Parental Support

I work for Idaho Health and Welfare as an Independent Contractor Intervention Specialist working with children who have developmental disabilities after working for eight and a half years with a developmental disabilities agency in Northern Idaho. My autistic son Joshua was my initial inspiration but really, all four of my children are. I have learned so much going to Joshua’s many therapy sessions with his fabulous therapists in speech/language, occupational therapy, and behavioral therapy. We have walked this road of developmental disabilities since he was diagnosed with autism in 2009. What I have learned along this journey I have been privileged to share with others on their path.

One of the services I provide for families is Family Education. I have a wealth of techniques I have learned over the years to help kids who struggle with behaviors and I have discovered a variety of resources that I have shared with families and caregivers that really help improve their child’s and family’s quality of life. What I share with parents is that the information I know now I really wish I had known when my kids were younger. There is so much that has been discovered in the last 25 years, especially in regard to behavioral interventions and helping kids do well. As Dr. Ross Greene relates in the material he presents with his Collaborative and Proactive Solutions, “Kids do well if they can and if they can’t something is getting in the way.”

That’s what I do when I work with parents, with my coaching background, we work together to discover what is getting in the way of their kid’s behavior, discover any roadblocks to address, and begin to look at their child’s behavior in a new way in order to support their development and give them a safe place to learn and grow.

One family I have been working with for several years started with the dad referring to himself as his child’s “warden” trying to do what he could to control his child’s behavior, which only got worse. Several years went by with many trials but as we continued to work on that mindset shift, understanding his child’s disability and how to support his growth, he now sees himself as his child’s mentor and simply “his dad”. It was such an honor to walk alongside this family and see how the parents have learned how best to support their son and watch him respond as he began to FEEL safe, seeing him grow and develop in countless ways!

If you are struggling with your child’s behaviors, regardless of whether they have a developmental disability or not,(there could be a history of trauma, even medical trauma, sensory issues, etc.) please contact me. Working as a consultant we can begin looking through a different set of lenses that may help you consider different approaches than what you have been trying with little success and a lot of frustration and heartache. We can explore how to maintain your values and hopes/dreams for your children while helping them become their best selves and nurturing a long-lasting healthy relationship.

“When you connect to the heart of a child, everything is possible.”

– Dr. Karyn Purvis

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Now offering Life/Leadership Coaching!

I have been blessed to be taking a Leadership Coaching class this summer to expand my coaching skills and have been able to offer Leadership and Life Coaching supporting those working with agencies that work with those who have developmental disabilities this past year. It has been such a treat walking alongside staff, as a Strength Champion Certified Coach, discovering strengths utilizing the Clifton Strengths Assessment while also learning how to maximize strengths, becoming aware of blindspots and managing weaknesses, leading to growth, success and fulfillment.

The Clifton Strengths Assessment has a number of reports that are available to give insights into how one can identify their top strengths and how to “thrive at work and everywhere else”.

Those in the social and educational service industry are drawn to this work for a variety of reasons and it certainly can be a draining but rewarding career path. A phrase we often hear is that the workers serving those in social or educational services don’t get paid nearly enough for what they do and the lives they impact, which is certainly true. There is a sense of a “Higher Calling” when one works in the helping industry. It’s also a part of who they are, as elluded to above, based upon their strengths. It’s important, however, to find a balance while doing such often challenging work. That is where having a good coach working with employees is beneficial. Agencies and school systems all want to succeed and provide good service to those they are serving and when staff are suffering from burnout or frustrated with the challenges of the job, it can be overwhelming. especially if they have high turnover in staff. Having a coach walk alongside an agency to help them find ways that work better while leaving everyone satisfied and fulfilled is the goal.

In the book, Coaching for Breakthrough Success: Proven Techniques for Making Impossible Dreams Possible by Jack Canfield and Dr. Peter Chee the authors describe “A fulfilling job engages your strengths and talents in contributing to people, the organization, and the community. Such fulfillment is intrinsic and comes from within through acknowledgment, acceptance, and affection rather than from money or material gain, which are extrinsic. You cannot demand fulfillment. Nor can you create an experience of fulfillment insomeone else-that must come from within. It is a result of doing the right things, and it flows naturally when you make a meaningful contribution to a cause that positively impacts the lives of others. Coaching can ultimately bring happiness, satisfaction, and meaning to the life of the coach, as well as to the people being coached!” (pg. 12)

It is such a treat seeing staff discover their strengths and taking the necessary action steps to move forward, not only growing themselves but using those strengths to positively impact the organization they work for in order to better serve the community they serve. Having a coach to be that objective, active and deep listener, asking questions to help their client to create awareness, clarify their thoughts, and challenge their perspectives is such a gift. Just imagine the possibilities that can happen in our world through the support of those on the front lines of social services!

