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The Monthly Connect - Online

Welcome to The Monthly Connect - Online. The Monthy Connect is sent out regularly via email to Connecting for Kids subscribers. This page also contains many of our great articles. To get a copy of The Monthly Connect in your email inbox next time it comes out, Join Us today!

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  • 15 Sep 2015 10:34 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Rebecca Shook
    Special Needs Resources Librarian
    Westlake Porter Public Library

    Routines and predictability are often the cornerstone of a successful school year but social situations can be difficult. “Make Social Learning Stick! How to Guide and Nurture Social Competence Through Everyday Routines and Activities” by Elizabeth A. Sautter is a resource for families and schools to help children navigate social situations when often the hidden rules are at least as important as the stated ones. The book includes many tips and tricks for finding teachable moments in your child's day for all sorts of social situations like playing at the playground, meal times, during transitions and even celebrating holidays like Thanksgiving. See the collection by searching “Connecting for Kids” in our catalog at www.westlakelibrary.org.

  • 15 Sep 2015 10:28 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    If you would like to be featured in an upcoming column, please fill out the online form.

    Name: Erin

    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.

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  • 15 Sep 2015 10:17 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Q:“My child has a meltdown each day when he arrives home from school.  Do you have some suggestions that can help us avoid these tantrums and make our house peaceful again?”

    A: This is a great question. Meltdowns and tantrums are not uncommon in childhood and usually stem from the child’s inability to control his/her own emotions. Preschoolers and older kids are more likely to use tantrums to get their way if they've learned that this behavior works. One of the most important things you can do as a parent is to remain calm when the tantrum occurs.  Try not to react. It’s recommended to avoid tantrum triggers if they can be identified.

    There are many possible reasons for the tantrum. It’s conceivable that your child may have some difficulty in transitioning from one environment to another, misses his friends, or is tired and hungry. The first thing I would recommend when your child comes home is to isolate him. It is completely appropriate to send him to his room for a few minutes to calm down. Make sure the room is cool, quiet, and dark as the goal is to reduce stimulation to regulate sensory input.

    When he is calm, offer a snack and drink and ask him how his day was in a quiet environment (be cautious of background noises for inadvertent stimulation). Be clear and empathetic in your words, reinforcing the calm behavior, not the tantrum. See if you can determine the trigger through gentle questioning. Contact your child’s teacher and explain his behaviors, asking the teacher if other incidents occur at school or if changes in behavior are noted. A communication book between you and the teacher is a great way to communicate about daily changes. The notebook can be kept in the child’s backpack to transfer back and forth during each school day. Some children excel with more structure and routine and need advanced notice of changes in order to prepare for the transition. Enlist your child’s teacher for help. The bottom line - don’t give in to the meltdown. Try to determine the reason for the meltdown in order to help your child regain control.

    Visit Mercy Lorain at http://www.mercyonline.org.

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