It takes a village to raise a child, and when your child is diagnosed with a special need, you quickly learn the need for support.
My oldest was a colicky baby who turned into an exhausting toddler. By 2.5 years old, when he still could only use a handful of intelligible words, his inability to communicate led to tantrums on a daily basis. Thanks to the guidance and testing of Help Me Grow — a free resource for Lucas County residents with children under the age of 3 — Dexter was diagnosed with speech apraxia and sensory needs.
After a whirlwind of speech therapy, occupational therapy, and IEP meetings, Dexter was enrolled in Sylvania School’s preschool program that mixes typically developing kids with preschoolers on IEPs (another free local resource). Thanks to an amazing team of educators, Dexter progressed quickly. By the end of preschool, he had reached all of his milestones and was taken off an IEP.
He is now in first-grade, and while language skills still don’t come easily to him, he is working hard and loving school. Those difficult first few years now seem like a hazy dream (nightmare?), but if it hadn’t been for the support of local resources, our school district, and supportive, accepting parents, none of us would be where we are today.
We recently learned that our 4-year-old has the same genetic hearing loss that I have, so we are beginning the IEP process all over again. I can’t communicate the pain it causes me to know that she will have the same struggles I’ve faced over the years. We will be trying hearing aides, but due to our unusual hearing loss, they may not help. They didn’t for me.
But I keep returning to one thought: she will have the same wonderful educational team that Dexter had, and this gives me peace and hope.
We each have different struggles, and our children have distinct needs, but we have one thing in common: we all benefit from the support of our community. It really does “take a village,” and this issue of Toledo Parent contains a guide to special needs resources that can assist you and your little one.
Happy reading and best of luck in this parenting thing,
Erin Marsh, Assignment Editor