If you have a child who thinks, learns, or experiences the world differently than others, this episode is for you. Parents of differently wired kids may be faced with a negative stigma, uncertainty, and will be making decisions from a place of fear, especially in regards to education. But today’s guest shares her experience and her vast amount of support for parents to change their mindset and make decisions from a place of possibility.
I am thrilled to welcome Debbie Reber as today’s guest on the Diverse Thinking Different Learning Podcast. Debbie was actually an inspiration of mine to begin this podcast journey and as a parent of a differently wired child herself, she comes to the podcast today with personal stories, many years of experience, and open arms to welcome other parents on the same journey. Debbie is a parenting activist, author, keynote speaker, and founder of TiLT Parenting. The resources and community she offers through TiLT Parenting are helping parents around the world connect and support each other in raising differently wired children.
We could talk for hours, but today’s episode with Debbie we focus on what it means to be “differently wired,” how Debbie grew from making decisions from fear to making decisions from love and possibility, and how parents can use their voices to make positive change in the education of their children.
[1:35] – Dr. Wilson shares how Debbie was her inspiration for starting this podcast. She really leans in to embracing the fact that your child may be differently wired.
[3:26] – Debbie shares her beginnings in this field as a parent. She never intended to walk this path, but as her son received diagnoses, it made things more challenging.
[5:01] – Sharing the challenge in finding the right environment for her son, Debbie explains that they bounced around to different schools and then homeschooled for 6 years.
[5:29] – Through homeschooling for that length of time, Debbie learned so much about herself as a mom and was able to get her son out of a “perpetual fight or flight mode.”
[6:00] – This experience was the catalyst for her to start her own podcast and help other parents in similar situations.
[6:56] – Debbie admits that at the start of their homeschooling journey, she had plans to charge ahead with curriculum and charts and all kinds of things she had figured out. Her son had different ideas and this collaboration caused her to pivot for his needs.
[7:58] – As she observed her son learning at home, Debbie made the realization of why traditional schooling had not been a success. She started to understand his strengths and struggles.
[8:19] – Debbie had to then confront and challenge her own ideas of what learning looked like.
[9:16] – Referencing a previous episode, Dr. Wilson connects Debbie’s experience to that of Maureen O’Shaughnessy. There needs to be a shift in how we educate children.
[10:24] – Because of our current educational system in the United States, Debbie strongly believes that parents resist this kind of work and have a hard time shifting their thinking towards different learning environments for their children.
[11:00] – Debbie shares a personal story about an experience with her son listening to a podcast. Through this anecdote, Debbie demonstrates that the traditional school model does not teach kids to be critical thinkers.
[12:34] – Will the pause in traditional schooling due to the Covid-19 pandemic create a change in how we educate children? Karen and Debbie see it has a huge opportunity.
[13:24] – Debbie’s concern about returning to a more “normal” school year in the fall is that it will be very easy for schools to slip back into the old ways of doing things instead of taking the opportunity to change.
[14:50] – Parents are panicked at the moment concerning learning loss during the time of pandemic. Debbie’s hope is that parents will continue to speak up, use their voice, and advocate what will serve children the best.
[15:57] – Learning loss is of course a concern, but Dr. Wilson believes that the social, emotional, and mental health support is more important during another big transition going back to school.
[16:50] – The emotional and mental health of children needs to be prioritized above all else right now. When kids are stressed, no learning will take place.
[17:18] – This emotional regulation during this transition may take longer for some kids over others and Dr. Wilson emphasizes the importance of patience.
[18:49] – Debbie talks about her book Differently Wired: Raising an Exceptional Child in a Conventional World. All decisions come from a place of fear or love and Debbie explains what that means and the biggest motivator for making decisions particularly in parenting.
[20:04] – There is no clear path for parents, especially when raising a differently wired kid. Debbie describes how she now makes decisions from a place of possibility.
[21:07] – Debbie provides some reflection questions to ask yourself as a parent to find out more about choosing love and possibility.
[21:36] – A lot of parents of differently wired children may have this feeling of shame that others are judging them, their children, and their parenting decisions. This can be paralyzing for some parents when decisions are coming from a place of fear.
[22:23] – If we, as parents, have a negative idea of what a kid with a diagnosis looks like, we will not make decisions that are best for the child. Debbie explains that before her son’s diagnosis, she didn’t fully understand and had to learn to make sure her decisions were coming from a place of possibility.
[23:27] – Debbie explains that we need to be able to talk about things openly because there’s nothing wrong with our children and we need to let the baggage go.
[24:38] – The idea behind Debbie’s podcast and the community she has built is to help support parents.
[25:14] – Debbie has also created The Differently Wired Club which is all about doing inner work as a community of parents.
[26:39] – Debbie also has a Facebook group for parent support. This free community is a safe place to ask questions and connect with other parents.
[28:21] – Dr. Wilson and Debbie talk about the IEP process and the changes that need to be made to the educational system.
[30:10] – Debbie references a book that she recommends called The End of Average by Todd Rose and how there really isn’t any such thing as “average.”
[31:23] – Karen highly recommends Debbie’s book and her TEDtalk.
About Our Guest:
Debbie Reber is a parenting activist, New York Times bestselling author, keynote speaker, and the founder of TiLT Parenting, a top podcast, community, and educational resource for parents raising differently wired children. Her newest book, Differently Wired: Raising an Exceptional Child in a Conventional World, came out in June 2018. After living abroad in the Netherlands for five years, Debbie, her husband, and 16-year-old son relocated to Brooklyn, NY in 2019.
Connect with Debbie Reber:
Links and Related Resources:
- ChildNEXUS Home Page
- ChildNEXUS Instagram
- Differently Wired: Raising an Exceptional Child in a Conventional World by Debbie Reber
- Sample from Differently Wired
- Why The Future Will Be Differently Wired TEDtalk with Debbie Reber
- Podcast Episode 17: How Micro-Schools Use an Innovative and Personalized Approach to Help Students Thrive with Dr. Maureen O’Shaughnessy
- Creative and Crushed: Recognizing and Helping Children Who Think Differently
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