Over the years that I've been raising my two quirky, highly individual children, I've bumped into other parents from time to time who also have kids that just don't seem to fit into any box, and who seem to need parenting that is just like them: intense and individual. 

I've got a theory that there's a club out there of parents like me who are raising this type of child. Many of us have spent years trying to find "our people". We may have joined countless parent support communities, email lists or Facebook groups; we've been trying to figure out the right supports for ourselves as parents, not just for our children. If we're lucky, we've found friendship and connection among other parents of challenging, unique, outside-the-box kids, people who understand the reality of our daily lives.

I've found a rewarding career working with families, but I want to reach more people. This website is my attempt to offer a small corner of the internet for parents - like me - whose experiences (and kids!) don't seem to fit into any particular box. Welcome to the club!

My Story

Vicki Parnell

For years, we wondered why everything seemed a lot harder for our family; then, within a three-month time period, both of my children were diagnosed with a form of autism (the psychologist who was assessing my older child gently but urgently recommended that the younger one be assessed, too).

Although my family now had an answer to a lot of our questions, we still had a challenging task ahead of us - learning how to support two children with complex and highly individual needs. This took a lot of time and effort; unfortunately, an autism diagnosis doesn't give you instant answers about how to help your child, and my kids had additional diagnoses that added to my confusion. The standard treatment approaches being offered to us didn't seem to help. Some of the things we tried felt disrespectful of my children, or made things worse. Some things did help, but it took a while, and meant finding just the right service providers.

We spent a lot of time and money figuring out the right mix of supports for our family. Relationship Development Intervention (RDI), combined with sensory processing supports and carefully chosen therapists, turned out to be the key for us.

Now I’m seeing the rewards of being persistent, not giving up on finding the right fit for my children so they could get the help they needed to thrive. This experience inspired me to train as an RDI consultant and work with other families. Along the way, I've read countless books about parenting, child development, attachment theory, neuroscience, and self-regulation. 

I want to help other parents struggle less, have confidence in their choices, and feel less "stuck" - to see a clear path forward.

What I Believe

Parents are the experts on their children. I'm here to help you tap in to that expertise, not to be "the expert".

Relationships are the foundation. I promote strong parent-child relationships - the rewarding connections that science has shown are vital for developing our brains. 

I respect the unique strengths of every person. Any approach I promote for you needs to be something that feels comfortable and appropriate for you, and respectful of every family member. I don't promote approaches that I wouldn't feel comfortable using in my own family.

My work with families is short-term, targeted, and focused on your family's goals and values. I am trying to work myself out of a job.