Archives for category: Autism

Doesn’t happen easily does it? How much physical pressure do you need? What material do you use? What liquid works best? Are streaks visible in the morning? The evening? Natural light? candlelight? What about when guests come over? Do you leave the streaks and accept the smudges, fingerprints? Do you not turn certain lights on, keep one side of the drapes closed? Do you ask for help? Do you notice other mirrors in other homes that you visit?

car-wax-10-mirrorThis seems like an ongoing process. One with which I am in the middle of. I began this blog before I received a gift from a parent I work with. We are in a family coaching relationship, and she gave me a cloth specifically to clean mirrors THE BEST. She obviously had no idea of my mirror cleaning challenges, yet she showed up with this “random” gift. We never talk cleaning, we never talk about the mundane.

What I realized is that all conversations, and gifts, (and sometimes the conversations are are the gifts) have an option of being purposeful. This special cleaning rag is extremely purposeful and I am grateful.

This makes me open my mind to what is judged as “pointless” conversation. Do you hold certain topics of conversation  for specific people? Do you speak to your child in a way that serves them? Do you speak to children in a way that makes them wrong? Are you fighting to be right in conversations with friends?

My hope is after reading this blog, your take away is to find the purpose in the conversations that you have. To be aware with the words we share makes the sharing more powerful.

A Day of Joy

Who is the number one person that deserves a day of joy?

Mothers. A Day of Joy is an all day event with 4 workshops, lunch, and goody bags. Mothers get to spend a day playing! Dancing! Creating art! And most of all Relaxing. No talk of children, or schedules or what’s for dinner. This day is for Moms to recharge their fuel tanks…

The inspiration for this event came from trading stories with a colleague. While discussing funny things the children we work with do, we got on the topic of Mothers who don’t get to experience the fun. POOF! A DAY OF JOY!

Joy is what rules children. At the core of their existence, children have the capacity to experience joy every single day. As children get older and eventually become adults, they/we can lose our connection to joy, because of responsibilities, fear, judgment, self doubt, guilt, worry, shame etc.

Children experience joy naturally and spontaneously. It can be seen with a sudden skip down the street, a burst of laughter, or seeing a balloon. It’s physiologically healthy to be expressive and clear on what is felt and desired. Adults do not have the space or courage to let all this energy and emotion out, plus the police might be called or we could end up on the front of the local newspaper or for shame: on social media looking crazy.

Mothers’ are overwhelmed. I see the depletion of energy, lack of zest, and low emotional, spiritual, and physical states in Mothers, this is not the most worthy place to parent from, and children are directly impacted by this.

A Day of Joy is a day for Mothers to play and to tune in to their inner and outer Self. There are no expectations other than to show up on time, creating a sacred space. An important agreement we make at the start: “give no advice.”

Mothers attending A Day of Joy experience mind body connections that last in their lives beyond this one day.

I have witnessed women having soul connections, with no words spoken. Spontaneous laughing, hugging and dancing erupt. I have also witnessed Mothers eating lunch alone by choice, and really enjoying not being a caretaker for anyone else, free from any obligations and worries, even if just in the moment.

Mom’s reflect back on the day with peace of mind and disbelief on how good it feels to be free in their bodies and minds.

I know awareness reaches heightened states by having these experiences and opportunities. When some sadness, guilt, worry, bitterness, shame and sorrow get expressed, then real JOY has a place to expand. This kind of joy is the kind that makes life peaceful, makes the skin glow, brings blood pressure down, reduces anxiety and stress, and brings in hope and possibility. This kind of joy elicits the fact that no one is alone in parenting struggles. In place of stress and anxiety are thoughts of humanity, love, trust, compassion, and joy.

Bio: Shane Kulman, MS SpEd is the founder of Your Beautiful Child LLC, private practice. She offers workshops nationwide, as well as local women’s groups. For more information on Shane go to http://www.yourbeautifulchild.comjoy

I invite you to read this with an open heart and an open mind. It’s clear and beautiful…

The Beautiful Truth.


