeting  at 3pm. I had another at 4pm with his psychologist across town, and needed to get on the road by 5:00 at the latest so I could be home in Lafayette for my youngest son’s high school talent show.

Just as I started wondering if I could figure out a way to be two places at once,(I actually thought I could figure it out)my phone rang. It was Matthew.

“I’m in a seriously bad mood. No one understands me. After your meeting, can you take me out for pizza and french fries? Please?”

Research indicates that parents of children with autism experience greater stress than parents of children with intellectual disabilities and Down Syndrome(Holroyd & McArthur, 1976; Donovan, 1988), and I concur.

We are overwhelmed with managing our grief, grinding though assessment and therapy appointments, managing peculiar behavior, adjusting to strange sleep patterns, paying for therapy, and balancing it all with the needs of the rest of the family. We’re trying to make each moment a “teaching” moment, and we are running out of steam.

If you are reading this and you are nodding and tears stream down your face, let me tell you some STRESS busters that have kept me safe and sane. You’d think of them yourself if you weren’t so stressed out:

1) REDUCE your load. If you get up in the morning and see a day like I have described above, pare down your commitments to one or two a day, and give yourself PLENTY of time in between. Scheduling anymore than that is not only stressful, it’s dangerous. You are more likely to go around a corner a little too fast if you are in a hurry or STRESSED.

2) Be selfish, not selfless. Everyone needs you RIGHT now, but they can wait.You won’t be able to give much of yourself if you are burnt out.

3) Learn to say no. Someone else can drive on a field trip, someone else will be happy to assemble gift baskets for the auction. If three therapy appointments a week are pushing you to the edge, just do two. Pare down.

4) Find a great helper, one that you really like. This was one of the best things I ever did. I hired mostly college guys who could double as mentor/ friend types and babysitters. They will help you solve the “being two places at once” problem.

5) You need sleep. If your child is keeping you up, discuss the issue with his pediatrician. If worry is keeping you up, discuss the issue with your doctor.

How did I solve my super-stressful stuck in traffic, late for meetings, phone call from Matthew day?

1)I told Matthew I’d call him back.

2)I got off the freeway and called Matthew’s program and his psychologist and told them there was too much traffic and that I’d have to reschedule.

3)I called Matthew, who was already in a better mood, and told him I’d see him another day.

4)I got home in time to go out to dinner with my husband and my son before the talent show.

5)And I had a good night sleep.

A Must See Movie: “Autism: The Musical”

By Lisa Jo Rudy – About.com

I’ve been hearing buzz about Autism: The Musical for a long time — and never heard a negative word about it. Now, I know why. It’s a thought-provoking journey into the lives of several American families living with autism. Its focus is on the children, but its range is much broader and deeper. As a mom with a child on the autism spectrum, I found it truly hit home. The best part? Elaine Hall, creator of The Miracle Project, is building a package to allow others to replicate her success.

A Musical About Autism?!
I originally assumed that Autism: The Musical was, in fact, a musical about autism. It isn’t. It’s a documentary about a California drama coach/educator/autism mom named Elaine Hall, who decided to form an organization called The Miracle Project. Its purpose is to involve children with autism and their families in creating and producing a musical. Continue reading