Welcome to One Small Step for Parents! Our goal is to help you find the right resources, support and information that is needed to make informed choices. Without the proper tools we, as parents and adults, don't know what will help our situation or what works and doesn't work. Here at One Small Step, we have done our best to take the guesswork and confusion out of the equation by supplying tools, resources and online support.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Forgive me for not posting anything sooner. I have been attending college for the last year, as a Community Support Worker - Social Service.
It is a big change for me, and I am hopeful that the time I have spent furthering my education will be of use to my community. I have to say, it feels good to see some letters after my name, because now I'm not just a "Mom" who doesn't know anything. Now I am a "professional", and that carries a lot more weight when speaking with government officials.
I admit, I know a lot more than I did a year ago, and my background and experience have stood me in good stead - providing me with inside knowledge of many features of disabilities as well as a different perspective regarding treatment.
I am looking forward to my continued participation in the forum, and I invite others to share their challenges and stories, or simply be there in support of our fellow members.
Keep your chin up...it does get better!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Back to School - Are You Prepared?

Well here we are again...back to school. For many parents, going back to school feels like a double edged sword. We are thrilled that summer is over and we can "catch a break" from 24/7 parenting, yet we dread the meetings, comments and in most cases, negative communications that we know are coming.

I always viewed the first few days of school as a holiday for me, because I knew that as soon as the classroom settled down and the rest of the children started working on their assignments, my son's lack of interest and compliance would stick out like a sore thumb and the meetings would begin.

During the first years of elementary school, (actually beginning in Kindergarten,) it became a common occurrence to be notified that my son had been suspended from class. The first suspension was a horrifying experience, as was the second. However, by the third and fourth, the horror subsided only to be replaced by other, sometimes debilitating emotions.

Unfortunately, the schools are not equipped to properly teach, guide and care for children with AD/HD - ODD. Most, (if not all now,) teacher's aides or TA's have training with developmental disabilities; Autism, Tourette Syndrome, and Asperger's to list a few. However, very little is known about AD/HD or ODD (Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder and Oppositional Defiant Disorder) so TA's receive little to no training with regard to these disabilities, making it almost impossible to handle these children.

This, in turn, only adds to the stress and frustration these children, and subsequently, their parents face on a daily basis. Continuing this cycle, these emotions make it difficult to communicate effectively, thereby adding more stress and frustration, making the once joyous feelings of optimism associated with a new school year wither on the vine.

There is little that can be done from a parental stand point except to make sure that your child's educators understand exactly what to expect regarding your child's behavior and trigger points. However, this isn't a fail safe approach. Many educators don't realize that the information is not simply a "concern" and hope that "in time" your child will come around to their way of teaching.

To be fair, most schools simply do not have the proper resources, and the teachers are left to wade through the turbulent waters and flash floods that behavioral disabilities can create. This will definitely separate the "wheat from the chaff" and you will very quickly see whether you have won the lottery and have a concerned, conscientious teacher who is willing to work with you.

Should you find that unfortunately you have lost the lottery, possibly for the second, third, or heaven forbid, the fourth time or more, it would be a good idea to search out a different school, as obviously your concerns have fallen on deaf ears. Finding the right school, and by "right" I mean one that will listen to what you have to say and work with you to provide the education that your child deserves, is one of the most important tasks that a parent faces - especially for those of us with special needs children, and it can't be taken lightly.

There is a saying; "Forewarned is forearmed". Make sure you have all the information you need to present to your child's educators, and in the event that your diligence is tossed aside, be prepared to search for an alternative solution, and don't stop until you find one. Once you find the answer, you will experience the peace and security that going back to school can bring.

I wish all of you "Peace and Security"...Lord knows, we all deserve it.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Awards and Rewards

Forgive me for not posting sooner, but I have to admit the last couple of months have been relatively incident free, aside from the usual mistakes and wrong doings of "normal" teenage behavior.

Recently, however, my son has been slipping back into his solitary world of video games, despite doing our best to monitor his activity. His behavior has also been slipping, but I put that down to school ending soon, and the usual angst that comes with it.

I was therefor surprised when I received a phone call from my son's class psychologist informing me of the up and coming student awards ceremony, along with the notification that we should attend as my son was receiving an award. I asked if this was a genuine award, or just a piece of paper claiming that he 'participated' and was graduating to grade 9, and was assured this was the genuine article.

After securing three tickets and coercing both my son and his step-dad to attend, (both of whom were not terribly inspired to sit through the ceremony,) we arrived and secured our seats to watch the event unfold. After the opening remarks and the introduction of the staff and graduating class, the awards ceremony got underway.

Even with the knowledge that my son was a recipient, it was still a surprise to discover that he was receiving a silver star engraved with his name and the year along with an inscription which read, "The most improved student in Grade 8". However, we still had a surprise waiting in the wings. After the presentation of the silver stars, the presenter announced that now they would be awarding the gold stars. When we heard that, we mentioned to my son that he should try to achieve that next year, and not thirty seconds later his was the first name called to receive it!

You could have knocked us over with a feather! My husband was so surprised and proud - I'll remember the look on his face for years. That topped off the whole night for me. It took nine long years full of disappointment, conflict and confrontation, but for the first time since my son began his schooling he was rewarded and recognized for his efforts. Congratulations my son - way to go! Keep up the good work.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Social Networking and ADHD

ADHD, or Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and ODD, or Oppositional Defiant Disorder, are not "Media Friendly" disabilities. There are few, if any, movies made about this subject, or portraying the protagonist, or supporting cast as having these disorders. There are no fund raisers, front page stories, movie star endorsements, or media coverage to bring these disabilities to the attention of John Q. Public.

The people suffering from these disorders are not generally quiet, withdrawn misunderstood individuals, rather they appear to be brash, abrasive, undisciplined, angry children/young adults who seem to delight in causing upheaval and chaos wherever they go.

This is only half the story. These children are rarely undisciplined, and their disabilities magnify 'normal' behavior to a point where 'normal' consequences or discipline appears to be ineffective. Again, this is only half the story. The only way to truly understand what these disabilities can do to an individual and their friends and family, is to live with it.

Unfortunately, if you are 'lucky' enough to have a child with these disorders, you are ostracized from normal society and relegated to the outskirts with little to no support, help or information. You feel completely alone because no one understands what you are dealing with and others view you as a poor role model and terrible parent.

This blog is attempting to change that perception through social networking. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, and others can be adopted to spread the word that support is as close as the click of a mouse. When I was immersed in the daily negative, sometimes caustic, and always stressful behaviors of my six year old, there were no support groups and very few programs designed to work with ADHD/ODD children. There was no one available to explain why my son acted the way he did, and there were no solutions either. No one seemed to understand what they were dealing with and looked to me to provide the answers. Answers? Hell, I didn't even know the questions!

However, over the years I did my own research and learned everything I could about ADHD and its attendant disorders. In short, I helped myself. It wasn't pretty, and there was a lot of trial and error, but today I am in a position to be able to help my son, and it is working. It is slow and sometimes difficult, and almost always frustrating, but it is working.

Through Facebook, Twitter and Hub Pages, I and others, are spreading the word that support and information are available for others dealing with these issues and behaviors. Everyone can write, tweet, link, or like, the content available on this blog or forum to get the word out. Let your friends and followers know about this site and spread awareness and help for anyone living with these disorders. It doesn't cost any money - just a few minutes to click a mouse, so what do you say? You can help someone else get the support and information they need simply by clicking the like, tweet/retweet or link button on your social network profile, so please, take a moment and pass it on.

Thank you!
Enelle Lamb