Intuition has definitely played a part in my journey as a single mother of a child with special needs. I’m married now and my son is older, and I’ve learned to rely on intuition to help us get through some crazy times.
When I first sought a diagnosis for my son at four plus years of age, the initial specialist we tried was convinced he had ADHD. I had thought perhaps he was on the autism spectrum but this doctor was sure he was not. I had no real reason to doubt him, as my son is high functioning and met all of his developmental milestones at the appropriate times. He was verbal and social so perhaps the doctor was right; yet I had that uncomfortable feeling something more was going on.
After a few office visits, the doctor prescribed Ritalin. On the day he started taking it, my son started having severe
physical tics after the second pill. He had never displayed tics like this before and I will admit it was frightening. He could barely stop twitching and my heart broke into a million pieces. I called the doctor, told him what had happened, and never saw him again. We found another doctor, got the correct diagnosis (Asperger’s syndrome and Tourette’s syndrome (with OCD, anxiety, etc.), and moved forward from there.
Sure, it is possible for a doctor to make the wrong diagnosis; and yes, people can react differently to the same medication. I tell you all this because I became angry with myself for not listening to my intuition, which could have prevented my son’s suffering. I no longer blame myself for what happened but it serves as a good reminder to pay attention to that gut feeling, that inner sense that something is not right, or that you’re on the right track when people think otherwise.
As parents, we usually know our children best and listening to them, and ourselves, will provide them with what they need. What about what you need? When we’re tired and overworked and don’t have the strength to stand by our intuition, let alone listen to it, it is a signal that some loving self-care is in order. If you need to, make an appointment with yourself in your calendar and show up early! Not only does this give you time to recoup, it fosters a greater ability to listen to your intuition.
Here are a few activities to try on a regular basis to help you become more tuned in to your intuition:
Spend quiet time in nature. Lose yourself in the wonder around you.
Clear your mind of distractions using meditation or visualization.
Focus inward and pay attention to the feelings in your body and what they are telling you.
Go with your hunches and see where they take you. Be willing to make mistakes.
Keep a notebook and jot down when you get those gut feelings and what is happening at the time.
Do something creative like painting, dancing, or writing, which exercises the right hemisphere of your brain, where intuition is drawn from.
I’m happy to say I rely on my intuition more often these days. I am my son’s most loyal advocate and he’s doing quite well.
If you would like to talk more about intuition and/or parenting special needs children, please comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. That’s “co” and not “com.” Don’t ask. 😉
Thank you, Renée, for the opportunity to share my story and thoughts on intuition here at your lovely web space!
Pamela Rudisill, Founder and Director of In Sight Life Coaching, is a transformational coach for women, parents and caregivers of special needs children, single parents, and those going through a life transition. She lives in Minnesota with her husband, son, and two extremely goofy cats: a grey tabby and a black as night Siamese blend. Pamela loves writing, pumpkin spice lattes, and electronic music. Care to dance?