Jsack's Mom's Blog

Welcome to my blog where I share my special needs parenting journey with my heart, truth, and love, one story at a time. ❤️

My spirit animal-Insomnia

I watch you in the dark of the night

I don’t know if I like you or love you…

As you prowl through my thoughts I scream with all my might “You don’t own me!”

Yet here we are in this dance between wide awake and deep sleep.

I watch you and whither in fear and then my fears turn to anger. I wait until I can become calm again.

As my irrationality gets the best of me. Am I dreaming or is a lucid state that I’m fighting to keep upright and aware?

I don’t know anymore, sleep eludes me and the minutes tick by. As my blurry sleepy eyes fall on the digital clock.

My heartbeat thunders in my ears crushing me with it’s unfathomable power! Please I beg let it stop, as I slip between conscious and subconscious realities.

My prayers are answered as I see the sunrise appear through my window as the rays stream through bathing me in it’s warm glow.

“You don’t own me!” I whisper desperately then my eyelids start to droop and welcome sleep envelops me.

The sleep deprivation monster is silenced and I drift off into the homeostasis of peaceful rest.

As I slumber into dreamland and snoring fills the air, it’s pleasantly rhythmic and pleasingly loud!

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Irish in my heart

I’m fortunate as I grew up knowing and learning about my Irish heritage. I loved listening to the stories of my ancestors from my Gram and her sisters. Four of my Gram’s siblings came off the boat with their parents, for dreams of a better life. After the devastation of the Great Potato famine of 1845-1849 my Great Great Grandparents and their kin, survived and without them I wouldn’t be here today to tell this story.

Michael and Elizabeth left Scotland at the age of nineteen and traveled by ship to South Hampton, England. At the time, they had three daughters and a son in tow. With competition for jobs, financial security, and food being scarce with the population boom, they made their way to Canada and settled in British Columbia.

My Great Grandparents *image courtesy of my cousin*

My Great Grandfather Michael found work in the mines and was there for twenty-nine years. They hadn’t lived there in the community long when devastation ravaged the town with floods from 1848, to 1947, the mining disaster in May of 1908 that killed one hundred and three miners, and the Great Fire of August. 1 st of 1908 that destroyed the town.

My Great Grandma Elizabeth was pregnant with my Grandma Margaret and due to give birth that hot summer. There were ten lives lost and thousands of homes burnt to the ground. There was a lot of hardship and sadness that my ancestors had to encounter in the new land. I’m happy to report my Gram made it safely into the world as the hospital and the church were the few buildings that were left.

Time passed on with my Gram and her siblings growing up and their parents had added on to their family with four more daughters. More hardship would come to the family as the mine would be closed in order to investigate the fire of 1908. My Great Grandpa Michael had to find work elsewhere. All the daughters worked as well or helped look after the youngest children.

My Great aunts such lovely lasses. *image courtesy of my cousin*

That was the life back then, everyone had a strong work ethic and supported one another. I remember my sweet Gram Margaret telling me stories of her housekeeping days, collecting oranges at the train yard, and working as a caddy at the golf course. The sisters all went on to marry and have families of their own. They still remained close as they raised their children and visited each other when they were Grandparents.

My Gram and 3 of her 5 sisters *image courtesy of my cousin*

A tragic accident in 1917, took the life of the youngest family member Josephine and she died at the age of two, with severe burns to the chest and abdomen. Poor baby girl lighting up the world with her beauty and smile, and for her life to be snuffed out like a candle is so sad. Peter, the only son of nine children returned home from World War 1 and fell ill as well. He succumbed to cerebral meningitis at the age of twenty-six on March. 17th 1922.

He was to sing in the St. Patrick’s day concert that evening for the Knights of Columbus, and he sat up in bed and sang then died. The song that he sang was Danny Boy, a beautiful Irish melody that is dear to my heart to this day.

My Great uncle *image courtesy of my cousin*

After the youngest daughter and only son had passed just 5 years my Great Grandma Elizabeth became ill. My Grandparents were set to get married in the summer month of July and Elizabeth passed 9 days before the wedding. Instead of the church wedding that was planned they quietly got married in the priests rectory of the Holy Family Catholic Church.

