“As special needs parents, we don’t have the power
to make life “fair,” but we do have the power to
make life joyful.”
Being a parent of children with special needs is a very accountable task. Although being a parent itself comes with a lot of responsibilities.
Every parent wants their child to be fit and healthy, both mentally and physically. But few lack some aspects of being healthy.
As parents, one must not disown or lose hope in the child; instead, accept it and help the child live a better and happier life. Although there are particular challenges, believing in yourself and your child will get you where you want to be, helping the child live happily.
Parents must look at the bigger picture and NOT LOSE HOPE. Having a special needs child does not mean the end of the world. Your child can still be virtuous and make it big. Let’s have a look at a few examples of this.
ABHISHEK BACHCHAN, a Bollywood producer and actor, has struggled with dyslexia from a young age. When he started making it in the Bollywood business, Bachchan did not try to push his dyslexia out of sight from fans or the media. Instead, he thought it was important to share his story and promote learning disability awareness groups.
ALBERT EINSTEIN was a mathematical genius. But, he didn’t learn to talk until he was three, and some suggest that he struggled with dyscalculia, dysgraphia, dyslexia, and word finding. Nonetheless, he won the Nobel Prize for his quantum theory and is most renowned for his theory of relativity. As a humanitarian, he also worked toward justice and peace.
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN is one of the world’s most renowned musicians. It’s believed that he had both AD/HD and dyslexia. His disabilities didn’t hurt his ability to compose music, however. He wrote significant orchestral pieces, piano sonatas, symphonies, and even an opera during his life.
GEORGE WASHINGTON is known as the “Father of His Country” because of his robust character and leadership qualities. He always struggled with spelling and grammar. However, it didn’t keep him from leading the Continental Army in the American Revolution or becoming the United States’ first president.
Gifted children might have difficulties in different ways; it is critical to understand in which area special help and attention is required. Here are the most common five areas of disabilities-
Unlike physical, mental, speech, and emotional disabilities, learning disabilities are harder to spot. It takes attention to detail from a parent or a teacher’s side to discover when a child struggles with a learning disability.
Diagnosing a learning disability-
There are no decisive symptoms, but the following are the signs for which one should keep an eye out—spotting just one of these signs once may not ensure the existence of a learning disability. But if more than one sign repeats itself, the possibility of the presence of a learning disability is considerable.
Signs of a Learning Disability:
‘Sana has so many great ideas in class discussions, but I get little or nothing on paper when I ask her to write responses about what she has read. I wish I could help her get her ideas down- I know she is bright. Is she lazy?’
‘Whenever anyone has a question about history, whether it is ancient civilizations or the American revolution, Harsh is our expert, coming up with detailed accounts of periods in history, yet he has trouble working cooperatively in groups. I don’t get it.’
‘Daksh’s mother and science teacher constantly tells me how bright he is, but frankly, I just don’t see it! He seems like an average kid who is doing fine.’
In the above accounts, all three kids struggle with learning disabilities.
Sana can comprehend advanced mathematics concepts but be hopelessly disorganized at the same time.
Harsh has immense memorization and vernacular capabilities but struggles to find deeper meanings in stories.
Daksh has incredible problem-solving and reasoning abilities but struggles with his abysmal handwriting and spelling.
Hopefully, reading bout these students has helped illustrate the characteristics of bright students with learning difficulties. You probably know children who might resemble these students. This means you are building the ability to recognize the pattern of extreme strengths and significant weaknesses found in most special needs children.
Now let’s discuss the categorization of the learning difficulties-
-Difficulty remembering basic facts about numbers
-Being slow and inaccurate in mathematical tasks
-Difficulty in understanding specific mathematical concepts
-Affects language processing
-Problems with reading/writing
-Difficulty with grammar/comprehension
-Trouble expressing verbally/putting together thoughts during a conversation
-Difficulty in writing, bad handwriting
-Difficulty in spelling
-Trouble with putting thoughts on paper
Non-Verbal Learning Disabilities:
-fine motor coordination
Once the reality of the situation hits, the parents must not panic. They need to go through it with mindfulness and control.
The first thing you should do is talk to a professional who can guide you through the process. This includes a Clinical psychologist, School psychologist, Development psychologist, Occupational therapist, or Speech and language therapist.
Depending on the child’s problems, there will be a variety of tests to get to the root of the learning disability. Early detection helps the child to cope better and improve. A child with a learning disability can overcome any challenge with the right tools.
Talking to a specialist will clarify how your child’s education, learning, and development have changed. The next step is to take action based on the specific special help required.
Keep things in perspective. A learning disability isn’t insurmountable-
Remind yourself that everyone faces obstacles. It’s up to you, as a parent, to teach your child how to deal with those obstacles without being discouraged or overwhelmed.
Become your own expert-
Do your research and keep abreast of new developments in learning disability programs, therapies, and educational techniques. You may be tempted to look to others—teachers, therapists, doctors—for solutions, especially at first. But you’re the foremost expert on your child, so take charge of finding the tools they need to learn.
Be an advocate for your child-
You may have to speak up time and time again to get special help for your child. Embrace your role as a proactive parent and work on your communication skills. It may be frustrating at times, but you can make a massive difference for your child by remaining calm and reasonable yet firm.
Remember that your influence outweighs all others-
Your child will follow your lead. If you approach learning challenges with optimism, hard work, and a sense of humor, your child is likely to embrace your perspective or see the challenges as speed bumps rather than a roadblock.
Your child is not defined by their learning disability. A learning disability represents one area of weakness, but there are many more areas of strength. Focus on your child’s gifts and talents.
You will only get better with mentoring special needs children the more you read about it. Thus, here are a few books and websites for your reference-
Millions of people have fallen in love with Auggie Pullman, an ordinary boy with an extraordinary face—who shows us that kindness brings us together no matter how far apart we are.
This heartwarming story of how a little tiger named Leo bloomed is told by bestselling author Robert Kraus and is accompanied by the wonderfully bold illustrations of Jose Aruego.
In this stylishly illustrated biography anthology, meet 34 artists, thinkers, athletes, and activists with disabilities from past and present. From Frida Kahlo to Stephen Hawking, discover how these iconic figures have overcome obstacles, owned their differences, and paved the way for others by making their bodies and minds work.
Before checking out the individual websites, you can go through this list. The list contains links to associations, councils, centers, and societies. It also has links for conferences, financial aid and internships, helpful websites, articles, research, blogs, and Facebook pages.
Aligned with Common Core Standards, IXL Worldwide is a dynamic, immersive website offering adaptive learning for students with disabilities. From Pre-K through senior year, IXL provides fun exercises for mathematics, language arts, science, and social studies. Children remain motivated by earning awards like stickers and balloon animals for each lesson mastered.
Featuring the kidSAFE Seal, FunBrain is an educational website managed by Sandbox Networks since 1997 with exciting arcade games. Children with learning disabilities in grades K-8 can watch lesson videos and practice their skills in attention-grabbing games like Penguin Drop. Game directions are conveniently illustrated to assist struggling readers too.
Lastly, you should remember that You are Not Alone; You will not always be able to make the best decisions; it will not be easy for You, BUT YOU MUST Learn to forgive yourself, Keep your sense of humor, and Celebrate the small things.
I hope you liked his blog.
I would leave you with a few sayings-
An old African proverb says, “It takes a village to raise a child.”
It means that an entire community of people must interact with children for those children to grow in a safe and healthy environment.
It’s the same way it takes an aware and mindful community to raise a gifted child. And you, as the parents or teacher, have to be that conscious and empathetic mentor that child needs.