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A Child With Developmental Needs Doesn't Always Mean She Can't Go to Regular School
PHOTO BY iStock
  • It is often difficult for a parent to hear that their child may have some developmental delays but early intervention is the key to helping your child. Toddlers and young children with developmental needs and issues benefit greatly when they are able to see a developmental pediatrician to assess their growth.

    When a child’s dev ped recommends that he take occupational therapy and speech therapy to address his issues and concerns, the child is able to work on and develop the skills he needs to cope and thrive.

    Hands-on parents of these toddlers and preschoolers work hand in hand with their kids’ occupational therapists and speech therapists, as well as their pediatrician, and if they are school-age, their teachers also get to be part of the team that helps track the progress of the child.

    Occupational therapists also inform parents as well as caregivers of the child about what the child was able to learn or achieve during sessions, and which behavior needs reinforcement at home.

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    3 ways parents can help children with developmental needs

    Mark Nathaniel Arejola, head therapist at BrightMinds Speech and Occupational Therapy Center enumerates the factors that can help increase chances of improvement in a child undergoing occupational therapy and speech therapy:

    • The ability of the parents to follow up or carry over what is done in their child’s therapy center
    • Counseling that the parents go through regarding their child’s status (acceptance, objectivity, management of denial)
    • Consistency (attendance)

    Apart from this, there are also three important things to remember:

    1. Let your kids play.

    In some cases, Arejola says that play school or preschool is recommended so that toddlers can be exposed to other kids, and children can see how other children behave.

    Arejola also highlights the value of giving children a chance to play outside and with peers. “This is where they explore their environment, learn to regulate themselves and co-regulate with their peers, and adapt to their environment,” he says.

    “It gives them opportunities to socialize with other children. Playschool or preschool is an avenue where they can imitate and model peer behavior and learn concepts and associations through exploration and observation,” Arejola adds.

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    2. Avoid unsupervised screen time.

    Arejola advises parents to limit and supervise screen-time for toddlers and children.  He says, “Technology has benefits, but if left unsupervised, it may cause more issues in the long run.”

    3. Prioritize your child’s needs.

    Parents are easily worried and affected by their toddler’s development, but Arejalo stresses that every child is different. “I direct them to what is important — to focus on the child’s overall wellbeing and development, no matter what the diagnosis may be.”

    He adds, “Instead of dwelling on the thought that their child was diagnosed with a condition (like ADHD, autism, developmental delays, etc.), it will be to the child’s best interest if we would just focus on helping him develop the skills that he needs to cope and thrive.”

    James E. Faust, a politician, lawyer, and religious leader, perfectly describes parental love that can easily be seen in hands-on parents, especially in parents who are doing all they can to help their children grow and develop in every aspect of their lives, and in this case, in their developmental growth: "The depth of the love of parents for their children can not be measured. It is like no other relationship. It exceeds concern for life itself. The love of a parent for a child is continuous and transcends heartbreak and disappointment.”

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