Archive for Autism Spectrum Disorder

From Dysmaturity to Maturity with Neurodiverse Children

Dear Parents,

One of the realities of raising a neurodiverse child from difficult beginnings is the ever-present challenge of dysmaturity.  That word may be new to you because it is a medical term used to describe a neonatal condition where the baby’s brain has not developed at a typical pace in utero.  Most people prefer to use the term “immaturity” when talking about their children, but I think “immaturity” doesn’t imply brain development, but rather a momentary behavior, such as “My husband can be so immature when it comes to sharing housework.”  This implies that he is otherwise a fully functioning adult man who acts like a teenager when it comes to taking the trash out.

No spouse feels terrible grief about a husband’s behavior when making a quip like that.  Usually kidding or, even if serious, there is no deep well of shame over the situation in the way we, parents, often have; shame when explaining the dysmaturity of our neurodiverse children who chronically display lagging skills; and agonizing bewilderment when regressive behaviors occur in the midst of a group of neurotypical peers.

I remember my 15-year-old son learning to ride a small two-wheeler bike around our neighborhood.  Yes, he was learning to balance at 15, not 7. He would regularly come in with skinned body parts from falling off his bike.  He would also regularly come in saying children chased him and bullied him when he was riding by their houses.  It was only after much discussion that I discovered these were 7-8 year-old-boys. The discussion broke my heart.

My son wanted nothing more than to be a typical boy and yet only found little children to play with who ended up being mean to him. His dysmaturity showed up at some point and then he became fodder.  They had him riding away in true fear. He could have gotten off his bike and stood up because his height alone would have caused them to turn tail—but he didn’t.  He was too scared of these children, half his chronological age, to realize how much bigger and older he actually was.

I used coaching, role play, encouragement, and empathy to help him understand what was happening and to learn how to defend himself by simply standing his ground.  It wasn’t simple for him.

We often rehearsed before he left the house and we debriefed when he came home.  We circled back to the same material many times over the course of two years until he matured in a spurt one day and told me he got off his bike and yelled “Shoo!” at the children chasing him.  He was so proud and triumphant.  I was happy for him, though inside my heart still ached for how hard his dysmaturity was for him.

I wish I could tell you that he never cowered again after that momentous day, but that would be a Sandra Bullock movie.  His life was and is not a movie.  It does have a happy middle though.  Not the story I would have written for him, but one that he is happy with now at 23.

When your child spurts and sputters to get a story out, hides behind a chair instead of playing at a birthday party, growls, hisses and barks during a playdate, tips the board game over when losing, or only finds younger children to play with, take heart. Steel yourself. Regulate. This is not shameful, hopeless, or bad behavior; it is dysmaturity.

Your children need empathy, repetitious coaching, concrete examples, rehearsal, patience, circling back for review, celebrating wins, and you doing your own self-care, so you don’t lose heart on the journey from dysmaturity to maturity.  They do slowly grow.  Our job is to make sure their esteem is intact as they do.

Love Matters,

Ce

P.S.  Join our Love Matters Parenting Society Membership–a Therapeutic Parenting Membership for Thriving While Raising Children from Difficult Beginnings.
Go to www.lovemattersparenting.com to read all about it.

Everyone is welcome to join our free public Love Matters Parenting Group on Facebook

HIATUS: NO SUPPORT GROUP until further notice. ADOPTION SUPPORT GROUP is taking time off.  Let Jen know at jen@attachplace.com if you would like to be notified when the support group upstarts again.
If you would like ongoing support, you might be interested in joining The Love Matters Parenting Society above.  Those who are participating are really getting what they came for.  Check it out.

AUTISM Support Group:  Monthly Strictly Social Autism Spectrum Disorder Night for Tweens (11 yrs – 16 yrs) at The Attach Place.
Open to the public. Every third Monday from 5:30 to 7 pm.  Gluten-free snacks provided. Please RSVP to Andrea@attachplace.com so we get enough snacks. This is a  monthly social group for the youth; and caregivers will have an opportunity to connect, chat, and chill in a separate space. There will also be occasional fun field trips, like bowling, ice skating, roller skating, etc. A donation of $5.00 will be accepted for food and supervision if you are able, but please don’t let that be an attendance barrier because the group is FREE.  ASD kids need a social life and this is a great way to make it happen.

 

GIVE A BOOK OF SUPPORT TO A FELLOW PARENT ON THE ADOPTION JOURNEY: Drowning With My Hair On Fire: Insanity Relief For Adoptive Parents by Ce Eshelman, LMFT.  Daily inspirational reading for those who sometimes find it hard to keep hope alive. There is hope for healing.  Buy from Amazon or order a discounted copy here.

Upcoming Events

Hello Parents,

It has been a while since I posted.  I’ve been busy in the office and out of the office providing training on Therapeutic Parenting, Attachment, and Trauma-Informed Classrooms and Afterschool Programs  Contrary to my own belief system, I cannot do it all and still have time for my own wellness.  Posts had to suffer. This is a quick update for those in or near Sacramento.

NEW!

Advanced Class: Emotion Regulation for Parents/Children

Friendship Skills Improv Group (5-7 yrs)

Social Skills Improv Group (8-10 yrs)

One Day Attachment and Trauma-Informed Therapeutic Parenting Training

On-Going!

Monthly Adoptive Parent Support Group (Open to Everyone Every 2nd Wednesday of Every Month)

Other Upcoming Events Calendar in Sacramento…

Tell your friends: Strictly Social Autism Spectrum Disorder Night for Tweens (11 yrs – 16 yrs) at The Attach Place. Open to the public. March 16th, 2018 from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm.  Gluten-free snacks provided. Please RSVP to Andrea@attachplace.com so we get enough snacks, right? This is a  monthly social group for the children; and caregivers will have an opportunity to connect, chat, and chill in a separate space. A donation of $0.00 to $5.00 will be accepted for food and supervision if you are able, but please don’t let that be an attendance barrier because the group is FREE.  ASD kids need a social life and this is a great way to make it happen.