My parents got married there as well and my middle sister followed suit and my husband and I proudly married there after. As a devout Irish Catholic family that attended mass every Sunday and invited the priest over for dinner after one of my Great aunts went into the sisterhood. She took the name Sister Michael and lived out her young life devoting herself in service to God.

She passed tragically in a car accident when I was a little girl and my Gram would tell me stories about her love of the family and of the church. There was always tears and hugs given when she spoke of her siblings that had passed on.

My Great aunt Elizabeth and her Father Michael *image courtesy of my cousin*

I celebrate my dearly departed loved ones memories and I carry on the namesake of my Great Grandma, my Great aunt, and my Mom. My Great Grandpa Michael lived on to see his daughters marry and meet his Grandchildren. My Mom had a special relationship with him and would speak of him with joy on her heart. He passed on well into his 80’s to be reunited with his lovely wife and daughters and son.

My Gram and my Mom *image courtesy of my cousin*

My Gram and Mom always said I had the gift of my Great uncle’s vocal talent. To this day when I sing the song of my ancestors homeland Oh Danny Boy I feel uplifted on their angel wings. St. Patrick’s day is celebrated in our family household as much as the joy of birthdays. Wishing you all Irish blessings and may the luck and love of the Irish be with you always. 💚☘️

An adapted version of this story originally appeared on The Wellness Universe titled Irish heritage.

*Special thanks to my cousin Maureen for the use of her family pictures. The late night chats of our family’s story helped me feel closer to my Irish clan.*


The birthday party

I was so excited when my son received an invitation to his new friends birthday party. Having a child with autism, ADHD, and Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) birthday parties can be a double edge sword. Firstly, there’s the question of is he going to to be invited to any parties and secondly, do I stay for the party to assist him when he needs help?

The day arrived and I had done all the preparations with my son with a social story, drawing out a schedule, and keeping my visuals handy in case plans had changed. He was quite excited and I needed to drive around the block a couple of times till he can process his feelings.

We arrived at the birthday boys house and was met at the door by the parents. I explained I would stay for 30 minutes until my son felt comfortable then I would quietly leave. I knew I’d be the only parent there as by the age of 6 or 7 it’s a drop off and pick up event.

I haven’t been able to do that with my son in a neurotypical setting there’s a lot of variables to consider. Is the birthday fun going to be too overstimulating for him, will he understand that he can’t open the presents, and lastly will he understand when it’s time to leave.

I sat quietly on the couch making small talk with the parents and surveyed the yard where a nerf gun war was taking place. I had to firmly and directly tell my son the rules as he wasn’t interested in leaving the well stocked toy room. He eventually made it outside and joined in the fun that the other guests were having.

I didn’t want to be that type of parent helicoptering around my son son so I made myself as inconspicuous as possible. With the play getting more intense I could see my sons eyes glaze over and I knew it was time to switch to another activity. That didn’t work out so well so I joined in with playing a football game and hoping my son would want to play as well.

The distraction worked and we were happily tossing the ball back and forth when it was time to come in to have snacks and open presents. My son wasn’t interested in eating but I had begged him to have some carrots as it will fill his sensory seeking need once the game was cut short.

All the kids gathered around and off my son disappeared to a bedroom to have some quiet time. I followed behind him to let him know I was there to help him and the kids were watching the gift opening. He had no interest in me being there or seeing the presents. He asked me to leave and said “I’m fine Mom I got this.”

As I prepared to leave I gave the parents my contact info in case I was needed earlier before pickup. My sons words of I’m fine echoed in my ears as I drove away. I prayed he would be as I wasn’t even close to being okay with leaving him behind.

I spent some time with my older son and then it was time to pick up his brother. I had made sure that I gave him 10 minutes to prepare himself to leave as I followed him to get his shoes and goodie bag. I set the timer on my phone and stood at the door as he got ready to go. As I turned to thank the family for having him at the party he bolted!

Luckily it was within the house and I could get to him quickly. I knew he was having a hard time with transitioning from leaving the party so I remained calm. He professed how he didn’t want to go and I told him all the reasons why we had to leave. I was doing my best to allow him time to process and reached for his hand only to be shot in the throat with a nerf gun.

I was taken aback and started coughing as I unprepared for that impact to my vocal chords. Much to my dismay this whole scene of me chasing him to get the gun and get him out the door was witnessed by all the guests in attendance. I’ve come to a point where I’ve been judged for my parenting that I only care about my child not others opinions.

