Posts Categorized: Julie Cole

What you CAN say to a parent of a child with Autism.

There are often discussions about what NOT to say to parents about their children with autism. I wrote about it myself – how some innocent questions and comments can actually be painful for a mama raising a child with autism. Although well meaning, some comments have the opposite of the intended effect.

But please say something. Saying nothing can almost be worse. Someone recently asked me: what CAN someone say that is considered kind and helpful? That simple question stopped me in my tracks. Just asking it was a huge first step. I had a few simple suggestions that would go a long way with sensitive mamas. I’ve listed them below.

1) Ask the mother if there are any resources or books you can read to learn more about autism. That tells her you are interested in, and care about her child.

2) Ask the mother if a play date would be helpful and that you would be happy to host. Our guys need social interaction and an opportunity to practice their social skills. Sadly, they are often the last ones to get invited on a play date. Offering to host tells a mom that you’re not afraid of her child and that you are open to fostering a friendship between the child with autism and her own child. Feel free to step it up and make sure to invite the child to your kiddo’s birthday party. Those invitations can be rare occurrences as well.

3) Compliment her child. Mamas with kids on spectrum seem to only hear the negative stuff. Many dread what they’re going to read in the school agenda and worry that every time the phone rings it will be the school reporting yet another “incident”. Like every mother, we want to hear that our kids are awesome and it’s nice for someone to notice. It doesn’t have to be anything big. Here’s some examples:

“I noticed your son’s language is really coming along.”
“Your daughter was really kind to my child today.”
“I was volunteering in the class today and noticed your son sat really well in circle!”
These are just a few simple suggestions that will make a tremendous difference in the life of moms of children with autism. Don’t be afraid to talk to us. We’re moms just like you, and like all moms, we love to talk about our kids – even the ones with autism.

 

About the Author:

Julie Cole Mabel's Labels

Julie Cole

Julie Cole is co-founder of Mabel’s Labels Inc., the leading provider of kids’ labels, and a proud mom of six.

How to Light up your Backyard Party

Every year, we host a big Victoria Day fireworks party. For my American friends – this means that yes, we celebrate the birthday of a long dead English Queen, but we’ll take our holidays where we can get them. This past Victoria Day we hosted one hundred of our closest friends and neighbours (an annual event at our place) and even managed to relax and enjoy it ourselves!
With July just around the corner and firework celebrations preparing to light up the sky once again, I thought I’d share a few tips on how to host an easy (and epic) stress-free, fireworks party at your home.

Fireworks Party, Fireworks party ideas, How to put on a fireworks show, Firework celebrations

things that go BOOM in the night

Here are some tips on how to plan and enjoy the day:

1) Put a sign on your front door that says “go around to the back”. That way, you don’t have to clean. No one is going to walk through your house to get to the backyard. A party you don’t have to clean for is the best kind of party.

2) Have a few glasses of wine, because the first point is a bit of a lie. The time will come in the evening where there will be people in every single room of your house. But if you’ve had a couple of glasses of wine, you won’t care that they see that you actually have a very messy house.

3) Tell people to bring ONE firework with them, but theirs is the one to finish the show. That way everyone brings the most amazing firework they can find and the entire show is fantastic. No little junky disappointing fireworks at my party!

4) Tell people to bring a bag of chips. Then, make chips the only food you serve. The party is at night. Everyone has had dinner. Keep it simple.

5) Delegate to a dad. We’ve got a dad in the neighbourhood who is a bit of an amateur DJ. He puts together a playlist, brings his fancy speakers, and suddenly our backyard show becomes a “symphony of fire”.

6) Don’t clean up. I let the local raccoons take care of any food that is left out. I’m a bit like Cinderella that way. The next morning put your kids and any neighbourhood kids still hanging around on the job. They can clear up drink cans and perform a general yard tidy up. The kids had loads of friends over, and part of hosting a party is cleaning up after your guests.

Do you plan on blowing things up with firework celebrations in your backyard in July? Be sure to do it safely, and if you follow these simple tips, you’ll enjoy hosting a fun and stress-free event.

Making the Cut: Children Dealing with Disappointment

Making the Cut: Children Dealing with Disappointment

With such a big family, I’ve always told my kids that they can’t be on travelling sports teams. When my children have asked to try out for such teams, my response has consistently been, “There are enough kids in your own city that are good enough to play with you.”

But, I have this one kid who loves hockey and wants to play all the time. She noticed that her friends who play on “rep” teams get to be on the ice a lot more than she and her house league pals. Her perfect day would include no less than three games of hockey.

She began her campaign to get me to change my mind, and presented a plan that detailed how we could manage her hockey schedule if she was on a rep team. My wise kid had already recruited her aunt, who committed to be the “hockey parent”. My little hockey player even told us how she planned to contribute financially to offset the extra costs. She won. I allowed her to try out. Basically, she’s a really good kid who can be crafty at getting her way.

But when she got cut from the team I realized just how awesome she really is.

I had gone to one of the try-outs and it was pretty clear to me that everyone there was bigger, faster and stronger. She’s only been playing proper hockey for two years. She was on the ice with girls who were older and had several years of rep hockey under their belts.

The coach had told the girls he was looking for hard working hockey players. Since no one works harder out there than my kid, she figured it would earn her a spot on the team.

When the e-mail came saying she was cut from the team, she told me she’d just have to practice more for next year. I didn’t see tears, I didn’t hear, “it’s not fair,” and I certainly didn’t hear her say, “but I’m better than so-and-so.” She just wants to practice more.

So, I’m proud of my daughter for getting cut from the hockey team. Her actions tell me that no matter what happens, on or off the ice, that she is confident and resilient. Nothing she can do in a hockey game can make me more proud of how she responded to that disappointing news.

How has your child responded to disappointment? Have you had to deal with a similar situation in your house?

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