(Pictured: Susanna Peace Lovell)
By Catherine DiFonso
Newport Beach, CA, May 4, 2020: A new partnership has been developed between Poppy Life Care and SPL Life Coaching for families with special needs children. The partnership will bring both free and paid services to Poppy Life Care customers.
Susanna Peace Lovell, SPL Life Coaching principal and certified professional life coach, will develop a program featuring virtual life coaching sessions, specifically designed to address issues faced by families with children who have special needs, i.e., spectrum disorders, ADHD, anxiety or depression.
“We are thrilled to be able to offer this Life Coaching program to our customers,” said Erica Solis, Poppy Life Care founder and CEO. “With special needs families hard-pressed to add one more appointment to their day, we hope that the convenience of virtual sessions will be useful to them.”
The life coaching sessions will be held twice a month, customized to address the unique issues faced by each family. Lovell also has an online, self-paced course featuring classes covering a variety of topics focused on special needs families, such as the importance of self-care, how to advocate for your child, co-parenting, finding the best therapeutic support and much more. These classes will be available to Poppy Life Care customers at a discounted rate.
“Having a child with special needs is stressful on a family and requires all members to navigate a conscious and specific path through this challenging life together,” says Lovell. “My goal is to help special needs families learn how to best advocate for their special needs child, and ways to nurture them – and themselves – to whole family wellness.”
About Poppy Life Care
Poppy Life Care is a United States non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that is determined to educate and empower children and parents living with issues related to spectrum disorders, ADHD, anxiety and depression. Poppy Life Care serves families living with these daily challenges and supports not only awareness but therapies and education, reducing the dependency on prescription drugs, and eliminating stigmas through interdisciplinary programs.
Our goal is to facilitate awareness and education while building innovative care programs, which we hope to accomplish alongside our local communities, its businesses and people. We believe in helping each other as part of an ecosystem of local businesses, healthcare groups, academic institutions and professionals alike. Visit www.poppylifecare.org for more information.
About Susanna Peace Lovell
Susanna Peace Lovell received her B.A. from UC Berkeley, and is a certified professional life coach and advocate dedicated to the health and wellness of special needs families everywhere. Her own daughter Arizona has multiple challenges and diagnoses including autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, anxiety and myriad food allergies. On her journey of navigating through the worry and heartbreak of raising a special needs child, Susanna found her true life calling: to help other parents find and realize joy and passion in their own lives. Visit www.susannapeacelovell.com for more information.
Erica Solis, Founder & Executive Director
For more information on virtual programs: https://www.poppylifecare.org/virtual-programs
Join the email list to get the most updated information on programs and services!
(Legos, ALL DAY!)
We are embarking upon week 8 (!!) of safer at home / shelter in place / quarantine living. Arizona and I have had our ups and downs, mostly because change in routines and schedules are not easy for either of us.
But aside from increased anxiety from time to time, we are largely doing okay. And I am grateful for so much goodness that has already come out of this time for us.
We have enjoyed a less harried pace. We have enjoyed being in our home. We have been riding bikes in our very hilly neighborhood – and Arizona can now ride down the difficult hill on her own. I’m not sure how many LEGO (thank goodness for LEGO) sets we’ve done, because I’ve lost count. We are doing so much art together. We are cooking every day. We are playing with dolls and creating social scenarios where the dolls talk through their big feelings.
In the traditional sense, we are not getting the myriad therapeutic services that Arizona is used to receiving. But we still do our daily work: executive function drills (visual schedules, organizing our to dos), fine motor skills (again, LEGO), play therapy (doll conversations), visual and motor planning, social thinking (Zoom class sessions), emotional regulation (especially the learning to be flexible part), speech + language processing (especially the expression of big feelings part – verbal, written and artistic releasing), adaptive PE (physical education) and gross motor skills (bike riding, running and jumping), calming and coping skills / regulation (music, quiet time, journaling and reflection) …
And, also: sometimes we just hit a wall. Sometimes one funky day turns into three in a row. Two weeks ago, we had an entire week of funk. I know I wanted to give up, so many times. We are all juggling so much. I am trying to run a small business and home school my child who normally has a 1:1 aide with her full-time M-F. I cannot do it all, even on my best days.
But if there’s one thing I know about me and my girl, it’s that we are used to new normals. We can do hard things. We can adapt and be flexible. We always come back to love. We are a team and we continue to grow and learn, together.
How are you and your families coping with quarantine life? What are new things you are discovering together? In what ways are you looking for additional support?
