Parenting is one of the most herculean tasks in the world from time immemorial. It’s an automatic job you receive the moment you have a child or even children. Parenting is a job that loads with incessant responsibilities every day without rest. The only time a parent gets recess is when the child has become a full-fledged adult. However, raising a child with disabilities is a special responsibility. It requires extra patience, extra parenting, and above all, extra painstaking efforts. This is so because a child with disabilities is a unique being in the eyes of our Creator.
Let me take you through some of the things you may need to know as a parent raising a child with disabilities.
What to Know if You are Raising a Child With Disability
1. Enjoy Playing With a Disabled Child
Children are innocent and sinless creatures. You can’t take it from them. They spend most of their growth playing. It is said that whenever a child is growing up, those forms of play he engages himself with aid in the development of his brain. Children with disabilities also love to play. As a parent raising one, you must focus on playing with them. A child with disabilities who doesn’t see his parents play with him can give him negative thoughts instantly.
He’ll probably assume his parents don’t want to play with him because he’s different from his other siblings. Moreover, even if you’re a parent who goes to work and returns home as late as 4 pm or 5 pm, whenever you set foot in your home, try and locate your disabled child and play with him. Show him you live for him. Whenever you’re not nearby, flood his surroundings with toys. It’s also very effective in raising them.
2. Create Time to Take Your Disabled Child for Fun Activities
Who doesn’t love outings? Outing with family is top-notch. Imagine carrying out a disabled child from home, he’ll think you’ve taken him to another country. Sometimes parents don’t like exposing their disabled children to the outside world due to paranoid presumption. As such, that child will feel like he has been put behind bars. And so his life will resemble that of a recluse.
But then, with the help of a timely outing, he gets to see the world in a better way, sees how expansive, he gets to gamble with his siblings and other people. Because of this, his love for his parents will magnify because he’s being treated like other children. This is very effective when raising a child with disabilities.
3. Praise Them to Make them Happy
Naturally, whenever a child is evolving, he’s bound to try out new things and confides in his parents. So, with a disabled child, laud them frequently. Remember, the aim is to treat them specially. Even normal children require praise too.
However, if you’re raising a child with disabilities, let him feel like he is a normal child but add extra condiments to your parenting. Never criticize. I know that’s nearly impossible because humans are fickle. But a child with disabilities is different, one mistake could lead to a cascade of mental breakdown.
A disabled child is very fragile which is why soft and constructive criticism can come in handy.
4. Visit a Therapist if Needed
Being a parent is a gift for many, while for some, it is a course you must learn. If you happen to be a parent raising a child with disabilities and feel utterly oblivious, rather, ignorant of how to go about things. It’s a simple calculus, meet therapeutic personnel with sheer experience in parenting a child with disabilities. You should frequently visit the therapist so that you’ll get sound knowledge of how to be the best parent to your disabled child. And if you happen to have tons of questions, ask so that you’ll be enlightened more.
Knowledge of parenting a child with disabilities is vast and the course itself never ends. As such, the practice is harder than the theory.
5. Adopt Proper Parental Diction
An ideal parent sifts his wording meticulously before he utters it to his children. Psychology says that most children’s behavioural nuances and utterances emanate from their parents. Children are mostly copycats of their parents.
Significantly, for you to speak to your disabled child in an ideal way, it is germane to never use vulgar or obnoxious language at them and even with them. Your vocabs should constantly be on word check to avoid bad parenting. A child with disabilities is also a normal child in front of his parents which is why a parent must raise them well with the appropriate diction while speaking.
To wrap it up, you’re also teaching him decorum in speech.
6. Cultivate a Patient Attitude With Them
Raising a child with disabilities requires a heap of patience. You may think it is simple to handle until you have a child born with the marionette strings of autism. These are special children that will sweat you out. Even when they are growing up, you’ll have to always be there for them despite their poor communication skills. Not just children with autism, even those blessed with dyslexia amongst others. You need to learn how to be patient with kids.
Parents should never relent, nor retire nor repose whenever their raising children with disabilities. It is very difficult, but with piles and heaps of patience, it’ll become a normal routine of responsibility and they’ll thump their chests as proud parents.
7. Avoid Dissociation From the Outside World
Sometimes, some parents are the architects of their children’s inferiority complex. I say this because there are a lot of parents out there today who hide their disabled children at home. They have a first-class paranoia that the world would laugh at them or feel irritated by how God morphed them. This should not be the case. Instead, parents must avoid taking them away from friends, family members, and even playmates.
Children with disabilities need people to enliven them to experience smooth growth. The parents of disabled children need to educate other children who feel disgusted to stop such puerile acts. Make them understand that God’s artwork shouldn’t ever be ridiculed under any circumstances.
