Ask An Autism Mom
Raising a child with autism is a unique challenge. When your child is diagnosed with the A-word, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed or lonely. I know. I’ve been there.
My daughter Samantha was diagnosed on the spectrum in 1991, when there wasn’t a lot of support for families like ours. As a result, my husband and I pioneered our own path and learned a lot along the way. Now I’d like to help your family navigate a smoother journey, avoiding some unnecessary bumps in the road and minimizing others.
Does your child need: speech therapy, ABA, occupational therapy, floor time, auditory integration training, vision and cognitive development therapy, or equine and other movement therapies? How can you know which approach will work best for your child? Ask an autism mom, of course! I offer virtual (phone/Skype) and in-person consultations.
If you need help with your autism journey, contact me and schedule a free consultation below.
How Can I Help You?
As the mother of a 25 year old on the spectrum, I have experience with a broad array of issues from infancy to adolescence and young adulthood. Each child, each family and each situation is different so my consulting services are individually tailored to your specific needs. bright I work virtually (via phone/Skype) or in-person. Below you’ll find a partial list of areas where I can provide support:
- Choosing a School – Mainstream vs. Special Ed
- Advocating with the Board of Ed
- Academic Accommodations
- Hands-on, Experiential Learning
- Beyond Blame—When the Teacher Can’t Handle Your Child
- Bullying and Self Advocacy
- Finding a Summer Camp
Navigating the World
- Technology—Regulating cell phone, TV and video game use, appropriate use of social media
- Bringing Math out of the classroom and into the world—from paying restaurant bills to writing rent checks
- Navigating Public Transportation Independently
- Emergency Plans and Instructions
- Police and Security Guards—How to interact respectfully
- Meltdowns—How to Prevent them, What to do when they happen anyway
Transitioning into Young Adulthood
- Finding and Cultivating Your Child’s Special Talent
- Separation and Individuation—When is it safe to let go?
- Sex Education: What Special Ed Schools might not teach your kid
- Transitions for Young Adults—teaching social, vocational, and life skills
- A Plan for Working Toward Independence
- College Options—From Certificates to Degrees
- Choosing college majors, navigating curriculum choices and core requirements, selecting what works best for your young adult
- Liaison with tutors and advisers to get the best results
Sometimes the simplest things can be unusually challenging when raising a child on the spectrum. I can help you handle:
- Medication issues
- Food and Nutrition
- Health issues—preparing for surgeries and medical procedures
- Sensory Issues
- Grooming and Hygiene
- And more…
Developing Social Skills
Children on the spectrum often have difficulty relating to others; therefore extra effort is required for them to develop the social skills necessary to create and maintain healthy relationships. I can advise you on the following:
- Helping Your Child Make and Keep friends
- Planning Positive Playdates
- Navigating Relationships: sibling, grandparents, peers, mentors, authority figures, pets, fathers, romantic partners
- Developing Manners—Emily Post in the 21 century
- Learning to Say No (nicely, if possible)
- Surviving Holidays and Other Family Gatherings
- Taking Care of the Caretaker
- Couple relations—Maintaining your marriage and sanity
- Taking Care of the Neurotypical Sibling
- Twins—Equal love, unequal attention and sibling rivalry
- Family Vacations
- Holidays and Family Outings
- Mother Daughter relationship—The changing nature of the bond from infant to young woman
My husband, Howard, is an attorney, and over the course of our daughter’s upbringing, he learned a great deal about the legal issues associated with raising a child on the spectrum. As part of my services, Howard can help you with the following:
- Educational rights
Protection under the ADA and other pertinent laws
How to deal with the Board of Education
Understanding the administrative process
With the Internet, support groups, and research studies, parents today have the daunting task of absorbing and interpreting all the new information available about: treatments, medications, education, and the legal ramifications of autism. So why choose me among the myriad of other voices out there?
First off, I know what it takes to raise a child on the spectrum. I’ve faced the daily challenges, I’ve had to make tough decisions, and ultimately my husband I were able to raise a talented, smart, and successful daughter. I know the ins and outs of autism parenting. . . the seemingly insignificant details that make all the difference.
And in an era full of so much information about autism, I know how to help you navigate the often contradictory advice you’re going to confront. I know what works and what doesn’t. I can help you to sift through the “claims” and provide you the support you need to be the best parent possible for your child. It matters to me.
Finally, I take a child centered approach to raising a child on the spectrum. I’m not beholden to one school of thought or dedicated to a particular method. I want to use whatever method, approach, or combination works the best for you and your child.
“Marguerite is a true Pioneer mother warrior.”Jenny McCarthy
My Picture Perfect Family
What Happens When One Twin Has Autism
My Picture Perfect Family is my new memoir about raising twins, one of whom is on the autistic spectrum. Most “experts” weren’t optimistic about her chances for leading a normal life and prepared our family for the worst. But we refused to accept these limitations, and twenty-three challenging years later, Samantha graduated from Pace University . . . cum laude! In my memoir, I explore the many challenges that we faced along the way. While our story is ultimately about triumph and perseverance, it’s also an honest account of the very real challenges of life on the spectrum. Learn more
More About Me
I’m a New York City-based writer and the author of My Picture Perfect Family, a memoir about how my family navigated life with a child on the autistic spectrum before the internet and support groups existed. I also blogs about parenting young adults and disability related issues in The Never Empty Nest. My writing has been featured in a variety of publications, including Time and NY Metro Parents magazine, and my family’s story has been featured by the NY Post, Fox News, The Daily Mail, and on Jenny McCarthy’s Dirty Sexy Funny radio show. A Vassar graduate, I was born and raised in New York City, where I still live with my husband, Howard, in our mostly-empty nest.