A delay or disability does not define your child; it may explain his/her behavior. It may cause fear, it may be hard to accept, but with the right diagnosis you can begin to get the information you need. With the right therapy, technology and support services you can greatly improve your child’s life.
As your child develops and grows, it is critical to remember that each child is different. There is a wide range of what one can consider “healthy” and “typical” in terms of growth and development. You should address your child’s needs, just as you would any physical concerns or any social or communication issues.
Your child’s success is dependent on developing partners who can support you. You bring powerful observation, reinforced by a sense of love and responsibility, while professionals and physicians can monitor and provide expert advice. These partnerships are critical as no one parent can do this all on their own without burning out.
Don’t be afraid to talk to your partner and family about your fears. Be ready to accept that they might feel challenged as well. Not only will every child vary in disability, but every parent, teacher, and caregiver will vary in his or her understanding of the situation.
Talk to you neighbors, local schools, and support groups. Get to know what life is like for other families with a child with a disability, and find places to connect with other families like you. The JCC Baltimore Jewish Abilities Alliance has a Parent to Parent Network that will pair you with a parent in a similar situation.
Be proactive and get all the information you can about your child’s specific condition. Try to link up with organizations that can provide information and resources focused on your child’s disability. There will be many indifferences and red tape along the way; you need to be armed with knowledge.
Most importantly remember that these exciting times will be filled with dreams and challenges, but with love and proper nurturing your child will develop a sense of trust and security.
For more information on the Baltimore Jewish Abilities Alliance or the Baltimore Jewish Community Center’s Special Needs program email Stacy Israel at email@example.com or call 410-559-3576.