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Lessons from the Learning Disability Clinic


I feel that every parent should know that they are blessed with a bundle of joy, however the package appears. No matter what grim prognosis is stated, your child will bring you joy, show you love and astonish you. Don’t let your pain and worry blind you to that. Dyslexic kids are all intelligent. They can be professionals. Slow learners and intellectually impaired kids can be extremely successful in careers involving creativity. Many autistic kids are savants. And remember that every success story (think Helen Keller!) has its roots in the parent’s interest to encourage and empower their child.

Your journey can take you to unknown places and bring people with unfamiliar ideas into your life but you will also develop a variety of skills and see a whole new dimension to life.

Your child’s situation may be uncomfortable but it should never embarass you or make you feel inferior. Never be afraid to seek help and assert your rights.

I am convinced of the fact that children look for cues in our behaviour to know if we are accepting of them, and once they are reassured, they try in their own little ways to make us happy. I see babies with cerebral palsy make an effort at physiotherapy that I would find hard to replicate in my life. Children feel frustrated when they cannot explore, express or comprehend something. This helplessness is expressed as anger and violence in many many cases. It comes as no surprise to us that differently-abled children have difficulty interacting with family and peers. They will show a considerable change in this area if they are able to overcome some of their limitations.

It will be a long drawn task – managing special or integrated education and you may have to raise your voice with several small-minded people. But press on with faith in the right. As much as there are people with closed minds, there are people reaching out to help you – financially,academically,vocationally and even spiritually. You will have to work with your child all through your life, do it with pride.

Make your special child a part of all activities at home, however limited their participation. Discipline them as you would any other child but be extra generous with praise. Spend time as a family and share responsibility for the child’s care. For example a relative who the child is really fond of can accompany him for his therapy or an elder sibling can help the child use the toilet. Do not pay heed to people sympathising with you; those who really care will offer you assistance and creative suggestions. Your attitude will rub off onto the child’s siblings and classmates.

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Dr. Krishna Mahathi holds diplomas in Pediatrics and in the management of allergies and asthma. Years of working and interacting with children and parents have given her insight into developmental disabilities. She wishes that there was more awareness and acceptance of the issues that differently-abled children face and hopes that through this blog, she can enable thse children and their families to make sensible and informed choices.


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