Tips and Tools

Five Simple Things Every

Parent Needs to Know

1.  You're not alone.


There may not be anyone with the same constellation of symptoms as your child.  However, there are people who experience similar challenges.  Take the initiative to start a parent group, a play group, or even just a get together to have coffee once in a while. Every parent can provide something great for the another, and it will remind you that you are not alone.


2.  You can't always be perfect.


As parents, we try to be the best and to provide the best for our children.  We don’t always manage to get it right, however, and that’s okay.  Don’t let it discourage you; dust yourself off, and move on.


3.  You're a superhero.


You may not be able to run faster than a speeding bullet, or leap across buildings, but you are a superhero, nonetheless.  Every day you manage situations that appear impossible; you stretch and exercise tight muscles, remember medication, transfer your children from one surface to the next.  You attend and seek out medical care that can improve your child’s quality of life.  You deal with tantrums and melt downs that other people may not understand.  You are a support system, and you encourage your child to do things that doctors said they wouldn’t -- and most importantly, you never gave up hope.


4.  Being a parent is hard.


The role of a parent can sometimes be overwhelming, but, for the most part, it is rewarding, and this reward breeds passion:  the passion to progress, to find solutions, to face challenges head-on and to appreciate the little things.


5.  Enjoy your children.


It is important to make time to play, to laugh, to be silly.  It is important to read to them, cuddle with them, and engage with them on their level and on what they deem important.  Set aside time during busy schedules just to enjoy being with your children, watching them grow and develop, creating memories that you both can cherish.



Independence vs. Dependence

What is independence?

It is not uncommon for people to experience some sort of difficulty when interacting with someone who has a disability. The biggest question people have is: what are the most appropriate words/terminology to use; for example, handicap, impaired, retarded, and invalid? And the easiest way to get this information is by asking what people with a disability prefer.


In addition, you can make it easier for yourself when you bear in mind that, like you and me, people with disabilities are people first before their disability!


And just like you and I are unique, people with disabilities are as well, and how they interact with you may be a little different from what you’re accustomed to.  Don’t be discouraged; there are a few key things to keep in mind in order to make interactions easier for everyone.


Put the person first!

Improving your abilities to interact with people with disabilities

Tips to remember:

  • Instead of saying “autistic boy,” say “child who has Autism.”
  • Instead of saying “girl or boy,” refer to child by her/his Name.
  • Instead of saying “disabled person,” say “person who has a disability.”
  • Instead of saying “person in a wheelchair,” say “person who uses a wheelchair.”
  • Instead of saying “blind girl,” say “girl who has a Visual impairment.”
  • Avoid labeling -- each person is an individual and should be treated as such.
  • Focus on the person and not the disability.
  • Focus on the person’s abilities and not their limitations.
  • Treat the person as you would like to be treated.

"It is freedom from control or the influence of another or others."

As parents we all want the best for our children, so we attend to their every need because we love them and want to provide the best care for them. However, it is important to remember that as children grow, their abilities develop, and it needs to be understood that, even though your child has a disability, they have the ability to be independent and that you can encourage this independence.


Independence and Development


Through independence children enhance their skills, learn right from wrong, develop their own personality, and make their own decisions. If they are encouraged to be independent they will grow up strong, emotionally secure, and happy. Independence enables children to learn through trial and error; it enhances their self-esteem and encourages the confidence necessary to handle stress and failure. Independence also enables children to make their own choices and to develop a sense of emotional maturity.


Encouraging Independence


Instead of doing things for them, start with one activity that you know they can do for themselves; like brushing their teeth, bathing, playing, or dressing. and As they learn, you can add activities. You can also encourage them to help around the house with cooking, baking, sweeping, and washing dishes. It is important to remember that your child may not do the activity perfectly, but that they are trying and praise should be provided for their efforts.


Stepping Aside, to Guide!


As parents, we sometimes feel fear when watching our

children play, climb, swim, and run.

However, this fear shouldn’t affect their abilities to participate.


LET GO and encourage your children to explore, to conquer, and to climb.

LET GO and encourage them to master new activities that will provide them with opportunities to grow.

LET GO and provide them with activities that will encourage learning, responsibility, confidence, and assertiveness .

LET GO and allow your children to fall, to make mistakes, to experience rejection, to feel jealousy, to suffer defeat.

LET GO and watch them grow in confidence, skill, responsibility, and emotional intelligence as they learn from what life has to offer.