Thursday, March 31, 2016

Managing Your Child with a Special Need

To encourage parents to learn more about developmental disabilities like cognitive disability (formerly mental retardation), and autism Grandma Jeddah will be posting throughout this month excerpts from her e-book Your Challenging Muslim Child with Special Needs, insha'Allah.

Managing Your Child with a Special Need

Chapter 4 

Managing Your Child with a Learning Disability or Cognitive Disability

Get Help if Concerned

Most parents sense when something just isn’t right with their child. A mother may notice her child is behind the norm in her ability to speak by age two.  Or she may observe her child’s inability to say her name when asked at age four.  A mother might find that her child still hasn’t learned the names of colors at age six even though she’d been taught them for an entire school year.   When suspicion regarding your child’s intellectual ability lasts for a long duration and occurs frequently, your concerns might be worth looking into. There is help available.  The earlier help is sought, the sooner you can obtain the proper knowledge about your child's abilities and developmental stages.   This will allow you to act with an informed perspective.   Lack of information can result in your child suffering due to unrealistic expectations from you and others. Your perceptions of your child’s failure to comply may actually be her inability to fulfill your orders.

Knowing your child’s true condition can be the first step in lifting the weight you are carrying when trying to raise your child who is different.  Take note, there are other conditions such as hearing and seeing problems that can mimic symptoms of cognitive disability and learning disabilities.  If you are observing in your child, a significant number of traits mentioned in chapter 1 under children with learning disabilities or cognitive disabilities, be sure to contact a doctor or other health professional to assist you in diagnosing these problems in your child.  Of course, not all children with learning disabilities or a cognitive disability will experience some or all of these characteristics. Each child is different. 

      Often, when parents notice their child exhibiting behaviors descriptive of intellectual disabilities they grow concerned but are hesitant to seek help. This reluctance can be due to several reasons, among them fear of what the results may determine. Also, parents may not know whom they should present their questions to.  And then some parents refuse to accept that their child is exhibiting abnormal behavior.  However, once parents conclude that their child indeed does have a special need, they can then resolve to move ahead and attempt to find appropriate ways to manage their child’s disability. It can be a relief to know that your child’s unusual behaviors actually have a label or name that explains the peculiarity. It can also be reassuring to learn that you are not alone and other parents have children who share similar tendencies as your child.

            The importance of first, acknowledging your child’s disability, and then, learning about the aspects of her disability is crucial for the proper management of your child. A mother who refuses to accept that her child has irregular learning patterns or behaviors is less likely to seek out information on disabilities in general.   This lack of knowledge can cause some parents to misjudge a disabled child’s odd behavior for misconduct. Consequently, the child suffers unnecessarily through punishment, offensive remarks, and conditions that demand of her what she is incapable of executing.  Knowledge helps you understand why your child behaves as she does and what can be done about it.  Essentially, you learn how to manage your special child. 

Looks Can Be Deceiving

A common problem for some children with learning disabilities or mild to moderate cognitive disabilities is that they generally look “normal.”  Their physical features do not suggest there is anything different about them compared to children who are unaffected. You might be wondering how this can be a problem. It can be a problem because children with characteristic features that signify they have a disability are expected by those who associate with them, to behave in unconventional ways—even if their disability doesn’t warrant irregular behavior. Whereas, children who look “normal” are expected to act normal. And when they don’t, their strange behavior often leads to frequent misunderstandings and mislead assumptions on the part of those with whom these children come in contact.   Because of their normal appearance, the child’s inferior social skills or other odd behavior might be mistaken for rudeness, immaturity, or attention seeking behavior.  It can also mistakenly be perceived as a result of poor parenting.   

More excerpts continued, insha'Allah

Please click here to order  Your Challenging Muslim Child with Special Needs

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