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So the conversation with Michael went something like this:

Me: You are off the 23rd until January 2nd.

Him: No, we are off before that Mom!

Me: No, I know you go until the 23rd.

Him: Moooooooooooom!!!, WE ARE OFF BEFORE THAT.

Gulp….He indeed is …..  Perhaps, I was looking at the incorrect year’s calendar.

I usually know these things but we have had an inordinate amount of things occur since October and it has made me a bit off of my game.

This little snafu got me thinking about the holiday break for our special needs children.  Or better put the need for a bit of planning for that holiday break for our special children.

When Elizabeth was little her sensory issues ( officially, sensory processing disorder SPD) would make a full schedule too much for her and likely result in overload for her, frustration for us and the need for a break for everyone.

It is like we would plan things to do, when she was younger, and other kids would seem to be humming along, but Elizabeth was showing signs of a meltdown.  So as we learned more about her disorders and how she works we learned how and when to plan things for her and our family to do.

But even simple days off could be challenging for her because the “Ahh” we feel when there is a nothing-to-do day feels like anxiety to her because her dyspraxia makes planning things for herself to do quite difficult.  So when she was younger, I would say the words that would illicit the anxiety and they were ” Hey, why don’t you find something to do that is fun?!”

So again, we learned that we needed to talk to her about things she likes to do, make a list for her to pick from and offer the list to her.

I have to say that if I had had that same conversation with Elizabeth and surprisingly found out she was off more days than originally planned for, it would not have been a “my bad?” moment.  Rather it would have been a surprise followed by a moment of counting the days I missed and a frantic grab at the calendar to see what we already had on it and how we could adjust for the additional days.

I am just being honest here.  But again we learned that a schedule for the Elizabeth for the week is so very helpful to her and to us.  It tells her what we think we are planning for the week as well as when she will have downtime.  It is not set in stone by any means.  Just a loose schedule but it is what works to give structure.

The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas break is short this year.  Just giving everyone the heads up!

I offer that out because it may be a good idea to look at the days your special needs child has off and the things you will be doing during that time.

And if you are like me, make sure to check the school year you are really looking at because the peek ahead and bit of planning can help everyone.

P.S. Michael is one happy little man with his long break!

I wish everyone a peaceful week.

Michele Gianetti author of:

I Believe In You: A Mother and Daughter’s Special Journey

Emily’s Sister

Elizabeth Believes In Herself: The Special Journey Continues



I was talking with my friend this week.  We talked about the holiday coming up and all that we were doing and then we sort of switched gears and talked about the holidays in the past.  She and I were remembering some of the bigger holiday events related to Elizabeth.

When Elizabeth had a lot of fun, when she struggled.

When she couldn’t talk at all and when she enjoyed a great dinner conversation.

My friend has been with us on the journey with Elizabeth since Elizabeth was 3 years old.  So let’s face it she knows the whole story pretty well and there is no hiding the truth from her.  But I have to say, I love the honesty in our talks and really love the perspective she gives because she helps me remember things I may have forgotten and helps me process things I WANT to forget.

She is my friend who I went to after a particularly tough thanksgiving when Elizabeth was about 9 years old.  And it was a real tough one!

I was so angry at the day and truthfully at Elizabeth for doing things I just knew she did with intention.  I know that her sensory processing disorder (SPD) and her dyspraxia make life challenging everyday but it is hard sometimes to separate what is willfulness, and really being defiant from her disorders.

And on this particular holiday, I was struggling to figure it out.

My friend asked me ” So how did it go?” and I told her the good ( this took a moment), the bad ( this took much longer) and the really bad ( this took even longer)

She helped me process it and gave her opinion why Elizabeth wouldn’t eat, cried and was yelling “NO” all night.

I listened and thought about her words and suggestions.

It helped.

I took the time to write down some things after she was done and thought I could reread them before the next get together….maybe to help me rethink things and truth be told, maybe I would not need them at all because Elizabeth may be calmer and more organized the next time.

But the review helped because we are always trying to grow with our special needs children and help them succeed in this thing called life.

So I will be reviewing our holiday….maybe writing down somethings and for sure talking it through…even if it was a great day.

So I ask you …

How Did It Go?

I wish everyone a peaceful week.

Michele Gianetti author of:

I Believe In You: A Mother and Daughter’s Special Journey

Emily’s Sister

Elizabeth Believes In Herself: The Special Journey Continues

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