Monday, October 28, 2013

The DO Nots of Special Needs children

Throughout our journey we have tried to reach out to family and few friends to talk about our experience and found that many people were ill informed about Autism, Asperger's and Mental Health as a whole. I've found the best person to talk to is my husband or any other parent who is living with ASD. I've actually found a group of mothers that I talk to now. They have inspired me to  come up with a list of the DO's and Don'ts of dealing with Special Needs children.

Here are the don'ts:
  • Do Not stare.
  • Do Not talk over the child.
  • Do Not underestimate the child.
  • Do Not pacify or patronize.  
  • Do Not laugh at awkward situations (unless the child or parent laughs first; we define if it is a laughable or long-faced moment).
  • Do Not spend 30minutes with my child and attempt to diagnose them (if I didn't let the licensed PHD do it, you and your school of Google education will not either!) 
  • Do Not feel sorry for us. (Some families feel sorry enough for themselves and you don't need to add to that and others like us feel extremely blessed and fortunate to even be AWARE because now we can ACT)
  • Do Not compare our child to yours or your third cousin so and so who is perfectly fine and has never seen a Dr. (This minimizes the Dx and besides our child is perfectly fine as well.)

My motto going forward is "Be aware and act". Now that we know and understand what is going on with our child now we can act on it. Now we can help. Now we know how to best help. There are unfortunately many children and adults with mental health problems who are not having their needs addressed (rather it be for lack of resources, will or knowledge). These children and adults may struggle daily or every once in a while. These children and adults may act out in school, have trouble concentrating, keeping a job, keeping healthy relationships with the people around them. They may turn to drugs, alcohol, promiscuity or other vices. They may go their whole lives wondering "what's wrong with me?". Depression, anxiety, over sleeping, over eating. The bottom line...when you know better, you do better. Our ultimate goal is to address any concerns we have with ourselves or our children so that each one of us can be happy and healthy.