If you are interested in exploring what Life or Leadership Coaching can do for you or your organization, please contact me and we can set up an inquiry call!

Check out the Coaching Services page for more information and contact me either by email at or call me at 208-449-9019 and we can work together to make those “Impossible Dreams Possible”!

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The Challenge, Lessons, and Opportunities of COVID-19

How many folks that you know have a “Bucket List”? The pandemic that has impacted the world has truly impacted almost everyone in some way. Considering the seriousness of this new virus and various people’s reactions to it, there certainly is a lot to consider about moving forward in the midst of such uncertainty. It is getting a lot of people thinking about and considering what is essential in their lives, including toilet paper! Aside from the material needs, there are also relational and social needs, as well as the practical primary needs to provide for one’s family and the realization that there is a truth to the benefits of living a simple life focusing on what is truly important to you and those you care about.

There can certainly be some fear-mongering that goes on in the media but at the root of all of this is the idea that there are a lot of us who do not feel ready to risk lives with this unknown threat as everyone seems to have various health issues or concerns that this virus can affect one’s health and those we care about. For some it is mild and for others, it could be deadly. Sure there are ways to help boost your immunity, which is always important so even if you do succumb to this virus, or for that matter, any of the other thousands of viruses in our world, you would be able to fight it off, Lord willing, and go on with your life.

This virus had gotten many of us thinking about what is truly important in our lives. What are some changes that need to be made in order to live truly healthy and fulfilling lives? Many have commented that they want things to go back to normal while others talk of a “new normal”. Regardless of which way you look at it, changes are part of life. The question really is what are you learning through this experience? What kind of changes are you finding necessary to make? What is your motivation behind the changes? What is holding you back? The list of questions go on!

This is what Life Coaching is all about! Asking questions to help you figure out what it is you really want out of life while helping you get from where you are to where you want to be.

Are you where you want to be?

Are you working in a job or career that you enjoy and gives you life?

Do you want to live a life with no regrets?

Have you made out a Bucket List for yourself? Writing it down helps with making goals! Having a Life Coach can help with both giving voice to your dreams and making them happen!

Take advantage of the 2020 discount and sign up for Life Coaching today! I have a variety of packages to choose from! Check out the Coaching Services page for more information!

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The Black Binder

I belong to several Facebook Groups dealing with support for parents who have children with autism. I see many parents’ posts describing the behaviors their kids with autism are displaying and how overwhelmed they are. How many of us get a parenting manual when we have kids in general? It’s nice to be able to call friends or family when you have kid questions and not sure what to do. It’s much more challenging when you have a child with special needs.

I got a Big Black Binder when my son was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder on December 7, 2009. I remember starting to look through that book and I was overloaded with information and not knowing where to start. At the time, Joshua was a picky eater and not sleeping through the night, waking up crying. He was a path of destruction and didn’t talk. He was the epitome of the country song, “A little less talk and a lot more action”. There were so many things he did that didn’t make sense to me and I wasn’t sure what it all meant.

What would have been nice back then, was to have someone walk alongside me as I navigated what to do. I already had Joshua in speech therapy as that was got us to get an assessment for autism in the first place. We had an OT assessment and other than a few handouts, we had to wait for an opening that didn’t happen for another 5 months with OT. He only had speech therapy at the time with an exceptional therapist trained in the DIR/Floortime method, which made a lot of sense, working on engagement with him. He didn’t get into Developmental Preschool until late November after turning in all the paperwork to get him assessed back in early August. So he was just starting and then had about a 3-week break until after the holidays. Fortunately, he started OT with a clinic that did DIR/Floortime and I learned a lot but I was picking up information little bits at a time. I had also been encouraged, thankfully, early on by a friend to try the GAPS diet, a specific carbohydrate diet, which turned out to really help Joshua with his gut issues helping him to sleep better once he detoxed from gluten. Fortunately I was able to get set up with a nutritionist, which I searched out, who had knowledge of specific carbohydrate diets and autism.

