Marriage and Family Life

Support for the Journey

A woman’s daughter has just been diagnosed with autism. A couple struggles to deal with their brain-injured baby, still in the NICU. These courageous parents face an unknown journey with no preparation and no road map. What do they need? They need to be able to share their remarkable stories, to allow their grieving to unfold, to let go of their dreams for their child and for their own lives. They must manage the stress of day-to-day life and learn to navigate the systems of care and funding required for their child.

Why can’t my kid get organized!?: ADHD and Executive Functioning

Dear Developmental Doc:
I cannot believe I am so frustrated with my son this early into the school year. J is almost eleven and because he has ADHD (attention deficit hyperactive disorder), he continues to struggle with basics like making sure his homework goes from his desk to his backpack, backpack to his desk at home and then once completed, back in the backpack to be presented to the teacher’s in-box. What is so hard about that? We need guidance NOW!
Much thanks, Mark in Tarzana, CA.

Special Needs Children have Brothers and Sisters

The siblings of special needs kids are considered “typical” and are helpful to the family in more ways than we account for. They support their special needs brother or sister by mentoring them through play, encouraging them to push towards their goals and by accepting their role as the child “without special needs” in the family. Compared with their peers, they learn more patience and often mature more quickly than their friends whom do not have special needs siblings themselves.

Saluting Moms of Special Needs Kids

In my practice as a speech/language therapist, I see toddlers, children and young adults with a variety of special needs labels and a myriad of challenges. Each child is special, each experience as humbling as the day I graduated more than 35 years ago. Some move quickly towards their goals and functional communication, while others lag behind. With each, I try to find their core humanity and connection and bring them out towards the sun.

Limited Communicators: How to Open the Door to your Child’s Potential

Have you ever said anything to someone close and been completely misunderstood? Have you ever tried to use another language in a foreign city and been frustrated when you could not access your wants or needs? If you needed the bathroom urgently or you had a pain you needed help with, would that frustrate you and cause you to act in an unfamiliar and possibly inappropriate way? There are as many questions as possible answers for why a child or young adult with limited or no functional communication shows behaviors which may not fit the situation.

Giving Thanks for Special Needs Children

Each child brings something into a family when he or she arrives. Each individual is directly affected by the other members of the family and impacts the unit as a whole. A child with special needs adds a special dimension and provides a unique perspective for every family member.

From Fear to Empowerment: A Special Needs Journey

Most parents can vividly recall the day they were told that their child’s development was not typical. Many already had a suspicion that something was different, but being told by the physician that their child indeed had special needs validated their worst fears. Dreams and hopes felt destroyed and feelings of a promising future for their child turned uncertain.

Cutting: A Growing Epidemic for Kids

One of the most insidious and disturbing behaviors teens engage in is cutting. Cutting is a form of self-punishment by people afflicted with ongoing feelings of guilt, confusion, anger, or overwhelming pain. In many cases, cutting is correlated with a history of sexual abuse, substance abuse, eating disorders, and obsessive- compulsive behaviors. The statistics are one in every 200 adolescent girls between the ages of 13 and 19, regularly cut. Even though cutters are primarily teenage females, the disorder also affects males.

Verbal Speech or Alternative Communication

When verbal speech is challenging for a child, alternative systems can sometimes help children transition to eventually using verbal communication. It is a process, in which alternative methods and support systems help build receptive language ports and understanding for a communication link. Alternative communication devices are helpful to develop language concepts by combining language and daily wants and needs.