i ran into a wonderful caring mother who i have known for years. she had a developmentally disabled child. the child i believed was at at least eighteen or may have been in her early 20s. this mother was depressed. she told me that there has been a change in her daughter. she no longer wanted to listen to her. she started to say “no.” she started to “act out” and be disobedient. this mother was very worried. she thought the worst. she thought she had lost control of the situation. she thought that she failed her child.
after telling me her story, i gave her the following advice: you should be so happy. she was shocked. i went on to tell her that her child was growing up. her child wanted to be an adult and make her own decisions. i told her to embrace the rebellion as an achievement.
the light bulb went off in her head. she understood. she was happy. just as non-disabled children, her child was becoming an adult. she understood that as a parent was now going to have to confront it. there was now a new page in their relationship which needed to be written. the days of a child who would, with no resistance, follow instruction were now over. her child wanted to start making her own decisions, her own choices. a developmental achievement.
this wisdom came from personal experience. my first child was developmentally delayed. developmentally delayed children’s problems are not solved with the flick of a switch. developmentally children do not just have a moment in which their problems are instantaneously fixed. the matter is actually to the contrary. when developmentally delayed children achieve benchmarks, this success actually reveals more problems, not less. thus, the more that the child achieves, the more problems are revealed. thus, there are more challenges that lay ahead.
thus, for those dealing with developmentally delayed children, it is important to gain the proper perspective. again, these situations are not a problem solved, problem goes away matter. instead the perspective should be more like problem solved and now more problems to be solved. thus, more patience will lead to more results.
a bit of advice. as a parent, it was noticed early on that there was a speech issue with my child. we were encouraged to take action right away. as a result, there was medical consultation with a pediatrician. also, even though he was not even close to attending kindergarten, we approached the school district for assistance. they provided testing and resources. he was placed in various programs prior to starting public school he had his individual educational program in place.
as a result of the prep work, he was able to attend regular school with times of the day that he would be taken out of class for individual instruction. the special education teachers were wonderful. the progress was great. the progress, however, revealed far more issues as the matter went along. developmental delays have profound effects on children. as a close observer, i felt that even i could not fully comprehend what was going on in his mind. it was my impression that there is an impact to the psyche that only that child feels and for which they may not want to communicate. the developmental problems impact can involve relationships, confidence, and level of fear.
with my son, he was able to matriculate through school. eventually, the special classes ended and he was exclusively in regular classes. he graduated high school and then college. he got himself a job and has been working ever since. he deserves most of the credit for his success. he tried and never gave up.
what to learn: perspective is everything. what can look like a bad thing or a disaster can actually be the opposite. i was happy that i had the opportunity to help this loving caring mother to realize that she was in fact doing a great job. sometimes, a little rebellion can be a good thing.
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