by Beth Ann Hancock
As my son approached his first birthday, he was very active. It felt as though the day after he learned to walk, he started to run. He was always getting into things and pushing limits. A lot of his behaviors were typical for kids his age, but when he started going to preschool, we realized that he was much more active than other kids his age. He was so energetic, in fact, we were asked to find a new school for him because his teachers just could not keep up with him.
His dad and I started to wonder if we were terrible parents and causing him to act this way. We read parenting books and attended classes. We talked to other parents. Most parents did not have children who behaved this way. But we began to meet parents who did, and we knew they were not bad parents either. In fact, they too were looking for help.
We first found help through the state sponsored Child Find Program. They meet with you and your child to help assess different areas of your child’s development and provide intervention services if needed, all at no cost. My son was found to have a social developmental delay and was able to attend a full day preschool program with wonderful teachers who understood kids like him and made him feel welcome. It was the first time he felt comfortable away from me and I was so happy to know that there were people who cared, and who were genuinely happy to see him every day.
Last year he was diagnosed with severe AD/HD and a possible mood or autism spectrum disorder. He is still much more active than his peers, but he continues to receive free special education services through his school to help him cope with being back in a regular school. If it had not been for the early intervention he received, he would very likely have a much more difficult time in school than he is having now.
If you suspect that your child acts differently than other children their age, even though they may not look different, your child may be suffering from a developmental delay that can be aided by free public services. The earlier interventions are provided for many of these children, the better their outcome in school and life can be.
Child Find is a free program available throughout the United States. For information on the program, please visit http://www.childfindidea.org/
For help finding your local Child Find office, you can visit any public elementary school or library for information.