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When and Why does your child need labels?

 Should we ditch all labels for our kids, <<First Name>>? Some of you had this question, and I have some thoughts.

“Why do you call your son Autistic? Why does your son call himself Down?”

“Aren’t labels harmful for our kids’ progress and acceptance in society?”

“Labels are for cans, not people.”

“People first language is the most respectful.”, etc.

      (Ok maybe you personally didn’t have this question, but I have received this in many forms, since I started posting on Instagram)

The questions are extremely valid, and I see that we are transitioning into a thinking of:

Should we pretend our child has no disability or Should we accept the Labels or Should we make it clear that these labels don’t define my kids?

      And so, I recorded this podcast yesterday about the value of labels and when you need them!

In this podcast, I cover:

  • Why you need to shift from labels to identity.
  • What it means to embrace disability in all its forms.
  • The impact of language on the disability community.

This is Down syndrome Awareness Month. And awareness means nothing if it doesn’t evolve into Acceptance, which in turn means nothing if it doesn’t evolve into Celebration.

      As parents and educators, we really cannot hope for a symbiotic relationship with our kids and students without an active celebration of their disability.

And THAT’s why I think you should listen to this podcast.

Onward,
Vaish

In other news:

My dear friend and colleague Sonia Story is offering her transformative course- 
Brain and Sensory Foundations , which includes comprehensive movement therapy training and is loaded with bonus resources.

Empower yourself with movement based tools for ADHD, sensory disorders, anxiety, speech, learning, self-regulation, physical challenges, and stress release.

Is your Autistic child in an Internal Alarm State?

Our children may not be able to handle stressors, or have seemingly inappropriate responses to “simple stress” because:
1. They lack nutrients for energy
2. They are deficient in neurotransmitters
3. It is hard for them to self-regulate

– From Episode 124 with Michelle Brown

Hi everyone!

Do you spend all your time going through podcasts / stories / testimonials only to think – “this is NOT going to work for us”?

Does your inner snarky voice say “Good for your – your child is super regulated – this is not my son!

Your child is not alone (though it may seem often like it) in the world of dysregulation and stress and “behavior”.

But nobody understands behavior! Am I right?

Doctors pathologize it, therapists get scared, and schools make it your kid’s fault or your fault.

And I want to tell you it is none of that!

That’s why I recorded today’s show with Michelle Brown about what “behavior” really means in our child (hint- it is an internal alarm), and what we can do to support our kids in this state

Click here now to learn how parents can work with having a child that is going through a crisis and how to identify the #1 thing educators and therapists are missing – the freeze response

And I just want to say, as a reminder, that I believe in you, you are awesome, and regulation is not that far away.

Onward my friend,

Vaish

p.s. There is one way to address regulation that Michelle talks about and that is called somatic. You can achieve regulation through the body’s innate movements.

My dear friend and colleague Sonia Story is offering her transformative course- Brain and Sensory Foundations , which includes comprehensive movement therapy training and is loaded with bonus resources.

Empower yourself with movement based tools for ADHD, sensory disorders, anxiety, speech, learning, self-regulation, physical challenges, and stress release.

Mom, here are my 3 secrets to staying motivated

Hey!

I have been getting this question repeatedly for the past 3 weeks – I am not sure why – I think it might be related to my social media activity.

But what other moms have been asking me is how I stay motivated?

If you are drowning in work, in keeping yourself afloat, feeling burnt out, just not feeling the motivation daily, first, I want to say I hear you.

Second, I used to be there a lot, but there are still many days that I feel the same.

I want to give you a lot of love, and I want you to give yourself a lot of credit.

– You are raising a child with a disability, a neurodivergent child, in a world built for hard-core neurotypicality.

– You are raising a micrority (not even a minority, less than a minority) in a world that grants them no rights!

And you are absolutely allowed to feel overwhelmed. But since we all know that we have to come up to breathe, and more we have to swim upstream. Here’s how to stay motivated.

The big idea is that YOU ARE SWIMMING UPSTREAM.

The current is against you. I want you to really internalize that thought. So it is going to be hard. How do we do it?

1. Swim upstream in short bursts. The rest of the time float for a bit. In other words, do the intense work in short bursts and don’t spend a lot of time doing it.

2. Build your strength to do this. I am talking a nutritious diet with exercise and meditation built in, if you can.

3. Turn the current so it is not always upstream for you – this means that you need to focus on smart strategies like sound nutrition and communication strategies that actually work which make it easier for you to go with the flow.