(A spontaneous picnic snack on the balcony)
My daughter Arizona has minimal experience participating in team athletics but expressed an interest in various sports: soccer and volleyball, to name a few.
When she started middle school this past Fall, we learned of an after school program called Prime Time Sports located on campus and engaging students in myriad activities. Initially, I discounted this offering as an option for us: Arizona would require too much assistance, a 1:1 aide and special guidance to participate in any after school program that required following directions, staying with a group and focusing on specific activities. **The aide we currently have (through a private agency but funded by LAUSD) can only be with her during school instruction and her hours are maxed out, accordingly.
All of that to say, I decided to have a conversation with the staff. Would there be a way for Arizona to “try” the program – maybe an hour after school, one day a week?
Turns out, I was presented with even more exciting news! I was told there would be a special athletic league, geared toward students with special needs – an inclusion soccer team that would consist of “player coaches” (neuro-typical students) and kids who needed help (like Arizona). This would take place on Wednesdays after school for a few weeks, including games against 2 other inclusion teams in the area and culminating in a championship day with a tournament, medals and recognition. I was IN! (And more importantly – so was Arizona).
Fast forward to February 2020 and we just wrapped up the season with a festive championship celebration! Arizona felt proud and excited that she got a “little medal.” Thank you, Prime Time Sports, for creating a platform for kids with all abilities to participate on a sports team.
Inclusion MATTERS — and here’s why:
*Integration into community!
*Development of a sense of belonging!
*Preparation for life – and real life, with all of its diversity and flavor!
*Provides ALL people with opportunities to develop friendships with each other!
I would love to hear the ways in which you are able to practice inclusion in your own lives. What are the specific programs you’ve joined / found helpful and what has been your experience? Thank you for sharing!
(A Joyful DAY!)
What a beautiful conversation w/ Mom Talk Network and The Powder Room SHOW: sharing with intention — raising a child with special needs.
Join us for a very transparent and real conversation about my experience in raising a daughter on the spectrum: the good, the bad, the uncomfortable moments and ultimately, the very amazing and ENDLESS blessings!
I am honored to represent single mamas out there – and equally so grateful and honored to share the co-parenting responsibility with my former husband. We have come a long way: much love!
ENJOY the conversation xoxo
**And, as always, join me in my classroom for my new ONLINE COURSE: Life Management for Special Needs Families: An Ultimate Resource Guide for Creating a Thriving Life!
(My new online course is open for enrollment! Join me in my classroom!)
Life Management for Special Needs Families: An Ultimate Resource Guide for Creating a Thriving Life, is now open for enrollment and will dive deep into the following topics:
Class # 1: Redefine Your Plan for Meeting Your Child’s Special Needs
Class # 2: Be the Best Advocate You Can Be for You and Your Child
Class # 3: Build and Manage Your Dream Team
Class # 4: My Top 7 Tips for Self-Care as a Special Needs Parent
This course will take special needs parents on a journey in rediscovering joy and balance. As we advocate for and support our children to lead fuller and richer lives, it is also possible for us as parents to experience this same richness for ourselves. In finding the best help for our children, we can recognize that we are worthy recipients of a thriving life, too!
Please join me on this journey as we learn + laugh + cry + celebrate together. Whether you have been a special needs family for many years or have just received a diagnosis for your child, this class is for you!
Frequently Asked Questions:
When does the course start and finish?
Life Management for Special Needs Families: An Ultimate Resource Guide for Creating a Thriving Life is open for enrollment. You can start or stop the class whenever you would like as it is 100% self-paced! We will dive deep into the following topics: Class # 1: Redefine Your Plan for Meeting Your Child’s Special Needs Class # 2: Be the Best Advocate You Can Be for You and Your Child Class # 3: Build and Manage Your Dream Team Class # 4: My Top 7 Tips for Self-Care as a Special Needs Parent
The entire course is available within a self-paced online classroom environment. All content is pre-recorded and will be accessible for life. Lectures, powerpoint, PDF files, homework questions; all included.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like – across any and all devices you own.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 10 days and we will give you a full refund.
How do I enroll?
The class is available for purchase here.
How much does the course cost?
I am currently running an introductory promotion for $149 (regular price: $249). You also have the option to make monthly payments if that is easier.
Looking forward to having you in my classroom! Feel free to send me an email with any questions you might have.
(Experiencing my life reborn anew and transformed!)
It was my honor to sit down with Jenny Lind, host of the hit podcast “Greatness Adjacent.” She wanted to hear my story and I was happy to share it. Before the interview, she asked if any questions were off limits – and I said, “No.” If I’m going to tell my story, I would like to be transparent about it. And now I would like to share it with you all (link below)!
