What To Expect When You Are Expecting… Special Needs

With the new movie “What To Expect When You’re Expecting” coming out based on the pregnancy bible, it is important for expectant mother’s and father’s to also familiarize themselves with the possibility that they may have a child with a special need.  Of course, the last thing we want to think about when we are What To Expect When You're Expectingpregnant is a special needs child. However, a pregnant couple can just keep in mind what to look for or ask when they are expecting:

5 Steps to take when you are expecting a baby:

  1. If the ultrasound is anything but normal, or if they see anything that raises concern, find out what can be done immediately upon birth.  You may also want to set up meetings with a therapy clinic to talk with experts and specialists.
  2. Read up on parenting, behavior management, and normal child development so that you know what to look for when the infant arrives. You do have a pediatrician, but you are the expert on your own child and even pediatricians will depend on you, the parent for providing any concern or red flags. The American Pediatric Association is a great resource as is the state association, such as the Illinois Pediatric Association.
  3. Tell your best friends and your family to let you know if they ever think something is off or up with your baby once it comes. Ask them beforehand, you may be too emotional afterwards.
  4. Eat well, exercise per doctors orders, keep yourself happy and calm, and avoid alcohol and non-advised medicine, see your OBGYN for regular pre-natal visits and stay out of trouble!
  5. If you are an expectant mom, expecting an adoptive baby, use expert websites such as the Children’s Research Triangle  in Chicago, or Northwestern Family Institute, to know what to be looking for in your child. You may not have been there for the first months and need to be a super-detective when it comes to you child.  Read the blogs here, to learn everything you can about child development!

While you need to enjoy your pregnancy, reality and knowledge is always a good thing to have just in case.  No parent is ever fully prepared for a special needs child.  However, have any knowledge prior to a diagnosis, will only help you make the right decisions for your child and family.

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How To Set Technology Rules

In the past few years, Ipads, Ipod touches and other tablet devices have given children the ability to text, talk, and surf the web younger than ever before. Children as young as 5 and 6 are using electronic tablets and Ipod Touches to not only play games, but also to take pictures, make videos as well as face-time and send texts using apps such as text-free or text-plus. These devices are opening a whole new world to children, but parents must be aware of how their children are using these devices and also create rules to ensure the children are using this technology safely and appropriately. As a teacher, I have put together a list of guidelines that may help your family create rules about the use of technology in the home.

 Technology Guidelines For Children:

Texting: Set specific hours and times that texting may take place. For example, texting is allowed after school until 7pm. Phones, ipods and tablets need to be turned off at night. Be nice with texts.girl on computer You may not send mean messages or use texting to talk about other people in a mean way. Remember, if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all-this rule applies to texting, too!

No texting times: No texting during dinner and family time, and no texting during homework time. Parents need to also follow these rules and model appropriate behavior such as not texting while driving.

Videos/Photos: No sending videos or photos without permission. This helps children understand that they cannot just send anything to anyone. Children may think it is funny to take a picture of a friend in an awkward position and then send it on to a friend, but may not realize that the picture can then be sent to many more people or even posted on the web.

Facetiming/Skyping: Ask a parent before facetiming or video chatting with a friend. Remember, when we Skype or Facetime we invite another person into our home. We need to be sure that our house is “open for visitors.”

Internet: Ask permission before searching on the web. This includes Googling and searching on You Tube. It is best to keep the family computer in a central location to monitor what your children are viewing on-line. Limit use of wireless devices behind closed doors. If your child has an Ipad or Ipod you can go to the Apple store or call Apple customer service to have certain restrictions put on their device to prevent them from looking at inappropriate websites.

You Tube: Tell mom or dad before going on this site. It has become popular for kids to post on You Tube and other similar sites. You may want to limit this or make it a “no” item in your house. A similar rule can be applied to Facebook or other social media sites even those geared to younger children such as Club Penguin.

Account sign up: Do not sign up for anything, give emails or other personal information to any site on line. Do not order apps or other software without permission. Children learn emails and passwords quickly. It is important to explain to them the danger of giving out personal information or typing personal information into the computer. They may not understand that this information can be used by other people to do harm.

Technology has grown dramatically in the past few years and our children have access to many wonderful devices; however, this new technology is presenting a whole new parenting issue. Parents need to be aware of how their children are using these devices and help them to understand the dangers as well as the benefits.

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MOMMY-ITIS! What is it?

As moms, we share our brains with our children or our husband daily. They rarely are just our brains to do with what we please! So, what good tips can  you remember while using YOUR mommy brain so that you don’t spend your child’s childhood with MOMMY-ITIS?