GIVE MY BOOK FOR SUPPORT TO A FELLOW ADOPTION ADVENTURER: Drowning With My Hair On Fire: Insanity Relief For Adoptive Parents by Ce Eshelman, LMFT.  Daily inspirational reading for those who sometimes find it hard to keep hope alive. There is hope for healing.  At Amazon or get a discounted copy here.

FOLLOW US:  Twitter @lovingradkids and @Attachmenthelp or Facebook.

      

A Bite of Mindfulness Everyday

Dear Parents,

Mindfulness is the new, old, buzz word.  Still, more and more research is showing that daily mindfulness has a real impact on brains for the good.  Eastern cultures have known these benefits for thousands of years.  Our children from difficult beginnings have very busy brains–like you don’t know that, right? I image you are thinking “No way, Ce, are my kid(s) going to be quiet on demand for even a minute.”

To that, I say, “You might be surprised.”  First of all, we are talking about one minute to start.   And at the top end, we are looking at 5 to 10 minutes total.  Daily mindfulness practice is setting new neuropathway tracks for focus, attention and personal agency over unruly emotions.  The promise is worth the price.  Which wolf are you feeding?

Be sure when you begin any mindfulness practice with children from difficult beginnings that you are trauma-sensitive about it. Our kids often cannot tolerate the way they feel inside, so closing their eyes for a minute can be wildly overwhelming.  Hint:  that is why they are so busy in the first place.  Here are some ideas for modifying usual mindfulness practices for traumatized children.

  • Use your child’s imagination. Keeping their eyes open, ask them to imagine what their toes feel like from the inside.  No one can do that, but it is mindful to try.  Tip:  when they think they can feel them, then ask them to notice how their ankles feel from the inside.  Don’t do this for longer than a minute.  Tomorrow.  Ask for the inside of a different body part. Of course, this will only work for a bit and then you will need to switch it up with a new practice.
  • As a family, do this little rap and sit criss-cross applesauce on the floor together.  Then, ask everyone to simply rest eyes on the ball/object that is placed in front of them.  Yes, all parents in the house sit criss-cross applesauce.  That is fun to watch in and of itself. https://youtu.be/4NIEUX55hSk

  • In the spring, go lay out on the grass and look at the sky.  This can last a very long time without effort.
  • Get the Headspace app on your phone and let your children watch the one-minute body scan animation, which is free.  Watch them go into a full body mindfulness state instantly. Some children will really enjoy this.
  • Look online into investing in HeartMath. This is a well-researched method for getting your child’s breath and heartbeat in sync.  Turns out this is very healing.
  • Each day, pick a two or three minute YOUTUBE video on mindfulness for kids to watch with you.  If you have a Smart TV or Apple TV you can show it on the big screen.  You can also watch it on a laptop or your phone.  This is a good reason to look at a screen.  Here are just a few I like:

Go in there, parents, and teach mindfulness to your little wild cats by “being it” together. Be creative. Be light about it. Have fun.

Love matters,

Ce

P.S. Today is Week 2 of Friendship Improv Group for 5-7-year-olds If you want your child to learn friendship skills, drop me an email to reserve a spot in the next one coming up in March.

Yesterday’s Strictly Social Autism Spectrum Disorder Night for Tweens (11 yrs – 16 yrs) at The Attach Place was great!  Don’t miss the next one: February 16th, 2018 from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm.  Gluten-free snacks provided. Please RSVP to Andrea@attachplace.com so we get enough snacks, right? This is a  monthly social group for the children; and caregivers will have an opportunity to connect, chat, and chill in a separate space. A donation of $0.00 to $5.00 will be accepted for food and supervision if you are able, but please don’t let that be an attendance barrier because the group is FREE.  ASD kids need a social life and this is a great way to make it happen.

Couples Blog

The Attach Place
Center for Strengthening Relationships

 

Upcoming Events Calendar and Other Things in Sacramento…

NEW DATE: Trust-based Therapeutic Parenting Class for Parents of Children from Difficult Beginnings by Ce Eshelman, LMFT will be held on February 17th from 9am to 4pm.  Register here or on our website!

NEW!  5-Week FRIENDSHIP SOCIAL SKILLS IMPROV GROUPS FOR CHILDREN WITH DEVELOPMENTAL TRAUMA–5-7 yrs group. The 5-wk group will be $120 total, CALVCB payment eligible, structured, and fun, too.  New groups will begin again in March, 2018.  Contact Ce at Ce@attachplace.com for more details.

UPCOMING ADOPTION SUPPORT GROUP facilitated by Ce Eshelman, LMFT:  Join our monthly Adoptive/Foster Parent Support Group on February 14th, 2018! Open to all parents/caregivers at no cost. Support Group is every 2nd Wednesday of every month from 6 pm to 8 pm at 3336 Bradshaw Road, Ste 175, Sacramento, CA 95827.

GIVE MY BOOK FOR SUPPORT TO A FELLOW ADOPTION ADVENTURER: Drowning With My Hair On Fire: Insanity Relief For Adoptive Parents by Ce Eshelman, LMFT.  Daily inspirational reading for those who sometimes find it hard to keep hope alive. There is hope for healing.  At Amazon or get a discounted copy here.

FOLLOW US:  Twitter @lovingradkids and @Attachmenthelp or Facebook.