Category Archives: Special Kids/Parents


Both parents and teachers need to work together to provide each child with the best education possible.

Made me laugh and weep. Much more is needed.
IMAGE BY Emergepeoria blogspot

A Resource for NY parents and teachers

I know and have worked personally with Gary Shulman and can endorse his abilities whole heartedly. He is offering two sets of workshops through  schools in NYCity

For Parents: Needs, Wants, Wishes and Dreams: Programs and Services that Bring Relief to Parents of Children with Special Needs and DisabilitiesLife can be stressful when your child is “labeled” as having a special need or disability. This interactive workshop will look at all the various support services out there to bring you some needed relief. There are many programs, services, systems and strategies that will help you maximize the strengths, skills and talents of your child while helping with the special needs. Intervention programs, social skills groups, parents support groups, benefits and entitlements, laws that protect your rights, respite services, special developmental clinics, sources of sensory stimulation and much more will be explored. The goal of this workshop is to provide you with: information, motivation and inspiration. You are not alone! Let’s share our needs, wants wishes and dreams together. “Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass, it’s about learning how to dance in the rain.” There are strong umbrellas out there to protect you from the storms and help you dance!For Staff: Needs, Wants Wishes and Dreams: Programs and Services that Support Parents of Children with Disabilities in Your Program

Parents of children with disabilities and special needs are often devastated by the “labeling” of their child. They turn to professionals for support, information and counseling. This workshop looks at a family in an holistic way. If there are stressors at home, it is difficult for a child to function appropriately at school. This interactive workshop will give you an overview of the programs, services and systems that can empower parents of children with special needs and disabilities. We will share our already existing knowledge base and expand from there to learn about the many “treasures” of NYC that help to maximize a child’s abilities and strengths while providing the necessary therapeutic intervention to deal with the diagnosed special need. Put yourself in the shoes of a parent whose child has been diagnosed as having a disability and with that mind-set let’s brainstorm together ways that we can provide them with support, hope and encouragement. This workshop will give you the tools to do that, and much more. You will be given information, motivation and inspiration to be the best possible support for your parents and their children.

For more information about how to arrange a workshop through  your school contact :Gary Shulman, MS. Ed.,  646-596-5642


Working together with professionals is at often wearisome and at times only adds hurt to the pain of loving and caring for challenged child.  The more professionals and parents can partner constructively, the more help the child will receive.

Here is my thank you or welcome to the my blog gift – a quick introduction to The Daily Twelve Emotional Fitness Exercises. Learning them will help you stay calmer so your can keep up a caring attitude.

For more details about staying strong as a parent buy one of my E-books.

If you buy any of my books, please review it either where you bought it or on this through the comments on this blog.

DISCLAIMER: FORGIVE MY GRAMMATICAL ERRORS FOR I HAVE DYSGRAPHIA. If you need perfect posts, you will not find them here. I have dysgraphia which means that sometimes my sentence structure is not that easy to follow or I make other errors. Still, most people understand me. All of my books are professionally edited, but not all of my blog posts are. Thanks for your understanding and reading my work.

As always thank you for following me. If you know someone else who will benefit from my thoughts, forward this to them. Liking, commenting, and sharing are other ways you can help me stay strong and spread some ideas others might find helpful.

As I tell myself a thousand times a day, stay strong, give lots of love, be grateful, live now, have lots of luck.



The only labels Emotional Fitness Training (EFT)wants applied to children and adults are Kind or  Cruel.

about the DSM

The Diagnostic Statistical Manual is the American Psychiatric Association (APA)’s  dictionary of mental health diagnosis; I call their labels the  “Need Shrinking Label.”  How I try to keep the various  mental health labels in perspective   A label is just a label.

Aspergers  is a good example of why some totally disparage the DSM. Emotional Fitness Training (EFT)  does not.  EFT views the DSM as a tool, useful sometimes, not the right tool at other times.

