Below is Part 2 of our interview with Jessica and Christian regarding their experiences raising their son with special needs, Jonathan.
1. What, if any, advice would you offer to other parents out there who have a child with special needs?
J/C: Call your pediatrician and/or your county and find out about the early intervention program right away. I had no idea that this whole program existed and now I don't know what we would have done without them. They have become part of our family.
Also, search online for parent support groups. My husband and I belong to several. Being able to talk with other parents that are going through similar things is so helpful. Sharing ideas, experiences and equipment has helped us so much.
2. In areas that offer fewer low-cost or free programs for special needs children, what, as parents, do you think you can advise other parents to do?
J/C: There are a lot of books in the library that you can take out and read about raising a child with special needs. Depending on where you live, sometimes your local library will also have programs set up for children with special needs.
Play music to your child - expose them to different types like classical, jazz, rock. It's a workout for the brain just listening!
3. How have the programs and therapies Jonathan has received helped him?
J/C: I'm happy to say that Jonathan is walking and picking up objects with his hands! He is starting to make choices and is starting to develop communication when he wants/needs something. We still have a long way to go, but I know Jonathan would be a different child without the help of these programs.
4. What can someone out there who wants to support programs/therapies that kids like Jonathan receive, do? Any suggestions?
J/C: I would contact your local county for advise on how to help. There are also lots of schools for children with special needs that may have volunteer programs set up. Therapy centers and facilities also accept monetary donations like Pal-o-mine Equestrian where Jonathan gets hippo therapy.