Parenting a Child with a Disability: Insights from Lillian Reekie

Lillian Reekie discussing the Nurtured Heart Approach for parenting a child with a disability

Parenting a Child with a Disability: Insights from Lillian Reekie

Overcoming Challenges and Embracing the Nurtured Heart Approach

Parenting a child with a disability comes with unique challenges and rewards. In our recent Vicarious Insights podcast, we had the pleasure of speaking with Lillian Reekie, a renowned parenting strategist and advocate for the Nurtured Heart Approach. Lillian’s journey into helping parents began with her own experiences, navigating the difficulties of raising a neurodiverse child. Her story is not just inspiring but also a testament to the power of positive reinforcement and effective communication.

Lillian’s Personal Journey

Lillian’s journey into the world of parenting support started with her son, who was diagnosed with ADHD, ODD, and childhood depression. Faced with the daunting task of managing his challenging behaviours, Lillian turned to the Nurtured Heart Approach, developed by Howard Glasser. This approach focuses on recognising and energising positive behaviours while minimising attention to negative ones. The transformation in her son was remarkable, leading her to become an advocate and teacher of this method.

The Nurtured Heart Approach

The Nurtured Heart Approach is more than just a parenting technique; it’s a philosophy that emphasises building a child’s inner wealth. By focusing on what children are doing right, parents can help build a sense of self-worth and confidence. This approach has been particularly effective for children with special needs, including those with autism and ADHD.

Effective Communication Strategies

One of the key aspects of the Nurtured Heart Approach is effective communication. Lillian shared that energising what you want to see in your child, rather than focusing on negative behaviours, can create a more positive and cooperative environment. This strategy is especially useful for children with autism, where clear and positive communication can significantly impact their behaviour and emotional well-being.

Overcoming Challenges Together

Lillian’s success with her son didn’t come easy. It required patience, consistency, and a willingness to embrace new strategies. Through her workshops and courses, Lillian now teaches other parents these valuable skills. She highlights the importance of not only managing behaviour but also nurturing the emotional and physical health of the whole family.

Coping Mechanisms for Parents

For parents of children with ADHD and other disabilities, coping mechanisms are essential. Lillian emphasises self-care and community support as critical components of successful parenting. By joining supportive communities, parents can share experiences, gain insights, and find solace in knowing they are not alone in their journey.

Building Stronger Family Connections

Lillian’s work extends beyond individual behaviour management. She aims to help families build stronger connections and healthier relationships. Her holistic approach incorporates aspects like diet, emotional health, and environmental factors, recognising that parenting a child with a disability is a multifaceted challenge.

Resources and Support

Lillian’s Parent Support Network offers a variety of resources, from online courses to personal consultations. These resources are designed to empower parents with practical strategies and emotional support, helping them navigate the complexities of raising a child with special needs. You can connect with Lillian on Facebook at The Parent Support Network.


In our podcast, Lillian Reekie shared invaluable insights into the Nurtured Heart Approach and her personal journey. Her story is a beacon of hope for parents facing similar challenges. By focusing on positive reinforcement and effective communication, parents can create a nurturing environment that supports their child’s growth and development.

For those interested in the raw, unedited version of our conversation with Lillian, check out our YouTube channel. A more concise, edited version will be available on our podcast platforms, Vicarious Insights, soon. Links to the podcast will be added once it is live.

Below is the audio version also available through your favourite podcast platform. search: vicarious insights


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