When a child gave me hope for a better world for my son

We all know how difficult it is for a differently abled individual to navigate the world with its prejudices. There is much to be desired when it comes to acceptance and inclusions. It often makes me nervous thinking about what kind of a world will my son find himself in when he grows up and when I might not be around to be his eyes , ears, and voice. So, in the midst of all the uncertainty, when a child walks in like a breath of fresh air, it gives me hope.
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This is why I will forgive

A few days back, while  I was browsing the aisles of a store, my 9 yr old son brushed against another customer. I was hoping it would not be a big deal but she had something else in mind. I said sorry and explained that my son is autistic. She was not ready for that excuse and said that if that’s the case, I shouldn’t “let him loose” and that she has been watching me let him “walk free “!!! My son has a tendency to wander off so I’m hyper-vigilant and ensure that my son is literally at palm’s length from me. So clearly, he was not running amok. Besides, he has issues with personal space so he tends to reach out and touch people who come his way every once in a while. While not many people take offence , there clearly are some who feel extremely overwhelmed by coming in contact with a 9 yr old and make sure they are taken to task for that.
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A New School Year and the Special Needs Child

Many parents look forward to the back-to-school time every year. For parents of neurotypical children, it’s a chance to finally have the house to themselves after a long summer vacation. For parents of children on the autism spectrum and other children with special needs, having a “parent break” is also incredibly important, but many parents face an uphill battle with the school system every year when it comes to specialized education and care for their child.
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…but today I cry

Those who know me think, as a mom of a child with autism, I’m generally positive in my outlook. I would like to believe that is true. However, in me hides a realist–not to be confused with a pessimist. The realist me rears its head every now and then and I kick it back in, hoping it will stay there defeated and quiet. But some days it bounces back with so much strength that it clouds the sunshine in my eyes. Even on those days I listen to it’s whispers, quietly shed a tear, and go on with my life pretending it’s all going to be ok, and it might, but it leaves behind that doubt that lingers on — a doubt that forms a knot in my heart and makes it a little harder for me to breathe. It was one such day when my optimism had to bow down before my realist self.

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What I want my son’s school to know

If you are a parent of a child with special needs – Autism or otherwise, you know that the tug-of-war between the school and the parent is real and stressful. The IEP meeting every year is something all of us dread. You probably attend seminars , ask for ideas in Autism groups online, read various tips and tricks, try talking to a family advocate and gear yourself for the D-day . I’m guessing, the school ,on its part, does a ton of meetings and collaboration to come up with an IEP that they believe is practical and effective. Same goes for almost everything that involves your child and the school. There seems to be a constant back and forth trying to figure out what is best for the child. While every school year is an opportunity for the students to grow, it is also an opportunity for the teachers to learn more about the kids who need that extra attention because of their challenges.

If I was asked what I would want the school to know about my child and Autism in general, this is what I would say:

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Creating an Individual Education Plan For Your Special Needs Child

Parenting a child with special needs is filled with unexpected challenges. Few of us are prepared to support our unique offspring with extraordinary medical needs or non-neurotypical processing of their environment.

But, they are our children, so we learn as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Today we will tackle creating an individual education plan for your special needs child. We must consider planning, implementation, and refinement. Building an incredible team is absolutely imperative to developing a customized plan that develops your child’s strengths even as it mitigates their challenges. And, finally finding ways to include your child in the process gives them ownership of their education and helps with motivation.
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