Myth #1.....The divorce rate is significantly higher than families who do not have children with special needs.
There was a false statistic going around that 80% of marriages end in divorce if they have a special needs child. Many studies have shown, that statistic is hyperbolized. Depending on the diagnosis of the child, the divorce rate can be higher or even lower than the average divorce rate. Parents with a child with ASD tend to have a divorce rate that’s 10% higher than average. Parents with a child with Down Syndrome tend to have a divorce rate that’s lower than average. Ever since I learned this fact I always look at my caseload and I’ve found that these statistics are a reflection of the families I have served.
This article discusses the divorce statistics in the special needs community: https://www.cerebralpalsy.org/blog/the-unfortunate-reality-of-divorce-in-couples-with-a-child-with-special-needs
Myth #2....Medication is bad for special needs children.
If you have exhausted all therapies…your child has been in Behavior Therapy and Occupational Therapy and you’re still having significant challenges with behavior, medication isn’t a bad option. I can speak on this from a personal and professional perspective. If you are constantly dealing with your child’s disruptive behaviors, they are missing out on learning new skills and participating in social activities. There are parents in the special needs community who will say, “Oh I don’t believe in putting my child on medication”. That shouldn’t influence your decision on what’s best for your child and your family.
Myth #3....My child will fall behind in a special needs classroom.
The truth is, Special Ed teachers and Regular Ed teachers have different training. Special Ed classrooms have specialized support. They typically have “Parapros” (Paraprofessionals) in the classroom to aid with the student accessing their curriculum. The Pararpos not only aid with academics but they provide the self care that’s needed throughout the school day so the teacher can focus on the lessons.
Myth #4....If my child is labeled with a diagnosis his/her future is doomed.
In the public educational system, a child with special needs is taken through a formal evaluation process every 3 years. I was recently a part of an initial meeting where we decided as a team to not give the student a label or eligibility. Instead we decided to provide supports and then reconvene at a later date. Now when that later date arrives and a label or eligibility is recommended, viewing it as a negative or positive is a personal decision. As an OT I look at it as a positive because now your child qualifies for all of the services they need. The only negative I see is if they don’t receive a label or eligibility they will not qualify for all of the services they need to help them thrive and become the best they can be. Please know that no label or diagnosis has the power to doom your child’s future.