By: Amy L. Dienta
Wow, it’s been 11 years since I joined this blog. At that point in time, I had an 8-year-old boy who loved soccer. Now, 11 years later, I am blessed with two more boys – a 10-year-old and a 4-year-old. Life has been crazier by the minute.
One thing that hasn’t changed in 11 years is what an autism diagnosis means. Back then, it felt like autism was this dragon I had to slay so my child could get help and maybe talk someday. Well, he slayed that dragon, and now he never stops talking about Minecraft, WW2, or ants. Those are his current favorite things to research and watch on YouTube.
Now there’s a dragon with 2 heads. Recently Omar was also diagnosed with dyslexia. This dragon feels even harder to slay because there is much less help for kids with dyslexia than autism. The dyslexia dragon has a shield, and this shield is occupational therapy. In order to win, you must get the shield from the school – an Individualized Education Program (IEP). This dragon also has a helmet protecting him. The helmet is getting the school to add a dyslexic reading program in his IEP. In order to get this, you need to jump past the school and turn to a royal court called the state, then mediate for this program that your child desperately needs. It is only then that you survive and live on to battle the 3rd and final dragon.
This final dragon is named ADHD, and he is protected by the castle’s moat. To slay this dragon, you must jump safely over the moat and successfully get your child to take ADHD medication. This is especially difficult if your child has determined that he will not take pills because he feels like the gel coating on the capsules is plastic. So, you must battle this dragon every morning at 6:00 a.m. for all of eternity.
When you are a parent – and especially a special needs parent – there are many daily battles. All I can tell you is to pick your battles and seek advice from your trusted court of specialists. Do what you think is right for your child and slay these dragons, which are sure to change throughout your child’s life.