Tackling Home Life As One Member of a Special Needs Family

If your child — or, let’s be frank, your husband — has been recently diagnosed with special needs, you might be fretting that life will be harder to deal with now. The truth is that it’s about to get much easier. The diagnosis doesn’t change anything about the problems you have today except that it gives you an entity to blame — the disability — and it gives you a wealth of knowledge about how to change your current habits to adapt. Here are some classic examples:

Put Everything in Writing — and in Public

Learning and attention disabilities affect both children and adults in one predictable way: it makes their memory malfunction, most often in relationship to things that they are the least interested in. You’ve probably heard the term “selective memory” — for people with these disabilities, that’s a horrible truth, because their memory is actually selective… it’s just not in their control! So posting reminders of what is supposed to be done by whom (and by when) in a common area like the fridge or the bathroom mirror should become a habit for everyone.

Play to Each Person’s Strengths — and Admit Each Person’s Weaknesses

Every disability is slightly different, and leads the person coping with it to behave slightly differently. The big challenge here is getting the disabled individual to admit that no, they really have no ability to deal with money (or detail work like folding laundry, or sustained effort like reorganizing the pantry, or whatever.) Once each person is able to relinquish control over those areas they simply aren’t equipped to deal with, tasks can be reassigned based on strengths, and tasks that have no ‘strong’ individual can be assigned to the family as a whole to be overseen collectively.

Enable Everyone to be Self-Reliant

Each person in a special needs family will need their own tools for taking as much control as they’re able. In a family with a hyperactive child, an inattentive father, and a physically disabled but executively strong mother, for example:

• The child might have a set of fridge magnets to move around indicating which chores are done and which remain to be tackled.

• The father might have a phone or other device loaded up with a calendar app, an alarm clock app, and a list-keeping app that allows him to keep track of daily tasks using alarms, one-time tasks using the calendar, and things like shopping lists using the list app.

• The mother might have a walker that can be used as a stool and a chair, to enable her to do basic work around the house while maintaining the ability to sit when- and where-ever necessary and get to the high shelves for whatever needs arise.

When each person is given the tools they need to function without constant assistance, the expectation of self-reliance becomes the culture, and everyone benefits.

Don’t Take Anything Too Seriously

This is probably the single most important piece of advice for a family with multiple different disabilities interacting on a day-to-day basis. Learning to recognize when your disability has struck, point it out, and laugh about it is the most powerful tool to improve your long-term chances of success — whatever your definition of success might be

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How to Talk to Your Special Needs Child About Challenges

Children with special needs are prone to depression and irritability at a rate nearly triple that of children that don’t deal with unique challenges. It’s a fairly predictable occurrence: the child encounters a difficulty that isn’t hampering their peers, and they wonder if anyone has ever had to work this hard only to not succeed as well as their relatively effortless cohort. As their parent, of course you want to do something to help them — and you can.

Talk About Your Own Struggles

Talking to your special needs child about some of the most challenging moments you’ve faced in your life — obviously, mediated based on their maturity level comprehension — can do an extraordinary amount to help them feel less hopeless. Knowing that their primary role model (you, their parent) has struggled, worked through difficult situations, and found a way to succeed can help them understand that success is out there to be attained.

Be Specific, But Not Bogged-Down

When you sit down to talk about your own life, it’s important that you operate at a level of detail that makes it clear you’re definitely describing a real event. Don’t talk in the abstract, or in the passive voice, or in the third person — say “I did this,” not “this happened to someone.” Talk about the salient details of the problem and go into detail about your emotional state and your emotional processes. But don’t get so bogged down in detail that you lose the point of the story; tell them only the parts that are most necessary to help them comprehend the point.

Frame Every Story in a Positive Light

Don’t tell stories of times that a problem made you give up, but then things turned out OK anyway — you don’t want to encourage them to give up! Instead, choose stories where your struggles were difficult, but you actively overcame them in the end. Point out the lessons you learned, and how those lessons made you feel better about yourself and your situation.

Talk about Starting Early

If you didn’t overcome the challenges you’re discussing until later in life, tell them why you wish you had learned those lessons much earlier. Discuss with them how your life could have been better if you had understood a decade earlier that (for example) standing up for your own needs was likely to result in your needs getting met.

Empower Your Child

Through the entire discussion, remember that your goal is to empower your child. It’s good to acknowledge that your child’s struggles are real — they should openly acknowledge that fact as well — but it’s also good to acknowledge that the power to overcome those challenges is in their hands.

Problems Are Opportunities in Disguise

Ultimately, the “meta-lesson” behind these discussions is the same: that every challenge your child is currently facing is an opportunity for the child to learn skills that they would otherwise never had attained. One day, in all likelihood, they will look back at that opportunity with gratitude — and that is the sign of a truly empowered individual.

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Make a Difference With Online Petitions That Are Smart

Online petitions are one of the best ways to make your voice heard on the social rights issues, human rights and animal rights issues that are important to you. The issue is deciding which actions to take part in. There are many different petition sites online, and even more petitions launch on a regular basis. Finding the right one for your signature can seem impossible. That is why you have to choose to follow the lead of the leaders in social rights and animal rights causes. They know it isn’t enough to gather signatures; participants must be educated on the issue, too.

Are online petitions effective?

Here is the key to making an online petition effective. You can send in a 100,000 signatures you garnered from social media but they won’t sway policy makers if only 10,000 of those signatures are considered to be follow-through voters. Follow-through voters are people who make an effort to stay on top of the changes in policy and actions taken for their issues. Online petitions matter when the names on them represent informed constituents.

