For many parents of children with special needs, it can often feel overwhelming and confusing as they try to help their child navigate uncertainty and tackle new challenges. There are several misconceptions around special needs and parents often have to deal with persistent nagging doubts such as their kid’s life expectancy, quality of life, job prospects, their overall happiness among others.
The most important thing to remember is that children with special needs require a supportive, loving environment which nurtures them and makes them feel safe. While every child’s journey will be different, families can play a major role in helping a child grow and thrive.
We asked clinical psychologist Joao Lourenco and speech and language therapist Rogaiyah Hamidaddin from Lighthouse Arabia to address some of your questions about your child’s future.
Will my child be able to lead an independent life as an adult?
It’s essential to understand that some children of determination may face certain unique challenges that will make it necessary for them to seek additional support. A kid with special needs has to tackle difficulties while growing up, like any other child. However, due to factors such as developmental delays and adjustment issues, their experiences are different. Additionally, they may have to confront social and behavioral problems at home as well as in school during their early years.
It is possible for some children with special needs to learn how to be independent in many areas of their lives with the appropriate support and guidance. Most will learn the necessary skills, as they develop through their teenage and adulthood stages in life; however, some go on to require long-term support from their school, family and society as a whole.
A robust support system in all aspects of their life can work wonders.
What can help? A robust support system in all aspects of their life can work wonders. With the right guidance, they can enhance their basic skills, live a comfortable life and fully integrate into society. It’s especially important to acknowledge that this journey is not limited to a child with special needs but will involve every stakeholder and system that revolves around the child such as their educational, social and familial support system.
As for life expectancy, medical advancement has made it possible for individuals with special needs to live longer and have a good quality of life. While they may need assistance to live based on their level of independence, it’s possible for them to be happy and feel fulfilled. Early identification and intervention by health and education professionals such as occupational therapists, teachers and speech therapists can go a long way in making their lives better.
Most importantly, they need to feel valued and loved: a positive environment and encouragement from loved ones can make a lot of difference.
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