Search Results for "Cousins Fill The Gap"

Cousins Fill The Friendship Gap: 5-9-11

Dedicated To Rosa: Yesterday was Mother’s Day and on Facebook our niece posted a Happy Mother’s Day to me. On the heels of  yesterday’s piece regarding the absence of real friends for many special needs children, I remembered with gratitude how much our daughter’s cousin filled in the gaps for many years.

Cousins Rock: When my sister-in-law had a little girl two years and a bit after our daughter’s birth, they were living on the other side of the country. Oh well, at least our daughter has a female cousin who is close to her age. Maybe someday, when they grow up, they can be friends. But luck was with us and the family moved back east spawning a lasting friendship with cousinly love deep as the sea.

She Put A Leash On Me: Cousinly bonds can be sturdy as leather, flexible as soft plastic, and stretchable as spandex. In other words, cousins may tolerate stuff other peers would not. Our niece took a lot of heat, was walked by our daughter on a leash, played endless hours of dress up and taught her tons about social networking. Weekends and vacations together meant being there for the melt downs and the shut downs. Friends could not do that.

Fun, Silliness and The Tremendous Gift of Shared Humor: A chunk of the glue was provided by humor. Both girls were gag queens: that is they delighted in  a good gag, funny faces and cute boys. They shared a passion for dogs. And they loved the malls, no matter what state they were in. But what other girl would tolerate going from store to store, while our daughter perseverated over a purchase for hours? I mean hours. And having done that once, what other girl would sign on to do it again, and again, and again?

Different Developmental Speeds: The two-year gap between the girls quickly closed and soon our niece was surpassing our daughter in major milestones: language development; motor development; social skills development: comprehension; reading, writing and arithmetic. I feared that soon the end would be in sight, the relationship relegated to the periphery of our niece’s active social life. But I was wrong. They remained close and precious to each other, even as our niece got her driving license, applied to college and worked part-time. Both have full lives in different states but when together, that bond is there.

What Would We Have Done Without The Cousins?  There are more cousins, boy cousins and  girls cousin, most are second cousins. Those cousins who lived far away and saw us infrequently, did have to adjust to this out of the box kid. There were many moments of “ouch” as when I watched a young female cousin blow our daughter off or roll her eyes in juvenile disgust at our daughter’s behavior. But with time and familiarity, thankfully coupled by an ever-increasing maturity on our daughter’s part, those moments dissolved into history.

No Choice? I have seen this phenomenon with many special needs families. The cousins kick in where peers would never tred. One could say that these youngsters and teens had no choice. That their families pressured them. To some extent, but I would  call that kindness, awareness and generosity on the part of their parents, who understood difference and wanted their children to grow up to be empathic, and caring adults. These parents, the aunts and uncles and cousins, stretched themselves mightily to embrace our daughter and her difference and brought their children along with them. That’s how it works.

It Takes A Tribe: It takes a tribe to raise a challenged child. I want to thank our tribe, on both sides of the parental fence,  for taking this journey with us. And a special thank you to Rosie Posie, who became the friend that no one else could have been, and to her parents who shared her with us, all these years. Gracias.

©Jill Edelman, M.S.W., L.C.S.W. 2011

Vacationing With Special Needs: 7-9-11

The Agony and The Ecstasy: We are back. A week spent in Florida with our daughter and our niece whacked me with the good and the not so good of special needs vacationing. I am always reluctant to describe our daughter’s “mishaps” or “screw ups” to illustrate why she is “special” but in the service of reaching families with similarities, there is no other way.

The Ecstasy: First the good stuff. No one is more fun than our daughter and the dynamic between her and our niece remains, thankfully, intact, which is to say, hilarious. Both girls are playful, our daughter can be outrageously so and our niece combines droll wit with the roll of the eyes and a comedic timing that leaves us all doubled over in laughter. When visiting Jungle Gardens, a bird zoo of sorts replete in flamingos, a dozing owl and loads of parrots, at the outset our niece made clear that she was terrified of snakes, yet ended up enduring 35 minutes in the reptile house when a tropical deluge interrupted our tour. While our daughter scrutinized every snake, lizard and baby alligator, our niece winced as the zookeeper shared a convoluted embrace with a ball python, and displayed the Moroccan Spiny-Tailed Lizard, a creature with an extraordinary spiked tail who cohabits with a scorpion (quite a symbol when you consider that our daughter’s birth sign is scorpio). The two girls delighted in the irony of this imposed lockdown, Hell for one, and Heaven for the other.

