Thursday, February 25, 2010

Challenges We have to Face

Raising a child is already hard, raising a child with special needs is much more difficult in so many aspects. But inspite of all the challenges, it can also be very rewarding, challenging and exciting. I'll enumerate some of the challenges we have to face in our daily lives.

1. Family's Roles and Involvements

     I mentioned this because this was actually one of the first problems we had to address. Patricia was diagnosed at a very young age, she was still a baby. Informing the family about her condition was a challenge already. Most of them are in denial. As long as we're in denial, it will be very hard to move on. The key to the success of any intervention is consistency. So we have to be consistent with the program's demands. We have to follow a certain schedule, some rules and behaviors. Ignoring her negative behaviors or manipulating behaviors can be challenging. Like when she's crying or shouting, we have to ignore it so that she won't do it just to get our attention or to manipulate. That can be challenging especially for her grandparents......and dad :)

2. GFCF Diet

     Not giving her food with milk or with wheat is one of the most challenging. We were lucky because soy and eggs are okay with her. And her grandmother can prepare GFCF food really well. It's just so heartbreaking when we are all eating pizza or cake, and she wants it but we can't give her. Any trace of gluten and casein in her food will bring us back to zero. When we go out, we also have to bring her her own food. In school, we have to be very cautious coz she might get food from her classmates. During parties, she can't eat the food prepared, and it's hard to explain to them why. We sometimes feel like giving up. Aside from it becoming hard, it's also very expensive. But we have to do it, anything that can help her, we should at least try. We read so many books and testimonials saying that this diet cured their child. I won't forgive myself if we won't at least try.

3. Financial Challenges

     This will definitely be one of the top 3, if not the top. It can be very frustrating for us that we can't give her everything that we want for her, or everything we thought she'll need to be okay. I had to resign from work so I can focus on her more. Now that I don't have income aside from gigs and weddings on the side, it was very very difficult. We had to pay for her occupational therapy sessions, P500 per hour, her ABA sessions, P500 per 2 hours, her shadow teacher, P500 per class, her school, P6,000 per month and her special diet. Not to mention her regular visits to her doctor and her regular assessments, which can cost P2,000 each time. We also need to bring her to play areas and expose her to different places. We also don't know how we can survive it but God has his own ways. We're always surprised with the blessings He showers us..and the angels that He gives us.

4. Emotional Stress

     Children with autism are unique and has their own ways. Not all of them are the same. Patricia is a happy child, easy for me to handle. But there are times, that even us parents will be tested. Patricia has unusual fears, like she's afraid of some TV advertisements, some music and going in an elevator. She runs to us, or cries or clings to us. In public places, she cries and really tries to find a way when she wants something. She's very persistent. We're just lucky that we can divert her attention easily. When we go to new places, like a friend's house, sometimes she doesn't like to come in. We had to force her. Children with autism have a hard time adjusting to new surroundings. When she cries in parties when she's supposed to have fun like the other children, it can be embarrassing for us. Some people will look at us as if we didn't raise our daughter well. It will really test your patience, perseverance and faith. Prayers helped a lot. We just need to understand that these children can't express what they feel. If it's hard for us, it's even harder for them. We'll be the one to adjust for them and not the other way around.

God gave Patricia to us for a reason. We are special parents for God has given us a special child. I can't be thankful enough that she was given to us and not to other parents. I'm a stronger person now because of her and I'm ready to face any challenges that come with her. Bring it on...=)

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