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Acceptance of and Adjustment to Your Child's Disability

By Dad:


What factors contribute to the acceptance of and adjustment to your child's disability? (Why would you accept and adjust?)

Dad's Answer:

1) Possessing unconditional love for your offspring. We have 4 and each presents their own unique challenges that can torment and vex us as parents. Only my youngest (autistic non-verbal) is LD, and in many, many ways he is the easiest one to contend with. Those teenagers are really giving us fits...

2) Having very think skin. I cannot begin to tell you how many times I have overheard the quiet snide remarks (and sometimes not so quiet) about my job as parent when my boy is not perfect. As if I have to tell that to the good people in this forum! You have to learn to ignore the stares, the rude comments, and the ignorant offers to "fix" your child, from people who have effectively less than an 8th grade education (somehow it disturbs me to confrontational mode when it is the self-important "professionals" who are doing this, if you can imagine me smacking them back...)

3) Belief in yourself. Knowing that despite what any others may judge you to be, understanding that you are helping your child to the best of your ability is a big help. Researching on the net, and networking with other families has been a true Godsend for us and I am sure literally hundreds of thousands of other families. Do the research, keep track of what you try and the results, and make note of the progress made really, really helps.

4) Find something each day to thank God about. Just because our children are challenged, or different or even handicapped does not mean that they are less human, or less deserving of love, dignity and the right to bloom under their own set of conditions. My son, for all his shortcomings, has taught me more about love and being truly human than any philosophy course I could have taken in college. He may be autistic, but he is no less miraculous in my eye than my oldest who is gifted.

5) A belief that the Creator has Purpose that we may never know. How many times have we been told the answer to imponderable questions is "God moves in mysterious ways"? While I do not necessarily subscribe to the notion that God gives "special" children only to those parents able to cope, I do feel that there is a greater reason behind many of the tests we are given in life. It is not my place to question this Higher Authority, only to attempt to do what is the right thing now that I have this child entrusted unto me. Some may find offense in this, as it is not a very secular view, and tho I freely admit I am a poor practicer of man's rituals, I do believe that the Creator will help me if I stay the course.

6) The ability to laugh. Even when things seem bad, I try to find a little something to smile about. Believe me, it really helps.

7) A different set of priorities than most. We live in a material world, a fast-paced society where big fish eat little fish. Try not to become so wrapped up in the gain of wealth and assets that you forget what is really important, the general well-being of your family. When my boy began drawing on the walls, my family freaked out. I saw that he was developing his talent, and chose instead to make sure the markers and crayons were put up, favouring chalk which washed off and pencil which can be quite easily painted over. When he began playing with his food, I started buying him non-toxic modeling clay. He has really progressed in this (altho Michelangelo is in no danger of being usurped anytime soon). There is always the possibility that down the road we may be able to hang a few of his works in those over-priced shoppes and he can make a few dollars at the expense of the pompous art world.

8) Perseverance. Refusing to be swayed once you are on track. The schools, the medical profession, and the behavioral health profession are well peppered with bullies. Many know far less about my child (and yours) than I have learned. Do your research, keep careful notes of what works and what doesn't, and when the push comes to fight, refuse to give ground when they want to drop programs that are working in favour of programs which are easier to run. Always bear in mind that Mom-from-Hell is a badge of honour, much like cops now say "pig" stands for "pride, integrity and guts" I haven't figured out what Mom-from-Hell must really stand for like that, and even tho I am a "Dad", I still take a certain satisfaction in knowing that I cause them at least as much consternation as they have caused me.

9) Never blame yourself or your child. Try to shed blame entirely, for that is the healthiest thing to do. It is hard, and there are many moments of doubt. But unless your baby was fetal-alcohol or a crack baby, it was not your fault. And no child ever asks to be born. We do the best we can, and there is no shame to that.

10) Finally, unconditional love. I know that I said that already, but to my mind, it is the single biggest factor.

Never give up on your child!

[my thanks to Dad for allowing me to use this writing on my site]

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