Parents should encourage their disabled children to mingle with people from time to time so that the cancer of the inferiority complex won’t cripple them.
Raising a child with disabilities is a true testament to parenthood. In the beginning, it will seem like God has punished you and your world is falling apart. But then, with such a kind of child, you’d be forced to comprehend that it’s a blessing to you in ways you can’t possibly fathom. You will learn to connect better with children who have never experienced love before. Your level of parental tolerance will also rise.
A parent who can raise a disabled child can help any kind of child through any form of developmental drawbacks. And any parent who doesn’t know how to raise a disabled child, with the help of the aforementioned ways, shall excel in no time.
If you’re a parent who has battled or is still battling with raising a child with disabilities, feels free to share your own experience in the comment box.
The joy of a parent to raise a healthy and decent child. But, what happens when the reverse becomes the case? This unprecedented change in a child leaves most parents confused. Subsequently, it results in fear and anxiety when the doctor’s report shows that their child is diagnosed with autism disorder. Unfortunately, no parents ever prepare beforehand to raise an autistic child. Therefore, it becomes devastating raising a child with autism for all parents.
Furthermore, you begin to wonder what’s next? As your life will undergo drastic alterations, likewise, that of your child. However, you’re not alone in this struggle. This article is written to provide you with the best tips you need when raising a child with autism.
What Is Autism?
Autism, also known as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a term that encompasses a group of neurodevelopmental disorders that disrupts the ability to communicate, socialize, coordinate emotions, and comprehend things.
This disability varies from person to person. Oftentimes, it becomes a complex, lifelong challenge. Meanwhile, research has shown that autism occurs more in male children than females.
Causes Of Autism
There isn’t a specific cause for autism yet, although there are various factors that can give rise to autism disorder. Interference with the function, structure, and development of the brain result in autism. Most especially, when pregnant women indulge in unhealthy lifestyles during pregnancy like intake of hard drugs, alcohol, and anti-seizure medication— it affects the unborn child.
Also, metabolic conditions alter the function of the brain, for instance, diabetes, epilepsy, sleep disorder, obesity, or untreated phenylketonuria.
Other factors include heredity, gene mutation, exposure to harmful chemicals, viral infections, and being born to aged parents.
What Are The Symptoms of Autism?
1. Behavioural Signs of Autism
Autistic kids are impulsive, clumsy, have poor eye contact, engage in self-harm, and display passive/aggressive/disruptive attitudes.
They enjoy repetitive patterns like rocking, spinning, hand flapping, or walking on toes.
2. Social Signs of Autism
Perhaps you notice your child prefers being alone instead of associating with their peers, it’s a sign of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Subsequently, they become indifferent to caregivers, having restricted Interests.
Oftentimes, they struggle to express themselves. Some infants hardly respond to their names and lack joyous engaging expressions.
3. Development Signs of Autism
Delay in speech can be traced to ASD. Victims of autism have abnormal speech patterns like babbling or robot-like speech. These categories of children can be seen repeating a single word or phrase which is often meaningless.
4. Cognitive Signs of Autism
The simple litmus test for autism is through cognitive signs. Children with ASD have low intelligence, creativity, memory retention ability, and emotional coordination. They lack concentration and can’t understand easy questions or directions.
5. Psychological Signs of Autism
This includes being unconscious of their emotions and those around them. They are also victims of depression and being
sensitive to touch, light, sound, smell, taste, color, and texture.
Practical Tips for Raising a Child With Autism
1. Incorporate Patient While Raising a Kid With Autism
It’s exhausting bringing up a child who forgets everything that has been learned. Unfortunately, this is the state autistic kids belong to. In other words, they keep repeating wrong behaviors after being corrected countless times— slow at adapting to normal behavior. However, instead of getting angry with their lack of improvement, chose to be patient and supportive.
Learn how to be patient with that child, looking beyond their disabilities. Don’t permit your anger to dictate how to nurture an artistic child nor should you employ violent methods of disciplining a child when correcting them.
2. Non-verbal Communication Helps You Relate Better With an Autistic Child
Autistic children find it difficult to communicate and express themselves verbally—speech defaults. Therefore, to connect with them you must learn how to communicate using nonverbal methods such as communication using gestures, facial expressions, and touch.
This may sound ridiculous. However, raising a child with autism demands you learn them. It enables you to relate to their needs and provides for them. It further helps that child associate with others instead of being left behind.
3. Create A Safe Haven for an Autistic Child
A hostile environment stirs up autism spectrum disorder—it hinders improvement. Perhaps, you’re raising a child with autism, you need to make your home a haven. It isn’t the time for nagging, quarreling, or violence in the family. Rather a time to practice activities that increase love bonds with a child.
