So the conversation started out with my husband and I thinking of something fun we wanted to do with Michael and Elizabeth.

We thought it was a great idea.

One that would be relaxing and fun.

And since the weather was supposed to be nice on that weekend, we were sure it would be great.

So we planned it in our heads.

Then we told Elizabeth and Michael.

And they said….and I quote ” Dude, really? Nah, I’m good. Let’s do something else;” and ” How long do we have to stay?”

These were from Michael and Elizabeth respectively.

So John and I were a bit surprised by this reaction, especially since WE were absolutely sure it was a perfect idea.

For a bit of closure for the readers here, we did end up going to the place we wanted to go but with adjustments such as doing the other thing Michael wanted to do and to show Elizabeth about how long we were planning.

With this fun story comes some thoughts on this.

With summer comes so many opportunities to do things, take vacations, hang out at pools, do library programs etc. ( I had to put in something educational)

And they can all SEEM just great. At least, probably to one person. But what about the other people in the family.

I mean what sounded great to us, was so very not loved by my beautiful children.

It would have been better if we had talked to them about it first, before we kind of penciled it in on the schedule. I know this makes so much sense, since personalities in all families differ.

And this is even more so when you have special needs in your family. Because with special needs, sometimes certain things just aren’t possible, while other things are simply required such as therapies/scheduled rest times/doctor’s appointments etc.

So, talking with the siblings is such an important thing to do.

Give them the chance to tell you the things that they want to do– I like hearing from Michael his ideas. I have learned alot this way.

-Give them the chance to tell you what they would like to NOT be part of– I think this helps them feel like they have a choice

-Let them help you plan the next outing– Again, you might be pleasantly surprised to hear what they have in mind.

-Let them talk about feelings– They have a lot of them, just like we do and they need to be able to talk about them.

I know that with our beautiful Elizabeth, my daughter with special needs, we did some of these with Emily but I know we have done more with Michae, because we have learned more as time has passed.

And that is okay, we are all learning and growing and let’s face it….we are all a work in progress.

I share this all because maybe someone will read this and it will be just what they needed.

I wish everyone a peaceful week.

Michele Gianetti author of Elizabeth Believes in Herself.


I know that many people ask me how I did or rather, better, how WE did all that we did for Elizabeth?

How did you know what to do? Is another question that I get all the time and the truth is that throughout the journey with Elizabeth we have had the good and blessed fortune of having some really wonderful people on her team.

“Team Elizabeth” as it is affectionately called.

These people range from educators to therapists to friends to others who know others. And sometimes they were on the “team” for a little bit and some of them have been on the “team” for over 20 years. The point in all of this is that it does take a team to make it work.

I would NEVER in one hundred million years been able to think about what to do next for Elizabeth when she was young and in the deep throes of her SPD ( Sensory Processing Disorder)



I think crying was one of the things I knew I could do and I did it often, but actually thinking, sorting and assessing her needs was not what I could do.

But what I COULD do was listen and listen well to the the people who knew more than me, the people who because they were far enough from the scene. could see what I couldn’t and help where we were lost.

So I learned to listen and listen well.

We learned to do follow ups at home and reinforce new skills, topics, and more all throughout her day.

And our Elizabeth emerged from the layers of SPD and dyspraxia to learn to talk and grow more and she began to enjoy her life.

This is what we did and this helps to answer those questions I talked about.

So now we are looking at our 25 year old young adult. Who has come so far in her life. And will actually be turning 26 years old soon.

We still have a team in place and some of the old familiar faces still take seats of honor and others are new but that facr remains.

We still need a team.

And I/we still need to listen and listen well.

Because I will tell you that life with a special needs child/ young adult/adult does not stop being full of challenges and situations that are new. Ones that you simply DO NOT know that next step to doing.

So having your team or persons to rely on to guide you is huge.

It is like the phrase goes You can’t see the forest for the trees

And that is us. At least I am speaking for myself, but I know there are times that I am so knee deep in a mornings work or situation with Elizabeth that I literally cannot see a single “tree”

And that is why I am so grateful for those around me who can and who feel comfortable telling me what they think or offer opinions and help.

They know that I/we listen and listen well and that we appreciate them and their expertise.

And even for the little things in life too

My one dear friend, who has knows Elizabeth over 23 years, said “How about making Elizabeth’s room into an apartment? She should have that now that she is 25.”

HMMMMMM? I thought, you know you are right.

So we all talked about it and Elizabeth loved the idea.

Truth be told, I had not thought about that.


Forest and the treesForest and the trees.

But did we do it?

Yes! We did and she loves it and the independence it creates and brings. From small “stations” in her room to the mini frig, SHE LOVES IT!

I just want to say that in all this: Don’t stop listening and listening well to those you trust.

No matter how old your “child” is.

I wish everyone a peaceful week.

Michele Gianetti author of Elizabeth Believes in Herself

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