Aspergers is poorly understood even by the experts.  However, it has entered the popular psycho-babble.  It describes someone who seems to be marching not just to a different drummer, but an entirely different orchestra. A good reminder that all Need Shrinking  mental health labels are just that – labels.

Once upon a time run away slaves were labeled as suffering from Drapeomania.  Might have made sense to a slave owner  who believed he was kind and caring, but certainly not to a slave seeking freedom.  Meanwhile back to current Need Shrinking Labels.

In case you didn’t know it, the shrinks are warring.  Their bible is being revised and while not as earth-shaking as a re-write of either the Old aka Torah or the New Testament, it does stir up a lot of dust.

A number of Need Shrinking Labels have been added and a few removed. Aspergers is one of the ones some are trying to remove.  First, included in the American Psychiatric Association (APA) 1994 edition of their DSM. The diagnosis is being dropped from the newest DSM edition – due out in 2013.

Why is one embraced by so many being dropped?  The research seems to show there is no difference between what is called high functioning  autism and Aspergers.  The APA works hard to make the DSM science and takes research seriously.  I applaud them for that, but also know it is Psychiatry is youthful science and not always as reliable as one would want.

Many of my friends are Aspies (what many with the Asperger’s label call themselves).  Will they disappear with if  their label becomes passe?   No. That should help keep  rants about labels in focus.  My friends will not be changed.

Moreover, some don’t care, but some are distressed about those seeking to oust Asperger’s as a different diagnosis.    For more details about those that are distressed go to this article in the Daily Beast.


Tip one: A DSM label is just a label and like those on a file folder can be an accurate or poor description of what the label is attempting to describe.

The right label increases the possibility of the easing the challenge; the wrong label may or may not make things worse.

Tip two:    The labels are not the problem, stigma is the problem.  

Tip three:  Don’t worry, act. Because of the stigma attached to some labels,  coupled with the human desire to hope for the best, too many of us worry. We humans are particularly interested in knowing if we are normal or not.  We might want to step out to the sound of a different drummer, but not too different. A DSM label can make one feel quite a bit different, but it also can provide a sense of “That’s me” which some find comforting.  Hopefully, it leads to proper treatment.

As parents, if a child seems too out of step,  we worry more.   Most of the worrying is wasted, but at the same time, parents are the first to notice when something is not quite what it should be and if you are very worried, it is time to do something.

Effective worrying is a matter of using the worry to think and then to act or not to act.  So if you find yourself more than a little worried, do something.  Seek advice from experts and that does not mean just your mother, best friend, or mother-in-law.  The younger your child, the easier to get a professional evaluation.  Why? Because the mental health professionals know, the earlier a Need Shrinking Label gets applied, the more likely the person needing professional help will prosper and live a good life.

Tip four:  As much as the mental health professionals want early evaluations, the less trained experts and that includes many teachers, family doctors, and even pediatricians first offer reassurance.  So when you first start asking for a mental health evaluation be persistent.

Tip five: If it turns out your child does meet the criteria for a label, learn all you can about what the label describes, and why the shrinks think it applies to your child.

Tip six:    However, the problem or difficulty gets finally named, if it involves a DSM label, help your child learn its name and how to use that name effectively.  My better functioning Aspie friends are comfortable in their skin.  That is your goal.

Tip seven:  If a child gets a label get yourself support, more support, and more support.  Solid support can be found on line.  Look for parent run groups, but beware of extreme positions.  What do I mean: “Autism is caused by vaccination  or “The right diet cures hyper-activity.”  Such passionately held beliefs might hold a bit of truth, but an open mind leads down better paths.

Also be wary of those who act like experts and disparage other experts.  Having two or three children makes you an expert on those two or three children, not on other people’s children.  As most who have struggled with major difficulties say, “Take what is useful” and  forget the rest.

Eighth tip:  Take care of you.  Eat well, move your body, get plenty of sleep, take me-time and mate-time and family laugh and play time.  Practice kindness and generosity  so your child will learn the same.  In living the good life that is what matters most.


