Addressing a Parent’s Worry About Child Development Delays
Do parents ever stop worrying about their children? When a child is small sometimes they fall and scrape their knee. As a parent you try to protect them from harm and dangerous situations. As they get older, your concerns continue such as how will they transition into school or will they be safe when they are not with me?
For a parent with a toddler or infant faced with developmental delays, the worry and the stress is that much greater. Even though parents may be taking the advice of their pediatrician to begin Early Intervention Services to get their child help, the worries are still there.
What do parents with children with developmental delays, worry most about?
After many years of working with families in Early Intervention, Ann Logoyda, teli Social Worker is very aware and sensitive to the worries parents may have. “We all want our children to be safe, happy and healthy. When a problem is identified, a parent may feel helpless in their attempt to protect and care for their child,” notes Ann. “Ultimately parents just want the best for their child!”
As a Social Worker, Ann has listened to many parent’s concerns and understands that the worry is real. There are often two key areas of concern:
- Worrying about their child reaching developmental milestones – Parents are anxious to know that the steps they are taking will help their child improve. Their concerns about their child’s future – getting better and overcoming the delays to enable them to do what other children are doing. Additionally, some parents face the fear there may be an underlying diagnosis posing greater health concerns.
- Worrying about getting the right care and managing their care – Families have very full lives and keeping up with other siblings, working, and balancing their family responsibilities. Add to that, getting to and from appointments for their child’s care and the potential for additional health care costs. Encouragingly, the good news is that there is NO COST for Early Intervention services and the care is provided where ever your child is, at home or at day care.
What are some suggestions on how a parent can manage their anxiety?
A social worker is a key part of the Early Intervention Team to help coordinate your child’s care and support families. “We meet parents where they are, at home, at work, or at day care to accommodate their schedules. We realize the pressure and anxiety they are feeling and lend an ear to listen and support them,” explains Ann. “In counseling parents we try to understand their unique situation and help them incorporate strategies into their day to reduce the impact on their mental and physical health. We care for the whole family!”
Some of the key suggestions Ann has for parents to reduce anxiety or stress include:
- Take breaks in your day when things feel overwhelming such as listening to calming music, taking a walk, taking deep breaths, and regular exercise. Find what works for you and include it in your daily routine.
- Model calmness through deep breaths, counting to ten, or leaving the room for a short period of time, to help manage your anxiety as well as your child’s.
- Tap into your support system, a close friend, a parent, your spouse or even a faith-based support group. While everyone is different, having someone to talk to is an important way for you to release some of the tension you may be feeling.
- Work with your social worker to access community resources that may be available to further address some of your child’s developmental delays. Programs in the community that can build on your child’s skills such as socialization or communication would be beneficial to learn about.
“These suggestions are grounded in one key philosophy: you can’t take care of your child if you don’t take care of yourself,” notes Ann. “Managing and coping with these issues in a positive way can have a big impact on you as well as your child. They learn from you. Modeling behaviors to cope with anxiety can help them manage their anxiety in the future.”
If you have any questions or concerns regarding your child’s development, please give teli a call at 412-922-8322