Struggles to Strength, living a brave life, supporting you and your child with Autism.
Amy Nielsen Talks about:
- Amy Nielsen supports families with children who have disabilities, mostly on the Autism Spectrum. She shares with us what it means to be brave and how to live a life from struggle to strength. Amy is a writer, Author of the book – It takes a village, get your hands dirty and build yours from the ground up, plus a blog and a podcast – Big Abilities. Amy also works with groups and organisations helping families at the beginning of their diagnosis and then throughout their journey towards a new and fulfilling life.
- We talk about the autism spectrum and what a diagnosis can look like, discussing the different terms used in today’s society. Amy talks about what paediatricians and other specialist doctors look for in a diagnosis.
- Amy gives us some insight into her own experience as a mother of a child with autism and ADHA.
- Amy had a defining moment which she shares with us. This moment moulded her mothering and enabled her to see what was about to unfold. Amy say’s “Time goes by so fast. I didn’t have the time to write everything down when my older kids were little. I don’t want to forget again, I’m going to slow down and savour this. I’m going to pay attention.” When he was 18 months old, he began to regress with his speech. She knew that there was a problem. Not only did she recognise a problem, but she felt her mothers intuition calling to her, alerting her to an issue.
- Amy encourages ALL parents to trust there “Gut instinct”. If you ever think there is something is there, keep perusing, keep going Your intuition is ALWAYS right.
- When you realise that the life that you thought you were going to have is not going to be the life that you are going to have, it can knock your feet out from under you.
- Amy knew that she needed to take care of herself so that she could take care of her son, but she had no idea how to begin. So she started by going to therapy, with a therapist who specialised in helping families who are impacted by developmental disabilities.
- Amy also knew that she needed a tribe around her there that would understand what she was going through, she also had to come to terms with the grief of what she thought her life would be like.
- The biggest take away from therapy was understanding the need for a tribe around her. And that it was up to her to build it. She had to figure out what she needed and go find it. To fill the big needs of her son, she needed to be the best version of herself. Amy also talks about realising that she doesn’t need to know all the answers, she let go of expectations, and stays in the present moment and dealing with today.
- We talk about building a village around you and the support systems that you can put into place. Amy has a downloadable guide to accompany her book – It Takes a VILLAGE.
- Self-care is not selfish, it’s selfless.
- Making sure you take time to recharge, in whatever way that works for you, doing something for you, every day is essential. Some ideas include:
- writing in your journal
- writing anything – if that is something you enjoy
- going for a walk
- taking a bath
- lighting a candle
- listening to music or a podcast
- something that helps you recharge your own batteries so that you can be the best parent you can be.
- Another tip Amy provides is about your surroundings, being in a home filled with clutter can also clutter your mind. When there is so much going on in life, with appointments and therapy and a busy schedule, it can feel overwhelming when there is too much clutter. Sensory overload is also a consideration for your child in this environment.
- When you begin to look outward and trying to find your tribe, there are many different options. Sometimes you may need to look at your family as another kind of support system to what you had initially envisaged. Another tool in connecting to your tribe is to ensure you have friends inside the special needs’ community and outside the special needs’ community.
- The support system of friends who also have children with special needs, they become their pillars. This helps you bounce ideas off each other, but you also need a mentor, who can help you reach the next level.
- You will also need a professional support system, Dr’s, Therapists, Teachers etc.
- Also connecting with not for profit organisations which help families. There are many, many different originations help profit services for free, this is something beneficial and can help serve families with unique needs. Non-profits are there to serve others.
- Amy wants to help other families develop a level a peace that Amy now herself has.
- Sharing her families life was one of Amy’s bravest moments, but she knew that she could help others by sharing her personal struggles. Knowing other parents were brave enough to share their life when Amy needed it, helped her immensely. Amy wants to shine the light on autism awareness and help empower other parents who are living with a child with autism.
- A hard day is just that, a hard day. It will pass.
Connect with Amy
A not-for-profit organisation helping families with children with Autism ( which Amymentions in the podcast nad is affiliated with) https://www.collaborativecorner.org
Grab a copy of Amy’s books: https://www.amazon.com/Amy-Nielsen/e/B00F5585TS/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_book_1