How One Mother Learned to Find Balance and Joy (NY Metro Parents Magazine).

by Tiffany Caldwell October 16, 2014

One mother of a daughter with autism was going through a lot of changes in life when she found something that seemed empowering, new, and different. Her story, as told to Kaitlin Ahern, shows how a day of joy helped her release negative feelings and embrace the power of self-care.

watercolor woman

My daughter is 7½ years old, and she has autism. She was diagnosed a little over 3 years ago, and caring for and raising her is still a learning process for me. About six months ago, I was told she wasn’t progressing in school. The process of finding her a new school where she could thrive was stressful—it was like a weight, a burden on my shoulders. I live in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, and at about the same time I was having problems with my landlord and saw my rent increase dramatically, so I decided to give up my home.

I was going through a lot of changes in my life at that time, and I was open to something that seemed empowering, new, and different. So when I heard about the A Day of Joy workshop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, I thought I’d give it a try. The workshop was presented by Shane Kulman, M.S. SpEd, founder of Your Beautiful Child, whom I had met at an Autism Chalk Festival in Prospect Park earlier this year (she is a beam of light!). Shane is a special education therapist and family coach, and the A Day of Joy workshop was meant to empower parents and caregivers of children with special needs, as well as the professionals who work with them, with a sense of self-care, self-love, and a feeling of community.

I woke up the morning of the workshop optimistic and excited to see what it was all about. When I got there, I found a small, intimate group of parents and professionals and noticed the positive vibes. We did some meditation, breathing exercises, and journaling, and we had open conversations. I felt like I really connected with people who I had met for the first time that day.

Afterward, I felt lighter, like I had just released a lot of the negative emotions we all experience—doubt, fear, uncertainty. And I left feeling like a new person with a different view on life. Since then, I’ve had good days and bad days, but I keep telling myself that in due time, everything is going to be alright, and that I just have to stay focused. I keep revisiting that day, and it puts a smile on my face.

I continue to try to find a balance between caring for my daughter and caring for myself. When she was first diagnosed, I was a total wreck and completely overwhelmed. Even sitting down for a few minutes during the day to take a breather made me feel guilty. I’ve learned over time that it’s not a crime to take time for yourself, because you need it—I need time to recharge so I’m able to take care of my daughter to the best of my ability. I know that if my child senses that I’m stressed out, sad, or overwhelmed, those feelings project onto her. Still, it’s hard to find that balance and beat down the guilt and doubt that rise up when I do something for myself. I try to keep in mind that I’m just human, I’m only one person, and as long as I put my best foot forward, that’s all I can do. I know I need to care for myself so I can be around to care for my daughter in the long run.

I’m still learning every day, from workshops and seminars and especially from the amazing people I’ve met along this journey with my daughter. As the parent of a child with special needs, it’s easy to feel lost, alone, afraid, and overwhelmed. That’s why it’s very important to reach out to others. You need people in your life who can relate to what you’re going through, and who can help you along the way. Everyone needs a support system and someone to talk to. It can be a lonely and challenging world, so it’s important to stay connected and know that there’s always someone out there to guide you and give you advice. I feel that the more people you’re connected to, the better off you are, because no one can do it alone. And like the saying goes, “it takes a village.”

Tiffany Caldwell is a Brooklyn mom, a mental health therapy aide, and a passionate advocate for her daughter, who has autism, and for the special needs community at large. She enjoys spending time with her daughter in the plentiful green spaces throughout Brooklyn and watching her child’s imagination blossom through art.

On Your Beautiful Child Radio I have asked many guests “what does autism mean to you,” There were many answers. My answer is FREEDOM. Today the official Autism Awareness Day.  I realize how deeply this answer rings true.    Because of autism, I have a work schedule I create, I have traveled and connected with amazing families, I have purpose and passion in my life, I have permission to create and just be.

My first student (with autism)  was non-verbal and had many “stimming” repetitive behaviors and echolalia.  I began to see a young boy do whatever he needed and wanted to do to make himself happy. He was not offfected by the judgements  of others. He did not follow what was “appropriate.” He was also not impressed with my cool toys, my happy smile or my eagerness to work with him. He could not naturally be re-directed or manipulated to do what “typical” children were doing. He loved Thomas the train DVD boxes.  I’ve worked with many children and I observe their methods of communicating and expressing  themselves. This includes flapping their arms, spinning, continuous jumping, repeating songs, commercials, etc.  I joined them, I observed them, I’ve loved them. They showed me the importance of communication without words, and they showed me how to “be” without judgement. These children do not comment if my hair is not washed, if I have make up on, or if I’m wearing the same jeans twice in a row.  They do not pay attention unless they want to, and my verbal young friends on the spectrum do not speak unless its meaningful. They are distracted by the cool things in life, mostly sensory oriented. Why is it “normal” to ignore these things?  Typical children are taught to compare and compete with each other. They are put under pressure to take tests and be judged on the outcome.

