Tagged "summer time"

Elizabeth: Mindfulness

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

I know we have all heard the term Mindfulness.

And we are all made aware of the good of “being in the moment.”

To be “in the moment” requires that you are thinking, feeling and immersing yourself in whatever task you are doing or whatever place you are.

It means using all your senses to really focus on the moment you are in.

So easily said, but not so easily done.

This mindfulness is not something that is new to me, just something that is a bit hard to achieve all the time because life gets so busy.

And especially so when you have a child with special needs.

It seems that life is a go.

-From the moment you know something is wrong

-To the moment you get a diagnosis

-To the journey of therapies

-To the everyday life and its work

You are on a different path than most, one that requires a steady pace. One that requires stamina and focus. One that does not allow, usually, for opportunity to be Mindful because there are too many things that require us to be pragmatic, planned and scheduled.

I was thinking, again, about this concept of mindfulness this past week, partially because we just entered Summer time and mostly because our schedule is much less structured now then during the year. Let’s face it, I had a bit of extra free time, not usually provided.

-With this extra time I have been able to be more mindful:

-I noticed that as I was not clutching the steering wheel of my car, with one eye on the clock, I could see that the sky was a really pretty blue today.

-I noticed that when I stepped outside to play with Michael, that the air smelled so much like Summer, a mixture of grass, sunscreen and—well sunshine.

-I became aware of just how happy Elizabeth looked this morning as we planned out our day. “I am so happy to be off, Mom!” Was how it was stated.

I became aware of so many things, now that my usual school treadmill has been turned off.

And between you and me, I simply love it.

A lot!

This mindfulness lets in the really precious stuff that can at times be overlooked.

I think as we work so hard for our children, we should give ourselves the gift of enjoying these moments as fully as we are able.

So how do you do this whole “Mindful” thing? For me it starts with taking a deep breath and opening my eyes and telling myself to really see what is in front of me.

To really feel whatever I am holding.

To really smell the air and exhale out any stressful thoughts.

To let my heart hold onto the memory of what I am seeing.

I know we can see many things that make our hearts sad, like when our children struggle to talk/communicate or do a task. So allowing the good things to take hold allows us to remember the good stuff—the successes. Maybe carving out more mindful moments amidst all the day to day stuff would be a good goal for us all….me included!

I guess this blog is my way of saying that each person deserves the right and joy that comes with more mindfulness.

It is my way of encouraging others as they walk their own journey.

I wish everyone a peaceful, mindful month.

-Michele Gianetti 

Michele writes for TalkTools Blog every month about her experience caring for Elizabeth, her daughter with Sensory Processing Disorder and Dyspraxia. Follow her story since the beginning here.

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Planning For Summer A Full Season Ahead

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

I have a friend who is quite spontaneous. From the last minute requests to meet for coffee to quick trips with her children, it is all done at the last minute and for her and her world, it works.

But for me and my world? Not so much!

I think something few people realize is that being a parent to a child with special needs changes so many things, but one big one is the loss of the spontaneity in exchange for a great amount of planning. So much planning goes into a what is a typical, effortless change of seasonal activities for others. From Summer to Fall and Spring to Summer, it all takes a great amount of work.

I say this because now is actually the time that Elizabeth and I begin to plan for Summer. Oh, I totally understand that is is only March. But I am quite similar to the retail world, you know a full season ahead of the actual date on the calendar? Remember how Halloween shows up around Labor Day? Well Summer is in my head and we have not had Easter yet. So with that in mind, I wanted to offer, in my opinion, the plan we have to help us transition to Summer. I hope they help.

Now is the time I think about Elizabeth’s goals for Summer.

- The ones we want to work on, not IEP related
- Do we want her to get tutored once or twice a week?
- Does she want to take any lessons?
- How many days will we be in a therapy?
- How many days a week does she want to volunteer?
And more….

Now is the time to talk to Elizabeth
- We talk about what she likes
- We talk about what she wants to do this Summer
- We talk about what she wants to take off the schedule.
And more…

The following are more generalized thoughts:

Now is the time to start making the calls
- If you are like me, the last thing you want to hear is that you missed a deadline for sign ups
- Or that the therapist is taking time off this Summer and you need to find someone.
- Or that the days you THOUGHT would work for something don’t and the days you wanted to be free are now not.

In other words, it is so much easier to get an idea of what is available now, allowing you to plan so much better.

Now is the time to make sure you have or do not have ESY
- That stands for Extended School Year.
- It is something available on the IEP
- It means, according to my understanding, that your child needs therapy during the summer so they will not loose skills or academic success
- For us it means that the school gives us a financial allotment to be used for summer therapies and tutoring,
- Sad fact here….I did not know about this early on for Elizabeth. Once I did, we had to have a fairly big discussion with the school to make sure we received it.
- So if this pertains to you, please verify it as you may have to have the therapist or tutor talk to your school about necessary paperwork prior to any summer work.

Now is the time to write it all down
- Put it all down
- Names of therapist
- Dates things are planned
- Phone numbers for easy access
- Ideas you have for extra fun in the Summer

Now is the time to remind yourself
- Put a reminder note in your April calendar to recheck with anyone you might have to call back and review your previous plans.
- Put a reminder in your May calendar to start talking to your child about summer, and keep talking as, for many of children, repetition is how they learn best.

I know Elizabeth and I are getting started on her Summer plans and so far so good.

I wish you all good luck as we all venture into another transition time.

-Michele Gianetti 

Michele writes for TalkTools Blog every month about her experience caring for Elizabeth, her daughter with Sensory Processing Disorder and Dyspraxia. Follow her story since the beginning here.

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