In that moment I wanted to save my son from any future scenes of chaos and I have pulled him along and carried him out the door. I learned from this experience as it was the only thing I could do in order to help my son. Now I make sure we have a game plan in place and keep the party time to no more than 2 hours.

If things go south as my son reacts to transitioning I have my phone as timer, a little white board so I can draw out the plan ahead of time, and another activity to do as soon as we leave. As I reflect back I know now I was caught up with my son fitting in with his classmates and be like all the other typical kids.

Neurodiversity allows for thinking outside the box and my son is all about doing that in his own way with his stellar imagination. I realized that my need for him to be comfortable at the party spoke volumes about my fear of the unknown.

Now I meet my son where he’s at and time has proven to be the best teacher as well as steadfast love. If I focus on the things he can’t do like stay at a birthday party without me, then how will I celebrate the successes he has that he’s achieved in his own.

I’m happy to say there’s been other birthday parties and he’s felt comfortable enough to ask me to stay or ask to leave if it’s too sensory overwhelming for him. He’s grown and changed so much since that first birthday party and I know no matter what obstacle he faces he’ll be fine, and he’s got this.

Welcome to the Sensory Blog Hop — a monthly gathering of posts from sensory bloggers hosted by the Sensory Spectrum and the Mommy Evolution. Click on the link below to read stories from other bloggers about what it’s like to have Sensory Processing Disorder and to raise a sensory kiddo!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter



5 years of finding myself on WordPress

I was so excited when I saw the announcement achievement from WordPress in my notifications. I should’ve planned something wonderful like a giveaway, a party, maybe even had a glass of bubbly champagne to celebrate. But no I did none of those things, I took a nap instead.

I would like to personally thank 80’s metal music man for being my first follower and loyal reader. Across the pond we found each other’s blogs and maintained that mutual respect for each other. He has helped me feel a little less lonely and misunderstood in this wild and crazy world. That’s my life in a nutshell I sleep less, and nap more. Because “Anna anxiety” doesn’t usually let me rest interrupted as she swings from tree to tree in my monkey brain.

Last night I silenced her as I heard my son creep into my bedroom before the sunrise and says

Mommy I had a bad dream, can I sleep with you?”

My answer is always the same even though I’m tired and want to stretch out my aching hip and sore back from yesterday’s workout and worry relief session.

Sure honey crawl into bed and I’ll hold you till you fall asleep.”

This is a Mother’s love that has enveloped my head and heart and led me on a journey to share what our life is like as a special needs family. One that I’ve written so emotionally and candidly about because my truth is the one that I believe in.

It’s led me to connect with people I didn’t think would ever read and share my words. Yet they have and also published me in 4 books and named me a co-author in the current one. I’m now recognized as an author on Amazon and soon to be on Goodreads.

It’s led me to stop playing small and start to live 10 feet tall as I’ve found myself on the precipice of should I or shouldn’t I press that publish button on my blog. I’ve shared, cried, laughed, loved, and bled on this blog. The readers I’ve gained, the followers that stay loyal to me on a platform that hosts a sea of blogs.

Yet here you are 5 years later still reading and sharing my words, and for that I’m eternally and internally grateful. As my love bucket is filled to the brim with my gratitude! The one person I wrote for will always be my beloved Mama. She encouraged me when I was stigmatized and ridiculed by my high school English teacher.

Jeanine, you’re a dreamer and your writing is utter rubbish. It won’t amount to anything.”

This person even went as far as to say to my sweet Mama to choose a solid career as I wouldn’t make it as a writer. From that day on I didn’t share my writing until that fateful day I wrote my first post here on Jsack”s Mom’s Blog. Here I poured out my heart about what it was like to live with anxiety, struggle with depression, and live with the alphabet soup of neuro developmental diagnoses in my family.

You’ve cheered for me, shared with me, and made me feel like I was the most intelligent and interesting writer in This blogosphere. Even on the days I didn’t believe in myself or my abilities, and the only capable thing I could do was get out of bed, get dressed, and get my kids to school.

Still you remained steadfast and true, reading, supporting, commenting, reblogging, and non judgemental and believing in me. You will never know how much that truly means to me. How can I express to you in this time and space what a gift that is to give?