Children on the autism spectrum are given space to grow at their own pace. There is no forcing them to do anything.  I have taken this to heart. I have learned to accept my processes, even if at some point I thought they were wrong or not good enough.  These children have healed me of judging myself, of comparing myself to other women, they have shown me the importance of silence. They have given me space to create. So many children on the autism spectrum have creative gifts, they are amazing artists, singers, and creatives. They have gifts, and they have made me shine the line on my own gifts.



There are many therapies and schools of thought on “what works” to “teach” children on the autism spectrum. What works for one child does not work for all children. Why does the rest of the “typical” world believe it does. Do you like to be cared for exactly like someone else?  Do you work to try to be exactly like anyone else?  Watching women who try to be the same as celebrities is never-ending, and I see it as sad. It’s based on the feeling of not being perfect or enough, or likable.

I am so lucky to have so many individuals with autism in my life. I see them as healers, as the most real down to earth people I know. I know if everyone tuned in to their ways, the world would be a different place.  I am SO GRATEFUL for all the children in my life. I am grateful for all the Mothers who trust me with their children.

Take action this autism awareness month. We make it easy…Here is one way…




Authentic. It’s a buzz work these days. What does authentic mean to you?  My mentor told me “authentic means, OWNING YOUR POWER.” I like that. All human beings are powerful when they are authentic. When do you feel most powerful? When do you give your power away?

Many women I know, mothers, and caregivers alike are in this constant caregiving role. This makes is more challenging to take care of our authentic selves first. So many parents I coach feel completely guilty when aksed about their own likes, wants and needs.

Today being Halloween (a day appropriate to wear masks) could be a great day to begin taking your mask off.  Imagine if it were ok to walk out of the house, dressed as your authentic self! What would you wear? What would you do with your child differently?  Imagine other peoples judgments and opinions meant less?

What is one way you can be more authentic in your life? I would love to hear your comments….


How YOU could help a Special Needs Parent.

As the rates of #Autism continues to skyrocket, the likely hood of you knowing someone that is a special needs parent is growing as well. Maybe you already know someone with a special needs child. Perhaps, a friend or family member.In this article, I hope to give you some simple ways that you can help the special needs parent in your life. Knowing what to say or do can be daunting for someone that doesn’t have experience with special needs parenting. This is probably where many people, with the best of intentions, get scared off. Seeing what a special needs parent goes through can be a very overwhelming experience for anyone.

It may even seem so dire that one might feel that they have nothing to offer, that could possible be of any benefit. I hope to change that by sharing a few very simple, very basic ideas, that can provide much needed relief to a special needs parent and let them know that they aren’t alone.

So, you have a friend or loved one that is a special needs parent. Do you want to offer help or support but don’t know what you could possibly do? First of all, let me thank you for showing compassion, concern and love for the special needs parent in your life. Honestly, to a special needs parent, just knowing that someone cares is really important. In fact, it’s so important, that I don’t think it can be overstated.



If you have ever wanted to offer help to a special needs parent but maybe don’t know how, this article is for you. Perhaps their situation is so difficult, you don’t know how you could possibly help. There are some things you can do to help even if they don’t seem like much.

One of the toughest parts of being a special needs parent is the feeling of isolation.  Their child requires so much of their time, energy and undivided attention that they often times have little or no adult contact (aside from doctors and therapists). You could make plans to stop by for a visit. Many special needs parents will tell you that they would love to just talk to another adult. Please remember to call first as a surprise visit could just add to the stress by destabilizing or overstimulating their child.

Sometimes, by the end of the day, exhaustion is such that the thought of making dinner is simply to much. Perhaps you could also offer to bring dinner over so they have one less thing to worry about. It would be a very nice gesture and could really help take some of the load off their shoulders.Remember that their child may have special dietary or sensory needs so it would be a good idea to do some research by calling and asking what would be a good meal to prepare for them.

