How I’m Raising the Bar for My Autistic Son

BY: - 25 Mar '14 | Parenting

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Facing Autism on BMWK

I have a confession to make. I have been holding my son back. Angel will be seven this year and there is so much that he can do. He can do more than I thought, more than I imagined. Of course, I did not realize this before because I never gave him a chance. I told myself he is autistic. He needs me. I need to do these things for him. Then, I would get a note from school about something he did and it would totally wow me. Suddenly, I realized that I need to give Angel more chances to develop the life skills that he will need to become more independent.

Over the last few months, Angel has proved that we should always presume competence. For so long, I thought that he could not read sentences. Whenever we tried to read to him, he would close the book and say “The End.” It did not click that since he is able to recognize sight words, he was developing the building blocks for early literacy. Then one day while doing homework, I decided to let him read a story that his teacher sent home. Guess what? He read the whole story. He sounded out each word. I only needed to step in a few times to help, but he did it and my heart swelled with pride.

Facing Autism Part 1.jpgThen there is the potty training roller coaster. This is one milestone that may come much later for individuals on the autism spectrum. I admit that Angel’s school pushed us and for that I am grateful. They had him going without pull-ups in school while we still had him wearing them at home. Soon enough we got on board and the consistency helped. Now Angel is being night time potty trained. With the guidance of his school psychologist, we raised the bar. How would we know if he could do it if we never give him a chance?

One final example is the way Angel handles himself with his typical peers. We took him to the playground this past Saturday and two boys wanted to play tag with him. They kept chasing him and asking him his name. He finally told them and then he said hi. Soon one of the boys caught him and I guess Angel thought he was being grabbed too tight, so he yelled and pushed the boy away.

I decided to let them work it out even though I was standing nearby. Then one of the boys asked Angel, “What do you speak?” I guess he thought Angel did not speak English because Angel did not engage him in a conversation. For once, I just let the situation play out. I did not intervene and I did not explain anything. It was not easy to do but I did it and Angel came out okay. Those boys were good boys and they did not make fun of my son. For that, I am grateful. I am not saying I will always stand back, but I know that I won’t always be there and at some point Angel will have to learn to deal in the typical world.

My son has come a long way. By the standard list of developmental milestones, he is delayed in several areas. I can admit that. However he has made some strides and as autism parents we celebrate every stride and every milestone no matter when it comes.

To Angel: I promise to always raise the bar with you. I promise to always presume your competence. Besides my love, this is the best gift that I can give to you.

BMWK: What can you do as a parent to raise the bar for your child with autism?  

Check back every other Tuesday for additional articles from Kpana Kpoto as she shares her experiences and what she learns as she raises her son that has been diagnosed with Autism.

About the author

Kpana Kpoto wrote 38 articles on this blog.

Kpana Kpoto, also known as Miz Kp, is a special needs advocate and blogger. She provides resources and support for autism parents through her blog, Sailing Autistic Seas and her support group, Bronx Parents Autism Support Circle. Kpana lives in New York City with her husband and only child, six-year old "Angel" who is conquering autism one milestone at a time.

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8 Ways to Battle New Mom Anxiety

BY: - 26 Mar '14 | Parenting

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TNMMotherBabySleeping_feature

I’m a lot better now, but when I was a first time mom, my anxiety level was THROUGH THE ROOF! What to do? Am I doing the right thing? Will I be a good mom? All of these questions are justified…new baby, hormone fluctuations, life changes and more! As new moms, we have every right to feel any and every emotion we so please. But, if it makes you feel any better, here are a few pointers on how to battle new mom anxiety.

1. You won’t break the baby. Babies are tough! They have gone through A LOT to get here and they are ready to take on the world…literally! Don’t worry about hurting the baby. Just handle them with loving care.

2. GERMS!!! Please don’t feel hesitant or offensive when asking people to wash their hands before touching your newborn. Also, have your guests to remove their shoes when entering your home. Baby will be crawling before you know it. Protect your baby!

3. Yes, you will be a GREAT mom! As a mother, I would have to say that motherhood is one of the hardest things to do. Will you be perfect? No. Will you be good enough? Yes…and then some! Don’t be too hard on yourself. Kids don’t come with instructions. It’s all on-the-job-training. You will be fine!

4. Snapping back. I remember fitting right back into my pre-pregnancy jeans with my first born. It was a feeling of euphoria!! But with age and time, the 2nd and 3rd pregnancies were not so easy for me to “snap back” into shape. I will say that breastfeeding and just walking for exercise helps tremendously at first.

5. Stretch marks. If you’re one of the few to escape stretch marks, consider yourself blessed. But, if you’re like most of us, start calling them your “Warrior Stripes”, because indeed they are! And also remember there are women who would die to be in your shoes…stretch marks and all!

6. Postpartum depression. As stated earlier, your hormones fluctuate so rapidly and so much, it may be tough to determine if there is a problem. Talk to your doctor, know the signs and don’t be embarrassed.

7. How will you do it all? Ummmm…easy answer. You won’t! This is the time when you accept those offers to help you with your new little one – whether it’s a family member or a friend. Just. Say. Yes! There will be lots of time later in life to wear that cape and put an “S” on your chest. But as a new mom, please let someone else help you with the laundry, the dishes and meals. Sometimes, you just need an extra set of hands so you can shower or a nap…OR BOTH!

8. Listen to your mom. After all, didn’t you turn out okay? Grandmas, moms, and aunts are excellent resources when caring for your new baby. Use them! Don’t frown on home remedies either. They could be most useful!

This a tough but wonderful time in your life, enjoy every aspect of it that you can between sleep deprivation, diaper changes and crying spells. You will be fine.

BMWK, any other advice for new moms?

About the author

Sheree Adams wrote 117 articles on this blog.

Sheree is a wife and WAHM of three who passionately blogs about marriage, family, health tips and more as Smart & Sassy Mom. Sheree is committed to helping blended families and keeping marriages strong, healthy, fun and SPICY!

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