As parents there are tons of things we have to worry about, from health and safety to education and just life in general. Take all of those worries and imagine for a minute that you’re are a parent to a special-needs child.
Special needs, special learners, developmental delay, autistic spectrum disorder—the terms go on and on when it comes to the labels that can be assigned to a child who may learn differently. Parents across the globe are frazzled when they get the diagnosis—it hits you like 10 daggers to the heart when you sit in an early intervention meeting listening to "experts" share their opinion of your child.
“Where did I go wrong? How did this happen? Why my child?” are but a few of the questions that plague the minds of special-needs parents. Truth is, no matter what the experts say, no one truly knows what causes a developmental delay or an autistic spectrum disorder. Some say that children can be born that way, and while that may be true for some it is not always the case with others.
Legions of parents, celebrity and average joes alike prefer to point the finger of blame and anesthetics that their children may have received. But at the end of it all, there are no real concrete answers that make sense to parents of special-needs children.
So what can you do if you’ve recently discovered that your child has autistic spectrum disorder, global developmental delay or any other special need? Moreover, how can you stay positive?
It’s tough, no doubt about it. More than ever, parents of special needs children need to stay educated on all things related to their child’s diagnosis.
Another thing to do is to stay in the loop of communication regarding your child’s curriculum and IEP (individual education plan) at school. Most importantly, be your child’s champion of courage, because if you don’t fight for your child, who will?
Realize that a diagnosis is not set in stone, and remember how remarkable the story of Helen Keller was and how she defied the odds with the help of someone who believed in her. This is how you can stay positive in the wake of what doctors or therapists tell you.
Remember that you are your child’s first and best teacher, and while the journey as a parent to a special-needs child can be rocky, your love, strength, perseverance, wisdom and belief in the brilliance of your child can help him or her defy the odds.