Connie Hammer, MSW & PCI Certified Parent Coach, welcome to our Author Interview Series. Thanks to Bobbi Sheahan, our paths have crossed and now I have another cyber friend who is a prolific writer you can find on Twitter, Face Book or LinkedIn. Visit her website where you can find her digital, downloadable programs on parenting children with autism. I had the pleasure of reviewing Connie’s program, “From Bathroom Battles to Bathroom Bliss – Potty Training 101 see here. What are the options that Parent Coaching for Autism (PCA) offers? Read on to see what Connie tells us. This is Part I of her interview which is so interesting and informative that I did not want to edit/shorten any of her answers. Check the next segment of Connie’s wise words! Part 2 is here.
The folks at Special Needs Book Review thank Connie Hammer for the wonderful photos that make reading her interview more interesting.
Lorna: The best to you in 2012, Connie Hammer, parent coach for autim. Please tell us more about yourself.
Connie Hammer>> For most of my professional life I wore my school social worker hat, working in the public school system as a counselor for children and families, developing workshops and facilitating support groups for them. Throughout the twenty plus years I worked as a therapist and parent educator, I dealt with a growing population of children on the Autism spectrum and I always enjoyed my time working with them and their families.
I have always enjoyed breaking new ground and when I heard about the relatively new field of parent coaching in 2005 I became very intrigued. In 2006 I acquired my Parent Coach Certification from The Parent Coaching Institute of Bellevue, Washington, the nation’s only Parent Coach Certification offered in affiliation with Seattle Pacific University’s prestigious, graduate-level Continuing Education Program and founded my parent coaching business, The Progressive Parent, LLC .
It was a wonderful way for me to continue to fulfill my passion of working with parents yet from a different perspective. The coaching model I was trained in, focuses on helping parents make long-term transformational change, not just providing them with short-term solutions. The thought of helping parents find new ways of relating to their children that went beyond quick fixes and reactive problem solving was right up my alley.
I have always enjoyed guiding frustrated, lost and confused parents to achieve their parenting hopes and dreams. Years ago as a young wife and mother of three sons, I would seek out objective and supportive individuals to assist me with my parenting challenges, now people are seeking me out and I love it!
Soon after I began my coaching business, I attracted a parent of twins with Autism and immediately decided that coaching this population was going to be my focus. Parenting is difficult enough in the best of circumstances and having a special needs child ads yet another layer of challenge to the job. Helping, guiding and supporting these parents to adjust to the diagnosis and deal with the whirlwind of emotions and the mountain of choices they have to make is very gratifying. Helping them get beyond the diagnosis and making plans for a future that maximizes their child’s potential is another aspect of the job that I enjoy.
I love to take my clients through a metamorphosis from a place of doubt, guilt and chaos to a confident, guilt-free place of harmony. My pledge to parents is, ‘Invite me to become your parenting partner and I will transform your parenting world.’
Helping, guiding and supporting these parents to accept the diagnosis of an Autism Spectrum Disorder and move way beyond that with the services I offer via my website, Parent Coaching for Autism, has been extremely rewarding to me.
Lorna: I just reviewed your Bathroom Battles to Bathroom Bliss – Potty Training 101 program. It was very impressive and I highly recommend it to parents of children with special needs. Tell us about the other topics you will have available on your site.
Connie Hammer>>The potty training program is the first program I have developed based on the responses I received from a survey where I asked parents what their biggest concerns were in raising a child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). I like to respond to the requests of the parents who are making their needs known through these surveys so my programs are determined by the parents who make their voices heard.
Other parent concerns I have on my list as possibilities to create programs for are:
- - school related issues: getting children back into a school routine, adjusting to school vacation, working with schools and strategies for the IEP process.
- - special occasions: helping children deal with holidays and special ceremonies and celebrations.
- - discipline issues: handling temper tantrums, using time out, getting kids to listen. . .
Lorna: Explain what a usual program consists of… about the material and services that are included when parents purchase a Connie Hammer Parenting Program?
Connie Hammer>>My goal is to make these programs user friendly for the busy parent. Reading takes time and learning styles vary so I try to present my information in various formats – written, auditory and visual. I like to take the parent by the hand and lead them through a clear and structured experience where they are encouraged to consume information, pay attention to how it relates to them and customize it to their needs. I then like to guide them to make a plan so they can apply it to their own situation and also offer them some type of personal support for when they run into roadblocks.
Parents often read books or gather useful information on the internet but when it comes to putting the information into practice they can get lost. Implementing what you learn to make it useful to your particular situation is easier to do when you have created a concrete plan that will help you put the information into practice. This has a higher success rate for changing behavior.
I believe parents want solutions and strategies they can start to put into place right away. There are no quick fixes but if a parent can implement one small step and see results it is likely to motivate them to put in the rest of the time required to see bigger results.
The digital courses and programs I am working on, such as the potty training program I recently launched, are not books. Yes, there is written material to read but typically there is audio to listen to as well as workbooks or checklists to fill out in order to transfer the knowledge into a user-friendly plan. My plan is to take parents to the next step beyond acquiring knowledge – I want to help them transform the knowledge they acquire and implement it into a realistic, customized and workable plan that helps them achieve their own as well as their child’s greatest potential.
Lorna: Do you have a favorite among the many topics of programs you have written? Which one seems more in demand or which receives more positive comments from parents and makes this whole writing process all worthwhile?
Connie Hammer>> My favorite topics are the ones that address my philosophy about parenting. I know there are a lot of resources out there that will tell parents ‘what to do’. They have great usefulness and are very important but I strongly believe that achieving success in parenting ANY child is more about ‘how to be’ as a parent than it is about ‘what to do’ as a parent. Knowing how to proceed IS very important but knowing how to ‘be’ with your child, how to connect and relate at a deep level is even more crucial.
This is even more important with a child that has special needs – a child that lives in and experiences a world that is different from ours and communicates in a different way requires that we take more time to understand their perspective and how they experience life. Entering that world is the key to learning how to ‘be’ with and interact with your child and thus make an authentic connection that will reap many benefits.
My free ecourse, Parenting a Child with Autism: 3 Secrets to Thrive, has always been near and dear to my heart because it presents thoughtful exercises that will help parents be truly authentic and proactive about their parenting rather than reactive. The information presented provides parents with a basic foundation from which their parenting will flow with greater ease. Parenting with intention is an extremely powerful tool that gives great results regardless of your child’s personality, temperament, intellect or abilities.
I am also working on a project, I don’t know yet if it will take the form of an ebook, a course, a teleclass or something else, but it will take parents on a guided journey of ‘how to be’ to better connect once they have received a diagnosis of PDD-NOS, Autism or Asperger’s for their child.
Lorna: Even though our interview is not finished, I want parents to start following you now, therefore tell us how our readers can access Connie Hammer.
Connie Hammer>>I invite all parents to take advantage of my complimentary 15-minute phone consultation – a mini chat over a ‘virtual cup of coffee’ – so I can listen to their story and offer them some quick guidance.
They can also access my FREE resources – a parenting ecourse, Parenting a Child with Autism – 3 Secrets to Thrive and a weekly parenting tip newsletter, The Spectrum, - by visiting my website www.parentcoachingforautism.com
Or they can email me their questions at email@example.com
My deepest appreciation to you Lorna for this opportunity to be interviewed by you!
Lorna: Thank you so much for arranging for the review of one of your programs and this interview. And this is not all; Connie will be my guest February 20th on The Coffee Klatch Tweetchat at 9 a.m. EST. Topic: You guessed it: Potty Training!