Learn How To Be Your Child’s Social Skills Team Leader

 

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When my was son was in Elementary School, he would talk about sharks, legos, trains and cars to anyone who would listen. He knew anything and everything about those subjects. The children in his class would listen for a little while about his knowledgeable facts, but would get bored quickly and walk away. Most of the children didn’t have interest in 7 different kinds of sharks!  My daughter on the other hand was a bossy ring-leader, she spoke her mind whether it hurt someone’s feelings or not (of course she did not realize this at that time). She is very smart and expects everyone to be on the same page as her. Teachers would contact me about what went on during school and so forth. It was then I decided that I needed to step up and be  a team-leader for my son and daughter and get their social skills in check. Role playing, joining clubs and communicating with your child’s teacher, etc… Will help your child improve their social skills.

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Practice, practice, practice.  Role playing with your child is a great way to help your children interact appropriately with their peers and will also give them confidence. Don’t be afraid to teach your child how to go up to someone and start a conversation with them.  Keep on reminding them on what to say and do, etc…

Signing up your children to clubs and activities that accentuate their interests will also help them make new friends.  The library, school and boy/girl scouts are a great starting points. There are plenty of free programs available out there.

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Another way to help is to chat with your child’s teacher. Explain to the teacher your concerns and ask if he/she can figure out who would be a good match for your child.  Perhaps the pair could sit next to each other and find out on their own what they have in common.

Lastly, join a professionally run social skills program. I highly recommend this as a parent/child group, so the kids can learn about social skills and you can learn how to help your child at the same time.  It’s amazing what a 4 – 6 week class can do for your family.

It may seem like your child is friendless forever and then all of a sudden you are having kids come over who knows more about sharks than your son does!!!

 

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Tips On How To Get Services From Your County or School District

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When I suspected my son was not developing like his peers, I decided to find out how I can get help for him.  This was a frightening task, but knew it was time.

If you have a child that is younger than 3 years old, you would need to contact your States Early Intervention Services.

Click on this link to find yours – http://www.ectacenter.org. Then click On Early Intervention Program, then scroll down to: How To Apply For Early Intervention. A Municipal Early Intervention Official will be there to give you information about your local program.

If your child is older than 3 years old, then contact your local School District.  If your child is almost 3 years old (like in 2-3 months or less) I would personally wait until 3 years old.  This way hopefully he/she would be more likely to get services if the criteria was harder.

Before an Evaluation happens, you need to write a letter to the School District.  If your child is already in the School District, then send a letter to his/her Principle requesting an Evaluation.   A letter might look something like this:

Dear ___________

I would like to request an Evaluation for my child, __________ for his/her eligibility for Special Services.   I am very concerned that my son/daughter is not progressing as well in school as he/she should be and may possibly need special help to succeed in school. 

 {Give some reasons why you are requesting an Evaluation  (like not paying attention in class, zones out, can not sit still, gets frustrated easily, etc…}

I would like to get a copy of the test results before our meeting, so I can review them ahead of time.

Please contact me so we can begin the next steps in helping my son/daughter.

 

Sincerely,

 

Parents name

Address

Phone #’s

Email

(CHADD Parent to Parent 2008)

Keep all copies of this letter and anything that goes along with it.  I would also recommend hand delivering this letter and make note of who accepted the letter, date and time.

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I am not going to lie, this can be a daunting task as a parent. There is a lot of paperwork to fill out and tons of questions will be asked and many emotions swirling around. Please do not let this paperwork deter you. Once all the initial paperwork is done there really isn’t much more. In the meantime while you are waiting for a response from the County or School District,  I highly recommend you bring your child to a Developmental Pediatrician to see if they suspect any issues your child may have. Having a diagnosis is a good thing to have, so everyone will know what is best for your child. If going to a doctor is out of the question due to income reasons, don’t worry about it for now, you are already going into the right direction for your child.  The system will evaluate your child and recommend what is best for your child. DO NOT GIVE UP ON YOUR CHILD!  YOU MUST STAY STRONG!

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Was This My Fault?

 

pexels-photo-235554.jpegKnowing that your child has a neurological condition such ADHD or any other issue for that matter is devastating.   I considered myself one of the lucky one’s, my son could  have had a much more hindering diagnosis.

Right away I started researching anything I could on the internet about ADHD.  You could say I was somewhat obsessed.  My best friend Kathy told me to stop wasting precious hours on the internet and use those hours for more productive things, like sleep. I didn’t listen to her wise advice.  I was staying up all night researching.  Trying to find out if this was my fault, could I have done something differently, etc… TOTAL waste of time!

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It took me a while, but finally stopped the all night research and started to realize  that this was not my fault!  The majority of the time ADHD is inherited and there was nothing I could have done differently (some other causes can be problems during pregnancy, drinking and or smoking during pregnancy, being exposed to toxins while pregnant, like lead paint and exposure to drugs, among other environmental poisons).