Keeping the focus on what is important

The best way to make sure you are signing on with others who are as committed to your goals is to followup with petitions from reputable sites. What makes a site reputable? It isn’t a clearinghouse for all issues but keeps its focus on a few select categories. Lady Freethinker is set up according to focused categorization of issues that are not only hot topics, but tend to go together as common concerns for their members. While it is admirable to try to save every part of the world, effective advocates know they have to limit their efforts to maximize the use of their resources.

Staying on top of the news

Another sign of a reputable site is that they offer you more than petitions and dramatic posts. The posts and links on the site should serve to further the conversation about causes. Even better is if the site itself is sponsoring petitions. This is another way of focusing an effort. Instead of trying to inspire you to create your own and manage the petition, they are putting their online resources behind the issues you care about to make things happen.

Causes don’t fail

It’s important to remember that causes don’t fail. There are more social rights issues and human rights issues that need your attention than ever before. With the increased use of the Internet even animal rights issues are getting more of the attention that they deserve. The problem is that people’s passions often get overwhelmed by their responsibilities. This is another reason in favor of joining a focused cause site that promotes education and manages petitions too. It can go miles to keeping your passion alive so you never have to be in a position of regretting where you have put your focus in life. Causes need you to become solutions, and the Internet has created an opportunity to make things happen to heal the world at last.

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Special School for theCerebral Palsy Affected

Today, many non-governmental organizations are dedicated to working for the children with special needs regardless of their class, culture, race or religion. With education playing a key role in the upliftment of society and bringing about a socio-economic change, they are specially focused upon educating the special kids through adapted teaching methodologies. The interventionists identify their behavioural problems first, thereafter, trying to understand their needs and devise strategies accordingly.

Therapy Sessions for Rehabilitation

Many of these NGOs act as a special school for the differently-abled offering education-cum-day care under the supervision of trained teachers and staff. Here, the differently-abled children undergo therapy sessions that incorporate dance, music, yoga, art and craft as well as other extracurricular activities along with education for rehabilitation. They have a team of specialists full of psychiatrists, special educators, psychologists, occupational and speech therapists as well as qualified academic teachers who carry out assessments and perform counselling to benefit kids with special needs.

Enhancing Functional Disability

Besides, these special schools have connections with ortho-dentists, ENT, child specialists and neuro-psychiatrists for providing special care to the children. If we talk about special school for cerebral palsy affected kids, then they do not consider it as a disease but more like a condition that is difficult to be cured. Though, the functional disability can be enhanced to an extent that goes in sync with a professional school. Such kids are rehabilitated through medical stabilization, intervention and identification. These schools constitute children with cerebral palsy who are going through varying degrees of severity hailing from different economic and social backgrounds.

Training the Differently-Abled

The trainings are generally based upon physical therapy, the category of a child, occupational therapy, speech therapy, equipment that are physically needed by a child and creative works all at one place in co-ordination with the child activities and effective monitoring of their development. These children are nurtured amidst their close ones who take good care of them that ultimately boosts their confidence. The training is intended at largely leaving a child physically independent, making him or her more social and happy. The daily school routine inculcates more self-discipline in a child and there is always a tendency to imbibe more and perform better so that it leaves a positive psychological impact on a child.

Positive Approach to Desired Results

This cause taken up by them induces happiness, hope and independence in the crucial ages of the cerebral palsy affected children. This is because they are of the belief that a positive approach can go a long way in doing the best for a special child. They accept mental retardation as a condition that limits the mental functioning in a child along with skills to communicate, socialize as well as take care of themselves. These limitations let a child learn and develop gradually.

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Can Special Education Help or Harm Our Emotional Disturbed Students?

As a Special Educational teacher I have seen first hand how many parents are devastated to know that they child is a candidate for this program. Special education basically makes education tailored made for the special child. I had the pleasure of working with students who were labeled as being Emotional Disturbed. My students were known for having angry issues which erupted into verbal and physical aggression. These students have so many referrals that they had been kicked out of their districts.

I had to come into this classroom with some high expectations and along with not being fearful. Please be clear that in the beginning these kids were cursing and yes even tried to attack but I had to use Mrs. Murray’s magic. It’s an ancient Chinese secret (smile). I have to be honest, I had a terrific male Para who worked closely with me and he and I devised a plan to ensure these kids would be successful.

Even though these middle schools kids were rebels and difficult in their perspective districts I still had to believe in them. I had to “capture their hearts”. It was most difficult because these kids came from adverse environments. I had to daily speak works of belief in them. You have to realize, these kids only hear negative and when you hear negative you live and repeat negative. Then I had to make sure my class room was highly structured and engaging. These kids behavior covered up their true learning ability. So, I had to make instruction high impact, believe in them, and understand why they had that type of behavior in the first place. Remember, behavior is learned.

When Teachers see kids like these sometimes they continue to set them up for continuous failure because they only see a problem not a solution. Now, I am glad to say these kids passed my class, they love learning, and their behavior is under control. Do these kids still mess up? Absolutely, but not as often as they did and now they recognized their behavior. I believe with proper strategies, along with support, and sheer dedication all kids can learn.

Teachers, we have to strive with all our might to help our Special Need students and we have to be prepared to teach in a diverse framework. We have to look at all aspects of the student and make sure we have done all that we could to impact that student in a positive way.

So you say, those with Emotional Disturbance can’t learn? I know first-hand that they can and I have known strategies and resources that work. Will it be easy? No!! Will it take time? Yes!!! Will you pull your hair out? Sometimes!! However the feeling you get after seeing a reformed student is Priceless!!!

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