Squat and Leap: Water play remains as it did years ago, with our daughter’s unforgettable squat and leap into the pool, and our niece’s accurate imitation of said leap. Scooping up her cousin in the water, our niece plays momma bear to her significantly heavier “baby bear” cousin, both giggling as one protests and the other transports. Nachos and virgin strawberry daiquiris are shared and shopping forays end up with ample photo ops of the girls making faces at each other. Back at the rooms, while each sits in front of their laptop screen, they  periodically remove ear buds to cackle over boys, texts, and the latest movie star scams.

The Agony: But then there is the other part. While I was taking a walk on the beach, our daughter and niece came running to find me. There has been a moment, the shower flooded the bathroom and the dad got mad. Our daughter had mucho loud complaints about her dad protesting the flooding yet this was the second such event, after time was spent teaching her how to operate the curtain/shower situation with instructions not to take a shower unless we helped her. She knows the basics of bath and shower, has for years. Yet what is “special” here is that each shower or bath is a conceptual and mechanical challenge. As is getting in and out of a car on the street. When we parked in town, she opened the door on the street side while a car was passing thankfully at a gentle speed behind her. “Teaching” and “training” over the years what is safe and dangerous while navigating the car/street interface, does not stick.

Boundaries and Empathy: The young ladies shared  a room with two single beds. Despite what would seem to be a perfect setup for both girls, our daughter kept her cousin awake most nights by a variety of behaviors including restless awakening in the night, sitting up and looking around while clicking her nails, and jumping into her cousin’s bed, where she hogged all the covers virtually forcing her cousin to move to the other bed, now fully awake. Out of seven nights, I found our niece on the living room couch probably five of the nights. Appropriate boundary setting and empathy for the needs of others can pose another cognitive challenge at which our daughter falls short. This morning our niece left our home to travel 3 states north, exhausted, bound for her own bed and a good night’s sleep.

Traveling With Disabilities: So much has improved over the years that registering anything resembling a complaint is misleading. Our daughter is great on a plane, provides humor and adventure, utilizes technology for self-entertainment well, and is ever curious and ever learning. When we had an hour’s delay at the airport, there were no melt downs. During our times just “hanging out” at the condo, she watched “Band of Brothers” on her computer screen, while dialoguing with her dad about the battles and the pivotal moments in the lives of the soldiers; yet she needs a shadow all the time. Whether inside or out, there are moments when something can happen, and someone needs to be there to prevent it, interrupt it, solve it or pick up its pieces.

A Loving Shadow: Hopefully there will always be as good, competent and loving a shadow in our daughter’s life as our niece has been through the years. Fingers crossed.

Thank You, Rosa!

©Jill Edelman, M.S.W., L.C.S.W. 2011

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Dating? 5-7-11

Facebook Friends: A tremendous resource for special needs young adults is Facebook. Often the circle for these young people is limited by their cognitive difference, their inability to travel on their own and a host of other challenges. Communicating with former schoolmates and family friends, siblings’ buddies, cousins, and friends of friends, is easy and equalizing. In this arena they are like everyone else. If they can spell pretty well, type and scroll, open a link and maybe post a photo, they are in.

Some Reservations: Our daughter connected up with a young man who formerly attended her school. They found each other on Facebook. I don’t know him. She knows him just a bit. She is excited and spoke with him on the phone. He asked to go out with her. They are currently in different states and even when in the same state next month, an hour and a half ride from each other.

Dating? I asked my daughter what was meant by going out, given that they barely know each other and are not likely to spend much time together in the near future. She couldn’t answer that question. But she did tell him “I will think about it.”

Fun and Fear: In her five years at boarding school, our daughter’s social life has been rich and tightly monitored. Now we are entering a new phase of “social”, though she will remain carefully supervised. Perhaps going out means chatting on Facebook but never really meeting up “face to face.” Perhaps it means phone calls and emails, safe contact and few fears. I am happy for her. She is having fun. There is no script for this chapter yet. Just the same old one, careful monitoring, and a mom sharing in the fun of a daughter’s new flirtation.