How to handle your “Mommy Stress”:

  1. When you think about your kids, and what they did to make you angry, sad or stress you out: manage yourself. Focus on what you can do to make things better, not always trying to fix them. stressed mom with lots of kidsDo you need a better schedule? Do you need more breaks or more help at home? Do you need to communicate better with your husband to get the child behaving better? Do you need to meet with an expert to get parenting advice?
  2. Don’t REACT, ACT! Manage it!  We all have bad things happen to us, we just don’t have to be victimized by it. So, when the hubby is in a bad mood or the kids are obnoxious, don’t raise your tone and get all negative with everyone….get control! Use your positive and happy parenting and personal skills to make change in the present!
  3. Mom you probably get on your own case more than anybody! Do you think that If you are tough enough on yourself it will make you better? No! this is not good thinking! Be happy! You can set standards and have high expectations but you don’t need to beat the you know what out of yourself! Craziness does not get a good response! Look at yourself in the mirror and enjoy your age, your health, your being! Tell yourself you are trying hard and things are not horrible and you are happy to be alive and given privileges and chances to make your children good people with good lives! Be positive and use constructive language with yourself, don’t bring yourself down!

Be happy and get over your MOMMY-ITIS! THIS IS YOUR RX!

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Daddy’s Home!!! How To Keep A Positive Attitude After A long Day At Work

(This article is meant for fathers-but of course Moms, you can read too)

Like most of you dads out there, I work very hard each day. I rarely take a lunch break, and don’t take a lot of days off. That’s just how I am wired. I father home from workam confident that many of you fathers out there are the same way. It’s in our blood, it’s how we were raised, and we’re proud of our work ethic.

I am first and foremost, the proud, doting father to a 5 year old girl and a 2 year old boy. I would do anything for them at any time, just like you would do anything for your child at any time. Our young children don’t know why we work and come home tired. We do it for them, but they won’t understand it until they have kids someday.

There have been times when I’ve come home from a hard day, and not been “there” for my kids. I was tired or stressed or just not in a good mood. That’s normal, but how we react to feeling like that is critical. When I think about those times, I cringe. My kids are waiting for me. Should it be their problem that I had a busy day? I promised myself, not so long ago, that I would try my hardest to walk in the door each night with an over exaggerated, flamboyant, happy entrance that would help to ensure my kids never lose the “Daddy’s Home!!!” excitement.

5 Tips To Relieve A Bad Mood Before Coming Home To Your Kids:

  • On the drive home, turn the radio up loud, roll down the windows and sing a long.
  • Eat something ( I go with candy, but I don’t condone candy eating).
  • Do not answer the cell phone.
  • If driving helps, do what Supertramp says and “Take the Long Way Home”.
  • Think about your kids, and how fun it is to play with them when you get home and of course how great it feels to see their happy faces at your arrival.

Following these tips will not only ensure a stronger, healthier relationship with your children, but it will also help you feel better about yourself and your day!

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Five Things to do in a Week for a Mom to Keep her Sanity

Moms need a break from it all. We need time to enjoy our kids while we are with them and time to re-energize and re-set for the next day. So, here it is:

5 things a mom can do to keep her sanity: stressed mom

1) Make a daily schedule.

2) Write goals for herself and a plan for reaching them with dates on it to have some accountability.

3) Exercise daily or at least three days a week. The natural endorphins are key.

4) Communicate with your spouse! If you are not getting what you need and always giving what your spouse needs, trouble looms ahead. Communicate in every way, from the spiritual, physical, intellectual and emotional, tell it like it is.

5) Have a girls night out once or twice a month. Not only is it fun, relaxing and bonding, it is nice to hear what your girlfriends have planned, have going on, and have on their minds that may validate or help you be a super person, mom and wife!

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Parent Self-Care: How to care for YOU while you care for your child

Some parents feel guilty if they purposefully take time away from their kids to pursue their own interests. On the other hand, turning yourself down from these opportunities may mean you have less and less to give of yourself to your kids. Mothers who make time to pursue relaxing activities and/or favorite hobbies not only feel happier day to day, but their kids feel it too! It has a calming effect on your children and also provides you with more energy to tend to daily tasks. You need time to re-energize from the world’s hardest but most rewarding job! Here are some pointers for getting started. Please add a comment below if you have your own great idea to add!

How To Care For Yourself When You Have Children:happy parents

  • Seek out hobbies that “feed your soul”
  • Revisit your old childhood hobbies and passions
  • Wake up earlier or go to bed later than your family for alone time
  • Take bubble baths or extra long showers
  • Trade massages with your partner (or go professional)
  • Take long walks (alone or with a companion)
  • Call at least one friend per week
  • Organize “Moms only” nights with friends
  • Date night with your partner
  • Eat healthy and exercise
  • Write in a journal
  • Practice meditation and mindfulness

*Kvols, K.J. (1998). Redirecting children’s behavior. Seattle, Washington: Parenting Press, Inc. a

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North Shore Pediatric Therapy, Inc. (NSPT) intends for responses to the blogs to provide general educational information to the readership of this website; all content and answers to questions should not be understood to be specific advice intended for any particular individual(s).  Questions submitted to this blog are not guaranteed to receive responses.  No ongoing relationship of any sort (including but not limited to any form of professional relationship) is implied or offered by NSPT  to people submitting questions.  Always consult with your health professional first before initiating or changing any aspect of your treatment regimen.