Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Parent's Perspective - Along Came the Bird

Help me give a warm welcome to Lana, from Along Came the Bird. Lana is one busy mama! She is the mother of two teenagers (the oldest just left home for college and the younger is learning to drive!), as well as almost 5 year old Lily (aka The Bird), who has autism. Thank you Lana for stopping by and sharing your insights! And let's all give Lily an early "Happy Birthday!" The big day is on Friday!


Our life in five words:

Joyful, challenging, compassionate, blessed, exhausting.

Four qualities I look for in a therapist:

  • A balance of firmness and gentleness. At the very beginning of the relationship, Lily needs someone who establishes clear boundaries and then calmly enforces those boundaries. 
  • Innovative. Lily is completely and totally in love with all things electronic and is amazingly adept at operating them. A therapist who is up to date on the latest technology, especially AAC devices and apps, and is comfortable utilizing those to help Lily communicate is very important. 
  • Enthusiastic. I want a therapist who is excited about her job, excited about working with kids (especially mine!) and who comes to work with a sense of anticipation that this could be the day that something truly amazing happens. 
  • Team player. I want a therapist who is willing to communicate with me and my husband, other therapists, teachers and school personnel...anyone who is working with Lily. Bouncing ideas off each other and working together as a team keeps all of us on the same page and will help us accomplish our goals more effectively.

Three resources I can't without:

  1. Pinterest - I get tons of ideas here for therapy, products, play, food, games...and on and on it goes.
  2. iPad - It's the one sure fire thing that makes Lily happy every time!
  3. The Safety Sleeper Bed and Little Keeper Sleeper PJ's. Keeps Lily safe, secure, and clothed (!) at night so that we all get good rest.

Two words (or more!) of advice for therapists working with children with autism: 

Get to know the child beyond his diagnosis. Make an effort to ask about his or her life outside of therapy. I think of our therapists as family members - I know their kids, their husbands, what's going on in their lives. I want them to think of us as more than "clients". I want them to take ownership in my child's progress. Also, there is no such thing as too much communication!

A word of advice for the parents of a child newly diagnosed with autism:

Take at least 10 minutes every day and just look at your child. No therapy, no checklists, nothing. Just observe. Give yourself time to see him or her as just a kid and not a project. Allow yourself time to fall in love with your child each and every day. Then snuggle her up!

One dream for my child:

To talk!!! With her own words coming out of her own mouth!!! 

What I do to rest and recharge:

I read. But absolutely nothing that engages my brain in any kind of learning. Fiction. Mystery and suspense. A serial killer, a dead body or two, and someone trying to solve the crime. That's my cup of tea. And a good nap never hurts!

Thank you, Lana for stopping by. And thank you for reminding me to go to work with "a sense of anticipation that this could be the day that something truly amazing happens." Those are words for a therapist to live by. Readers, please visit Lana's blog, Along Came the Bird, at to follow the Bird's journey!


  1. Lana is an inspiration to me every day! I particularly love the "enthusiam" section of what she looks for in a therapist. I must admit that I haven't "looked for" these qualities because we've always had the same therapist but I do value this quality at the top of my list when I think about it. Of all our therapists, I adore the ones who can put a positive spin on just about anything and are ready to move on every day with trying new things to make breakthroughs.

  2. Good advice from a lady I love and respect!


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