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Ask Our Experts: Parenting

}I have heard of parents who bring up their kids without the use of any kind of medicine, even when they’re sick. Apparently, they rely on the kid’s natural abilities to fight off diseases. Is this advisable or safe?~

Every individual responds differently to illnesses and the ability to fight off diseases vary depending on the host’s immune system and the severity of the illness. It is good if your child is able to recover from simple illnesses such as common cough and cold without taking any medication, but if the illness gave symptoms that affect his or her daily activities such as feeding or sleeping, then it is better to take medicines to relief that symptom for better comfort and rest which is helpful in the recovery process.

Some diseases such as bacterial infections will need to be treated with antibiotics without which the illness is very unlikely to recover on its own. Relying on your child’s own natural ability to recover from bacterial infection is risky as this may lead to more serious complications. It’s important to make a right diagnosis and identify the root cause of the disease before determining the need for further treatment. A paediatrician will be able to make a right diagnosis for your child’s illness and prescribe the right medicines for him or her if necessary. Self-diagnosed and self-medicate practices are not safe and not advisable as these may lead to wrong or delayed diagnosis, thus delayed treatment. They may pose a risk for developing complications.

In fact, the best approach is prevention, which is always better than cure. Some of the ways to boost or strengthen your child’s immunity include immunizations to prevent against vaccine preventable diseases, good personal hygiene, healthy and balance diet, regular exercise as well as a caring and loving family.

}How can I be certain if my three-year old is being bullied or intimidated at the daycare I send him to on weekdays? At times, he seems reluctant to enter, but when I question him at home, he answers all my questions except “Is anyone hitting you or scolding you at school?~

Look for a pattern of behavior that is not typical for your child. Is he withdrawn, less responsive to you, or too clingy? Does he complain of stomachaches or headaches before being dropped off at the daycare? Has he started wetting the bed regularly? Is he coming home with scratches and cuts?

If your child has difficulties in explaining what is happening to him and/or has communication difficulties, you may need to use different ways to communicate with him (e.g., drawings, puppets).

Try saying things like “when someone hurts or scolds us, we may be too afraid to go to school, but Mommy is here to help you.” “Did someone hurt you?” or “Can you tell me what he/she did?” Kids this age may know that what’s happening makes them feel bad, but they may not have a label for it or know how to talk about it. So, remember: No matter what your child tells you, remain calm and reassuring for your kid. The more supportive you are of his feelings, the more details you’ll get about what happened, how he feels about it, and how serious the situation is. Watch your child’s reactions. Often what a child doesn’t say may be more telling.

Talk to the parents of other children at the facility. Be open and frank with other parents. Are they noticing the same patterns you are? Approach the daycare and have a meeting with the person in charge to discuss about your concerns.

}What should parents look for when deciding on a school for their child with learning disabilities?~

When a child has severe learning difficulties, as I mentioned also in one of my Blog articles, it is best not to think about mainstream schooling. It’s better to place that child in a provision that caters to learning difficulties and has qualified and trained staff. Also, the benefit would be the smaller environment and the individually tailored programmes that are offered.

One good example is an establishment that offers a homeschooling programme for learners with mild to moderate learning difficulties, such as Sri Rafelsia which features individually tailored education programmes that focus on cognitive skills and also formal literacy and numeracy once the intervention part is concluded. Activities like Pilates, Dance and Music, by specially trained staff, who know how to teach these in a modified way are also useful. This way the learner has a wholistic school-like experience. The programme has an ultimate goal of mainstreaming students within a 24 month period. In some rare cases, the learner stays long term.

The key is for parents to seek out provisions that have properly trained staff. In special education, training should be divided into expert areas – mild to moderate, severe to profound, sensory impairments, and ASD. So, one way to know if they are getting what they are seeking is to see how the provision advertises its services. If a provision claims to deal with difficulties across board from mild to profound, then parents should know this is too good to be true. No one person can be trained to teach students who are experiencing different ranges of impairment. So, if you see words like dyslexia, autism and Down’s syndrome in one advertisement of services, then, chances are, they may not be trained in any specific area, and are therefore not experts.


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