When Arizona was 2.5 years old, we took her to see a developmental pediatrician due to some concerns we had about her development. 6 years later, I’m reflecting on the ride we’ve been on, including all the information I’ve collected along the way.
Luckily for me, Los Angeles is a crazy hub of resources and help for kiddos with special needs. Unluckily for me, and parents like me, it can be somewhat of an art to figure out exactly where to go for help, knowing WHAT to ask for and trying to wrap your head around what your child really needs.
One important thing to note is that having a developmental delay when you’re young does not always mean it will be a lifelong affliction. Early intervention is key. If you have any concerns about your child’s development, no matter how small, get it looked at while they’re young.
Where to start?
- Call your local regional center for free assessment and diagnosis. Every state should have a department of developmental services that lists the regional centers in your area. California resources are listed here : http://www.dds.ca.gov/DDSHomePage.cfm
- Tell your pediatrician that you have concerns about your child’s development. Even if they don’t agree with you (this happens more often than you think!), insist upon a referral to a child development specialist and take it from there.
In the future, I’ll have additional blog posts on specific information I’ve gathered along the way. There are a lot of us in this together and the process doesn’t have to be so isolating and overwhelming. I welcome your hints & tips as well!
At the beginning of each year, I set an intention for the upcoming 12 months. I usually end up with a long list of things I want to do better or different ways I want to be better. It can be daunting, to look at this list of New Year’s resolutions come February and realize I haven’t done much of anything differently.
As a special needs parent, I have experienced my child go through so many assessments and testings. Generally speaking, the focus is usually figuring out what your child can’t do and then measuring future accomplishments based on those “deficits.”
I have often found this way of testing to be depressing and frustrating. I don’t want to hear what my child “can’t do” compared to her peers. I want to hear all of the amazing things that my child can do right now!
In like manner, I have set a similar standard for myself with my “must be / do better lists.” I will celebrate all of my accomplishments, big and small. I will acknowledge the ways that I have transformed into a NEW me. I have declared 2015 to be the Year of Me.