Monday, March 24, 2008

Discussion of an article part 2

Moving on to the rest of the article. I aim to finish what I started!! Although days later, I'm not feeling quite so intense about it.

But, parents of children with special needs have been observed to be less responsive than are parents of children without special needs (Mahoney & Powell, 1988). Parental responsiveness and sensitivity are necessary to promote secure attachment among children with special needs (Atkinson et al., 1999; Clements & Barnett, 2002).

This was actually one of (many) fears I had when I was still pregnant and even a few months into Kiki's life, that I would remain emotionally detached from her. In retrospect, I think that was due to me not knowing what to expect from her in terms of emotional connection and attachment. It's not a mature reaction in any sense, but in some way I was afraid to get attached until I could be sure she was capable of becoming attached to me.

The same research that identifies increased stress and symptoms among such parents finds that the majority appears to cope well with these added demands, and remains relatively resilient. Many parents raising children with chronic health conditions and developmental disabilities report high satisfaction and enjoyment of their role.

Now I could list all kinds of weird, ignorant things I was afraid of even after Kiki was born. One day I cried all day because I was afraid she wouldn't develop a personality (she was exactly 2 and a half weeks old at that time.)

Some of the things I remember that went through my head while I was pregnant and while Kiki was newly born make me wince in shame when I remember them and some just make me laugh out loud. The fact is, as Kiki grew, and I spent time with her, it happened just like everyone assured me it would: we developed a very normal, natural mother/child bond that has grown stronger every day.

And personality? Oh. My. God. This is a child who, in my arms, will start to cry if a stranger approaches her and tells her how cute she is, then turn to face me and start giggling maniacally. She's fine with cuddling, as long as it's on her terms, and when she's done, she will let you know without a DOUBT that she wants DOWN NOW. She resists our efforts to coach her arms and hands into positions to do the things we want her to learn, but is quick as lightning when it comes to grabbing the things she wants, like our glasses.

As Yarnhacker puts it, the child is diabolical, and if we were to put our two daughters in the same room, they may just successfully plot to take over the world.

Crap, this will have to wait... she's learned just now how to climb over her barricdes and she's about to eat my power cord.

(All quotes taken from "Building New Dreams: Supporting Parents' Adaptation to Their Children With Special Needs", Douglas Barnett, PhD; Melissa Clements, PhD; Melissa Kaplan-Estrin, PhD; Janice Fialka, MSW, ACSW)


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