I have friends who have children with special needs, other than Down syndrome, and have asked me for suggestions on how to help their children. I cannot claim to know how to help specifically but here are some general suggestions (I’ve used ‘she’ to simply denote the child and not specifically to refer to the gender):
-Love your child LOTS – express it verbally, visually and physically so she is SURE of your love and feels secure.
-Say ‘no’ firmly and with love. As parents, we can’t always give our children what they want. We need to train our children to accept ‘no’ as one of the answers they will hear from us or anyone. Depending on the age of the child and the situation, I may or may not explain my rationale. Regardless, I still expect my children to obey me.
-Read up about her condition as much as possible so that you know how to help her coz if you are home with her, you know her best. It will also help you to understand what the teacher/medical professional is saying.
-Don’t put her in a mould/box – while there may be similar characteristics shared by children with the same condition as her, she is unique and different. Hence, find out what works or doesn’t work for her while keeping in mind what you have read. That’s the beauty of homeschooling.
-See your child as normal and expect high of her while you set realistic short and long term goals. Breaking these into smaller steps will help her, yourself and those around her. Gradually you will see her rising up to your expectations.
-Don’t compare her with others coz that will discourage you and her more. Be aware of the milestones she has to achieve and work towards them, giving her the time she needs.
-Know a few moms who have children of similar conditions so you can share and exchange notes. But beware of falling into the trap of comparing your child with their children.
-Give PLENTY of praises and encouragement – an essential for any child to grow and develop and make it a BIG deal. Many times, even I myself am stingy with this…so I am also constantly reminding myself to speak positively to help and edify.
-Don’t help your child if she can do it herself so she will learn how to help herself and work towards independence.
-Involve your child in the household chores at home. Afterall, they all need to learn as they grow up and it’s easier to start young and earlier. This is another step towards picking up self-help skills in the Activities of Daily Living (ADL). Personally I feel that once my children are able to take care of themselves, that’s a big load off my mind. I am constantly working towards this goal on a daily basis.
-Look for people (teachers/therapists/medical professionals) who share similar goals as you for helping your child – they will love her, want to help her do her best and push her when necessary.
-Pray for your child. Being a Christian, I believe that’s the BEST way to help my child. I’ve seen how God works in her countless of times. I also know that in spite of what I may be unable to do, the Lord will see to ALL her needs, now or in the future. That comforts me and frees me to love her and my other children.
2 thoughts on “I Am Special”
Thanks for the wonderful and insightful advice.
Most welcome 🙂