This post is written by Jen Dryer who is a mother to two children and has previously written an informative piece for Beltway Bambinos which helps parents navigate early intervention resources. She will be co-leading a class again called Raising Orchids: Practical Strategies for Parents With Higher Needs Children beginning July 8. 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 higher needs child, those children with developmental differences, learning and/or behavioral 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, especially in the era of Coronavirus! 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? How can I manage being in charge of their learning and development at home in this social distancing situation?
As the parent of a rising third grader with autism and ADHD and a rising fifth grader with ADHD, I know firsthand how hard it is and how much energy it can take just to get simple things done. The tremendously helpful strategies that my family has found and developed are an amalgam of ideas and structures I’ve gathered from myriad sources, including, most importantly, many of my younger son’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/Family Communication Specialist 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 online class, called “Raising Orchids: Practical Strategies for Parents of Higher Needs Children,” on Wednesday evenings from 8:30-9:30pm on Zoom, starting Wednesday, July 8. Participants will work together with other parents of children aged 3-12, and with Gabriele and me, to create practical solutions to everyday challenges that arise when raising high needs children, and to the particular challenges of this new normal. 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, contact Jen or to register, click here.
Here’s what recent participants had to say about Raising Orchids:
“I want to thank you both for the Raising Orchids class. I found the class to be extremely helpful. One of the things I have found most difficult about having an orchid child is feeling like I am alone in my journey. Sure, there are teachers and therapists who provide support, but even though I know it is not the case, when I look around, it seems like other families have it so easy. The opportunity to meet and hear from other parents of orchid children was really valuable.
I am happy to hear you are planning to offer the class again. I would definitely recommend it to other parents. Both of you offered such great feedback and helped everyone think through things.
I really appreciate all the support you both provided!” – Rachel S.
“Thanks again for this class. I felt truly heard and supported through this caring and thoughtful group. I was choked up at the end of last night’s session as I realized I’ll be on my own again!
I think it’s hard to address the challenges of parents with kids of very different ages, and facing so many different physical, emotional, and developmental challenges. You guys did a great job of giving everyone a chance to be heard and facilitate some personalized problem solving from your various professional perches.
This group was perfect for me in that the leaders had such diverse professional frameworks, the participants were so supportive, and it was convenient, affordable, and small enough to feel comfortable.” – Amy H.