4. Surround yourself with people who have found a way to turn the current. Surround yourself with people who have a growth mindset. 

Change is hard, my friend, but we can do it!

Onward,

Vaish

p.s. If you like, take a 20 min break and try a free meditation on Sattva

Mom, here’s how to change and reduce a “severe” disability in your child

Intelligence is the ability to see nuance. If we cannot see nuance in our kids’ abilities and dump labels on them, we can’t call *them* intellectually delayed, because we are exhibiting a distinct lack of intelligence ourselves.  – Vaish

Dear Mom / Teacher,

If you think your student is “severely” delayed, this episode is for you. And I don’t mean any offense by the quotes. 

I don’t mean that your child is NOT struggling, they probably are. But we need to see the severity for what it is. 

Because Sid was a “severe” kid when he was young. Professionals would refuse to work with him because he was too low-functioning. And now he’s not.

In this podcast, I discuss what a severe disability means. For example, when we say low-functioning or severe, we usually mean:

  1. Behavioral Issues that manifest as aggression, anger, etc.
  2. Lack of control of child’s own body –  the child or adult is completely dependent on others for their daily routines
  3. Lack of functional speech. 

I can’t think of a fourth. And every one of these issues can be addressed. 

Listen to this episode to learn how, and to change your child’s severity of diagnosis. 

Mom, here’s why your child absolutely needs carbs

“Believing that diet is unimportant is the biggest disservice we can do to our kids’ mental health, immunity and learning.

 

Believing that food and supplements are everything is a disservice to your child’s intelligence.

 

Eat good healing food. Move on.” – Vaish

Can we please talk carbs – this is a much needed conversation – and I am talking about carbs in our kids’ food.

The truth is that as long as your child is having refined carbs, problems in their diet that seem to relate to carbs are going to exist.

And that is why diets like GAPS, SCD, Ketogenic, Paleo may seem very attractive – especially if you are looking to heal your child’s gut issues.

Don’t get me wrong – these diets work very well, but come with an expiry date – because microbiome diversity, gut health and gut integrity ultimately rely on source of complex carbs in your child’s diet.

I actually teach about therapeutic diets [and you can get this course for free if you enroll in Roadmap to Attention and Regulation], but this fear of carbohydrates is doing a number on our society these days.

Today’s podcast is a much need [if very fiery] discussion between me and the phenomenal physician Dr. Erica Peirson about the value of restrictive carbohydrate diets [in kids].

Tune in to learn more about:

  • Why GAPS (and other restrictive diets) can fail your child?
  • The story of a child who turned around when carbs were introduced
  • Gut motility and the microbiome
  • How to think about grains and gluten

My goal is for you to walk away from this conversation with a respect for your child’s body’s innate intelligence, and a knowledge that carbohydrates have been naturally a part of most of your ancestor’s diets for thousands of years.

Listen here to step out of fear and move into an empowered understanding of food.

Onwards,

Vaish 

P.S. This might be a good time to follow me on Instagram (where I share more tips – that might be different from what you see here)

Mom, Here’s why presuming competence doesn’t work

“Learning doesn’t have to be earned. Children don’t need to go through a rite of passage to prove they are worthy of an equal education. We just teach because it is our job to do so.”

I get asked often about how to presume competence in children with “severe autism”, in children with Down syndrome that present with “severe” (that word again) intellectual delay.

Today, I wanted to write about one mindset shift that can help you do this.

So how do you presume competence in a child / teen who is not speaking, not showing any signs of cognitive development and who is *severely* delayed?

There IS 1 mindset shift.

This is to forget about the idea of competence.

Presuming Competence – while quite a buzz word – is an extremely vague idea that means next to nothing in the hands of even the most well-meaning therapists [especially those who haven’t seen it in action].

That’s why I am shifting what I speak about.

I am asking parents and therapists to Aggressively Assume Intelligence.

Aggressive – because we have to be unrelenting in the face of extreme societal and systemic pressure that says our children are not smart.

Assume – because it may not be obvious

Intelligence – yes, intelligence, not some vague idea about competence which may mean anything or nothing.

Also, we are not being aggressive toward people, we are being aggressive in our beliefs 🙂

I was on the popular podcast The Lucky Few this week where I spoke about this and other things Back to School for kids with Down syndrome.

You might enjoy this show if you are dreading the school year 🙂

Onward dear friend!

Vaish