Keep experiencing and don't avoid.

Last month I got an email from a woman named Lisa. She was encouraging me after that crazy trip to the post office. The point of her email was this: keep experiencing and don't avoid. As an occupational therapist she has seen many families (kids and parents) benefit from experiencing rather than avoiding. I totally resonate with this idea.

And you know what? It is hard.

Sometimes it is easier to just avoid, go down the same path, not take the risk, just stay home. Especially with a special needs kid who responds differently to everyday situations. In all reality, it does no one any good to avoid.

Sometimes I want to avoid stuff. Like taking Simon to school. He does awesome when Chris takes him - when I do, it's not so awesome. The reason? It is different. Things that are different are hard for SImon. But helping him through these things, and finding ways to work through the moments, are part of my responsibility as his mama. I have to put aside my own feelings of wanting to avoid so that I can make his experience better. So that I can show him that different is ok.

Simon likes to try to avoid stuff too. Like meat. Lately we have been working with him on trying new foods (anything other than potatoes). The school is on in the whole adventure with us as well. Here is a copy out of our communication notebook talking about meat:

Putting the meat on his tongue is the first step. Then gumming, Then maybe chewing and potentiall swallowing...and maybe even ending up liking it. So many things in our lives involve experience rather than avoidance. Experience makes our lives richer. It helps us develop or true sense of self. Assists in the development of our minds and our hearts.

Maybe there is something out there that you are avoiding (as simple as meat, as complex as the changes you need to make to live a happy, passion-filled life). Something that appears to be so very hard to experience. I ust want to take a minute to encourage you to take that step today - whatever that means for you.

Life is for living.

103 thoughts

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  1. barb Hogan

    2006-08-03 23:31:31 -0400

    Such wise words Ali! Big hugs. Have a fantastic trip!

  2. Nicole Bryant

    2006-08-04 00:37:33 -0400

    Wow, this sounds liek my life about 3-4 years ago. Both my twins were special needs in different ways. Seeing Simon's journal totally reminds me of Elijah and what we had to do with him in special ed pre-k for 2 years before he could move on to regular prek. He wasn't fully potty trained until well past 4, he lucked out because he looks so much younger than his age, so no one ever said much to me. For Hannah it was the changes, she did not take well to any variance of her schedule. She went completely backward for a while, wouldn't talk, potty, hurt peopl and was destructive. It would've been so easy to avoid dealing with both of these issues, but it wouldn't have helped anyone. Praise God, now at 6 1/2 they are getting ready to enter 1st grade this year and are on track for a good year. Keep your head up and remember that God doesn't give you more than you can handle. He chose you to be Simon's mom because He knew you would love him and care for him the way he needed!

  3. Ann(i)e

    2006-08-04 01:21:46 -0400

    Talk about a place to come for an uplifting, encouraging message....YOU ROCK ALI!!
    And to anyone wanting a little motivation to do the challenges in Ali's new book, please follow link to my blog, we've got a whole online community doing the challenges together!!!

  4. Sara Mangan

    2006-08-04 01:37:17 -0400

    Thanks for the inspiration Ali. We are going to take the step to take dairy out of our daughter's diet and maybe gluten. I have not done it yet will be hard. Thanks for the push.
    You have a wonderful outlook on life.
    I have said it before but will say it again. Simon is lucky to have you as his mama.
    Have a safe trip.
    Sara M


    2006-08-04 01:58:19 -0400

    You make me think that children are truly the same all other the world, & it seems we were the same at their age (yes yes really I hated meat when I was a girl :-D).
    So, I just have to wait to have my own children, who'll get on my own nerves, because they'll hate some meat or fish too, one day...
    ...Ali, how was you, when you was a girl, with your parents???
    Have a good day!
    Simon is so cute & natural.

  6. Carole

    2006-08-04 02:10:43 -0400

    Ali --
    Your words are so true, and often so hard to implement. My 23 month old has CP, and we have PT, OT, and Speech for a total of 7 appointments a week. Thus, we have a lot of "homework." Sometimes it's so tempting to blow things off and look the other way. What comes to naturally to most kiddos after trying a few times, my guy has to practice hundreds of times. But then he "gets it," and the difficult work is so worth it. Still, there's no denying it's hard and there are days when I'd much prefer the easier route and avoid doing those things I know I must. I try to keep in mind the truism "What you resist persists." In other words: just do it, because if you don't it just looms larger.
    Thanks for being so honest and so real. You have so many people rooting for you and precious Simon.