I was homeschooling Joshua’s 3 older siblings during this time and trying to navigate the world of special needs. It wasn’t easy. I had a lot of trial and error. I don’t know how much I even looked at that Black Binder of information. I didn’t open it very much, to be honest as I would easily get discouraged trying to find resources I wanted for my son and not knowing how to go about getting them other than ask the other professionals I was working with. We lived in the Greater Seattle area at the time and insurance didn’t cover any kind of ABA therapy. OT, Speech, and Vision Therapy we were able to do with the insurance we had at the time and we even tried neuro biofeedback for a month before our COBRA insurance ran out. We made too much money to qualify for financial assistance through the Department of Developmental Disabilities through the State of Washington. Joshua wouldn’t qualify for any kind of support outside of Personal Care Services for another 8 years we were told. Even with Personal Care Services, he was still not quite eligible as he was within the normal range for his age. There weren’t any kind of grants we could apply for to help that I could find at the time either.

Joshua giving Ms. Kim a run for it

Like many mothers, I did a lot of research on the Internet. I came across many Facebook pages and one that was quite helpful was The Autism Discussion Page. Outside of Joshua’s special education teachers and therapists, I only had the books and websites I found online to try to guide me as to how best to help him. We were blessed in that we had family friends who were able to babysit him and his older siblings. He was non-verbal primarily and would elope so that was a scary situation if we couldn’t find him. Twice he got out of the house/yard and I was terrified running out to go look for him. He would run to the neighbor’s yard when we would go out to the car if we didn’t have a hand on him and he was oh so fast. I called it my Joshie Aerobics!

Joshua has done so much therapy since then and has truly benefited from everything we’ve done with him. I’m grateful he is able to be home by himself for up to about 2 hours, which still makes me nervous but he has a phone and knows the basic safety rules. The boy goes outside to line up for a fire drill anytime the smoke detector goes off when I accidently burn something.

I was able to get certified as a Behavioral Intervention Specialist, working since 2014 with kids who have autism and other developmental disabilities and have been able to work for two different agencies, now working at the agency where my son gets his treatment. I am also continuing to learn on my own through Joshua’s own therapies. For the last 6 years, I have done some continuing education/training including taking the 40 hour Registered Behavioral Technician training, while also learning about TBRI (Trust-Based Relational Intervention), Social Thinking, and Collaborative Problem Solving techniques. There is so much to learn, especially in regards to how to help kids with disabilities learn best by first helping them to regulate.

In my role as a family educator with the DDA I work for, I am able to work with some remarkable parents, using a coach approach and meeting the parents where they are at while discussing with them what it is that they want to learn about their child’s disability. It’s such an honor to walk alongside them and encourage them as they make the mindset shifts necessary to understand what their child’s challenges are and what is needed to help them learn more functional behavior. I consult with them regarding various approaches to consider, listening to their concerns, asking questions to gain understanding, and challenging their mindset. We are examining the “tools” they have and what “tools are needed” to add to their “parenting toolbox”. There are a lot of resources out there to help, thankfully and we take the time to examine them to see if any parts of an approach would be helpful with their child, discussing videos, school issues, learning what it takes to collaborate with other professionals while also asserting oneself as their child’s advocate.

The goal a lot of parents have told me is to get to the point where there aren’t as many professionals in their lives while having their children live fulfilling lives as independently as they can. I know what that feels like and share that goal as well. What an honor it is to walk alongside these families as they grow in their skills/knowledge to help their kids in their development. It’s a development for parents and caregivers as well, as life is forever changed from what they had envisioned but also for the better as they are now all the more aware of what it means to consider what living with a child with a developmental disability is like. It’s both a difficult journey but one filled with challenges and joy.

How are you doing on your parenting journey with your special needs child? Are you needing some guidance or support?

I can offer that unique understanding coaching as well as consulting with parents as well as with individuals who have disabilities. If you are wanting to explore the various issues involved with navigating this world while supporting someone with a developmental disability, please contact me and we can begin that journey to fulfillment together.

Call 208-449-9019 or email to set up your free inquiry call today.

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CoVid19: Is it a blessing or a curse? No Foolin’ around on April Fools Day!

All of us have been impacted by the current events of the world with the rapid spreading of the COVID 19 virus. Schools are closed, houses of worship are closed, many businesses are closed or suffering, people are laid off, restaurants and either closed or struggling. The numbers of people who are sick are rapidly rising and sadly, many have even died. There is a fear of this virus that is very real and rightly so, concern for our vulnerable populations and elderly. I had canceled visiting my 80-year-old mother and family during Spring Break due to the quarantine in Washington during Spring Break with my boys. I also got laid off from my work due to our business that serves disabled kids, shutting down as a result of the Shelter in Place order in our state for at least the next 3 weeks. Thankfully, Congress passed the relief bill so with unemployment and the relief funds, we should be okay at our home and hopefully, it will be okay in yours, too!

