Special Needs Children

2006 10 07, BRODIE

Originally uploaded by acgeal

My oldest son has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and sensory integration dysfunction. He is what many people would call a difficult child but I chose to see him as a spirited child. He is a non-passive aggressive ADHD child. He breaks things, throws things, has meltdowns over simplistic things, cannot process information as quickly and has a difficult time learning new things easily. He is also a hitter and at one point was a biter for a very long time. He also has sensory integration dysfunction. It’s a disorder where a child or person cannot process certain textures, smells, sights, tastes and noises properly (or the way we do) and it emotionally affects them. My son and I have battled over socks and underwear because he does not “like” the feel of them. Many a meltdown later I’ve learned to accept this and chose my battles with him. I’d rather see him eat healthy than wear a pair of socks.

For a very long time, I thought I was a horrible mother because I could not understand what my son was going through. I was at my wits end and sought the help of a behavioral specialist. With his help I’ve come to understand my son’s limits and when he’s had enough. I’d say though that my best tools are attachment parenting and especially gentle discipline. GD has become a savior for us. It has taught the both of us to communicate with each other and listen to each other instead of yell at each other. It gave me tools to help my son deal with daily tasks and routines. Now, instead of biting, kicking or tantrums he uses his “I” statements when he doesn’t like something or a situation. When socks become an issue we no longer have screaming matches. It is “I don’t like these socks, they feel funny” and “Why don’t we try a different pair”. It’s become an effective tool to help my son communicate his needs and wants in an appropriate manner and helps me to help him find a solution to the problem at hand without losing my sanity.

Our other tools in our arsenal are 1-2-3 Magic, parent present time outs (this is where a child will take a break on the couch with one of us for about 5 minutes rather than sticking them on a “naughty” chair or in a corner to feel isolated or alone). Rewards and visual rules charts. Rewards are for chores that our children have been given responsibility for. Of course, these are always age appropriate and the rewards are never time with us as this is a right and not a luxury (our time is for our kids, not a reward to use against them). They get to change up the rewards every 2 weeks themselves. It can be anything from a dvd to a toy they saw and wanted. There is a general marble jar with multi colored marbles and then there are jars with their names on them. Every time they complete a task or chore they earn a certain amount of marbles for that task or chore that go into their jar. At the end of each week they can cash them in for the prize of their choice.

With these tools my son and I have learned to communicate with each other in a more productive way that is conducive to a healthy mother and son relationship. I’ve learned so much about my son in the last 6.5 years, he is a sensitive, caring and kind little boy who wants nothing more than to be with his family and be loved and cared for as much as he loves and cares for us. He is not that tantruming, huge meltdown a day aggressive or biting little boy anymore. He is a communicative, spirited, loving, expressive and very funny (the kid’s got his mama’s sense of humor, what can I say) little guy.


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