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Steps for Empowering a Child with Additional Needs

  Steps for Empowering a Child with Additional Needs Around 12.8% of children   in the U.S. have an additional need, making a total of arou...


Steps for Empowering a Child with Additional Needs

Around 12.8% of children in the U.S. have an additional need, making a total of around 9.4 million children. Some of the most prevalent additional or special needs include autism, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, dyslexia, and intellectual disabilities. If you have a child with additional needs, creating a proactive strategy is key in order to help foster their independence, happiness, and wellbeing. The following tips may be helpful after a recent diagnosis.


Ensuring Your Child’s Legal Rights are Respected

Depending on your child’s additional need, he or she may be entitled to compensation if medical negligence was involved. Cerebral palsy, for instance, can be caused if a health professional fails to diagnose or treat an infection in the mother, rapidly diagnose and treat preterm labor, or monitor infant distress - resulting in birth asphyxia. The latter can occur owing to umbilical cord problems, which may necessitate a C-section. In the case that birth asphyxia has occurred, immediate treatment should be received to help prevent the severity of cerebral palsy. If you suspect negligence or error caused your child’s condition, it is important to seek legal help as your child may be entitled to compensation. The latter will be key when it comes to accessing the wide range of established and novel treatments available.


Choosing the Best Schooling for  Your Child

One of the most challenging decisions you may have to make is choosing whether to send your child to a mainstream or a special education school. The latter will usually have more equipment and facilities and may have particularly strong programs for children with your child’s condition. Some parents opt for mainstream school, however, because they prioritize their child’s interaction with typically developing peers. When making your choice, look into aspects such as the school’s commitment to children with special needs, the approach of staff and the school principal, and the use of creative and personalized approaches to education. Pay a visit to your shortlisted schools so you can get a feel for the staff and so you can view the available resources and equipment.


Embracing Opportunities for Social Interaction

Joining support groups, networks, and forums can help you find and connect with families living with the same additional need/s your child has, thus providing a crucial sense of belonging. Parents are also an invaluable source of information on everything from resources to good schools, top professionals, and useful extra-curricular treatments. Building a friend group for your child is also key, so as soon as you child starts school, take the opportunity to organize play dates and meet-ups so that your child can have a wide array of friends. Encourage your child to make independent decisions about the type of play they enjoy and the friends they feel most connected to.

A significant percentage of children in the U.S. have an additional need. Parents wishing to foster independence in their children should ensure their child’s entitlements - including legal and educational - are respected. Building social networks, meanwhile, are as important for the child as for the parent themselves, since support, friendship, and shared information can help you make informed decisions that will benefit your child both in the short- and long-term.