It’s simple, you saved me, all of you across the world who read my posts, told me how much they touched your heart, and soothed my soul racked with grief, guilt, and insomnia. Understanding me from across the miles better than I understood myself is amazing.

Cheering me on with every stage of my life before and after my sons rare genetic disorder and associated diagnoses of autism, ADHD, anxiety, and mood disorders. You loved and supported my precious sons like they were members of your own family. Your compassion, care and honesty showered my life with love and kindness.

You saved me from myself and the persistent demons of my mind. You inspired me to submit my first essay to a publishing company and rejoiced when I got accepted. I found the resolve to keep on advocating for my sons well being and my own mental health! Long days and nights you stayed with me as I binged on Netflix while stuffing my body with cake and wine to dull the pain.

You celebrated me for all my effort, blood, sweat, and tears when I lost 30 lbs, 15 inches, and a ton of guilt and self loathing. For every step of the way you filled up my patience bucket with kindness, positivity, and encouragement. With that inner strength I absorbed from yours I realized my dream of becoming a university student, and taking my first course of Family Engagement in Research.

Soon I will have my certification as a research trainee who will be able to help families just like my own on their diagnostic journeys. It’s a passion that I’ve come to realize through many years of advocating, fighting, tears shed, and many “white coats I’ve wanted to punch in their throats.”

It’s because of you and unceasing faith in me and my words that I feel blessed beyond belief. As I’ve carved out this career of being a freelance writer and soon to be research assistant and participant on my sons diagnostic journey. There’s been bumps in the roads and when I felt like I was drowning in a pit of despair you my lovely, loyal, readers have carried me through.

For that I thank you, from the deepest depth of my being. I raise my hands, my humble heart and my glass to you. Without you I’m lost in an ocean amongst the ships searching for land. Thank you, bless you and for your friendship and readership.


Mindfulness in the mirror

I love the night time, when I’m finally alone and the moon is my only company. I love to read and write when I feel inspired with the moonlight as my muse. When everyone else is sleeping I hear the gentle sounds of snoring as I tuck my kids into bed. Before I retire for the night I have my evening ritual of cleansing my skin, brushing and flossing my teeth, cleaning my glasses, and brushing my hair.

What makes my ritual a little more unique is that I’m prayerful while doing these daily tasks. I’ve had this routine as long as I can remember and if I don’t participate in it daily I feel a pang that I missed out on something special that makes me happy.

As I remove my glasses and clean my lenses I thank God for my gift of sight. I ask that he will help me to look with love at myself. Even if there are times I don’t like who I see in the mirror. I gently remind myself that it’s my Mom’s face looking back at me and she was the personification of beauty.

Then I take my eye makeup remover put it on the cotton ball and remove my makeup asking God to remove all negative things I’ve seen that day. Then I wet my cloth with warm water and massage my face adding my skin cleanser. As I’m cleansing my pores I ask for Gods grace to remove impurities from my aura that I’ve absorbed throughout the day. Helping me to glow with positivity for myself and others.

I then take my toner and rub it all over my skin and neck asking that all my unkind thoughts expressed to be washed away as I learn the lesson to speak with love, kindness and respect to myself and my family. I then massage my face with my night cream and ask for forgiveness as I wipe away all the years of disappointment and judgement I’ve felt or given.

I’m mindful in the moment as I pick up my brush and comb my hair thanking God for my blessings and to continue to be a better person than I was yesterday. With each brush stroke I thank myself for everyone I helped and who helped me. I also vow to appreciate all the abundance I have instead of wanting things I don’t.

I reach for my toothbrush and squeeze out the toothpaste and swipe away all the mean words I’ve said and deeds done in my past and present. I then take my dental floss and clean carefully in between my teeth. I pray for patience when my bucket was empty and the stress overwhelmed me. Causing me to clench my jaw and lash out with meanness . I think about all the foods I have eaten today and thank God for the ability to purchase it and a home to store it in. I pray that I’ll make better decisions if I chose to indulge in junk food and I thank myself if I had a better nutrition and rewarded my body with healthy foods.

Next I take my favourite lotion and massage my hands, wrists, and forearms. I’m grateful for the strength I have and for my beautiful sons who’s hands I’ve held, hugs received, and the gentle touch of drying tears over the years.

