There is no doubt that parenting styles can be polarizing. Whether we birth naturally or not, whether we breastfeed or formula feed, if we allow screen time or limit it, how we feed our children, and more, are issues that can divide parents and families. Grandparents take it personally when we raise our own children according to a different set of rules. Siblings scoff at our "alternative" parenting choices. Things can get messy.
But let's sit down together, as parents and grandparents, caregivers and teachers, and look at something astounding: one in six children now suffers from a developmental disability. One in six. Let that sink in for all of us. Maybe you have six kids. Or there are six kids among your family group. You certainly know six kids - kids from daycare or school. Or you see groups of kids larger than six at the playground or park. One of each six has a developmental disability, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), as published in the journal Pediatrics. One in six has a learning disability, ADHD, autism, or other developmental disability. Over the past 12 years, the prevalence of autism has increased by 289.5% and ADHD by 33%. That's no small potatoes.
Whatever your lifestyle or parenting choices, you cannot help but to recognize the seriousness of that statistic. One in six. Something is critically, drastically wrong. When are we going to sit up and take action? When are we going to realize that what we are currently doing is not working. Whether your information points to trouble in our food supply, pollutants in our environment, toxins in our homes, or chemicals in our bodies, we need to come together to take action.
We know the odds of winning the lottery are slim. They certainly are not 1 in 6. Yet we will line up to buy lottery tickets for that slim chance. We'll go out of our way on the ride home to get our ticket. We'll set aside money to buy a lottery ticket and take special care to put it in a safe place. And if the odds of winning the lottery were 1 in 6, the system would be out of control. Why do we turn the other cheek with our children? Why do we shrug off these numbers? When will we go out of our way to make a change? To save our future? To save our kids?
If you have a child with special needs, you know the challenges and the heartache. You know the long hours of worry and care. And you wish it could get better. Wishing won't make it happen, but action will. Things need to change. On this, we can - and must - join forces. Our future is at stake.