Faith, Love and Respect for ALL

Posts tagged ‘Special Needs Parentlng’

Happy Father’s Day

Many times it appears that the “Dads” of the world do not receive the proper recognition they deserve for all that they do for their families. To celebrate all the wonderful and amazing “Dads” in the world, a poem of thanks for all the MEN who shape a child’s life. Father, Step-Father, Guardian, Grandfather, God-Father, Uncle, Brother, Cousin, Friend, etc… As we go through life we may hold many titles, but the children who we have touched do not care what we are called; they only know that they are loved by us, and they are our sunshine! Happy Father’s Day to all the Angels in the world who love and guide us!!!

Unfortunately, I am not very good at poetry; however, I did find a poem that encompasses the sentiment, which I feel Father’s Day is all about. I could not possibly say it any better, so I am sharing a poem by Helen Steiner Rice, which I found at:

Fathers are Wonderful People
by Helen Steiner Rice

Fathers are wonderful people
Too little understood,
And we do not sing their praises
As often as we should…

For, somehow, Father seems to be
The man who pays the bills,
While Mother binds up little hurts
And nurses all our ills…

And Father struggles daily
To live up to “HIS IMAGE”
As protector and provider
And “hero or the scrimmage”…

And perhaps that is the reason
We sometimes get the notion,
That Fathers are not subject
To the thing we call emotion,

But if you look inside Dad’s heart,
Where no one else can see
You’ll find he’s sentimental
And as “soft” as he can be…

But he’s so busy every day
In the grueling race of life,
He leaves the sentimental stuff
To his partner and his wife…

But Fathers are just WONDERFUL
In a million different ways,
And they merit loving compliments
And accolade of praise,

For the only reason Dad aspires
To fortune and success
Is to make the family proud of him
And to bring them happiness…

He’s a guardian and a guide,
Someone that we can count on


R is for Respect

R is for RESPECT

R is for RESPECT

Respect is defined as: “gives a positive feeling of esteem or deference for a person or other entity (such as a nation or a religion), and also specific actions and conduct representative of that esteem. Respect can be a specific feeling of regard for the actual qualities of the one respected (e.g., “I have great respect for her judgment”). It can also be conduct in accord with a specific ethic of respect…” – Wikipedia

Respect seems to be missing from our world today, and it saddens me greatly to feel its absence. Why does it appear that children are not being taught to respect themselves and others? Perhaps it is simply because the only stories that receive media coverage are the negative ones, but perhaps it is realistically an area our society is failing in. In a world that seems to have an “Its All About Me” mentality, the majority of what we see is negative, selfish, condescending behavior that leads to bullying and mistreatment of many. Is this the legacy we want to leave our children? No, at least I hope not! Our wish is for ALL children to grow in love, hope, faith and positivity so that they value themselves and all the diverse facets of our world. We must first teach our children to respect themselves, celebrate their differences and be proud of whom they are. Then we must teach them to respect others and their differences, so that they may learn compassion, acceptance and tolerance for everyone in the world. In the words of Laurence Sterne: “Respect for ourselves guides our morals; respect for others guides our manners.”

The old adage tells us “You have to give respect, to get respect” and I believe that is true. So many stomp around demanding respect, but refuse to give it, sometimes even to themselves. Respect is not something you can demand, there are times it can be earned, but I feel it is a gift that once given will be returned many times over. There is much in this world that confuses, angers, saddens, frightens, dismays, etc…, but ours is not to judge. This is especially true in the Special Needs Community, because there are infinite possibilities in how to approach every differing ability in our world. We have not walked in another person’s shoes, and therefore cannot judge what they deem the best course of action for their Unique Angels. We may not agree with each other; however, we should respect each family’s right to choose the right path for THEM, and pray that they do the same for us. Having a child with special needs is challenging enough, why fill life with unnecessary conflict by judging others?  In the end we are all just trying to do what is best for our children, while helping them achieve their God-given potential. We need to stop disrespecting each other and fighting amongst ourselves! How can we expect the world to love and accept our children and our families, if we in the Special Needs Community, cannot even show compassion, acceptance and support for each other? We need to find a way to look past our differences, respect each other and show the world that we are a force to be reckoned with. Only then can we start to build a legacy of Love, Hope, and Acceptance rooted in mutual Respect for our future generations. We must embrace all diversity and grow in love. In the words of John Gray: “When men and women are able to respect and accept their differences then love has a chance to blossom.”