Dreams of a Mother: I use to dream that someday our daughter would marry a fellow who excelled in all the areas she didn’t. We came somewhat closer to that dream with her old boyfriend whose prowess with time, numbers and independent travel filled in some significant gaps. Now I am wiser and my dreams for her less edged in magical thinking. But you never know. Love is in the air. Perhaps.

©Jill Edelman, M.S.W., L.C.S.W. 2011 

Parenting Adult Special Needs

Welcome. If you’re just discovering my blog and want to catch up to my series of daily posts about Parenting Adult Special Needs: One Day At A Time, this is the place to start. The series chronicles, from a parent’s perspective, our daughter’s transition as she ages out of the school system into the adult special needs phase of her life. To make your journey easier, the posts are listed here beginning with the first entry through the most current.

You may also want to check out these other posts about Special Needs families that predate Parenting Adult Special Needs: One Day At A Time:

A Couples’ Challenge: Special Needs Children, Young and Adult

Our Child Is Gay; Hasidic; Autistic; Muslim; Bi-Polar; Asperger’s; Born Again: The Coupledom Adjusts

One Day At A Time: Parenting Adult Special Needs Collected Posts

Parenting Adult Special Needs: One Day At A Time

Crazy Quilt: 4-2-11

Having a Comrade Helps: 4-3-11

Funding: A Cautionary Tale: 4-4-11

Apartment Hunting and Oprah: 4-5-11

Are We There Yet: 4-6-11

Parenting Special Needs: Find a Mutual Passion: 4-7-11

Confusion Looms: 4-8-11

Looks Like She Is Ready: 4-9-11

Structure or Regression: 4-10-11

Our Daughter The Blogger? 4-11-11

Exiting: The Purpose of This Meeting 4-12-11

Building Momentum: 4-13-11

The Alphabet Soup of Adult Special Needs: 4-14-11

Bureaucracy versus Safety: 4-15-11

Female and Special Needs: 4-16-11

On The Same Page: 4-17-11

Our Daughter’s Question: 4-18-11

Graduation 2011: Again? 4-19-11

“Oh, The People You’ll Meet”: 4-20-11

Good News and More Questions: 4-21-11

The Young Ladies Are Getting Psyched: 4-22-11

Aging Out Scenarios: 4-23-11

Easter Sunday With Our Daughter: 4-24-11

Graduation Queen: 4-25-11

Needs Based Assessments and IQ: 4-26-11

Discomfort Zone: 4-27-11

Inspection Rehearsal: 4-28-11

Clarification: No Magic Wand Here: 4-29-11

Becoming a Client: 4-30-11

In Transit: 5-1-11

Do You Have To Be Educated To Raise A Special Needs Child? 5-2-11

“Grad or Age-Out” and The Importance Of The Case Manager: 5-3-11

Training For Mother’s Day: 5-4-11

Protecting The Siblings of Special Needs: 5-5-11

Agency Transition Meeting: 5-6-11

Dating? 5-7-11

Romance and Special Needs: 5-8-11

Cousins Fill The Friendship Gap: 5-9-11

Sex Education and Special Needs: 5-10-11

Where Were The Parents? 5-11-11

Taking A Break: 5-12-11

Special Needs and The White House: 5-20-11

Closing In On Aging Out: 5-21-11

SPHERE, Special People Indeed:  5-22-11

Exited: 5-23-11

Graduation #1: 5-24-11

All Graduations Are Tear Jerkers: 5-25-11

Job Description…Mom: 5-26-11

The Little Mermaid: 5-27-11

This App’s For You: 5-28-11

Count Down to June 12: 5-29-11

How Do You Translate Special Needs Into English?  5-30-11

A Five Year Ritual Ends: 5-31-11

Momentum Building, It Must Be June: 6-1-11

Proving Need, Is It Over Yet? 6-2-11

