Archives for the month of: October, 2021

I started thinking about this topic of friendship as I watched Elizabeth text one of her friends to plan an outing.

I love the excited way she looks when she does this. Just like we feel, as adults, when we are meeting a friend for coffee and long needed catch up time.

I started thinking about this whole friendship thing when I watched Elizabeth text her friend to set up a time to meet and pick up dinner. I love watching her manage her schedule and text herself ( and trust me, we have worked SO hard on both of these things!)

But what I loved the most was that she knows this person likes her for who she is.

This person wants to spend time with her.

This person has told Elizabeth that she is fun to be around.

This person is a friend.

But here is the thing and it is something we stress to Elizabeth. We tell her that you can have friends of any age. And that just because someone is older or younger or someone from work, does not mean that they cannot be a friend.

So to be honest, 2 of the people who Elizabeth calls dear friends began their relationship with her as therapists many years ago. And now, they are friends by both their admissions.

It is really pretty great.

They care about one and other, text one and other and enjoy the time they hang out together.

I don’t know about you but I have friends that vary greatly in age. I have beloved friends who are “a bit older than me” and I have ones who say that same phrase, only about ME!

Really, they just have to care about you.

And something that Elizabeth has learned in life is that friends can walk into your life, join you in a part of your life’s journey. Sometimes they walk a long, long time with you and sometimes they walk a little bit.

But that it is still all a good thing as they are still sharing their friendship with you as they walk with you.

I think sometimes for those of us with children with special needs, we fear the lonely lunch table for our kids or the birthday parties that they don’t always get invited to or ones that only one person shows up for.

And I get that. I truly, whole heartedly do. Elizabeth has special needs, specifically, SPD or Sensory Processing Disorder and Global Dyspraxia. She has had to work hard in life everyday. And the concept of friends and friendships and what it means to be a friend has had to be taught to her many times over when she was young.

So I do get it.

I guess I am just thinking that sometimes as we want so much for our special needs children to have the friends we hope they will have, we need to see that if a friend comes along in the form of a therapist or neighbor or or or….they are still a friend. And they will bring the gifts of a friendship just like any other to your child.

I rejoice in the friends Elizabeth has now and those who were part of her journey in the past.

A friend can take any shape and can arrive in a way no one expects.

I hope someone needed to read this today.

I wish everyone a peaceful week and please wear a mask. And if you haven’t already gotten one…Please get a vaccine.

Michele Gianetti author of Elizabeth Believes In Herself

For me, having my daughter Elizabeth, has been a beautiful, winding, emotional, amazing journey.

For those who don’t know, she has special needs. She has global dyspraxia and sensory processing disorder (SPD). She is 24 years old now. She was once a young child who feared the world due to her SPD, was non verbal, due to her dyspraxia and struggled to learn any skill or task in her life, thank you to both of them combined.

She was anxious, afraid, and uncertain of life.

She walked at a 18 + months and when she did she kept those little hands in high guard. This position, I have come to learn is from being on guard, sort of in a place of just waiting for something to happen and to be ready when it does. It means her entire system was seeing the world and all is sensory things as almost threats and she was not going to let herself be taken by surprise from anything. High guard, for Elizabeth, looked like this. Arms up, with elbows bent and hands in gentle fists around shoulder height.

This is how she saw the world, as a threat.

Our goal was to help understand her and her disorders to then help her learn and grow and ultimately see the world as a place that isn’t a threat and one that she can live in well.

Back in 1997 when she was born, the internet was not what it is today as in it really was not a help in finding out path with Elizabeth.

We had a bit of help from a friend who was a therapist and knew something about SPD. Her words were the ones that we held onto and used as a basis for finding the first steps of help for Elizabeth. Her first therapist.

The thing I listened to as we started this journey was my heart.

If I felt something in my heart about a therapy, I trusted it

If I felt something in my heart to NOT do something for her, I trusted it and listened to my heart.

I am so sure there are so many others on their own journeys with their special needs children who just KNOW that something feels right or wrong. And they want to act on it.

But the thing is sometimes it is hard to act on it or translated….listen to your heart.

There are many noises out there than can get in the way. Such as others telling you their successes with this or that. Or others telling you absolutely do NOT do that therapy, it is a waste of time. Or Let me tell you, I will never do that again, but what you SHOULD do is…

So the thing I still think about, even this long into our journey with Elizabeth, is that the best guide for us for her, is to trust out heart.

So flash to the current Listen-to-my-heart-thing.

And its name is vision therapy.

Yes, this is something that we have heard about before, talked about before, and researched before. But not something we actually put on the schedule and planned to do before.

Until now…..and that is because something in my heart said it is time. I think it is because I have 2 friends who have their young adult children freshly into eye therapy and have told me just how much of a difference it has made for them.

So I wanted to offer out just how much important this guide, our heart, is for guiding our path.

For us?

Elizabeth is on the schedule for her eye therapy evaluation at the beginning of November.

I feel good about this because it is something I feel in my heart is a good step for Elizabeth.

Listen to your heart.

I wish everyone a peaceful week and please wear a mask. If you haven’t gotten one…get a vaccine!

Michele Gianetti author of I Believe In You

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