Sunday, June 26, 2011
Special Needs/Special Gifts
I truly believe that EVERY child has special needs. I also believe that EVERY child has special gifts.
When those special needs are met, the special gifts are revealed.
Let's be honest. Every child needs something. Some of these needs are temporary and some need to be addressed long term and perhaps with medical help. Each child is unique, each child expresses his or her needs in a different way, and your child will look to you to help meet his or her needs.
Most children will not even realize that they are expressing a "need". They may act irritable, sullen, angry, cranky, inpulsive, disruptive, or even try to not be noticed.
Some needs are simple, making sure the need for food and sleep are met. Separating siblings when they are crossing boundaries, and helping children with challenging schoolwork.
Finding what your child's needs can be tricky. If you notice that your child seems "off" for a period of time, consult with the teacher. Express what you have noticed and ask if the teacher can watch for these things too. Ask other adults who have interactions with your child, scout leaders, coaches, etc., to keep an eye out as well. Consult your pediatrician. Take notes of what you have observed in your child. Write down the questions you want answers to, and take notes of what the pediatrician has to say.
As a parent, your honesty in these situations can only benefit your child. As difficult as it may seem, be realistic. Work with professionals you trust.
Don't be worried about "labels". I have had parents withold important information about their child's needs because they had a fear that we would label their child. The child's impulsive behavior led others to think of him as "mean", "argumentative" and "naughty". Rather than supporting this child in his struggle, the teachers often had to ask the child to leave activities because he lacked self control and was disruptive. Be honest with the adults who teach your child.
What are your child's special gifts? Some days it may be hard to find what they are. When you notice that your child is kind, helpful, creative, insightful, artistic, athletic, intelligent, personable, talented, and loving remember and encourage those moments to blossom. These gifts are struggling to take root and grow in your child. By addressing the child's struggles you are helping develop his or her gifts.