5 Ways to Support Siblings in Special Needs Families

5 Ways to Support Siblings in Special Needs Families

written by Alyson Krueger, published on childmind.org

When Sophie Kleinhandler was diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder at 8, one thing that meant a lot to her was the support of her sister Rachel.

“My older sister started worrying about me,” Sophie recalled, “and she told me something really special. There’s a song called ‘Lean on Me,’ and she said, ‘Sophie, now that you haveOCD I want you to lean on me when you’re upset and you can’t handle anything.’”

Rachel was a big help to Sophie, but Sophie’s OCD was hard on Rachel, too.

Sophie would get very upset if she was touched without warning. If someone brushed against her clothing, she had to immediately take it off and wash it. She had an aversion to commonplace sounds like breathing, yawning, sniffing, or kissing. Certain words set her off as well.

For Rachel, Sophie’s outbursts could be embarrassing. She didn’t know how to explain her sister’s behavior to her friends. It was also hard to concentrate on her homework or enjoy family vacations when her sister was slamming doors or melting down. Her parents spent a disproportionate amount of time on her sister, taking her to appointments and visiting when she was in a treatment center. And, of course, Rachel worried a lot about Sophie.


Five Steps to Managing Big Emotions

Five Steps to Managing Big Emotions

published on www.childhood101.com

Whenever I ask parents what their biggest parenting struggle is, patience is always right there at the top of the list. We struggle to keep our cool in all sorts of situations – when we are rushing to get everyone out the door, when we have asked our child 272 times to do something, when they whine and whinge, when siblings squabble, and the list goes on.

Often it is when our children are having the most trouble keeping their cool that we also lose ours. Which we all know is pretty unhelpful in the scheme of things, especially as our children are watching and learning from everything we do. And managing big emotions is hard when you are two or four or six or sixteen. In fact at times it can be hard, whatever age you are!

Being prepared with a strategy for helping children through those times when they are experiencing big or overwhelming emotions such as anger, frustration, jealousy or embarrassment, is one way to help both you and them to work through those emotions more effectively.

Embracing the Diversity Within Us

Embracing the Diversity Within Us

written by By Katherine Ponte, JD, MBA, CPRP, posted in Nami

Everybody has multiple identities whether or not they’re living with mental illness. Among those most important to me: I am a kind-hearted person, a wife, a daughter, a friend, a volunteer, an entrepreneur, a Portuguese-Canadian-American, a Catholic, an Ivy League graduate, and I happen to be a person living with mental illness.

All of this and much more is me. I am proud of all of me. The many aspects of my identity greatly enhance who I am. They give me multiple sources of strength to draw on which help me cope with the challenges of mental illness.

In order for our identities to promote mental health, we have to let ourselves be empowered by them. In particular, a person’s identities can enhance their sense of belonging because they can allow membership and connection with multiple communities. This can be particularly helpful to mental health.

How to Get Kids to Unplug in the Great Outdoors

How to Get Kids to Unplug in the Great Outdoors

published on Parenting

Get your kids and teens engaged with nature and not their screens by offering them enticing age-appropriate outdoor activities.

When the school year comes to a close and summer starts, parents everywhere wonder, “How do I get my kids to go outside and play more?” Whether your child has a Minecraft obsession or is a teen texter extraordinaire, getting our offspring to put down the iPads, cell phones, and other gadgets to engage with nature and the other humans in their families can be a frustrating experience, to say the least.

“It’s so important for parents to get that quality time with their children and each other,” says Jennifer Ludovice, spokesperson for Thousand Trails and Encore properties’ campgrounds and RV parks with resort-style amenities. “We see the benefits of families unplugging together at our campgrounds and resorts every day. Putting away the cell phone gives families a chance to re-engage.”

There may be some initial whining and complaining about “roughing it” without screens, but children can be convinced to unplug when presented with the right alternate activities.

“The key is choosing the right destination,” Ludovice says. “You won’t have much luck convincing children to put away the gadgets if there aren’t other activities waiting for them when they get there.”

Dating and Teens with Special Needs

Dating and Teens with Special Needs

written by Dr. Liz Matheis, published on www.psychologytoday.com

Teens are teens, regardless of special needs/disability, or not. Puberty hits, sparks start flying and we, as parents, have no idea how to handle this new phase in your adolescent’s life. Within the special needs community, there is controversy as to whether dating is a good idea or not. My perspective is one of a parent as well as a psychologist, but as a mom first. Disability or not, our children are children and they have similar human developmental milestones along the way. Some get there faster and some get there slower, but the human need for connection and relating is one that exists regardless of disability or ability.

Benefits of Meditation

Benefits of Mediation

Published on naturesoundretreat.com

Meditation has been practiced by many different cultures for thousands of years and is associated with a number of positive mental and physical health benefits, including reducing stress, improving your quality and quantity of sleep, and increasing your ability to focus.

Like with all good habits, however, it can be difficult to get into the practice of meditation.

Despite knowing that meditation has all of these benefits, and knowing that we’ll most likely feel better both physically and mentally if we set as little as 10 minutes aside to practice, without understanding the full effect of these benefits, it can be difficult to find the motivation.

To help light a fire under your yoga mat, we’ve put together this beginner’s guide to meditation and its benefits so that there will be no excuses left for you not to start!

60 Books About Disabilities and Differences for Kids

60 Books About Disabilities & Differences for Kids

Published on mrsdscorner.com

As a teacher, or parent, who works in education… we meet a lot of students with different abilities and specialties. And sure, we have Autism Awareness month and disability awareness… but it’s so much more than just being aware.

Below you’ll find a curated list of books on special needs, acceptance, and tolerance. There are also books that describe children who have other differences that may make life a little challenging, like walking, hearing, seeing, understanding social cues, and more. These are books that you can use to introduce the topics presented to other children, teachers, and adults.


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