Home For Ever: 6-3-11

Fast And Future Friends: 6-6-11

The “R” Word: 6-7-11

On The Brink Of An Apartment: 6-8-11

The Apartment Challenge Continues: 6-9-11    

Off To Graduation Weekend: 6-10-11

The Blossom Award: 6-13-11

OMG We Got The Apartment, I Think:  6-14-11

The Little Cottage: 6-15-11

Keys To The Future: 6-16-11

Giving Away The Bride: 6-17-11

Charles Dickens Pays A Call: 6-18-11

She Rocked The House and Stole The Show: 6-19-11

Sounds Similar, But Don’t Be Fooled: 6-20-11

Tighten The Purse Strings and A New Peer Group: 6-21-11

Parents Search For The Best Package: 6-22-11

Who Will Teach Her Now? 6-23-11

Knowing My Limitations: 6-24-11

Buying Underwear At The Mall: 6-25-11

A Flip of a Coin and The Illusion of Permanence:  6-26-11

Special Needs Sense of Humor, Without Judgement: 6-27-11

One A.M. Bedtime and Visiting Gaudi: 6-28-11

The Strangeness Of Proximity: 6-29-11

Finally A Walk and A Talk And Health Concerns: 6/30/11

Make It Even: 7-1-11

Vacationing With Special Needs: 7-9-11

When Something New Is Ventured And A Horse Named Milos: 7-10-11

Waiting For The Little Bus, Again? 7-11-11

The Pop-In, A Flat Tire But A Decent Day: 7-12-11

Madam Librarian And A Home In Two Towns: 7-13-11

The Day Ran Away With Me: 7-14-11

Staff With Bounce And Mom Bumps: 7-15-11

Not All Links In The Chain Are The Same: 7-16-11

Ambiguity Doesn’t Work For Special Needs: 7-17-11

Pots, Pans and New Plans: 7-18-11

The Red Couch: 7-19-11

No Cable, No Move? And Mucho Dinero: 7-20-11

Successfully Installed With One Glitch: 7-21-11

Cleaning Sticky Books: 7-22-11

This Moment Of Now: 7-23-11

Back To Reality And A Star Magnet: 7-24-11

How Do You Teach Gratitude And Hurrah For The Other Mother: 7-25-11

Count Down: 7-26-11

When Will We See Her Again? 7-27-11

Haunting Scenarios: 7-28-11

Bed Made, Now Sleep In It: 7-29-11

Night Time Fears: 7-30-11

The Chocolate Fountain and Mom’s Cognitive Confusion: 7-31-11

A Poignant Passage? 8-1-11

Successful Launch: 8-2-11

I Like This New Phase: 8-3-11

Off To The City, Feeling A Little Giddy: 8-4-11

Full Mailbox: 8-5-11

The Quesadilla Maker: 8-6-11

Funding A Life and Some Polo Play: 8-7-11

A Thumbs Up On Planet of The Apes: 8-8-11

“Buck” Brings A Tear: 8-9-11

A Visit From DDS: 8-10-11

A Date And A Cake: 8-11-11

Pregnant, Tired Or Fired? Nope Just Gone: 8-12-11

A Trot And A Halt: 8-13-11

Deluge And Delay: 8-14-11

Losing A Friend: 8-15-11

A Condolence And Busy Being Neighbors: 8-16-11

The Night Shift and Supplemental Needs Trusts: 8-17-11

Expressing Sympathy And A Special Needs Match: 8-18-11

The Elusive Job Piece: 8-19-11

Our First Separation: 8-20-11

Sheer Coincidence and The Personal Pays Off: 8-21-11

Closing In On Fall: 8-22-11

Did You Miss Me? 8-23-11

Oh No, Hurricane Irene, Disappointment Brewing? 8-24-11

Attaining A Rhythm: 8-25-11

A Sticky Visit and To Cry Or Not To Cry: 8-26-11

Awaiting Irene: 8-27-11

A Very Social Storm: 8-28-11

She’s Back: 8-29-11

Yearning For Return: 8-30-11

Skunked And Bumped: 8-31-11

No Power, No Water, No Daughter: 9-1-11

One Mother Wanted To Schmooze: 9-2-11

No Dad’s Paintings Please: 9-6-11

The Thirty Day Meeting and Temporal Awareness: 9-7-11

Uggs, No Hugs: 9-8-11

A Celebration For The Artists:  9-9-11

How Smart Is Humor: 9-10-11

