Kids With Special Needs: The Family Dynamic
Submitted by needanap
My 9-year-old, Ian, was recently diagnosed with a combination of ADHD and Asperger's syndrome. Luckily, we finally found a wonderful public school with warm, caring people who are actually working with us on this. What a change from the previous school, in which everyone called him a "bad boy" and me and my husband "bad parents"! When Ian had his inevitable meltdown once or twice a week, the principal (who was a huge man) and two teachers used to hold him spread-eagled on the floor, like a criminal. When that didn't "calm him down," they took him down to the padded room, where his shoes would be taken away, the light would be turned off and the door would be barred from the outside.
At the new school, Ian's working on integrating socially, learning to calm himself before melting down by using his "cool down spot" and is given a choice of activities as a reward. One of the staff even brought in a stationary bicycle she didn't use so he could safely ride a bike indoors with supervision. I bless them every day.
However, while we have school basically under control, home is a different story. I try to provide structure during the weekend, but Ian's 7-year-old sister, 2-year-old brother and father have different ideas. My poor daughter kind of gets lost in the middle between Ian and the 2-year old. My husband yells at Ian to shut up every so often when he gets tired of hearing me trying to get him, and everyone else, moving in the same general direction. My husband's idea of spending time with Ian is "watch me shoot these people on my PlayStation sniper war game" or "watch me win this football game on my PlayStation." Of course, Ian loses interest really fast.
Anyone got any ideas on how I can get my whole family working together so everyone gets their fair share of attention?