I’ll never forget the date, August 31 2011, when our only daughter Sophie had her first seizure due to high fever (40 degrees Celsius). Thereafter, she experienced another seizure the following day. That was the start of our special journey with Sophie.
Sophie was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder when she was 2 years old. Right after her seizure episodes, we met a number of neuro paediatrician doctors, followed by a neurodevelopmental paediatrician to accurately assess Sophie’s condition.
The doctors initially diagnosed Sophie with attention delay. She underwent a lot of clinical tests to assess her brain condition such as electroencephalogram (EEG) and etc. She also went to an occupational therapist (OT) as the initial program was recommended by her doctor. Thereafter, when she reached 3 years old, Sophie’s neurodevelopmental paediatrician gave the official assessment that Sophie has autism spectrum disorder and she needed to...
Rhythm is a word often used in music, but in this blog, it means ‘a smooth flow of daily activities of a child.’ A daily rhythm can be understood as a natural impulse like breathing. And this daily rhythm, if followed from early childhood, can impact a child’s healthy development.
A daily rhythm should not be misunderstood as a routine.
Routine is a set of the scheduled number of activities to be done throughout the day; whereas rhythm is more flexible and it defines a smooth flow of activities during the day.
Creating a balanced rhythm for young children during the day is a tool to make parenting easier. It helps young children to have an understanding of time, which is an abstract concept for them. Rhythm also creates a sense of predictability and security in them.
A balanced rhythm follows the concept of ‘breathing in’ and ‘breathing out’. As breathing in and out happens naturally, uninterrupted and in a smooth, balanced flow...
Welcoming a specially-abled child in your family isn't as easy as falling off a log. Cosmic questions and thoughts halt your consciousness. Where do we go? What to do? and perhaps the most salient of them all, why us?
Conceding that your child is different from normal kids takes you through an emotional roller coaster revolving around shock, denial, guilt, confusion followed by fear, grief, loss, powerlessness, disappointment and rejection. This may seem the end, but it isn't.
Accept your child as he/she is differently-abled. Instead of looking down on him/her and mourning what had happened, embrace the flaws.
Don't dwell on what went wrong. Instead, focus on what to do next. Spend your energies on moving forward together and finding the answer - Denis Waitley
Everyone is different, they will grow and develop at their own pace. Comparing your child with siblings, cousins, kids in the daycare class or even kids with the same disability will not make you feel any better. Your...
Since COVID, we may be at a loss of what education is best for our children. But we will need to remind ourselves that while education aims to teach, the evidence of impactful teaching is in effective learning. Education is not about marks scored in tests and exams as these do not reflect intelligence. Education is a life-long learning journey in which the student learns to be confident, self-reliant, and communicates effectively.
Two wrongs do not make a right!
Yes, the situation we are all in because of COVID is wrong from every angle. And with confinement, our anxieties are getting magnified many folds. The biggest anxiety parents are experiencing is the concern they have about their child’s access to school. Schools are closed and when they will restart is unknown to you or me or anyone, from India to America to Argentina! When schools do reopen, what the situation will be like and how children will stay safe, is another question, with no answer!
Now comes the...
“Children are NOT a distraction from more important work. They are THE MOST important work.”
Parenting these days is a far more challenging task than it was ever before. The question that plagues young parents the most is, which is the best style? Whatever style of parenting one adopts it will have an impact on the child’s overall development.
There are four major parenting styles and each parent uses one or the other, based on the situation. Usually, one of them becomes their dominant parenting style. These can be loosely categorized into the following.
Authoritarian: In this style of parenting, children are expected to follow the strict rules established by the parents and failure to follow the rules usually results in punishment.
Authoritative: These parents establish rules and guidelines that their children are expected to follow but they explain the reasons for laying them down. When children fail to meet expectations, they are nurturing and...
The content of this article is derived from a video by Global Autism Solutions, particularly by Gerd Winkler, the director of the establishment, who has had an extensive amount of experience with families of children on the Autism Spectrum. You may find the video, titled “When Parents Change, So Do Their Children”, here.
In this video, parents voiced out their concerns about not being able to change certain “undesirable” behaviours of their children despite many attempts to correct them. Their conversations with Gerd presented important issues that reflected the impact parents have on their children’s learning and challenged them to be aware of their beliefs, assumptions, and judgements they have on their children, which may sometimes be unhelpful. Respecting children’s interest, and refraining from imposing expectations on them are two learning points that can be made from the video.
Hyperlexia is a term that struck me when I first came across it. Maybe, because I had never heard of it. So, I decided to explore it further. It turned out to be my light bulb moment because I was working with an amazing little child diagnosed with Autism who would fit in the description of hyperlexia. I could relate the two now. And I finally found the word I was looking for.
This child has an exceptional reading ability. In his grade, he was the only child in class (only ASD in a class of 30 neurotypical children) who could read fluently without any error and much beyond his age. Now if only you would hear him read, you would be astonished too, just like his teachers. The reading is advanced beyond his age but I can’t say the same for comprehension. Comprehension and understanding the text is compromised. And so are the social interactions and understanding & use of verbal language, also traits of Autism. As I dug deeper into the world of...
I am from Balikpapan, Indonesia and I am a mother of two children. My first child is a girl and my second child is a boy. We realized there was something wrong with my second child when he was two years old. He liked spinning the wheel of a toy car for hours instead of playing with it. He also liked walking in circles and only stopped when you held him. He never responded when we called his name. We did not think his actions and responses were unusual. We thought if we waited, these actions and responses would change as he grew older. We were wrong. After 6 months, he remained the same. So, we decided to bring him to a pediatrician and after examining him, he diagnosed my son as having autism. He was two and a half years old.
Autism never crossed our mind. We thought he only needed more stimuli to improve. I remembered crying the whole night after hearing the diagnosis. We felt depressed and helpless because we did not know what to do for our boy.
The following morning, we...
Caregiving is a demanding task. When it comes to caring for a loved one with special needs, caregivers can face many struggles and challenges. It can also become a full-time responsibility for some caregivers. Some caregivers even gave up their careers in order to provide full-time care for their loved ones with special needs.
Caregiving is stressful and caregivers are prone to suffer from caregiver stress which in the long run can lead to caregiver burnout. And there are stress-relieving strategies that caregivers can adopt to help mitigate the stress impact. Hence, to be able to provide caregiving in the long term, it is important to strike a balance between caregiving and stress relieves.
To strike a balance between caregiving and self-care, it is necessary first to learn to be able to identify signs or symptoms of caregiver stress. Some of the common signs and symptoms of caregiver stress are listed below:
COVID-19 has not only introduced a global pandemic, but has also significantly changed the way we operate in our daily lives. Due to spatial distancing measures imposed because of the pandemic, the closure of both mainstream and special needs schools were necessary to curb the spread of the virus.
As a result, families made arrangements to incorporate home-based learning and also had to think of ways to ensure that the children can continue to learn and develop, and not regress in this unfortunate circumstance that we are in. Particularly for children with ASD, the regular face-to-face interventions they have been receiving from professionals had to be restricted and parents, in turn, may experience an increased level of stress during this period.
Though these restrictions are being lifted gradually, going about our days like how we used to before the pandemic might not be possible just yet. The aim of this post is to give some suggestions, summarised in 5 tips, to help...