Sibling “Sonshine”: 9-12-11

Looking Ahead And Behind: 9-13-11

ROAR Follows Up: 9-14-11

Purposeful Blogging, Pass It Along: 9-15-11

A Litter of Kitties and Buck: 9-16-11

A Date With A Lady: 9-17-11

An Oblong Moon and Courage: 9-18-11

DSS Messes and A Scary Future: 9-19-11

Oh What A Night! 9-20-11

I Believe In Dreams: 9-21-11

I 95 North: 9-22-11

A Shared Grief and A Puncture: 9-23-11

Flying Home On A Donut: 9-24-11

I Am Busy With Something: 9-25-11

All About Me: 9-26-11

Holes in The PJ’s and Snagged: 9-27-11

Witch/Which Mother? 9-28-11

Happy New Year: 9-29-11

The Mayor’s Daughter, Some Dogs, A Mini-Melt: 10-02-11

Local Forgiveness and “Anything Goes”: 10-03-11

Entitlements? Well Maybe Not For Long: 10-04-11

A Times Square Gal: 10-05-11

Mom’s Boundaries: 10-06-11

Part of The Process, Not The Solution: 10-7-11

Sequined Skirt and Silver Shimmer Shirt: 10-08-11

Patches Missing In The Quilt: 10-09-11

Join Their World: 10/10/11

Double Negatives and No Plans: 10-11-11

Post-Traumatic Momma; Completing The Quilt: 10-12-11

What, No Cheesecake? 10-13-11

Trouble In Paradise: 10-14-11

More Than One Mother: 10-15-11

Full Circle: 10-16-11

Love Her For Who She Is: 10-17-11

Angelfish: 10-18-11

A Magical Combination & A Swimming Buddy: 10-19-11

No Answer, Not Much: 10-20-11

Spirals Of Anxiety: 10-21-11

Tender Care: 10-22-11

Sick & Pissed: 10-23-11

Giardia and Feral Cats: 10-24-11

We’re Getting There: 10-25-11

Two Moms Celebrate: 10-26-11

Pulling Back? 10-27-11

Ringworm! 10-28-11

Power-Less Sorceress: 10-31-11

Medicaid Mix-Up But Power! 11-01-11

Coming Up On 22: 11-2-11

Two Lady Grumps With A Lot To Share: 11-3-11

Super Giggles: 11-04-11

We Are So “P” of You: 11-5-11

The Delights of Difference: 11-06-11

Humor, The Antidote: 11-07-11

Oil Change: 11-08-11

An Off Day: 11-09-11

The Senior, The Cat and The Daughter: 11-10-11

Is This A Joke? 11-11-11

Shaking Things Up: 11-12-11

Home Heals: 11-13-11

Minds Have Met Before: 11-14-11

Not Checking In: 11-15-11

Coffee Grinds: The Sequel 11-16-11

Amongst The Stars: 11-17-11

War: 11-18-11

A Hairbrush, Forgiveness and Natalie Wood: 11-19-11

Sunny With No Chance Of Angst; Medication Dilemmas: 11-20-11

Now that our daughter is out on her own, with her own apartment and jobs, we are entering a new phase of her life. And so, beginning with the following post, Parenting Adult Special Needs will now consist of weekly posts:

Phase ll Of Parenting Adult Special Needs: One Week At A Time

Super Good Week: 12-5-11

The Artichoke: 12-12-11

Uneven Terrain: 12-19-11

Medication Rears Its Ugly Head: 1-2-12

Typical Friends And The Cyber Social World: 1-9-12

Texting While Sleeping: 1-15-12

Who Defines Disability? The DSM V and Autism: 1-23-12

Leap Year: 1-30-12

Heading To The Dog Show: 2-13-12

Two Ladies About Town: 2-20-12

Social Graces and Seven Months: 2-27-12

Closing In On A Year & Building Trust: 3-12-12

A Year’s Journey From All Sides Now: 03-26-12

A Humbling Journey with Warts and Blemishes for All To See: Part 2: 3-27-12

News, and a Special Opportunity for My Readers

Mom, I Know I Was Born With Eggs: Parenting Adult Special Needs One Month At A Time

The Busy Life Of A Special Needs Adult: 6-25-12

The Red Couch Is A Year Old: 8-9-12

Shining Boots, Shifting Staff and Book Clubs: 9-25-12