Respect “Our Way” is defined as: “Thoughts, behaviors and actions that are the foundation of a serene life based in love and acceptance, which we give freely and pray to receive as well.”
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Autism Proud – Journey With Us – by Jest Tu Positive by Dorothy Stronglove is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Believe in Yourself

As parents we tend to lose ourselves in our quest to do what is best for our family. When we have a child with Special Needs, we put everything we have into helping our children achieve their God-given potential. As beautiful and loving as our intentions are for our children, we forget to care for  ourselves.

Our Autistic daughter is ill, she is prone to respiratory infections, and has Croup again. As a result, our other daughter is spending a few days with Grandma and Grandpa until sister is healthy again. Although it kills me, and makes me feel like a failure, I must admit that I cannot meet both of their needs, while Beth is sick. She needs my undivided love and attention, and Anne deserves to be loved and played with too. So I must accept what is and follow the guidance of my Higher Power, no matter how many tears I may shed, because I am only human. It is better to admit my shortcomings and be realistic about my abilities, than to try to do it all and have my children suffer due to my preconceived notions and pride. As sad as I am that Anne needed to go away for a few days, I am equally thankful that we have a support system that allows us to meet both girls needs so well.

On a day when I am exhausted, and yearning for inspiration to help me work my program I wanted to share this touching poem with you. I believe God lead me to Al-Anon, not only to help me overcome my “sickness” from the “isms” I have faced in my life, but also to help me face life in the Special Needs Community. For there is nothing better than my program to help me face each day with a positive, faith that He will see us through. The tools I learn in Al-Anon to love myself and love others for who they are, will be passed down to my children so they too will love themselves, and be proud of the Au-Some individuals they are, while accepting others for who they are as well. The thoughts and feelings the author put into this poem are amazing, and they are all sentiments we try to live by, One Day at a Time.

Believe in Yourself

Don’t undermine your worth by comparing yourself to others.

You are unique and important part of the Higher Power’s creation.

Your special role in life cannot be filled by anyone else.

Don’t set your goals by what other people deem important.

Aim for your own star.

Don’t take for granted the things closest to your heart.

Cling to them as you would your life, for without them life is meaningless.

Don’t let life slip through your fingers by living in the past or future.

By living your life one day at a time, you will truly live all the days of your life.

Don’t be afraid to admit that you are less than perfect and don’t be afraid to encounter risks.

Don’t shut love out of your life.

The quickest way to receive love is to give it and the fastest way to lose it is to hold it too tightly.

Don’t dismiss your dreams.

To be without dreams is to be without hope,to be without hope is to be without purpose.

Don’t run through life too fast.

Life is not a race, but a miraculous journey to be savored every step of the way.

With Love, Anonymous



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Autism Proud – Journey With Us – by Jest Tu Positive by Dorothy Stronglove is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Q is for Qualities



Qualities are defined as: “1. an essential or distinctive characteristic, property, or attribute…2. character or nature, as belonging to or distinguishing a thing…5. a personality or character trait (kindness is one of her many good qualities)…” –

Qualities are the beautiful stones of variety that form our foundation. Some of our qualities shine bright like the sun and stars, while others are hidden down deep and are muted earth tones. “Many individuals have, like uncut diamonds, shining qualities beneath a rough exterior.” – Juvenal

Our children often have very rough exteriors, which make it hard for people to see them as the beautiful, shining, unique diamonds they truly are. People, who put forth the effort to connect with our children and look past their more challenging attributes, will discover Extraordinary, Au-some individuals who will bless their lives in endless ways. Our children have a vast assortment of qualities that not only make them unique, but also help them look at the world in a very different light. Sometimes it seems as though God blessed us with these Special Angels, so that we could slow down and enjoy the true beauty and wonder in life, rather than concentrating on the meaningless distractions.

