Catherine is from Valley City and has three children.
What do you do to relax?
I love to read.
What benefits has Connecting for Kids brought to you and your family?
Tools and resources that I never would have found on my own.
Which have been your favorite Connecting for Kids resources?
The Facebook group, because I can always count on this community to listen and understand.
The area where I have grown the most...
Is not judging other children and parents. I used to think, "If you would just be firm with your child, they will do what they're told." I feel so naive looking back at that. I see other parents, children, and even independent adults, struggling, and I really try to tell myself, "You don't know what they are going through. You don't know the whole story. Maybe they have autism, or maybe they have a situation in their life that is out of control, and this is how they're dealing with it." You just don't know.
The hardest thing for me to learn was...
I can't discipline my child with autism the same way I disciplined my older two, and it made me change how I treated them too. I was a firm believer in corporal punishment if time outs and directives didn't work. The older my child with autism got, I realized this was completely not working and never will. I still get frustrated and angry. Sometimes it takes all I have to leave and go to another room till I can calm down. I need to accept that my child cannot always control the behavior displayed. I am learning that positive words and positive reinforcement works so much better for all of my children. Because of being so literal, when my child with autism was spanked, she then thought spanking was OK to use on friends, siblings, parents, and anyone. It really took a long time for me to learn that perspective. I am still learning this lesson and it is not easy to learn at all.
The worst thing about parenting a child who struggles is...
I really feel because she my daughter is beautiful and looks typical, that she is unfairly judged, even when they know her diagnosis! At our previous school, it seemed like all rough housing by boys was dismissed. When girls got rough, they were instantly reprimanded, and got a consequence. I know when we are at stores, or church, I really feel judged when behavior is out of control, because there is no evidence to the contrary that she is not typical.
Do you have any recommended resources such as blogs, websites, or books that we can share?
I always recommend Connecting for Kids! I also want to recommend STEPS Academy and its Willow Farms and Broadview Heights branches. I had my daughter at Willow Farms last year and she really blossomed there. She wanted to return to mainstream school this year, and she is doing so well, she is like a new child.