A guide on how to find out if your child has special needs
Does my child have special needs? Every mum noticing something different or irregular about her child will have this dilemma.
SPECIAL NEEDS. There are times when you feel that something is not quite right about your child but can’t seem to put a finger on it. There are times you might be getting feedback from teachers and friends who notice “differences” in your child’s abilities & behaviours. There are times when you just can’t help but compare how different your child is playing, learning, communicating or acting compared to your memories of how his or her siblings developed before.
First and foremost, every child is a special person. As a mum, it is great to track how your child develops. Typically, children should be curious, learning, moving well, interested in people and his or her surroundings and adapt gleefully to life. They are usually engaged in an incredibly rapid process of growth and learning.
Of course, there are great variations in the way your child’s brain and body develops, some more serious and obvious than others. Your child may have special needs and care due to physical, emotional, health or development needs. This may range from emotional behavioral needs, learning disabilities, communication and language disorders, developmental disabilities, exceptional health needs such as allergies, epilepsy, diabetes etc., visual and hearing impairments or physical disabilities.
So if you are concerned that your child may have special needs, it is almost expected for your thoughts to come with feelings of guilt, denial, blame, shame because it is not going the way you expect it would be for you and your child.
For some of you, you choose to trust your ‘gut feel’ and accept the signs that that your child indeed requires special attention but it is hard to convince others, even your husbands or loved ones.
Some professionals you meet may also insinuate that you are just overly anxious and that nothing was the matter. You would probably get the common advice to “wait and see” or made to believe that “he or she will probably outgrow it” which only makes your dilemma worse.
As daunting and stressful it is to face this confusing dilemma, it is what it is.
Here are the few steps for you to consider to conquer this dilemma:-
Acknowledge your ‘gut feel’, embrace it and act on your concerns. Investigate further together with your child’s developmental pediatrician and profile your child’s special needs holistically. Addressing your child’s special needs is not just about nitpicking on limitations and problems to rid of but also harnessing the strengths and talents to allow him or her to create a version of their own success.
Prioritize what needs to be addressed for you and your child and ask for a referral. Scrutinize your referral options and engage in a professional or an organization that you feel comfortable with and trust to evaluate further and work with you to support your child’s holistic growth in all areas of life.
This should not just be a solo effort on your part! Reach out to other mums or groups and communities who have similar experiences. Talk to them about your plans of action and get their perspectives. Seek those who empathize and understand and decide on whom you would like to establish a good relationship so that they can lend their support emotionally and connect you with what you need at various stages of your life
So mums, it is important for you to take charge to create opportunities for your child to get access to the right and best resources to fulfill what they need so you and your special person can excel together!