We believe the key to helping our children lead happy, healthy lives is finding ways to teach them how to cultivate ALL their qualities. Even their qualities that are deemed “undesirable” by society serve a purpose to them on a physical, mental or emotional level. Although we may want to discourage certain behaviors, we will need to help our children strengthen a different quality that fulfills the same need, which the more challenging behavior currently serves. Over time we will try many approaches, therapies, life-style changes, etc… in our quest to assist our children in reaching their God-Given potential. In the end through love, acceptance, perseverance and unending patience our children will find their way; and they will enjoy lives filled with a sense of pride and quality through the hope, love and faith we provide them. “Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.” – William A. Foster

Qualities “Our Way” are defined as: “characteristics, traits, behaviors, attitudes, etc… that comprise the beautifully unique people we each are.”


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Autism Proud – Journey With Us – by Jest Tu Positive by Dorothy Stronglove is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

P is for Progress



Progress is defined as: “1. movement forwards, especially towards a place or objective 2. satisfactory development, growth, or advance…” –

“Progress not Perfection” is one of my favorite Al-Anon slogans, and has become one of my personal mantras. It reminds me that life does not have to be perfect but it simply needs to progress and grow. We tend to put so much pressure on ourselves to be perfect and do all the “right” things, but the world will not end if we are simply human. Instead of stressing ourselves out, trying to achieve perfection, we need to relax and enjoy our lives. Everyone makes mistakes, and that is okay. Sometimes we have the best experiences as a result of a perceived mistake. As we strive to embrace all the possibilities of our journey, this quote always makes me smile: “A mistake a day keeps my perfectionism at bay.” – Hope for Today

Once we let go of the idea of being perfect, life just becomes simpler and more enjoyable. As parents we want everything to be perfect for our children. We want our children to be well-mannered geniuses who amaze everyone they meet. There is so much pressure to have the “perfect” family that it is easy to forget that perfection is not all it’s cracked up to be. Our family is far from perfect, we are a “work in progress” and I would not have it any other way. Sometimes we take two steps forward and three steps backward. We usually have to try several approaches to a situation before we find the right one for us. Most of the time what works for us seems like pure craziness to everyone else. We have no problem with “crazy” around here, because “normal” is just so boring. Life is Life, there is no manual, there is no black and white, there simply “is” and what we make of it. So why not make it Fun and Au-Some? We take what we need from each experience and use it as a lesson learned for future endeavors. This is the way we attempt to view life, and this is the way we should teach our children to view life. Let them know that they simply need to be themselves, learn, grow and shine in their own special way. Let us not burden our children with the notion of perfection, but empower them with the concept of progress. In the words of Mark Victor Hansen: “Don’t wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles and less than perfect conditions. So what. Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident and more and more successful.”

Progress “Our Way” is defined as: “Spiritual, Emotional and Intellectual growth as a result of living without preconceived notions, and therefore learning from all our experiences.”
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Autism Proud – Journey With Us – by Jest Tu Positive by Dorothy Stronglove is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

O is for Optimism


O is for OPTIMISM.

Optimism is defined as: “1. the tendency to expect the best and see the best in all things 2. hopefulness; confidence 3. the doctrine of the ultimate triumph of good over evil 4. the philosophical doctrine that this is the best of all possible worlds” –

Optimism is one of my biggest struggles. It is very easy for me to “go to the bad place” and be negative whenever something goes awry in life. Staying optimistic is a daily battle, but it is one that is well worth the fight. Every time I overcome my negative thoughts and tendencies, I am one baby step closer to the serenity I seek. If you overcome the pessimism enough times, the optimism will soon become a natural reaction and the negativity will fall by the wayside. The majority of situations in life are neither bad nor good, they just are; it is our reaction to the situation that marks it one way or the other in our mind.  So why not make it a positive one, and learn from it?

