Understanding Special Needs

Here are things I have been asked about parenting a child with #specialneeds and my responses, purely based on my experience and from my lens.

☑️ Do I have #consent?
My son and I have a very open relationship and honest communication. Whether it is screaming at each other about inane day-to-day stuff or navigating complex life situations (trust me, divorce, abuse, custody, a second marriage, terrible teachers, we have dealt with a lot), we have one rule – honest, open conversations. 

☑️Does he take medication?
No. His therapist felt medication would not help him with his specific struggles. This may not be true for you. Occupational therapy helped him. If you are struggling, get an assessment and a specific plan designed for your needs. 

☑️How come he has more than one challenge?
This is far more common than we think. 40% of people with dyslexia have ADHD too. 40% of children who showed symptoms of either #ADHD or #SPD had symptoms of both. Kids with #Autism may show over/under response to specific stimuli as in #sensoryprocessingdosorders.

☑️What are the usual therapies?
Each need will have a specific way forward. Personally, we have found Occupational Therapy helpful for his ADHD and sensory integration. But there is no shortcut here. You have to go to a specialist; my experiences will not help you chart your path. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is a term you will come across. Also, look for specific tools to help build executive functioning so you can help them move towards less dependent behavior. ADHD Dude has some great advice on scaffolding and independence. Research and find the right resources. Reach out to more people till you find and build your own catalog of answers.

☑️What about IQ and Learning Difficulties?
Let’s just say, they need not be related. A child may have an extremely high IQ and yet have ADHD, a mediocre IQ, and dysgraphia. Standardised IQ test is only a part of the assessment, which looks at the intellectual and adaptive function of the child.  
So before you call a child with a learning disability dumb, know that they could have a far higher IQ than yours 🙂

☑️How will I know there is a real problem?
Your daily tasks should not be overwhelming under the usual circumstances!
If you or your child are constantly struggling, one of you might have a problem. There will be specific callouts, a nagging feeling, or a consistent inability – areas that seem impossible for them no matter how hard they try. 
For some, language is easy, but numbers, time, and symbols are impossible. Yehoshua can read over 300 pages a day with absolute ease – a page of writing can take hours. If you feel anxious when asked to do specific tasks, you see absolute unwillingness and a sense of I can’t – you need help. 

☑️ These are new-age issues that sensitive parents are making a big deal of. How come we didn’t have any issues when we were growing up?!

Well, you didn’t know what it was – IS all! 
#ADHD is a medical condition. Learning disabilities are valid neurologically-based processing problems that impact the every day of a child. Also, there is no willing it away. You only get better at managing it over time. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. 

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