Parenting is difficult and often a struggle as you must know by now.  You should also know this: you are almost certainly a good enough parent. As noted above, if you’re having a hard time, my advice is not to ignore that, get professional help.

As always, thank you for your support, it means a great deal to me.


DISCLAIMER: FORGIVE MY GRAMMATICAL ERRORS FOR I HAVE DYSGRAPHIA. If you need perfect posts, you will not find them here. I have dysgraphia which means that sometimes my sentence structure is not that easy to follow or I make other errors. Still, most people understand me. All of my books are professionally edited, but not all of my blog posts are. Thanks for your understanding and reading my work.


All my books are available on Amazon, and readable on any tablet, laptop, Mac, PC, e-reader or Kindle device.

When Good Kids Do Bad Things. A Survival Guide for Parents of Teenagers
Parents Are People Too. An Emotional Fitness Program for Parents
Tame the Test Anxiety Monster

Watch for my about to be released How to Hold a Successful Family Meeting.  This is a Tool Kit with templates and posters as well as an E-book.


IMAGE BY: Mr837 Blogspot


Are you a worrier? Is your child fearful? If I peek in your purse or closets will I see a place for everything and everything in its place?  Does your child want cars and dolls neatly lined up all in a row, have a hissy fit when gets a bit dirty? Is written home work a battle because erasures are not allowed in your child’s mind?  Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, one of the serious disorders that can impede learning and lif, e may be at work.  One can be obsessive without being compulsive, but usually the two go together.

Briefly defined, obsessions are stubbornly ongoing thoughts, impulses, or images that cause marked  anxiety or distress.  They are not normal worries about real life dangers.  In time, an obsessed person comes to realize the obsessions are irrational, but cannot erase them.  They can sometimes be erased or neutralized by ritualized actions.Children tend to think such thoughts and deeds are normal.

Compulsions are repetitive behaviors (e.g., hand washing, ordering, checking) or mental acts (e.g., praying, counting, repeating words silently) that the person feels driven to perform in response to an obsession.   The behaviors are thoughts are not logically connected to the worry or are clearly excessive.

Here is a brief description by a mother of her son’s struggle with OCD”

I’ve written before about the severity of my son Dan’s obsessive-compulsive disorder. How it was so bad he couldn’t eat. How he’d get stuck sitting in one particular chair, hunched over with his head in his hands, for hours at a time. How he was tied to the clock for all activities of daily living.

Dan eventually got proper treatment and is now a senior at college and his OCD is under control.

Dan’s mother started blogging to educate others about OCD.  Her blog can be found at OCDtalk.  Even if you are not worried about OCD and your child, edcuating yourself and others about all major mental disorders is a step toward reducing stigma.


Tip one:   As with most mental or brain based disorders the younger the child, the harder to diagnose.  Don’t worry much about obsessions or compulsions you see in pre-school children.  Worry more if they persist into the early school years.

As OCD is a fear based disorder, shy and anxious children are more at risk.

Also worry a bit more if  OCD  has been diagnosed in other relatives.  It is a disorder that can be passed on genetically. Also worry a bit if you see some symptoms in other family members, even if the disorder is not diagnosed.

When visiting us, my mother-in-law had to make sure all the pictures in the house were perfectly alligned.  She often re-arranged my knick-knacks to better suit her idea of perfection.  A niece couldn’t stand seeing dust in someone’s house; she was known to offer to dust or if that seemed rude, could be seen dusting sneakily.  Another relative drove a contractor over a barely squeaky floor board.  None were diagnosed, but everyone who knew them joked about their OCD-like behavior.

Tip two: It you are worried, educate yourself, and if after doing that you are still worried, seek professional help.

Tip three:  As always staying emotionally fit.  Accept that good enough is good enough. Make time for you.  Practice my Daily Emotional Fitness Program for Parents as found in my book Parents Are People Too.


