Monday, February 11, 2013

Future Life Planning Part 1: If you were a parent, wouldn’t you agree that it’s good to have options and be prepared when it comes to your kids?

We do too.

Having a child with special needs is often times stressful, overwhelming and full of questions and concerns.

Tara (my life skills tutor) and I had this idea to take our experiences with our own disabilities and turn it into a guide for parents filled with important things to think about while raising a child with disabilities.

My friend Tara Wickey is an advocacy specialist living in Chicago, IL. She has a B.S. degree from New York University and a M.S. degree in Public Service Management from DePaul University n Chicago, IL. 

Since the age of 15, Tara has worked with various organizations and projects (in IL, NY, England, Ireland and Kenya) committed to furthering opportunities for disadvantaged populations. 

She currently works as a life skills tutor and activities facilitator at Center for Independent Futures as well as a Community Organizer for The IL Self Advocacy Alliance. Tara’s experience with Muscular Dystrophy, a degenerative muscle disease, helped shape many of the tips you will read below.

Future Planning: Tips for ensuring a life of quality for your child with special needs
By: Alyssa Ruzzin & Tara Wickey 

Ages 0-3:
-Set up healthy eating and living habits.

-Consult a doctor or specialist if something seems off about your child. Though it is nerve-wracking, having a full picture of what the situation is gives you power in addressing issues or delays early.

-If your child receives a diagnosis (or partial diagnosis) get informed & make a plan.

-Follow through with treatment plans, testing and assessments if a doctor recommends them.

-Take advantage of early intervention programs if they are available. In many states, developmental evaluations and treatment are free.

-Age 0-3 is the MOST crucial time of development for young children. Therapies (physical, occupational, behavioral, play & speech) can make a world of difference in the development of your child.

-Work with your child as much as possible following the guidelines or suggestions of therapists and doctors. 

We are working on the next installment so check back again soon for more on this subject.

Alyssa and Tara

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