This entire experience has really gotten me excited, to be honest. I don’t know about you, but I have been looking forward to slowing down, doing some cleaning projects and re-organizing at home. I’ve been working a lot of hours and now my two adult girls have moved out and it’s just me and my two teenage boys. This has been a great time to connect with them and go at a pace that hopefully, is going to leave us with some positive memories of this time together. Living with a son with autism has had its challenges but it has also included many blessings. I have really been learning a lot about our brain’s response to stress this last year and how important it is to work our brains out of the amygdala and into the frontal cortex where learning occurs. We are going at a relaxed pace for cleaning and will work school work next week once the “Spring Break” time is over.

This brings me to the topic of this post which really speaks to some concepts explored through coaching: differing perspectives and mindset. There is a story that illustrates the idea I’m hoping to explore what I heard from a priest years ago in a homily:

A man and his companion lost their way in a forest. The companion despaired, but the man said maybe some good would come of it. They came upon a stranger who needed the man’s help. The stranger turned out to be a prince who gave the man a beautiful horse.

 His neighbors praised his good luck and said, “How blessed you are to have such a magnificent animal.”

The man said, “Who’s to say whether this is a blessing or a curse?”

The next day the horse ran away, and the neighbors said, “How horrible that you were cursed with the loss of your horse.”

The man replied, “Who’s to say whether this is a curse or a blessing? Perhaps some good will come of this.”

The next day the horse returned leading five wild horses. “You were right!” his neighbors exclaimed. “The curse was a blessing in disguise. Now you’re blessed with six horses.”

The man replied, “Perhaps, but who’s to say whether this is a blessing or a curse?”

The next day his only son tried to ride one of the wild horses. He was thrown to the ground and broke his leg. The neighbors said, “How wise you were. Your blessing really was a curse.”

The man replied, “There may be good yet. Who’s to say whether this is a curse or a blessing?”

The next day soldiers came through the village and took every able-bodied boy to fight in a war where it was almost certain all would be killed. Because the man’s son was injured, the boy was the only one not taken. “How blessed are you to keep your son!” the neighbors said.

The man replied, “Who’s to say? I don’t know whether there’s a curse in every blessing, but I am sure there’s a blessing in every curse.”

What are the blessings you are experiencing as a result of this nationwide quarantine? There are certainly a lot of funny memes and videos posted. I’ve seen some neat baking and cooking posts, games and music playing, exercise challenges, people connecting by Zoom, Skype or by phone. So many creative outlets! There are also some wonderful online church services, retreats, prayers, study, etc. For some, there is the opportunity to work from home, again, with its blessings and curses! Learning how to home school and surviving being around one another in our households more than usual. This can also, of course, be a tense time for some but with that shift in mindset, it truly helps! Not to mention focusing first on being ready to learn and providing some sort of structure to the day. (Fortunately for us, my 13-year-old with autism goes by a school schedule whether or not he has school or not! Every morning, weekends included, he is doing the bell schedule, announcements and saluting the flag, just like what they do at school. I’ve just learned to roll with it as it is one of those things that helps his brain relax so why not? )

Here’s an idea of a schedule that has been posted and whether or not you have kids, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have one for everyone in your home, even if it’s a rough idea.

As a coach, I tend to focus on what positive things are coming out of this trial for you and those you are close to? Diamonds are formed when coal is put under pressure. The first thing to focus on, from my experience working with kids who have developmental disabilities (and this is the same for all of us, of course) is to work on getting out of a reactive state, that Fight/Flight/Freeze mode by focusing on regulating activities. We tend to gravitate toward things that really help our bodies and sensory systems feel “just right”. That may include exercise for some; singing at the top of your lungs (which is better than yelling at your kids/spouse); doing some kind of heavy work (housework or yard work for example); even reading or talking to someone; eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep and drinking water. The list is truly endless.

Once you are regulated, take some time to think about and even write down some proactive things you can do. Focus on what you can do with a goal in mind. Even if it’s a little thing, you can build on that and start to roll with that momentum. I’ve made use of The Flylady, for example, to help with ideas to clean and organize my house while also setting up a daily routine. It’s been really helpful.

