1. Listen to me when I tell you about my child. I really do know her/him and their needs better than anyone else.
2. Treat me as a member of the IEP team, not a necessary evil.
3. Remember that my child can learn, but she/he needs repetition, repetition, repetition (Then repeat it again.)
4. My child has Sensory Integration Disorder. The typical school room, with it's bright, flickering lights, brightly colored decorations, busy, noisy, crowded atmosphere is like Hell for my child. They can't concentrate, they can't think, they can't learn. Find them a quiet, screened, simply decorated corner, where they can go to be alone and work, when it all gets to be too much for them.
5. If my child has equipment, such as: pencil grips, eyeglasses, weighted vests or lap pads, etc... please make sure that they are allowed to and encouraged to use them.
6. My child often cannot process everything you say-especially if there is background noise. Please take a moment to take them aside and make sure that they understand what the directions or the assignment are. They will try hard to complete it, if they understand what you want. If they are continually frustrated in their efforts because of miscommunications, they will give up and withdraw.
7. Please remember that my child will try to cover up her/his inability to understand the work by pretending not to care. It's much more desirable, in their eyes, to be perceived as lazy than it is to be thought of as stupid.
8. Please protect my child from the cruelty of other children. My child is especially vulnerable to being led astray and used by higher functioning kids. My child acts without thinking and then regrets it later. Please keep an eye on them on the playground, in gym and in the hallways. They cannot control their behavior without outside help.
9. Remember, whether I am my child's birth parent or their adoptive parent, I love my child and want what's best for them. Please don't assume, because my child's brain damage was caused by alcohol use during their gestation, that I am an uncaring, uninvolved drunk. I am doing the best I can for my child. Remember, too, that my child's behaviors at home can be extremely difficult to deal with and live with. Please understand if I seem stressed, exhausted or frustrated. Please give me the benefit of the doubt and try to understand if I seem irritable with you.
10. Finally, please remember that my child will someday be an adult. How we- you and I- treat them and teach them today will have a great deal to do with who they turn out to be. Please help me to help my child be the best that they can be and understand that, as hard as I try, I can't always fix what's gone wrong. If my child grows up to be a thief or a drug addict because of their disability, please remember that I did my very best to keep them from it and am grieving what might have been.
Lori is mom of 10 - 9 adopted, 8 with varying degrees of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.