EXPOSURE AND DISCIPLINE

That sounds like an odd title but I want to talk about exposing your disabled child to all sorts of activities and adventures which goes along with the discipline of your child.
Through these last 37 years, since my first daughter was born, I have been around many, many children of all ages, with disablities. I have seen those who fit right in to what others call the, "norm," and I have seen those who were not taught to behave in public.
Most disabled people, no matter how severe have some sense of what is going on and how to behave, or manipulate those around them. I know this sounds somewhat harsh but believe me it is true.
I had the blessing of having 2 older children when I had my daughter who has Down Syndrome. I think I am a disciplinarian by nature so it was easy for me to mold my daughter and to teach her how to adapt to her surroundings and how to act. All 4 of my daughters are a blessing to all those around them and adapt to any situation they are in.
This was not always so with the last two that were adopted. It took many years and constant effort for them.
We got Anna, the youngest when she was one month old. She is Down Syndrome with what we call, a little Autism thrown in for fun. She was afraid of everything, loud noises, bright light, fans in the ceiling, brooms, vacuums, and anything out of the ordinary. We had four very active, atheletic boys and attended 2 to 4 games of basketball, football or baseball a week. We had to hold her tight, put a blanket over her and go forth with our plans. If we were eating out, and there were fans in the restraunt, we would have to hold her outside until the food came to distract her. But we persevered and she soon became excited to do these things. She still is afraid of animals and certain other things but she adapts when necessary.
I have seen where the family tries to adapt to the fears or unruly behaviour of a disabled child and the whole household is disrupted.
Your child is just that, a child and needs every advantage that you would give a "normal" child. The advantage of being in public and knowing how to act, the advantage of being exposed to all kinds of experiences from travel, to shopping, and everything in between. For this to happen you have to be the parent. You have to set boundaries because if not the family unit will become off balance with all the effort going to the chld with the disability, because there is no control.
Of course this is all done with a huge amount of love, hugs and kisses. Nothing is accomplished without a good balance.