After I’m all clean and freshly scented I put my lip balm on being mindful of any negative words that fell from my lips. Also being thankful for soft kisses shared and the love I have for my husband. After my ritual is complete I stand and look at myself in the mirror . Sometimes I smile, sing, and a lot of times I cry.

I think back to when I was younger and I’d spend hours looking in the mirror pointing out things I didn’t like. The size of my nose and the blackheads living on it. How chubby my cheeks are and how many crows feet I have around my eyes from squinting without glasses. I would carry on with how I disliked that my ears stuck out too much. Especially when I pulled my hair back into a pony tail. I would promise myself that one day I’d get all these imperfections fixed. As I wanted to be a model and actress and thought with my glaring imperfections that I wouldn’t get any roles or even an audition for that matter!

I wouldn’t let anyone take a picture of my side profile and a lot of times when the camera came out I’d hide behind my hair or a hat. I was convinced that everyone would start teasing me about who I saw in the mirror. I’ve learned now that after many years of therapy that this is a condition called bodydysmorphia. I spent so much time in the bathroom as a teenager that my sister would be pounding on the door threatening to knock it down!

What she didn’t know was how I cried and lamented these features given to me. How I judged myself so harshly that if I was teased about the way I look I would skip school, hide in my room, and would only come out to eat. I had already heard all the negative things from my inner critic and didn’t need it reinforced from the bullies I encountered. High school can be a cruel place and feel like a prison if you’re seen as less than and treated accordingly.

That behaviour changes who you are and erodes your self esteem until you’re nothing but a mere shell of yourself… I wonder sometimes what I would be like today if I was one of the cool kids at the table with popularity instead of judgement.

I still remember the time I stopped judging who I saw in the mirror. It was the day that I brought my son into the world and the Doctor placed him on my chest. As he cuddled up to me skin to skin, I was in awe of how beautiful he was. I studied his features closely counting his fingers and toes, stroking his hair, and marvelling that he was really here and mine! I realized he had my eyes, ears, lips, (which came from my Mom) and his Daddy’s nose and chin. We created this precious baby with love and in that moment my own spirit started to fill with healing light.

When my beloved Mama met my son for the first time and held him in her arms I melted with emotion. I was so grateful for her giving me life so I could give him his. I saw her eyes filled with love, while she snuggled him close smelling that newborn baby aroma. Which I’m sure is rainbows, sunlight, and baby powder. I saw her smile as she wiped the tears flowing down her face. Then when she sang to him my heart was uplifted and I was free from all my self inflicted pain and judgement.

I resolved to never treat myself so harshly. Now that my parents are gone from this earth I look at myself differently. I thank my Mom for giving me my nose, no matter what size. I have a reminder of my ancestry and how powerful and amazing genetics can be. A piece of her, passed down to me from my Grandpa and my Great Grandpa. I look at myself now and smile and I see my high cheekbones and my full cheeks. I thank my Dad for these features that were passed on from my Grandma and my Great Grandpa.

I know all my siblings have this genetic trait from our Dad and our ancestors when we smile and our eyes disappear. I look at the wrinkles around my eyes knowing that I’ve had memories of laughter. I look at the slight creases by my mouth and I think of all the happy moments I’ve had that I expressed with my smile. Then lastly I look at my blue eyes I realize that even through the tears they’ve cried I’ve seen countless moments of joy, love, and beauty. I strive to be less judgemental to myself and for others as we’re all just doing the best we can. Our bodies are mere vessels, it’s our spirits and the experience of truly living that matters the most. This is me being comfortable in my own skin, committed to loving myself instead of wasting the years I have on regret.


The book giveaway for My Sister is My Guardian Angel

I’m happy to be part of a special giveaway for you today! The subject matter is touching and heartfelt as I have family members that have one angel baby and two rainbow children who now have children of their own. The circle of love just keeps growing and flowing through us all.


Jeba Pandian is a children’s book author from Texas, and she co-wrote a book with her daughter, Sophia, to celebrate the life of her first baby who passed away shortly after birth. It is called My Sister is My Guardian Angel and it’s a great book that is a perfect way to discuss themes of loss with small children and talk about angel babies and what they mean to us. To celebrate her book, Jeba kindly put together a lovely gift basket worth $225 which she will send to one of our American readers. You can find her on Facebook, Instagram or on her website.

