We have a new Featured Parent to introduce you to!
Fun and Function: Who are you and your kids?
The Domestic Goddess: I'm The Domestic Goddess (anonymity for the internet is a wonderful thing!), and my kids are two amazing, energetic boys. As in, energizer bunnies but you can't take the batteries out of. They never, EVER stop moving! Bug Boy is 10 and Bugaboo is 8.
FF: What is the nature of their special needs?
TDG: My Bug Boy has PDD-NOS/Asperger's (depending on which doctor you talk to), ADHD, OCD, and a variety of OHI (Other Health Impairments). Bugaboo; Autism, ADHD, OCD, and OHI. Bug Boy is higher functioning, hyperlexic, above grade level, attends a typical school with itinerant support, and does just fine. Bugaboo is nonverbal, attends an approved private school sent by our school district, and an autism support program that focuses on behavioral needs and communication.
FF: Do you have a blog to point us to?
TDG: The Domestic Goddess.
FF: What would you say is your biggest challenge in raising a child with special needs?
TDG: The biggest challenge in raising my boys is my own self-esteem. I constantly think I'm doing a bad job or not doing well enough or not spending enough time with them or thinking I should be doing X or Y instead of Z. It all comes from inside the deep, scary recesses of my brain. I know I don't have to be supermom but sometimes I'm WAY too hard on myself. I'm a bit of a perfectionist. But, maybe expecting myself to be better makes me a better parent.
FF: What would you say is your greatest joy in raising your kids?
TDG: My greatest joy in raising my kids is when we get to do something "normal" and we're successful. Like taking a trip or going out to dinner. Just feeling like we can relax and enjoy the moment instead of being hyper-vigilant and trying to make it a therapy session. There is nothing better to me than when my kids allow me to hold them or hug them and seeing those big, beautiful smiles, complete with dimples! All is right in the world for those few, wonderful moments.
FF: What would you say has been the biggest help you in raising your kids?
TDG: I am extremely fortunate and have a huge support system. I have a wonderful, supportive husband who works very hard to be the best father he can be. I have two neighbors who are constantly there for us. My parents live in the next town over, my brothers are two blocks away. My older sisters have dropped everything to give us respite. Our family rallies around us. Without this amazing support I don't know how I'd do it. I'd feel like a fish out of water. Having their unconditional support means everything to me. They'd do anything to help us and our boys.
FF: Give us one tool you would hate to live without.
TDG: I (luckily) was a special ed major in college and worked with children with a variety of special needs, including autism. If I didn't have that experience I feel like I wouldn't be as effective as a parent. I have been on both sides of the fence and am grateful for my training because it gives me a great perspective and helps me be more objective as a parent. Other than that, I don't think we could live without a trampoline or pool! They SAVE us! And our sanity!
FF: If you could give one piece of advice to another parent who's child has just been diagnosed, what would it be?
TDG: A diagnosis is not the end of the world and it isn't a death sentence. Your children are STILL your children. They don't need to change, it's your perspective that should change. They are still, first and foremost, children. Never forget that. Love them for who they are, not what they can do. They will do amazing things so believe in them! You will learn the true meaning of patience, unconditional love, and exhaustion! But it's all worth it. You will rarely be bored.
Domestic Goddess, 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!