We have a new Featured Parent to introduce you to!
Fun and Function: Who are you and your kids?
Elizabeth: I’m Elizabeth and my kids are Danielle, 7, Sierra, 6, Theresa, 4, Rhianna, 2, and Natalie, 1.
FF: What is the nature of their special needs?
E: Sierra is severely autistic and almost entirely nonverbal. She is an all-around happy child though :). Theresa is severely autistic as well, but there are some differences. She is thought to be possibly ADHD as well.
FF: Do you have a blog?
E: I write at A Day in the Life.
FF: What would you say is your biggest challenge in raising a child with special needs?
E: Other people. Learning to let them into our small safe circle is not easy. It seems like such a simple thing for most people, but you reach a point where the idea of people wanting to help is something you can’t wrap your mind around. On the flip side, there is also the issues with other people not understanding. Dirty looks will cause you to feel ashamed, cause you to be angry… and not just angry but a burning ball of rage you never thought was possible.
FF: What would you say is your greatest joy in raising your children?
E: Those brief moments when they look at you, and you know you have that connection. Those moments make my heart flutter and it’s such a feeling of awe and amazement… I can’t imagine life without it.
FF: What would you say has been the biggest help you in raising your kids?
E: Honestly, our school system. Before Sierra started school she was impossible to work with. She screamed and fought, she couldn’t follow directions, she had no way to communicate her wants and needs… Theresa was putting herself in the ER with her self injurious behavior, she was hiding in her room and fighting us when we tried to bring her out, she wouldn’t eat… The teams of teachers, aides, therapists, and support staff… I can’t thank them enough for all they have done. Mrs. Tupper, Sierra’s first teacher, and Mrs. Ruth, Theresa’s first teacher – I could never imagine the changes they brought about in my children.
FF: Give us one tool you would hate to live without.
E: My carpet steam cleaner. The ability to clean ANYTHING out of my carpets and off the furniture is one that I would be lost without. If it broke tomorrow, I think I’d cry.
FF: If you could give one piece of advice to another parent who’s child has just been diagnosed, what would it be?
E: It’s alright to be human. In fact, it’s necessary to be human. Make a routine that allows you those things that make you, you – and don’t take no for an answer. Be prepared to roll with the punches, but be sure to come back to it as you can. Keep it in mind, too, when you are dealing with your child. Sometimes it’s hard to realize that inside that ball of frustration and confusion they ARE just the same inside as any other child their age.
FF: And finally, an addition to our interview series, how do you help your kids make it through summer?
E: Find things to do, and places to go. If nothing else, a trip to the dollar store can work wonders. The library, the park… Try to find something interesting to do each day. Sometimes that interesting thing can be as simple as staying home and blowing bubbles.
Elizabeth, 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 me know!