Testimonial for Early Detection

Dear Parentworks,

I don't know if you do this or not but I read your advice to "Indignant Mother" in the letter on "Early Detection for Learning Disabilities". I just wanted to say that I could have been that mom - I was for a while but thankfully I did act on a gentle recommendation that I have my daughter checked out with early testing. I have two children so thought I knew what "normal" was and just felt kind of funny in my gut with some of the things my younger child did. I know there are differences between boys and girls so just chalked it up to that for a couple of years. Both of my children are what one would call "Spirited" so I thought much of what I observed was just their quirky personalities. I was scared. I was worried my child would be labeled. My husband didn't want to think there was anything wrong. My pediatrician seemed to act like I was a worry wart and just told me to wait until she started school and maybe she'd grow out of her behaviors. But my gut wouldn't shut up and it really helped to have a professional gently tell me "You know, I've observed your child doing X, Y and Z. Does that happen at home? Do you have any concerns. We see some "red flags" in these behaviors that you may want to have checked out for your own peace of mind." It was very empowering and it turned out that my child did have some mild delays. But since we got them taken care of when she's only three they've been able to teach her and me ways to deal with these issues so they won't be bigger problems in the future. Thank you and to all the people like you who help us parents when we've got no where else to go but our gut keeps screaming out.

- Trusted the Gut (with some help)

Dear Trusted,

Thank you for taking the time to share your real life success story. Your child is very lucky to have a parent like you who wasn't willing to settle for waiting when your gut told you something wasn't right. I think all parents need to hear more frequently that THEY are in fact the "experts" on their own children. As professionals in this field, many of us see hundreds of families a year and so have ideas and opinions which we are more than happy to share when asked. But until and unless a parent is ready and open to the information, it will go no where.

It is a gift to your child to not only to hear what someone else has to say about what they are objectively observing (don't let someone just tell you vague generalizations - get specifics), until a parent is ready and willing to listen to their own suspicions and not fear that they are being "a worry wart" then children won't get some of the vital skills they need to succeed in this world. Everyone has the capacity to be their own best "self" - it may not be someone else's best but to honor a child's uniqueness, to bravely look their needs straight on and to help them where they alone need support are crucial elements of our role in children's lives. It is the gift each parent gives to their child and gives back to us as satisfied parents.