BY ADEH JONES
I want to share a couple of tips for parents with kids who need “special attention”.
Special attention? Yes! All children need attention. But when we are raising a disabled child or children with one disability or the other—deaf, dumb, blind, lame, learning disabilities, autism, Down’s syndrome, mental retardation, etc—we see that they need “special attention” from us— parents and care-givers.
Every parent dreams of having a “normal” kid; but having a child with disability can be heartbreaking. It turns your world upside down, and sometimes you just want to lock yourself inside and be alone!
Listen, I understand how it feels to raise a child with disabilities. Having a little boy, who is deaf and dumb, wasn’t easy! It was a challenge!
Raising a child with any form of disability—physical, behavioral, intellectual, neurological, and so on, is always frustrating, with the temptation of almost giving up. So, what do we need to do? How do we help the child?
#1: DON’T GIVE UP ON THEM
I know how it feels. Discouragement. Anger. Shame. And all that, especially, if they’re not showing any signs of improvement. See, they are improving; it’s just that at that stage, you just want your child to be normal again. Please, don’t give up on them.
#2: BE STRONG FOR THEM
In moments like this, you’re likely to complain, to nag, to raise your voice, to be angry; in short, you’re likely to exhibit more negative tendencies. Such behaviors are contagious. It’s time for you to be strong to really embark on this journey, and achieve admirable goals.
#3: LOVE THEM MORE
If there is anything like that, you need to love them more. Don’t forget that kids learn through perception. They need to feel loved. Anything less than that will be an issue. With time, because of how people will treat them, and their own realisation of their reality, they’ll know something is unusual with them, so any feeling of indifference will be tagged “hate”! Love them.
#4: AFFIRM THEM MORE
Be their cheer leader! People hardly praise or cheer people with disabilities. Most times, they only pity them. They need to hear it over and over again that you love them, and are proud to have them, and that they are no lesser beings. Encourage them that its okay to be different; after all, disability is basically in the mind. They’re not meant to be pitied; support them to be who they want to be.
#5: INVEST IN THEIR RECOVERY
It is going to be financially demanding, no doubt. But invest in the needed rehabilitation and therapy. Invest in physician care, in academics, in learning and developmental kits. Most importantly invest your time into their life.
#6: SEEK EXTERNAL SUPPORT
Connect with parents having children with similar challenges. Join support groups. Ask about religious groups where you can enjoy the benefits of being in a community. Check online for social groups. Connect.
That would be it for now.
Bye. Be strong.
ABOUT THE WRITER:
Parenting and Teen coach,
UK certified Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) [with a niche in Parenting Intelligence and Strategy]