4th of july postThis isn’t a “how to teach reading” post. My blog page is chock-full of detailed articles on how to do that. Just use the search box to the right and have fun with it. No, this post is about how to declutter your overly full “must-do-because-I-am-a-special-needs-parent” list. It’s about giving your child only the 2 most essential things beyond unconditional love. It’s about looking ahead and simplifying your focus.

Only 2 goals

There are so many “MUST DO!” items that push us into a corner as parents of kids with Down syndrome, DS/ASD, or whatever the diagnosis may be. But the bottom line, as I’ve written about in my Down syndrome parenting book, is this: aside from unconditional love, the most important gifts we can give our kids are literacy and the ability to communicate (whether through speech, signing, or an ACC device.)

That’s it, as far as I’m concerned.

If you’ve given them that, you’ve given them the 2 most essential and powerful tools of independence. So in the midst of everything else that you are pressured to accomplish as the parent of a child with special needs, try to push those two abilities to the top of the list. Does that mean that some other less important goals will fall off the bottom of the list? Yep.

Should you be upset about that? Nope.

Keep your eyes on those and relax

Let me repeat that: should you be upset about not having the time or energy to focus on those lesser goals? No. Keep looking at the big picture for your child…look ahead; what will boost your child to independence as an adult in the world? The ability to read anything and everything he wants to, and the ability to communicate with anyone he wants to or needs to communicate with.

So when you’re struggling in August or September with back-to-school lesson pressures, weigh carefully the amount of time you’re willing to spend on these 2 essential skills, vs. classroom pressures of mastering this lesson and that lesson. You want to focus on skills that will contribute to your child’s independence and richness of life as an adult, but at the same time, what about the pressure of keeping up with the materials taught in an inclusive classroom?

When school gets closer, I’ll give you a post that I think will be a helpful tool for handling that challenge! Look for my August post, “Modifying classroom materials–a parent’s job? YIPES! Let’s make this easier…”

See you then,

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