5 Ways Providers Can Make Life Easier for Autism Parents

BY: - 9 Dec '14 | Parenting

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Facing Autism on BMWK

Autism came into his my son’s life as an uninvited guest. It affects the way he communicates, behaves, and socializes. It affects the way he learns and his ability to reach developmental milestones. Navigating the service delivery system that is in place to help him has been frustrating, but I know that I can never give up.

As parents we depend on providers to navigate the choppy waters of autism parenting. We acknowledge that we can’t do it alone. However, we end up feeling disillusioned, angry, and frustrated when providers continuously drop the ball.

On any given day, a parent of a child with autism may spend hours calling insurance companies, support service agencies, therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, and direct support staff. This can be challenging, especially if the parent works full time. I won’t even get into the special education aspect, which adds another layer of complications to our hectic lives.

I came up with this list because I believe that it can help providers understand what parents really need from them. So here we go:

Return our Phone Calls
No one likes to be ignored. When a parent reaches out to you for help, please call them back. We understand that you may have a heavy caseload but that is no excuse to ignore someone who is constantly reaching out to you for help. Families deserve more and we need to feel that our children are not just names on a sheet of paper. I would like to think that when someone enters a career that services people with disabilities they do it because they have genuine compassion for our families. Maybe I am being naïve and it is just a paycheck. Either way, please return our calls.

Be Persistent
Our children have many needs and this is why we are desperate to get them services. We understand that wait lists are long. We understand that many families are vying for the same spots. Despite these obstacles, we simply ask that you be persistent. When we reach out to you to request a service for our child, make as many calls as you need to make to set things in motion. Follow up and follow through. If one agency does not have a space, try another one. Keep trying until you get what is needed for that family. Trust and believe that many parents are doing the same. We sincerely ask that you do your part.

Be Resourceful
As a provider serving the disabilities population, you have to learn your field. Know where the services are. Attend conferences and workshops. Familiarize yourself with agencies servicing the families you serve. Learn how the system works. These strategies can arm you with a wealth of knowledge that you can pass on to families. It can also make your job easier because you become a true source of support and information for desperate families.

Be Honest
If you do not know something or you made a mistake, be honest. Your transparency will go a long way in helping to fix the situation. If you are a direct support worker, parents also need you to be open and honest with them. We look to you as a source of relief not stress.

Work with Us
Sometimes parents get frustrated with you but we do appreciate you. We may yell at you, but know that it comes from a place of frustration. It comes from a place of desperation from trying so hard and getting little to no results. Sometimes we just do not know where else to turn because so many doors have been slammed before us. You could’ve chosen any other career but you chose to work with families of children with autism and other special needs.

Thank you! We implore you all to work with us. We are all on the same team.

BMWK: How can providers make your life easier as a parent of a child with autism?  Feel free to share this post with the providers in your life.

 

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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7 Great Gifts for Kids this Holiday Season

BY: - 12 Dec '14 | Parenting

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TNMFatherKidsfeature

Thanksgiving is over and we are now in what kids think of as the most exciting time of the year—the countdown ‘til Christmas. Kids everywhere are preparing for Christmas plays at church, practicing songs in school, writing letters to Santa, and asking (or begging) their parents for the gifts that they want most. There really is nothing like the excitement kids feel during this time of the year.

Certainly, Christmas is about a lot more than receiving gifts. As parents we make sure our children understand that this is really a season about giving and celebrating the birth of Christ. That said, we still want them to wake up on Christmas morning experiencing a bit of magic. That is absolutely what I want for my kids.

I know considering their requests and going through countless, circulars can make it challenging to figure out what you should get your little ones. Here are a few gift ideas for kids in every age range that are sure to make their Christmas morning a bright one.

Filip [7]

Filip. A smart watch designed to keep kids safe and give parents a peace of mind, Filip is a pretty clever device. The best part is, it’s cool looking (and available in 4 bright colors). Giving parents the ability to call, text, and locate their children using their own smart phone, Filip may be just what your kid needs.

National Geographic [8]

National Geographic Laser Pegs: Landmarks & Archaeology. A great 240-piece set that gives your kid the ability to build present-day landmarks, the ancient wonders of the world, and various architectural structures, these laser pegs are impressive. What’s even cooler is the ability for the kids to use LED connector blocks to light up the awesome structures they’ve created. I love it!

Fashion Plates [4]

Fashion Plates. This gift is perfect if you have a little girl in your life who loves fashion. We recently gave this to a friend’s daughter for her birthday and it was a huge hit. Kids can mix and match these double-sided design plates, use a crayon or colored pencil, and create a design they love.

Oh Snap![3]

Oh Snap! Honestly, I just can’ resist talking about a game called “Oh Snap!” just because it’s one of my favorite things to say. But seriously, this game is a great family game that allows for family fun while helping your kids exercise their brains. Focused on spatial strategy and decision-making, “Oh Snap!” is sure to be a keeper.

Little Passports [3]

Little Passports. A great subscription service that encourages children to fall in love with the cultures of the world, I think “Little Passports” is a winner. With three different subscriptions available based on age group, you are sure to find just what you kid needs.

kiwicrate [3]

KiwiCrate. My son received this as a gift last year and he truly loved it. Every month he got a new box in the mail and he was always excited to open it up and see what arts and crafts project was in store for him. Anything that inspires creativity (and keeps me from buying a bunch of supplies) is a winner in my book.

Magna-Tiles [7]

Magna-Tiles. These magnetic building tiles are a must-have for kids. They offer hours of fun, promote creativity, and help your kids build critical skills they need to do well in life. Great fun for boys and girls alike, Magna-Tiles are pretty awesome.

BMWK, do you have any new toys to add to this list?

About the author

Martine Foreman wrote 490 articles on this blog.

Martine Foreman is a speaker, writer, lifestyle consultant, and ACE-certified Health Coach who specializes in helping moms who want more out of life but feel overwhelmed and confused. Through her content and services, Martine is committed to helping women embrace their personal truth, gain clarity, and take action to create healthier, happier lives. For more on Martine's candid views on life and love, visit her at candidbelle.com. To work with her, visit her at martineforeman.com. Martine resides in Maryland with her husband, two kids and sassy cat Pepper.

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