When your children have special needs, life is filled with ups and downs. Our children can be thriving one minute and failing the next. There are good days and bad days; sometimes it not even a full day, sometimes it is just hours or minutes that seem like an entire day. What we have found with our Angels is that our reaction to their behavior dictates what comes next. If we can stay clam and assure them it is okay to feel the way they do, and help them find a better way to release their upset, then the day straightens out rather quickly. However, if we react poorly, they spin out of control and it is much harder to get back to the “happy” place. Instead of concentrating on the “bad” and getting all “woe-is-me” about a situation, we need to look for the “good” and celebrate our ability to overcome the “yucky feelings” with our kids. If we yell, sigh in frustration, throw in the towel and focus on everything with negativity, then we are more pessimistic with each new situation and at the end of the day we feel defeated and horrible. However, if we smile, hug, play and sooth each experience with positivity, then we are more optimistic when the next episode happens and it is easier to overcome, and at the end of the day we feel like champions and blessed. I found this quote by John Heywood and really love it: “If you will call your troubles experiences, and remember that every experience develops some latent force within you, you will grow vigorous and happy, however adverse your circumstances may seem to be.”

Optimism ‘Our Way” is defined as: “A conscious choice to see the positive, hope, faith and joy in each event so that we may learn from it and use it to make our lives even more Au-some.”


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Autism Proud – Journey With Us – by Jest Tu Positive by Dorothy Stronglove is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

N is for Need

N is for NEED

N is for NEED.

Need is defined as: “A need is something that is necessary for organisms to live a healthy life. Needs are distinguished from wants because a deficiency would cause a clear negative outcome, such as dysfunction or death. Needs can be objective and physical, such as food, or they can be subjective and psychological, such as the need for self-esteem. On a social level, needs are sometimes controversial.” – Wikipedia

What do we truly NEED in our life? On the most basic level, we need shelter from the elements and nourishment for our bodies. On a spiritual level, we need love and nourishment for our souls. Everything after that starts to head into the gray areas of life, which is why “needs are sometimes controversial.” Every person is different, so it makes sense that their needs would be different too. For one person companionship may be a necessity, but for another it may be a luxury. I suppose that is why there will always be a debate about what is truly a need and what is simply a want. I don’t think you should have to choose between the two, and I feel that they are both equally important to living a healthy, happy and balanced life. Perhaps fulfilling, or at least the goal of fulfilling, our needs and wants are what make us the wonderfully unique individuals we are; and when you combine us all, you have a spectrum of amazing people, places and things.

As children we do not understand the difference between a need and a want, we simply know what is necessary for us to feel good. As we grow into adults we start to weigh everything and tend to over think our goals and options way too much. Then when we become parents, we really start to analyze every thought and action, to make sure we are doing all the “right” things for our children to thrive. If our children have special needs, then it appears to become even more important that we “do the right things” for them and our family. It is amazing that we don’t all walk around with headaches from the constant overdrive our brains are in! Why is it so important to do the “right” thing? Sometimes doing the “wrong” (or what is perceived as the wrong) thing yields much better results. I think the best way to look at life is through the eyes of a child; with their simplicity, honesty and faith. I feel that we need to get away from the “right versus wrong” mentality, and move towards the “accountability and responsibility” way of thinking. We should follow our heart and guts when making decisions and taking action. Our only concern should be what works for us and our family. We should teach our children to follow their instincts, trust themselves and put their health and happiness above any silly standard society attempts to impose. We must always be accountable for actions, and take responsibility for the outcome, but sometimes that just means celebrating the fact that we made a great judgment call!

Need “Our Way” is defined as; “Whatever it takes to help us achieve the healthy, happy lifestyle we dream of for ourselves and our children; which fills all our tomorrows with hope, love and faith.”
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Autism Proud – Journey With Us – by Jest Tu Positive by Dorothy Stronglove is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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