5 Professionals Who Often Misunderstand Special Needs.

In 2004 our lives, and parenting, changed forever when we realized we were parenting a child with special needs. To say it’s been a journey is an understatement. Part of the challenge has come from our encounter with professionals who fail to understand, or know how to handle, the special needs our children have.

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Honestly, the list is too long to recount. In 11 years of parenting children with special needs, namely Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), we’ve lost track of the amount of times we’ve sat in an office, a conference room, or our own home and looked into the blank stare of a therapist, police officer or teacher. Nor can we even begin to list the negative, off-handed, demeaning, or accusatory statements we’ve received.

How To Discipline A Child With FASD.

Parenting children with FASD is an uphill battle. This is especially true when it comes to discipline. How do you balance necessary consequences with a child who’s brain lacks the executive functioning to understand?

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If you know a child with an FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder) you know that typical discipline just doesn’t work. In our home we are raising two sons diagnosed with ARND (Alcohol Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder). Our sons were exposed to alcohol before birth. FASDs do not go away, and there is no way to heal the damage that has been done. Typically, children who are exposed to alcohol suffer damage to their prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex is the command center for the brain. It controls emotions, problem solving, self-control and decision-making.

5 Lessons I’ve Learned From Parenting A Child With FASD.

Ten years ago our oldest son was diagnosed with Alcohol-Related-Nuerodevelopmental-Disorder (ARND), very similar to Fetal-Alcohol-Spectrum-Disorder (FASD), and our lives have been a rollercoaster ride ever since. Recently, however, we’ve begun learning new lessons about him, ourselves, and what we need to do differently.

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Defeating. That’s the word that comes to mind when I recount the past decade of parenting our son. He is on the fetal-alcohol spectrum. His brain suffered irreversible damage when he was in his birth mother’s womb. The result has been violence, aggression, impulsion, even run-ins with police, the older he becomes.

How To Overcome The Urge To Tweak The World Around You

A proven plan to step out of the dark and into the light

As human beings we have a defense mechanism that we default to when our world is in chaos. It’s a safety net when our children, our marriage, or our family is out of control. However, it’s not healthy. There’s a better way to live.

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My dad yelled a lot when I was a kid. When I say yell, I mean yell! He had no volume control. I can still remember, vividly, some of his outbursts. Most of the time, they were over petty things.. A light was left on in one of the bedrooms. It was summer and a window was accidentally left open, letting air conditioned air out. I used a hammer and left it on the picnic table out back instead of putting it back in the garage.

Why My Child’s Special Need Makes Me Want To Hide

And How We've Overcome This Tendency!

There are times in parenting children with special needs when embarrassment, humiliation, and shame seem to be part of the landscape. Often, the tendency is to run and hide away from the world. However, we’ve found a better way.

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He was louder than loud and I was withering with every syllable he spoke. I looked at my son with that “please stop” facial expression, but he didn’t notice, nor have a clue how others were perceiving him. Sure, he was only 6. Sure, all children his age tend to miss social cues. But the other children around weren’t shouting inappropriate questions, or pointing at other people.