Notes from our first meeting

We had a small group gathered last night – it was a nice evening and a lovely beginning. If you missed us this time, you can try again on Thursday, November 7th, at 7 pm at the Shambhala Center in White River (above Cover).

Even with our small group of 3, the amount of information exchanged and shared felt so valuable – both in helping others and being helped in return. Here are some of the highlights (some of which I’ll eventually add to the website in upcoming Practitioners Directory and Resources areas).

Notes

  • Differently, Wired by Deborah Reber needs to make the rounds more! Our family considers this title (and all of Deborah’s work) an essential tool for not only understanding our kiddo but also to steer and shape how we parent and relate to her. Since two out of three families represented last night were not familiar with it, we talked book-clubbing it. That’s a smart approach for this reason: it’s a tiny book, but a lot to take in. It might work well to read it through with others and support each other in implementation. I’ve reached out to the publisher for discounted copies (which they make available to parent groups).
  • We did a quick intro into what Occupational Therapy is, why it matters, and how it has worked for one child in the group. It’s still kind of a mystery to those present, and we should maybe dive deeper sometime. It seems to be widely misunderstood yet something that works well for people with sensory processing challenges.
  • We discussed both IEPs and CSPs and why they matter. There is much more to dive into there, but the gist of the conversation was this: if you have a differently-wired child in a public school and not on an iep, you should look into it. Talk with your child’s therapist as well as the head of special education at the school and see if an IEP makes sense. For example, your kid doesn’t have to suffer through chaotic transitions and crowded hallways on their own! An IEP would fix that.
  • For parents that need help navigating the mental-health and education system: Get an advocate. There are a ton of resources available through the Vermont Family Network. They are a great place to start when you aren’t sure which way is up. The Vermont Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health also provides mentoring, advocacy, and tons of resources.
  • Someone had a question about strategies for dealing with sibling challenges. There weren’t a lot of solutions in the room, but it made me remember that Deborah Reber (see that name again?) just did a podcast on this subject.
  • We briefly discussed role models and pop culture references, which are positive for our kids and help to normalize neuro differences. See below in resources.

Resources mentioned

  • Differently Wired (Book)
  • Tilt Parenting Podcast – by Reber as well and can be overwhelming in the sheer number of episodes, but the search landing page is an excellent place to start.
  • The Explosive Child by Ross Greene – Another essential book for parents of atypical kids. Greene identifies that all children want to succeed, but lack of skills sometimes gets in the way. Behavioral problems are not seen as acting out but instead missing a particular skill. Identifying these missing skills and working to improve them in a unified way was the genesis of Collaborative Problem Solving.
  • The Out-of-Sync Child: Recognizing and Coping with Sensory Processing Disorder
  • Vermont Family Network (where to start, advocacy)
  • Vermont Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health (advocacy)
  • Atypical – A Netflix comedy that follows the life of an Autistic teenager but, by most accounts, does an excellent job of it.
  • The Good Doctor – drama series about, well, a good doctor who is on the spectrum. We didn’t discuss it much, but it looks fantastic.

I hope you can join us in November. Be well and take care of yourselves.
Jason