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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Special Parenting Made Easy, and How childhood makes you

Special kids need special parenting. Here’s taking a look at what goes into parenting differently able children with Mukta Gaikwad

Parenting is an experience that encompasses frustrations, anger, exhaustion and rewards, which get doubled for parents with special needs children. The biggest challenge faced by such parents is the issue of acceptance. It is because most parents cannot come to terms with their child’s condition, they get into psychological moaning, often cursing their situation. “As parents never learn to deal with the situation, the child suffers more and more with each passing day”, affirms Malavika Vartak, a special educator. A family which accepts their child’s disability is in a much better place to garner hope and enthusiasm, in comparison to a family which does not.

Disabilities can vary from mild mental retardation to an extreme case of the same, learning disabilities to birth defects or sometimes genetic disabilities too. It is recognition of these disabilities, which is the most important step towards providing your child a normal childhood. Watching out for developmental milestones such as gross motor skills, fine motor skills, language skills and cognition is one way of nailing your concern. It is imperative to detect the case at the earliest for treating it right with early intervention programs.

Besides the treatments and programs, parents need to understand that patience is a virtue, and especially so when your child is special. While dealing with special needs children, keep in mind that their levels of understanding differ than their counterparts. Their perceptions are many a time incomprehensible to parents, which further aggravates the problem. Children with learning disabilities such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia and children suffering from autism, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) require unique teaching methods, which may have to be repeated a thousand times over without losing patience.

“I am constantly watching over my child’s needs, actions and demands, that I barely have had the time to sleep peacefully”, said Mithila Kanetkar, mother of 14 year old boy with severe autism. “You never know, which moment might turn into an emergency with a blink of an eye. You have to be on a 24x7 duty”, she says. Several parents like her with special needs children would agree with Mithila. However, you need to understand that it’s OK to get off duty, take a few deep breaths, go for a long walk, fill in the deficit of sleep, relax and rejuvenate your mind and restart the task all over again if needed. Sleep deprivation and an over worked mind and body will make you impatient with your child, which can further add to tensions in the relationship.

“Gods gives these children only to those who can take care of them”, says Malavika Vartak, who has been working for the cause of special needs children for the last 20 years. She further asserts, “These children do not need sympathy. Al they ask for is love.” A special needs child is blessed with special skills, which need to be tapped in order to instill a sense of confidence in the child. Only a few are lucky to be blessed with children who are differently able. Thus, only these few understand the trials, tribulations and triumphs of parenting with a difference to create a difference.

Childhood Defines Your Personality

Our personalities stay pretty much the same throughout our lives, from our early childhood years to after we're over the hill, according to a new study. The results show personality traits observed in children as young as first graders are a strong predictor of adult behavior.

"We remain recognizably the same person," said study author Christopher Nave, a doctoral candidate at the University of California, Riverside. "This speaks to the importance of understanding personality because it does follow us wherever we go across time and contexts." The study will be published in an upcoming issue of the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.

Using data from a 1960s study of approximately 2,400 ethnically diverse schoolchildren (grades 1 - 6) in Hawaii, researchers compared teacher personality ratings of the students with videotaped interviews of 144 of those individuals 40 years later.

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