Here’s what’s inside:


A copy of My Sister is My Guardian Angel

Hummingbird feeder & food


Chip clip



Musical angel

Angel dog dvd

Miracles can happen dvd

Honey baked ham gift certificate ($35)

Amazon gift card  ($75)

Please enter our contest and tell all your friends. 😊


a Rafflecopter giveaway

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I’m happy to link up with Stream of Consciousness Saturday hosted by Linda G. Hill. Green is a symbolic colour in my family. We’re 1/3 Irish on my Mom’s side so you can imagine how important St. Patrick’s day was when I was growing up. We would say our prayers, honour St. Patrick and have my ancestors recipe of delicious Irish Mulligan stew.

There was one thing that confused me though could a certain colour of green denote danger? I was told if we were to wear Paddy green that it was bad luck. When you grow up with Irish ancestry a lot of superstitions are a part of life so I just didn’t question it.

I didn’t know what shade of green was paddy anyways so I chose not to wear until I was an adult. Then one day my Mom came to visit me and I was taking her shopping. I came out dressed in a new t-shirt I had bought recently and heard her exclaim “oh no you’re wearing paddy green!”

I went back to my bedroom and changed immediately. I know that may make some laugh as I was grown woman. But when my Mom starting making the sign of the cross and praying the Our Father I took this outburst seriously.

After we got to the food court I asked my Mom what was the superstition connected to that particular colour of green. She had told me my Great Grandparents immigration to Canada, tales of the Irish banshee that had a body of a dog and a face like a scary villain out of Grim’s stories. But really paddy green what was the fear of that?

She had explained that when someone in our family had worn the colour that a relative would die. At first I scoffed then I looked deep into her eyes and was ashamed because there was a belief and fear there.

Who was I to question the validity of a belief she held all throughout her life? After this insightful conversation we went back home and I made her a cup of tea and her favourite treat scones, like my Gram used to make. I cherish those memories and keep our Irish traditions alive with my own children.

My favourite thing about St. Patrick’s day is that there’s no expectations on this day. No need to get dressed up and go out to anyone’s for dinner, or get out of your pyjamas for that matter. The only thing you need to do is be happy, drink green beer, and sing Danny Boy.

In my family I make the green pancakes and potato patties like I would have as a child. And for one day out of the year I speak with an Irish accent. I’m putting those years of theatre training to good use. Also it makes my kids happy, and I love to hear their giggles when I break into song and kick up my heels in an Irish jig. I think the world could use a lot more happy traditions so I wish you a Happy St. Patrick’s day and may the luck of the Irish be with you.



I find myself seeking companionship lately. I’ve been content with staying in my bubble and carrying on with life yet I’m seeking someone to call a friend. It takes me awhile to branch out socially whenever I relocate. It’s a lot different now as I find I’m not needed as much at my youngest sons school.

That’s where I meet a majority of my friends or through my other sons hockey. I spent so much time volunteering in kindergarten that I knew all his classmates and was the teachers right hand woman. I knew it was bound to happen as he gets older classroom volunteering becomes a thing of the past.

What I didn’t expect was that I would feel so lost without it. I like having the freedom to spend my days as I wish but it felt good to be needed. Now it’s quiet in my home and I fill my days with keeping busy as possible.

It’s always a little anxiety inducing when making friends. As a lot of my friendships start out online. That’s part of my life as a special needs parent. I don’t fit in with a lot of Mom groups as my kids are older and I’m not at any library or play based programs. There was a time when my life revolved around preschool, parks, and play dates.

Also I have a son with autism and ADHD so play dates with typical kids can be tricky. I seek out other Moms who get me and my sons journey and don’t judge. I have these online Facebook groups and they’ve become my lifeline. From autism, rare diseases, genetic and sensory processing disorders there are parents are walking the same or similar path.

I recently met a Mom from one of these groups and it felt so wonderful to just sit and talk about our lives. There’s no judgement, expectations, or even a need to keep the conversation going. There’s no uncomfortable silences as it’s probably the first time we’ve been able to think about ourselves first in awhile. And when someone looks you in the eye and says I get it and I got your back Mama that’s a great feeling.


It takes a village

I recently took a physical for life insurance purposes. My nurse was kind and polite and when I was asked why do I take an anti-depressant when your otherwise healthy? I simply replied “I’m a special needs parent who’s always advocating, teaching, learning, researching, and loving my family I have to cope somehow.”

