Parents of Children with Developmental Disabilities :: You are Not Alone

In 1987, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed March Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. His proclamation called upon Americans “to provide the encouragement and opportunities necessary for people with developmental disabilities to reach their potential.” He encouraged communities to develop programs and job training for these individuals so they can earn an income and be productive members of society. It was also established to promote respect and to educate others about the abilities these unique individuals posses. 

According to the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act, a developmental disability is defined as “a severe, chronic disability which originated at birth; is expected to continue indefinitely; and substantially restricts the individual’s functioning in several major life activities.” Over 6 million people in the United States fall into this category. Some examples of developmental disabilities include ::

  • Autism
  • Behavior Disorders
  • Brain Injury
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Down Syndrome
  • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
  • Intellectual Disability
  • Spina Bifida

Parents of Children with Developmental Disabilities:: You are Not Alone | Houston Moms Blog

My oldest child is 1 in 6 million. He lives with Autism. He was diagnosed at age four, and since then his life has been a never ending roller coaster of therapy appointments and ARD meetings at school. What do I want for him in his lifetime? 

  • I want him to be understood.
  • I want him to have close friends to confide in and trust.
  • I want him to not get taken advantage of because of his Autism.
  • I want him to graduate and make a decision about his future.
  • I want him to be able to work and make an income.
  • I want him to marry and have a family.

I want for him what every other parent wants for their child… to live a happy and productive life.

Are There Resources to Help?

Yes, of course! You are not alone in this battle for your child. There are many websites and organizations that fight and are a voice for people with developmental disabilities. First and foremost, let me say this… YOU ARE YOUR CHILD’S FIRST ADVOCATE. Who knows your child better than you?! I remember fighting with those I loved to get my son evaluated. I remember all of the phone calls and e-mails I sent to make sure my son got the therapy appointments he needed after getting the results from that evaluation. I remember more e-mails and phone calls to his school to set up his ARD {Admission, Review, and Dismissal} meeting and making sure he got the services he needed for him to succeed in his education. As the years go on {he is only 7 right now}, I am sure there will be more fights and meetings for him as he continues to advance in school. BE YOUR CHILD’S VOICE.

The list of services and organizations available in the Houston area are {but not limited to} ::

  • Texas Health & Human Services {ECI Program}:: here you can search for services available to your child by city, zip code, or county. Once a location is selected, you can view their contact information and the services available to your child.
  • The Arc of Greater Houston:: their mission is to promote and protect the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and to actively support their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lives.
  • The Center Houston:: The Center promotes the pursuit of choice, growth, and personal independence for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. 
  • Texana Center:: their mission is to deliver life changing services to people with behavioral health issues and intellectual and developmental disabilities.

You may be reading this and asking yourself, “What’s the point in sharing this information?” Let me give you two :: one is for the parents whose children have developmental disabilities, and two for those who do not.

Parents of Children with Developmental Disabilities:: You are Not Alone | Houston Moms Blog

If you are a parent who has a child with a developmental disability, you are not alone. I am walking the road right beside you. I support you. I emphasize with you. Feel free to reach out and ask me any questions {there are moms on our contributing team who are also in the same boat}, share your story with us, and connect with us on our Facebook group. We would love to meet up with you.

And if you are a parent of a child WITHOUT a developmental disability, I say this with all love and sincerity; celebrate that this is not your daily life. Be thankful that your child is developing as they should and understand what a blessing that is. Also, if you see another child who is similar in age to your child but seems to be at a different stage of development, please do not judge. 

I love my child and I wouldn’t change him for the world. He has opened my eyes to see everything around me with a different perspective I wouldn’t have had otherwise. We have our good days and our bad days. There are days when I laugh so hard my stomach hurts. There are days where I cry so much that my eyes swell up. But at the end of the day, I remember I am not alone.

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