Archives for posts with tag: special needs children

joyJoy a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.

What brought you joy before having your child? Several parents I work with have difficulty with this question. “It’s hard to remember,” and “sleeping,” were the most popular answers. I see parents being run down, overwhelmed and turning to outside pleasers to feel good. Food, shopping and having a glass of wine. While I know these activities are socially acceptable ways of relaxing and having fun… they do not feed the soul, which means they are short  lived joy.

Waiting behind two Moms in a discount store.  It was close to the time to go pick up their children from school.  It was a medium sized line, and they were “high” on the bargains they had found. As the line got closer to their turn, they began taking turns to go get one more thing, run away and come back with a new score. Along with the time crunch of paying and having enough time to get their kids.  I felt the energy rising. At one point, the woman who was on the line, began grabbing things nearby looking at them, tossing them in her wagon, then taking them out, leaving some… Then she grabbed some chocolate covered almonds and went at it. The friend came back and they both began eating their eatable find until it was their turn. WHEW!

I knew these feelings, I know these feelings, and I am aware of the compulsive shopping and food challenges. There are many false feelings of fulfillment, joy, excitement, deserving,

“Outer joy is more like excitement, involving a quick flash of pleasure. It stems from either thrill or some animated feeling.” –WWW.PRAJNAYOGA.NET  This is an exact description of the ladies in from of me. The truth is, I can see this outter joy, because I spend many years only knowing of this joy.

Inner joy suggests contentment, contentment that is more refined than the quick pulse of pleasure.

What are the benefits of this inner joy?  Pshhht! Many! Here are a few:

  • Improving heart health, less risk of heart disease
  • Better overall health, (both in individuals and communities, to include families)
  • Positive thoughts flow
  • Emotional vitality: a sense of enthusiasm, hopefulness,

Are any of these a priority for you?   There is no Dr., no shooting, no amazing bottle of wine that will help you attain this inner joy. Here are a couple of practical and easy ways, to insert joy into your day. Tricking the body into joy is REAL, and it has actual impact on the brain.

  • Start laughing, even if it feels weird
  • Look in the mirror and smile
  • Look in the mirror and make absolutely wacky faces (your kids or anyones kids will love it.)

Laura Kubzansky  “State of mind = State of body”

What awareness does this blog bring you? Do you resonate with it? Have you witnessed it? Are you that shopper?  Know this. You are not alone! I think we all have felt these shopping highs, purchasing impulsively or compulsively. We do live in an age where you can text someone hello, just as easy as you can buy airline tickets on our smartphones.. I hope your biggest take-away is awareness. Nothing has to change, nothing has to be done different, just an awareness of the activities we engage in. Your state of you mind correlates to the state of your body. 




“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,


Jeannie at A Day of JOY

~~~After much mindful thought, research and consideration, the name I’ve chosen is Padmalaya Mariposa :))   Try saying it out loud… it has the first requirement I wanted, which is flow… and musicality… yes, a reference to dancing… which has long been an important part of my life… especially Argentine Tango.  So imagine the name has movement…

~~~Padmalaya is one of the many nicknames for the Hindu goddess of all forms of abundance, Lakshmi…. and means “one who sits on a lotus”.  Not only do I identify with eastern beliefs, but the lotus references the radiating circlular Mandalas I create with my artwork, as well as the fact I like to include the lotus motif directly.   Mandalas are important to me because they represent wholeness, integration, being centered, and having well-being….. ahhhh, can you feel it?!  Oh, yes… and PEACE :))

~~~Mariposa is spanish for butterfly…. referencing transformation!! (and my affinity for Spain).   I feel that not only have I been transforming into a “better” version of myself, especially since the gift of autism entered my life almost 11 years ago,  I have actually been becoming Who I Really Am (as the Law of Attraction people say…).  I am gradually peeling away and throwing off the layers of what’s been placed upon me by outside sources and discovering my True Self…. the beauty of the butterfly is not just in it’s outward presentation, but in the process and concept of allowing itself to become it’s most amazing version of itself.  Autism and the Son-Rise Program have taught me that this is the way to create the miracle of autism recovery… but it’s also the way to create the miracle of ME ;))  I have a lot to offer the world, but I have to come out of my cocoon and stretch my wings first!

~~~As I continue to go forward, I plan to continue to offer what I’ve created with all of YOU ;))… with openness, authenticity, acceptance, compassion…. and LOVE ;))  Because TOGETHER WE ARE STRONGER…. and Love IS the Answer, and Peace IS the Way.

~~~Namaste Everyone…. the light in me sees, adknowledges and appreciates the light in you.


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!

%d bloggers like this: