Friday, November 15, 2013
As I strive to teach my own children, I often feel frustrated when they don't listen to my instructions, turn a deaf ear to what I'm saying, resist my attempts to teach, throw a tantrum or give me a bad attitude. My patience is constantly tested. I wish to cultivate in them good characteristics and be well behaved. I believe this is the desire of all, if not most parents. However, children are as varied as snowflakes: each different and unique. Each come with their own set of challenges.
I cannot imagine how much more difficult it is for parents with special needs children. I have a friend who has an autistic child. I'm amazed at her diligence, patience and strength in teaching this son of hers. I've seen the improvements in his behavior over the years. So much so that he is able to attend a normal school instead of a school for special needs children. Let me make it clear that he is not 'cured' from autism but rather, he has been taught the skills to function in our society.
I believe the most important step she took was to accept, from a very early stage, that her son was different and needed special help. I can see that awareness for special education and autism is increasing, especially in Asia. More parents have a better understanding of autism and are willing to take positive steps to help their child. Before, most old folks would brand a child with autistic traits as disobedient, stupid and useless. Some of them would even mistreat the child. All this because of their lack of understanding and ignorance.
We are lucky that we have the internet to do research. This is our advantage over the older generations. Surfing around the net, you can learn what is autism and read the many experiences of parents with autistic children. You can find teaching supplies such as toy games for learning, flash cards, activity kits, communication pictures, token boards and charts, visual timers, social skills curriculums and ABA language cards. There are forums you can join to gain support and ideas from other parents in the same boat. You can also search for centers that provide services to treat and educate your child.
No doubt it is difficult to raise a child with special needs. It takes lots of patience, dedication, prayer and unconditional love. Do not let pride or ignorance prevent you from giving your child the opportunity to learn new skills. With the right resources, support and education, they can improve. The benefits of early intervention should not be disregarded.