Things as simple as sending a card, email or text message, just to let them know you’re thinking about them could help them to find the strength to keep moving on a really bad day.

If you wanted, you could send them a gift card for groceries or maybe their favorite take-out. There is often times a tremendous financial burden associated with special needs parenting and maybe a gift card will help them provide groceries for their family, if things are tight that week.Think about making arrangements to go over and spend some time with their child (if that’s something that would work). Educating yourself about Autism of whatever else the parent is dealing with is important for something like this. Not only will educating yourself help you relate to their child, but knowing that you took the time to learn about their child’s condition would mean a great deal to any special needs parent.

As their child likely requires all their time and energy, every single day, things around the house and yard tend to take a back burner. You could help with lawn care or repairs to the house. Wash a sink load of dishes or fold the laundry.

The list of possibilities is endless really.

The most critical thing you will be doing, is showing them that they are not alone. Sometimes just knowing that their are people who love and support you, standing in your corner, can mean more then you can possibly imagine.

Please remember that you don’t have to understand anything about Autism in order to show love, compassion and support to those touched by it.

Breaking Free.

You can break free. A yoga teacher and psychologist shares her blueprint for transforming negative habits.

By Bo Forbes

As a yoga teacher, I see several archetypes in my classroom, yet none so disquieting as the driven and unconscious student who, with glazed eyes, goes to the extreme or attempts the most advanced variation of every pose. Completely dissociated, he pushes further and further, unable to take in corrections or adjustments. Not until he stresses his body to the point of injury or exhausts his nervous system might he notice the potential harm of this cycle. Meanwhile, the nectar of awareness lies just beyond his reach: Backing off and inhabiting his practice in a more relaxed way could bring greater sensation, awareness, and growth.

As a psychologist, I’m aware that the repetitive behavior students exhibit during yoga class originated long before they stepped onto the mat; the classroom is simply the arena in which we can witness our deeply ingrained habits in all their glory. According to yogic philosophy, we’re born with a karmic inheritance of mental and emotional patterns—known as samskaras—through which we cycle over and over again during our lives.

The word samskara comes from the Sanskrit sam (complete or joined together) and kara (action, cause, or doing). In addition to being generalized patterns, samskaras are individual impressions, ideas, or actions; taken together, our samskaras make up our conditioning. Repeating samskaras reinforces them, creating a groove that is difficult to resist. Samskaras can be positive—imagine the selfless acts of Mother Theresa. They can also be negative, as in the self-lacerating mental patterns that underlie low self-esteem and self-destructive relationships. The negative samskaras are what hinder our positive evolution.

Get a Brand-New Groove

The Nasadiya, or Creation Hymn, in the Rig Veda—the oldest sacred text of Hinduism—speaks of an oceanic darkness that covered the life force of creation: “Darkness was hidden by darkness in the beginning, / with no distinguishing sign, all this was water. / The life force that was covered by emptiness, / that one arose through the power of heat.” This is a metaphor for our spiritual birth: In the beginning, we, like the universe, contain an ocean of unconsciousness dotted by archipelagic areas of awakening; together, they make up our inner world. Then something is sparked, and a process begins. Our goal is to shine awareness on the dark ocean, to bring ourselves into being. To do so, we need to exchange our negative samskaras for positive ones. Samskara is universal; it’s one of the elements that define the human condition. We are, undeniably, creatures of habit, and the physical, mental, and emotional places we often gravitate toward are the well-navigated galaxies of negative samskara. Yet the Yoga Sutra (II.16) states, “Heyam duhkham anagatam,” or “Future suffering is to be avoided.” Sounds simple enough, but how do we do it?

Over the years, I’ve witnessed countless people caught in the pull of destructive samskaras and nearly as many struggling to create healthier patterns. When used in synergy, yoga—which generates insight through the physical body—and psychology—which examines the emotional realm—can be tremendously effective in the battle against negative samskaras. From the interweaving of these two healing philosophies has emerged the guide that follows, with seven steps for transforming samskaras.