This time to slow down can be used for some self-reflection; focusing on who you are, discovering or even growing in your strengths, focusing on becoming more fully who you truly are and goals you want to achieve utilizing your strengths. Taking some time to refresh and regenerate is so good for us on a regular basis and making the most of this opportunity to reset can make what seems to be a curse, a blessing.

How are you making use of this time?

What are you learning about yourself?

Are you taking time to reflect, checking on where you are in life as opposed to where you want to be? How do those two points match up?

What do you feel you need to do inorder to feel more “balanced”?

What goals do you have? What steps are you taking to achieve those goals?

This is a great time to get (re)started and evaluate what steps you want to make! If you would like a coach to walk alongside you and help you go deeper, identify roadblocks as well as ways to overcome them while cheering you on along the way, please make use of the time you have and give Life Coaching a try!

It’s easy to want things to go back to how they were before COVID-19 but in reality, they aren’t. We can take to heart however, the words of J.R.R.Tolkien from his literary work of art  The Fellowship of The Ring:

What will you do with the time you have been given? Feel free to contact me and we can begin (again?) on making some of those changes you have been longing for. See how a coach can help and please make use of my COVID-19 special (One free session and half off your coaching package!).

Call me at 208-449-9019 or email

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Core Gift Discovery Master Facilitator

I was given the opportunity from my boss to go to the Core Gift Discovery Master Facilitator Training recently on Vashon Island, Washington. I spent two days with 5 other attendees and Bruce Anderson, Director of the Core Gift Institute. Here is a little description of the training and it’s purpose:

The Strengths movement is in full-force in business, helping professions, and community development. And now there is a next-generation tool that takes strengths to an even deeper and more productive level!

Compatible with research in positive psychology, purpose-driven behavior in individuals and organizations, and motivation, the Core Gift Discovery© tool utilizes a unique facilitated process that results in a person developing an action statement that details their primary life purpose (Core Gift) and their 3-5 other gifts that most contribute to that purpose. Different than a strengths inventory, this unique profile doesn’t compare you with others, and doesn’t use general descriptors of your traits in predetermined areas.

The result is often surprising to the person, and can have a powerful impact on understanding past behavior, current difficulties, and point a clear path to future positive action and opportunity in all parts of life. It can be used to guide career choices, education, job satisfaction, discover and provide solutions to root causes of relationship issues, and be used to analyze work behaviors (positive and negative).

I was able to do my first Core Gifts interview with my boss, who has a wonderful vision for the Developmental Disability Agency she owns where we serve children with developmental disabilities and their families. She graciously supported me by asking that I interview members of our admin team who readily agreed. Each interview has been a delightful experience and truly a sacred space of discovery and has helped me to become certified as a  Core Gift Discovery Master Facilitator while also helping my co-workers with their focus in both their lives and work.

Having done the Core Gift Interview myself, I was a bit surprised having done Spiritual Gift inventories in the past, all giving me a glimpse, really, as to what my Core Gift is as my spiritual gifts stem out of my Core Gift. What remains true is when one is operating out of one’s Core Gift, it brings life and energy! It’s invigorating to be searching for one’s life’s purpose and then finding direction! I can say that I truly am energized coming to work, living out my Core Gift serving children with developmental disabilities and their parents as a Habilitative Intervention Specialist and the Family Education Coordinator.

The Core Gift Institute informs us that:

  • One of the top drivers of employment motivation and retention happens when an employee makes a significant link between their Core Gift, their job description, and the mission of the organization.
  • Many relationship issues start out as gift related conflicts and turn into generalized anger and resentment over time.
  • The behavior we use when we are angry is often the flip side of our Core Gift.
  • Our gifts are often not the abilities we get most complimented for.
  • A Core Gift is never a job. It’s the part of a job that we are most passionate about doing and learning more about.
  • Leadership trouble is often due to an overuse of a person’s Core Gift at the expense of other equally important tasks.
  • Your Core Gift is the same your entire life, but your understanding of it and how you give it changes frequently.
  • You give your Core Gift in all parts of your life, often without knowing it.

Cultures throughout the world encourage their young people to go on quests to discover their life’s purpose. How many times have you heard of folks, or have perhaps had that same yearning to go and “discover oneself” and what you are meant to do in this world? There is also the need, of course, to ensure you have balance so your Core Gift is fully appreciated and utilized to it’s fullest potential.  What would that look like for you? Are you curious to finally take some time to sort through the questions in your mind and not only discover your Core Gift, but then have someone walk alongside you while you explore opportunities to live out of your Core Gift, finally finding your purpose in this gift of life you have been given?

