I get it. They are sick, struggling, or can’t verbally tell you what they’re feeling…. so you let it slide. Over and over again, you let it slide, your special needs child’s behavior. I’m sure for special needs children or not, parents do this all the time, but I’d guess that with special needs children, you have a list of excuses a mile long of why you should just let it go. I sure did it and sometimes still do. It got so bad at one point, that I asked her doctor for help. He referred us, for this and other reasons, to a neuropsychologist. A multi-day evaluation resulted in this understanding: Chloe knows what is going on, is aware of our emotions, behavior, and how her emotions and behavior have an impact on our emotions and behavior. That was good news, right? Well, sort of. It meant, plain and simply, that Chloe had us wrapped around her tiny, little special needs finger. The specialist recommended we read and immediately implement the concepts taught in 1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2-12 by Thomas W. Phelan, PhD.
I’d be lying if I said I got right on that. I had a hard time believing a book could magically fix all our frustrations in how to handle Chloe. And I certainly did not like the idea of disciplining my angelic and “can do no wrong” child. However, living through a few more months of feeling completely out of control in my home and all social situations, I realized I needed to at least give it a whirl.
Reading the book, for me, was frustrating because it made so much sense and truly was so simple and I felt like I had really missed my chance to implement this tool sooner. To quote from their website,
The 1-2-3 Magic program works well with most children, whether average or special needs. Kids with special needs simply need the program more! Teachers use it in special education classes and parents use it at home with youngsters who carry a range of diagnoses. 1-2-3 Magic has also been used successfully in inpatient psychiatric settings. The chief requirement for a child to respond to the 1-2-3 is that the youngster have a mental age of at least two. The reason 1-2-3 Magic is used with so many different types of children is this: No matter what kind of problem a child has, managing difficult behavior and encouraging positive behavior are always major goals of the child’s caretakers.
So my husband and I, after both reading the book, starting implementing the simple techniques. This made an immediate difference. Now I’m not saying it was easy and we always do a perfect job or always remember to do it or have the patience to do it. However, now we have this toolkit with us at all times and when we have the wherewithal to get out our tools, they are there and it’s a comfort. Sometimes I feel like I’m losing ground again and I’ve gone back to read the book more than once.
Long story short, regardless of their age or what behavior issues you might be facing with your special needs child, I would recommend reading this book. Even if you’ve already read it, read it again thinking of the issues at the forefront of your mind right now and you might be surprised what little nugget of information you missed or forgot. And, to answer your question, no I do not work for the author. I would like to give him a high five, though, for the way his book has been able to help our family gain a little bit of sanity.