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Behind the Breakthroughs

Oct 10, 2018

What do you do when your child is verbal but not communicative? Who can function but still struggles with self-help skills? In this episode we chat with a mother who asked these very same questions and when she did not find the answers she created a successful blog entitled, "Not the Former Things."  

Meet Shawna Wingert an author, homeschool teacher, wife, but most importantly a "real" mom who shares her realness in her blogs. Join us as Shawna opens up about her journey of what it is like to raise and homeschool her two sons diagnosed with autism. Her honest and relatable blogs have allowed her to create a community not only for her self, but have encouraged and connected other moms who share similar journeys.  


  • Our guest today is Shawna Wingert who writes a blog entitled, "Not the Former Things."
  • Her blog focuses on the "realness" of raising and homeschool her two sons who are diagnosed with autism.
  • When Shawna received the first diagnosis she went on the internet to find another mom who knew what she was going through.
  • She was looking to connect with a mom who had a child who was verbal but not communicative, who could function but still struggled with self-help skills, and who had minimal coping mechanisms.
  • She couldn’t find anyone to connect with... All she wanted was a real mom to say I love this kid he is amazing, but he is hard and here is what we are doing and it is working.
  • Her husband said, "If it's not out there, maybe you are the one to create it."
  • It took Shawna a few years before she started to write about her experiences.
  • It has become a blessing more to herself than anyone else reading. Her blog has allowed her to create a community.
  • Shawna's real and only objective is to connect with moms and be as real as possible, but also encouraging.
  • She started homeschooling her son before they got the diagnosis.
  • She made that decision because her oldest was struggling with the traditional school environment.
  • Her son went under the radar and he hated school. It was a struggle to get him to school and in and out of car.
  • However, he had straight A's and was the 90th percentile on standardized tests.
  • His inability to communicate things put him in a difficult situation with teachers and kids.
  • Shawna felt like she didn't have options with school so she made the decision to pull him out.
  • Once she had the diagnosis it was easier for her to put the pieces together.
  • It became easier for her to know the right questions to ask him and the journey of getting to the bottom of what was difficult and what are her boys their natural strengths.
  • Homeschooling has been excellent, but it also has been complicated. It is a full- time job!
  • In addition to homeschooling, Shawna has a therapeutic dog for one of her sons.
  • Her youngest son struggles with sensory processing and significant anxiety.
  • He loves animals and his dog has had a calming influence on him.
  • As he gets older, Shawna wants him to become more independent with things.
  • She found a dog that makes him feel more confident and comfortable as he gains his independence.
  • The service dog is also giving her son the confidence to do things when Shawna isn't around.
  • Shawna explained that it has been one of the greatest additions to his therapy plan. 

Mindshift (takeaways)

  1. You do have time! Take the time to tell yourself it's really going to be ok. This process is not all or nothing and doesn’t all have to be done today. 
  1. The second takeaway is don’t’ be afraid to focus on what your child is naturally good at. The more you focus on your child's natural inclinations and support and encourage that you help them develop self-confidence which makes it easier across the board for everyone.