Parenting from a Special Perspective: Rockin Random Mum

30 May 2016

Ever wondered what it is really like to parent from a special perspective? Parent to a Special Needs Child? Where do you turn for help? What challenges do you face? What has surprised you? What have you learned? Every month I will be featuring one of my brilliant fellow SEND bloggers and sharing their reflections on raising a child with special needs.

Michelle Kellogg is a blogger and is currently exploring the world of freelance writing. She uses her blog to inspire others who may be dealing with mental illness, have children with special needs, or both. She is a happily single co-parent mom, raising two boys, one with Autism, the other with ADHD. She is a rock music loving, coffee addicted mom, blogging about parenting Music, Fitness, and any other random thoughts that invade her complicated brain. You can visit her blog here:   You can also follow her on Twitter,  Facebook,  Pinterest, Instagram

1.       When did you first realize your child has Autism?

I didn’t realize Adam had Autism until after I was educated about it upon his diagnosis. It’s strange but my reference for Autism at that time consisted of a couple of newspaper articles I read in the 90’s about the worst cases. Adam didn’t display any of those symptoms so I was very confused and lost.

2.  How did you feel when you found out that your child has Autism?

Oh boy, a lot of emotions. My very first thought though was, “what did I do wrong?” My second thought was, “God, how can you do this? Hadn’t I suffered enough surviving horrific abuse as a child? Why are you making my child suffer too? He doesn’t deserve this!” Yes, I was very angry with God.

3. Where did you first turn for help?

The first people I turned to for help were his preschool teachers and every teacher he has had since then has been a huge help and a huge inspiration. I went from dealing with a bad teacher who only put him and me down to working with some of the most compassionate and understanding people I have ever met. I wouldn’t have gotten through those first years without them.

4. What advice would you give a parent who suspects or has just found out that their child has Autism?

This is a complicated question because there are so many pieces of advice and every family follows a different formula for how they deal with this but my one advice I would give is don’t despair. Your child is still your child. Do your research and educate yourself and remember that this isn’t the end but a brand new beginning.

5. What exactly is Autism?  

The easiest way I like to explain Autism to people is that it is a different way of viewing the world and a different way of learning. I then go into explaining the social and learning aspects of Autism to those who want to know more, which in my experience, they usually do.

6. Did you know what it is when it was first diagnosed? 

No, I definitely didn’t. Autism wasn’t even on the radar for me. I thought, if anything, he would have ADHD, which is what his brother has.

7. What are the biggest challenges facing your child and your family?

Right now I would say the biggest challenge is for me as a parent and knowing that he has only four more years as a kid then he will have a whole new set of expectations put on him with the “real world”. We are still so far behind giving young adults with disabilities the option to go to college if that’s what they want to do. Instead, we offer them remedial jobs like a bagger at a grocery store or Walmart and we are not encouraging them to explore and use their talents like we do with our other kids. This is something that needs to change.

What has been the greatest help for you, your child and your family in overcoming these challenges?

The teachers have been the most amazing part of our experience. I can’t say this enough how incredibly lucky we have been to have such dedicated and compassionate teachers, not just for him but for me. They have always listened to me and they value my opinions and concerns for my child. I think teachers who truly care and are dedicated to you and your child are a true gift!

9. What has surprised you the most about raising a child with Autism?

That the stereotypes aren’t what they claim to be. As I said, when I first learned of Autism, I went off a few newspaper articles. I really had to dig deep in researching and asking questions. Turns out, my son doesn’t fit into a mold any more than any other kid on this planet. It’s a label given but it doesn’t define my child.

10. What’s the main bit of/the best advice you’d give another parent who has a child with Autism?

Arm yourself with education on the topic so that you can be the best advocate you can be for your child. Welcome the information from the experts but know that they don’t know your child like you do. Don’t be afraid to speak up if you disagree with them, especially in the IEP meetings.

11. Generally, what have you learnt about parenting, life, people or children from your experiences as a parent of a child with additional needs?

The biggest thing I’ve learned through my experience is tolerance. I think parenting in general teaches us this as we learn patience but having a child with special needs also offers a whole new perspective on the world and life that I would never have seen had I not had my son!

A massive thank you to Michelle for taking part in the Parenting from a Special Perspective series. It is really interesting to get an American perspective on being an autism parent. I always value Michelle's comments and opinions on my posts.

Comments are disabled but sharing is caring!

Photography @My_Dutch_Angle

©spectrum mum ~ ( 2014 - present day. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to spectrum mum with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
© Spectrum Mum. Design by FCD.