A New Year

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Hi all!

It’s been a while since I have written a new post but I figure it’s a new year, time to make some positive changes. First of all, our family has been doing great! Elijah is making more and more progress, and he just continues to amaze and inspire everyone.

Today, I don’t have a specific topic to write about but I have many little things that I want to discuss. One of the updates in our life is that Elijah will be starting ABA therapy soon. This has been a long process and we are very excited for him to start. However, my issue is why is it made so difficult for families to get the services/resources they need for their child with a disability? We already have a lot on our plates without the ever-present paperwork, workshops, waiting, phone calls, and expenses that are thrown at us. Why is it that more insurance companies do not fund ABA therapy? Why is there an income cap on receiving funding for these services? My assumption is that most of these issues stem from a lack of knowledge and public awareness. I had no idea how arduous any of this was prior to being a special needs parent and special education major, so I can only imagine how little the public knows about this. Insurance companies could make a difference just by covering ABA therapy and taking a stance that shows that individuals with disabilities have a right to these services and it shouldn’t have to come out of the family’s pocket.

Here is why I feel so strongly that these services should be covered. One of the biggest fears for a parent who has a child with a disability is the constant worry over how independent and self-sufficient their child will be as they get older. One way that we can help support that independence is through services like ABA therapy (if the disability is autism). How can we expect and hope that individuals will be self-sufficient, if we don’t provide them with the tools to get there?

Another topic I wanted to talk about is a little more personal. Given that we are starting a new year, I think that one resolution a lot of parents can make is to try or continue to value your child’s progress, not where they may be struggling. This doesn’t just mean celebrating every victory, but also seeing their potential. Don’t set goals for them that are too attainable. Give them the chance to surprise you. So many special needs parents are afraid to take their children out in public. This is usually for 2 reasons; 1) it’s difficult and they worry about meltdowns, and 2) the judgment of other people. I get both reasons and have experienced them on more than one occasion. But don’t keep them from those experiences based on assumptions or fear. Think about what they can accomplish and how they might be able to surprise you. I know not every child is the same, but there are different ways you can push them to do new things and experience the world. Believe me, it will make your life easier in the long run!

That’s all I have for today. I hope everyone had a great New Year and I’ll write again soon!

-Mandi

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