How To Ask Students To Draw A Picture For Math 3 Big Fat Awful Lies That Parents of Special Needs Children Mistakenly Believe

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3 Big Fat Awful Lies That Parents of Special Needs Children Mistakenly Believe

I am the mother of a bright, funny, very distractible, often impulsive, sometimes socially awkward 7-year-old. I feel blessed (most days) that God has entrusted me to raise and nurture this little genius in the making. But lately I’ve been so inundated with work that I haven’t had much time to take a breather and fully enjoy my son. However, over winter break I had the opportunity to slow down and be more present and engaged with him.

As I watch my son fill his mornings with self-directed learning activities, I am totally in awe of his creativity, ingenuity, and brilliance. Here’s what I witnessed that might be helpful if you’re raising a very distracted child.

1) He built a fire temple and a Lego dragon from over 500 small pieces. Yesterday he went all day and didn’t take a break except to go to the bathroom and eat his meals. And I had to fight for him to take a break to eat. He worked from 10am to 7pm (and this is a kid the school system says can’t focus).

2.) Today the plan was to go to the park so he could try out his new scooter. Instead, she wanted to stick with it and create her own board game using construction paper, crayons, tape, pipe cleaners, and toothpicks. He also made dice for the game, moving parts and wrote simple instructions. His game is currently called The King’s Castle. The object of the game is to roll the dice and move your pieces until you reach the castle. His play involves: simple math skills, basic literacy (reading and writing instruction), focus and concentration (and this from a child who was a teacher who concluded that my child could not read or write at grade level).

So parents of children with special needs, I implore you to look beyond the label and realize that every child has the ability to learn. I am in no way saying that you should deny your child’s special needs. What I’m saying is put as much energy into nurturing their strengths as you do into meeting your child’s challenges. Because sometimes it’s just a matter of discovering how your child learns best to spark academic progress.

So here are the top 3 lies that parents of children with special needs mistakenly believe.

Lie #1.) Your child cannot be taught

This is a lie from the pit of hell. I am using such a graphic representation to show you how emotionally, mentally and spiritually dangerous this lie can be to your child’s academic growth and social well-being. Sure, your child can be taught, but you have to unlock the key to how your child not only learns but navigates the world. Is it mostly visual? Mostly auditory? Or mostly kinesthetic? Always remember that there was a time in our history when people believed that Helen Keller was not approachable or teachable…and she proved the world wrong. Make sure you take the time to unlock the key to how your child learns and navigates the world.

Lie #2) Your child lacks the ability to focus

This is another lie that parents of children with special needs believe, especially parents of children with ADHD and Asperger’s syndrome. My son is always on the move and very easily distracted. It’s like having three children in one. In the past I used to get really angry because I wanted him to sit still, stop moving, stop rocking from side to side and sit on his bottom without interruption. My expectations for him were actually not aligned with how he is naturally wired. And honestly, my constant criticism of things he couldn’t control without tools and help did nothing to build his confidence and academic self-esteem. Watching my son spend all day putting together his Lego fire temple and dragon, as well as creating his board game, reminded me that he has the ability to focus when he’s engaged in something that interests him. he likes and when he has tools to help him. Your child has the ability to focus, discover what they really enjoy, and help them hone that skill so they can begin to transfer it to their academics.

Lie #3) You can’t take your child anywhere

One of the things I learned very early about my son is that sometimes large groups and lots of noise have a frantic effect on him. He seemed to become more hyper when he was in the crowd, so I mistakenly believed that I couldn’t take him anywhere for fear that he would misbehave, embarrass me, or get into trouble. In fact, he was so hyper on class trips that his former teacher put a plan in place that said he would not be allowed to go on class trips unless I accompanied him or provided a chaperone to accompany him in person. So I spent a good amount of time working with the school to keep him from crossing the line and understanding how to follow the instructions from start to finish. Sometimes things went well. Other times they didn’t. This led me to mistakenly avoid going out with my son. Now I’ve learned to prepare him for outings by reinforcing the rules, having him draw a picture or write a few sentences about why he thinks it’s important to follow the rules associated with that outing, I let him bring something to do or play . with if appropriate and if necessary I tell the host in advance so that if we have to leave early he knows not to take it personally. Don’t buy into the false belief that you can’t take your special needs child anywhere. Instead, prepare yourself, prepare your child, and if applicable, prepare the host.

Finally, when it comes to your child with special needs, look beyond the label and see your child’s gifts. Your child is teachable. Your child can focus… even if it’s in small bursts. And you should proudly bring your child into the world.

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