Support for families with children with ADHD and autism can be difficult to find and perhaps at time when parents are at their wit’s end. In this post Soli describes her personal experiences and the support she offers to families.
“Life as a parent with a chid with special needs can be really lonely. Your friends all seem to have the perfect family. Yet for me, our lives were a daily struggle and I had no one to turn to. My life certainly wasn’t turning out how I’d planned.
My husband and I met when we were still teenagers, we got through university in separate towns and then he proposed in Paris. How amazing our future seemed.
Then along came our son, whom we adopted at 14 months old. He was a ball of energy and didn’t stop. He caused chaos wherever he went. I had to give him my full attention from the moment he got up, to the second he fell asleep. He got asked to leave every group he ever attended and whilst at a child minder the final straw was when he stood on a caterpillar. He didn’t listen to the swimming teacher, the cub leader, the music specialist. He had no friends and was never invited to play dates or one single birthday party.
At school every day I dreaded the ‘can I have a quick word…’. He couldn’t read, write, do simple maths or pay attention for more than 10 seconds. We were at our wits end.
At 8 years old he was eventually diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder known as ADHD. This label saved us all. Now we knew why he couldn’t control his impulses, was completely inattentive and – oh my goodness – so hyperactive! It wasn’t our fault or anything we were doing wrong. My son’s brain is just lacking a chemical that controls impulses. Teachers now were able to adapt their practices and we were given a clue as to how we could help him at home. I educated myself and read books and went to lectures and absorbed all I could about this condition which affects between 2% and 5% of school age children.
Now alongside this drama of my home life, I was gaining more and more experience as a classroom teacher. I don’t think I’m a believer in fate, but my son came into our family and my whole life took a different turn. As a teacher I just ‘got’ the children who couldn’t fit in, the boys who couldn’t sit still and the children who were left on the periphery of friendships. And so my specialism in special needs started to take hold. I progressed to assistant Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) at a large London primary school. I was the inclusion specialist and advised staff how to make sure all children were included, their needs were met and the curriculum differentiated as necessary.
But I wasn’t completely satisfied and wanted to get the message out further. I never had any support when my son was little. I felt alone, judged and criticised. I was exhausted. I felt I was doing everything wrong and couldn’t get why he couldn’t just let us have one bloody family outing without some argument or row.
So I set up Yellow Sun.
My aim is to support families with children with ADHD and autism. I don’t want any other parent to feel alone and exhausted. I offer advice, help, guidance and can give real practical suggestions what we can do to help our special children. We need to change our reaction to inappropriate behaviour and ensure the environment is suitable. I am so mindful of the damage that can done to a child at an early age if he constantly gets told off, feels he’s useless and a failure and has no friends. We want our children to have amazing emotional health and it is up to us to make it happen. I am here to help.
For more information, have a peep at my website www.soli-lazarus.com
I am offering free video training ‘How To Live A Happy Life With ADHD’. Check it out at www.liveahappylifewithadhd.com/freetraining
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