Joan Chand’oiseau is a busy stay-at-home mom, guiding her family of five through the realities of living with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). On social media, she shares what living day to day looks like for her family and how they manage the ADHD/ASD dynamic alongside multiple other health challenges. Physical activity is a key component in how they manage their health and wellness.
She created her website, mADDworld.ca, because she found it hard to find and keep track of the latest and greatest advice of the day. She strives to build a safe online community where other families dealing with similar challenges can share information but also laugh along the way.
Get to know Joan better and help us welcome her to the #AfLfamily.
Q&A with Joan Chand’oiseau
AfL: What is your biggest fear?
Joan Chand’oiseau: My biggest fear, as a parent who has spent the last decade plus at home with her children, is failing to provide the opportunities for my children to reach their greatest potential.
AfL: What is your proudest moment?
Joan Chand’oiseau: I think my proudest moments can be found in the every day “Can Do” attitudes of my (special needs) family. I am so very proud that we continue to manage our health and wellness together with an ‘”I Can!” “I Will!” and “We Got This!” approach. Just watch us!
One of my most successful motherhood moments was when I was talking with my daughter and said, “Hey. Do you know what?” Her smooth response was, “I know mom: You love me.” It was then I realized my children knew they were so very loved – unconditionally, to the moon and back again. To me, that right there is #winning. Tween eye-rolls notwithstanding.
AfL: What are your favourite ways to be active with the children in your life?
Joan Chand’oiseau: My favourite way to be active with my children is trying something new! (Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with our daily walk or an after dinner round of badminton or a serious game of bum wars on the trampoline!) It’s easy to get excited and have fun being active when it feels like a bit of an adventure. Our family recently joined Junior Forest Wardens because it offers us a chance to get outside, be active, unplugged, and together in nature. Our first three club “meetings” are group canoe outings on our local reservoir and we are so excited!
AfL: What is your best tip for parents struggling to make physical activity a priority?
Joan Chand’oiseau: “Beginning at the Beginning and go on till you come to the End.” (Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland) Keep it simple: doing almost anything is doing something. Your kids don’t need an expert fitness coach to develop physical literacy they simply need their parent to engage in fun, active activities with them!
I also want to encourage parents to allow their children to take risks, challenge themselves, and gain new skills. One thing I’ve done ever since my kids were little, when they hurt themselves while playing and being active, I would comfort them, clean them up and say, “Busy kids get owies.” We still say it every time even though my kids no longer need kisses on their booboos.
AfL: Some other little-known fact about you that you’d like to share?
Joan Chand’oiseau: Really, it’s my kids who encouraged me to become active and not the other way around! I was NOT physically active as a child – or, to be honest, even an adult! It took becoming a parent and realizing the amazing benefits being active had on our physical and mental health and wellness to make it a priority.
AfL: Please tell us in a few words why you’re excited to be an AfL Role Model?
Joan Chand’oiseau: I am so very excited to be an AfL Role Model and supporting other families in developing physical literacy and encouraging a healthy lifestyle. We love sharing our family adventures and showing other families how easy it is to gain skills while being active and having fun!
Connect with Joan at maddworld.ca or across social media @maddworldca