The look of surprise that crossed his face was something that I’ve seen before. I’ve had people ask me how do you do it, deal with autism, ADHD, ODD, SPD, and a genetic neurological disorder that affects everything from motor skills, to recessive language delay, to selective eating issues due to textures, smells, and shapes of food.

I have no other answer other than I don’t think about it I just do it. All of it needs to be done always. I need to advocate for my children so that they can have access to resources, funding, and therapy inside the school system and outside within the community. I need to keep up with the latest research on my son’s genetic disorder so I know how to help him specifically and what other co-morbidities I need to be aware of. I also need to teach him about number and letter recognition so he can begin to print what he knows. I have to deal with regression as it’s the part of his brain that’s affected by his micro-duplication.

I need to check, double check and help my son re-learn when he’s lost his ability to process what he’s learning in school. He’s come a long way with his progress from screaming if I tried to help him hold a crayon in preschool to printing his name confidently in elementary school. Now his world’s growing bigger as he attempts to make sense of all those letters on the page and learn to read. I remember what joy I felt when my Mom introduced the magical world of books to me.

I long to see that light in my son’s eyes that I know appeared in mine. Yet I see him stumble on three and four letter words and in frustration throw the book across the room. At the moment we’re working on his reading comprehension so that he can create the story from what he sees illustrated on the page. As for the phonics and word recognition I’m using a multi-sensory approach as well as his special education resources teacher does in the classroom.

1. First I print the word then I get him to to tell me the letters and we sound it out and say it together.

2. Next I have him build it with his alphabet letters on the line below.

3. After he prints the word with his pencil.

4. Then we go over the word and use it in a sentence and repeat with the remaining words.

Sometimes he only has enough patience for three words but to me it’s quality over quantity. I learned the Write, build, print method from an amazing website called Understood. I love this website as I now have a resource that’s there to help us both on our learning journey.

When I see the furrow in my son’s brow as he concentrates to maintain his alligator grip on his pencil I marvel at his independence. He sings a little song as he does so. Alligator grip then my pencil doesn’t slip. Then when he’s completed his task his beautiful smile makes his whole face light up. I’m excited to incorporate building Lego into his learning as we work on math next.

I have five months to prepare him to catch up with his peers and continue onto the next grade. He has an excellent team at school who’ve been there to help with his frustrations, transitions with the use of visuals and successes. My son teaches me just as much as I’m teaching him this why I choose medication for myself and seeking the guidance of a therapist.

No parent is an island and it takes a village to raise a child. When it’s a child with special needs it takes strength, courage, and a bigger, non-judgemental village. I need to be able to cope with this roller coaster of a life we lead. I need to stay on task and ten steps ahead of a sensory overloaded meltdown. Most importantly I need to take care of myself and repair what I feel is broken. My mental health and the well being of my children depend on it.

Welcome to Voices of Special Needs Blog Hop — a monthly gathering of posts from special needs bloggers hosted by The Sensory Spectrum and The Jenny Evolution. Click on the links below to read stories from other bloggers about having a special needs kiddo — from Sensory Processing Disorder to ADHD, from Autism to Dyslexia! Want to join in on next month’s Voices of Special Needs Hop? Click here!


You can’t put a square peg into a round hole

img_0990-1I breathed a sigh of relief as the minutes ticked down on the month of November. December 1 st was a Friday so we always celebrate TGIF with a family movie night or a hockey game. November was dark, cold, tiring and trying for our family. My youngest son with autism and other co-morbidities has been struggling in his classroom. Not only there but at home too attempting to get him out of bed, fed, dressed and out the door before the bell rings has become a long drawn out process.

We live where the time zone doesn’t change and it looks like midnight at 7 am when my alarm’s going off. I don’t want to get out of bed either as it’s cold, dark, and I know what I’m going to be dealing with in the next few minutes of alertness. I have enlisted the help of my sons Special Education resource teacher, his Educational Aide and his classroom teacher to work with us on this current obstacle. Last month I saw him fighting, kicking, and pushing open the door while I’m attempting to leave after I drop him off. I’ve had to tear myself away from his grasp as I stand there and attempt to regulate him. He’s in full sensory overload and he hasn’t even got his coat off yet!

