22 Jul Challenges of being a parent
Challenges of being a parent…
No other station in life challenges a person more than being a parent. Add parenting a child with a disability and the challenge increases exponentially. Naturally, there are so many worries being a parent for the first time, then add something different or unfamiliar. When you have a child with a developmental disability, you aren’t given a list of answers to questions like, will they be able to keep up with their peers, will they make friends, live independently, and countless other questions.
Intuitively you know you’re not the first mom to ever have faced these challenges, but to have to navigate without any guidance is entirely bewildering.
It was first brought to our attention by the administration of our son’s Montessori school when he was about four years old. You know there’s trouble when you are called in for a meeting. Our son was struggling with making progress with his scissor technique, coloring in the lines, and learning his letters plus, he wasn’t relating with the other children. He was parroting what he heard when asked a question, which we later learned was called Echolalia, and this greatly disturbed his teachers since they thought he was being disrespectful. He also didn’t know how to reciprocate; he would keep an item once it came his way and wouldn’t hand it back over. He clearly wasn’t being malicious; he just didn’t seem to understand. The recommendation was to seek counsel from a pediatric psychologist however at that time the expense of an evaluation wasn’t covered by insurance and they were quite expensive.
To make the situation more difficult, the practitioner accused us of having a too permissive parenting style and told us we need to be more strict disciplinarians! He actually demonstrated how to apply swift corrective redirection by grabbing our son as he was about to touch a book on a bookcase in the doctor’s office, mind you he was only 4 years old. All I could visualize was my child flying through the air and my husband quickly coming to his feet. That was the last time we saw that doctor!
Moving forward we decided to take a different approach and seek an Occupational Therapy assessment, since we learned through our own research that our son had delays in fine and gross motor development coupled with sensory processing issues. The challenges were definitely just beginning, but we were preparing the best way we knew by researching, asking questions and not settling for status quo. We were on our way to helping our son and learning how to respond to the challenges on our terms!