Step One

Sankalpa (Intention)

Changing samskaras is not an accidental process, a formula we stumble upon without meaning to. In the struggle to create healthier samskaras, sankalpa (intention) is what mythologist Joseph Campbell termed a “call to awakening.” Sankalpa unites our mind with those deeper parts of ourselves that can be so hard to access. Conscious use of sankalpa is a compelling way of communicating what we want to our emotional and spiritual bodies.

At the beginning of my yoga classes, before chanting Om, I invite students to call to mind an intention for their practice. The intention can be nonviolence, awareness of the breath, or something more personal. Whatever form the intention takes, setting it consciously before beginning to practice galvanizes our inner resources and aligns them with the energy of change. Sankalpa acts as a guiding sutra, or “thread,” that we weave throughout our yoga practice, on and off the mat. Yet we still need more steam to take us full-course.

Step Two
Tapas (Intensity)

This steam is provided by tapas (intensity, perseverance, or heat). Tapas is the intensity that ignites our psychological process and helps sustain the discipline required for change. Falling back on our old habits, however unhealthy they may be, can feel like a comforting release in the short term. But anytime we manage to refrain from repeating a particular samskara, that action retains a concentrated energy inside of us. This energy fans the flame of awareness, bringing our inner wisdom to light. Intensity for its own sake, however, can be a form of negative samskara, so it’s important that tapas be tempered with intelligence.

We create tapas in part by committing to the daily “work” of our samskara practice; this type of work can range from doing our physical asana practice every day to waking earlier than usual to meditate, write in a journal, or practice yoga. We also generate tapas through abstinence from negative thoughts, emotions, and behaviors; this involves maintaining vigilance around our samskaras and refraining from their pull. Continued renewal of our commitment to changing samskaras creates a well of tapas from which we can draw when we need to, and ultimately awakens the true Self.

But once we’ve married intention with tapas, how do we refrain from repeating the lightning-fast responses that activate old samskaras?

Step Three

Shani (Slowing)

Samskaras are instinctual and can be activated in the blink of an eye. But reacting impulsively only strengthens samskaras, making them even more irresistible. In much the same way as top-notch athletes watch slow-motion video replays to detect movement patterns and improve performance,shani (slowness) can lengthen the interval between impulse and action. This allows for greater reflection, helping us detect whether or not our actions stem from old samskaras.

Take Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose), for example. Suppose we are flexible in the shoulders and upper back but stiff in the lower back and hamstrings. Instinctively, we might exploit our flexibility and push the shoulders, upper back, and ribs as far down as possible, keeping the lower back and hamstrings asleep. Slowing down and holding the pose longer can make us aware of this movement pattern. We can then lift the shoulders to awaken the lower back and hamstrings and explore what’s happening there.

At first, we may encounter tightness or resistance. This is a blessing, because unpleasant sensations often lead us to rich material. We might learn about our physical patterns of movement, or about memories or emotions locked within our tight places. Imagine what we can gain from bringing this reflective approach to our lives off the mat.

When we slow down, we begin to intuit where change is most authentic and honors our deeper selves. We begin to look inward, to develop insight.

Step Four

Vidya (Awareness)

What trains our sights on the parallel inner worlds of anatomy, psychology, and spirit—where the roots of samskara lie—is vidya (awareness or seeing clearly). Laserlike, it illuminates these worlds, whether they are made of muscle, fascia, and fluid or of thought, emotion, and impulse. Vidya helps us recognize our thoughts, behaviors, and movements as samskara. It upgrades our ability to question ourselves intelligently. From “Why is this happening to me?” we evolve to more penetrating questions, such as, “What does this pattern have to tell me?”

However, intellectual insight that does not travel beyond the mind seldom translates into change. Because the body houses our emotional intelligence, it might not assimilate the insight. Yoga acts through the medium of the body, taking vidya to even deeper levels. Through yoga, we integrate and experience physically and emotionally what we intellectually know to be true.

Yet even insight isn’t enough to break free of old samskaras. There’s usually a moment when we’re ready to change yet find ourselves held captive by an unseen force. What is this unseen force? Why does it paralyze us, so maddeningly, just when we’re ready to surge forward?

Step Five

Abhaya (Fearlessness)

Part of the lure of old samskaras is the belief that “the devil you know is better than the one you don’t.” We tend to prefer the familiar to the unknown.

