Parents are doctors’ eyes on children’s performance

By Ghadeer Ghloum

KUWAIT: Parents’ collaboration with doctors is crucial for the health and development of children with special needs. When working collaboratively with the doctor, parents can gain a better understanding of their child’s specific needs and how to address them effectively. Kuwait Times interviewed Pediatric Occupational Therapist Eman Jaafer Abdullah to further understand the vital role parents occupy in ensuring accurate medical information, early intervention, comprehensive care and successful decision making.

Eman Abdullah

Abdullah told Kuwait Times that parental training is the backbone of making successful progress in the development of children with special needs. If the parents are motivated, willing and learn from the doctor to help their child, everything will become easier later. There are studies that say that when parents feel they have the competence of understanding their children, their needs and the goal that the specialists are working towards, their child’s daily routine and performance will improve.

Also, when randomized controlled trials (RCTs) compared two groups — children who undertake therapy service in addition to parental training, and another group that lacked parental training — the studies found the groups with parental assistance were improving in motor and cognitive skills as well as emotional development. They also found that parenting skills and the relationship between parents and their children improved, benefiting both sides. “Another reason to support parental training is because at the end of the day, as an occupational therapist, I’m focusing mainly on the real functional performance in real-life situations and real-life environments and challenges.

So, parents become my eyes in such situations. When the parents understand what we are doing as occupational therapists and what are our goals, they become capable of applying what they have learnt outside the clinic. Parents monitor their children’s behavior and achievements in real-life situations, not me, because in the clinic, I can only achieve the optimal performance as I’m controlling the situation inside the clinic, unlike in real life,” Abdullah elaborated. Abdullah shared a message with parents who have children that need special care.

“You have the right to discuss with professionals their goals and priorities and see what is going on in the session and how we do it. You also have the right to discuss with us and show us videos and pictures that keep us updated and informed about the child’s progress and give feedback on the sessions. Do not be afraid and do not underestimate your role in helping us see the progress of the child,” she said.

“I personally see that parents have the right to be there and visualize the session and how it goes in order for them to learn the techniques, because this will improve the experience between the child and the parents. This will motivate me as well, as I will have a holistic picture about the child and the environment, which will help me evaluate the child and guide the parents based on evidence,” Abdullah concluded.

The post Parents are doctors’ eyes on children’s performance appeared first on Kuwait Times.

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