What Do I Do?

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In our world of special needs resources and treatments abound (especially in the world of Autism). The problem is choosing which resources to study and which treatments to use. Rarely in my world does just one treatment work because children on the spectrum (Autism, ADHD, OCD etc) are often suffering with several different things at once. You often can’t work on gut issues without working on the immune system, you often can’t just work on the immune system without first without making dietary changes.

So I say that to say this:

Never, ever, ever allow any source to tell you that ONE thing is going to work, that one thing will cure your child, especially if it is a pricey or questionable treatment.  The logo for autism is a puzzle piece for a reason. So below are some tips for parents new and old to the game.

  • Thoroughly research any and all treatments that your child will receive to see if it will be beneficial to your child
  • Remember that it is called a spectrum disorder for a reason, EVERYONE”S response to treatments will be different because of where they are on the spectrum.
  • Learn all you can about your loved ones different ability
  • Join a parent or support group
  • While your child is doing any treatment document, document, document. That is the only way that you will know for certain if a treatment or IEP item is working like intended
  • Take time out for yourself at least once per month, doing so will allow you to rejuvenate and be ready for battle
  • Have someone you can talk to, be it a friend, a pastor, rabbi or therapist. You need to have someone to bounce your thoughts, fears and struggles off of.
  • Be that someone to talk to for someone else, doing that will actually make you feel less alone and is therapeutic for you.
  • Know and understand that you are not alone in your battle there are others that share either the same or similar struggles as you.

Under my Autism Resources page you will see many of the resources that I have used or currently use.  Some are State of Michigan, Wayne County or Grosse Pointe specific others are world wide.

I hope that some of these resources can help you and that this blog will encourage dialogue.

Love and Blessings

Charmaine

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Stepping out of Comfort

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Often in our world stepping out of comfort is our only comfort. Especially when you’re new to the game, it seems as if things are changing all the time.

So often I go to training  workshops and meetings to pick up information that either I don’t know or to refresh on information that I am already aware of.

The most recent workshop that I attended was through the Michigan Alliance for Families and it was Conflict Resolution in Special Education.  Now, I think for the most part that I have effective communication and conflict resolution skills when working with my children’s IEP team but, I am always willing to learn more.

This workshop went over the different types of conflict and showed that not all conflict is bad.  It often times allows the team to truly come together for the benefit of the individual receiving services.

The types of conflicts that where discussed where:

  • Relationship~negative emotions, mis-perceptions/stereotypes poor communication or repetitive negative behavior
  • Data~Misinformation, disagreement on which data is relevant or competing assessment procedures
  • Structural~ conflicts caused by external forces such as limited resources, geographic constraints, time
  • Value~ incompatible belief system, differing values
  • Interest ~conflicts occur when one or more of the parties believe that in order to satisfy his or her own needs, the needs and interests of an opponent must be scarified

This workshop stressed that good communication skills were vital to working through any conflicts during an IEP/IFSP or 504 team meeting.

You can’t speak with your child’s teachers only during IEP time. The IEP/504 process is not supposed to take hours and hours, there should be a constant flow of communication going.

So step outside of your comfort zone and volunteer in your child’s classroom both general education and special education ask the teacher if they could use any help making copies or anything of that nature. Become an active part of the PTO (or PTA) just because your child is special needs and might spend some or all of their day in a categorical classroom does not mean that they or you are not a part of the school or educational process.

Become involved in ways you never dreamed of, it’s harder for them to lie in your face and mistreat your child if you’re there. Now, I’m not saying you have to be at the school everyday but at least be some sort of presence for your child as often you are their only voice. Work hand in hand with all teachers whether they like it or not, invade their space, don’t undermine them but support them so that they can support your child. Do not allow IEP time or Parent Teacher Conference time be the only times you interact with your children’s teacher, principles, therapist, school board or parent groups. Don’t just call on those sources when something goes wrong. Learn how to make them an integral part of your existence and they will serve you well.

So step outside of your comfort zone. Do more, be more and see more.

Love and Blessings

Charmaine

*I plan on posting workshop notes by the beginning of the year.*