The alluring nature of samskara contributes to this. It is artful, magician-like: It mesmerizes us with endless repetitions of a pattern, the polishing of its deep groove, while deftly concealing the fears, needs, and beliefs that lie beneath.

Changing samskara requires abhaya (fearlessness). Abhaya helps us face the unknown. When we cut off a destructive relationship, for instance, we might worry about finding someone else. Yet without the distraction of the relationship, we face deeper issues, such as the feelings of shame or worthlessness that may have led us into the relationship in the first place. Through abhaya, we learn to tolerate unpleasant sensations, like grief, letting them pass without resorting to the comfort of old samskaras.

Step Six

Darshana (Vision)

Once we’ve examined the roots of our patterns, we must finally create a new samskara. To do this, we need to envision what it might look like.

This is where darshana (vision) comes into play. When we create a vision for our new pattern, we must give it a life force more vital than the old one. We need to convince ourselves that it is real. We use our senses and emotions to bring it to life: What does it look, smell, or feel like? The more we visualize (and experience) the new pattern, the more real and compelling it becomes.

By making space in the body during yoga, we generate freedom in the mind; this freedom can spark our creativity, helping us find an unlimited choice of healthier patterns.I often encourage students in Savasana (Corpse Pose) to create a memory of freedom and space in previously tight mental, emotional, and physical places. This memory is a blueprint for the freedom and expansive vision that lie at the heart of transforming samskara.

Step Seven

Abhyasa (Practice)

When starting a new pattern, or in times of stress, the lure of old patterns is strongest. Abhyasa(practice) helps make our new samskara more powerful than the old; the more we reinforce the new groove, the stronger it becomes. Understanding what can trigger a relapse and rededicating ourselves to our practice keep us from backsliding. This is a good time to ask, “How can my practice be more reflective? Which of the seven elements do I need to work on? What sends me into a tailspin?”

Like beads on a yoga mala, each of the elements of samskaric repatterning builds on the previous one. Together these elements, like the whole mala, become an instrument for spiritual practice.

Breaking New Ground

All patterns, even samskaras, represent order. When we leave an old pattern behind, we enter a liminal space—a bardo, to borrow a Tibetan term. Like the space between an exhalation and the next inhalation, this place is ripe with unlimited possibilities for new choices.

This in-between space can be unsettling. During a recent session, a woman poignantly asked, “If I let go of these beliefs, will I still be myself?” We often resist new patterns for fear of losing the identities we’ve so carefully constructed. And it’s true that when we change a long-held pattern, we undergo a rebirth of sorts. This rebirth hints at a new incarnation, a more evolved version of the self. Yet improving our samskara brings us closer to our true nature, which is the goal of yoga.

Samskara is also defined as a perfecting and polishing, a process of cultivation. Shifting samskara, then, is the ongoing work of chipping away at our negative patterns to illuminate the purity of the soul. Like alchemists in our own transformation, we constantly refine and direct our samskara into healthier designs.

The good news is that the ability to shift our patterns—once we’ve sown the seeds—is self-generating, self-sustaining, and self-renewing. When we’re patient enough to facilitate samskara’s organic process, to honor its inner sound and slow rhythm, change simply flows. And it’s a joy to taste the reward of all this hard work in its natural form, the sweetness that arises from seeing long labor and preparation come to fruition.

Bo Forbes, Psy.D., lives and practices in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

What does this refer to?  Well very simply, the frosting on the cake… Do you eat it first or do you save it for last. According to M. Scott Peck MD,  how you eat your cake can be very telling about how you live your life, and I agree with him.

Currently, and for some time now, we have all grown to be more than impatient. We are use to getting what we want immediately. Getting the best thing first.  Picture how children run to see their photograph right after it was taken.  We can track flights, packages, in real-time, order food, find a date, buy a car, send a message, get someones background information, stream a movie all instantly.  I see adults lose their patience on a daily basis when they don’t get what they want right away.

