We have a new Featured Parent to introduce you to!
Fun and Function: Who are you and your kids?
Andria: I'm Andria, and my kids are Mason, 18, and Juni, 5.
FF: What is the nature of their special needs?
A: Mason is neurotypical. Juni has PDD-NOS, receptive/expressive speech impairment, ADHD, and auditory processing disorder. He also has a grab bag of sensory issues.
FF: Do you have a blog?
A: Yes, Autism Is...
FF: What would you say is your biggest challenge in raising a child with special needs?
A: Stepping back and taking a deep breath. I tend to go nothing to 90 all the time. Stopping to appreciate the small, adorable moments with my son is difficult for me when I'm entrenched in therapy, floor time, special dietary needs, and doctors visits. It's one of the main reasons I started my "Autism Is" Tumblr feed. It helps me remember that Juni is a fantastic little boy!
FF: What would you say is your greatest joy in raising your children?
A: My older son is so bright and quiet and conscientious. Juniper is smart and funny, but the exact polar opposite of quiet. They are both delightful in individual ways. I'd say watching them learn and grow has been, and continues to be, one of the greatest joys in my life.
FF: What would you say has been the biggest help you in raising your kids?
A: My husband, absolutely. He is involved and concerned and all those things you'd want a partner to be. When I am on the edge and feel like I can't do any more, he steps in with no questions asked and picks up where I left off. It's a joy to have him on this journey with me and I don't know where I'd be without him!
FF: Give us one tool you would hate to live without.
A: Dry erase boards and markers! Juni is fascinated with letters and writing. He doesn't read yet, but whenever we are out and he starts to get too rambunctious or over stimulated, I can give him a dry erase board and a marker. Just the act of writing letters is very soothing to him.
FF: If you could give one piece of advice to another parent who's child has just been diagnosed, what would it be?
A: Remember that every child is an individual, not a diagnosis. It's tempting not to push, or discipline, or do anything unpleasant to a special needs kid. At least, it is for me. But I learned that behind every tantrum, fit of stimming, and stubborn refusal to comply was a little boy learning his place in the world. It's okay to be stern, and it's okay to let them get so frustrated they cry sometimes. Just remember to step in and comfort too!
Andria, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us and all the readers here at Fun and Function.
If you would like to be a featured parent or professional, just let us know!