autism | Kay Trotter

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All Posts Tagged: autism

The shining stars of autism

By Tracie Posehn, LPC-Intern, one of Dr. Kay’s outstanding counseling team members.

Thanks Tracie for this very heart warming look at autism.

Each of us is unique.

Five short words which make such a statement of truth if one takes the time digest. We enter the world with similar characteristics in a global sense: head, body, limbs, eyes, ears and hopefully, 10 little fingers and 10 little toes. For a few, even those parts don’t always show up as expected. Hearts are filled with joy, hope, angst, fear,  wonder . . . the list of emotion extensive. Weight and length are measured and the start of a lifetime of comparison begins. Parents begin to hear terms such as percentile, milestones, normal and abnormal. The infant is watched for signs of distress and when all looks good, out into the big wide world he goes. For some, this transition takes longer than others, but eventually, days turn to weeks, weeks to months and the awe of new skills and mastery start to surface. Parents share anecdotes and begin to plan for the future having survived the first year, enjoying the calm before the storm of the “terrible two’s.”

But, one day, something seems different. Parents’ instincts notice, but the mind pushes these thoughts away. Maybe it’s a coming flu? Or tiredness? Or something one just can’t put a finger on – yet something has changed.

First-time parents may not know what to look for, and more-seasoned parents can tell you that no two pregnancies, let alone children, are the same, and that surely it’s just a phase – kids go through them all the time. Yet as time passes, subtle differences become less subtle. Eye contact and social interaction decrease while objects tend to hold more interest. As play dates come and go, that “something” is still hanging on, and a parent determines it’s time to check with the pediatrician. Autism is diagnosed and the parent feels emotions from all sides: What does this mean in the moment? What does this mean for the future? How did this happen? Now what do we do?

You do what you’ve always done, and what you would continue to do with or without a diagnosis. You love your child and value the amazing qualities that make your heart sing. You broach the challenges with information, strategies and support, just as you would with any other child. You find out what makes your child smile, what makes her heart hurt and you feed her soul. You may have to let go of one set of dreams, and replace them with another – dreams that your child has for a future – building upon strengths and natural talents. You have the opportunity to see outside of your own vision for your child, as so many other parents remain focused on who they want their child to become. You have the opportunity to embrace a life journey outside of the status quo and see the beauty of unique. Granted, a period of adjustment and even grief may follow the initial news, yet ultimately, the child developing before you has the same basic needs as any other child: to be accepted for who he is, encouraged to face challenges and learn from mistakes, have the opportunity to fail and to succeed – to be loved for all his uniqueness.

Normal is a perception, not a state of achievement. All stars shine in the sky. The most vibrant may stand out at first, obvious above the city glow, the norm; the expected. But if you get away from all the hustle and bustle of society, to a quiet place in the country, and allow your eyes to adjust to the natural beauty of the night, you’ll find a different kind of radiance. You’ll see stars with unknown names, in random patterns, making their own kind of magic. One view no better than the other, just different, and at times, a brilliance that’s little harder to find when you’ve become accustomed to the standard and expected.


Helpful resources

Dr. Trotter’s Pinterest Board “Autisum Resources” 

Autisum Speaks

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Treating The Autism Spectrum with Equine Assisted Counseling

EPIC Enterprises – Equine Partners in Counseling
The field of Mental Health just entered a whole new arena!

The mission of the EPIC Enterprises is to promote knowledge, research, and practice of equine assisted counseling in the mental health field.

To that end I create this presentation for an EPIC Training that I conducted in 2008 and I wanted to share it with you.

I also invite you to join the EPIC social networking community and join in the conservation

EPIC Facebook: EPIC International Colleagues

EPIC Linked In: Equine Partners in Counseling – EPIC

Coming Soon

My latest EPIC project is a book compiling articles submitted by counselors from literally around the world, sharing their detailed accounts of how they used equine assisted counseling to achieve positive behavior modification with clients in the treatment of myriad issues such as autism spectrum disorders, sexual abuse, anxiety, domestic violence, depression, self-esteem, addictions and conflict resolution.  The intent is to create a groundbreaking resource counselors can consult to offer EAC to their clients, even if they have no prior equine experience.

This fantastic book is being published by Routhledge/Taylor Frances and will be available soon.

If you would like Dr. Kay Trotter to come talk to your group or find out more about her counseling practice, you can contact her at: Kay@KayTrotter.com214-499-0396, or visit her web site

Dr Trotter also post regularly in her FaceBook fan page

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Gratitude and Praise to Teachers

As everyone heads back to school, I would like to take a moment to give Praise and Gratitude to all the Teachers that parents have entrusted to care for their most precious children.

All of us know first hand the impact teachers had on us growing up, but few of us know the loving sacrifice teachers freely make on a daily basis.

For the past four years, I have had the honor of a “backstage pass” into the real lives of teachers because I’ve watched my daughter, Kelly, serve as an elementary school teacher. Through her experience, I have personally witnessed the joys teaching has brought to her and I also understand the stressful challenges she has to balance in her life.

When I began writing this, I was instantly taken back to the year Kelly’s class had five special needs students she lovingly called “her boys.” When you entered Kelly’s classroom that year, you not only saw and heard 20+ students clamoring for attention, seeking answers to questions and desiring guidance – all of which every teacher faces daily – you also got a glimpse into the very different world of Autism as it walked hand-in-hand with a mainstream classroom. Kelly soon found herself performing a daily dance that combined the needs of her regular students with the poor communication skills, social awareness and behavioral characteristics of Autism. The tapestry woven between teacher and students was amazing – but it came at the price of stressful days, emotional exhaustion and tremendous fatigue . . . A price I know Kelly would lovingly pay again. Objectively, teaching has got to be one of the top 5 most stressful careers in the world.

Comedian Bill Cosby knows the importance of teachers and, in fact, attributes his own phenomenal success to a teacher. As a sixth-grade student in Philadelphia, he was inspired by his teacher, Mary Forchic, to follow his dreams of becoming an entertainer. Recognizing his natural storytelling abilities, she suggested “you should become either a lawyer or an actor because you lie so well.” Forchic has remained one of Cosby’s lifelong friends and Cosby has devoted a great deal of his time to ensure that all children have the opportunity to benefit from teachers like Forchic.  We could all follow Cosby’s lead and express our gratitude for the enormous contributions that dedicated teachers make to our childrens’ lives and to our community.

So many teachers are at school early and stay late, they correct papers and plan instruction on evenings and weekends — working hard to meet the educational needs of students, some of whom struggle to make progress despite the stress of life. Teachers also buy materials with money from their own pockets and volunteer their time to attend school carnivals and sporting events while also attending workshops and training to continually develop their own skills. I assure you they don’t do all this for the money.

They do it because they care about your child.

As another school year gets underway, now is an appropriate time to remind everyone to continuously thank the effective and dedicated teachers in our schools.

Yes, teachers make all the difference.

If you would like Dr. Kay Trotter to come talk to your group or find out more about her counseling practice, you can contact her at: Kay@KayTrotter.com214-499-0396, or visit her web site

Dr Trotter also post regularly in her FaceBook fan page

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