My Child Was Diagnosed With Special Needs
What happens when your child is diagnosed with special needs?
Don’t Rely On Google Alone
In my experience, the first thing parents do is run to the internet and reach out to our friend Google. This has some advantages—there’s a lot of information on the internet, and you can learn a great deal. The disadvantage of turning to the internet is that not all of that information is accurate. You need a filter to help you tell the good information from the bad.
Ask Tons of Questions
When we are working with a newly diagnosed family, we usually spend time after treatment answering the family’s questions. Please don’t be afraid to ask us anything. We have a wealth of experience and we want to use it to help you find good information and what will work best for your child!
I’ve personally pursued multiple interventions with my own boys, and I’ve done a lot of research. Through my research, I’ve tried some things that were fantastic! And I’ve tried some that were not so great. Some approaches had great benefit, and others did not. Some of what we tried was out of my desperation to get my kids into some degree of recovery. We understand this!
Understanding Therapy Expectations
One thing I want to make sure all parents of newly diagnosed children is this: change takes time. Whenever you begin treatment or try any new approach or technique, it’s best to stick with it for a good amount of time, usually three to six months, before you decide whether it’s working or not.
Why should you stick with something for so long when you’re not sure yet if it’s working or not? Many of our kids have a process of development that’s different from other kids. Also, our children have developed certain types of dysfunctional coping mechanisms, and when we do therapy we are working with their nervous system and taking all those things down. We are leveling out their playing field. Whenever you do this it provokes a crisis first, as the kids have to learn how to cope without their old coping mechanisms. This means that they will often get worse before they get better. We have to go through a downward trend before we can move forward again. Sometimes parents will come to us and say, “It’s been two months and my kids are worse!” This is something we expect and are prepared for. Stick with it! After your kiddo gets through the crisis you’ll see growth.
Determining If Your Child Is Ready For Home Programs
This initial period of breaking down dysfunctional patterns and rebuilding is one of the reasons we will not give you a home program within the first month of therapy here. We don’t want to turn a home program over to you until we know that you’re going to be able to have success with it. If we give you a home brushing program, for instance, and your child isn’t really ready for it, we could make things at home worse instead of better. We don’t want to do that!
It Takes Time
So if things don’t seem to be moving as quickly as you’d hoped, or don’t seem to be moving at all, remember that we are on the same team, and we’re working together. Is treatment an exact science? No. It’s really a process of elimination, where we try different things to see which work best. We may try four different things and find that thing one and thing three are not as good as things two and four.
Also, remember that your kiddo changes. These kids are fluid—they are not the same from day to day. We have to adapt therapy to account for that, too. We also often see kids plateau for a while before they move into another growth phase. You can think of this like going up a flight of stairs and then coming to a landing. That landing is like a developmental plateau. After the landing, you go up another set of stairs—until you come to another landing. This is how treatment typically works. You don’t find that every day you see huge gains. This is the way it is in my own life, too, and probably in yours—some days are much more productive than others!
Talk To Your Child’s Therapist
Always talk to your clinicians and ask them about your concerns, or about anything you need. We offer you a resource drive when you first come in here, to make sure you have plenty of good information about community resources. We also have these resources printed out in our waiting room, and this is a good thing for you to look at so that you can familiarize yourself with the resources available in our community. These are resources that we’ve received positive feedback on from multiple people, and we update it all the time to make sure these people are still in business and actually do a great job with our kiddos.
We’re Here For You
We are always available to give you suggestions for things to work on at home, and for things to do to help at school. It’s important that we always know how things are going with you and your kiddo, and then we will be able to help you out with suggestions. We want to help your child be successful and have a positive and productive therapy experience, which includes helping you find the right information and therapies for your child!