This post is written by Jen Dryer who is a mother to two children and has written an informative piece for Beltway Bambinos which helps parents navigate early intervention resources. She will be co-leading a class called Raising Orchids: Practical Strategies for Parents of Children with Learning Differences and Special Needs beginning Sunday. She will lead the class along-side speech therapist, Gabriele Nicolet in addition to some guest speakers.
As my mother always said, parenting is not for the faint of heart, nor the short of patience. Parenting a high needs child, those children with developmental differences, learning challenges, special needs and/or all the anxiety that often co-presents with other issues, can take those “regular” challenges up to a whole new level. Besides all the usual challenges, like bedtimes, schedules, potty training, discipline, tantrums, homework, and school, to name a few, parents of “neurodiverse” children (those whose brains are wired differently than those who are typically developing) have a whole other list of concerns: Why is my child so sensitive and hard to parent? What can I do to change challenging behaviors? What therapies does my child need? How do I take care of myself and my other family members when my needy child takes up so much time and energy? How do I nurture my child and understand their differences, while also pushing them to be their best selves?
As the parent of an autistic second grader and a fourth grader with ADHD, I know firsthand how hard it is and how much energy it can take just to get simple things done. The strategies my family has found that have helped us tremendously are an amalgam of ideas and structures I’ve gathered from myriad sources, including, most importantly, many of Max’s many incredible therapists. In order to share these practical strategies that have greatly improved my family’s quality of life and my sons’ feelings of confidence and competence, I teamed up with Gabriele Nicolet, a long-time Speech and Language Pathologist and owner and founder of SpeechKids Therapy, to help other parents address the questions listed above and generate practical solutions tailored to their family’s and child(ren)’s needs.
We’re offering a 6-session class, called “Raising Orchids: Practical Strategies for Parents of High Needs Children,” on Sunday evenings from 7-8:30pm in NWDC, near American University, starting Sunday, March 1. Participants will work together with other parents of children aged 3-12, and with Gabriele and me, along with a fantastic and highly experienced behavioral therapist, Maria Stangherlin, who will co-lead two of the sessions, and special needs parent coach, Magüi Moreno, who will co-lead one of the classes, to create practical solutions to everyday challenges that arise when raising high needs children. The goal is for participants to come away from the class with concrete ideas and strategies adapted to their own child’s profile that they will plan and try out, in order to make their life easier and to help their child increase their confidence and competence in daily tasks, which will reduce anxiety and help them experience success at home and beyond. The other side bonus, of course, is finding community with a group of parents who have similar challenges and a place to share ideas and resources.
For more information or to register, contact Jen here.