One of the privileges of my role as managing editor of “Family Connections” is being able to decide what issues to focus on. While I love each edition, I’m especially proud of the October issue, which highlights some of the great resources available in the Jewish community to help children with special needs.
Like many of you, I have often wondered why my daughter didn’t hit some of the developmental milestones when popular parenting books said she “should,” making me wonder if there was something wrong with her and what to do about it. For example, she began taking her first steps at age 1, but then didn’t walk again for six months. Then I noticed she wasn’t talking yet when all of the other toddlers were. And every time she took a bath, she had to line all 15 animal tub toys up so they were facing the same direction.
After a diagnosis of “developmental delays” when she was 15 months old, I learned about occupational therapists, early intervention, integrated preschools and supportive classrooms. But mostly I learned how important it is to have resources in the community to help families find needed services that offer support and knowledge of how to navigate the system and advocate for their children. I learned how important it is to connect with other parents who are going through similar challenges and who can relate and share advice.
My daughter ended up outgrowing all of her delays, but last year was diagnosed with epilepsy, and once again I sought the support of communal resources. Making connections with parents facing similar challenges has helped enormously. I never realized just how many parents are helping their children navigate the world with emotional, learning, behavioral and medical issues.
We all want our children to have the same opportunities to learn and participate fully with their peers, and I’m proud to highlight some of the ways that vision is happening in Boston.