Contact me today and we can set up a Core Gift Interview and take that first step to live that fulfilling life you have been yearning for. Contact me today and let’s set up a time to begin your life long journey of living with intention and purpose.

Call 208-449-9019 or email me at Mention this post and get 25% off your first month of Life Coaching.



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Self Care when you are a parent of special needs kids

Self Care is important for everyone, regardless as to whether or not you have children. Having children in general impacts the implementation of when and where you can go to do something to “fill up” your reservoir of patience and energy. For some, it’s simply getting a nap in when they can. For others, it’s being able to exercise to some degree and still others, it’s carving out some quiet time for prayer and reflection. The various ways people recharge are endless based on personal preference. Challenges arise, however, when a parent has a child with special needs. It’s not so easy to find child care, or even working out something at home, due to possibly being the stay at home parent who is not simply sitting back “eating bon-bon’s”. Fortunately, often times the other parent can step in and give the parent some respite, but with some parents, it’s very brief or involving “getting to go to the grocery store alone.” If a parent is a single parent, that problem is doubled as they don’t have the other parent readily available to give a break.

Given these circumstances, (which are a various degree of all types of challenges), what is a parent of a special needs child to do regarding self-care? I know from experience how easy it is to stay up at night, just to have time to myself but then suffer the next day from being too tired. Of course, there were even times when my child would wake up during that time and then my well-laid plans to get any amount of sleep was all messed up, which of course, affected the rest of the day and my patience.

The tension between where a parent of a special needs child finds themselves and the often, unsatisfied needs of having resources to “refuel” is daunting. Many parents hear the message from others “I don’t know how you do it!” Well, often times, the parents themselves don’t know how they do the hard jobs they do day after day, often with little support from friends or family. They just do what they can each day “to survive”. But not without a cost. Some parents become isolated because it can be challenging to go out in the community. Some parents silently struggle with anxiety or depression. There are those who take their kids to various therapies throughout the week and resort to various escapes, whether alcohol, the Internet, social media, while also having struggles in their marriage, or other relationships, having very little “adult time” with people their age. The challenges some of these kids are facing are hard to deal with, some with medical or serious behavioral issues. The health of some parents may begin to suffer and they are running on sleep deprivation.

A group of mothers of special needs kids were asked what they would like more of in their lives and the answers were revealing of the huge gaps that need to be filled in regards to self care:

Solitude, time to recenter without feeling guilty; do something that brings joy; time to decompress; exercise; personal retreat with the Lord; More time to enjoy one’s passions; getting a massage; doing arts and crafts; a relaxing hobby; having adult time; date nights; taking a vacation; finding a trustworthy and reliable babysitter; having quiet time to either read or do some creative outlet; go to the gym; time with friends or even some uninterrupted time in the bathro0m

The answers were varied but the theme was the same: they all feel the gap between where they needed some time to recharge and the ability to have the time to do so. They all understood that the best way to take care of their kids was to also invest time in themselves. The way that could be achieved varies based on each person’s individual circumstances, desires and personalities. What works for one person may not work for another, although each person has similar needs.

During a coaching session I was participating in, I spoke of the need to find my “oasis” within the stormy waters of my home life after getting home from work. It isn’t easy going from working with needy children to coming home, as a single mother to my own needy children. I needed some way to refresh, even if for a few minutes once I got home. Since the kids often met me with their various issues as soon as I got home I worked out with my coach that something that would help me and yet still be present to them was to have a simple cup of tea to drink while dinner was getting made and joining in the various discussions with each child. It just so happened that the first night of trying out this technique, the two older kids, with the delayed effects of their days due to the stress of trying to keep regulated, both easily reacted to one another. This then set off the youngest child who has autism. During this brief storm, I found myself smirking inside while looking at my little cup of tea, my “oasis”. Being a Christian, I felt like this was simply an attack by the enemy to undermine my attempt to have some sort of planned family time in the evenings like we used to, as I had wanted to re-institute our evening devotions. After sending two kids off to separate locations to calm down and helping the youngest regulate, I informed them that they were to still expect to come back around at 8:30 PM for our family devotions. We got through it and hopefully, the kids were able to see that despite the challenges, we have a God who cares about our struggles and knows us each by name. I want my kids to know the comfort there truly is to sit before God and pour out our hearts. He understands and He strengthens and supports us. That fed my soul, as imperfect as it was, and gave me what I needed with a taste to seek out more of what truly satisfies my soul; much better than Facebook or Instagram or even watching something on TV and binge on dark chocolate and wine.

