This morning I reviewed my seven year old daughter’s progress in terms of her academic abilities and general life skills. I initially created a goal plan for her at the beginning of this year and I was so surprised how far she has come. Some goals may sound little, but they were actually huge for her, (due to her autism and rare chromosome disorder along with other health issues), such as being able to adapt to change better, to accept new routines or to take part in a group activity on a regular basis.
While I was able to tick of 7 of 18 items on the list, including the ability to read short sentences (with just little help), number recognition to 100 and the ability to use those for mental and written calculations, tying her own shoe laces or riding a bike without stabilizers, I realised how far she has come in just 12 months!
Although the list has a great number of items I was not able to tick of, I must say that it doesn’t matter, as any progress is a big step in the right direction. Plus, the number of items on my list was quite ambitious, I guess 😉
If I would have listed to some of the specialists, we would have not come this far, one for instance, has recommended that occupational therapy is ‘a waste of time for children on the Autistic Spectrum’. Excuse me?! I don’t think so!!!
Instead I listened to my own intuition and took every opportunity to help my little one develop in her own time. Home-schooling has played a huge part in this, as it allowed me to create a lesson plan that is tailored to her needs.
I have been home-schooling her for two years now and in addition she has had private sessions with speech and language and other health care specialists to help her in each area of her impairments. We use all available resources to increase her learning abilities, for example picture cards, Makaton sign language, computer software and online courses, as well as ‘Now and Then’ boards along with other helpful aids.
But the most important factors, in my eyes, are:
Love, Patience & Optimism
I must say, although it is wonderful to be underestimating a child’s abilities due to his or her disability, it can unfortunately also hinder the child to grow and expand his or her wings.
So I urge you to celebrate your (special needs) child’s uniqueness and celebrate his or her imagination, talents and skills and stop comparing him or her with other children, as I believe that we all have different gifts we have been born with. And nobody can predict the future anyway!
Let me know what you think.
All the Best & Speak to you tomorrow,