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Dr. Krysti's Parenting Wisdom & Tips - #2

Helping you live the joys and trials of raising a child with special needs

I’m Dr. Krysti DeZonia, Ed.D., BCBA-D, TERI’s Director of Education & Clinical Services. My son Jarred was born with multiple disabilities, so I know the challenges parents face (and the rewards they receive) when raising a child with special needs.

I have 45 years of experience working with children and adults with developmental disabilities and their families. I also have a Master’s degree in Special Education with an Autism focus and a Doctoral degree in education. Helping people with special needs is my life work.

I’d like to share the things I’ve learned and implemented here at TERI and provide ideas that might be of help to you along the way.

Watch for my blogs here on the TERI website and on our Facebook page. Remember you’re not alone!

Now for my second tip!

Interests: Celebrating passionate activities


The more interests they have and things they like to do, the happier they will be. The wonderful thing about many kids and adults with special needs is that they often have very focused interests and talents. As they age, having a range of interests and ways to occupy their time will directly impact their quality of life. Many adults find their future employment in areas related to special interests (ex. Working for Amtrak if you have a passion for trains). Adults with developmental disabilities are often part of a group which means staff attention will be divided. Your child will be much happier if they can do something they love while they are waiting for their staff to spend direct time with them.

So, offer your child hundreds of big and little things to do -- as many different ones as you can. The more ways they can safely occupy—and enjoy-- their free time the better their life, and that of those who support them, will be. Once you discover your child’s favorite activities, ensure everyone close to your child is aware and able to provide these opportunities. A good life is all about moments of happiness!!!!

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