Explaining to your child what a disability is can be quite challenging. It is a sensitive topic, you need to choose your words wisely and create an open dialogue with your child so they feel free to ask you anything. What you say in this conversation directly influences how your child will perceive others with disabilities. Here are seven things to keep in mind when you talk to your child about people with disabilities:
Children with disabilities are like all children, they have feelings they want friends, respect and to be included.
Life can be tough and everyone is trying to find themselves, especially children. They are easily impressionable and often wear their hearts on their sleeves. Words and actions can hurt, all children have the same wants to be included and respected. Teach your children to include all children including children with disabilities in conversation and games, they are no different than typical children and deserve not to be left out due to a disability.
Children can be born disabled or become disabled from illnesses or an accident. You cannot catch a disability.
A person does not choose to be disabled something had happened that is out of their control.
Just because someone has a physical disability does not mean they also have a cognitive (thinking) disability.
There many many different types of disabilities each affecting the body in different ways. Some may just be physical meaning they bodies may have problems when moving, others can affect their brain making speaking, school work and thinking difficult for them and some disabilities can be a combination of both. Children with disabilities can do most of the things other children do, it may take more assistance and more time. Be patient and help them!
Children with special needs are different and that’s not a bad thing.
Everybody is unique it is what makes us all so special in our own ways. If everyone was the same life would be pretty boring!
It’s okay to ask questions about disabilities. Knowledge is power!
Learning about different disabilities can help a child understand a personal situation better. Knowing how a disability can affect someone can allow you to help them more and be more empathic about situations.
Choose your words wisely When talking to your child choose your words wisely. The way to describe children with disabilities will influence the words your child uses to also describe disabilities. Make sure they are accurate and sensitive. Teaching them the correct words like special needs, disabilities, or even the names of specific disabilities like autism and down syndrome.
Be a friend. The best thing you can be is a friend.