Let’s get this on the table before we begin: All kids are special. And most kids need specialized help in one way or another be it glasses for vision, a little extra coaching to kick a ball or maybe speech therapy. But what do you do when you notice your child needs a lot more assistance, additional practice to master a skill, or just cannot do what’s expected?
As a parent and family as well as early childhood educator, I encourage parents to pay attention. Listen to that inkling something is not quite as it should be with a child’s behavior or learning ability. Trusting instincts and searching for answers is a good way to either put your mind to rest or get your child the necessary assistance to be successful. Here are eight tips to help you help your child.
- You know your child better than anyone. Be a watchful “student” of your children. Watch for discrepancies, differences, and delays.
- Listen to your child. Does your daughter complain about not being as good at reading as her classmates? Does your son mention being distracted a lot in school? Listen for clues as to how your child feels about school performance. Kids may not know what’s wrong, but they sometimes realize something is interfering with academic performance.
- Investigate if you think there may be a developmental issue. Good starting points are your child’s pediatrician and classroom teacher. Ask questions. Share concerns. Give concrete examples of what you’re observing at home. The more information the doctor and teacher receive from you the better the learning disability, behavioral concern, or developmental delay can be diagnosed and addressed.
- You are your child’s first and best advocate. Be firm about wanting to get answers and advocate for your child in school and in extra curricular activities. Be polite! You’ll get further faster with kindness and respect when addressing school officials and others.
- With early intervention, many difficulties can be dealt with early. Coping strategies, learning tactics, medication, and learning plans can help the child navigate more easily. Be prepared to try new ideas and methods to help your child do well.
- Don’t get hung up on labels, they don’t matter in the long run. It’s far better to get your child the help he needs than worry about a label. As your child matures, educators will be better able to meet the needs of the child if all the information is available.
- Get support for yourself, spouse, and child. Two organizations I highly recommend are Rising Above Ministries and Snappin’ Ministries (Special Needs Parent Network).
- Trust God. It’s most often through the difficulties we learn. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” Romans 8:28. Rely on God to make the most out of tough circumstances. special needs
© 2017 Becky Danielson. All rights reserved.