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Using mealtimes to promote independence, self-care skills, and social interaction.


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An Intro to Hannah - Unknown Diagnosis
By: E. L. Honea, Family Member

My sister has disabilities... and no one seems to know their cause.

As Hannah's older sister (some 26 years older), and the mother of an adopted child with FAS, I'm frustrated with the looks I receive from specialists and doctors, for no one has an explanation for her delays. I know that having a name for her condition won't make us love her any more or less, but maybe we can learn more about her condition and how to teach Hannie.

Hannah came to my mother as a newborn, currently she's about 17 months old and has been plagued with a variety of disorders and conditions. She's still not walking, she maintains anti-seizure medication, she does not reliably speak, continues to be significantly delayed in many areas and all the specialists and doctors in the area can't tell us what's wrong.

We're old hands at delayed kids having fostered many, but Hannie's different - her improvement is erratic and difficult. What works one day doesn't the next. She's a very difficult child to care for as she's often cranky, crying, and demanding.

Yet somehow, despite the anxiety of wanting to know "what's wrong" with the baby, I think maybe we don't want to know... after all, we won't love her any less or differently. Keeping our chin and optimism up isn't very easy in the face of the unknown, but our resolve to find the solutions and assistance that she needs to succeed never fails.

Parenting a child with special needs is a challenge. It requires parental advocating above and beyond the norm and often requires one to go against an overburdened system.

I have my suspicions with Hannah's delays, and I believe that while there are some limitations which she will encounter as she grows, she will have been given the best possible family, help, care, encouragement, and assistance that she needs... without or without a label.

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Play Tip PLAY Tip

Teaching Pull-To-Stand In Three Easy Stages

1. Sit the child on a bolster, seat or small physioball in front of a steady surface to pull up on. The child's feet should be firmly planted on the floor. Let the child grasp your hands and rise to standing. 2. Once that step is mastered, try starting the child from a kneeling position. Help them bring one foot forward first and then the other foot as they rise. 3. Then try starting from a sitting position. The feet must swing to the side, then the child moves to an all-fours kneeling position, and then pulls to stand. This activity helps children develop strong shoulder muscles and general stability. It is especially appropriate for children who have general developmental delays or Down syndrome.


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