Archives for the month of: March, 2022

I know that in many of my blogs I talk about the interesting things that Elizabeth has as part of her personality.

Things that are so unique.

I am sure I have mentioned somewhere along the lines, how she sees other peoples’ emotions, she calls it “their hearts” in colors. Such as if you are feeling sad, she would call your heart green. If you are happy, it is blue and the best mood is pink.

I love and am so in awe of these things that make Elizabeth, well, Elizabeth! For those who don’t know my daughter Elizabeth has special needs. She has global dyspraxia and sensory processing disorder (SPD) Both disorders affect her life each day and can make life hard work.

Especially when events in her life create stress and emotions, as it is then that signs of these disorders flair up.

With that being said, Elizabeth has shown some serious struggles when she has to say good bye to her sister when she leaves after being home for a visit.

Elizabeth loves Emily, her older sister, so much and since Emily moved out, these visits home are events are such happily anticipated and enjoyed events but then comes the goodbye…then the emotions after hit her hard.

And she shows it.

In her short tempered voice or attitude.

or her disorganization which comes out more when her mind is drawn elsewhere.

So we have been working with Elizabeth on these emotions and how to talk about them better, feel them better and talk to her friends more about things like this….all of this is hard work for her and let’s be quite honest, takes a village.

Which is why I have shared notes from our beloved, forever with Elizabeth, therapist named Mary. Mary has been working with Elizabeth on just these things, so her notes are amazing and so helpful.

So, I have shared them, with permission from Elizabeth, with all those who are part of her life. I wanted everyone to know how to help her best, how to use the tips Mary gave to guide her and more importantly, to understand her current needs better.

Something I learned so early on in this journey with Elizabeth is that bringing in everyone who works with your child to be on the same page is the BEST thing (my opinion) that you can do!

Even if your child is quite young, sharing information about their disorders/diagnosis/current needs is the easiest and best way to make sure that everyone understands your child. They will get how they work, they will be able to know the verbiage to use as they reinforce a concept or direct them.

They will pretty much “Get them”

And once this all happens, everyone can work with your child better and only good can come of this.

I know that this sharing takes extra time.

I know it can be hard to remember to do.

But I also know it is so worth it!

I wish everyone a peaceful week.

Michele Gianetti author of Elizabeth Believes in Herself

Ah, the thought of Spring Break.

When you are young, the mere mention of Spring Break simply makes you think of time off! Beaches! Relaxation.

Ahhhhh!

Sounds nice right?

But for those who are not in that stage of the game anymore.

Spring Break can still mean a pretty nice vacation but not quite the same.

As parents, Spring Break can mean family fun.

But as parents and care givers for our special needs children, Spring Break can mean many other things. Like the need to plan ahead, pack well and talk/communicate well ahead of time.

At least in my opinion and okay! In my experience as well.

Can it be fun? Absolutely!!!
Did we have fun? Absolutely!!
Did it require work before we left! Absolutely!

I think back on the very first trip we took when Elizabeth, our daughter with special needs, was young and quite in the throes of her SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder) anxiety. And how much we/I did to get ready for the trip. From figuring out the food to bring for the drive to the sleeping arrangements down to the night lights we needed to take.

I know that without the prep time, the stress of the actual trip would have been compounded many times over!

So I know, from experience, the importance of all the above planning and more.

But first things first,

Any change of schedule is a big thing to our kids, so the fact that their school schedule is changed for the break time is a big thing and takes getting adjusted to. Let alone adding the change related to an away vacation.

So now is a good time to start talking to them about this change coming up. Maybe show them a calendar to help them see when this is coming. I know for us this kind of preparation helps Elizabeth get herself better prepared for this upcoming change.

It is also a good time to start talking about the things you hope to do on their week off. I know that if we hoped to, say take a boat ride, it would be better to start talking about it early and give Elizabeth time plan for it than to take her there and say “surprise, we’re going on a boat trip”

So it is a good time to find pictures, websites and other things you can use to show your child what they will be doing and what to expect.

Does it make more work for us as the parents and caregivers? Yes but the work is worth it.

The work help everyone get the chance to relax more because you will have anticipated the big things and planned for the little.

You can start making a list of must haves: like their favorite food and snacks, night lights, favorite toys, fidgets and ways for them to self-regulate. This helps to make sure that nothing so precious to them gets left behind. Trust me a trip the local Walmart will not find some of the items Elizabeth needed back in the day!

I know that once Elizabeth had what she needed, that I could relax. Sorry to say but that is the truth. I can remember how nice it was to be sitting on the deck of our vacation spot, having some coffee and Elizabeth was happily near us listening to music, her music.

It is nice to know that hard work ahead of time, can make the relaxation we all need a true reality. Now let’s be honest. There is probably not ONE vacation had by anyone that was complete and utter peace. And that is the nature of a family vacation, hence the popular jokes and memes about family trips.

So realistic expectations make all the difference too!

I think that as the calendar nudges us closer to this break time, it is fun to know that we will have the time to be together and make memories, it is just some extra work ahead of time can make all the difference for our special needs children and hence everyone in the family.

Happy planning!

I wish everyone a peaceful week.

Michele Gianetti author of Elizabeth Believes In Herself

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