  7. angib

    2006-08-04 03:00:15 -0400

    i so needed to hear this
    e v e y d a y

  8. patty

    2006-08-04 04:01:39 -0400

    thanks for sharing ali!!!

  9. tina b

    2006-08-04 04:22:21 -0400

    Thanks as always for sharing. I am an avoidance person by nature, something I know is a bad trait and one I am working to stop. It helps to know I'm not the only one

  10. anam

    2006-08-04 05:28:33 -0400

    simons inspires me.

  11. rachelle

    2006-08-04 06:44:34 -0400

    really needed to hear this today :)
    thanks ali.

  12. Mish

    2006-08-04 07:46:50 -0400

    Hi Ali,
    This is the first time I've ever read your blog and I can't believe how much this sounds like my life. I have a very strong-willed daughter who is 4 (at least that's what the doctor tells me!) and even though she is not technically "special needs", she is about all I can handle. I never know how she is going to react to social situations, so much of the time I do avoid, rather than try it to see what happens. Thanks for reminding me that experiences are so important!

  13. Beverly

    2006-08-04 09:01:50 -0400

    I always read your blog with much anticipation and interest. You have so much going on in life, yet seemingly have it all together. I look at what I do in the course of a day and it seems like I stand still in comparison.
    Your post last night made me tear up for the small joys that you get to celebrate with Simon.
    Keep living ... keep inspiring. You do it so well!

  14. Kim Faucher

    2006-08-04 09:57:17 -0400

    thank you , thank you, thank you for once again giving us that little push....
    lately its become too easy to just live in my safe little bubble.... so I'm off to do something "out" with Ryan.
    Kim Faucher

  15. Rebecca F

    2006-08-04 12:25:43 -0400

    When I was little, my dad complained to my pediatrician that I wouldn't eat meat. Unfortunately for him, my pediatrician was a Seventh Day Adventist and saw no problem with this. We moved to a different town and my dad complained to my new pediatrician that I wouldn't eat meat. This one was Hindu, and didn't see a problem with that. My dad gave up. To this day, I do eat meat, but not much. Poor dad.

  16. Jodi

    2006-08-04 14:14:58 -0400

    Amen not avoid. I am a mother of a child with special needs. He was diagnosed with a language based learning disability. Which makes some things difficult. Like loud noises, causes him to cover his fire drills which happen once a month at school. And the buzzer at basketball games. We are learning different coping strategies, so he can participate in basketball, and not freak out at school. You are so inspiring.

  17. Aimee

    2006-08-05 02:59:21 -0400

    Simon is one cool little dude. And he is SO BLESSED to have such wonderful and caring parents who understand what life is all about. You inspire me everyday.

  18. shanna

    2006-08-05 06:22:04 -0400

    Where did you get the communication notebook?

  19. Sarah

    2006-08-05 07:28:03 -0400

    Completely unrelated to my son's special needs, but I so needed to hear that risks are important. Facing a real jumping off point in my life and not sure if I can step up into the experience or if I will pull back and shy away (AGAIN!).
    Very scary, very hard. Thanks for the nudge.

  20. Yvette

    2006-08-05 16:48:42 -0400

    Thank you, I so needed to read this one NOW!!!

  21. Jess Stoops

    2006-08-05 16:55:04 -0400

    Ali- You continue to inspire me!!It is great to hear about Simon's struggles and successes. I can relate due to my special ed. background and my son's apraxia.
    I have been stressed about potty training and afraid that he couldn't do. I finally have stopped avoided it and he is wearing underwear. The best part is that my son is so excited and proud. We are on our way...
    Thanks for the message about importance of experience. Sometimes we get scared of failure and freeze, but doing is often the best approach.

  22. ~leah g~

    2006-08-06 03:45:55 -0400

    Thank you so much for your message. It's hard, sometimes, even when there are no "obvious" limitations, and your words/reminder is so encouraging. Thank you for sharing.

  23. Mimi

    2006-08-07 14:25:19 -0400

    Love this post ! Simon is gorgeous, we have used picture like this in the past with our son too.
    you are doing a great job,
    see you in Sydney

  24. sbogert

    2006-08-08 09:35:18 -0400

    I like this Ali. I need this.

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