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Thriving in the Midst of Chaos: Parenting With Special Needs Kids

Jan 9, 2020

Episode 17: Communicating Our Plight With Guest Jelisa Scott

In this episode, we discuss communication with the outside world and how to cope with challenging behaviors. Our guest, Jelisa Scott noted that the teacher in our children's classrooms often experience the following struggles: not knowing your child as well as you do or what the child's triggers are, not having sufficient resources available, and having large class sizes even in special needs classes. She recommends that to combat these issues, find out what class your child will be in well before the year starts, email the teacher well in advance to communicate with them, try to meet with the teacher before school, and attend meetings and back to school nights. She also recommends that you send the teacher a one pager about your child (what their diagnosis is, strengths, what your child needs help with, and strategies that work). Your BCBA can speak with the teacher on your behalf or can assist you in school meetings. However, it is important to be open to feedback if teacher says a strategy doesn't work in the school, even if it does work in the home.

In the community, we might experience judgement/misunderstanding of what is happening with your child and a lack of understanding of your child's disability. It can help to let them know the child needs patience and/or to educate them on the symptoms of your child's diagnosis. However, pick your battles. You can ask them to mind their business, or even make a card saying what is going on and to kindly leave you the hell alone if they are not willing to help.

With family, bide your time. Share the knowledge that you have learned, tell them what is useful when interacting with your child, but also give them calls of action for what to do when a problem occurs, as well as a backup person to call if a parent is unavailable. If they continue to treat you or your child poorly, consider if you want to distance yourself from that person. If someone says the child is behaving in that way because you are a bad parent, ask them to define what a better parent is and ask them if they would live up to those standards.

When it comes to common issues parents face in children with autism specifically, parent experience isolation, so much planning, and loss of sexuality. For Jelisa, the most common challenging issues are aggression and screaming. For her, the most challenging issue is noncompliance. Jelisa recommended utilizing support groups, going on date nights, realizing that perfection is not expected, taking moments for yourself without your child, taking 15 minutes a day to do something you enjoy, and/or write in a journal. Couples counseling can also be helpful, but is not always covered by insurance. It could be useful to find a therapist through a local university graduate program.

Guest Speaker Jelisa Scott
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Show Music:
Lion Roar: Lion Roar by Iwan Gabovitch under CC-BY 3.0 License (
Intro Outro: Intro Outro 2 by Mattias Lahoud under CC-BY 3.0 License (
Theme Song: 90s rock style by monkeyman535 under CC-BY 3.0 License (
Self Care Song: Green and Orange No Water by Duncan Alex under CC-BY 3.0 License (

Hosted by: Jessica Temple and Lewis Temple

Disclaimer: Our show is not designed to provide listeners with specific or personal legal, medical, or professional services or advice. Parents of children with health issues should always consult their health care provider for medical advice, medication, or treatment.

Copyright 2020 Jessica and Lewis Temple