Me and my kiddos xo :)
Hi. I'm Stacy Collins Johnson, MA, certified Neurodiverse Needs Family Coach and mother of two — one being a young adult on the autism spectrum. Raising an exceptional child is a challenge — and an amazing gift. My journey led me toward many meaningful —and growing — autism spectrum support communities. The experience uncovered in me a strength, resilience and empathy that I never knew I had. In fact, because of this experience, and my keen interest in the differently-abled, I adjusted my profession so that I could help others navigate their journey successfully.
I believe strongly in the importance of prioritizing the exceptional loved one – as well as parents, guardians, siblings — the whole family because a whole family is a healthier, happier, functioning one (whether in one household or two). It’s crucial to look at each family member’s dreams, desires, fears, anxieties because everyone is affected, which slowly stresses and often breaks family units. Sadly, many families don't see the cracks forming because everyone is just so busy simply keeping afloat. Before you know it, the ship is sinking. Early intervention should be for those with special needs - as well as their family. Luckily with special needs family support, everyone can keep sailing!
I focus on four key phases of the special needs journey:
Diagnosis. Life happens. Getting a diagnosis of a developmental disability is indeed life altering. It's easy to become overwhelmed with anxiety, anger, guilt, fear - and even excitement. There's much to take in! This new, unplanned, uncharted course can also be isolating, affecting each member of the family uniquely. Suddenly there’s a lot more to consider other than just work, school, play.
School Years. Oh boy. Confusing IEP and 504 meetings - full of a word-salad of acronyms and legalese, challenges with students, challenges with misguided teachers, a sprinkling of coveted miracles and a boatload of extra emotion. And don't forget the special needs siblings! They can feel like "glass children"— hidden, afraid to shatter or be shattered. (Not to mention the parents are stretched to the limit.) Let me help you stay the course.
Transition to Adulthood. Arguably the trickiest time of all. Once the supports from the schools stop, it can feel like you've been abandoned in a giant empty field — without GPS or even an old paper map. Often young adults fall through the cracks and regress during this crucial period. Finding guidance can be difficult. I've been there. I can help.
Adulthood. It’s imperative you ensure your loved one is set up for success. Education. SSI. Conservatorship. Housing. Healthcare. Vocation. Recreation. Social network. Each person is different, with unique needs. It’s important you know your rights, what is available and how to identify and access the best resources for your loved one. Additionally, it’s important to look at your life too: everyone in the family deserves to reach their potential, their dreams for their best life.
As your Special Needs Family Coach, I'll partner with you to identify needs, goals, resources for your exceptional loved one. Additionally, I'll listen to each family member's feelings, fears, dreams and aspirations to map out their individual best path forward. And, we'll pull back the lens to look at your family: What makes you guys tick? Laugh? What makes your home a "home?"
Together let's do this. Let's create your best life. You and your family deserve nothing less.
Thank you for taking the time to read my life coach blog. I hope you found it helpful. :)