When a parent, for the first time comes face to face with the extremely harsh reality that he/she has been blessed with a child that has certain atypical neurological conditions, the world comes down crashing in front of the parent’s eyes. Needless to say, the thought that begins to haunt one’s sensibilities day and night, once the initial shock subsides is that once I am gone, what is going to happen to my child, how will my little bundle of joy survive this extremely difficult world.
Being a special educator, I deal with anxious parents almost on a daily basis where they are on the verge of being termed as clinically depressed, thinking about this very fact . Seeing the overwhelming number of parents that are suffering from this anxiety, I decided to feature this in my weekly blog.
Friends, the first and foremost thing we all as parents of children with special needs need to freeze in our heads is that we have only so much emotional energy in the entire of the day. When we consciously focus on draining this energy on a “what after me” or a “why me” thought, we get completely consumed in the process and nothing much is left of us to actually sit back and plan for what we truely need to sit back and plan for…the child and his growth.
Remember , time is at a premium, every second that is gone is irretrievable, coupled with the fact that none of us comes with a guarantee that we have so many years to go. So that means, every minute or every second that we could have rather utilized in figuring out how to support our child, we have now wasted in, “why did this have to happen to me” thought. Its much like switching the engine on, letting the fuel get wasted and not moving the vehicle an inch by not taking action and putting it in the gear. Nice lines, I read somewhere but found so profoundly true, and so much applicable to our present scenario.
Second, our mind is an immense resource. It has the capacity of creating miracles, but the problem is, it will follow our command like a genie, and the way it follows our command is by means of our thought energy, so if we are fretting over something, the power of the mind will create more circumstances to fret, and we see our kid going down a negative spiral. Not learning, we not able to find a good therapist or school, etc. On the contrary, the minute we say, “ok, so this is what it is, let me just see what exactly can I do about it, how can I contribute in making it better for my kid”, the mind begins to open up avenues, new schools and therapists pop up from somewhere in our lives, training programs begin to show up, somehow, things begin to move in the direction where we are more empowered to help the child.
So the baseline is, no one has seen the future for any child, forget about just a child with special needs. When we were kids, our parents or us had absolutely no clue of what the future would bring in as challenges for us during the course of our lives, but challenges did come, and so did solutions and the strength to just go for the solutions even in the face of repeated failures sometimes. This is precisely what we need to know for our special children also. Challenges will come, and so would solutions and the strength to face them. Our job today, is to empower them by giving them adequate skills. Life skills, self help skills, academic skills, skills to be determined and yet not rigid, skills to be able to deal with lower vibrations and emotions such as frustration, anger, disappointment, jealously and so on.
The only way that we can help our kids develop coping skills to deal with these emotions is by looking at them as regular children and allowing them exposure to various stimulus( of course with necessary adaptations).
For example consider the following situations. There are two high functioning boys with autism in a mainstream school in grade VI. A field trip is announced for 5 days and a consent form is sent home to parents. The parents of one of the boys agrees to sending him with the class even when they are really scared . They make proper arrangements by preparing him beforehand, making his caretakers aware of his condition and providing adequate support in terms of creating a structure for him like a timetable or putting up alarms on his mobile so that he participate to the best of his ability in activities at the camp. The other student’s parents, however think it is too much of a risk and back out. After the field trip is over, who do you think is more or better equipped to handle life. No prices for guessing the correct answer. The kid who went on the trip, not only enjoyed himself, he learnt how to manage himself without his parents. He learnt problem solving skills many of which he might have been prepared for and some of which he may have just used his brains on the spot and come up with solutions. Such a rare opportunity completely lost by the other student whose parents backed out, being scared and probably sulking, that if god had not been this unkind to them, even their kid would have been out having fun.
Such is life, we fail to live our responsibilities and face our fears and then put everything on poor god, because we know, he cannot come down and prove us wrong. But imagine if we just focused on doing what we needed to do and left the rest to god, knowing that god will take care where we are not available, life would still be uncertain but a whole deal more peaceful as now it wouldn’t bother us so much as to “what happens to my special childafter I die” as we would have already imparted enough skill set to our children to sustain themselves independently and at the same time would have developed the faith that for everything that is beyond us, god will take care.