Do you have a child struggling in school, work, or social situations? Parents–myself included—often worry about what to do, where to go, and who to listen to for sound advice. From my experience as a teacher and as a mom, it can be frustrating when you’re in that limbo period. I’m going to share with you some tips to help you be prepared for making that decision if it’s ever needed.
Survey the environment. Note any patterns and atypical behaviors for your child. Watch how your child reacts to certain people, sounds, or situations. Is your child easily distracted or going through mood swings? Has there been a recent trauma the child’s experience? When in doubt, write it down. Sometimes, you can stop here because many events can be explained through other means not requiring the assistance of the school.
Take note. Keeping good notes as well on things happening before or after the event. Describe as much as possible in the notes so that the experts can make recommendations to the special education professionals in my school. Every detail counts, as the slightest thing could make the difference. Be sure to make note of the times the behavior is not observable, as this could help rule out some possible illnesses. Collect work samples if needed to support your case.
Open up. Talk to your child if he or she’s old enough and see if you can figure out what they are thinking and feeling. Seek help with our school and parent liaisons about your fears. Learn some coping skills and ways of approaching those negative situations is like medicine to the body, acting as a healing agent and rejuvenating the body.
Press and pursue. At times, the concerns you have may not be as apparent to other people who frequently interact with your child. However, as the child’s primary parent and influencer, you have the edge. Don’t take the first no or yes as written in stone. Get a few opinions before you make your decision. Seek free advice through the local services available near you or in the next town over. They may be able to run some tests to make sure you don’t need further services. See if the teacher or school would be willing to try some interventions first before going through the process of assessing and identifying the root problem.
Separate truth from fiction. Don’t let your concerns overwhelm you. Your love and devotion stay the same. Rather, it’s strengthened because you’re “speaking their language” academically, emotionally, and/or behaviorally. Try not to view or mentally define your child your child by a diagnosis. Raising a child you suspect has personal challenges is no small matter, but the rewards of supporting them pay in dividends no human can begin to measure.