So many parents want information and advice on how to get their children to stop having temper tantrums to get what they want.  I chuckle inside when specific parents ask me this question in their own “temper tantrum sort of way.”  In a culture where we can all get what we want immediately, we are modeling this for children all around.  I hear “wait a minute” said to children everywhere I go.  Is it really a minute?  And if it’s ten minutes, I’m not sure how a child with challenges is to wait that long, if a parent cannot.

As everyone knows, children learn from actions not words.  When you are waiting for something, or you do not get what you usually do, right away, be conscious that your children are learning problem solving skills from your behavior.  If you are huffing and puffing, sucking your teeth, talking under your breath to others, or simply getting out of control verbally, your children are leaning this is what I do when I want something.  On their level it comes out as throwing their body on the floor, kicking screaming, etc.  Are you aware of your tantrums?  I am.

I took a Bikram yoga class. It was my second day, and I was so proud of myself for going. If your not familiar, it’s 104 degrees in the room, packed with people, and the rules are; although you can go into a rest pose at any time, you can’t leave the room. In my opinion the teachers are a little militant, and not very caring for your body. But this is the style and I made the choice to take the class, and no-one was physically hurting me.  About 45 minutes into the class, I had simply had enough.  Beyond the physical aspect of this class, I was attempting to “let go” all my mental challenges. I wanted to finish the class and be at peace with any yoga I did during the 90 minutes.  So I would rest, while resting I would get mad at myself for resting so long, and see severely overweight people going at it, and I would get back up, only to come back to rest again.  A recipe for disaster for me.  I was being pushed to my limits, as children are on a daily basis.  I began my tantrum by giving the teacher dirty looks!  Of course I realized this was nonsense and couldn’t believe I was acting out this way.  Then during one pose I found myself giving the teacher the middle finger!!! (in a sly hidden way)  Why couldn’t I gain control of myself! Here I am – and I couldn’t control myself.  How do we expect children to control themselves? Especially children with special needs?!

There are so many expectations put on children in general. I see many parents giving their children what the want so quickly, just so they won’t “act-out” or “tantrum.”  This is not the way to prepare them for reality.  Getting what we/they want instantly is not healthy, we/they end up not appreciating what is wanted.  Many children whom I teach  how to “mand” or to communicate what they want, have parents who are so happy that they are doing this, they give them everything they ask for.  This creates little monsters.  Special needs or not, children need to know they must “work” for what they want.  You can define work any way that is appropriate for your child. For example;

  • Hang your jacket up, then we’ll have snack.
  • Finish your Homework, and you can play video games
  • Put this book away and you’ll get the trains
  • Brush your teeth and you’ get a sticker

One of my favorite books, has a chapter titled,”don’t’ give the ice cream away for free.”  Giving a child toys, snacks, attention whenever they ask for it, will create a spoiled child. Having them earn it (aside from the 20 minutes of LOVE THERAPY daily) will make them a much more prepared for the world human being.

Delaying gratification is something I’ve read about in the book, The Road Less Traveled, by M. Scott Peck, MD.  He states,

Delaying gratification is a process of scheduling the pain and pleasure of life in such a way as to enhance the pleasure by meeting and experiencing the pain first and getting it over with.  It is the only decent way to live.

In other words, the pain=waiting, the pleasure is more appreciated.     It’s why so many people who win the lottery are screwed up. Life is difficult, we know this as adults, why should we set up our children to believe it won’t be?

If every child got 20 minutes of quality time with no distractions with their caregiver, where it was all about love and caring and listening and sharing. The rest of the day can be real  life lessons to prepare them for the future.  Let your child see ALL your emotions, it’s ok to be angry in front of them, BUT your anger must be a process that is  working towards a solution.  Showing them how you cool off from being angry is the follow up lesson.  Do not ignore problems and walk around letting anger seep through… Deal with problems in a calm way, (as they happen) where you get what you want. If you’re an excuse maker, guess who will follow in your footsteps?

If your goal is to have your child turn into a thriving adolescent and adult, it is necessary for them to have behavior around them that  shows self-discipline.

Help your child become the successful child who works hard, not the spoiled child who expects everything handed to them.  Especially if they are a child with diagnosed challenges, it is all the more important to set them up for the unfair world that is not always loving and catering their needs instantly.

What do you think?  Are these suggestions realistic and useful? I would love to know what you think……

Namaste,                                                                                                               Shane

%d bloggers like this: