Embracing Imperfect 2015-05-21T19:50:31Z http://embracingimperfect.com/feed/atom/ Gina <![CDATA[Raising Kingdom Abled Kids: Don’t Look Back]]> http://embracingimperfect.com/?p=20376 2015-05-21T19:50:31Z 2015-05-21T19:50:31Z This week, I thought we’d look at two mothers in the Bible who don’t get a lot of credit: Eve, the mother of mankind, and Lot’s wife, who has such a small role in the Bible that she doesn’t even get a name. These women took completely different approaches to life. One didn’t look back – and the other did, with disastrous circumstances. Eve: Moving Forward In Spite of Sin

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keep looking forward

This week, I thought we’d look at two mothers in the Bible who don’t get a lot of credit: Eve, the mother of mankind, and Lot’s wife, who has such a small role in the Bible that she doesn’t even get a name. These women took completely different approaches to life. One didn’t look back – and the other did, with disastrous circumstances.

Eve: Moving Forward In Spite of Sin

We meet Eve in Genesis 2 through 4. She is created as a “helpmate” to Adam, the first man. While in the Garden of Eden, the Enemy in the form of a serpent tempts her to break the ONLY RULE GOD MADE for the first two humans: not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

Wow, Eve, that’s a big screw up. (Let’s not forget that Adam was standing next to her so he was no better off. Shouldn’t he have at least said, “No! Stop!”?) Later, when God confronts them with their disobedience, he curses them both. This is what God said to Eve:

To the woman He said:
“I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception;
In pain you shall bring forth children;
Your desire shall be for your husband,
And he shall rule over you.” – Gen. 3:16

Yikes. I know if it were ME, I’d be like, “Hey Adam, I am SOOOO  outta here. We had fun and all, but sorry – sorrow and pain? No way I’m having babies. Later.” But Eve? She stuck it out. She knew the curse and still she had babies with Adam – at least 3 sons.* Of course, we know the story doesn’t end there, because her first born son would kill her second.

There is a temptation here, I think, to credit Adam and Eve with being bad parents but something we need to remember is that Abel was a good kid – a really good kid. \Abel was a shepherd and knew to give God the best offering, the fat of his finest sheep, messy though it might be and it his offering pleased God. He must have given with a generous spirit and a humble heart. Cain, a farmer, gave God a gift too – but I don’t think it was the best he had to offer. As a friend once said, it could have been “sloppy seconds.” Maybe it was some rotten fruit or apples fallen and trampled. All we know is what God sees: “He did not respect Cain and his offering.” And further, God tells Cain, “If you do not do well, sin lies at the door” – meaning Cain didn’t offer his gift to honor God. Sounds like he did this grudgingly. And the result? He murders his brother in a jealous rage.

So yea, there’s a lot we can blame on the parents, who first sinned. It’s natural that they would have a son who grew to be the first sinner, but they also raised a son who grew up to be (most likely) the first person in heaven. I like to think that Eve, with sorrow in her heart for the mistake she could never take back, set her children on her knee and told them exactly what it was like to walk in the presence of God. The reaction of her sons was just different. While murder and anger and jealously lurked in Cain’s heart, Abel demonstrated love for God by giving Him his finest. Surely he learned that from his parents, in some small way.

Now Eve has this to look back on: the first sin of all time AND a son who is the first murderer, of her other child. Wouldn’t you be completely done with childbearing at this point? And yet, she has another child, Seth. And so we see Eve, not only as the first sinner among humans, but as a woman who could move beyond the horrid mistake of her past to live out her duty as a wife and mother.

Lot’s Wife: Frozen and Crumbling

Now, Lot’s wife was just the opposite. Lot and his two daughters lived in a place called Sodom (story in Genesis 19), which God was going to destroy for its wickedness. Angels save Lot, a Godly man, and his family is relocated to another city, with the instruction not to look back. His wife has just one line in the Bible:

But his wife looked back behind him, and she became a pillar of salt. – Gen. 19:26

It’s hard to understand specifically why this happened, but I can venture a guess. A few weeks ago, my husband found some old videos of Amelia when she was 3. She was amazing, just like any 3 year old: cute, adorable, verbal and completely understandable. She was engaged, focused and active, again, like any other 3 year old. Today, she is challenging to understand and her speech meanders all over the place. It’s indirect, she speaks in 3rd person about herself, scripts her language from movies and uses correlation to describe a thing. Sometimes it’s all muddied and hard to understand. Although that issue is improving, watching that video was heart breaking. How did this happen? How did she lose her speech in this way? When did her problems start?

Asking those questions has some merit, I grant you, but I see lots of moms stuck in a place they shouldn’t be by looking back at what a child has lost. This is especially true for parents of kids with regressive autism. If some “thing” truly stole my daughter’s abilities, I have two choices:

  • Look back in anger, remorse and grumble over what was “stolen.” Like Lot’s wife, I can be frozen into a crumbling statue of salt, looking, blaming, arguing and letting my heart fill with hate and desperation until I’m too lost to do any without falling apart.
  • Take Paul’s advice of “forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead.” (Phil 3:13b) Paul is encouraging us by sharing his example of moving forward into the things God has designed for us to live His purpose.

Even if the past looks brighter, we don’t own time machines to get back to it. We have come down the path that God has required of us and we must move forward. We must let go of that other child that existed before, whether she was whole and what we think is perfect, or whether she was in pain and suffering and agony that has been repaired. We must go forward for our children and for our purpose in this world, like Eve did.

And thank God she did! If not, there’d be world, no people to fill it, no me and you and none of our beautiful children who fill our hearts and minds with beauty and sorrow and pain.

And that’s a thing I would not trade for any perfect world.

*There’s no mention in the Bible but I’m not sure how else creation could have moved forward unless Eve had some daughters and that some serious hanky panky went on between siblings. 

 

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Gina <![CDATA[How to Look for Autism Recovery: Slow, Small Steps]]> http://embracingimperfect.com/?p=20360 2015-05-19T15:46:22Z 2015-05-19T15:01:40Z On Friday, I went on a field trip with Zoe to the Rodale Organic Farm. As often happens when I see Zoe and other kids, I worry. The older they get, the more their distance grows, and she participates less and less. Some boys sitting near us got in trouble for playing Truth or Dare and talking about the girls, and I wonder if she could even possibly

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autism recovery

On Friday, I went on a field trip with Zoe to the Rodale Organic Farm. As often happens when I see Zoe and other kids, I worry. The older they get, the more their distance grows, and she participates less and less. Some boys sitting near us got in trouble for playing Truth or Dare and talking about the girls, and I wonder if she could even possibly get that. Perhaps she does and I don’t see it.

And that, my friends, is the challenge with autism and autism recovery: You’re never really sure if you’re seeing it.

On Sunday, we were in church and I thought about my praying for your kids post. I realized that it had been a while since I had passionately prayed for her. Right there and then, I prayed for Zoe to be healed, completely and totally, and to regain what she needs to be more like other kids, to have an easier time with academics, behavior and friendships, to be able to really speak, to be physically healed of any medical issues, and if it’s not God’s will for her to be healed that I would know that and have peace. I further prayed that God would lead me with any therapies, any changes I need to make – stopping a treatment, taking a more vigorous approach to food intervention, adding a treatment, etc.

With that that done, I woke up on Monday and saw a new post from Autism TV Channel. While the ending is happy, it’s so painful to watch the beginning and I believe that Zoe could have been down this route, possibly, if we had not intervened. The video is worth watching. It shows kids screaming, emaciated teens in diapers beating themselves and others. It’s EXTREMELY painful to watch, but there is hope, they are cured in this video.

What an eye opener! I took it as a reminder from God to be grateful for where we are and how the path that He put us on with homeopathy and food intervention. We have come so far, and our earlier intervention may have prevented a blizzard of issues with her.

The thing is you need to know how to look for signs of recovery in autism. Here are some key steps that I’ve learned over the years to use to see it:

1. Take the long view.

Don’t think about last week, sometimes you can’t even look back at last season. Look back to one year ago. Use memorable events as a measuring guide – annual competitions, holidays, start or end of school – to track the changes in your kids. What are they doing now that they couldn’t do at this even last year? Two weeks ago when Zoe and Amelia both participated in the Field and Track Special Olympics. While it was a challenging day for Zoe because of the heat, she had an amazing day. She only did 2 of the 3 events she signed up for, but what a difference from last year! She stood on the podium – of course, wanting the #1 spot, but laughingly walking down to her spot and smiling for the photo. She wore her ribbons the whole day. Before being overcome by the heat, she was having a great time and really understood where she needed to be and what she needed to do to compete – where to stand, where to aim, where to go. It was beautiful and a total 180 from last year.

2. Remember that effective detox means regression.

We are experiencing regression big time, but it’s also lessening! That’s crazy and great. Behaviors have come back – more stimming, scripting, arm biting – but more positive behaviors are emerging too – more speech, more interaction, more typical kid behavior. For example, she now knows how to light tap (not “hit”) someone as a gag…yes, she knows how to joke around physically! That’s huge but I know that the more she heals, the more we’ll be experiencing stuff we never thought we’d see again. It’s just the nature of how detox works – to heal, you have to work through the bad reactions.

3. Put a positive spin on things.

Yesterday, she came home feeling crummy from a long day. We actually thought she had a virus but she was just run down from a challenging hike. Allergies are out of control here in PA this year, and she’s been sniffling. She had, I think, 2 viruses this year, which is 2 more than she’s had in years…but that’s good. Her body is reacting as it should when attacked by a virus or allergen: runny nose, fever, whatever the appropriate immune response is. We haven’t seen that in many years, so I’m happy when she’s a little sick.

4. Read the reports from your child’s staff daily.

Last year, Zoe did a project on Walt Disney. She selected him and barely sat through a 6 minute bio video but I was still so proud of her. Yesterday, Zoe’s aide told me she sat through a 45 minute “not engaging” presentation without a peep! After that, she participated in a 2-hour, challenge level hike – the same hike she refused to do last week. What changed? I’m not sure but I’m seeing so many positive changes on a daily basis. For a while, I was a little nervous that her aide was just being positive, but it all aligns with what I’m seeing at home, which is great news.

And, in case you’re wondering, what we’ve done has benefitted Amelia amazingly too. She barely has any sensory issues, but she can’t stand live music. This week in church I learned that after just 2 short weeks, Amelia has stopped putting her hands over her ears when the guitarist comes in to play for the kids in autism child care service. These “autism treatments” work great for other disabilities too! Check out my Mamavation post on 10 toxins that might be hurting your child with learning disabilities. I believe that environmental toxins are responsible for a great deal of these issues and healing the gut, food intervention, homeopathy and other natural treatments benefit all our kids with special needs.

I have to thank God for showing me a path that benefits my children, in doing what I do imperfectly and yet, their healing, their progress, their achievements are still in God’s hand. Your child can benefit too!

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Gina <![CDATA[Autism Treatment Therapies 101: ABA]]> http://embracingimperfect.com/?p=20351 2015-05-21T19:12:54Z 2015-05-15T19:48:52Z Applied Behavior Analysis, ABA, is one of the first recommendations I got for treating Zoe. I visited Applied Behavioral Strategies and learned that ABA is not really one specific thing. What is really is the application of behavioral principles to get a desired or remove a negative behavior. What it involves: Each therapy is tailored to the child. In reviewing the site above, I recognized the

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Autism Treatment ABA

Applied Behavior Analysis, ABA, is one of the first recommendations I got for treating Zoe. I visited Applied Behavioral Strategies and learned that ABA is not really one specific thing. What is really is the application of behavioral principles to get a desired or remove a negative behavior.

  • What it involves: Each therapy is tailored to the child. In reviewing the site above, I recognized the term “antecedent manipulation.” This refers to ABC (Antecedent Behavior Consequence), where you track  Antecedent (what triggered it), Behavior and Consequence as well as the possible function. Other ABA techniques include peer training/interaction, social stories, modeling, schedules, etc.
  • How to do it or get it: For us, it was offered as soon as we had an official diagnosis of autism from the developmental pediatrician, who gave us information on next steps. It’s a “first point” kind of therapy. Once a diagnosis is obtained, however, you’ll need further assessment to see if your child qualifies for more. You might have more difficulty getting ABA for a high-functioning child than we did for Zoe.
  • Costs: If your state provides benefits for your child’s therapy, this will be covered. Our experience is that this was free of charge.
  • Benefits: It can effectively eliminate behaviors at times, allowing your child to be more actively involved with activities, events and outings.
  • Downside: ABA addresses the behavior and yes, the trigger, but not necessarily the underlying cause. It is labeled as “effective” – that is, it’s effective in getting a particular behavior in or out of a child. But does it get to the root of the issue, whether it’s medical or communicative or an emotion? The criticism I see of ABA is that it produces robotic behavior – and, yes, I’ve heard that from parents too. Some have called it downright abusive (as in, you’re treating your child like a dog), others have had little or no success with it (somewhat true here).
  • Risk assessment: Low risk, however, this ignores the issue of medical problems in autism cases. I can’t see the benefit in training away something like a self-injurious behavior. That seems very “whack-a-mole” to me because I envision that root underlying problem will crop up somewhere else, and I bet that would be true for other problems. Also does nothing to address issues like sleep deprivation, constipation, diarrhea and is likely therefore minimally effective.
  • Benefits for other disabilities: I would think this would benefit disabilities that is purely behavioral but I personally don’t believe that many of those issues in children are.
  • Overall opinion: ABA is as far away from finding a cause as you can get. In my experience, treating root causes of problems in autism are far more effective than this type of therapy but it’s often one of the few therapies that are fully covered, so you may want to investigate it before dismissing it.

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Gina <![CDATA[Praying for Your Children: 6 Lessons from Hannah]]> http://embracingimperfect.com/?p=20339 2015-05-14T22:03:50Z 2015-05-14T14:37:14Z Raising kids with special needs has taught me two big things: 1. I cannot do this alone, and 2. I need to hope for the best without expecting a specific outcome. Neither one of these are intuitive for a mom like me, but I take great strength in the Old Testament (OT) story of Hannah. As told in 1 Samuel 1 and 2, Hannah was one

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praying for your child

Raising kids with special needs has taught me two big things:

1. I cannot do this alone, and

2. I need to hope for the best without expecting a specific outcome.

Neither one of these are intuitive for a mom like me, but I take great strength in the Old Testament (OT) story of Hannah. As told in 1 Samuel 1 and 2, Hannah was one of two wives of Elkanah.* At the start of this story, his other wife, Peninnah, already had a lot of kids, while Hannah was barren. Back in those days, being barren was considered a terrible misfortune and possibly even a punishment. Being barren meant there was no one to take care of you as you aged and you’d end up penniless and homeless if you outlived your husband. When the family would go to the temple in Shiloh to worship for Passover and the other major annual feasts, Peninnah would mercilessly mock Hannah for not having children. (Nice thing to do in the Lord’s house!) It got so bad that one year, Hannah was in such despair she would not eat. We find her on her knees in the temple begging God to give her a child – which she then promised to give back to God. She looked so crazy that Eli, the priest, thought she was drunk. The confusion was cleared up and he blessed her.

They went home, and God heard Hannah’s prayer. She conceived shortly after and kept the child with her until he was weaned (around age 3). Then she brought him back to Eli, the priest, so that he could be trained as one himself. Samuel, in turn, dedicated his life to the Lord. As for Hannah, she was later blessed with 5 more children and visited Samuel every year.

What can we moms learn from this mother of the Bible?

6 Lessons on Praying for Your Child

1. Pour the desires and anguish of your heart out to the Lord.

God knows what’s in your heart, true, but He wants to hear it from you. I know that many look upon the outpouring of problems and despair as “venting” or “shame”, but God can bear it. He already knew that Hannah was hurting but it sounds like until that day that she took to her knees in the temple, she had not truly shared her burden with Him. That act changed everything. When you pray for your children, be honest and pour out your anguish to the Lord. When my mother began to show the “ugly” part of vascular Alzheimer’s (paranoia, anger, delusions), my heart broke. I took it to God, over and over, in the same day and the Holy Spirit comforted me, over and over in that same day. The next day, I felt healing in my soul and a way to deal with the pain.

2. Take comfort in His Word.

If you read further in the story, you’ll see that Eli was *not* the best of priests, but even so, his prayer that the God of Israel grant Hannah’s request encouraged her. Eli was meant to be the representative of God on Earth and even though he had human failings, God still used him to lighten Hannah’s load. This was not Eli’s doing so much as it was God speaking through Eli, as we see Hannah go home and eat and “was no longer sad.” Today, we don’t need an Eli, we just need a Bible. I’ve been through a crazy number of challenges in the last 6 months and the only thing that has comforted me is hearing from God, through scripture: reading and memorizing it, holding it in my heart, scripturally based worship music and friends sharing scripture. The Bible is the God’s words of comfort for us.

3. Pray with conviction and leave the problem to God.

This is a hard one for me, because, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m a “fixer.” God can solve any problem, any at all, but again, He will solve it in a way that shows His glory. Hannah’s painful years of being barren made her subsequent pregnancies a way to glorify God – only He could change that path for her. And when we pray, we must not doubt. James writes this, about asking God for wisdom:

But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. – James 1:6-7

So pray for your children whatever is on your heart; pray for whatever you want for your children. Healing? Yes! Recovery? Yes! Salvation? Absolutely! Academic success, speech impediment gone, social behaviors fixed, no more OCD? YES!! And remember that:

4. God always answers the prayers of the faithful.

Ok, so let’s be real – Hannah suffered but in the end, she was lucky. You and I know it. Some of us will never get the answers we want, like Hannah did: no pregnancy, no healing, little recovery, still no speech, still poor social behaviors. It’s not that God won’t answer your prayer. He will one way or another – and that other way may not be what you want. It may not be the way you imagined. In fact, you may get what you want in a way you NEVER wanted and don’t think you can handle. Or, perhaps you are not prepared for it yet so you have to wait longer. We don’t know how many years Hannah suffered but it was enough to break her spirit. Or, this is not the road for you because God has prepared a different and ultimately better one for you. He will answer your prayers and He will give you the strength to accept that answer, even if the answer is “no.”

5. Surrender your children to the Lord.

This is a hard one for me, but the real truth is that, sooner or later, we ALL have to “give up” our kids in some way. Unless we homeschool, we give them up to the school system for hours a day. For kids who do not have special needs, we give them up when they are ready to live on their own or give them over to live with a spouse. For kids with special needs, we give them over to respite, care centers and finally group homes and other facilities when we are no longer able to care for them. Sooner or later, this will happen.

Why not just give your child over to the Lord now? Of course, you will still care for him but let God do the heavy lifting and stop worrying about the future so much. I did finally give up and offer my kids to God, about a year ago. I realized that I can’t do everything, I can’t fix everything and I can’t hold their future OR eternal destiny, but God? He’s already got it all mapped out. Like Hannah, I turn my children over to Him to watch over and protect all the days of their lives, even when I can’t.

6. Give your heart felt thanks to the Lord when your prayer is answered.

Samuel is very important. He is the last judge of Israel, a prophet, a priest, a counselor and a true man of God. There are 2 books of the Bible named after him, he was the prophet and advisor for Israel’s first two kings, Saul and David, and is mentioned in the list of OT heroes in Hebrews 11. Later, Hannah had other children too, but long before that she brought Samuel to the temple, which was not near her home. She dropped off her preschooler, not expecting to see him for months, and what did she do next?

She worshipped God. She publicly THANKED God for answering her prayers and giving her a child RIGHT when she had to give him up for good. And not just a tiny prayer, but a whole 10 verses, the length of a page. She sang this song of worship in Samuel 2:1-10, and after that the very next line is, “Then Elkanah and Hannah returned home to Ramah without Samuel.” Sound painful, and no doubt it was, but at the same time, I think Hannah, in her heart, knew that Samuel would be a great man of God and I think this blessed her and gave her joy even through her loss. Now that is a lesson ALL of us parents can learn from!

Final Thoughts

Hannah’s outpouring of her heart, her trust in the Lord, her dedication of her child and her song of praise are a lesson all parents can learn from, especially those of us raising kids with challenges, difficulties and special needs. However, I do NOT recommend Hannah’s method of making a deal with God. Pray for your children but do not offer something in return other than your thanks. Give your child to God out of your own free will and not in exchange for an answered prayer. Simply ask for your dreams and hopes for your child – that’s what He wants – and He will be faithful to answer.

Finally, when you pray, do so as the Bible instructs: without willful sin or worry in your heart, without anything against your neighbor, with an open heart and clear conscience after confessing and writing any wrongs that are now weighing on your soul.

Other scriptures about praying to God include 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, Philippians 4:6-7, 1 John 5:14, Mark 11:24, Hebrews 4:16.

*After my studies, I’ve come to believe that having 2 or more wives was not in God’s plan for anyone, but people felt they knew best.

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Gina <![CDATA[5 Ways to Help Your Child Sit Still in Quiet Places]]> http://embracingimperfect.com/?p=20317 2015-05-12T18:34:01Z 2015-05-12T11:58:52Z This post was sponsored by CHEWIGEMUSA. All opinions are my own. Your child fidgets. Sure, you get it but too much fidgeting can be distracting for your child and those around him – and can even be harmful. We struggled for a long time when Zoe fidgeted in the car or the school van. She would unbuckle her seat belt, forcing us to pull off to

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This post was sponsored by CHEWIGEMUSA. All opinions are my own.

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Your child fidgets. Sure, you get it but too much fidgeting can be distracting for your child and those around him – and can even be harmful. We struggled for a long time when Zoe fidgeted in the car or the school van. She would unbuckle her seat belt, forcing us to pull off to the side of the road time after time. Fidgeting also pulls a child’s focus off what’s important and can contribute to the start of a tantrum, self-injurious behaviors like hand biting or whining.

It’s important to help children with sensory issues, autism and other problems that cause them to fidget sit still enough to focus on what is in front of them – a school lesson, a movie, a live performance. Each of my recommendations may work in a different place: what will work in the car won’t work at the movies, and what works at school may not work at homework time.

5 Ways to Help Your Child Sit Still

1. Use Weighted Objects:

Fidget Lap Pad

Pellets, rice, hard beans, some fabric and accessories, and you could probably make one yourself if you’re crafty! 

From lap bags to beanbags, a child can feel more comfortable with a heavy object in their lap. These allow your child focus on what is in front of them, as they are soothed by the weight in their lap. For a pretty penny, you can buy these items or you can create a homemade lap pad or weighted blanket yourself. These are ideal for classrooms, theaters and homeschooling.

2. Give Her Frequent Breaks:

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Outdoor breaks are perfect to stop fidgeting!

When your child needs to sit for a long time to learn something, I believe frequent breaks are necessary. Hopefully, you can work with your child’s teacher to make sure your she is getting up and moving around enough with a lap around the hall, a bathroom break or a few minutes outdoors. We work closely with our kids’ school team to ensure the girls have plenty of opportunity to stretch rather than sitting for too long. They set timers for 5-minute intervals. This approach works best in school or at home. In theaters and other sit down venues, if your child is too fidgety for a program or performance, you might want to consider an early exit.

3. Use Electronics & Music:

I highly recommend kid-safe music for your short travels, but longer trips – like driving on vacation or airline trips – require electronic tools like a tablet, a smart phone or a portable gaming machine. While I don’t advocate using these at home too often, they are perfect to protect against the discomfort of distance travel for a child who has a hard time sitting still.

4. Always Carry Extra Clothing:

Kids with sensory issues or who have trouble regulating their body temperature often fidget and get distracted by their clothing, especially if it gets wet or the weather changes. It’s a good idea to keep clothes that are either too tight, are made for working out or are developed specifically for kids with sensory problems on hand at all times. Now that it’s hot, my daughter can’t stand short sleeve shirts. She prefers long sleeves or tank top so we do our best to accommodate those needs with an extensive selection of shirts for her, both with characters she loves and completely unadorned. We always keep a small bag of these clothes on hand in our car, in our carry-ons and in her schoolbag.

5. Bring a CHEWIGEMUSATM Item With You:

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This CHEWIGEM goes with everything!

Each of these ideas are great in the right situation, but you may be wondering if there’s a solution that works anywhere. There is: CHEWIGEMUSA creates pendants, bangles, dog tags and other objects out of FDA-approved, food safe silicone and are free of lead, latex, BPA, PVC’s and phthalate. That means they are completely nontoxic for your child to chew – and you know how careful I am about avoiding toxins around my children!

We received the Raindrop Pendant CHEWIGEM in Icicle, which matched Zoe’s Elsa costumer perfectly. When it arrived, she immediately put it on and started chewing. She loved wearing it and playing with it as a pretty necklace – she’s such a girly girl! The only problem we had was that Amelia loved it too – and hid in her purse, lol! She chewed on it in a different way, which made me really like this product because each child used it in the way that suited her best. CHEWIGEMUSA carries sensory chew items that accommodate various chewing styles and are suitable for all ages. We chose the Raindrop, which is better suited for the “nibbler.” It retails at $19.95 and comes in an array of colors. CHEWIGEMUSA is the perfect solution for home, school, car, travel, theaters or wherever you are taking your child. One tip, though? You might want to pick up one or more CHEWIGEMS for each of your kids!

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The perfect accessory for your princess. See how she’s focused on her laptop?

 

CHEWIGEMUSA Discount Code

Right now, you can pick up a CHEWIGEMUSA  for your child and save 10% off your order with our exclusive discount code:

embracing10

Simply enter the code above at the “Discount” button (under “Order Summary” in the shopping cart) for your 10% discount. They also accept Paypal, which is something else I really love about it.

I recommend CHEWIGEM as a great tool to help your child stop fidgeting so he can focus on what’s really important. What tips can you share that have helped your child overcome distractive fidgeting?

 

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Gina <![CDATA[Lessons from Mothers of the Bible: 7 Ways to Teach Your Kids About God]]> http://embracingimperfect.com/?p=20294 2015-05-07T12:55:35Z 2015-05-07T12:00:59Z Teaching a child is difficult for me, and raising two girls with learning disabilities, neither who enjoy reading or even doing their homework has presented a HUGE challenge: How can I teach them about my faith? I’d really rather sit down and spend an hour doing advanced calculus than 10 minutes instilling lessons in my kids but as their only Christian parent, I’m solely responsible for their

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Teaching a child is difficult for me, and raising two girls with learning disabilities, neither who enjoy reading or even doing their homework has presented a HUGE challenge: How can I teach them about my faith? I’d really rather sit down and spend an hour doing advanced calculus than 10 minutes instilling lessons in my kids but as their only Christian parent, I’m solely responsible for their spiritual development so I’m writing a series to take inspiration from mothers in the Bible. One took huge risks to save her child’s life. God then raised him up to be one of the greatest leaders in the Old Testament, Moses.

We don’t know much about Jochebed from the Bible, but she had 3 children while her Israelite nation was enslaved in Egypt. During her 3rd pregnancy, the Pharaoh had decreed that all Hebrew babies that were born be put to death immediately. Can you imagine the terror for expecting couples? Moses was born, and like any loving mother, Jochebed looked at him and fell in love. At great personal risk, she kept him hidden but by the age of 3 months, Moses was not quiet enough to hide anymore. She put him in a makeshift boat to float him down the river. Think about what courage and trust it took for her do that to her “beautiful child”! (Exodus 2:2)

The story does not end there, of course. Moses floated down the river, was picked up by Pharaoh’s daughter who also took to him – possibly because she wanted an heir to the throne – and decided to raise this Hebrew baby. His sister, Miriam, ran behind and offered a Hebrew wet nurse, so the daughter agreed to pay this woman. In this way, Jochebed got her baby back until he was weaned. What can we learn from Jochebed’s story?

Lesson 1: Your love for your child is rewarded.

Jochebed had such great love for her child that she would do anything to save her boy. God rewarded that by not only rescuing his life, but choosing him as the man to save their nation from slavery in Egygpt. When  you think about teaching your child in spite of your shortcomings or their disability or limitations, let your love for them be your guide.

Lesson 2: Your trust in God will be fulfilled.

Jochebed could not have known what would happen when she put Moses in the river. The Nile runs through the location of where the Israelites lived, Goshen, and eventually flows north into the Mediterranean Sea. Pharaoh’s daughter lived upstream and Jochebed must have known he would pass where royalty dwelled. He could have been easily killed by little boat capsizing or the Egyptian guards, but God protected him and eventually he was sent back to Jochebed. I’m sure their parting was painful but how she must have treasured their time together when all around her, mothers missed their dead children. Her faith and trust in God’s plan was fulfilled. If you are faithful to teaching them the word, He will be faithful to protect those seeds you plant in them, even if you think they won’t understand.

Lesson 3: You can do this even if you have nothing.

Jochebed was a woman in a nation of slaves. You can’t get a much lower position than that. She probably had very little in the way of worldly possessions and certainly there were no holy texts yet, since Moses himself wrote the first 5 books of the Bible. In fact, because he was schooled as an Egyptian prince, he had all the tools he needed to lay down the beginnings of our Scriptures. You need nothing to teach your kids, just your own strong faith and values and the Bible, a tool neither Jochebed nor Moses had to teach their own children.

7 Tips to Help You Teach Your Kids About God

Throughout the story of this Biblical mother, God shows us that with faith, courage and love, we can teach our children what they need to become a believer who serves God’s purpose. These tips may help you:

1. You CAN be creative.

I love music and I write, so despite the fact that I always feel intimidated by this, I created a little song for Zoe based on  part of James 1:17. Here are the words if you want to use them:

Every good & perfect gift, good & perfect gift,
Comes from Father God above, Father God above,
Who gives gifts in perfect love, gifts in perfect love from….
(this is where Zoe says or sings “GOD!”)

What is your gift or talent that you can use to teach your children?

parenting books

 

2. Do anything and everything.

That first thing ONLY happened because I tried everything: books, stories, reading, apps, videos, you name it. Sometimes with a kid with special needs the only thing you can be certain of is when they are disinterested, so you need to keep on plugging in different things to help them learn about the faith…just like if you are teaching math to a kid who doesn’t get it. Try anything you can think of to teach your kids.

ipad apps
3. Sacrifice.

It had been on my heart to get my girls into a church that can serve them and it a LOT for me to stop attending my very beloved home church (where I’d been nurtured and taught for over 2 years) to send them to a church that can meet their needs in child care and teach them about Christ. This was really hard and I didn’t want to do it but everything in me says it’s right when I’m back to sitting in pews. Now I have to work on sacrificing time to plan lessons. What sacrifice is God asking you to make to teach your child?

christian movies

Hollywood quality, engaging, action-packed, kid friendly movies with a Christian message? Requirements for my kids to enjoy but hard to find!

4. Start memorizing Scripture.

My kids don’t like to read so when I’m fumbling through the concordance at the back of the kid’s Bible, I lose ground FAST. But I can easily share with the (few) verses I’ve memorized – and that goes a long way towards training a kid who DOES. NOT. WANT. TO. READ. Start with something simple, like John 3:16.

Christian kids books

hese are hit and miss but I also pick them up every chance I get, especially if they are free or discounted!

5. Repetition, repetition, repetition.

Ask any parent who’s  on their 1,000th viewing of “Frozen” – kids are less turned off by repetition than adults. Not only that, but in my last 2 years of Bible study, that you don’t get to know anything very well unless you go over it – over and over. With my kids, that’s just fine. Pick one short lesson and review it nightly. With Amelia, I was reviewing “light” scriptures in the Bible and after just 2 weeks, she now knows that God is the father of lights (James 1:17), that Jesus is the light of the world (John 8:12) and that we can pray, “The Lord is our light” (Psalm 27:1).

6. Teach what you’ve just learned.

That whole light lesson came about because the Monday before last, we studied how God is the light of the world in adult Bible study. I was already doing James 1:17 so the first scripture was easy, then I picked few more from study and a concordance, and Genesis 1:3 for good measure, since we had talked about creation recently. In that way, my daughter is learning to associate God with light. I thought of that by myself SURELY with the Holy Spirit putting that lesson in my mind.

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We beat that Story Book Bible to pieces, literally but I won’t stop buying “interesting” Bibles for them.

7. Keep praying with faith.

None of this would have happened had I not been praying for them nightly for years, including asking God HOW I can teach them. Pray also before you teach, that God will set His Word in your child’s heart and allow it to take root. Pray He will give you the lessons He wants them to learn. God will bless our best efforts, even if our kids can’t read, sit still, communicate, or acknowledge what they have heard. Keep in mind, too, that it’s generally believed that Moses himself had a stutter, yet on occasion after occasion, he stood up – to Pharaoh, to the nation when they sinned, to rebellions within the nation – because he trusted God to handle things despite his fears. Never doubt that God can’t use your child with special needs.

Kids with special needs and learning disabilities need to know and understand God’s word as much as any other child and it’s your duty to figure out how to do that in a way they can hear. That’s all you need to do: make sure they hear it as best you can. God will do the rest. Imagine my joy when I at prayers last night I asked Amelia, “God is the father of??” and she said, “LIGHT!” I could feel God’s pleasure in my heart. You too can do this too!

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Gina <![CDATA[6 Things Never to Say to the Parent of A Child With Special Needs]]> http://mom-blog.com/?p=1481 2015-05-11T18:50:10Z 2015-05-05T08:00:36Z I remember the day like it was yesterday. Amelia was 3 years old and I had to pick her up from special needs preschool with my car. I saw another mom there and asked her where to wait. After assuring me I was in the right place, she mentioned she was picking up her kid too and then she started talking really fast. “But there’s

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I remember the day like it was yesterday. Amelia was 3 years old and I had to pick her up from special needs preschool with my car. I saw another mom there and asked her where to wait. After assuring me I was in the right place, she mentioned she was picking up her kid too and then she started talking really fast. “But there’s nothing wrong with him! He just has a speech delay.”

Inside, my blood boiled. I resisted the urge to retort, “There’s nothing wrong my daughter either, she just has Down syndrome.” I was so angry, I just nodded and avoided her during my wait. I greeted that experienced with pure anger but today, I feel like this is an opportunity to teach others how to act in this uncomfortable (for them) situation.

Here are 6 things you should never to say to the parent of a child with special needs:

1. “What’s wrong with him?”

Sort of the flip side of what the mom at the preschool said, this is often asked with a smile that says, “I’m just asking to know how to treat him,” but there may a motive of unhealthy curiosity here. Never say this, NOR any variation of this statement, such as, “Is he OKAY??” (when “okay” is shouted) “Does he always do that?” “How you handle his, his..ya know.” And yes, I have heard them all. If you want to know how to treat a child with special needs, I can sum it up in one word: RESPECT. Realize that the negative reaction you’re seeing may not be something he can control in any manner, or that the things you don’t understand about him are none of your business. The same is true of how I raise my children with special needs: what my husband and I do as parents works for our family and is not your business. Instead, turn around your curiosity and be friendly, kind and, if you see us on vacation, maybe offer to buy us a drink, ok? (Nothing better than a pina colada by the pool, even if it’s virgin!)

2. “I’m sorry” (for your child)

Five years ago, I checked out a new church. A couple asked about my childrens’ special needs so I shared with them. In response, the couple said they were “sorry.” I was caught off guard – what was there to be sorry about? They seemed mature, well-educated and very Christian and yet they reacted as if I’d “lost” my children. I have’t “lost” anything, although, perhaps my expectations of parenthood had changed. Honestly? I don’t know any parent that can’t say that. And yea, perhaps I was stressed out when I met those people. Five years ago, bringing a 7 and 4 year old with special needs to church IN THE MORNING after DATE NIGHT was a hair raising experience so perhaps I was a little too honest. That said, “I’m sorry” is STILL not the right reaction. Church goer, take a moment or two to consider how Jesus would respond.

3. “She’s a bad parent.”

My husband overheard this said of me in a restaurant once when my daughter was making noise – joyful noises, actually, and in a loud restaurant too. They were sounds that you would associate with a child with an intellectual disability and yes, she still makes those happy noises. I haven’t bothered to tell her it’s “wrong” – and I won’t be doing that any time soon! Even if my child is loud, interrupting, upset or whatever, that is no illustration of my parenting. This is her disability – and guess what? they knew it, you know, we all know it. This response is prompted by their “discomfort” from being around a person with a disability. Everyone is aware of autism and other disabilities that cause children to act inappropriately at times. But guess what? They are still children and they are still learning appropriate behavior. For some kids with special needs, this takes a long, long time; others won’t learn it at all. Try a little compassion and learn to grow up and get over your discomfort; it will serve you well in life to treat other kindly.

4. “Oh she’s so sweet!”

I’m going to tell you right now that this is a common condescension towards kids and people with Down syndrome. People have used it on Zoe too, but it’s more common with Amelia. “Isn’t she sweet” often means this: “Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry she has Down syndrome, but aren’t they just the sweetest kids and that’s something good about it, right?” GAG. She can be sweet. She can also be fierce, tough, laid back, determined, affectionate, overly athletic, strong, resistant, stubborn, angry and man, she has a mean streak! Like ANY OTHER KID, she has a range of emotions, like ANY OTHER KID, she gets all, “AWWWW” when she sees babies and puppies and owlets, like ANY OTHER KID she can be a handful that turns my hair gray when she wants. “Sweet” is only one of a host of adjectives that describe my child, so start looking at my whole child and not just a stereotype.

5. “How does she communicate?”

Kids without speech are frequently talked about as if they are not in the room and it’s annoying as all get out. Now, I’m going to confess: sometimes hubby and I talk about the kids around the kids, but it’s not one kid or the other, it’s the kids. It’s a terrible failing and I’m calling myself out – but there it is. Part of the reason is that there is very little time that we are NOT around the kids. (Hello, babysitters, we need you!) Even so, it bothers the snot out of me when people specifically point (yes, actually using their finger) at my child and say, “How does she communicate?” It hasn’t happened in a while, so perhaps the next time, Zoe will come up to the offending party and smack them. (She’s done it to me, with this little mischievous grin, a light tap, that says, “I’m ON TO YOU.”) She communicates just fine, don’t ask for a demonstration or you might get one you wouldn’t like.

6. “They are such a blessing.”

This is also kind of condescending, notice the way “they” is used to reference a specific group. It’s one of those things that sounds good coming out of your mouth, but what you may mean is, “Kids are blessings, but special needs kids, well, they are all kinds of extra work and difficulties and God blessed you and, thank God, not me!” The fact is all children are blessings. All children are challenges. All of them teach you as much as they learn from you, and all children make you smile, break your heart, make you pull your hair out and make you puff up with  pride. It’s the nature of a child that you love to do this to you. My kids are as a much a blessing to me as any other child is to any other loving parent. I love them as unconditionally as you love yours. Period, end of story.

I could make this list much longer, but I think you get the gist. In short, treat us like you would any other parents. If you have questions, you can ask them but do it respectfully and not as if my kids are objects that can’t hear or understand. And don’t ask just for curiosity sake – ask to really learn. I welcome the opportunity to teach other parents how they can support parents like us or just be a friend for the parents of special needs children around them. And one bonus tip? If your kid sees my kid and asks why they do or don’t do this or that, don’t hush them up. We can answer that question just fine and hopefully your child will learn something good and maybe even make a friend. I DO happen to have kids who make friends fast – and keep them.

For additional reading, check out “What to Say When Your Friend’s Baby has Down Syndrome“, should you come across this situation for a new baby.

This blog was originally posted in 2010.

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Gina <![CDATA[Research, Healing and Autism Treatment Therapies]]> http://embracingimperfect.com/?p=20262 2015-05-01T19:14:58Z 2015-05-01T18:39:05Z This week, Huffington Post published John Rodakis’ article, “Autism: Maybe It’s Not What We’ve Been Told.” John is the founder of N of One Autism Research Foundation. In this article, he explores the problem: the “experts” have hinged so much on autism being a hardwired condition, that they have restricted research into other ideas about the causes of autism – for example, could autism be caused by medical

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This week, Huffington Post published John Rodakis’ article, “Autism: Maybe It’s Not What We’ve Been Told.” John is the founder of N of One Autism Research Foundation. In this article, he explores the problem: the “experts” have hinged so much on autism being a hardwired condition, that they have restricted research into other ideas about the causes of autism – for example, could autism be caused by medical or environmental issues that are NOT hardwired?

John discovered this when his 3 year old son with autism started showing signs of recovery after getting sick: “…Our son had an unexpected, rapid, and dramatic improvement in his autism symptoms while taking a common antibiotic prescribed for his strep throat infection.” This illustrates the PANDAS (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections) link to autism, which so many of my friends see in their children – and explains why so many kids who have overcome PANDAS stop showing signs of autism. These inflammation of the brain disorders triggered by an infection or other environmental trigger. Learn more about PANS/PANDAS at the PANDAS Network.

Like anything with autism, there are so many considerations here. When I read John writing about antibiotics, I can’t help but think about gut bacteria, and good gut health. See this article I wrote for Shiftcon and Bio-K probiotics last year.)

Why You Need to Consider Autism Treatments on Your Own

But it also made me think about the reason it’s so important to find the right solutions for our children. Our kids who are struggling do not have time for the science to catch up with what already know: that autism can be medical and that some autism treatments can recover kids and heal problems. Gut bacteria has only played a small role in Zoe’s autism and while I do not believe she has PANS or PANDAS, there are still interventions that we can and have taken to help. I know I’m repeating myself but I’ve decided that this is the perfect launch post for a new section on my blog:

Autism Treatment Interventions 101

I’m still debating whether I want to do traditional ones or just cover alternative autism treatments, but right now I’m leaning that way. My plan is every Friday, to give you an overview of a particular autism treatment therapy, including:

  • what it involves
  • how to do it or get it (trained specialist required? can do on your own?)
  • rough idea of out-of-pocket costs, funding, fees
  • dangers/downside/negative feedback on this therapy
  • benefits/risk assessment
  • what other disabilities or conditions can it benefit (general speech disorders, SPD, broad range of learning disabilities, etc.)

I’m hoping this will be helpful for my readers.

Now it’s your turn: what do you want to see me cover in a series about autism treatment therapies?

 

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Gina <![CDATA[5 Easy Ways to Show Gratitude for Others]]> http://embracingimperfect.com/?p=20253 2015-05-01T15:57:07Z 2015-04-30T23:55:25Z This post is sort of a challenge. A few weeks ago I was confronted with some ugly truth about myself: I’m selfish. Today, when we think of selfishness, often greed comes to mind, like “I need more money” or “Bigger house” or “Want more stuff.” I’m not talking about greed. Instead, I’m talking about the selfish act of putting one’s self first, before others. Selfishness can be an

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This post is sort of a challenge.

A few weeks ago I was confronted with some ugly truth about myself: I’m selfish. Today, when we think of selfishness, often greed comes to mind, like “I need more money” or “Bigger house” or “Want more stuff.” I’m not talking about greed. Instead, I’m talking about the selfish act of putting one’s self first, before others. Selfishness can be an “in the moment” thing: “I don’t feel like getting up and helping you.” Or, it can be more of an outlook on life, which is a very American attitude, IMO: “Me first! My needs, my wants, my cares, and then, if I’m not too wrapped up, then you.”

Then, there’s the selfishness I suffer from, the “difficulty in doing for others to show my love” kind. Now, let me set a few things straight. First off, I’m completely heart guilty because when it was pointed out to me, it DESTROYED me and yet, that little voice of the Spirit said, “You know it’s right.” And that destroyed me all over again.

Secondly, this difficulty is a REAL difficulty, to wit: it’s difficult to get out (broken car), to get money (long story), to get time away (the kids). There’s a few other wild cards in this category but I don’t want to make it longer because it sounds like an excuse, and that’s just it: I have used these things as an excuse. And it was a problem for me long before I had kids OR needed a car. Those things just camouflaged this flaw. In admitting this, though, I want you to know that at least a little of it is a heart head connection. My heart is in the right place but my head overthinks kindness – and stresses about it – and then I freeze and do nothing. That’s not an excuse, it’s just another flaw I have to work on understanding myself and others.

Additionally, I’m not creative so I freeze on this: how do you help someone if you have no car, no cash and little time – outside of praying? Well, that’s the rub – I still don’t know the answer but I’m trying. I struggled for ideas but my friend challenged me to post creative ways to do this. I’m not sure this is any good but here goes:

5 Easy Ways to Show Gratitude for Your Loved Ones

1. Do something you’re good at – for someone else.

While I was mulling how the heck I can show my appreciation, another friend said, “What about your writing?” I am a good writer, so why not write the support and send it in an email when I can? I got some practice doing this last week and it was positively and happily received. In addition, I’m creatively trying to think of reasonable ways I can share this gift for people in need of my skills. What are you good at that you can do to thank someone? Photography? Organizing? Decorating? What thing do you love to do that you can do for others? What I like about this is that I’ll use any excuse to write, I (still) love it that much.

2. Do something in the moment.

Ok, so you’re in that store and you’re buying groceries and you remember your friend like Bark Thins or Numi Tea or hazelnut cookies or what have you. Now, I know I mentioned money issues I’m having, but I’m talking about super cheap things that won’t start an argument when you get home. (If that’s an issue, avoid this one until you have that worked out, and that’s a whole other post topic.) I have trouble with this because our budget can be TIGHT and the kids require lots of special foods but on occasion when there’s a sale, I can make it work. That said, you don’t always have to spend money to give something. You can also share information – use Facebook or email to send devotionals, inspirational memes, relevant articles – there’s always something to share on the fly with that person who pops in your head. You can sort through old books, CDs, toys, movies, accessories, clothes and figure out which are in good condition and will bless someone you know. In addition, it doesn’t even NEED to be something old, it can be something you’re particularly fond of that you know they would love. As long as it speaks to who they are, go for it.

3. Start listening better.

It’s only by listening that we can consider what our friends really need. I’m painfully aware that I’m a terrible listener so I decided that I would work really hard to listen more attentively about 2 or 3 years ago. Listening is a challenging skill for a blabbermouth like me. (Double that because I work at home, alone and can’t talk to the kids. Triple that??) It’s tough but I’m getting better even if the people I love don’t see it yet. (TRUST ME, friends, my internal dialogue is much quieter than it used to be!) I think I’m still a few years away from really mastering this skill but I’m getting there.

4. Making lists.

I’m terribly forgetful – always have been – and while I’m happy to say, this is getting better (with better eating), I still need to work on remembering things. I know that I need to make a list. I’ve had a few false starts at making prayer lists, but that is a start. Next up, after spending time with friends, family or loved ones, I need to take a few minutes and jot down what I heard from them. This is challenging for friends who are very private but as you get to know people, you can still pick up cues on what they need although it may take a little while to fully grasp those things. That’s why #3 is so important.

5. Plan way ahead.

For me, the best way to show love is to go big but that means planning WAY ahead.For example, I can’t do a special Christmas gift for my husband unless I’ve at least figured out the “what” by October the latest – and I say this as a last minute Christmas shopper. For someone special that you want to indulge, that can mean a 3 month head’s up to get planning. Part of this is that you can really do something for that person without spending a lot of money and still fit it in your life. That could mean anything from free services to yard work to finding that thing they were looking for at that “unbelievably low price!” For example, about 2 or 3 years ago, Amazon offered me a first generation, base model Kindle FOR NINE DOLLARS. My only regret is not buying 2 or 3 of them for reader friends, since I use the HECK out of that thing. Seriously, best $9 I ever spent. That means keep your eye on your inbox, Retail Me Not, Groupon, Woot, Amazon deals, yard sales and book sales for deals that will make your friend’s day or week or month. For doing free things, that means clearing up a spot in your schedule to do whatever it is (thinking ahead is important here). It can also mean squirreling away a few pennies, unexpected income, or prizes for others.

