We would like to introduce you to Wings Self-Care. We know you are mostly busy, often tired, usually stressed-out and, at times, anxious. We know you would like some time-out for relaxation and we know you don’t have time for that!
The purpose of Wings is to provide a safe and nurturing place, a soft landing… so you can take some time-out for you, connect with others who get you, be heard, and learn some skills that you can use in your hectic daily life to help you relax and be mindfully present.
Self-Care for Carers = Taking Care of Yourself
so you can take good care
We know that as a parent or a carer you already have an incredible capacity for love and compassion for others. It’s time for self-compassion, self-love and self-care. On a flight, in case of an emergency, we are told to put our own oxygen mask on first and then assist others – for good reason!
We need to get better at self-care, whether we are parents, carers or support workers. Everyone needs time-out for self-care. Let us wrap our wings around you so that you can take better care of yourself and be even more able to care for the people in your life.
Group Relaxation Workshops
Blogposts for Discussion
A Facebook group to connect workshop participants
A Toolbox of skills and strategies to use when you need them most
The foundation of the Wings blog is from a blog called “The Stimmer”.
The Stimmer is about Lammy.
The blog posts are written by Ros, Lammy’s mum. Together, Ros and Gaye (from Capital Mindset) present these blog posts to form the basis for our discussions at Wings Self Care Workshops.
The Stimmer blog was created to support parents and carers through the challenges experienced when raising a child, especially one diagnosed with special needs.
At the Stimmer, we believe that to be able to look after those in our charge, we must look after ourselves first. We must be able to recognise and understand our responses to the situations we found ourselves in, as well as those of our children.
Just as they say when you are in a plane ‘put your own mask on first’.
To be anxious is human. To seek to manage your anxiety is healthy. And as a carer is it vital! Put your own mask on first – then help others.
I remember the moment I realised that my anxiety was being shared with my son.
When he was only 3 years old, I was in the midst of a storm. Caring for a child on the Autism Spectrum is a constant challenge. At that age he didn’t speak a word and frequently had meltdowns that made strangers gasp in amazement. The world was hard. While this was going on my marriage broke down and filled my already overwhelming world with more anxiety.
I thought I was doing a great job of keeping my anxiety to myself and away from my son. I tried to soothe myself after he’d gone to bed, I never argued or raised my voice in front of Austin and was telling myself that I was doing a great job of shielding him.
But in the background my world was exploding. There seemed to be no good days – ever.
Sometimes the best gifts to us come from the most unlikely places. The unconditional love and care from a beloved pet can be a great gift.
Feeling sad and sentimental
We lost our lovely, sweet brown dog this week. Her time had come, and she has left us heartbroken but with eleven wonderful years of memories. She was a special dog who enchanted everyone she met. She had sweet gentle rescue dog eyes and a superpower of being a dog who knew how to hug.
Her death has left a giant hole in our little family group and lots of tears have been shed. We look for her around every corner and in familiar sunny spots in and around the house where with think she should be. We are all feeling her loss greatly and in our own way.
What I Miss Most
I miss her most at night time – particularly in the middle of the night. Across eleven years she has been with me through many of life’s triumphs, tears and tragedies. I envied the evenness of her life sometimes.
I have an appointment today with Lammy’s teacher, the school and the Education Department to discuss, assess and agree his support requirements for his next year in High School (a new setting). We will do this by working our way through competence areas and talk about his ability (actually his lack of ability) against criteria in these areas. Essentially we are not there to discuss what he can do – but what he can’t do.
I’ve been through this experience several times before and naturally armed with the knowledge of what will happen in the meeting today, I am already feeling down, a bit traitorous and heavy-hearted.
Maybe this is lazy blogging, but I couldn’t help when I started writing this blog to think about all those children who are not on the Autism spectrum.
In most writings they are referred to as ‘neuro-normals’ or something similar.
What came to my mind was that scene from the first Harry Potter movie where the just plain straight nasty Draco teased and harassed Hermoine as she was a ‘muggle’. I suppose to me a muggle is the equivalent of a ‘neuro-normal’ in the Autism world. Generally speaking, it is a term used by members of a group to describe those outside the group, comparable to civilian as used by military personnel. Continue reading “Muggles, Squibs and Autism Magic”
Recently in my world I have had some difficult family matters to attend to. This required me to fly to my home town and speak with my family about a stressful and sad situation. My older brother is very sick and we needed to discuss and plan for this as a family.
I elected to leave Lammy behind at home for the few days I’d be away for all the right reasons – well so I thought at the time. Firstly there is that good parenting practice of not wanting to alarm him and make him anxious. And I think that is the same decision that most parents would make. Continue reading “Cutting to the chase”
I was at a presentation the other day and as the presenter started talking, his own small child decided to latch on to him and not let go. So the speaker joked to the audience about how it takes a village to raise a child (sub-text: so would someone in the community mind taking care of my child so I can focus on the presentation at hand).
It got me thinking about the saying ‘it takes a village to raise a child’. What a lovely idea and one that many people embrace. The approach brings with it all the benefits of inclusion, greater learning capacity for our kids, shared responsibility and respite, and presenting children with more than one way to do things and more role models. Continue reading “It takes a village to raise an ASD child too……”
I was watching a TV show last night that basically had British comedians trying to outdo each other in the funny stakes. As I watched and listened to them all trying so hard to be funny, and being clever by referring to someone who was rather particular about how they did things as Rain Man, I thought to myself ‘Rain Man jokes just make me feel a bit cranky’. If that comedian had a child on the ASD Spectrum they’d realise that the joke just really doesn’t seem that funny to everyone.
When Lammy was 4 he attended the local preschool one day a week with a support worker. I was so excited that we were finally genuinely part of the ‘normal community’. It felt so good that Lammy was spending part of his week learning and playing with neuro-typical children. Maybe he didn’t notice the difference, but I did. I felt excitement for each of these preschool days. It was even exciting for me making his lunch and packing his bag for the preschool adventure.
One day a note came home in his school bag. It showed the smiling face of a little boy about Lammy’s age. The message was a request to the parents of preschool classes asking for children to come over and play. It continued that the little boy in the letter had an ASD and his parents were very keen to connect with his peers and classmates for regular play and to assist with play therapy. Continue reading “Seek support wisely, not widely”