Being the Other One

I just finished reading “Being the Other One”, and I’ll tell you hwat (I’ve also been watching King of the Hill), it has been one of the most relatable books on siblings I have read. It goes into an extensive talk about what it is like growing up with someone who has special needs.

Kate writes the book to talk to adults; so, parents, adult siblings, and professionals that work with these families (teachers, nurses, speech pathologists, etc). This book really hit home for me. From the conversations I’ve had with other siblings as well as the thoughts I had growing up, I felt it was pretty accurate in explaining what it is like growing up with someone with an intellectual disability. Not everything was exactly like how I grew up, but I could see how other people may have been affected in ways where I was not affected. For example, I was 12 when my brother with Autism was born, and his diagnosis and the effects on the family did not begin (to my knowledge) until I was 14/15. By that time, I did not see myself as acting out for attention from my parents or believing that the attention that my parents were giving my brother was unfair to me. Alternatively, I could see how a young child, where the age gap is closer to their sibling could feel that they need to act out or be perfect to get their parent’s attention. This example goes into what I think is the most important quote from the book

“It is important to remember we each have different responses to being a sibling of someone with special needs, and all of these responses are valid”

Everyone has a different response to what is going on in their lives, especially when it comes to siblings, even neurotypical siblings. Saying that a book encapsulates everything that someone feels towards a sibling with intellectual disabilities is absurd! Everyone has a different experience and taking the time to sit down with yourself/someone else and looking at your experience can be a helpful activity. Yes, some experiences may be similar, but ultimately, your experience is your own.

Before closing out, I want to mention another important point Kate makes:

Identify the needs of all members of the family

From my experience, when someone with an intellectual disability enters into the family, the dynamic turns into “ALL HANDS ON DECK”. Most of the energy goes into helping the individual who was diagnosed, but this change in the family affects the whole family. Addressing how a mother, father, brother, sister, cousin, grandparent, aunt, uncle, close friend, etc was affected by the diagnosis/change in how the family operates can assist in the transition. It can also allow for people to utilize more social resources and not feel so alone. Reach out to someone, even if its a “lets schedule a time to talk,” text. You never know how it’ll make their day.

Take care of yourselves until next time

-Mark

Autism in the Family: The Book!

Hello everyone! Over the next couple of days, I will be sharing with you 2 books that I have read recently that talk about Autism in the family. The first one (appropriatly named) is Autism in the Family: Caring and Coping TOGETHER.

This book tells of a father, Dr. Robert Naseef, who’s son was diagnosed with Autism and how his life changed. He gives some insight about his journey learning about Autism and his observation from working with his family and other families with children with Autism.

This book is excellent for parents, caregivers, mental health professionals, and siblings for guidence when you have a loved one with Autism. His extensive lists of resources are helpful when navigating the the world of Autism. For, as the saying goes, “Once you’ve met one person with Autism, you’ve met one person with Autism,” which goes to say that everyone with Autism is different as well as everyone’s experience with Autism is different.

Parents, siblings, extended family, friends, all have a different experience when it comes to one person with Autism. This book goes into the support that the family may need as well as some of the intircacies of each relationship. This book is a wealth of knowledge for any family! Whether your child was recently diagnosed, or you have been living with Autism in your family for years, you will find some excellent sources of information for you!

As always, take care of yourselves until next time.

-Mark

Autism in the Family

Autism in the Family

Today I have for you a list of resources and lists for people with children with an intellectual disability. Whether your a parent, sibling, or other family member, there is something for everyone!

https://www.appliedbehavioranalysisprograms.com/things-parents-of-children-on-the-autism-spectrum-want-you-to-know/

This first link is to a list of things parents want you to know about autism. For the person with someone with autism, you may have felt some of these before. To me, this link shows that families with someone with an intellecutal disability are not alone. Similar feelings can be felt from many different families. You are not alone! http://www.texasautismsociety.org/calendar/ This is a list of groups going on in Texas! The Texas Autism Society is also an excellent resource for Autism

The next couple of resources are for siblings of people with intellectual disabilities.

Siblings

This is a good link for parents to better understand what other siblings in the family may be going through and their needs as they develop and grow.

https://siblingleadership.org/services-and-supports/adult-sibs/

This link is a list of resources for adult siblings. More often than not, adult siblings’ needs tend to go unnoticed due to them being, well, adults. That does not mean that having a sibling with intellectual disabilites does not effect them. This list puts more emphasis on the adult sibling.

This video (posted in February 2019, so it is pretty recent) goes through a BUNCH of resources for adult siblings!

I hope these links can be helpful to you! Take care of yourselves until next time!

