Special Needs
Posted: 05 August 2012 10:04 AM
AwesomeSauce
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I just read "fullofgrace" 's bio, it's so great to get to know someone on a more personal level. I read that she has a daughter with Autism, I also have a child with special needs, my daughter is 9 and has Down Syndrome, I just thought it might be great to start a thread to see if anyone else has children with special needs. It's always great to share information and even just talk about "things" sometimes.
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Posted: 05 August 2012 02:15 PM   [ # 1 ]
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Maybe it doesn't quite qualify as special needs but my son has Tourette syndrome. When he was young he had quite a few extreme tics and vocalizations. It caused a lot of problems for him in school. He has a very high IQ yet he would get horrible grades because he'd freak out about things. There were some weeks where I'd have to pick him up from school two or three times. There were a lot of suspensions for "behavior". One of his teachers actually told me that she just didn't understand and didn't want to deal with the Tourettes. There were also lots of doctor and phsychiatrist appointments and lots of trial and error with various medication over the years.

We are fortunate though. As he got older he got much better at managing things. He just graduated from the Air Force basic military training with very high marks and now he's in the Air Force tech school. He's learned to really control his stress levels and that helps a lot. He's extremely zen about everything. He still gets tics but unless you know him you probably wouldn't even notice them. He has also been off all medications for several years.

When he was young I had so many people tell me how much they admired me for dealing with his issues but to me they really didn't seem that bad. Especially when you know other people with special needs children and you see what they have to go through. I mean, as a parent you love your child and you do what you have to right? I hated when people would say "I don't think I could be the parent of a child with Tourettes". Like what would they do? Send them back?

I do really admire parents of children with Down syndrome or Autism though. Unlike my son the chances of their children being able to lead an independent life are much less. And I know how difficult it can be to communicate with them or get a response. I have a young cousin with Down syndrome and it's very hard to get her to understand even simple concepts. She can also be extremely rude and while you know it's not on purpose it's also hard to know how to respond to it.

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Posted: 05 August 2012 10:23 PM   [ # 2 ]
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kwynn, I think your son and you are really strong for dealing with ignorant people such as his teachers. That really bugs me that a teacher would say they don't want to deal with that. I am happy to hear he is doing so well. You must be so proud, I am smile

My oldest sister has autism and she is the sweetest thing. Growing up, she used to have really bad tantrums and would hit me so I was scared of her. It wasn't until I tutored for her class when I was in middle school that I really began to understand her. I am happy to say she taught me patience and understanding. As with any kid with special needs, it's about them. A lot of professionals tried telling my parents to do A, B, and C but it didn't work for my sister. I think that can be the most difficult part, finding the methods that work best for the child. Luckily, there is a lot of help with autism now that wasn't available before.
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Posted: 06 August 2012 02:10 AM   [ # 3 ]
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Princess - you are so right about it teaching you patience. And I know dealing with my sons Tourettes really taught me tolerance. I started to recognize behavioral issues in other kids and what I used to find annoying I now realized might be something outside their control. The tolerance gives you time to figure it out I think.

And I agree that you have to try a lot of things sometimes to figure out what works best for them. I also had to educate myself so I was knowledgeable on the subject and I could try things that others had tried in addition to Dr. recommendations.

I think one of the biggest things for my son was treating him like everything was normal. Being really subtle about how you handled things when his tics were very bad so it wasn't bringing attention to it. What's funny is if you didn't say anything when he had really bad tics he didn't even realize he was doing it. We're talking things like full arm or head movements - not little tics like eye blinking or mouth twitches. He had a bad repetitive arm movement once and I remember I asked him something about it - like if he noticed it - and he said what arm movement?

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Posted: 06 August 2012 10:52 AM   [ # 4 ]
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Kwynn, It's really wonderful to hear that your son has overcome his challenges and is succedding in life, that means you guys worked really hard, you have to find the best things that work for each individual child, to bad the teacher were not more accepting considering it is their job to teach all children.

We are very lucky in that Lily is very high functioning and social, school is hard for her but she loves it. She is also very healthy and that makes a big difference in how kids with Down Syndrome develop. All kids with Down Syndrome have different developmental levels and learn best by how others model their behavior and redirection in a positive manner also may help in responding to your cousin Kwynn.

Princ3ss, it think you are so right about it teaching you patience, my son is very patient and understanding and it is shaping him into a person who is very empathic and accepting of others especially those with special needs.
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Posted: 06 August 2012 12:31 PM   [ # 5 ]
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Lola ~ It's so nice to hear from others who have experience with special needs. Thank you for starting this thread! smile

Kwynn ~ In addition to Autism, my daughter also has Tourette's. Hers manifests physically in the form of repeatedly squinting really hard and/or strong head bobbing/nodding. Like you, we have to do our best to ignore it, since when she's stressed, it is much worse.

PRINC3SS ~ My kids have taught me so much and changed the way I view the world. (They each have different special needs, but that's for another post. smile)
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Posted: 07 August 2012 02:06 AM   [ # 6 ]
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kwynn, I agree with you 200%. I think if there is anything that is universal in helping kids is accepting who they are and treating them like normal. Yes, they may have special needs but they are people like anyone else. It's tough when people judge before they understand what's going on but then again, they haven't had the privilege of seeing what we see right? smile

And fullofgrace, it would be great for you to share your story someday!
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Posted: 20 August 2012 06:28 PM   [ # 7 ]
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PRINC3SS - 07 August 2012 02:06 AM
I think if there is anything that is universal in helping kids is accepting who they are and treating them like normal. Yes, they may have special needs but they are people like anyone else. It's tough when people judge before they understand what's going on but then again, they haven't had the privilege of seeing what we see right?


I agree. I do not have children myself but I work for an organization providing residential care and day services to children & adults with special needs. The kids I work with are no different to their peers and are capable of such great things. They are such wonderful little people to be around. All they may need is a little more support and encouragement.
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