Tuesday, July 29, 2014

What's important and what isn't....

Sometimes simple acceptance is the key. Clichéd it may sound this word ‘acceptance’ but ask any mother of a special needs child the guiding principle behind raising her child—it would be ‘acceptance’.

It’s a process. It happens with awareness and effort. It needs reminding oneself periodically. It’s not a miracle. Just knowing and understanding and finally accepting what ones child is capable of, how not to focus on weaknesses alone and how to work with what one is good at. In childhood it’s tough. A child wants to do whatever the other child is doing-jumping,running,somersaults,arts and crafts classes—the list is endless. The same applies to academics. A child wants to do as well as any other in the classroom if not better. 
But what happens when the child knows she cannot cope in her classroom however hard she tries? She lags behind, needs more support and ends up helpless, frustrated and finally anxious.

By the end of grade 5, Ananditas anxieties had hit a high.  It took a while to figure out that the academic pressure had built up so much within her- not just the vastness of syllabus but also her efforts to cope had failed her. Everything made her feel different-her limited mobility, her limitations on the sports field and now the academics. Her anxieties manifested in many ways. I’m digressing here because this blog post isn’t about anxieties.

Like her as for me, it’s all about knowing what’s important and what isn’t.
She knew she could not cope. I had to identify it and help her out with the support from her school.

Now she is in grade 6, in the resource room studying with support and help of a special educator with goals in place for her. Her academic stress has vanished. She learns one on one and is relaxed and happy about going to school. If she has a problem she knows she has the freedom to voice it and share it with her teacher and counselor.

What’s important here for her is the environment. When she is at peace with her environment her anxieties dissolve and she is the child that she is-fearless, curious and happy. She asks questions and doubts freely, learns visually-which she is best at and has more time to herself once she gets back home. She does have home work and assessments like other kids and has learnt to manage her time and activities effortlessly.
What’s important for her is to be okay with the fact that she is different and develop her own sense of self.
What’s also important is to for her to focus on what she likes doing. The rest will fall into place.
What’s important for her is to be okay with her anxieties when they arise, her fears, her need for order in a bid to control her life-to just be okay with it.
What she doesn’t have is companionship at school. That’s important, very important as well for her growth as a person. But somewhere when you gain an advantage you also lose a bit of what you really need. The advantage of learning under a special educator will tide her over for her future; help her to enjoy her learning journey at school. But in being different there is also a tinge of isolation which she has accepted. There ‘acceptance’ again! 

When one accepts one finds a way to work around it, work with it, and find solutions that work. And that’s how it’s happening for her.

The rest isn’t important...