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I am passionate about helping women struggling to parent kids with unique needs transform their experience of parenting from one of crisis and survival into one that serves their sanity, nourishes their own and child's authenticity, and nurtures relationships.
DROP BY OFTEN
Feel free to drop by here on a regular basis where every month I will be adding new videos or articles that will provide inspiration, tools and mindset that will nourish and empower you on your good days and bad.
Most resources and services out there focus on the child, however, this work is so different. It is for you and of course it will benefit your child as well.
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I'VE BEEN THERE
Not only have I dedicated myself to a professional and academic career in Special Education, Resource and Psychology, but I am also a mom to three children including a child with needs.
Having been through this myself, I understand how hard it can be.
I know the feeling of helplessness as you watch your child struggle, the frustration of trying to be heard and get what you need from the systems that are meant to help you, or just plain old trying to get out the door without a battle.
The appointment burnout, middle of the night worries about the future and haunting guilt that brings you to re-examine each and every memory or scenario in search of a cause or reason for the challenges that arrived on your doorstep - I've known these all.
I've been through these tough times, but with some changes, I learned that things can be pretty good.
With some lessons learned and a big transformation, I am grateful to say I've been able to:
- Get through most days with ease, smiles, and connection.
- Crack the code on how to best help my son and watch him succeed.
- See gifts and potential beyond my son's challenges, and
- Know how to best work with systems so they serve our interest.
When I think of then and now, I can't believe the contrast. Things could have been way easier early on if I knew what I know now.
HOW I WAS CALLED TO THIS WORK
I have always been drawn to work with families and children with unique needs. From a young age, I worked one-on-one with children with Autism and later went on to spend many years helping families and their children working as a Resource and Special Education teacher as well as a Clinical Consultant specializing in Applied Behaviour Analysis.
My Formal Training
My interest in children with special needs and their learning led me to pursue my formal training including a Masters of Science in Psychology, Post-Baccalaureate in Inclusive Special Education, Bachelor of Education and Arts as well as Coach Training, ADHD Coach Training, countless job trainings and completion of a number of Gordon Neufeld's courses on attachment and development. I am also a Triple P Positive Parenting provider and certified Yoga Teacher and my yoga and meditation practices have been very grounding influences in my life.
The "Real Deal" - My Life Training
Degrees and training up to my eyeballs and you’d think it would have been a cake walk for me when I discovered my son had needs including Apraxia of Speech and others challenges as well.
My life was turned inside out with the discovery of my son's challenges and the way the stress impacted my family and I early on. I spent the first three years of his life going back and forth between middle of the night tears of worry, and denial. My son's silence, seeing his tantrums, the screams and tears that came with every loud sound and the way clung to me for dear life at the mom and me activities we attended was broke my heart and my relationships with those around me suffered. I'd cry on the way home from gatherings with other children when I noticed my child struggle in ways other kids did not. The thought that something could be wrong was just too painful to acknowledge. So instead of seeing and feeling these things I could not bear, I pushed myself harder to be a more perfect mother. I berated myself and vowed to read to him more, sing more, do more enriching activities. After all, I thought, how could this be and what did I do wrong? Things were not lining up with my plans and in response I just pushed myself harder, trying to make things the way I wanted them to be.
You can only ignore the truth for so long and eventually my body called my bluff and I collapsed. Life's way of straightening me out I suppose, as you can't hold everything together the way you so badly want them to be when you are unable to get out of bed, healing from a head and neck injury. Shortly after, we got some answers about my son's difficulties when he was diagnosed with Apraxia of Speech. So there we were - he could not speak and let me tell you, neither could I. I was frozen and could literally not say the words out loud - it was so much to process.
My son and I "recovered" along side one another from then on as things came together in a much better way. Along with our village that supported us, he learned from me and I learned from him. He found his voice - first sounds then words and tantrums got better while I healed from my injuries and reclaimed myself and a new way of being a mom that allowed joy on the path I had not expected.
What I Now Know
What I learned was invaluable.
We worked hard and smart, finding easier and better ways for him to learn and he has come so far, as have I.
I found freedom in letting the "disorder" be in our lives instead of allowing my "wishing it away" to deplete every last drop of my energy.
