“A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove . . . but the world may be different . . . because I was important in the life of a child.”

~ Forest E. Whitcraft

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Parenting a Special Needs Child

A friend of mine shared a link to an article by an Associated Content writer whose material I had never encountered until today. Hope L. Brock is obviously a woman who knows what she's talking about when she discusses, "Four Myths About Mothers of Behavior Disorder Children." Here's a brief excerpt:
Moms have a difficult job to do when it comes to raising children. It is a thankless-24 hour-7 days a week-no payment-little breaks type of job. However, if you child as a behavior disorder such as ADHD or Autism, then being a mom can be even harder. There are a lot of myths about what it is like to be a mom of these children, and until we can get some of the truths out there to erase the myths there will be a lack of understanding. There are some very strong assumptions about moms that have behavior disorder children. These can be so strong that even the moms come across as being not 'normal'.
As our kids get older, going out as a family becomes a lot easier. We still go through checklists, need to enlist the help of friends, or take two separate trips so we can better supervise the kids. In the past, even going to sleep at night was an issue. For several years my husband and I had to sleep in shift, so if our son woke up he couldn't get into mischief.

Two of our kids are diagnosed with special needs, including autism and ADHD, so behaviour has been one of the major obstacles for our family over the years. It takes a long time to conquer all the issues. It takes patience and understanding of why our kids do the things they do. Most of all, it takes faith and dogged persistence even when it feels like all the therapies and discipline plans, all the talking and explanations just aren't having any effect at all. The things Hope says about assumptions people make resonate deep inside of me, even today when we are often told how well behaved our kids are compared to their peers.

If you are the parent of a special needs child, please don't give up. It does get easier. At least some of it. Things will change, and you will see improvements. Don't let all the assumptions get you down, even if they come from the professionals who are supposed to be helping you learn to help you child.

Just give it time. Our kids are worth it.

You can read more of Hope's articles at Associated Content, where she is a Featured Contributor in both Diseases and Conditions, and Parenting.