Recognizing Disabilities in Your Child
Negative comments, criticism, bad advising, finger-pointing, unwanted staring and expressions of sympathy are what parents experience when they have children with disability. Dealing with children’s disability can be a very challenging and frustrating experience but it is a reality of life for some. Allah does not wish to burden parents but to grant them ever more rewards in the Hereafter.
Children can suffer from different kinds of disabilities. Some are related to developmental and some to functional disorders. Parents can recognize these abilities with time as the child enters the learning stage. Apart from medical consultation, the best treatment comes from the parent’s own knowledge and contribution towards helping their child overcome the educational and behavioral barrier.
A Few Common Disabilities to Look Into
Dyslexia is a learning disability in children that makes it difficult for them to read, write, spell or sometimes speak. This can go on for life if not treated at an earlier stage. The reason for its occurrence can be a brain trauma which is mostly hereditary. Dyslexia can also be verbal or visual depending on what part of brain is affected. Parents normally come to know of it when their child starts going to school but it can also be depicted at a pre-school age.
Signs and symptoms to look for:
– Word confusion
– Difficulty in counting and sequencing
– Difficulty in pronouncing words
– Slow in speaking and inability of recalling words
– Slow motor skills
– Consistent errors in reading and pronouncing
– Illegible handwriting because of loose or awkward pencil grip
Children can suffer a feeling of failure when they have dyslexia. When you notice that the learning skills of your child are not advancing, it is the best time to consult a pediatrician. Treating this disability is based on using educational tools and modifying ways of teaching. A lot of help can be attained through centers specially designed for dyslexic children.
The traditional methods of teaching will not work in this case. The child needs to be given individual attention and encouragement along with multi-sensory teaching approach i.e. teaching through more than one of the senses. Parents need to put in efforts like:
– Work on confidence building
– Getting involved at school
– Learning techniques to make them identify phonemes, letters and spellings
– Engage them in physical activities
– Changing their attitude towards their dyslexia
Autism (Autistic Spectrum Disorder)
This is also another genetic developmental disability which interferes in a child’s normal brain development. Doctors also suggest that environmental factors like pollution can also cause damage and certain vaccines can also produce the effects of autism in children.
In this case a child can have problems with social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication and repetitive behavior. The signs can be seen from the age of 12-18 months and purely evident when the child is 3. There are a wide range of symptoms associated with autism like:
– Slow language development
– Communication with gestures rather than words
– Spending more time alone
– Unusual facial expressions
– Sensory impairments
– Lack of imaginative play
– Overactive or passive behavior
– Lack of awareness regarding existence of others
There are techniques that can help children overcome the developmental challenges and learn new skills. While it may not be easy to let your child grow out of autism, the treatments surely help to the child to grow better. There are special behavioral training for autistic children that helps in improving their social behavior and communication. Depression, anxiety and hyperactivity is controlled through medication. Parents also need to learn the skills to communicate and manage the autism of their child.
This is another form of autism spectrum disorder which is milder than autism. The distinguishing factor between the two is that children with Asperger’s syndrome do not have speech delays and have normal intelligence and language development. However they do suffer from impaired socialization, obsession, odd speech pattern, unusual mannerism and poor coordination. The signs and symptoms can be obvious when the child starts preschool and begins to interact with other children.
The treatments include
– Social skill training
– Therapies for language, behavior and senses
– Engagement in highly structured activities
And as with all treatments parents need to educate and train themselves to know about the disability and how to deal with it. This is surely a very challenging task for both the parents and the child but treatments focuses on particular areas that can help the brain to function properly.
In all these three disabilities, the symptoms can persist for a lifetime but every effort towards treatment counts. Paying individual attention to children suffering from disabilities, making time for them, learning about ways to treat them, becoming a support for your child and most importantly adopting perseverance to carry on meeting the challenges of disabilities are things that parents must pursue.
Having a disabled child is not a punishment from Allah (SWT); rather they are a different means for parents to attain Jannah. Do not give up hope nor question Allah’s decision. Join a support group with other parents with disabled children so that you may find comfort from people who are going through similar challenges.
[quote]“Be sure we shall test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods or lives or the fruits (of your toil), but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere. Who say, when afflicted with calamity: “To Allah We belong, and to Him is our return”. They are those on whom (Descend) blessings from Allah, and Mercy, and they are the ones that receive guidance (2:155-157)[/quote]
Sadaf Siddique holds a degree in Computers and a Masters in Business Administration. She is the mother of a 2-year-old boy, a part-time writer and a full-time homemaker.