Happy New Year!

December 27, 2012

Today is the last day of work for the year. Thank you to all of you who allow us to keep doing the work we love so well.

We will be back in January and until then wishing you and yours all good things in 2013.

Gabrielle and Penelope

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Seek East is  participating in Autism Speaks Walk and Resource Fair in Houston this Saturday, October 13, 2012 at Reliant Park, Westridge Lot.  The Resource Fair is 8:00 AM -11 AM.   The walk starts at 10:00 AM.

Walk Now for Autism Speaks is an opportunity to raise money for research, public awareness and to make a difference for people living on the Autism Spectrum. Please join us in our commitment with a donation to Walk Now for Autism Speaks online.    http://www.walknowforautismspeaks.org/houston/seekeast

See you at the Seek East Booth at the Resource Fair!

 

 

We are often asked by our clients, “How bad is it (our loved one’s disability) ?”   The answer is It doesnt matter what we see clinically.  If you live with disabilities, the person under your roof is the most important, profound and clinically significant case in the world. 

Your journey is a marathon, not a sprint.  Someday, the marathon may evolve into a relay.  We wanted to share an article from The New York Times  (October 5, 2012) on a timeless subject for families living with disabilities. 

“Assuring the Care of a Family Member With Special Needs” by Ron Lieber

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/06/your-money/assuring-the-care-of-a-family-member-with-special-needs.html?smid=li-share&_r=0

September 25, 2012

This interview by Ariane Zurcher, Emma’s Hope Book, tells an amazing story of courage, hope and a family’s loving determination. We were inspired by Chou Chou’s story and we share this with the hope it will offer you encouragement on your journey. Thank you Chou Chou and Ariane!

Emma's Hope Book

I met Chou Chou last spring when she left a comment on this blog.  She wrote, “I love your writing, and find your darling Emma startlingly like me as a child.  I am a happy, successful, 58 year old autistic woman.  I just wanted to say you and your husband are wonderful parents, and Emma will be fine. She will be wonderful. She is wonderful.” 

 I read her comment a dozen times. I felt indescribable joy and I wept.  I was just beginning to read the writings of Autistic adults and had started, very tentatively, to reach out to a few of them.  Then out of nowhere there was Chou Chou reaching out to me!  I was so excited!  I doubt she could know how much her kind words of encouragement meant to me.  We’ve been in touch ever since.

Chou Chou performing with Doc Scantlin and His Imperial Orchestra

 Tell…

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The “Royal We”

July 19, 2012

Paper DollsAs we anticipate the 2012 Summer Olympics, we cannot help but wonder about the athletes’ parents.  How much cajoling, encouraging and driving to practices had they done over the years?  While they likely provided for and supported their children, they couldn’t practice for them, teach them the finer points of the sport, compete for them or take the hurt ankles or sore muscles in their places.  At some point, they probably had to let go and let their children try and try and try and try and try until they mastered the skills under the tutelage of coaches-all by themselves.  If you are a parent of a special needs child, you have spent years monitoring, mentoring, encouraging, cajoling and redirecting your child’s behavior. Somewhere along the way, your personhood was set aside to focus every moment of your day on your child to the point that the two of you morphed into one person.  That is how the “Royal We” became a member of your family.  “We didn’t take our medicine.”  “We don’t feel well today.”  “We had a nightmare.” “We didn’t understand our math homework.” “We didn’t make our bed.”  “We had a meltdown in the cereal aisle because we wanted Mega Sugar Flakes and we said ‘no’.”  Think about it…do you use the Royal We when you speak about your spouse, your sibling your best friend, your employee or your colleague?  (“We had a bad review.” “We grew a beard.” “We had a migraine.”)  When was the last time you completed the work necessary for your spouse to complete a deadline? You probably don’t because you probably don’t take responsibility for their behavior or their work like you do for your child’s.

Many seasoned professionals at state education agencies have spent years developing and refining curriculum and reasonable expectations that are consistent with your child’s development.  Teachers are trained to only give homework on developmentally appropriate concepts that have already been taught to your child.  Your child’s school success is ultimately his choice and responsibility. You can provide all the ingredients for a great year but, you cannot make it happen for him.  Homework should not take over your family life in the evenings. It is not meant to be a collaborative effort between your child and the rest of the family.  You can provide an appropriate place to study with ample light and supplies for your child. You can be a reader or a scribe for your child.  You cannot be a teacher and re-teach the information nor can you be your child’s surrogate.  In other words, learning fourth grade Math, seventh grade Texas History or eleventh grade Chemistry is your child’s responsibility and problem to solve. If your child doesn’t complete homework (for whatever reason) support and offer suggestions –resist the urge to solve the problem:  “I will be happy to drive you to school early to finish this with the teacher.”  If the teacher and you truly believe that there is more than a lack of motivation and responsibility involved in your child’s learning, then explore that further.

You are a facilitator and a supporter for your child’s academic success.  Completing assignments is about personal effort-not communal effort.  Learning is an individual and voluntary act.  You choose to remember and assimilate information.  (Remember the class you had to take in high school? Do you remember anything you “learned”?) Words usually follow thought and precede action.  They give power to situations and events in our lives.   When you use the Royal We when referring to your child, you are taking away a learning opportunity for your child and you send a silent message:  “I’ll take responsibility for you so you won’t have to”.  Watching your child struggle is difficult and heart-wrenching but, it is important to let your child do so in developmentally appropriate ways. In the end, it is their success and their responsibility.  They have not only achieved learning a new skill, they have reached another dimension in their journey.

The final lesson from the emperor—– Pay attention, believe your insight when (as we say in Texas) “somethin’ ain’t right”.

Care giving is like driving, it requires continual incremental adjustments according to road conditions.

You have a knowing.  You know your loved one.  You know yourself. You know that inner wisdom is screaming for your attention.  You need not apologize for loving someone and wanting the best for them.  It is not about right or wrong. 

Sometimes you will find yourself knowing something isn’t right and it’s hard to put into words.  Your child is not completing his college reading assignments.  You hired tutors and his testing over the years did not identify a reading disorder yet your visceral feeling lingers on. You have the tutors’ and examiners’ information.  Consider consulting different disciplines.  Who else could add additional insight from the data?  For example, a speech language pathologist experienced in identifying and remediating written language will interpret the data from a different perspective than the tutors and the neuropsychologists who tested him.

Every living being adapts and adjusts to the world around them every second of every day.  The nature of neurological differences makes the process of fine-tuning uniquely complex.  Multifaceted neurological differences are best cared for when allied professions collaborate.

Stay curious and be assertive.

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