Monday, December 16, 2013

Raising Your Child with Special Needs

A child with special needs requires special care due to emotional, health, intellectual, developmental or physical reasons. It might be challenging, but it is also rewarding.

Research and clinical practice has repeatedly demonstrated that early intervention is linked with positive treatment outcomes. In seeking effective and research-based treatment for autism, you are on the right path.
Parents with kids with special needs often feel alone, as if they were the only ones facing these problems. It is important to know that you are not alone. We the professionals devote our lives to assist you. It is what we do for a living. Obtaining appropriate education and information will lead you to success. The school, the state health department, support groups and other parents are resources for you to learn more.  

Spend quality time with your child and don’t forget to have fun. Above all, a child with special needs is like any other child because all children have essential needs: acceptance, care, support and more than anything, love. The difference is that the child with special needs experiences delays in development which limit him/her from positive life experiences: learning from the environment and from school, enjoying outings, playing, making friends. This leads to frustration which in turn trigger behavior challenges.
Therefore, these children might be exposed to a state of permanent punishment. Although challenging behaviors produce an immediate desired outcome for the child (e.g. not participate in non-preferred activities, obtaining attention, escaping aversive stimuli, obtaining sensory stimulation) those behaviors also produce anger and frustration in the adults who deal with that child, avoidance by others, poor relationships and low self-esteem, loss of learning opportunities, or restraint.

It’s our job as parents, educators and therapist to rescue this child.

In the spirit of the Holidays, make helping your child a priority for the coming year. That would be the best gift.

Daniel Adatto, BCBA

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