A Positively Atypical Welcome
Hello, parents of children diagnosed with ADHD, learning disorders, or autism spectrum! If you’ve had a rocky road with your child, you’re in the right place.
Parents have different concerns at different stages of their child’s development and condition. You may still be in the early days, thinking something’s not quite right with your child but unable to put a finger on what it may be.
Or maybe your child has already been identified as needing help, but you’re still fuzzy on the details of what’s wrong and what to expect. Maybe you’ve already received the diagnosis and an intervention action plan and are overwhelmed by the sheer size of the mountain you’re about to climb.
Or, you might be an old pro at this, and have been fighting the good fight for years now. You’re frayed, worried, and stressed out by the whole process.
Take Care of Yourself to Take Care of Your Child
First things first: Take a deep breath. And then consider this vital piece of information: YOUR emotional response to your child’s condition is just as crucial as any therapy or treatment your child receives.
After the diagnosis, all of your attention and energy, and all of the attention and energy of those close to you and your family, will be focused on your child. And, to a point, that’s as it should be — nothing’s more important than helping your child get the very best care you can find.
But learning to manage your own feelings about your child’s condition is the key to remaining a strong, enthusiastic champion for him or her, even when things are at their most challenging.
I’m Dr. Rita, and I’m Here to Help
I’ll keep this part short, since we’re here for you, not me. But I also know that you want to be reassured that you’re getting the best advice you can. With that in mind, here are a few facts about me:
- I’ve worked with families for over 20 years as a pediatric neuropsychologist, helping them understand their diagnosis and put together a treatment plan.
- I evaluate children for learning disabilities, attention deficit disorders, autism spectrum, and high intelligence and aptitude (or gifted children). I also help demystify those unusual kids who don’t have an obvious learning condition but who seem quirky or different and I help parents learn more about their unique child.
- I’ve watched countless parents ride the emotional roller coaster from denial to anger to guilt to isolation, depression, and fear — all before (hopefully) arriving at a place of acceptance of who their child is and what they need to work on.
- I’ve learned through my clinical experience that the parents’ reaction to their child is the best predictor of that child’s future wellbeing. And if you know what intense emotions to expect, you’ll be able to reach acceptance — for both yourself and your child — much faster.
How Positively Atypical Can Help You in Your Journey
Many parents over the years have told me that, in retrospect, their child’s disorder has been an invisible gift. Because of that feedback, I feel confident encouraging you to have optimism and faith.
And that’s why I started this blog: To provide parents just like you with information to help you take charge of your child’s treatment plan and to help guide you toward that place of acceptance.
Here, you’ll find some of the leading research into brain-based emotions, learned optimism, and self-care techniques including meditation and mindfulness-based exercises.
I’ll also help you create a customized self-care menu full of actions you can perform to maintain calm and balance, whether you have ten minutes free or a whole weekend. You’ll find tips on communicating better with teachers, relatives, therapists, and others in your child’s life.
I’ll also talk about how you can reset the “normal” button in your own mind and learn to accept your child for who he or she is — and accept yourself as the parent of a child who is a little, or a lot, different.
Remember: The emotional responses you may be feeling about your child’s diagnosis, behaviors, or unique needs don’t make you a bad parent. They’re hard-wired, neurobiological reactions — just like the fight-or-flight response to fear.
But if you’re aware of this hard-wiring and know what to expect, you can identify where you are on the roller coaster. That will help you channel your feelings and separate them from the challenges of your child. And that will make you much better at supporting him or her.
So pull up your favorite comfy chair, grab a cup of joe (or tea), and let’s talk. I look forward to your comments and suggestions, and to answering your questions about you and your wonderful, crazy-making, difficult, astonishing, one-of-a-kind child.
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