I am Janessa. Single mother to three amazing children, 2 dogs and a fluffy orange cat.
Parenting is something we all think we are prepared for, until it happens. Each child is individual and how we parent them reflects that.
When you parent an autistic child, there are different challenges, emotions and perspectives that are completely unique to you and them.
Over 10 years ago my oldest son was diagnosed with Autism. At that time, I was unfamiliar with what Autism even was. I did everything I was told to do. I enlisted therapists, got on long wait lists and quietly died inside as each day became more stressful than the next. Sensory meltdowns could last over an hour. Doors were punched and kicked so hard that the hinges gave way, he was self harming, I didn’t understand how to communicate with him and household stress was piling on. My family and friends had no concept of Autism, no one understood me or my son, no one understood the journey we were on. It felt like one thing after another was crashing over our family and I was drowning. I didn’t have time to surface to breath and my son was right there beside me, struggling, and I didn’t know how to help him.
Between trying to parent on my own, research therapies, learning how to organize and submit all the paperwork and navigate my emotions… I was drained and conflicted. I wasn’t connecting with my son, I didn’t feel like I had anything left to give my other children. I felt so alone and overwhelmed.
So I started to do what I do best.
I looked at my son’s strengths, I looked at how I could use those to help with the things he and I were struggling with.
I built up a community around me that inspired and encouraged growth. Both in my personal life and in the professionals that my son saw. With his therapists, I focused on positive communication and team work rather than looking at each as individual, I worked to create a team spirit – each being a piece of the puzzle.
I started looking at the language people used when they spoke about my son. The emotions that were shown when people found out about the diagnosis. What I found was that the majority of people reacted with sympathy to me. Everything was negative and when you only hear about your loss, how hard everything is going to be, it is hard to stay positive both about your mental health, your child and your family as a whole. I started trying to change this.
I learned how to creatively and positively navigate this overwhelming world as a parent.
Then, I became passionate about helping other parents. I took my passion for coaching, combined with my experience creating college courses. I took my belief in growth mindset, positive thinking, my knowledge and love for creating community as well as a passion for advocating an “As Is” acceptance and I combined that all to do 2 things:
1st. I created a 6 week course for parents. This course is different from most. It combines my coaching with the material. It’s interactive with a focus on creating a positive community for the parents. We start with the basics of discussing what Autism is and look at it through the lens of Neurodivergency. I give you my 30+ page medical binder outline to help keep you organized. We discuss the difference between an advocate and a bully, how to become a confident voice for your child and not speak over them. We discuss navigating resources, professionals, therapies and grants. We discover positive strategies for you, your child and your family. We create a small, positive community of parents who are struggling with how to start.
This course is run virtually, once a week for 6 consecutive weeks. It has a Very Limited number of participants to keep things personalized and focused on community. Each week there is a resource that is included. There is also a weekly coaching session for each participant.
This course is essential for every parent whose child has just been diagnosed.
2nd I offer personalized coaching sessions for parents.
One Red Zebra is about celebrating individuality, viewing differences in a positive light and navigating all the emotions that come with this journey.
These are a few of the potential outcomes when you use me as your coach:
- Recognize and claim your uniqueness and resilience.
- Learn to become empowered to speak your truth and encourage your child to do the same
- Discover positive and fulfilling ways to navigate your journey as a parent to a Neurodiverse child.
- Learn to shift your perspective and embrace this life As Is
- Discover new ways to connect and appreciate your child As Is; learning how to create a positive, creative environment for them. Building up their strengths, strengthening your bond, helping them,and you, reach full potential.
- Regardless of which path you take. I am so happy to help you recognize and empower that incredible parent you know you are
I am excited to meet you and start!