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Number of Children: 2 children
Do you work outside the home? Yes.
What do you do to relax?
Spend time with friends, watch TV with the girls, and garden.
What benefits has Connecting for Kids brought to you and your family?
Connecting for Kids has educated us about local resources, and given us a caring and compassionate perspective regarding supporting our children, ourselves, and each other through unanticipated and difficult circumstances. I am feeling less isolated since finding the organization.
Which have been your favorite Connecting for Kids resources?
I love the Facebook Chat Group. I also recall Sarah Rintamaki calling me the day I signed up and being so inquisitive and reassuring. She has introduced us to other families in similar places in life and this has been a true gift.
What is the best thing about parenting a child who struggles? It allows you to learn what you're made of and how flexible you can be. I was a "because I said so" mom to my older, typical daughter. This is how I was raised, and it worked (or has so far and we are approaching 13!). She is an amazingly kind, smart, respectful kid. When my younger daughter came along everything turned upside down and I felt completely out of control because things weren't working "my way."
At 4 she was diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder and I was feeling like a very unsuccessful parent. I then learned to better understand what was setting her off, where the anxiety was coming from and that she wasn't being obstinate but needed a different approach from me. This was not indulging poor behavior but supporting her in making better choices and interacting more successfully with others.
Her dad picked up the new parenting approach right away so naturally. It was humbling to observe her interactions with him and learn how to parent my own child from the therapists’ with whom she worked, but our relationship is so amazing now. She is so sweet and brutally honest. I can't imagine life without her.
What do you worry about the most? I worry about my child's safety. She is so trusting and still can't interpret people's true motivation. I fear daily that she could be easy prey for any person with poor intentions, whether a peer or an adult. When the Bay Village Ice Bucket Challenge fiasco occurred, my heart broke into a million pieces, it was my worst nightmare coming true on national television from my own backyard.
I look at her at age 8 and wonder if she will go to college, have a boyfriend or live on her own. Part of me believes that she is capable and the other part of me wants to hold her hand through her whole life because she is so vulnerable. What I worry about the most is the world not caring about her as much as I do, and anyone ever taking advantage of her sweet, innocent heart.
If you could go back in time and talk to yourself the day you got the diagnosis, what would you say? I would say that once she has the communication skills, things will get better. There used to be so much yelling and screaming in our world. Now she might frown or stomp but she will talk through the issue and generally will listen to reason and this has made all the difference. Sometimes now we understand that what we thought the problem was has nothing to do with her objection.
Is there anything else about your journey that you would like to share with other parents? Your journey is unique to your family. It was not likely what you expected when you started out, but you will learn that there are special and profound joys to come. Connecting for Kids is a great resource for supporting your whole family.