I learned that my child is not a problem to be fixed and saw beyond his deficits to see his gifts and strengths which allowed me to look ahead with joy seeing potential instead of worrying about the future.
I noticed how my focus on fixing the deficits was also eroding our relationship and learned to find a balance that left space for him to be himself and for us to just be together, deeply connected.
I've learned that "no" and "policies" are just words on paper and that in difficult times there were more options available to me, especially when I found my voice and used it effectively.
Of course, we still have challenges because that's part of life. But we've learned not to make things harder then they need to be and how to get through them in a better and easier way that saves our sanity and relationships.
The more I learned - the things collected over the course of my academic and professional career and the much larger lessons that only life could teach me, the more I felt called to help others by sharing my lessons. I felt so privileged to have had over 16 years of training that benefited me as I helped my son, and also for the lessons which inspired the breakthroughs in my life that helped me be an even better mom that could help my son be his best, by being a better and happier me.
Just as I could not ignore my growing concerns about my son early on, the suffering of other moms parenting children with unique needs around me became more and more apparent and it broke my heart.
When I was able to help a friend after she reached out, I realized that it was time to help families in a different way.
At a crossroads after a maternity leave, I realized that after all I'd been through, I no longer wanted to work with families in the school system, but wanted to work for them, serving and offering them all that my family has benefited from.
After all, no one else can make as big an impact on their child as a parent can and I believe that all children have beautiful gifts they've brought with them into this world and we can help them grow into those gifts.
These Are The Transformations My Clients Experience In Their Families:
- Getting out of chaos and into a way of parenting that saves their sanity and the relationships in their families.
- Being confident in their ability to help their child more then anyone else.
- Being confident in advocating effectively with systems so that they get what they need from them.
- Becoming resilient parents thus raising resilient children.
- Preserving and strengthening parent-child relationships.
- Leaving space for their children to be their authentic selves.
- Leaving space for their own authenticity as parents and learning to nurture their needs while helping their children.
- Seeing and working from their children's strengths to help them reach their fullest potential.
- Learning to find fun and joy while parenting and helping their children with unique needs.
Just click below if you'd like to connect and let me know where you're getting stuck.
WHAT I LOVE...
- I am a water baby and beach bum and nothing sounds better to me then an entire day in the sun on the beach. I have a very special place in my heart for Lake Winnipeg, and grew up on its shores in a small Icelandic town called Gimli.
- Though I infrequently drink it, I do love an excellent cup of black coffee (preferably made in an Aeropress and even better made by my husband) and picking a special mug from my collection is the most important part of the experience!
- I love musicals, especially Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music (yay Julie Andrews!). My life sounds like one with my family and I often breaking out into silly made up songs as we go about our day. I also play the piano and am now a Suzuki mom to a young viola player and cellist.
- I am a health conscious kombucha-making, smoothie drinking foodie but also love to bake sinful treats and cake decorating. When so inclined, you may find me spending many hours making ridiculously absurd cakes such as cake, fondant and sugar paste versions of my dogs, dragons, or dinosaurs.
- In my home, I have way more plants then I could possibly count. I talk to them and a few of them have names.
- I love books, especially children’s books. Let me loose in a library or book store and I'm a kid in a candy shop! My colleagues wrote me a silly IEP with the goal of returning my library books on time in order to reduce the fines I paid. But I've yet to master that goal! (Oops!)
- I love yoga and meditation and also playing sports!
- I am an intuitive gal who loves sound healing crystal bowls, crystals, nature and walking barefoot in the grass as well as caring for my flowers.
- I am a decluttering and organizing nerd and also love Feng Shui, decorating, picking colour palettes and painting walls. With my passion for organization and decluttering, you'd think my house would be pristine, but it most certainly is not!
- I am a birth junkie and love seeing birth photography, being around pregnant women and teaching Prenatal Yoga.
ARE YOU WANTING A DIFFERENT EXPERIENCE PARENTING YOUR CHILD WITH UNIQUE NEEDS?
If you're hearing all of this and saying yes, this is me and where I'm getting stuck, feel free to contact me and let me know where you're at with parenting your unique kid and I'll personally offer you some feedback.
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