Parenting is difficult and often a struggle as you must know by now.  You should also know this you are almost certainly a good enough parent. If you’re having a hard time, my advice is not to ignore that, but also to make sure you take care of yourself. When you stay in charge of your negative feelings, your child/ren will benefit too. I encourage you to develop Emotional Fitness Training™ skills and share your success with others.

Here is a way to practice some kindness, a major Emotional Fitness Skill. October 8 – 14, 2012, has been designated OCD Awareness Week.   Visit the link to learn how you can support the efforts of the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Foundation’s attempt to bring attention to, and to reduce the stigma of, OCD.

You can also practice kindness by liking, commenting, or sharing my posts. I promise kindness is always rewarded in one way or another.

As always, thank you for your support, it means a great deal to me.


If you need perfect posts, you will not find them here. I have dysgraphia which means that sometimes my sentence structure is not that easy to follow or I make other errors. Still, most people understand me. All of my books are professionally edited, but not all of my blog posts are. Thanks for your understanding and reading my work.


All my books are available on Amazon, and readable on any tablet, laptop, Mac, PC, e-reader or Kindle device.

When Good Kids Do Bad Things. A Survival Guide for Parents of Teenagers

Parents Are People Too. An Emotional Fitness Program for Parents

Tame the Test Anxiety Monster

Coming soon from MetaPlume: How to Hold a Successful Family Meeting


Why this parent advice topic

This post continues the effort to understand various challenges children face navigating school.  Fidgety Phillips and Phillipas are today’s topic, but first a picture.

IMAGE BY Barnes and Noble. Story about how fidgety feet turned a princess into a soccer player.  Sounds like a good one.

And now a poem.  This written in  1844 by  Dr. Heinrich Hoffman.  Fidgety people have been around since the beginning of human time. I am one.

The Story of Fidgety Philip
“Let me see if Philip can
Be a little gentleman;
Let me see if he is able
To sit still for once at the table.”
Thus Papa bade Phil behave;
And Mama looked very grave.
But Fidgety Phil,
He won’t sit still;
He wriggles,
And giggles,
And then, I declare,
Swings backwards and forwards,
And tilts up his chair,
Just like any rocking horse–
“Philip! I am getting cross!”
See the naughty, restless child
Growing still more rude and wild,
Till his chair falls over quite.
Philip screams with all his might,
Catches at the cloth, but then
That makes matters worse again.
Down upon the ground they fall,
Glasses, plates, knives, forks and all.
How Mama did fret and frown,
When she saw them tumbling down!
And Papa made such a face!
Philip is in sad disgrace . . .

Fidgety means you have a hard time sitting still.   Some of us are fidgety almost all the time, some of us only some of the time.   If you can answer “Yes, that’s me.” to the four or five of the following statements, you are probably fidgety than most other people:

  1. I like being on the move.
  2. Sitting quietly in church, in school, at work is hard work for me.
  3. I don’t like waiting in line.
  4. I don’t like waiting turns.
  5. I interrupt when others are talking.
  6. I jiggle my legs, twist my hair, or tap my fingers or toes a lot.
  7. I like to do two or three things at the same time.
  8. I can listen to music or have the TV on and read or write at the same time.

Here’s another way to figure out how fidgety you are:   pretend you are a soldier in the army.  Stand up and stand at attention with your feet together, arms at side, shoulders back, head up, eyes straight ahead.  Now don’t move for three minutes and then rate how badly you wanted to move on a scale of 1 to 10 using:

  1. Ten down to five means you moved.
  2. Five  means you wanted to move but didn’t although you had to work hard not to move.
  3. Four down to one means you had less and less of an urge to move.

The higher your score the more likely some people think of you as Fidgety Phil.  I score between a seven and eight.