I’m hoping that these 5 easy ways to show gratitude can be folded into my daily routine and spread to considering others on a more frequent basis. Eroding of self is hard, it’s tough and it hurts like hell, but God seems determined to answer my prayer.

Share with me: what simple things have you done to show others your gratitude?

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Gina <![CDATA[Patience, Mothers and Autism: A Look Back]]> http://mom-blog.com/?p=2065 2015-04-28T17:33:57Z 2015-04-28T17:06:45Z Five years can make an amazing difference in the life of a parent, a child and a family. Five years ago, my daughter Zoe was four years old and quite a handful. Autism had me on the ROPES. Five years ago, the autism diet was an idea scoffed at by my doctor, alternative healing was not even on my radar and I had no idea

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Five years can make an amazing difference in the life of a parent, a child and a family.

Five years ago, my daughter Zoe was four years old and quite a handful. Autism had me on the ROPES.

My poor girl once struggled so much!

Five years ago, the autism diet was an idea scoffed at by my doctor, alternative healing was not even on my radar and I had no idea why the word “detox” was suddenly so popular.

Five years ago, I lived in a nightmare that many families raising children with autism are suffering through today. Today, I’m taking a look back at those days. This post was originally written in June, 2010 and here are some of my struggles with my beautiful daughter, who was trapped behind a veil of sensory issues and speechlessness:

I have had it. I mean, when Amelia was 4, we had already been putting her in time outs for a year. It worked (for another couple of years anyway)!

But here’s a parenting challenge: How do you punish a 4 year old who does not speak (much), will not take direction, and has legitimate sensory issues? I mean, I only painted my house in the winter (beautiful colors no less) and now it’s all covered in pen, crayon, and pencil. Is there a book out there somewhere? “Positive Parenting Kids with Autism”?

Spanking is not the answer, ok? Did I mention she has sensory disorder? For a person who struggles inside their own skin (raising my hand wildly), spanking is cruelty, IMO. Plus I could never bring myself to hit my children when I’m calm, and we all know you can’t when you’re upset.

MOTHERS & AUTISM: IT’S A LEARNING CURVE

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An outfit she picked out herself. She then spent like 10 minutes proudly admiring her fashion sense in the mirror! She’s way better at fashion than I ever was.

Right there, that’s it! My mama instinct kicked in. I believe that spanking is a choice, but as my wise sister once told me, “There’s no one answer for every child.” She was talking about discipline but it truly applies to mothers raising kids with autism. Not every course of treatment, food intervention, conventional therapy will help every child. That’s what makes autism such a slippery beast that’s challenging to study, particularly if you are a government agency hellbent on closing your eyes to studying certain things. A host of issues set off the reactions that trigger autism and only a host of intensive, and child-specific interventions can heal the difficulties caused by autism. What was my daughter struggling with back then?

She is becoming unruly at times. She won’t wear a diaper at home. It’s true she does have a small blemish on her tush, but still! One time I let her go and she pooped all over her quilt. And a tantrum for no ice cream? The movie’s end? Not being let into a room? She doesn’t sit often at the table either, who knows why she does that.

I grow weary of this battle. It’s not completely her fault; her disability caused tantrums that she was smart enough to use other times on indulgent caretakers, lazy family members, and tired and/or sick mommy and daddy. I’m determined to find a way that doesn’t kill me. (Just so we’re clear, the thought of consistency, schedules and the like with little or no improvements from her does kill me. )

If this is you, I feel for you  because you do not know that THERE IS HOPE. You do not know that there is a God who loves you, who has comfort for you. You do not know that your child is eating, drinking and being exposed to things may be destroying her ability to communicate or smile or laugh. You do not know, because no one told you, because naysayers said, “We’re waiting on the science” while your little child screamed and cried and bit herself, and others looked down on you, alleging poor parenting skills when you did EVERYTHING THE DOCTOR RECOMMENDED: Floor time. ABA. Well care check ups. Vaccines on schedule. Antibiotics for illness. Tylenol and OTC drugs when “needed”. GMO foods and formula. It turns out that some of those things did more harm than good – but you didn’t know, and that’s ok.

You know now because I’m telling – from my own experience – these things matter and they may be hurting your child. But don’t lose hope! God is with you – waiting for the right time, the right opportunity to show you what you could change, what you needed to change and when. He lead you to read this post right now. He still is there now watching over your children. I know that now, but I didn’t see it then:

I love her so much. She has so much awesome potential and she’s maturing her abilities very well this year.  But she needs to learn behavior, respect, or as much as a four year old can handle.  Is that too much to ask, in the last few months before she’s 5?

It turns out that this – this love – this is all you need as a parent: love that’s just crazy enough to find a solution where others tell you not to look. Love that has broken your heart so badly, you will do ANYTHING to make your child smile, laugh or talk. Love that fights for truth, fights for right, fights to help an injured child, fights to protect her and the families of other injured children. God’s love is like that too:

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. -1 Cor. 13:4-6

It’s that love that lead me, in God’s time, to the solutions that were right for my child. Sometimes you have to get to a breaking point before things can get better. There is a time and place for everything, and those times and places came together when I met a friend who attended my childrens’ school briefly who taught me all about the alternatives for treating autism.

These treatments take financial and emotional commitment. For women balancing motherhood and autism, there are no quick fixes or easy answers. This is a challenging journey but it can be a path to promise and a brighter future for your child. Not every solution will work, that’s true, and yes, you’ll find friends on this journey who you may envy as you watch their children heal at a pace your child cannot.

Let that go. Don’t waste precious time comparing your child to anyone, nor line up your sorrow against anyone else raising a child with more or less of a disability. That’s never ok to do; it will only lead to pain and pride or jealousy. Instead, look for the good in your child. Every kid comes to this earth with a strength, with a unique ability. Never underestimate the worth of things the world doesn’t value: like a small smile, a big hug, a new ability your child attains even if it’s 5, 10 years later than his or her peers.

CELEBRATE THE SMALL

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A recent trip to Cabella’s. We’d have never willingly gone to a big, crazy store like that when she was 4.

God wants us to do this: to celebrate the small. To enjoy the blessings we have now, for our children are blessings (Psalm 127:3). If you’re feeling weak and overwhelmed, that’s ok too, because then God can truly shine in your life, as the apostle Paul shares with us:

And He (God) said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.  -2 Cor. 12:9-11

I want you today to be challenged, encouraged and inspired by my blog. I’m praying for this to happen, and if you want to see something here that I’m not supplying, please ask. I want to help you in this journey and make your burden lighter. Your children deserve that.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in June, 2010.

 

 

The post Patience, Mothers and Autism: A Look Back appeared first on Embracing Imperfect.

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