Communicating an “Invisible Disability”

We are aware of the challenges of communicating an “invisible disability” with a teacher, administrator and even a relative.  What do we mean by “invisible disability?”  This refers to a disability other people can not easily see, and often times, they will unknowingly bear judgment towards the parent and/or child.  The disability may be ADD/ADHD, anxiety, Asperger’s Syndrome, Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia, etc.  Unfortunately, we may hear teachers or relatives imply the child needs more discipline or will offer an opinion about how to parent.   Usually there’s a “therefore…” thought that follows. People who don’t deal with invisible disabilities on a daily basis often want the child to perform to their expectations. Their individual awareness of what the child struggles with becomes apparent. If you pull back and look at the situation, often these statements from other adults are coming from a place of their personal awareness, social expectations and individual experiences they have had in their lives.  Often, as adults, we struggle seeing beyond our own personal experiences.

So, how do we communicate with people who do not “see” the disability? This is especially important if they have an influence in the child’s life (such as a relative or teacher).

As a parent, you are in the role of helping your child succeed.  First, you are gaining information about your child and his or her disability.  As you work with other professionals, attend classes, and build your child’s team, you are creating a shift of awareness within yourself.  Understanding where your child’s strengths and weaknesses lie and setting goals to further help your child will create a shift within your family.

As awareness increases you will be setting up expectations and goals at home.  What do you expect as a parent?  How do you communicate and help your child with these expectations at home?  What are your expectations and goals for yourself? A plan will begin to form based on your new knowledge. Your parenting style may change.

Hold true to your plan even if a grandparent, aunt or uncle can not understand it.  Remember, they have awareness based on their experiences.  You may choose to give information to a family member along the way, but we recommend doing so with an open heart instead of a goal of creating a shift in them.

When working with teachers and school staff, understand two things: one, they are working with your child from their experiences and training, and two they may see your child in a different light. Difficulties you experience at home may not be the same as what they are experiencing  at school. Share your knowledge; but listen to theirs as well.  Share evaluations and your home experiences but also remember to be open to  hearing about situations from school.  You both may have different perspectives, but work towards coming together for the benefit of your child.

With your child’s teacher, come up with a plan for school.  Be specific in your expectations.  Are you hoping to have your child’s teacher gain more awareness of how your child thinks socially?  Or are you wanting them to help your child experience more academic success?  We have found that you will have more success  communicating with your child’s school when you have one or two specific goals in mind.

In closing, we are aware that “invisible disabilities” are very real.  They affect our children differently in different environments.  The level of impact one of these disabilities has on a child can be significant in all areas of their life.  Ultimately, you are creating a shift in thinking within yourself, creating goals and expectations for your family, bridging a gap with your child’s school, and holding true to your plan when around extended family.  Although these areas can be challenging, consistency with your overall plan will reap the greatest reward.

With Appreciation,

Christina and Wendy

 

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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! We hope everyone has had a restful break.  We are looking forward to the start of 2017 and everything a new year brings.

Reminders and Updates:

New Social Skills Classes

Next Sunday, January 8th we officially begin our new six-week sessions for our Mindful Thinking for Social Expectations classes.  The “Play” class has one opening left for the 3rd-5th graders and a couple of open spots for the K-2nd grade group.  If you’re interested in registering, please click here for details Registration Is Now Open.  Registration will be open until Saturday, Jan. 7th.

Middle School OTB Club

We would love to have your middle schooler join our OTB Club! Our middle school group begins on Friday, January 13th.  For details, please click here Middle Schoolers OTB (Outside The Box) Club

Mindfulness

What is mindfulness?  Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us (thank you http://www.mindful.org/meditation/mindfulness-getting-started/ for the definition).  This parent and child class, will be taught once a month by Maria Haretmann. We will be hosting the class on Sunday  January  22nd  from 12:20-1:00  and again on Sunday February  19th from 12:20-1:00.   Each class costs $20.00 which includes a parent and child.  Additional children are $7.00.  If you would like to sign up, please send us an e-mail at confidentsolutions7@gmail.com and let us know you’re coming! We will send you a PayPal link to reserve your spot.

 

Free Parent/Guardian Class on Understanding the Components of an IEP

Our next free class on understanding the components of an IEP will be held on Wednesday, January 18th from 10:00-11:00 and 12:00-1:00.  If there is a specific part of an IEP that you would like to hear more about, please send us your thoughts to confidentsolutions7@gmail.com.

 

If you have any questions regarding any of the upcoming classes or sessions, please send them to us at confidentsolutions7@gmail.com.  If you would like to receive our newest posts, you can “follow” our blog by entering your e-mail address on the home screen.  You will receive e-mails sent directly to your inbox.  We are hoping to add child yoga classes soon.  We also have an IEP organizer in the “works.”  You won’t want to miss it!

Happy 2017!

With Much Appreciation,

Christina and Wendy