Special Needs Parenting Questions & Answers

  • 12 November 2019
  • Kristi

Sometimes you need help with a specific issue you are dealing with. In this video I asked my special needs parenting community what questions and situations they need the most help on. Here are the questions they asked and we are going to tackle:

Question #1: How to help my child with ADHD with their schoolwork?

Question #2: How to potty train an older child?

Question #3: Where is the best place to get information on math dyscalculia? Have you found a curriculum that addresses dyscalculia? What games do you use to keep math fun with a struggling student?​

Question #4: Is there a website that suggests OT & PT activities for kids? 

Question #5: How do you meet friends? Other mommies who can understand and offer support/bounce ideas off of? And friends for your children? 

This blog post contains affiliate links where if you purchase an item I receive a small referral fee. It's enough to support this blog and keep the coffee flowing. 


Question #1: How to help my child with ADHD with their schoolwork?

The first question I have for you is that what are your preconceived expectations around your child and their schoolwork? Often when our expectations are misguided we can become frustrated at our child. We often need to re-frame our thinking. What works for you or works for other neurotypical children does not necessarily work for your child. In the book I wrote a chapter called Work With Them, Not Against Them. And this situation perfectly puts that quote into action. Often kids with ADHD need to MOVE to think. It actually helps them focus. So that means they may need to fidget, tap their feet, spin in a chair, listen to music, chew gum, etc. I have one mom who says her daughter must be spinning in a chair to read.

Also, keep in mind that many children with ADHD or other struggles are weak in executive functioning so planning out what needs to be done is difficult. That's where you need to help them create coping mechanisms, systems, and routines to help them. Visual aides are fantastic for this. Other factors may include the environment where they are working. Is it organized and clean? Does it provide them with what they need to focus? Although they may not be as neat and tidy, having a well organized space reduces confusion, stress, and overwhelm as they work. 

Have they eaten and stayed hydrated? Children need food and water to help their brains function properly. Hangry is a real thing and has detrimental effects on behavior and focus. A small snack and something to sip on is a great way to ensure their brains are ready to go. Have they had any downtime before engaging in the activity at hand? An exhausted brain and/or body can't think anymore. It needs a break to finish processing, regrouping, and re-energizing before beginning more challenging work.

Ask yourself what is the priority for your child? Is their academics more important to you than their mental health? 

***Other Articles: 6 Must Haves for SPD & ADHD Kids Going Back to School: http://bit.ly/2viX3Bu


Question #2: How to potty train an older child? 

First thing that comes to mind at this age is a possible retained primal reflex called spinal galant. We are all born with primal reflexes. Typically by age 2 they have all integrated into our bodies. However, when this doesn't happen issues can arise. Spinal galant is easy to test for and there are simple exercises that can be done to help that reflex integrate into the body.  (This article can help: Why Your Child Wets the Bed or Wears Pull Up after Age 5.)

Secondary issues are sensory, as they don't like the feeling. Whether its do to uncomfortable bowel movements, the feeling of pooping, and/or they can't tell what they body is feeling. Working on sensory issues can help the body better cope. There are ways to work up to becoming more comfortable with using the bathroom. First have your child  go to the bathroom to potty, even while they are wearing their pull up. Next have them sit on the toilette in their pull up when they use the bathroom. Lastly, have them sit on the toilette without their pull up to use the bathroom. 

Lastly, is timing and rhythm. Sometimes getting on a "schedule" is good for the body to know expectations. Have a more regular restroom routine can help. One parent I know had their child every evening at the same time sit on the toilette until he was ready. He grabbed a magazine, had conversations, and it was a matter of relaxing before he could poop. 


Question #3: Where is the best place to get information on math dyscalculia? Have you found a curriculum that addresses dyscalculia? What games do you use to keep math fun with a struggling student?​

The website I have found to be most helpful is https://www.dyscalculia.org It has wonderful resources, articles and programs you can use.

We have found the best way to improve dyscalculia is 2 ways. The first (1) way is by improving neural networks in the brain by doing exercises that build these networks. Exercises that cross the mid-line of the body and that use all 4 parts of your brain. For example, placing your right hand on your left knee and vice versa. Or raising your arms up and downs as you walk toe to toe in a straight line. The second (2) way we work on improving dyscalculia struggles is to put math into context. When math concepts are taught individually and outside their everyday use they can become too abstract for our children to grasp. So, using real life examples and having them physically work on the math at that time helps dramatically. That means using real money to make change, or baking cups to bake while working with fractions. 

We use lots of games and apps to help strengthen math understanding. Some of the are Prodigy which is a quest game, Abcya.com which has lots of little math games, and video games like Minecraft. We also play card games, like blackjack, and rummy 500. Other games we play are real-world math, Sums in Space, Pet Me, Scrabble (when adding points), etc. Here is a link to a recent post on 7 Games to help Your Child Learn Math

Question #4: Is there a website that suggests OT & PT activities for kids? 

Yes. There are 2 website that suggest. The first is The OT Toolbox which speaks from Occupational Therapist to Parents, as well as other therapists. The second website that I use and I have already mentioned is Integrated Learning Strategies. This website focuses on primal reflexes, proprioception, vestibule systems, and other body systems. 

Question #5: How do you meet friends? Other mommies who can understand and offer support/bounce ideas off of? And friends for your children?

I have written about this topic in detail. In fact, here is a link to a Podcast/Video I made on the subject about a month ago: 9 Ways to Help Your Child Build Friendships. The bottom line is that if you are going to make friendships you are going to have to become more active and engaged in your community. Look for organizations, activities, and clubs that focus around special needs kids. Such as NAMI, therapy groups, therapy riding, and any others. If you can't find any, consider creating something for both kids and parents. 

***Other Articles: 6 Ideas to overcome Mom loneliness: http://bit.ly/2uzp88d

There you have it. You asked and we answered. If you have any comments or ideas to add to any of these questions, please do so in the comments below. Or if you have a question or situation you are struggling with let us help by sending us an email or adding a comment. Until next time. I wish you happy days. 


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