I decided to think proactively and think about how can I help My son?  What can be done to make his life easier?  How can I make him happy?

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Up next:  How I found the support I was searching for.

 

 

Finding Support

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I was hyper-focusing on who were the experts in my community that could help me help my son. There was not much information out there.  It was like trying to find a needle in a haystack.  I could not understand why there was not any info readily available for me.  I had no one to talk to about this either.   All of my friends kids were Perfect, so they couldn’t help me.

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One day I found my guardian angel, Evelyn.  Evelyn worked at a non-profit advocacy center.  I was so excited that  I found someone who wanted to hear my story and had answers for me! Evelyn heard the uncertainty in my voice as I was telling her my story along with a gazillion questions.   Finally Evelyn couldn’t take my blubbering and told me to get a piece of paper and a pen and write this list down.  She wanted me to follow the list precisely and call her back when I finished the list.

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I was finally getting somewhere! Evelyn was an advocate for children with disabilities.  Evelyn’s job was to help parents learn how advocate for their children.

You can find your guardian angel by going to this website:

http://www.parentcenterhub.org/find-your-center/
Click on the right side the menu bar and find parent center, then press on the regional PTAC ( parent technical assistance center) press on  initial in your state and you will find the center that you can get assistance from. Once you have found your PTAC, get to know these experts, ask tons of questions, call them on a regular basis to let them know what’s going on.  Pretty soon they will know you by name, like mine did (lol!).

Join the ADHD support group CHADD:

http://www.chadd.org/

Go on this website to find your local CHADD Chapter and attend the monthly support group meetings as well as the lectures.  This is a great way to meet people that are in the same shoes as you.  Go to the vendors there and check out the products and services they offer and really get to know these people.  These are the individuals that will help you on your journey.

Join your local SEPTA (special education parent teacher association). You can find this support group in your school district.  The easiest way to find them is to look on your school district’s website or just call the school and ask.   Once you have joined this group you will be making even more friends that have children just like you.  The President and Vice President will be extremely valuable to you since they have been doing the advocating game for a while now and will be extremely helpful to you and may even be able to help you at your child’s CPSE (Commitee On Special Education) or CSE (Committee on Special Education) meeting.  You need to join this group, even if your child is in preschool.  As you go on this journey of yours you will need to plan one year ahead to keep your head above water.

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Next is to join or create your own Mom’s Group.  This is where you and your child get to have fun and meet lots  interesting people.  Make sure you join a group that has children the same age as yours, so they can actually play together.  Your child will get plenty of great role models to play with.  I personally looked on the internet for a Moms Group and joined.  After a while my friend and I decided to create  our own group.  I can’t even to begin to express to you how much that group helped me get through the roller coaster ride of ADHD. Most of these women have become my best friends.

 

Up next:  How do I Ask For Help through My County or School District?

 

 

 

 

The Diagnosis

 

 

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So now I realize something is going on.  What should I do???? Most of my friends told me my son was fine, but I knew something was not right.  My mom-in-law told me that if I felt he should get checked out by a specialist, then I should.   She said it was up to me.  I took her advise and did.

Getting a diagnosis is not as easy as it sounds.  We went to a well known Pediatric Developmental Dr’s office, but was getting no where.  We did not find them  to be professional at all and seemed to be delaying a true diagnosis.  This also wasted precious time, I am talking months and months. So then we found another doctor ( 6 month wait for an appointment) and finally got a diagnosis of ADHD.  We were so thankful, but really wanted to make sure  (an autism diagnosis was always in the back of our minds) and sought out a second opinion with a Pediatric Neurologist who agreed with the ADHD diagnosis. This was a long excruciating process, but you CANNOT be deterred by the paperwork, phone calls, wait time, etc… All the work was worth the diagnosis.   So now we know it’s ADHD, now what???….

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baby-boy-hat-covered-101537.jpegEleven years ago our miracle baby was born. After trying to get pregnant for a number of years and nothing working my doctors decided I just cannot get pregnant and I was never going to have a baby. Then ten years later I miraculously get  pregnant with no help from doctor’s, just my husband of course!

We were ecstatic in fact our whole family was stoked.  I had a normal pregnancy with no complications and did everything the doctor told me to do.

Then our precious son was born and everything was perfect.  As he got a little older I noticed he got very frustrated if he dropped a car he was playing with and could not reach it. I can’t even tell you how many times I had to pull  the car over to pick up a toy car to get this kid to stop crying!  My son had some speech, but not enough for his age. His peers had a larger vocabulary than him. My son never crawled. He did the belly crawl, but no crawling on his knees. He absolutely hated tummy time. He cried every time  I put him on his belly. He always slept with his hands behind his head ever since he figured out how to move his arms. We tried putting him on his side, but he always moved to his back and his hands behind his head.  He was the sweetest baby, but deep down I had a gut feeling something wasn’t right….

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Listen To Your Gut