  1.  Fidgety  people do not want to fidget, but sitting still is very hard for them.
  2. Fidgety people can sit still sometimes and that makes other people think they just fidget to be difficult.
  3. Usually fidgety people can sit still when they get a quick reward for sitting still.  Video games calm some fidgety people.
  4. Some fidgety  people find medication is the only way they can sit quietly, particularly at school or at a job
  5. Fidgety people often can do two or three things successfully at once and that is a strength.
  6. Fidgety people often don’t need as much sleep as other people and that is another strength


Parenting tip one:  Fidgetiness often runs in families.  It is the way some brains work.  It definitely runs in mine. Remember goodness of fit, that was talked about in an earlier post.  Often one family member is fidgety and other members just the opposite. That is why figuring out every one’s temperament is useful.  If you didn’t read that post, here it is  Loves School/ Hates School.

Parenting tip two:  Goodness of fit also applies to society.  When hunting was part every day life, the hyper-alertness of a fidgety person often served to alert others to the presence of game. Now that long hours are spent at school or on quiet jobs, fidgety people have a harder time.

Parenting tip three: Here are some ways I and other fidgety people have learned to deal with fidgetiness:

  1. Meditating.
  2. Meditating, but moving ever so slightly and rhythmically.
  3. Squeezing a stress ball when you need to be quiet.
  4. Squeezing a knee also works as does massaging your fingers
  5. When at school or work, taking notes on what is being said.
  6. Using the Mind Mapping way to take notes is often a good skill for fidgety people to learn.
  7. Mind Mapping is a bit like doodling and doodling also is soothing, but bosses and teachers prefer mind mapping.
  8. Folding paper—learning origami.
  9. Being allowed to color while listening.  I allowed this in all my classes and workshops.  In fact I provided adult coloring material and crayons.  My only rule was that when I said pay attention, you had to put your crayons down for at least a minute.

Parenting tip four: If fidgeting is interfering with work or school, medication may help.  Too much ranting against medication means those that need it are not be helped. I never felt the need, but as the director of a child’s mental health service, I saw miraculous changes in behavior when some youngsters were medicated.

One of the cashiers at my local supermarket has a severe case of fidgetiness.  He readily admits medication saved his life and is giving one of his children a better shot at the good life.

Parenting tip five:  Seek out a competent child psychiatrist if medication seems indicated.  Family doctors and even skilled pediatricians are no substitute for someone specifically trained to administer psycho-tropic drugs.

Parenting tip six: You need to know a few facts about fidgeting and medication:

  1. If it going to be helpful, the difference is often noticed right away.
  2. If taking the medication makes things worse, it generally means something besides fidgety is the problem.
  3. Bi-polar and trauma disorders often react adversely to the medication used for fidgety problems.
  4. Habituation, meaning the body builds tolerance, and stronger doses might be needed as well as planned vacations from the medication.

Parenting tip seven:  Join an ADHD support group.  CHADD is one of the best and they are on Facebooks.

Parenting tip eight: Strengthen your self soothing skills. That is what Emotional Fitness is all about.  Go here for a brief introduction to our 12 Daily Emotional Fitness Exercises.


Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.

George Bernard Shaw.

I prefer to distinguish ADD as attention abundance disorder. Everything is just so interesting . . . remarkably at the same time.

Frank Coppola, MA, ODC, ACG l

Of course, no man is entirely in his right mind at any time.

Mark Twain

Do what you can where you are with what you have.

Theodore Roosevelt

Why try to fit in when you were born to stand out.

Dr Suess

If you’re going through hell, keep going

Winston Churchill

Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.

Albert Camus

One of the advantages of being disorganized is that one is always having surprising discoveries.

A.A. Milne

Some final words

Stay strong. Life is a struggle, full of pain and suffering. Parenting intensifies the struggle, but also brings  joy to your life. Neither you nor your any of your children need to be perfect.  Better to be good enough.

Like, comment or share, so I will grow stronger.  Thank you.


Disclaimer: Emotional fitness Training is not therapy

Even the experts quarrel about what works best.  Advice is advice, not a commandment.  Read for what will help you and forget the rest.

Forgive my  errors for I have dysgraphia.

if you need perfect posts, you will not find them  here;  I will understand if you don’t follow me.  If  you want to hang in with me, thank you.