Parents are natural advocates for their children. We love our children, and we want the best for them. As a mother of four children, three with special-needs, I know how important it is to advocate for my kids. There is no one who will be more committed to making sure my children have access to the support, treatment and education they are guaranteed more than I am.
Physical wellness in children is an issue for our times. Decreasing amounts of time spent in physical activities, increasing amounts of time spent on electronic activities coupled with poor dietary habits has contributed to the explosion of obesity in school-age children. Unaddressed, these children will grow up to reap the rewards of their sedentary lifestyles: heart disease, diabetes, decreased life span. Scarier than anything is the growing body of data suggesting that our children’s life expectancy will be shorter than that of their parents.
When it comes to learning new skills, children on the autism spectrum need more opportunities to learn and engage. One of the best ways to do that is by involving other important people in the child’s life - parents, grandparents, siblings and other caregivers - and incorporating their skills and interests into the natural rhythms of a child’s day. With a ‘strength-based approach,’ meaning the practice or strategy in identifying and drawing upon the strength and interests of an individual, their family and community to achieve engagement and results as a partner, families can achieve an established goal set out for a child with autism.
We knew early on that my older daughter would be visually impaired, and I was concerned how this would affect her socially. I remember confiding in her vision teacher when she was still an infant, “I just don’t want anyone to be mean to her, to make her feel less than or alone.” “Kids don’t see differences like adults do,” she assured me. “They just want to play.”
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