S-O-S Research: Help for your special needs children
Danette M. Schott knew her life would never be the same when she met her daughter in Russia. At 18 months she weighed 14 pounds, didn’t like to be held or touched and couldn’t maintain eye contact. She describes the initial meeting on her website this way:
“She was not the healthy, almost walking toddler that had been described…She arched her back as I held her, pulled her head away from me, and avoided my eyes like the plague. The day we were to take her, she was all but shoved into our arms as we were pushed out the door…She could only go to sleep if she was up on all fours and rocking from front to back. I remember one night we tried to hold her and soothe her to sleep, but she just cried. We figured we could deal with this when we got home. We just placed her down and put her in motion to rock–rock so we could all have peace. When sleeping she also violently rocked her head from side-to-side.”
That was 10 years ago and in those years Danette struggled to get her daughter the help she needed to be able to reach her full potential. In the process, she learned about many of the social and developmental issues that children from institutionalized settings need to overcome. She also learned that it wasn’t easy finding the information you needed to make informed decisions for your child, especially when you are in panic mode and don’t know where to begin.
She recently started S-O-S Research (Social-Other-School Research) to help parents of children with special needs. The organization’s mission is “to unite a collection of experts to provide affordable, up-to-date information to help your child reach his potential as cost effectively as possible.”
“I decided to start S-O-S Research because I was meeting so many parents who did not know where to start or what to do when they suspected their child had a problem,” she said. “As I walked them through what I felt was a natural process, I realized that I was good at quickly locating information and organizing it in a useable format. I decided to start S-O-S to help as many parents as possible, as cost-effectively as possible.”
She said that parents often panic when they realize something is wrong and don’t know what to do.
“When you are in panic mode, you feel that you do not have the time or expertise to do everything that you want to do,” she said. “Parents need to get organized and build a team of professionals. My stage 1 guide is designed to eliminate a parent’s panic and stress by giving them the easy-to-follow steps to get help for their child.”
Danette generously sent WhileAbroad.com a copy of the S-O-S Rescue Series, A guide for Social Skills. The three-series guides are full of information and resources to help identify, analyze and refine your options.
“There is a lot of special needs information scattered all over the internet, but it is typically organized alphabetically or by subcategories,” she said. “Nowhere is it organized in a way that walks parents through their problem-solving process. The S-O-S Rescue Series provides parents with custom steps to follow in each of the easy-to-follow 1-2-3 stages.”
The guides help parents to identify if their child has specific problems that needs to be addressed (Guide 1); determine what options are available to them and gather a team of experts (Guide 2) and finally get help that is necessary and effective (Guide 3).
While many of the guide’s references are located in the US, all have information online that will help to identify the issues your child might be struggling with. They are an excellent starting point for parents who need help figuring out what the problem is and they provide valuable information about available treatments.
One of the things I like about the guides is they provide resources from a variety of ideologies without bias. Parents are given the tools to make informed decisions about what is right for their child without being pushed in one direction or another. Danette includes journal articles she found helpful, as well as books and links to groups that specialize in a variety of behavior issues.
She said that the biggest lesson she has learned from her daughter’s struggles is that she needs to take care of herself and that there are small joys to be found if you look.
“The first thing you will learn is that you have to redefine your idea of ‘normal.’ Your life may not be what you originally envisioned, but you will find a new pleasure as you get into your new groove,” she said. “When I have felt like I can’t take anymore, I take a brief break. It can be as simple as a telephone call with my sister, a nice date with my husband, to a weekend away at the beach, or enjoying my hobbies of collaging and jewelry-making. I have learned that I need to take care of myself or I will be no good at taking care of others.”
Danette is available to answer questions and says she enjoys hearing from other parents. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. She has an excellent blog that you can follow and a free online newsletter. The Social Skills series sells for US $34 or US $12 individually.
Guides are also available for ADHD, Anxiety and Stress, Asperger’s syndrome, Autism and Play Skills.