How do we normally measure success throughout our children's lives? At school it is measured by how they score in tests and how their results compare to other children.
In sports it may be what team they make, what races they win or what dance exams they pass. In their social lives it’s how they interact with their peers and the friends they make.
We want them to have good morals, be kind, empathetic and make good decisions.
When raising children with special needs we have a different set of benchmarks.
It's about setting goals and having strategies to meet them.
At school this includes having an Individualised Education Plan (IEP) that shows how the school programme will be adapted to them.
It records achievements, what supports are needed and what success may look like for them.
It's about creating an environment where they can learn without sensory distractions and where they will be accepted and nurtured Its about completing the cross country or length of the pool, not the place they get.
In fact even getting into the cold school pool is something to celebrate. This is how we measure success.
Therapy is always on our minds when we choose their out of school activities.
Finding what they enjoy so they are motivated to attend but always bearing in mind what will help them in terms of social skills, motor skills and providing some sort of physical fitness. This is how we measure success.
Attending a birthday party without a meltdown is a milestone to be celebrated. Carrying out self care, brushing teeth and brushing hair is another.
It is about being able to participate in family activities without getting overwhelmed and escaping without a tantrum . It's when parents are able to relax without being on edge.
It’s when something isn’t pulled apart or broken.
Or when you haven’t had to intercept your child finding an escape route. This is how we measure success.
It's about having friendships that are different from the norm. When no words need to be spoken to have a beautiful relationship.
Or when your best friends are much older than you but they make you feel accepted. This is how we measure success.
All successes are celebrated in our house.
We want all our children to be the best versions of themselves in whatever shape or form that takes.