When I embarked on this journey of becoming a special educator, it was because of my son. Early on I realised he was slightly different from others, even his own brother. His differences were not so apparent in the early years where academics is not a focus but as soon as he hit grade two and his grades started dropping I figured something was “non normal”. That he needed to be handled differently was evident and once I got on board with who he was instead of who I wanted him to be, I began to set his goals accordingly. Since then I’ve figured out a label for him but it’s never mattered because my son doesn’t wear a label, he owns it.
Children with special needs can be a challenge, there is no debating that. But as with many challenges in life you can ride the wave to fortune or let it drown you at the tide. My learnings have been many as a facilitator for these children and I share them in the hope that life will be made easier for those parents and teachers who are lucky to have them in their lives. Remember always that Life is more meaningful when it poses challenges and pushes our heart and minds to embrace them.
As a mother of one such amazing child, here goes my two bit of learning:
Children are like rainbows… A spectrum with many colours, each with its own hue and beauty. Children with special needs are one of those many colours…. Do not expect red to be yellow.
Do not be afraid to set boundaries because they need them more than others…. The earlier you get started with structure, the more beneficial it is for them.
Stop worrying and start doing what’s best for your child. Figure out the small steps and the big ones will fall in place by and by.
Stop hiding from the world. Differences are good. We are all part of the natural diversity of nature. You don’t make fun of diabetics or think them odd for having the condition. Special need requirements are no different.
Trust that the world will accept your child as soon as you do. Because your acceptance is the first step towards integration. More often than not, what parents perceive as rejection by outsiders is in reality a reflection of their own inner turmoil.
Pretending that special requirements don’t exist is the worst possible harm you can do to your own child. Get on board and start rowing… You’ll be surprised how far your child will get with just your help, forget about others.
Connect with the special needs community and trust me it is a large one… The more dots that are joined, the stronger will be the community support for our kids.
It’s not the easiest of journeys but there is lots of adventure on the way, so look forward to the ride… It might turn out to be the best one you have, with the right attitude.