Greetings, I hope all is well in your world. I’ve been supper busy!
The school year started with my son going to back to the school building. He was doing well for a moment, but, the stimulus and anxiety was too much for him to manage. He had great days and stressful days. He is managing mental health and physical health challenges. I’ve picked up my Learning Coach hat once again so that we can complete 8th grade.
As if being a teen isn’t enough to cause anxiety, children on the ASD spectrum struggle with an heighten sensibility. My son will be participating in group sessions 30 minutes a day with a teacher and 3- 5 other students. Even though he is in the comfort of his home, the anxiety of being in a study setting with other students causes anxiety. His teacher told me that the groups are always small because, of course, all of the students are suffering from the same anxiety.
We are grateful for the freedom to choose this educational option.
What freedoms are you choosing in your life? Sometimes it may feel like we have no choices. It is easy to get trapped in life patterns; making choices based on society and culture. In order to see the freedoms you have and the unique choices you can make, you must make an effort to investigate your desires, dreams and distant hopes.
Make today count! Explore your freedom and choices.
When you are suffering from a bad cough or back pains you seek out a doctor’s opinion in order to regain your strength, lower your temperature, or stop coughing. If you are like some people I know, you will go to the pharmacy and purchase an over-the-counter medication to feel comfortable. Just as we take the time to tend to our physical health, we must also invest the time it takes to ensure our mental health is functioning at its best.
Imagine a child who depends on you for their mental health. Although somewhat dated, the 1999 Mental Health Report from the Surgeon General indicates that “Four million children and adolescents in this country suffer from a serious mental disorder that causes significant functional impairments at home, at school and with peers. Of children ages 9 to 17, 21 percent have a diagnosable mental or addictive disorder that causes at least minimal impairment” (Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General, 1999).
In this wonderful journey of life, eight years ago I was blessed to care for a child that has developmental disabilities and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). His mental health is a priority every day. The latest research from the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network finds that “1 in every 110 eight-year old children were diagnosable for an ASD” (Autism, 2012). If he had a cold, I would make sure to serve him orange juice, hot soup and other remedies to comfort and restore his health. In a week, life would go back to its usual routine.
Not so with his mental health. I cannot take anything for granted. If you are a parent of a child who looks normal and most times acts normal except for the occasional head banging, refusal to use the toilet and is content in his own fictional world, then I have a few tips to make your life easier.
TIP1: Make sure your child’s teacher, principal, social worker, and special education team are on your team. You are your child’s number one advocate and he or she needs you to reflect that when you communicate with the team.
TIP2: Educate your family about your child’s diagnosis. Sometimes an unformed family member’s perspective of the actions of your child can create the wrong idea about your child’s behavior.
TIP3: Be prepared for what you will need to say when there is a public outburst. Choose the words you use with your child and any adults who will have a comment or two.
TIP4: Remember you are not alone. Use the resources available to you and your child. In the state of Michigan, contact your local county mental health agency. In Oakland County a good resource is the Community Living Services (http://www.comlivserv.com/oaklandcty.htm). Mental Health America( http://www.nmha.org/) is a national organization with valuable information as well.
Writing has always been who I am as far back as I can remember. As a child I had several diaries with exciting stories of what I hoped to accomplished; accounts of reoccurring nightmares that plagued me for years; blow-by-blow details of how I felt and viewed situations that were happening in my life and around me. I discovered there is always something to write about. When I opened my eyes, I discovered words in magazines, newspapers, sales papers, advertisements, websites, and the list goes on. I began to see how I could become a part of this world were words are used to inform, delight, analyze, create, research and present.
In the blogs to follow you will see me focus more on my passions in life. I will share tips on how to parent a child with autism spectrum disorder and how to use writing as a tool to heal from past hurts. In collaboration with my partner, my sister, Tisha we will also blog about tips to prepare students for their educational journey. Finally, we will dive into life for women behind bars; what it means to be separated from children and love ones; and life after incarcerated. Your feedback is always welcome and we look forward to future conversations with you.
There is a story to be told. It has been building over the last few months . . . the characters are coming to life and the plot is unfolding.
I have a wonderful recipe for dinner rollsto share. It was handed down by my grandmother. Perhaps a book of recipes is in my future.
My writers’ group met last Saturday and wow what a session it was. The opportunity to buildrelationships with other writers is so important because of the support received. I never feel alone being a part of this community.
Reading and writing in a quiet space . . . with jazz softly streaming through the room . . . releases stress, makes me happy, and fulfills my creative need. Every day I strive toward my goal of healthy living. It is important to develop a ritual, something that makes a writer feel comfortable or safe while writing.
Why do I choose to write? I choose to write to tell stories, share information, build relationships, acquire new knowledge, and to meet my goal of health living!
Why do you choose to write? Please leave a comment.