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

Feb 20, 2020

Episode 23: Finding and Building a Village With Guest Amy Neilsen

In this episode, we discuss finding and building a village, otherwise known as a support network. Amy wrote her book at her lowest point of parenthood. She initially saw autism as an obstacle. She planned for her son to go to ABA for 6 weeks with the expectation that the autism symptoms would remit and then he would be able to go to preschool in the fall. However, things did not go as planned. Her friends were in completely different places emotionally, so she temporarily ended friendships. She decided to seek therapy, particularly with a therapist who worked with families where a member had a developmental disability. She found therapy very helpful, and she learned that she was judging herself for feeling ill equipped for being a special needs parents and that it was ok for her to not have all the answers. She also learned that she needed to build a support system. She found that finding a support network helped her find important answers that she needed to find to feel better equipped as a parent. Amy suggests that one's village should have many layers. Your village should include yourself (including time for self-care and meeting your own needs), your home (getting your home organized and uncluttered), family (physical or emotional support), friends (within the special needs community and outside of the special needs community), professionals (who are experts in areas in which you are not), and nonprofit organizations. The nonprofit organizations offer a lot of resources that can be very helpful. Online Facebook groups can also be good resources. The best way to start building your village is to make a list of every person that you consider someone that is or could be part of your support system, and try to figure out how to move that person from a small part of your support system to a larger part of your support system. Her favorite self-care strategies include taking a bath, doing a skin-care regimen every day, physical activity while her son takes a shower, fitness classes, texting with friends, and talking with friends over Facebook.

Amy Neilsen

Blog and Podcast
Facebook Group 
It Takes A Village Book 

Their Stories

Autism Society 
Easter Seals 
Autism Speaks 
Special Needs Alliance 
Early Signs of Autism
MCHAT Free Autism Online Assessment 
Far From The Tree

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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