A tentative plan was put in place by his OT to have him continue with classroom routine and then have a body break. I had been told it was important to give him this structure. I actually laughed albeit bitterly, as I explained his whole life is structured or there’s utter chaos in his world. Last week I had sat down with my son and told him on weekends we don’t have to talk about school unless her wanted too. Then on Sunday we would go through his school agenda and get his backpack ready to go and read a social story to prepare him. He then told he “I hate school!”

I have to admit it shocked me as this isn’t a word I allow to be used in the home. But when he’s on the playground he’s exposed to a lot more then I know. I then tentatively asked me why he was so upset and the conversation is as follows.

Me-“Why don’t you want to go to school?”

Son- “I hate it there!”

Me- “Why don’t you like it?”

Son- “Because school is hard and it makes my brain hurt.”

Me-…. “I’m so sorry son, I’ll get you all the help you need.”

As I’ve been watching him fall apart the feelings of Mom guilt wash over me like toxic sludge. I throw myself into project after project hoping I can distract myself from this feeling of incompleteness and hopelessness. Will my son always struggle with the basic tasks of getting up and dressing himself. Will he always need more time, visuals, and reminders and extra minutes in his day to process all the information? The answer is yes he has autism and a rare genetic chromosomal disorder as well as other co-morbidities that he’s diagnosed with or may be in the future.

I don’t even know how to describe how relieved I am when I’m alone. When I can sit and not think or feel my anxiety monsters crawling inside my brain telling me I’m not good enough and to try harder at life. I spend everyday thinking, planning, organizing and doing my best to stay 10 steps ahead of a sensory meltdown. Which is worse than a typical temper tantrum trust me on that! Nothing in my life is typical my headspace, my thoughts, even what I have to do on a daily basis to get my kids out the door for school! No matter how many therapists I see for myself or my kids you can’t stick a square peg into a round hole.

Every day it’s the struggle when my alarm goes off and the beeping drives me out of bed stumbling and cursing as I find my way to the bathroom. Then I wake up my kids with repeated requests to get out of bed and start the day. The deep pressure massage and heavy work that I need to do with my youngest son to even get him to move is methodical and precise. When we do finally get out the door and I drop one son off at his school and take a deep breath to drop off the other. I listen to endless whining and crying not to drop my sweet boy off at school.

This takes its toll on me watching him crumble to the floor and beg me not to leave when I drop him off for the day. The behavioural issues that result from his central nervous system being overloaded from a loud and busy classroom are the hardest to deal with. Now that he’s become aware of his differences compared to his peers. The separation anxiety he lives with daily as he clings to my leg reminds me of my own past experience with my Mom. How my son cries at night begging me not to send him to school. And the promises I make him to protect him and keep him safe even from his worry monster as I hug him so close to my heart.

The therapists that expect my son to follow the rules and routines of the classroom don’t know how difficult it is for him. Expecting his atypical brain to comprehend and follow along in a neurotypical environment is like teaching him another language. The use of the visuals, fidgets, headphones, chewlery for his anxiety and even wearing his glasses will send him into a combative mode. Why you may ask, because then everyone can see he’s different abled then them.

He misses his life from before his friends, teachers, and experiences. I don’t blame him I miss those things to yet we need to persevere because him and I are in this together. Autism can be lonely and special needs parenting is definitely the hardest and yet rewarding thing I’ve ever done. The celebrations for milestones reached are joyous and the jealousy for others who don’t get it or don’t deal with this daily is detrimental to my self worth. My son is struggling and my heart’s breaking and I’ll do everything I can to see him smile and like school again. I won’t give up but I will give in to my tears when I can no longer keep them in or hide behind my “I’m fine smile.”Then I pick myself up, put on my teflon armour and face another day. My son is the square peg who I congratulate and celebrate how beautiful and complex his way of thinking is. He encourages me to keep on advocating for his special needs as I’m teaching him the world needs to be more inclusive for him and others like him.

Welcome to Voices of Special Needs Blog Hop — a monthly gathering of posts from special needs bloggers hosted by The Sensory Spectrum and The Jenny Evolution. Click on the links below to read stories from other bloggers about having a special needs kiddo — from Sensory Processing Disorder to ADHD, from Autism to Dyslexia! Want to join in on next month’s Voices of Special Needs Hop?  Click here