The goal I have with my family, and perhaps others with kids who have special needs can relate, is that no matter what is going in one’s life, there are healthy ways to take care of oneself that feed their souls. Moderation is the key, I am reminded, and if my son needs time to “regulate” by playing on Minecraft for about 30 minutes, or jumping on the trampoline, that’s okay. I also want to teach him about going for walks, exercising, reading, gardening, playing music, playing catch with the dog, coloring, doing crafts, talking with a friend, playing a game, spending time in prayer even! All sorts of things are available that we can do to help us deal with the pressures of life.  The neat thing is we are not alone and there is a supportive village who understands. It just takes the courage and determination to reach out and ask someone to join in the journey.

What will it take to make that first step?

How can you ensure that you can be consistent once you do so?

What is keeping you from starting something new?

What kind of support do you need?

Think of one thing you can do today and make your plan to begin the transformation process and remember, step by step, new habits can start and it begins with the positive mindset that change can happen. Babies start to walk in stages and this is not different.

Enjoy the journey and what you learn along the way!


Sheila Hughes, Life Coach


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What are the 10 Top Resources available for Families Who have a Child with Autism?

When we got Joshua’s autism diagnosis over 7 years ago, I was given a black binder packed full of information about resources to help us on our journey.  As much as I appreciated all that information, it was quite overwhelming and I really didn’t know where to start.  Although the binder of information was seemingly all inclusive, it would have been ideal to have a simple “To Do” list and someone to guide me along the way.  Luckily, I have always had a great social support group and being more outgoing, I didn’t mind talking to others about what we were going through.  As mentioned in my last post, I even started writing a blog.


Working in the Developmental Disabilities field, I have become painfully aware that not all families are aware of all the various resources available for kids who have autism.  They, like I was, are overwhelmed and simply trying to manage in the day to day while getting the help they so desperately need for their child.  How do they prioritize their time, especially if they are working parents?  What can they do regarding child care for their special needs child?  If they are a one income family, how can they budget the needs of the family to now include more expensive food and supplements should they want to make use of the benefits of a dietary change?

top 10

I have compiled a “10 Top List” of things to do now that you have a diagnosis of autism for your child.  This list is packed full of information, but the intent is to take what you want, come back later for more, once you are ready, and simply have a place to get started on this journey toward, hopefully recovery of your child so they can function and be successful in our society.  There is no way you can do it all at the start, and perhaps some of the suggestions won’t pertain to your situation.  More than likely, there will be waiting lists for most if not all of the services, so at the least, get some names of treatment providers in your area, aside from the school and get started calling to get assessments so therapy can start as soon as possible.  School districts have a certain amount of days to get their assessments done, so that may be one of the first places to start.

Take a look a this free download of my “10 Top List of Resources for Children who Have Autism” and let me know if I can be of any help to you or someone you know, along this journey.


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Spotlight: Raising Autistic Children

I started a blog when we first received our youngest son’s diagnosis of autism back in December 2009, called Journey with Joshua. I had been home schooling and had a background in Children’s Mental Health so journaling what I was learning was a great outlet for me.

Autism has become more prevalent these last 7 years. The CDC had put the rate of children diagnosed with autism as 1 out of 68 kids, but a recent survey has the number now 1 out of 45 children.  What I have discovered in these last 7 years is not only the number of therapies available to help children on the autism spectrum to lead a fulfilling life, but the HUGE need of parents who have special needs children.   Part of parenting is making sacrifices for our children out of love, as we parents all can attest to.  Meeting the countless parents on our journey, who truly struggle along with their children’s issues.

It can be heart wrenching watching one’s child struggle with what is often considered “simple” daily tasks and part of growing up.  I have seen man news articles of children who have been excluded from birthday parties or sit alone in the cafeteria at school.  There are the feel good stories, of course, which spotlight those who truly “get it” and selflessly include our special kids but the heart ache remains for parents all the same who work so hard to advocate for their children and get them the services they need just to be able to function in society.

