I have a son with several diagnoses including bilateral radial aplasia, ADHD, ODD, and Anxiety. For the most part, it’s been a bumpy ride, but I’ve been able to ride with my hands in the air, but this past year, someone turned it up full speed, and it’s been white knuckles the whole way. Since my son is 10, and I’m a single parent, I’ve had lots of practice circling my wagons and gathering support and resources, but again, this past year was definitely the worst so far.
I had the support of family and friends, and of course, Mayo was doing a great job responding to my concerns about my son’s behavior, but as my friends were helping me through, they were surprised to learn I got him a social worker through Children’s Mental Health or that I got PACER to help me deal with the problems we were having with school. They had no idea. Now, if their kids were “normal,” I would have just chalked this up as educating them about the trials and tribulations of raising a special needs child, but these were parents of grown children who had shared many of the same struggles, and they had no idea these resources were out there.
So that brings me to my proposal. I propose that every time a child or teen with a diagnosis that might qualify the child for special ed services or an IEP, etc. is seen, that the physician or care provider as the parent specifically how things are going with the IEP and if they feel they might be helped by Children’s Mental Health or PACER. I say this because while I knew about these services, I was so stressed out by everything that was going on with my son, I had forgotten about them. Had I been reminded or asked about them when I had my son in to see his doctor about the behaviors, I might have been able to get help for us sooner.