Tips For Parenting Children With Special Needs

Tips For Parenting Children With Special Needs

Most of the special needs children and teenagers are not treated as they should be, no matter the amount of empathy and kindness they show in return. Undoubtedly it’s not at all an easy task to parent a special needs child, such special needs parents need professional guidance and help from the surrounding. If you are such a parent, these tips will be handy for you to start parenting your special needs child in the right and effective way.

1. Assume the best.

Presume competence, and always err on the side of assuming that the child means well. Sometimes special needs children are assumed to be angry or disobedient when their needs are impeding their ability to move smoothly or process the demands being placed upon them. Assume that the child or teen is doing the best they can right now.

2. Show them patience and understanding when they struggle.

A kid with special needs won’t be able to do everything their peers can do—and that’s okay. Be kind, to help them learn not to feel bad about being the way they are. Give them extra time to follow directions and make transitions. Many tasks and activities can be tricky for some of these kids. If they aren’t doing what they’re told, assume that they might be having trouble and ask if they need help. You could try communicating using picture cards.

3. Avoid making assumptions.

Instead, consult a specialist if you don’t know. Don’t assume that someone with a physical or developmental disability is intellectually disabled. Treat them in an age-appropriate way. Ask before helping out: “Do you want me to move this chair out of your way?” Sometimes the special needs child wants to do something different than you anticipated.

4. Don’t fear different needs.

It may be new to you, but for a child with special needs, it’s a fact of life. There’s no need to get nervous, antsy or hopeless around such children.

5. Treat their special needs as natural.

Kids and teens with special needs may be insecure about their needs. Treat it similarly to how you’d handle a peanut allergy: talk about it calmly and casually, and accommodate it without making a fuss. This sends the message that you care and that their needs are not a burden.

6. Talk to them the same way you’d talk to another kid their age.

Bending down and using baby talk might be appropriate with a two-year-old, but not with a twelve-year-old. Use a tone and body language that convey respect for them.

If they can speak, then model your vocabulary usage after theirs. Listening to the words they use will help you know what level of words they understand. If they don’t speak, then use the same vocabulary or signs.

7. Encourage their socializing.

A special needs child must never be pushed back from making different or similar friends. Socializing is a great way for these kids to feel confident and normal.

8. Encourage independence and decision-making.

Sometimes, children with special needs are controlled by the whims of adults, with little say in what happens to them. This deprives them of independence skills. Help out by offering them choices, talking to them, and listening to what they have to say. Give them small choices, like which shirt to wear or which fruit to eat for a snack. Try giving them ability-appropriate responsibilities, from carrying a hotel room key to taking the dog out. If you want, try supervising while they do it, then praising them for doing a good job. This builds self-efficacy.

9. Recognize their strengths.

Different means they face challenges, but this does not make them devoid of strengths. Encourage their talents and cheer them on. Treat their strengths the same way you’d treat any other kid’s strengths. For example, if they love art, get them sketchbooks and colored pencils, and draw pictures together with them.

Good parenting of a special needs child can really help them lead a much normal life growing up. As a special needs parent, you would be facing challenges for sure but there is help out there you just have to ask for it.

“A diagnosis can’t predict the extraordinary love you will have for your kid” - Tara McCallan