Through this page I intend to highlight a lot of matters that parents of children with special needs are concerned about regularly; I hope this blog will provide some guidance. I intend to reflect my thoughts about, child development, speech, language and communication enhancement skills through my years of experience.
To begin with hats off to all the parents of children with special needs who are working so hard to provide the best schooling, therapies, and other extra-curricular activities for their children. But along with all these routine activities, its best to just stop and give a thought as to what is it that you want your child to achieve at the end of the road. My suggestions for points to ponder on:
Questions you need to ask yourself as parents!!!
- Education/Schooling vs learning:
Child= Curiosity AND Curiosity= Learning. A child’s curiosity builds with age and between 1-7 years they have an immense capacity to learn through exploration and observation within their environment. Unfortunately, the child’s inherits ability to seek answers for themselves curbs with age with the burden of memorizing large portions of material they may or may not comprehend completely.
Although, now there are a lot of new systems that are trying to change the old school method and encourage critical thinking, analyzing, and learning through the most natural and practical means.
So preferably look for a school that has fewer students, uses a methodology that encourages learning practically especially till elementary school, a school that allows a shadow teacher if required, that provides you with substantial feedback regarding your child progress, has other extra-curricular and sports activities.
- Self-help skills: I consider this an extremely important growth. In our culture parents tend to do a lot for their children. By doing this, you are discouraging your child’s physical development. As parents our duty is to assist them better their self-help skills, not do it for them.
By the time they are 4-5 years they should be toileting, choosing clothes, feeding, and dressing independently andby 10-11 years you would expect them to tidy their rooms, sort their clothes, start simple cooking ( making a sandwich) and do their dishes. All of which I personally consider a part of self-development.
So as parents ask yourselves are you preparing your child to grow up into an independent adult who can manage to stay by him/herself with minimal assistance? A big challenge but completely worth it!!
- Reading: A powerful tool. Its few benefits include enhancing vocabulary, strengthen analytical thinking skills, and improve knowledge, focus and concentration. So every child can and must be given an opportunity to start reading. It’s another step towards independence so however effort-ful and long it may take, don’t give up in trying to teach your child reading. Learning has no age limit. Many children with special needs who eventually learn to read even at later ages have studied and pursued their fields of interest. So if you haven’t done it yet, prioritize and get them reading.
- Search and nourish your child’s talent: Every child has a talent or a liking towards something.If you don’t nurture it, it seems to fades away.Like I see some children who love animals, some love listening to stories, love cars, construction tools, dancing, singing, watching cooking shows and assisting you in the kitchen. With availability of so much vocational training / easier high school examination and career options, your children can be channelized into the field of their liking. Don’t ignore their skills even if it is constructing blocks. Nurture, nurture, nurture!!