From Greatness Adjacent:
This woman is grace personified. She had a master plan for her life. Everything went according to her plan until she had her daughter, Arizona, thirteen years ago. Arizona is on the Autism spectrum. At first, the diagnosis felt dark and hopeless. She was lost, she and her husband got divorced. For the past eleven years, Susanna has devoted herself to helping Arizona. In the process, she learned basically everything there is to know about Autism and the resources that are available. She started advising families as she went, to share the wealth of knowledge she was gaining. She is now a certified life coach for families of children with special needs, an Autism advocate, and she recently launched an online program to offer the resource guide she wishes she had in the beginning. In addition, she is a reiki healer who offers women’s retreats throughout the year. She says today, as a single mama to a child with special needs and a life coach to families of children with special needs, she’s the happiest she’s ever been in her life. Her transformation is extraordinary.
Link below to listen or read the transcription:
(Life Coach At Your Service!)
I am often asked how I got into the business and practice of being a life coach and specifically a life coach for special needs families. My answer is simply this: the PAIN in my own life (and experiences as a mother to a child with myriad special needs and challenges) pushed me until a very specific VISION started pulling me toward it.
When this journey started, I had to coach myself daily (and sometimes multiple times a day during the most challenging times) to simply: keep moving, stay hopeful, find joy (in even the simplest things) and continue choosing a life of service as a vessel made to fulfill a greater purpose.
I used to be so desperate during those dark days – asking why I was chosen to be a mother of a child who needed so much attention. I used to think that the most I could ever accomplish was to make it to the next day. I was not aware that I could actually participate in a life of joy and deep happiness, ever again. I did not know that this was available to me.
Today I still coach myself even though my experiences are for more vibrantly joyous than dark and hopeless. And when I have the really good days, I take time to express my gratitude for having a good day.
I know how much time and effort and intention I have put into my own life to get me to a place of peace and acceptance. I wish for all of my special needs families to get to that same place and it is my life’s work to reach as many of you as possible, to be a guiding light to you and to find power and strength from your experiences as well.
Thank you for allowing me a platform and audience to tell my story, speak my truth and share my toolbox of resources.
As always, let me know what you’d like me to share more about. I am at your service!
With Much Love,
Susanna Peace Lovell
(The first day of Middle School for my GIRL)
Arizona started middle school this fall and her responsibilities have increased drastically from her days in elementary school.
Because there are more things to organize and remember (read: executive functioning and recall practice in full effect), we have put together a few tools / habits that help reduce chaos and disorganization throughout the school year.
A big part of Arizona’s therapeutic program is investing in more activities that will assist with her overall life skills. What I have found is a few things:
- I tend to underestimate what my child can do on her own
- I need to allow my child more opportunities to do things independently (this requires much patience on my end)
- Once my child has demonstrated that she CAN do something on her own, there is much acknowledgement (non-celebratory / more matter-of-fact delivery) that she CAN do it.
- It is usually my limited belief system that gets in the way of what my child can do on her own (she is always blowing me away with her progress and independence)
- I need to LET GO of trying to control everything for my child and see what happens (again: I am usually blown away by all that she CAN do)
- Visuals can help tremendously!
As always, I share our goals and practices with Arizona’s team (her school behaviorist / aide, her occupational therapist, her social skills group leader and her support team at school), so that we are all on the same page. (Remember: team work makes the dream work!)
Here’s an example of a visual that has been helpful for us to review each evening before school and that is posted on the wall by the garage door before we leave for school in the mornings. I give Arizona the responsibility of making sure she has everything on her checklist.
Arizona’s Morning Checklist: SCHOOL DAYS
Communication Notebook (for behaviorist and mom)
Binder for History / English
Binder for Math / Science
HOMEWORK that’s DUE!
Every Monday: PE CLOTHES
*Any field trip slips or forms that need to be signed by Mom
*MAKE SURE FOLDERS ARE STOCKED WITH: loose leaf paper, colored pencils, erasers, pencils, black + blue pen, highlighters, red pen, folders w/ dividers!
So far, the list of words has been helpful enough for Arizona, but adding pictures (either hand drawn or images from online) can be even more effective. You know your child and what will work best for them at this stage.
I would love to hear about your best school practices with your children. What are your tools for successful school days? What have you learned about your child that you were pleasantly surprised about? Feel free to comment below or email me directly: email@example.com. I’d love to hear from you!
In the meantime, I am wishing you all a very happy school year!