I am an adult who has been diagnosed with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and my brother has autism. From personal experience, I’d say that the intentional way our parents dealt with us was the key to our successfully coping with the difficulties of our conditions as we went through college and learned to interact correctly with other people.
Not all children have obvious special needs. Some children have special needs that are hard to diagnose. Even though these needs might not be apparent at first, the results can be very severe if parents do not take action early.
The kinds of special needs that are somewhat hidden are collectively known as neurodevelopmental disorders (NDs). According to doctors these conditions are things we are born with. They affect us as we go through our different life stages. Some examples of these conditions include: lack of interest in socializing with other children; unusually repetitive behaviors such as arranging things over and over again; language delay; excessive age-inappropriate hyperactivity and inattention: and the inability to learn academic tasks such as reading. With the exception of Down’s Syndrome, most of these disorders do not have obvious physical characteristics, and are not normally discovered until the disability is confirmed by a specialist doctor.
This lack of physical symptoms is why teachers don’t always recognize these kinds of special needs in their students, or why parents may stay in “denial.” They tend to ignore irregular behaviors or blame them on bad genes from one side of the family or on bad parenting. But the truth is, that it is no one’s fault. In fact, these impairments are not accidents that God made. In 2 Corinthians 12, God told Paul that, “My power is made perfect in weakness” in order that He would be glorified. As I work with adult that have special needs, I see these people excelling in specific areas of interest, creating a life for themselves and bringing glory to God in spite of their condition.
Today, the government extends help to children with special needs in at least one of three ways. First, it helps by including these kids in the general education setup in many public schools. According to R.A. 7277 “Magna Carta for Disabled Persons” and a DepEd press release last February 24, 2017, the general education system will attempt to help these children be educated in the same setup as typical students. Secondly, according to the same law, these individuals are qualified to obtain a PWD card, which functions almost similarly as a Senior Citizen’s Card. Lastly, government hospitals have developmental pediatricians and child psychiatrists who offer free consultations and direct each case differently as each child is unique.
Fiel John Meria is special ed. teacher whose mission is to bring the love of Jesus Christ to people who have family members with special needs.