Ha Yoon Kyung 1 jpg

The Extraordinary You

My autistic daughter has mentioned a Netflix show called “The Extraordinary Attorney Woo” a few times this year, and we finally got to watching the show today.  I didn’t want to like it at first because it seemed to fall into the stereotypical savant portrayal of autistic individuals in the media.    Hollywood’s infatuation with the polar opposites of those with autism doesn’t do neurodiversity any favors.  What about all the people who are autistic but not genius?  Savants make up less than 1% of the autistic population.   So, if the fascination is with the genius that comes with the oddity—autism, then how are autistic people without the genius supposed to feel about themselves?  Frankly, I was afraid the show would be another typecasting ideal that my daughter wouldn’t be able to meet. A dull pain crept up in me a few minutes into the first episode when Woo’s father received …

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My parents only cared about my grades. I think they may have been depressed while I was growing up. Definitely, no one practiced self-help techniques or knew about them in my family.

I am glad that I got help. Behavior therapy was like having a second teacher that goes to your house, only they don’t teach math. They teach you coping skills. Coping skills are methods used to calm yourself down in stressful situations. I learned coping skills very easily, as coping skills are just stuff like drawing and taking a walk. But the problem was that I had trouble responding to situations in an appropriate way. My aid would ask me scenarios about what I would do in certain situations. A scenario would be like “You didn’t get a good grade on the test, what do you do?” These questions seemed really silly. Of course I knew what to do! I had it reiterated hundreds of times. I answered as any sensible person would, but the problem was that I didn’t act correctly when the real situation happened. For example, if …

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I have always been very anxious. I don’t know where it started, but from a young age, I wanted to control/make sure that everything in my life would be alright. This has caused me to have anxiety attacks where my heart rate can go up to 170 bpm. During that time period, I am virtually incapable of doing anything. I have an urge to do something, to distract myself, usually through work. It’s very discouraging for me because I know what I’m going through but I don’t know how to make myself feel better (partly because I lost my self-help book lol.)

I wished my parents know more about me, my characteristic, my interest. And wished we interacted with each other like we are friends, and explored the world together.

Of course my parents didn’t tend to our emotional health growing up. They seldom care for their own emotional health! In that generation, most of the men just drink their sorrows away.

I WISH MY PARENTS HAD PAID ATTENTION TO NOTICE THAT I WAS BEEN BODY SHAMED. Or maybe they did, but just didn’t care or didn’t think it was important.

My parents worked alot, never supported my activities. Didn’t do anything to build my confidence, self esteem, so from that I learned the type of parent I wanted to be.

How to say “no”, stick to it, and avoid power struggles

Growing up requires us to learn how to tolerate disappointments in life, but many parents feel responsible for shielding their children from experiences they consider too upsetting. You may feel guilt, embarrassment, pain or discomfort, shame, or other negative emotions if you know that you are the reason your child is now whining, crying, yelling, begging, or otherwise acting out. This has led to a rise in helicopter parenting as well as children who struggle, argue, or withdraw when they lose a game, get a poor grade, or hear the word “no”. “No” is a loaded word, but it is one that we will hear countless times throughout life – we experience rejection and boundaries with peers, jobs, academics, romantic partners – house sales fall through, plans change, life happens. As a caregiver, you have more power than you think to help your child learn to navigate emotionally challenging situations …

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Fail First To Win

In school, when teachers ask questions, many kids might know the answer, but are too shy or nervous or unsure of themselves to raise their hands, get the correct answer and begin the positive feedback loop for confidence by receiving affirmation from themselves and their community. On curaJOY’s website, we discuss how children develop confidence. You can find the article here. Fear of failure is the enemy of confidence building because it stops children from overcoming obstacles and aiming for the edge of their comfort zone to grow. When I recorded a voice memo to remind myself of this blog topic in the car, my daughters in the backseat overheard, and asked “are you telling people to try to fail?” The answer, of course, is no. We want to allow for failure when it does happen so that we have what it takes to always try our best. In karate, …

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