While some children’s disabilities, like cerebral palsy, are visible at first glance, others, such as ADHD, are not immediately apparent. And of course, many disabled children have a mix of both. Some would argue that disability ultimately sits on a spectrum with regard to how noticeable it is. In this episode, we explore how you can go about finding the parenting approach that fits best, however visible or invisible your child's disability is. Pod-Ability host Dan White chats to Adam Pearson, an actor (best known for his appearance alongside Scarlett Johansson in 'Under the Skin'), presenter and disability rights campaigner, as well as Bobbie Dove, whose son Arun has multiple hidden disabilities.
Our closed Facebook group offers a safe, private, supportive and understanding space to share issues raised by this episode with like-minded parents and families of children with special educational needs and disabilites.
Key recommendations for parents from this episode's discussion
- Whether your child has a visible or invisible disability, be prepared to put yourself out of your comfort zone to become your child’s advocate. They need to know they can always rely on you to fight their corner.
- Tap into parent-carer power and find a parenting Facebook group that is helpful, supportive, encouraging, and empowering. There will be at least one Facebook group out there where every single parent on it ‘gets’ what you’re going through. Having an army of SEND parents that have your back makes all the difference.
- Prepare your child’s expectations ahead of going into social settings. You can talk them through where you’re going and what you’re likely to be doing, or you can show them pictures and get them involved in searching online for information about the venue.
- Have high expectations of your child, whether they have a visible or invisible disability. Expecting too little can be undermining. Have a clear understanding of what your child’s capabilities are and hold them to those capabilities. That way, they’ll experience what their value is in the world.
- Focus on what your child can do and not what they can’t do.