-Mark

4 Blog Posts that can help you with New Years Resolutions

I began writing this post and realized that I was saying a lot of cliche phrases that you’ve probably heard every year. “Keep your goals managable. Have a concrete goal for the new year. Keep track of your goal. Consistency Consistency Consistency.” Instead of adding the same words to the internet, I have found a couple of blog posts from the New Year and decided to share them with y’all with some of my thoughts on them

1. https://www.almanac.com/news/editors-musings/blog-how-make-new-years-resolutions

This link gives a little history about New Years Resolutions (which I thought was pretty cool) as well as adding 10 things to think about when making New Years Resolutions

2. https://tinybuddha.com/blog/12-habits-to-adopt-to-make-this-your-best-year-yet/

These are 12 habits that go into a self-care out look. Rather than trying to add a matierial good, this blog suggests to take more time for yourself, becoming more mindful in our day to day life. Something to read if you are interested in being more kind to yourself.

3. https://zapier.com/blog/achieve-work-resolutions/

This blog post talks about the top career resolutions and how to implement them. If you are looking to better your work life, this would be a good start.

4. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2020/01/07/15-ways-to-actually-achieve-your-new-years-resolutions-in-2020/#a174e9421892

I liked this one the most out of those that I read. Every point is a great step in to making and accomplishing your New Years Resolutions. One point that I want to emphasize is preparing yourself for change. Everyone wants to change in some way, but it can sometimes come at the expense of what it comfortable. In my experience in the therapy room (and in life) many people are avoidant to change and tend to veer back to their typical day to day habits. Be kind to yourself and notice these times where you are veering back to something you are aiming to change. acknowledge the moment and move towards where you aimed to be.

Good luck on your New Years Resolutions đŸ™‚

I hope to hear from you about anything that works for you throughout the year. Send me an email

BONUS BLOG https://www.bakadesuyo.com/2020/01/emotional-intelligence/

This post talks about emotional intelligence. I enjoyed the read (and this blog). Take care of yourselves until next time.

-Mark

“Daring Greatly” By: BrenĂ© Brown

Back in August, there was a Marriage and Family therapy conference in downtown Austin, and with it came some colleagues from graduate school whom I haven’t seen for about a year. It was great catching up with all of them, but one suggested I read “Daring Greatly”. He praised it so much, I put a hold on the book through the Austin Public Library on the spot (your public library is an excellent resource and I suggest everyone to check out their public library). I waited about 2 month, but FINALLY I got an email that this book came in. I was so excited to read the book, I finished it within a week.

This book touches on something everyone struggles with: Vulnerability and Shame. It can be something that follows us around and can affect how we interact with others. BrenĂ© talks about facing the shame and vulnerabilty that has been told and shown to us through our lives and to DARE GREATLY. The term comes from an excerpt of Theodore Roosevelt’s, “Citizen in a Republic” speech

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Brené calls us all to Dare Greatly within our lives, especially within our families. There is a lot of good thoughts in the book, too much to list here. Go find it at your local bookstore or public library (Austin Public Library has 14 physical copies, and multiple other ways to consume the book.)

Take care of yourselves until next time.

-Mark

Music and Children with Autism

While chilling at a coffee shop, a cover to Brooks and Dunn’s “Neon Moon” came on the radio and reminided me of a wonderful use of music in Mental Health. My uncle tells a story where my cousin, who is on the autism spectrum, learned to read and write through his love of country music. Once attatched to a song, he would spend hours using his fine motor skills transcribing the lyrics and expanding his vocabulary. From there, he joined the band when he entered high school where he learned beat, melody, and hand eye coordination through the marching band. For my cousin, music has been a huge part in his development!

So, I did some research and found a wonderful article from the Nurse Journal that highlights some of the benefits of utilizing music therapy with children on the autism spectrum as well as some support links for parents. You can check it out here https://nursejournal.org/community/the-benefits-of-music-therapy-for-autistic-children/

Take care of yourselves until next time.

-Mark

Finding the feel good music

I came across this article in graduate school talking about a Reddit community coming together to create ” Perfect Everything Will Be OK” playlist. After reading the article (and listening to the playlist, it was pretty good), I brought the idea into my group therapy class, but with a twist. Rather than just taking the playlist and giving it to my classmates, I asked them to create their own playlists. I presented them with the task to purposefully create playlists for when they’re feeling some type of way. A playlist for when they’re sad, for when they’re mad, for when they’re happy, whatever you can think of! Music can be a wonderful tool into mental health, which I will be exploring in the coming months.

If you feel that pull to make a playlist, lean into it. You never know what songs you’ll find that you forgot existed. If you need some inspiration, here is the article I mentioned https://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Everything-OK-Songs-39205379/?crlt.pid=camp.FwrIbLv8oKn8

Take care of yourselves until next time.

-Mark

“Maybe You Should Talk to Someone” By: Lori Gottlieb

This book offers a raw look at therapy from a therapist’s point of view as well as what happens when therapist go and find therapy for themselves! Join Lori on her personal experience working with clients and how she works through her own stressors in her therapy sessions. Check it out at your local book store or at your local library!

Take care of yourselves until next time.

-Mark