I think for us we feel lucky. We have 4-year-old twins, and a two and a half-year-old, and another little boy to be born in a couple weeks. For us, I think what we learned having young children, is that so much of their development as babies happens in the context of a parent-child relationship, and so for us it means having kids who respond to us when we engage with them--kids who are happy, curious, have spirit and adventure and are able to then form relationships themselves with other people as they enter into social relationships with peers and teachers.
Our son was born a “screamer” and he couldn’t tolerate loud things and loud noises, so how to comfort him would be different than how we had to comfort our daughter. Being tuned into each of their individual needs--physical needs whether it be helping them learn how to roll over, or sit up, or taking those first steps. Whether it was their emotional needs--their crying and us as parents trying to figure out, “What is that cry telling us?” and “Is this within the realm of OK or do we have concerns that we need to further explore with our pediatrician or friends?”
Part of it is also helping people pay attention to it—-for themselves or their own family, friends and so forth. It’s so easy to see the physical milestones, but you’ve really got to pay attention to their social development and their emotional development as well. And so if the campaign helps raise awareness so that people will pay attention to it then you’re more likely to have people understand or identify when there are problems and have the willingness to reach out for help when they need it.
And the only other thing I have to say as parents is to follow your intuition. Even if one door closes, and if in your gut you feel that your child--something’s not quite right--or you need some extra support, that you keep knocking until you get the door that’s going to be supportive-—that’s going to open and help you through the journey. Because as parents we know if something’s not quite right or not. Period. We’re the authorities.