I think about how different my childhood was and how my son Joshua’s childhood has been.  He has been in therapy since he was 3 years old, not to mention Developmental Preschool.  He has gone to speech therapy since he was almost 3, every week.  He has also gone to occupational therapy from the time he was 3 1/2 years old, so pretty much, for 7 years, with a few short breaks due to changes with insurance, vacations, and moving.  He has been doing Applied Behavioral Analysis therapy since we moved to Idaho, for 4 years, on top of the other therapy.  He had also done Vision Therapy, Physical therapy and now, he is doing Neurobiofeedback and has recently started going to a chiropractor.


Joshua wired up and ready for Neuro-biofeedback

This has been including up to 5 days a week of therapy.  He is also now taking piano lessons for a year and has been taking swimming lessons for 3 years.  He doesn’t yet know how to ride his bike as it involves a lot of motor planning and visual tracking that he struggles with.  This child, who is now 10 years old, works incredibly hard to learn things that most of us take for granted, while also trying to deal with sensory issues and learning how to regulate himself when he is feeling overwhelmed.  This is normal life for our family.

With that in mind, it is imperitive for the rest of our family to, of course, be aware and supportive of Joshua’s challenges, but also be supported to grow and experience life individually in whatever various interests each member is involved in.  This, of course, includes both the parents and the siblings.  Parents, in particular, put in a lot of exhausting work to get the children the services they need, as well as encourage them to develop in a well rounded fashion socially, to the best of their ability.  It can feel some days like you are trying to plug all the holes in the dike, one after another!


Through all the busyness, the parent often tends to “lose themselves” in the process and are simply trying to survive day by day, falling in bed exhausted, every night, with some parents, getting very little sleep when their child has their own sleeping issues.

Experience shows that inorder to be a healthy parent to one’s child, a parent needs to also invest in caring for themselves.  You have to fill up your “tank” so to speak with healthy coping skills and habits that enhance rather than negatively affect one’s health and family life.  Every parent is different with what they can do that gives them energy and enlivens their spirit.  Each family has their challenges in this regard.

What are you looking for to do that for not only yourself, but for the health of your family?  There is much truth in the saying of St. John Paul II,

“As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live.”

How do you want to affect your family, which will then, positively impact the world?

If you have a child with special needs, how do you fill your tank while also advocating for your child’s needs?

What goals have you put on the back burner that you are aching to start working on?

Contact me and we can coach around your challenges to leading a fulfilling life while helping your child to become the best that they can be!

Call 208-449-9019 or email Sheila at

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What Does “Into the Deep” stand for?

While I was taking my classes for becoming a Life Coach, a phrase that resonated with me was listening for that “song of the heart” that each person has.  In order to find that song, you have to be willing to take the time to allow the one you are working with to “go into the deep” areas of what drives them.  It is a discovery process, or for some, a re-discovery of hopes and dreams placed on the back burner and forgotten about as they lived their lives, adjusting to various events, obstacles and experiences that perhaps, steered them off of the course they originally were pursuing.


The noise of everyday living can make it hard to reconnect with that inner drive.  Perhaps the frustrations of feeling as though something is missing, just keeps eating away at that illusive inner peace.

  • You may be trying to make healthy living changes but keep having to start over.  You may be tired of being sick and tired!
  • You may be in college and not sure what you want to study or how to reach your life’s ambition.  It’s a great time of discovery, of course, but with the cost of college tuition, one wants to be efficient with one’s resources.
  • You may be so focused on your kids, whether special needs or not, trying to provide for their needs and helping them become all that they can be while realizing that you got lost along the way.  Frustration can come out in different ways but you realize that there has to be a way for your kids to become fulfilled, as well as yourself!

Life coaching is a great opportunity to come into that sacred space with a trained life coach who knows the right questions to ask to help you get to that deeper place and give your inner dream the voice it has been seeking.  Once that heart song has been expressed, a life coach will hold onto that dream with you and help you discover the steps, supporting you along the way to make it a reality!  New habits take time to develop and become strong and a life coach, just like an athletic coach or drama/art coach, will help you practice those new skills until they become second nature and you are living the life that you have dreamed.

Give Life Coaching a try!  Gear up in a way that makes sense to you to make the changes you have been seeking!  Cast your net on a different side of the boat and allow for it to go deeper than you have dared to go before.  As your life coach, I will help you see what repairs may need to be made to your net.  I will help you steady the boat while you are exploring the depths around you as you consider different perspectives, and support you as you pull in the catch of your dreams!

You will discover more than you dreamed possible about yourself!


Contact me today to set up your free inquiry call!  Don’t keep putting it off!  Make the most of today!

Email: or call 208-449-9019



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