A Mom’s love is stronger than words
My son knows he is different. You can tell by how hesitant he is right before he runs out the house to play with the other kids on the block, the way he looks at me when he thinks he has disappointed me, the way he protests before going to school with a new har cut.
This has not effected his drive to go out and make his mark on the world.
Although my son is “different”, he makes sure you walk away from him remembering how awesome he is. Self esteem is an issue for children that fit the boring definition of “normal”, so imagine how difficult it is for a child that is disabled or learns differently. My son’s Mixed Receptive and Expressive Language Disorder simply adds flavor to his personality. I speak openly in front of him about his disability. I also praise how good, wonderful, smart, and intuitive my son is in the same conversation.
I do not feel the need to constantly talk to him about his disability. He knows he is not like all the other kids. My son may not be able to talk to other people, but he has the power of being technologically gifted. My son has fixed computers in his pre-k class when no one else could fix them. You know the joke about kids being able to program VCRs and the parents can’t? My son is the reason why that joke exists. He is a visual learner, the same way I am, except the also needs guidance to show him the proper way to do and say things.
When I do talk to him about his differences, I make sure I do the following things.
- Make sure he knows that I love him no matter what.- Due to his disability, my son goes from being extremely calm to physical when he becomes frustrated with an activity he is usually good at. Recently he broke his Nintendo DS that was loaded with brain stimulating activities as recommended by a few specialists. I did express my disappointment in him breaking something that not only encouraged the strong parts of his mind, but also allowed him to be like a normal boy that loved video games. Two days later my son and I started singing a song together in my car and I tickled him. My son said ” love me now?” meaning he thought that I no longer loved him up unti l that moment, even though I never said anything supporting that thought. I pulled over and asked him why he thought I did not love him, he replied “cuz I broke” . I told him “because you broke your game, I was disappointed in what you did, but not in you. When I am disappointed, that does not mean I lost my love.” My boy smiled, and I knew he understood.
- Have patience, and adapt to your child’s disability– Talking to your child with a communication issue it difficult. You have to be willing to show your child the same thing over and over, and to say the same thing over and over but in different a variation every time until you find the one that clicks. My boy tends to give up when he realizes it is not translating in his head properly and often says “never mind”. I have to encourage him and ask leading questions. I also have to got back and hug, tickle, or kiss his forehead and tell him its ok that he is frustrated, but it is important he still tries to get his point across.
- Do not allow your child to shy away from other kids– My son sometimes forgets that while he is playing a physical game, such as football, with other kids he may get pushed down. When he falls or gets hit by another child he often comes in the house crying. I have to explain to him that he is playing a game and to go out there and try and play better. I also have to explain that they are not beating up on him, that it is part of the game.
- You have to be able to decipher you child’s facial cues– When I pick my son up from day care, I can tell what kind of day he had by looking at him. Since he cannot effectively communicate, physical observation is important…as well as giving hot chocolate when you get home.
- What you say is almost as important as HOW you say it– Since my son is deficient in language arts, I have to sure to place the proper tone to the words I am saying to him. When I tell him why we have so many doctor appointments and meetings, I make sure my tone of voice is encouraging. I make sure I tell him that everyone involved wants to help him do well in life. When he is separated from his peers for speech therapy, he does not feel like an outcast. My son actually feels special to have that direct one on one or small group attention, and he catches on to what is being taught to him because of the focus on him, and the tweaked lesson.
We need to embrace our differences as adults, so that our special needs children can do the same thing. We teach by example. If we always embrace what makes us different from the next person, there is less of a need for damage control in any child.
Although my child learns in a different manner than most other kids out there (according to a lot of research, only 3 – 5 percent of the entire population has the disorder my son has, combined with a memory issue which probably brings his stats well around 1 percent having his exact list of issues), he can learn the same things other average children can.
As a matter of fact, All Kids Can reach their highest potential.
CVS understands this. http://www.cvscaremarkallkidscan.com/