Early childhood services which offer professionalized care services to parents help them meet the needs of the special children so that parents are able to balance their strengths, resources and challenges in the family (Bachraz & Grace, 2009; Goodley & Tregaskis, 2006).
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Early childhood services can effectively help parents with appropriate information from professionals and support them in their parenting roles (Bachraz & Grace, 2009).
Literature suggests that parents of children with disability persevere hard to establish normalcy in their lives (Bachraz & Grace, 2009). This attitude is consistent with studies in family resilience which implies that parents of disabled children try to add a new meaning to their lives by reconstructing a new vision for their child’s disability.
In a family with a child who experiences disability, the other siblings engaged in new meaningful roles which added to the strength of the family. A widely held view if the stereotypical belief about intellectually disabled children who are viewed as pitiable because of the belief that parents of these children will ill-treat them or put them at risk from others (McConnell & Llewellyn, 2002).
However, Bachraz & Grace (2009) found that siblings of children with difficulties engage in supportive roles such as helping, teaching and taking care, behaviours which enhance attachment. Adapting to a sibling with special needs made other siblings more responsible, responsive and caring in adapting to the family circumstances (Bachraz & Grace, 2009).
Goodley & Tregaskis (2006) found that interaction with families of disabled children helps parents get advice and support due to the common problems they share. Parents also get first-hand information about their children’s rights and needs.
Families with disabled children which have access to early childhood professionals or teachers benefit from having early and definite diagnosis, which helps them access professional support and services quickly (Goodley & Tregaskis, 2006).
Professionals and teachers assist parents by addressing any uncertainties related to the child’s health and prognosis. Early knowledge of the impairment holds better implications for the child’s future since parents are better equipped with information, support and services for the child (Goodley & Tregaskis, 2006).
Today, the scenario of professionally assisting disabled children differs radically from the 1970s since there is greater awareness and sensitivity towards disabled children and communities. However, I agree that education and literature play an important role among professionals who deal with the differently disabled community of children and adults. It is true that putting labels on anyone can create barriers.
However, today, parents and communities have a greater level of awareness towards the disabled community in general. Ironically, it is the duty of the professional or the teacher to educate people and parents about the rights and information related to the disabled.
Goodley & Tregaskis (2006) found that parents who have access to professional services, had an advantage over parents since early diagnosis helped them take decisions about their child’s future earlier than usual. Early childhood educators have a positive influence not only on the disabled children but also their parents who get a better understanding of the disability.
The role of early childhood educators is indeed extensive in that they have to understand the special roles which parents play in catering to normal and disabled children within the same family.
Professional services have the necessary resources and support to help these parents meet the challenges of parenting normal and special children without compromising the needs of either (Goodley & Tregaskis, 2006). More importantly, parents have a chance to interact with other parents and support groups to help each other with the knowledge and experiences of parents with similar issues.
Bachraz, V. & Grace, R. (2009). Creating a different kind of normal: Parent and child perspectives on sibling relationships when one child in the family has Autism Spectrum Disorder. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 10(9), 317-330. doi: 10.2304/ciec.2009.10.4.317
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Goodley, D. &Tregaskis, C. (2006). Storying Disability and Impairment: Retrospective Accounts of Disabled Family Life. Qualitative Health Research, 16, 630-646. doi: 10.1177/1049732305285840
McConnell, D. & Llewellyn, G. (2002). Stereotypes, parents with intellectual disability and child protection. Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law, 24(3), 297-317. doi: 10.1080/09649060210161294