Five Things to Do When ….. Someone Sends you Another “Sure Cure” Article
1. Look At it Realistically
When we have kids with disabilities it is natural to want to find “the fix”. And often your friends and relatives will be sending you articles because they have that desire as well. Unfortunately - many people will play on this desire. Some will claim that they can “cure” your child if you buy their book, or come to their clinic, or do the therapy that only they can give you, etc. So first - before looking at any treatment - you have to have a good idea of the exact difficulty your child is having and a clear understanding of what can be “cured”, what can possibly be strengthened, and what things are probably not going to change.
I do understand (as a mom myself) that it can be hard to really accept that a child’s disabilities cannot be cured. But I also know that coming to terms with this reality is an important part of moving forward and actually spending time more wisely on things that truly can be beneficial.
2. Think of things as Potential Helps - not Cures.
When we find information or when people give us information, I find it helpful to think in terms of whether or not this idea seems like a potential HELP - not necessarily a potential cure. Many things can be helpful without being a fix.
In my daughter’s 30 years of life, I have done the following things:
Sensory Integration Therapy
Mid-line Crossing Exercises
Auditory Enhancement Treatments
Dietary Supplements and Vitamins
I feel that every single thing we have done has been helpful in some way. But absolutely NONE of these things have been a cure or a fix.
3. Do your Research
Almost all of our kids can benefit from some form of therapy. But each type of therapy or diet or supplement will have different potential benefits depending on if your child has ADD or Autism or a Processing Disorder. The more you learn about your child’s specific type of disability, the more easily you can make good, informed choices.
4. Don’t Forget Plain Old Exercise (and other simple things)
It is easy to get lost in the sea of therapy or diet claims and forget that there are very simple things that we can be doing for our children that are highly beneficial.
ALL children (people - us too!) need:
A balanced, healthy diet
a balance of structured time and rest time
If your child has trouble with any of these basic things - then that is the place to start working. Therapy can actually be as simple as developing stamina walking longer and longer distances or learning to climb the ladder on the slide! Diet changes should start with a basic diet - not fads. If your child has trouble sleeping - look into essential oils and limiting electronics first. If your child melts down on busy days - think about some schedule changes. These are things that are within our power to work on and are actually simple forms of therapy that can be more realistic and doable.
Remember, “therapy” is nothing more than intentionally working on strengthening a weak area. It can be simple!
5. Remember to Look at your Child as a Whole Person
Sometimes we can get “therapy blindness.” This happens when all we can see are the problems our child has, and we forget to look at the things they do well. I love that in his book, Change Your Brain, Change Your Life, Dr. Daniel Amen discusses how we must look at all four of the major “circles” of our lives in order to effect significant change. The circles are:
Biological- how your physical body functions
Psychological- your mind and development
Social- your life support (connections) and current life situation
Spiritual - your sense of meaning and purpose.
Many therapies focus on the biological and psychological aspects of our kids. Social Skills Therapy would address the social circle - but often we forget to make sure that our kids are also developing their passions and interests so that they have a sense of purpose and meaning. This is vitally important to wholistic development!!