The greatest therapy for any child — it may surprise you!

Many parents of young children look at me as a specialist, as I am raising not just one, but two children with Down syndrome. I am very proud of all my children´s achievements, since they are happy kids with plenty of abilities.

So here goes … all my secrets for raising two kids with disabilities, different abilities or special needs:

Like everyone else, we celebrate good grades and nice behavior, and we fight with tantrums and stubbornness. Nothing is really special; I just follow two basic rules:

1) Learn to dream new dreams and

2) Learn how to reward efforts rather than results.

If you know how to follow these two simple steps, you are all set and ready to celebrate and enjoy the experience of raising any child regardless of their abilities.

One thing that I love about both of my kids having special needs is that together, we are able to demonstrate that every child is unique and special, no matter what his or her condition is. When they are told their child has Down syndrome, Autism, or something else;  parents’ biggest fear is that their child is going to be judged and pointed at by society. Because before we have a child with this condition, we feel they are all the same. But when your child is born with Down syndrome or is diagnosed for expample: with autism, you’re amazed with the uniqueness of your special child not because of his diagnosis, but because he is your child, the best child ever! My two children, both with the same condition, have such distinct and special personalities. I could never paint them with the same brush!

My two children, both with the Down syndrome, have such distinct and special personalities. I could never paint them with the same brush!

People who follow my children´s development are always surprised and inspired to know that they are learning to write, to read and even to speak two languages. So they ask me all the times about therapies, developmental exercises and stuff to do at home, and my answer is:

 

The best therapy for your child is LOVE, not only for your own child withspecial needs but for every other child in the world.

Love is patient and kind;

Love is not jealous or boastful;

it is not arrogant or rude.

Love does not insist on its own way;

it is not irritable or resentful;

it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right.

Love bears all things, believes all things,

hopes all things, endures all things.

– 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

A child can grow and thrive without therapy, but not without LOVE. Love is also acceptance and a lesson to find perfection in the most unexpected surprises of God. LOVE IS PERFECT!

P.S. After LOVE has taken over your life, you will be ready to start looking for a wonderful team of professionals that will help your family to set goals and work toward them. Just remember that your child doesn´t need to be fixed, he or she just needs to be LOVED!

Read more of Eliana Tardio writing about raising children with Down syndrome and everything in between at elianatardio.com (in Spanish)

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