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Episode 129 Of The On-Air Advocate
Host: Tammy Flynn
Guests: Dr, Alisha “Ali” Griffith & Dr. April J. Libson
Topic: Mental Health & Special Needs Parenting
Dr. Alisha (Ali) Griffith is an Autism Parenting-specialist and audiologist/speech-language pathologist. She is also a strategist, transformational speaker, and certified professional coach, an autism mom, Her website is aligriiffith.com
She has also started An online community, Ignite Au-mazing Nation, and is the host of the podcast, Dr. Ali Griffith Show.
She is the author of the book, Au-mazing Gift-A Journey To Autism Acceptance.
Dr, April J, Lisbon is a school psychologist who works with children from the ages of 3-22. She’s a coach, strategist, empowerment speaker, author, and of course an autism mom. You can find her on Facebook.
Some of the issues the ladies faced during their initial diagnosis for their children were denial, grief, and depression. Dr. Alisha Griffith spoke about how she was experiencing “the death of having a perfect child” and what she went through to let go of that thought during her journey of acceptance.
Dr. April J. Libson didn't come to her journey of acceptance concerning her child’s diagnosis until he was 10 years old.
The number one thing we can do to address mental health is to start a conversation
As stated by the National Suicide Of Prevention, you can’t do it alone, and it’s okay to ask for help.
Teach your circle how to help someone linked to or within the autism community.
Be open to sharing. Sharing helps you realize the impact your story has. Plus, being able to relate to someone you wouldn’t think,“gets it” is a great relief. Especially, when people make the assumption that autism has a look. What does autism really look like?
Start the conversation, tell your story. Telling your story will also help with the feeling of possible alienation from friends and family, especially when you feel like you’re trying to convince them that your child is, in fact, a child on the autism spectrum.
“Strategies for children”
Identifying a child’s strengths, As well as communicate, but listen as well.
Talk about their autism in a positive way. Extract what works for you about a particular situation.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s not the time to be timid or scared.
Remove the stigma when we discuss therapy. It helps to have a good, objective, talking ground.
(In a school setting) Parents can share in-home issues such as the loss of a pet. Sharing results in getting the best support for your child within the school setting.
Dr. Libson also notes her personal realization when she finally accepted her son’s diagnosis of autism, “Autism is not a death sentence.”
Tips for parents/families by Dr. Alisha (Ali) Griffith
Dr. Ali points out the importance of taking care of yourself, finding your own space, and really practice self-care. She mentions trying meditation.
In addition, Dr. Ali advises being realistic about your own self-care goals, and to do what fits you.
Dr. Ali also suggests seeking support. “Find your tribe” A non-judgment space where you can support one another, and be supported in return. Dr. Ali also has a program called, “Let’s Talk Autism”. The program provides an inside look into the life of an autism mom, and the goal is to help people understand that “it’s up to me to inform people and stop taking it so personal.”
Dr. Ali also suggests that parents to talk honestly with their kids. When It comes time to talk about the topic of mental health with their families, She also urges parents to help their children to identify what is negative thinking/speaking and to help them to “shift out of negativity.” Or to “unsubscribe from the negativity.” And when children find themselves in negativity, how to help and empower them instead.
Tammy’s Final Thoughts
Find information and connect with the Parent To Parent group online at www.p2pusa.org
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