By Hakim Mahari
“They are normal people like us and the only difference is that they need more attention,” said Madam Heldawati, mother to five years old special needs child.
Isn’t every kid special? We think so. But what do we mean when we say “kids with special needs”? This means any kid who might need extra help because of a medical, emotional, or learning problem. These kids have special needs because they might need medicine, therapy or extra help in school — stuffs other kids don’t typically need or only need once in a while.
Typically, families with special needs are on a lifetime journey that is both emotionally and financially challenging. Families of children with special needs may experience a myriad of emotions upon diagnosis, including anger, grief, loss, and denial. It is important to remember to be patient with yourself, as these emotions are a natural part of the process. With time comes acceptance, and then you and your family can focus on beginning the process of helping your child with special needs achieve their fullest potential.
Children with learning disabilities like dyslexia and auditory processing disorder (APD) struggle with schoolwork regardless of their intellectual abilities. They require specialized learning strategies to meet their potential and avoid self-esteem problems and behavioral difficulties.
Teacher from Sekolah Kebangsaan Taman Seri Gombak 2, Madam Suraya Mohd Salleh said,, “Their learning process is similar like other students such as reading, counting, writing but they cannot make logical judgments based on cause and effect factors.”
Medical issues for children include serious conditions like cancer, heart defects, muscular dystrophy, and cystic fibrosis. It also includes chronic conditions like asthma and diabetes, congenital conditions like cerebral palsy and dwarfism, and health threats like food allergies and obesity.
A child may need frequent medical testing, hospital stays, equipment and accommodations for disabilities. Establishing a good support system is very important when dealing with uncertainty and any medical crises.
Although every special needs child is different and every family is unique, some common concerns link with parents. These include getting appropriate care and promoting acceptance in the extended family, school, and community. For some, planning for an uncertain future may be necessary. You will also find yourself adjusting routines and expectations, sometimes quite often. ***