A healthy relationship communicates the message of love and value to an autistic child. Oftentimes, victims of autism give in to self-harm. Therefore, ensure you keep out all harmful objects, substances, and appliances from their reach. Always monitor their movements.
4. Study Your Child as a Parent
As a parent or caregiver, you must watch out for the signs of autism in your kids beginning from infancy. This enables you to seek the right treatment early. The outcome from your study will give an accurate knowledge of the things that upset your child, so you can avoid them. Similarly, the thing that cheers them up.
Don’t hesitate to do more of what makes them happy as it boosts their learning process of increasing normal behavior.
5. Reward Their Behaviors
To boost the retention ability of children with ASD you need to reward their good behavior often. Since they easily forget what’s learned, getting rewarded will help them familiarize themselves with normal behaviors.
Subsequently, they begin to adapt to what’s learned to obtain the rewards. Meanwhile, don’t hesitate to show disapproval for wrong behaviors by not awarding rewards.
6. Build Your Child’s Interest
You must learn how to discover your child’s passion irrespective of their disability. Autism hinders a child’s cognitive ability and academic performance, however, it doesn’t terminate their interest in other activities. You also need to step beyond discovering their passion by giving them your support and encouragement. Developing their interest strengthens them to communicate and socialize faster.
Don’t be quick to conclude they aren’t good at anything—keep trying. I have met with an autistic child who is an awesome artist. Therefore give your child a chance!
7. Watch Your Words as You Speak With an Autistic Child
Raising a child with autism requires the use of gracious words. I know it hurts to see your child with disabilities but that shouldn’t alter your words used in communicating to them. It’s disastrous to use insulting words at them. This implies that your words can either become a healing or destructive balm. Depending on how you utilize them.
Using words like you’re worthless, you would never learn or why don’t you ever fit in like other kids tears down their self-esteem and worsens their condition. In contrast, use supportive and loving words; I believe in you, you can do it, you’re a genius, you’re unique among others.
8. Disallow Self–isolation for an Autistic Child
Oftentimes parents encourage the attitude of loneliness in autistic children by restricting their movement. Due to fear of being embarrassed when they misbehave while among their peers.
Unfortunately, this act doesn’t solve the problem. If you must succeed at raising a child with autism, you must realize that they are also entitled to the privilege and rights of a normal child— not less.
Therefore, give them your support by allowing them to associate with their peers. Perhaps, you feel their peers will laugh at them, ensure they hang out with a few friends, preferably one or two is healthy for a start. They adapt faster to normal behavior through positive peer group influence.
9. Involve Others
To prevent breaking down with depression, involve others in your quest to help your child overcome autism. In other words, you need the help of other household members. It’s one of your responsibilities to inform and educate them on how to relate to an autistic child. Therefore, instead of insulting or rejecting such children, they give their love, support, and acceptance. It further creates a conducive atmosphere to learn new skills.
10. A Private Tutor is Needed for an Autistic Child
Furthermore, it’s a waste of time and effort to assume that an autistic child will cope along with their peers. Therefore, you need to employ the assistance of a private tutor to simplify what’s taught, which aids their comprehension ability.
They also tend to forget easily. However, a private tutor will help in revising what is taught many more times until it’s adapted.
11. Commitment to Treatment
There are numerous treatments for autism spectrum disorder depending on the disability of a child. As a parent raising a child with autism you need to understand that these treatments work in a progressive pattern—not instantaneous. This treatment process calls for commitment and patience. There will be a time when you feel the treatment isn’t working, however, don’t quit! Continue sooner than later you will see improvement in that child’s life.
Autism spectrum disorder treatment includes speech therapy, occupational therapy( Enhance daily activities), physical therapy, educational therapy, family therapy and applied behavioral analysis.
In addition, certain medications may be recommended like antipsychotics for behavioral problems or antidepressants (for anxiety and depression).
12. Self-Care is Needed
You need to be healthy and fit to provide your child with the best support needed to walk through autism. Taking proper care of yourself is needed to avert a nervous breakdown. In essence, you need to be emotionally stable. Avoid engaging in self-pity or worrying, this often results in depression. Likewise, give your body enough rest, proper diets, and seek medical care when sick. Also, discard the use of hard drugs to forget about your pain.
Early recognition of autism spectrum disorder makes treatment achievable. Therefore, be an observant parent. Nonetheless, your support is highly required to enhance normal behavior, although you would have to make decisions for them for a long time before they attain independence.
Meanwhile, as a pregnant mother be careful of the things you take into your body system. These substances affect the unborn child.
In addition, share your views regarding raising a child with autism in the comment section.