Archives for posts with tag: adhd

“Care of the Caregiver… YOU!” ~Shane B. Kulman

I remember the first time I heard this. How clear and “right” it sounded.  As the phrase unfolded in my head, I realized that I was a caregiver, and that working in a classroom 5 days a week, 8-3:30 and then coming home to eat a slice of pizza and collapse was not going to work for me anymore. That was NOT caring about the caregiver, and I was caregiving for 25 students and a wacky assistant that year.  No more…

I’ve graduated and will occasionally take a several week or month vacation during the school year, is this extreme caregiving for myself?  I think, no.  Some say extreme, I bet some say spoiled…  I now understand the importance of bookends. When I set out to work, I am aware that before and after I must include time where I do something for myself.  It may be a simple cup of tea, or a massage/spa visit.

I believe everyone is a caregiver in some aspect. Parents, Grandparents, Aunties and Uncles, babysitters, teachers, therapists, Nurses, Doctors, dog owners… you get the idea.

The parents I work with that have children with special needs, are constantly caregiving. There have been very few who make the time to withdraw from caring about others and take care of their Self.  So many parents pick food from their children’s plates, or eat standing up, don’t get dressed or spend every last penny on their child. After a while the caregiving well, goes dry. Parents often feel drained, wasted of energy and limited in   options. When I suggest a yoga class, a writing class, or to join in to any group activity that does not revolve around parenting, they look at me like I’m a dreamer, like I’m out of touch with reality, and then I see the guilt forming, “WHAT!?!? spend time on myself?!!?!? When my child is so far behind?”  I even suggested to a Mom to go out to dinner with Dad with a dress on, and I would stay with the children, she laughed at me and said we talk and eat when the kids go to school. Hmmmm, is this the same as wearing a dress at a restaurant?  I think not.

Children learn from watching, this has been researched and proven.  If all the young girls are watching their Mothers caregive and serve constantly, how will they learn to be independent and self expansive?  Special needs children, including non-verbal children see and feel what is going on around them. I see the neediest children become ultra demanding when they are in need of something. What happens after their demand, that may result in a temper tantrum/meltdown?  A Parent is running to serve them. What is the valuable lesson here? Yup, the bigger the meltdown and demand, the faster a parent runs.

Children with or without special needs, even pets, learn how to rule through behavior and reactions. I believe there is always time to be made for caring for the caregiver. Even if its a bath, or journaling time. I would say shopping, but you know who gets shopped for… everyone else.

Dearest friends – No matter who you are caring for. You can serve them on a higher level, if you take time to serve yourself. Your health and those you love will love you for it.

Namaste and love yourself,


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.

Shalom friends,

Lately I have been working with children who have extensive verbal abilities.  All at once my new little clients, as well as children I’ve been working with, are coming to me with only “behavior issues.”  As I constantly address self-esteem issues as a root of many problems, what I see the most problems with is “problem solving.”

Problem solving is a skill that many adults also have issues with.  It’s the reason the news is depressing,  our country is at war, couples get divorced, women and men are unfaithful to each other, and child abuse exists.  Children need to be able to make their own mistakes so they will be prepared to be independent thinkers and be able to feel good about themselves regardless of the outcome.  Once a child is off to school, (and that may be as young as….. well 6 weeks, if a parent has no childcare) but let’s say 2 for discussion sake.  A two year old child, neuro-typical or a child with special needs  leave the house and it is guaranteed  they  will not get everything they want, for example, as soon as they get on the bus, they may not get the window seat.  While at home I see parents catering to their child’s every need.   I also hear parents giving constant warnings of what not to do or ____ will happen.   Of course I am not saying let your child touch fire or run in the traffic.  Safety first, but lets say your child is looking to  jump in a dirty rain puddle.   What will happen?  As adults we might not like the mud on our legs, but imagine you let your child   jump?   Afterwords Your child will look at you with adoring eyes, and the parents all around will give you dirty looks.  Who do you care about more?  Who do you want to bond with?  Who do you want to earn trust from?

If a child is free to make their own choices, regardless of the outcome, they will be stronger adults, who will handle situations with a calm mind.  If they are constantly being told whats right and wrong, they are not being taught to use their own mind and make sound choices.  They will always wait for someone else to tell them what to do, or they will be the annoying child who always tells other children what to do. This is when impressionable children get messed up from peer pressure.  Earning trust from your child does not come naturally and vise versa.  Setting up situations that lead your child to make his/her own decision is key.  Any child with with any special need (including non-verbal) can be taught to make choices as well.  Show them two choices of what to choose for lunch, show them two of their favorite toys, or two different color bowls etc.  Have them point to their preference.

*Pick your battles   *Don’t sweat the small stuff

We’ve read and heard those lines before, but as a reminder make those phrases into signs to hang in your home.  Make them look beautiful, paint them with your child.  Buy cheap canvas and use glitter.  Let these words remind you to have fun and be happy with your child.  Allow them to experience life and learn on their own.  Admit your mistakes and problem solving process outloud. They learn when you think they’re not watching.  *They watch and imitate how you talk on the phone  *They imitate the tone of your voice and your hand motions *They put their hands on their hips to show authority.

Letting your child know you are not perfect and admitting you make mistakes  is a perfect teachable moment, and a lesson that will last forever, and contribute to them being a successful adult.

Today I was working with a 5 year old boy,  he is intelligent mature and independent, he does have an issue with body awareness and dealing with his emotions. We were playing trains. For the last two days we set up the track in a circle with another track leading to the station.  I felt bored with this track, so I began attempting to make two circles with one leading to the station.  So many amazing things happened.   First, my little friend got angry at me for messing with is already satisfactory track.  Then I saw it was nearly impossible to make my idea  happen because of the amount of pieces we had.  I kept changing pieces all around.  He reacted with frustration at first, and wanted me to leave the track alone.  I was on a mission and attending  to my own true nature, I couldn’t give up my idea.  After throwing a train across the room (which I ignored)  and kept on working.  He sat back and watched me, then he crawled under his bed and found an extra piece.  I attached it, but still my idea didn’t work.  I showed him I was disappointed.  He then got mad at the fact he didn’t  have enough pieces, and announced “these trains are not working.”  He pushed his body away from the trains, crossed his arms and nearly began to cry. We shared a moment of being let down. “Wait! let’s try this!”  I moved a bunch of pieces around excitedly, and he got excited too!  All the while I shared with him important words; “I really wish I could make my idea work,  I wish I had more pieces, but since I don’t I will do the best I can, and keep working hard, I know! I’ll come up with a new idea!  A new plan!”  Eventually we worked hard together and made an awesome train track with one circle and  a long extended curvy track leading to the station.

Without even explaining how many important life skills were leaned here, hopefully you can see how  me and this child bonded and that he will take the experience and use it with other children.

Find 15 minutes to play with your child on their terms, and stay true to yourself, find your inner child.  You’ll be happy you did;)

Hugs and kisses to all you hard working parents…..


P.S. Share your stories as a comment, I would love to hear how you help your child make a mistake!

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